Recent Posts

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Media / Re: On books . . .
« Last post by hermes2015 on Today at 04:22:08 AM »
As a schoolboy I lusted after Private View, the huge, pricey book on British artists with photos by Lord Snowdon. I actually shouted with joy when I found a new copy on sale at a ridiculously low price and grabbed it to make sure nobody else would pick it up. That's the kind of thing I did when my contemporaries were being butch on the rugby field. I still have that book on my shelf after all these years.
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Miscellaneous / Re: Workshop and fixit stuff
« Last post by Icarus on Today at 04:21:47 AM »
^ Confucius say: never mess around with explosives when you have had a few too many.
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Science / Re: Hints of a Treatment for Alzheimer's
« Last post by Icarus on Today at 04:16:15 AM »
That is encouraging news. There may be some hope for a large number of people.....including me.
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Laid Back Lounge / Re: Talking to myself . . .
« Last post by Magdalena on Today at 04:06:51 AM »
Hmmm...I'd like to chime in even though I am not a developmental psychologist or anything. Take my thoughts with a grain of salt.

As far as behaviour goes, genes and environmental influences shouldn't be separated when it comes to learning. It's not nature or nurture it's almost always both to varying degrees depending on the behaviour and the individual. Besides genes and past experiences that may predispose us to certain behaviours, there are genes and past experiences which exert a protective effect as well. The complexities of learning should be considered, even if one really wants to reduce behaviour to "genes this" or "environment and parenting that". It's an orchestra of both.

Think of it as a baker making a cake, in which the cake is the individual, the ingredients are the genes and the environment are the baker's hands, making the finished product a certain way. If the baker isn't well that day the finished product can turn out a certain way, if there's an excess of an ingredient it will influence the outcome, etc. This analogy of course is extremely simplistic, as animals' brains are plastic to a degree and they and are constantly learning from incoming stimuli from the environment. No two cakes are ever the same, even two with the same amounts of ingredients (twins), because of the baker.

It seems to me that young children learn a lot from their parents, who are basically at the center of their world (OK, maybe young children see themselves at the center of their world ;D ) and as they grow into adolescence, peers gradually take precedence over parents. The pressure to "fit in" at that age can be overwhelming. Adolescents are naturally risk-takers, he frontal part of the brain, just behind the eyes, is not yet fully developed (this process takes longer in males). Evolutionary, it's a phase in which mammals start to come into their own and venture into the world. IMO, forbidding something makes it all the more attractive, but that's my point of view, not necessarily shared by others.  :-X

I don't believe giving a young child a bottle filled with a nonalcoholic beverage will result in them growing up to be alcoholics. That's akin to saying that playing violent video games will make a person violent. It just doesn't make sense and doesn't take into consideration just how complex learning can be.

Dave, you mentioned a sweet tooth being a learned behaviour. I think there's truth to that, people can become addicted to the stuff and it acts on the brain in similar ways to some illicit drugs. Kids' brains can even be 'pre-programmed' to like certain types of food before they are born. My sister, for instance, would crave salt when she was pregnant and now my niece wants to put salt on everything! :lol:   

I totally understand this.

I, as an individual, can understand how my DNA and the environment, made me who I am today.  For some people, it ends there. People who have children have to consider how, who they are and what they do "shapes" their kids as well.

We are all so divided culturally that what seems "abusive" to some is "normal" to others. This is a crazy world. Circumsition is acceptable in some places, for whatever crazy reason, in other places is not. In some places kids drink a glass of wine, in others, they would call Social Services...even if the kid only mimicked drinking a beer.

Like Davin said, good kids come out of horrible parents, and horrible kids come out of good parents...You never know.

I just dream of a place where we will find, "the middle." Not too much of something... and don't exaggerate out of ignorance.
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Science / Re: Homo sapiens and Their Cousins
« Last post by Recusant on Today at 04:06:22 AM »
A summary of a pair of papers on recent advances in DNA tracking of human pre-history:

"Ancient DNA tells tales of humans' migrant history" | ScienceDaily

Quote
Fueled by advances in analyzing DNA from the bones of ancient humans, scientists have dramatically expanded the number of samples studied -- revealing vast and surprising migrations and genetic mixing of populations in our prehistoric past.

Scientists once could reconstruct humanity's distant past only from the mute testimony of ancient settlements, bones, and artifacts.

No longer. Now there's a powerful new approach for illuminating the world before the dawn of written history -- reading the actual genetic code of our ancient ancestors. Two papers published in the journal Nature on February 21, 2018, more than double the number of ancient humans whose DNA has been analyzed and published to 1,336 individuals -- up from just 10 in 2014.

The new flood of genetic information represents a "coming of age" for the nascent field of ancient DNA, says lead author David Reich, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Harvard Medical School -- and it upends cherished archeological orthodoxy. "When we look at the data, we see surprises again and again and again," says Reich.

Together with his lab's previous work and that of other pioneers of ancient DNA, the Big Picture message is that our prehistoric ancestors were not nearly as homebound as once thought. "There was a view that migration is a very rare process in human evolution," Reich explains. Not so, says the ancient DNA. Actually, Reich says, "the orthodoxy -- the assumption that present-day people are directly descended from the people who always lived in that same area -- is wrong almost everywhere."

Instead, "the view that's emerging -- for which David is an eloquent advocate -- is that human populations are moving and mixing all the time," says John Novembre, a computational biologist at the University of Chicago.

[Continues . . .]
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It apparently worked.

Yes, and the site is easy to use. I just had to log on with my Google account and could immediately start uploading that photo I took in Split.
I visited Split in 1974 when I was 14.

It is a very interesting city, but I did not have much time to explore it before I had to split. I came across that bronze model of the city while strolling on the beautiful esplanade.
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Obituaries / Re: Billy Graham
« Last post by Ecurb Noselrub on Today at 03:05:56 AM »
He made mistakes, but overall was better than the vast majority of what we have out there today. I went to one of his crusades in 1965 in the Astrodome when I was 13.  He had a powerful speaking voice and presence, but once you heard one of his sermons you heard them all.  He was certainly preferable to his son.
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Science / Hints of a Treatment for Alzheimer's
« Last post by Recusant on Today at 02:42:22 AM »
It'll be a few years down the road if it comes to anything, but looks promising.

"Alzheimer's disease reversed in mouse model" | ScienceDaily

Quote
A team of researchers from the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute have found that gradually depleting an enzyme called BACE1 completely reverses the formation of amyloid plaques in the brains of mice with Alzheimer's disease, thereby improving the animals' cognitive function. The study, which will be published February 14 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, raises hopes that drugs targeting this enzyme will be able to successfully treat Alzheimer's disease in humans.

One of the earliest events in Alzheimer's disease is an abnormal buildup of beta-amyloid peptide, which can form large, amyloid plaques in the brain and disrupt the function of neuronal synapses. Also known as beta-secretase, BACE1 helps produce beta-amyloid peptide by cleaving amyloid precursor protein (APP). Drugs that inhibit BACE1 are therefore being developed as potential Alzheimer's disease treatments but, because BACE1 controls many important processes by cleaving proteins other than APP, these drugs could have serious side effects.

Mice completely lacking BACE1 suffer severe neurodevelopmental defects. To investigate whether inhibiting BACE1 in adults might be less harmful, Riqiang Yan and colleagues generated mice that gradually lose this enzyme as they grow older. These mice developed normally and appeared to remain perfectly healthy over time.

The researchers then bred these rodents with mice that start to develop amyloid plaques and Alzheimer's disease when they are 75 days old. The resulting offspring also formed plaques at this age, even though their BACE1 levels were approximately 50% lower than normal. Remarkably, however, the plaques began to disappear as the mice continued to age and lose BACE1 activity, until, at 10 months old, the mice had no plaques in their brains at all.

"To our knowledge, this is the first observation of such a dramatic reversal of amyloid deposition in any study of Alzheimer's disease mouse models," says Yan, who will be moving to become chair of the department of neuroscience at the University of Connecticut this spring.

Decreasing BACE1 activity also resulted in lower beta-amyloid peptide levels and reversed other hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease, such as the activation of microglial cells and the formation of abnormal neuronal processes.

[Continues . . .]
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Laid Back Lounge / Re: What's on your mind today?
« Last post by Bluenose on Today at 02:38:44 AM »
Yeah, missed that connotation. But don't fancy women with big swords standing over me! Maybe there are guys for whom it would be poetic justice though?

Oh, I don't know.  I think strange women lying in ponds distributing swords just might be a good basis for a system of government, at least compared to what passes for one these days in some places....

Certainly beats what we've got going in the US now.

Hey!  Maybe it's all just a big Monty Python skit and any minute now the giant foot will descend onto the White House and crush it...
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Obituaries / Re: Billy Graham
« Last post by Recusant on Today at 02:32:04 AM »
There have been worse. He was a product of his times (his bigotry against Jews and condemnation of gay people, for instance) as well as somebody who had an effect on them. He was a huckster, but I agree that he was perhaps sincere in his beliefs.
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