MonthFebruary 2008

In Jazz Improv, Large Portion of Brain’s Prefrontal Region ‘takes 5’ to Let Creativity Flow

“When John Coltrane was expanding the boundaries of the well-known song “My Favorite Things”at the Village Vanguard in May 1966, no one could have known what inspired him to take the musical turns he took. But imaging researchers may now have a better picture of how the brain was helping to carry him there.

Scientists funded by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) have found that, when jazz musicians are engaged in the highly creative and spontaneous activity known as improvisation, a large region of the brain involved in monitoring one?s performance is shut down, while a small region involved in organizing self-initiated thoughts and behaviors is highly activated. The researchers propose that this and several related patterns are likely to be key indicators of a brain that is engaged in highly creative thought. NIDCD is one of the National Institutes of Health. The study is published in the Feb. 27 issue of the journal Public Library of Science (PLoS) One.”

(via EurekAlert)

Cannibalism May Have Wiped Out Neanderthals

“A Neanderthal-eat-Neanderthal world may have spread a mad cow-like disease that weakened and reduced populations of the large Eurasian human, thereby contributing to its extinction, according to a new theory based on cannibalism that took place in more recent history. Aside from illustrating that consumption of one’s own species isn’t exactly a healthy way to eat, the new theoretical model could resolve the longstanding mystery as to what caused Neanderthals, which emerged around 250,000 years ago, to disappear off the face of the Earth about 30,000 years ago.

“The story of Neanderthal extinction is one of the most intriguing in all of human evolution,” author Simon Underdown told Discovery News. “Why did a large-brained, intelligent hominid that shared so many traits with us disappear?” To resolve that question, Underdown, a lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at Oxford Brookes University, studied a well-documented tribal group, the Fore of Papua New Guinea, who practiced ritualistic cannibalism. ”

(via Discovery News)

(Related: “Cannibalism and Human Sacrifice” via Global Politician)

Good people do bad things

Abu Ghraib

This is all over the Internet this morning. New photos from Abu Ghraib. I haven’t the words.

Video presentation by and Wired interview with Philip Zimbardo.

Photos.

Garfield without Garfield

garfield without garfield

Garfield without Garfield.

I always thought Garfield sucked, until I saw Garfield without Garfield’s dialog. And now someone’s gone one step further, and gotten rid of Garfield entirely.

(Thanks Brenden!)

Homelessness signs of Mark Daye

homelessness signs

See more.

(Via Grinding).

Flouoride May Damage Brain

“It is not clear that the benefits of adding fluoride to drinking water outweigh risks of neurodevelopment or other effects such as dental fluorosis, according to an Institute for Children’s Environmental Health report. Fluoride chemicals are added to two-thirds of U.S. public water supplies ostensibly to reduce tooth decay. Fluoride is found in dental products, supplements and virtually all foods and beverages.

“Excessive fluoride ingestion is known to lower thyroid hormone levels, which is particularly critical for women with subclinical hypothyroidism; decreased maternal thyroid levels adversely affect fetal neurodevelopment,” reports a prestigious committee of scientists and health professionals in a Scientific Consensus Statement on Environmental Agents Associated with Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Studies they reviewed and others link fluoride to brain abnormalities and/or IQ deficits.”

(via WYTV)

RFID Ecosystem Project

“A pilot project in social networking, which involves wirelessly monitoring people in a closed environment, will commence in March, 2008 at the University of Washington’s computer science building. The RFID Ecosystem project will provide long-term, in-depth research of user-centered RFID systems in relation to fields such as society and technology. Volunteers will wear electronic tags on their clothing and belongings, enabling RFID readers to monitor their whereabouts. One of the main questions this research faces is whether or not the utility aspect of this monitoring system outweighs the participants’ potential loss of privacy, and how can this loss of privacy be minimized?”

(via The Future of Things)

Barack OBollywood

TSA Gangstaz

Obama assassination, and the Clinton “body count”

I think the threats of an Obama assassination are being drastically overblown by people who have watched too much 24 (though this is suspicious).

Those particularly concerned that the Clintons are gonna have Obama offed seem to be reading from the “Clinton Bodycount” chain e-mails that have been making rounds for over a decade. Snopes has a history of the e-mails and a thorough debunking of their contents.

See also: Christopher Hayes’s article on right wing chain e-mails.

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