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HuckleB

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 35,773

Journal Archives

My Inability To Make Eye Contact Does Not Need To Be ‘Fixed’

http://www.theestablishment.co/2016/04/14/my-inability-to-make-eye-contact-does-not-need-to-be-fixed/

"Concentration, empathy, and attention have long been linked to a pair of eyes meeting directly. It’s often intimated that if someone isn’t looking you in the eye when they speak to you, they should be treated with suspicion, or at the very least the content of what they said should be treated as such. “Look me in the eye and tell me that” is a term used almost interchangeably with “tell me the truth.”

But what if it’s difficult for a person to maintain eye contact? Should that person be judged as insincere, untrustworthy, or socially flawed?

For those with autism who struggle to hold someone’s gaze, these assumptions are often made. And, as someone who’s suffered as a result of these assumptions, I want people to understand why they’re so damaging.

...

Eye contact actually hurts me. If I meet the eyes of another and hold their gaze for more than a microsecond, I experience sharp discomfort throughout my entire body. When making eye contact, I also feel that my very soul has been laid bare—that my every inner thought is on display, and that my mind can be read and my secrets made public. The best I way can explain it is that it’s like being opened up totally from the inside out for all to see.

..."


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This is a must read.

Homeopathic GMOs limit pesticide use to infinitesimal levels.

Wait. What? Yeah, that's the point.

Of course, GMOs do limit pesticide use.

Homeopathy, on the other hand, only spreads disease.

Thus, the purveyors of homeopathy who also bash GMOs have a lot of explaining to do.

How Distorted And Fake News In The Age of Click-Bait Makes Life Hard On Citizens

http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/the-age-of-click-bait/

"...

At the extreme end are sites that make no attempt to report actual news. They make up and report fake news, news items optimized for clicks unhindered by reality. I was recently asked by an SGU listener, for example, about this story about a Spanish man who died of an allergic reaction to a GMO tomato that had a fish gene in it. He was sincerely concerned about the implications of this story for the safety of GMOs.

He had no idea the story was entirely fake. In fact, there are no GMO tomatoes on the market. The insertion of a cold tolerance gene from a Winter Flounder into produce, like strawberries and tomatoes, was a research concept, but was never brought to fruition. The idea, however, has been used for anti-GMO propaganda, and this fake news outlet was just playing on those fears.

This raises another manifestation of the click-bait era that Rawlinson did not cover. He was mostly concerned about real and fake news outlets. There is another type of outlet, however, and that is the narrative-driven outlet. These outlets don’t sell just any click-bait, but rather they are tailoring their click-bait to a particular audience by catering to a certain narrative.

Fox News is perhaps the outlet most people think of when the idea of selling a narrative as news is brought up. The phenomenon is insidious – not only does it reinforce a particular worldview (which admittedly is nothing new) the process is an interactive one between them and their audience. They align their narrative to their target audience, but over time they also align their audience to their narrative.

..."


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Loons are dying due to Avian Malaria for First Time (Cross-post from GD)

http://perfscience.com/content/2143709-loons-are-dying-due-avian-malaria-first-time

"Climate change is blamed to bring along lots of unpleasant impacts on environment and wildlife. Recently, researchers have held climate change a possible cause of loons’ death. Loons are a relatively common sight on many New England lakes. The researchers found malaria parasite in blood samples of some Loons, one was found dead with avian malaria.

Researcher Mark Pokras with his associates have been finding the cause behind loons’ death. Thousands of blood samples taken from these birds over past 30 years indicated the birds were suffering from lead and mercury poisoning as well as other pollutants. At that time, the birds weren’t suffering from avian malaria, according to their findings.

However, the recent claim concluded after the research conducted by Pokras and Ellen Martinsen, a Vermont-based research associate with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, refuted earlier findings by Pokras that did not blamed malaria for birds’ death. A few years ago, they started finding malaria parasites in loon blood samples taken from birds. They detected 12% of samples testing positive. Some of them were expected to be infected with malaria.

Last summer, the researchers found first case of a loon dead out of avian malaria. The loon was on Umbagog Lake located in Maine and New Hampshire. The researchers are further looking for the dead loons that may give another evidence of similar death. Volunteers of Loon Preservation Committee, especially those whose offices are on the loon-populated Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, are searching on lakes across the state for more evidences.

..."

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Study backs pancreas cell transplants for severe diabetes

Source: Washington Post

Transplants of insulin-producing pancreas cells are a long hoped-for treatment for diabetes — and a new study shows they can protect the most seriously ill patients from a life-threatening complication of the disease, an important step toward U.S. approval.

These transplants are used in some countries but in the U.S. they’re available only through research studies. Armed with Monday’s findings, researchers hope to license them for use in a small number of people with Type 1 diabetes who are most at risk for drops in blood sugar so severe they can lead to seizures, even death.

“Cell-based diabetes therapy is real and works and offers tremendous potential for the right patient,” said study lead author Dr. Bernhard Hering of the University of Minnesota, whose team plans to seek a Food and Drug Administration license for the therapy.

...

Diabetics who get kidney transplants sometimes also receive pancreas transplants at the same time, essentially curing their diabetes. But it’s an uncommon and grueling operation, so scientists for years have worked on a minimally invasive alternative: Infusing patients with just islet cells, the insulin factories inside the pancreas.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/study-backs-pancreas-cell-transplants-for-severe-diabetes/2016/04/18/13d76e9c-058b-11e6-bfed-ef65dff5970d_story.html



Loons are dying due to Avian Malaria for First Time

http://perfscience.com/content/2143709-loons-are-dying-due-avian-malaria-first-time

"Climate change is blamed to bring along lots of unpleasant impacts on environment and wildlife. Recently, researchers have held climate change a possible cause of loons’ death. Loons are a relatively common sight on many New England lakes. The researchers found malaria parasite in blood samples of some Loons, one was found dead with avian malaria.

Researcher Mark Pokras with his associates have been finding the cause behind loons’ death. Thousands of blood samples taken from these birds over past 30 years indicated the birds were suffering from lead and mercury poisoning as well as other pollutants. At that time, the birds weren’t suffering from avian malaria, according to their findings.

However, the recent claim concluded after the research conducted by Pokras and Ellen Martinsen, a Vermont-based research associate with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, refuted earlier findings by Pokras that did not blamed malaria for birds’ death. A few years ago, they started finding malaria parasites in loon blood samples taken from birds. They detected 12% of samples testing positive. Some of them were expected to be infected with malaria.

Last summer, the researchers found first case of a loon dead out of avian malaria. The loon was on Umbagog Lake located in Maine and New Hampshire. The researchers are further looking for the dead loons that may give another evidence of similar death. Volunteers of Loon Preservation Committee, especially those whose offices are on the loon-populated Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, are searching on lakes across the state for more evidences.

..."

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Scientists make pancreatic cancer susceptible to failed drug

Although cancer cells adjust to TRAIL making the drug far less effective, pairing it with another agent allowed it to kill tumor cells.
http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2016/04/18/Scientists-make-pancreatic-cancer-susceptible-to-failed-drug/3671460989369/

"Researchers in Philadelphia found a method to eliminate the resistance of pancreas cancer to some failed drugs, according to a recent study.

By blocking the protein Hu antigen R, or HuR, the researchers helped a naturally-occurring substance, previously thought to be ineffective, target and kill cancer cells, according to a study published in the journal Molecular Cancer Research,

The compound, tumor necrosis factor-rlated apoptosis inducing ligand, or TRAIL, was thought to activate a "death receptor" on the surface of cancer cells -- and did so in tests with animals. But in tests with humans it did not have a long-lasting effect because as cells were exposed to it, they expressed higher levels of HuR and survived.

In the new study, researchers at Thomas Jefferson University found blocking HuR increased efficacy of the drug.

..."


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Confusing headline, but good science news.

So you're saying the Swiss don't care about the reality that homeopathy is bunk?

Thanks for letting us know that.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/1800-studies-later-scientists-conclude-homeopathy-doesnt-work-180954534/?no-ist

http://www.smw.ch/content/smw-2012-13594/

http://www.skepticalraptor.com/skepticalraptorblog.php/switzerland-endorse-homeopathy/

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2016/04/15/homeopathy-now-consigned-to-dustbin-of-ideas-officially/

Thus, it appears that your post here also contains some questionable information.

Why are you so adamant in your promotion of the long-debunked, unethical scam of homeopathy?


Selfies caused a huge increase of lip augmentation in 2015

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/selfies-caused-huge-increase-lip-augmentation-2015-article-1.2605286

"Selfies, not Kylie Jenner, were the main reason lip surgeries surged in 2015 — although she might’ve had some influence, too.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons recently released new data showing a record number of women and men plumping their lips. It is the second-fastest growing facial procedure in the U.S. since 2000.

More than 27,000 procedures were done last year, which means that on average, a pair of lips was getting plumped every 19 minutes.

"We live in the age of the selfie, and because we see images of ourselves almost constantly on soclal media, we're much more aware of how our lips look," David Song, president of the American Society of Plastic surgeons, said in a statement.

..."


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Hmm.

Know This First: Risk Perception Is Always Irrational.

http://undark.org/article/know-this-first-risk-perception-is-always-irrational/

"... (Examples of risk perception mistakes.)

For anyone outside the emotions that produced these choices, it’s hard not to feel frustration at hearing about them. It’s hard not to call them ignorant, selfish, and irrational, or to label such behavior, as some do — often with more than a hint of derision — “science denialism.” It’s hard, but it’s necessary, because treating such decision-making as merely flawed thinking that can be rectified with cold hard reason flies in the face of compelling evidence to the contrary.

In fact, the evidence is clear that we sometimes can’t help making such mistakes. Our perceptions, of risk or anything else, are products of cognitive processes that operate outside our conscious control — running facts through the filters of our feelings and producing subjective judgments that disregard the evidence. The behavioral scientists Melissa Finucane and Paul Slovic call this the Affect Heuristic; it gives rise to what I call the risk perception gap, the dangers produced when we worry more than the evidence says we need to, or less than the evidence says we should. This is literally built in to the wiring and chemistry of the brain. Our apparent irrationality is as innate as the functioning of our DNA or our cells.

...

The evidence from decades of research in a range of fields is convincing. If the definition of “rational” is “thinking based on facts or reason and not on emotions or feelings” (Merriam-Webster), then humans are decidedly not rational. The truth is closer to what Charles Darwin observed as he stood at a puff adder exhibit in the London Zoo, nose pressed against the glass, knowing he was safe but unable to keep from flinching whenever the snake struck: “My will and reason were powerless against the imagination of a danger which had never been experienced.”

Somehow, though, we continue to deny the evidence and cling to our anthropocentric faith in human intellectual power and the myth of our ability to use dispassionate, objective analysis to know “the truth.” In that belief, we sniff with superiority at those whose perceptions of risk don’t match the facts, as though we’re smarter because we can see what those science-denying dummies can’t.

..."


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A very worthy reminder.

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