If you have a bachelor’s degree, guess what?

Making Space For People Who Are Out Of the Spotlight
by Michel Martin
July 30, 2014

If you have a bachelor’s degree or higher, if your annual household income is $60,000 or more, or if you have a passport, guess what? You are a minority, because most people don’t have those things.


Tuna, Tiger Of The Ocean

A 12-day-old larvae that has developed teeth.

Farming The Bluefin Tuna, Tiger Of The Ocean, Is Not Without A Price
July 30, 2014

A tuna’s natural diet consists of other fish. Lots of other fish. Right now, there are tuna “ranches” that capture young tuna in the ocean and then fatten them up in big net-pens. According to Greenberg, those ranches feed their tuna about 15 pounds of fish such as sardines or mackerel for each additional pound of tuna that can be sold to consumers. That kind of tuna production is environmentally costly.

But Greenberg says the basic fact that they eat so much makes him wonder whether tuna farming is really the right way to go. It increases the population of a predator species that demands lots of food itself.

“Why would you domesticate a tiger when you could domesticate a cow,” he asks — or, even better, a chicken, which converts just 2 pounds of vegetarian feed into a pound of meat.

If farmed tuna really can reduce the demand for tuna caught in the wild, it would be worth doing. But it might do more good, he says, to eat a little lower on the marine food chain. We could eat more mussels or sardines.

To sleep: perchance to learn

The dreaming brain can produce complex language output.

To sleep: perchance to learn
Robert Stickgold
Nature Neuroscience  (September 2012) 15, 1322–1323

Not only can the sleeping brain perceive sensory information, it can learn from this information, leading to changed behaviors the next day: it can come to associate a sound with a pleasant or unpleasant odor and react, both while still asleep and after waking, with a deeper or shallower breath. But classic ‘sleep learning’ remains just a dream.

Sounds during sleep may help you remember

Rasmussen syndrome

In rare cases, a lesion, usually identified by MRI and confirmed by biopsy, and in some cases by special autoantibodies, takes the form of a chronic focal encephalitis.
In 1958, Rasmussen described three children in whom the clinical problem consisted of intractable focal epilepsy in association with a progressive hemiparesis.
The cerebral cortex disclosed a mild meningeal infiltration of inflammatory cells and an encephalitic process marked by neuronal destruction, gliosis, neuronophagia, some degree of tissue necrosis, and perivascular cuffing. Many additional cases were soon uncovered and Rasmussen was able to summarize the natural history of 48 personally observed patients (see the often cited monograph by Andermann).

Adams & Victor’s Principles of Neurology, 10e
Chapter 16. Epilepsy and Other Seizure Disorders
© 2014 by McGraw-Hill Education.

The “summer slide”

In Asheville, N.C., Summer Vacation Lasts Just A Few Weeks
July 21, 2014

It’s July, and students are returning after just five weeks of break. This public school is beginning a three-year experiment, running on a year-round schedule for the first time. The students will get the same number of school days as others in the district, just distributed differently: five weeks in the summer, three-week breaks in September and March, plus a winter holiday vacation.

A primary motivation for the change is to make sure kids don’t fall behind academically over the long summer break — a phenomenon known as the “summer slide.”

JOHNSEN: Cyrus, the assistant superintendent says, even if test scores don’t improve he still likes the idea of a year-round calendar. After all, the one we’ve got now is based on an agrarian lifestyle that most of us don’t live by.

Cognitive reserve & late-life dementia

Changing perspectives regarding late-life dementia
Majid Fotuhi, Vladimir Hachinski & Peter J. Whitehouse
Nature Reviews Neurology 5, 649-658 (December 2009)

Individuals over 80 years of age represent the most rapidly growing segment of the population, and late-life dementia has become a major public health concern worldwide.
Development of effective preventive and treatment strategies for late-life dementia relies on a deep understanding of all the processes involved. In the centuries since the Greek philosopher Pythagoras described the inevitable loss of higher cognitive functions with advanced age, various theories regarding the potential culprits have dominated the field, ranging from demonic possession, through ‘hardening of blood vessels’, to Alzheimer disease (AD).
Recent studies suggest that atrophy in the cortex and hippocampus—now considered to be the best determinant of cognitive decline with aging—results from a combination of AD pathology, inflammation, Lewy bodies, and vascular lesions.
A specific constellation of genetic and environmental factors (including apolipoprotein E genotype, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, head trauma, systemic illnesses, and obstructive sleep apnea) contributes to late-life brain atrophy and dementia in each individual.
Only a small percentage of people beyond the age of 80 years have ‘pure AD’ or ‘pure vascular dementia’.
These concepts, formulated as the dynamic polygon hypothesis, have major implications for clinical trials, as any given drug might not be ideal for all elderly people with dementia.


achievement/personal growth
family/dating relationship
integrity/doing what’s right
free time


I may hallucinate

On Being Sane in Insane Places
Rosenhan, D. L. Science 179, 250−258 (1973).

… the patients often recognized normality

… may be due to the fact that physicians operate with a strong bias toward what statisticians call the Type 2 error. This is to say that physicians are more inclined to call a healthy person sick (a false positive, Type 2) than a sick person healthy (a false negative, Type 1). The reasons for this are not hard to find: it is clearly more dangerous to misdiagnose illnesss than health.

…The tag profoundly colors others’ perceptions of him and his behavior.

There is an enormous overlap in the behaviors of the sane and the insane. The sane are not “sane” all of the time. We lose our tempers “for no good reason.” We are occasionally depressed or anxious, again for no good reason. And we may find it difficult to get along with one or another person–again for no reason that we can specify.

I may hallucinate because I am sleeping … These are termed sleep-induced hallucinations, or dreams

There is by now a host of evidence that attitudes toward the mentally ill are characterized by fear, hostility, suspicion and dread.

At times, depersonalization reached such proportions that pseudopatients had the sense that they were invisible, or at least unworthy of account.

A diagnosis of cancer that has been found to be in error is cause for celebration.
But psychiatric diagnoses are rarely found to be in error.

Wikipedia entry:
Rosenhan experiment

Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening (Salvador Dali).