Science Friday: Why Smart People Make Stupid Decisions | The World’s Best Heart Health Found in Indigenous Amazon Group

Christine Comaford
3/11/2017 @ 9:00AM

We’ve all been there.

We make what we think is a rational decision. And then seconds, minutes or days later we wonder “What was I thinking?!” Was it a temporary lapse of sanity? Were we just distracted and decided anyway?

We knew it wasn’t the right decision or the best decision, but in that moment, we made a decision anyway. And it ended up being a stupid one. Why?

The Science Behind “Stupid”

Does this mean that we are indeed stupid? Nope. It simply means that not every decision we make is actually rational. We see what we want to see filtered through our inherent biases, and then we make decisions based on those biases. These biases are called cognitive biases and we all have them.

cognitive bias refers to the systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment. These biases cause conclusions, inferences, assumptions about people and situations to be drawn in a less than logical fashion. We all create our own “subjective social reality” from our perception of the input we receive —both from outside of us and inside of us.


The World’s Best Heart Health Found in Indigenous Amazon Group

Science Friday: Neuroscientists discover new ‘mini-neural computer’ in the brain | Dental plaque DNA shows Neandertals used ‘aspirin’

Dendrites, the branch-like projections of neurons, were once thought to be passive wiring in the brain. But now researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have shown that these dendrites do more than relay information from one neuron to the next. They actively process information, multiplying the brain’s computing power.

“Suddenly, it’s as if the processing power of the brain is much greater than we had originally thought,” said Spencer Smith, PhD, an assistant professor in the UNC School of Medicine.

His team’s findings, published October 27 in the journal Nature, could change the way scientists think about long-standing scientific models of how neural circuitry functions in the brain, while also helping researchers better understand neurological disorders


Dental plaque DNA shows Neandertals used ‘aspirin’

March 8, 2017

Ancient DNA found in the dental plaque of Neandertals – our nearest extinct relative – has provided remarkable new insights into their behaviour, diet and evolutionary history, including their use of plant-based medicine to treat pain and illness


The international team analysed and compared dental plaque samples from four Neandertals found at the cave sites of Spy in Belgium and El Sidrón in Spain. These four samples range from 42,000 to around 50,000 years old and are the oldest ever to be genetically analysed.

“We found that the Neandertals from Spy Cave consumed woolly rhinoceros and European wild sheep, supplemented with wild mushrooms,” says Professor Alan Cooper, Director of ACAD. “Those from El Sidrón Cave on the other hand showed no evidence for meat consumption, but appeared instead to have a largely vegetarian diet, comprising pine nuts, moss, mushrooms and tree bark – showing quite different lifestyles between the two groups.”

“One of the most surprising finds, however, was in a Neandertal from El Sidrón, who suffered from a dental abscess visible on the jawbone. The plaque showed that he also had an intestinal parasite that causes acute diarrhoea, so clearly he was quite sick. He was eating poplar, which contains the pain killer salicylic acid (the active ingredient of aspirin), and we could also detect a natural antibiotic mould (Penicillium) not seen in the other specimens.”

“Apparently, Neandertals possessed a good knowledge of medicinal plants and their various anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, and seem to be self-medicating. The use of antibiotics would be very surprising, as this is more than 40,000 years before we developed penicillin. Certainly our findings contrast markedly with the rather simplistic view of our ancient relatives in popular imagination.”


Science Friday: 3-D printing with cellulose: World’s most abundant polymer could rival petroleum-based plastic | Replacement Chemical In BPA-Free Bottles Also Disrupts Estrogen In The Body

3-D printing with cellulose: World’s most abundant polymer could rival petroleum-based plastics

March 3, 2017 by David L. Chandler in Chemistry / Materials Science

For centuries, cellulose has formed the basis of the world’s most abundantly printed-on material: paper. Now, thanks to new research at MIT, it may also become an abundant material to print with—potentially providing a renewable, biodegradable alternative to the polymers currently used in 3-D printing materials.

“Cellulose is the most abundant organic polymer in the world,” says MIT postdoc Sebastian Pattinson, lead author of a paper describing the new system in the journal Advanced Materials Technologies. The paper is co-authored by associate professor of mechanical engineering A. John Hart, the Mitsui Career Development Professor in Contemporary Technology.

Cellulose, Pattinson explains, is “the most important component in giving wood its mechanical properties. And because it’s so inexpensive, it’s biorenewable, biodegradable, and also very chemically versatile, it’s used in a lot of products. Cellulose and its derivatives are used in pharmaceuticals, medical devices, as food additives, building materials, clothing—all sorts of different areas. And a lot of these kinds of products would benefit from the kind of customization that additive manufacturing [3-D printing] enables.”

Meanwhile, 3-D printing technology is rapidly growing. Among other benefits, it “allows you to individually customize each product you make,” Pattinson says.



Replacement Chemical In BPA-Free Bottles Also Disrupts Estrogen In The Body


A compound called BPA is being phased out of all plastic packaging due to fears it may disrupt our hormones–but its replacement may be just as harmful.

BPA, or bisphenol A, is often found in disposable water bottles and babies’ milk bottles and cups. Small amounts can dissolve into the food and drink inside these containers. It is a dangerous chemical linked to health concerns from digestive problems to issues with brain development. It was previously found present in around two billion products in the U.S. that were used on a daily basis.

By 2009 it had the highest production volume and use in consumer goods, with 2.2 million tons consumed globally.

Because it’s the most harmful on developing brains and bodies, children and pregnant women, it started to be phased out from the manufacturing process of plastics.

This is a concern because a host of studies have shown that BPA can mimic the actions of oestrogen, binding to the same receptor in the body. Oestrogen is normally involved in breast development, regulating periods and maintaining pregnancies. Animals exposed to BPA develop abnormal reproductive systems, but it is unclear if people are exposed to high enough doses to be affected.

Due to public pressure — and bans in a few countries — many manufacturers have started replacing BPA. However, recent investigations have shown that Bisphenol A isn’t the only endocrine disrupting chemical consumers should be worried about. According to an article published in the US News and World Report, chemical substitute BPS, an endocrine disrupting hormone with traits very similar to BPA, is present in BPA-Free products and is inside paper money, cash register receipts and most plastic consumer products much like its predecessor.


#NODAPL The Toxic BTEX Chemicals Flowing Through the Pipeline

I’d written this approximately six and a half years ago on another blog, but it’s entirely relevant here. The toxic stew of chemicals is just as dangerous in the Missouri River / Lake Oahe as the Deepwater Horizon was to the Gulf of Mexico, perhaps more so, since there are 20,000,000 people living downstream, and the water is more concentrated than the Gulf. And the arguments in favor of DAPL echo the Deepwater Horizon – the industry “experts” said they were using state of the art technology and materials. If you’d have listened to their propaganda spewing media whores similar to Chris Berg, you’d have thought everything was perfectly safe. Keep that in mind as you read on …

I don’t know why, but the turtles get to me

A 22 mile long 6 mile wide plume has a bullseye pointed straight at the west coast of Florida and the Keys, along with the sealife there

The cloud was nearing a large underwater canyon whose currents fuel the foodchain in Gulf waters off Florida and could potentially wash the tiny plants and animals that feed larger organisms in a stew of toxic chemicals, another researcher said Friday.

Oh, wait. There’s more

The researchers say they are worried these undersea plumes may be the result of the unprecedented use of chemical dispersants to break up the oil a mile undersea at the site of the leak.

Hollander said the oil they detected has dissolved into the water, and is no longer visible, leading to fears from researchers that the toxicity from the oil and dispersants could pose a big danger to fish larvae and creatures that filter the waters for food.


“There are two elements to it,” Hollander said. “The plume reaching waters on the continental shelf could have a toxic effect on fish larvae, and we also may see a long term response as it cascades up the food web.”

So, what makes crude oil so toxic?

Deborah Blum at scienceblogs tells us about the toxic stew, otherwise known as BTEX

But – and this is not news – oil is also just plain poisonous without any help from dispersants at all. This is why you don’t find people generally lapping up gasoline down at the corner station or setting up petroleum bars where people can grab a quick shot of Sweet Louisiana Crude. So what’s the chemical recipe that makes them so hazardous?


Petroleum experts actually have an acronym for four famously troublesome compounds in crude oil: BTEX. This stands for benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes.

Benzene is probably the best known of these compounds, because it’s been flagged as a human carcinogen for a couple decades. I’ve always rather admired the elegant structure of a benzene molecule, which is a beautifully arranged ring of six carbon atoms and six hydrogen atoms:

But while the benzene ring has an elegant structure, the compound itself is considered so dangerous that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set the maximum permissible level in drinking water at .005 mg/l. The problem with benzene is that it directly damages bone marrow, making it suspect in environmentally induced leukemias. …

She then mentions toluene which is a volatile aromatic hydrocarbon. Toluene is toxic to the nervous system and doesn’t mix well with water which means that it’s hard to wash out once it enters the cells … remember this bit from above?

the toxicity from the oil and dispersants could pose a big danger to fish larvae and creatures that filter the waters for food

She also says ethylbenzene and xylene are also volatile aromatic hydrocarbons. Volatile aromatic hydrocarbons evaporate, and get in the air that – ding, ding, ding – people breathe

In the latest incident, seven workers were hospitalized Wednesday after complaining of nausea, dizziness and headaches, prompting the Coast Guard to order all 125 boats working in the Breton Sound area to return to port as a precaution. Five of the workers were released Thursday, but two remained hospitalized and an investigation was underway to try to determine the cause.

“God knows what kinds of exposures people are getting,” said Edward Overton, a professor of environmental chemistry at Louisiana State University. “There are lots of things in oil that you wouldn’t want to be exposed to.”


Science Friday: Fasting diet ‘regenerates diabetic pancreas’ | Fast food packaging contains chemicals harmful to human health, environment

Fasting diet ‘regenerates diabetic pancreas’

  • 24 February 2017

The pancreas can be triggered to regenerate itself through a type of fasting diet, say US researchers.

Restoring the function of the organ – which helps control blood sugar levels – reversed symptoms of diabetes in animal experiments.

The study, published in the journal Cell, says the diet reboots the body.

Experts said the findings were “potentially very exciting” as they could become a new treatment for the disease.

People are advised not to try this without medical advice.


Fast food packaging contains chemicals harmful to human health, environment

Posted by Kim Krisberg on February 24, 2017

Earlier this month, news broke of a study that found potentially health-harming chemicals in a variety of fast food packaging. Upon hearing such news, the natural inclination is to worry that you’re ingesting those chemicals along with your burger and fries. Study researcher Graham Peaslee says that’s certainly a risk. But perhaps the greater risk, he says, happens after that hamburger wrapper ends up in landfill and the chemicals seep into our environment and water.

The chemicals in question are per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), which are used to make consumer products nonstick, waterproof and stain-resistant. Think carpets, upholstery and weather-resistant clothing. Previous research has found associations between exposures to PFASs and kidney and testicular cancer, low birth weight, thyroid disease, decreased sperm quality, pregnancy-induced hypertension and immunotoxicity in children. The chemicals have become somewhat ubiquitous too, detected worldwide in water, soil, sediment, wildlife and human blood samples. The study that Peaslee co-authored tested hundreds of fast food packaging samples for fluorine, a marker of PFASs, finding the element in about half of paper wrappers and one-fifth of paperboard samples.


Jordan Chariton Destroys Blatantly Pro DAPL North Dakota “Reporter.” Then, my response to him as well #NODAPL

Chris Berg is a smarmy condescending arrogant former stuck-up jock QB, and one of the former Executive Directors of the State Republican party.

Chris Berg IS North Dakota.

He’s a perfect personification of all those same traits in a significantly large amount of North Dakotans. They will unequivocally tell you that if they were a country they would be the third most powerful country in the world; they will tell you, and believe it from the bottom of their heart, that they live in “God’s Country,” and by extension, are God’s Chosen people. Don’t believe me, spend some time in a bar on a weekend, and listen to the conversations.

I can say these things because I used to be one of them, I’ve lived there. I drank the kool-aid, and believed there was something different and superior, about the people who lived inside of those artificial made-up lines on a map written by DC politicians 140 or so years ago.

But I’ve matured, unlike Chris Berg.

I think we’re all one people, and one humanity. We have a responsibility not only to ourselves and our family, but to our neighbors, whether they’re next door, down the road, downstream of our waterways, or around the world, and to the environment. To paraphrase an old proverb, we don’t inherit the land from our parents, we borrow it from our children.

North Dakotans used to be very proud of leading the nation in being the cleanest, most pollution free state. Rick Berg probably wouldn’t remember this, because he seems like the guy who made his girlfriend do his homework, but former Gov Art Link enacted strict legislation on the energy companies to return the land to it’s former state before any development could take place.

Just about all the people there, used to be friendly and helpful to strangers Now many, if not most, of North Dakotans have changed. They’ve become greedy and spiteful, and have cheered on the police brutality, all in the name of dollar signs.

I have family members who’ve been politicians, and prominent citizens there, and I have to say, from my perspective, the actions of law enforcement and the political establishment have been deplorable and repulsive. Alexander McKenzie would be envious of their tactics (99% of the people reading this have no clue what that means, but the 1% who do, know exactly what I mean)

All of Chris Berg’s arguments/questions are specious and and duplicitous.

I could go on and on about the leaks from the wells, and about explosions from the wells, and pipelines. I could go on about the pipeline rupturing next to the Yellowstone River in Montana, or about the leaks and spills into the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers near Williston. Or the recent rupture of the Belle Fourche (Bell Foosh) pipeline into Ash Coulee Creek, which btw is a tributary of the Little Missouri, which flows through Theodore Roosevelt National Memorial Park (ironic, because TR was a true conservationist.)

I could go on and on, but riddle me this, Chris Berg, how do you explain away the 6,600 spills from fracking in just four states, as being safe for the environment, to say nothing about the danger to human health?