Your brain is trying to kill you
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Published Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 1:13 PM EDT
Jun 18 2018


(Jess Milton/Getty)

Doughnuts are particularly difficult to resist- and now we know why. A study of how our brains respond to food has found that treats that are high in both carbs and fats trigger a super- charged amount of activity in our brain’s reward center.

Dana Small at Yale University and colleagues scanned the brain activity of hungry volunteers as they were shown images of foods that were either high in carbohydrate, such as candy, high in fat, such as cheese, or high in both, such as doughnuts. After the scans, the volunteers were asked to bid money in a competitive auction for the food they wanted to have for a snack.

Compared to food containing just carbs or fat, the team found that foods high in both of these together provoked far more activity in the brain’s striatum– a region involved in reward that releases the feel- good chemical dopamine.

The volunteers were also willing to pay more for the snacks that were high in both carbs and fat, despite all the food items having the same calorific value.

Small thinks we may have separate systems in the brain to evaluate fatty or carb-heavy foods. If both get activated at the same time, this tricks the brain to produce a larger amount of dopamine- and a bigger feeling of reward- than there should be based on the food’s energy content.

This could be because when the human brain evolved, our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate a diet consisting mainly of plants and meat, and never encountered food that is high in both carbs and fat. "The brain is used to seeing one signal at a time. Modern food is tricking the system," says Small.

The finding fits with studies on rodents which found they can regulate their calorie intake when given food containing only fat or carbohydrate, but over-eat and gain weight when given access to foods containing both.

-(Alison George in New Scientist)


Categories: Donuts; Dopamine; Food; New Scientist; Nutrition; The Brain; The Daily KGB Report


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Know your rights
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Published Thursday, June 14, 2018 @ 10:31 AM EDT
Jun 14 2018

On June 7, Tiana Smalls, whose Facebook profile describes her as owner of Fire Flower Beauty Company, was riding a Greyhound bus from Bakersfield, California to Las Vegas, Nevada. As the bus approached an agricultural checkpoint at the Nevada state line, Ms. Smalls said the driver made an unusual announcement: "We are being boarded by Border Patrol. Please be prepared to show your documentation upon request."

Ms. Smalls immediately reacted. According to a description she posted on Facebook, she stood up and loudly said, "This is a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights. You don't have to show them shit!!!" She then used Google Translate to repeat her message in Spanish, reassuring the Spanish-speaking woman sitting beside her and probably countless other fellow passengers.

Border Patrol agents boarded the bus and started to ask the passengers for their "documentation." Ms. Smalls stood up again and shouted, "You have NO RIGHT to ask me for anything! This is harassment and racial profiling! We are not within 100 miles of a border so [these agents] have no legal right or jurisdiction here!"

Ms. Smalls' simple and courageous act of resistance was enough. The Border Patrol agents, realizing that they would face an uphill battle, immediately retreated, telling the driver to continue on.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials claim sweeping authority to operate in the interior of the United States. Their basis for doing so is a federal statute that purports to allow CBP officers to undertake certain enforcement activities without a warrant "within a reasonable distance from any external boundary of the United States." A federal regulation adopted in 1953 inexplicably defines a "reasonable distance" as up to 100 air miles from any external boundary of the United States—an area that sweeps up nearly two-thirds of the U.S. population (200 million people), nine of our 10 largest cities, and several entire states (including Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Jersey). And still CBP cheats its way to more interior encroachment, for example, by claiming that the Great Lakes shared with Canada are "functional equivalents of the border" so that all of Michigan and Chicago are in its reach.

CBP often overlooks basic civics in making this power grab, however. No act of Congress can authorize a violation of the Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land.

In general, the Fourth Amendment allows law enforcement to enter business areas that are open to the public. In nonpublic areas, however, law enforcement officers must have a warrant, consent, or "exigent circumstances" for their entry to be constitutional. Because you need a ticket to board a Greyhound bus, these are nonpublic areas. In a recent letter to Greyhound's general counsel, the ACLU explained that Greyhound is not obligated to consent to the Border Patrol's warrantless and unjustified raids on its buses.

Since Trump took office, CBP activity far from our actual borders has increasedsignificantly. ACLU affiliates in Washington, California, Arizona, Michigan, New York, Vermont, and Florida have reported multiple incidents involving Border Patrol agents boarding Greyhound buses without a warrant or consent, and terrorizing passengers by demanding their papers. These reports indicate that Border Patrol agents routinely engage in racial and ethnic profiling, singling people out for the color of their skin or accents.

We live in dark times. Many people want to stand up for their own rights and the rights of others, but feel unsure about how. Ms. Smalls' experience, like that of two brave women in Montana last month, teaches us that sometimes knowing one's rights and speaking out with confidence delivers truth to abusive power.

https://medium.com/aclu/one-woman-who-knew-her-rights-forced-border-patrol-off-a-greyhound-bus-c9f5c6275588


Categories: ACLU; Border Patrol; Congress; Donald Trump; Fourth Amendment; Greyhound; U.S. Constitution; U.S. Customs and Border Protection


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What fresh hell can this be?
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Published Wednesday, June 13, 2018 @ 11:56 AM EDT
Jun 13 2018

A propaganda video, released by the White House. The freaking White House. Trump showed it to Kim Jong-un on an iPad before their meeting. It was also shown to the press pool.

The writer/director wasn't credited, but thankfully that person is no Leni Riefenstahl.

While there are several companies called "Destiny Productions", none seem to have been involved in this execrable exercise. It would appear the White House just chose it as a metaphor, and as usual, didn't bother to see if the name actually belonged to someone else.


Categories: Destiny Productions; Donald Trump; Kim Jong-un; Leni Riefenstahl; North Korea; Politics; Signs of the Apocalypse; The Daily KGB Report; Video


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Forward to the past
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Published Tuesday, June 12, 2018 @ 10:22 AM EDT
Jun 12 2018

As reported yesterday, my main system is more stable than it was before, leading me to believe that something with my hybrid drive (part mechanical disk drive, part solid state drive) was causing all the problems. I replaced it with a mechanical one terabyte drive and things have been running well for two days.

As for the alleged loss of performance caused by abandoning the large cache the SSD portion of the drive provided, I really haven't noticed it. Windows 10 has a service called Superfetch that speeds up application launching and improves system responsiveness by preloading frequently used applications into RAM so that they don’t have to be called from the hard drive. Some people have reported problems with Superfetch- slow response time and occasional hanging. I suspect this may be due to resource limitations. I have 16 gigabytes of memory on my machine, and an Intel Core7 processor running at 2.5 GHz. Task manager says that I'm using 7.8 gigs of memory, so after two days, even will all the caching, I still have more than half of the physical memory in the machine still available. Superfetch does slow down boot a bit, but after a few minutes, things return to normal. Since switching back to ancient technology, I've not seen a decrease in performance or program initialization.

I've found the most important thing you need when running Windows is patience. My machine has 78 background processes running on it right now (thanks, Adobe), and all these have to fire up and settle down during the boot process. I've learned that when I need to reboot my machine, it's best to do it before a meal or when I need to take a trip to the store. I reboot, login, then go away. Windows is, in many ways, like a watched pot. The latter never boils, and the former never fully loads while you're sitting there watching it.

You may ask, why did I not replace the drive with a solid state drive (SSD)? There are all sorts of pros and cons about switching from mechanical hard drives, but the bottom line for me is... the bottom line. A 1 Terabyte hard drive costs under $50. A 1 terabyte SSD is about $250. My backup regimen is to clone the drive to a duplicate external drive via a USB adapter. If the internal drive dies, I just swap it out. Time, under an hour, cost, about $50.

But time is the major consideration for me. I've spent over 100 hours the past three months screwing around with this machine, and time is something I don't want to waste. I have better things to do than watch Windows reload from a system image.

So, there's my Luddite solution to my problem. And from now on, no cutting-edge technology. I want to see it in the field for two years first. There's an old saying: you can tell the pioneers by the arrows in their backs. At my age, I don't need any more sources of back pain.


Categories: Technology; The Big Book of American Political Quotations; Windows


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Almost there...
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Published Monday, June 11, 2018 @ 6:27 PM EDT
Jun 11 2018

New disk drive installed, Windows installed, still squashing a bug or two. See you tomorrow.


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