10,000 steps a day: your key to health

A recent study has found that people who take 10,000 steps per day have waists between 4 and 6 inches smaller than people who take only 3,500 steps per day.

It just so happens that 3,500 steps is the average for adults in the U.S.

10,000 steps equates to 5 miles.

If everyone took 10,000 steps not only would they be svelter-they also would enjoy a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, better cognitive ability (several studies show fitness supports mental sharpness) and at the same time would help the environment by relying more on human than fossil fuel power.



SIRT3,4 genes linked to Cell Survival and Longevity

Scientists have suspected that caloric restriction slows metabolism and as a result, the aging process. One of the mechanisms behind this revelation appears to be that stress causes compensatory increased energy output in the mitochondria of cells which protects them from breakdown so that degradation or "aging" which is associated with heightened levels of cell death coupled with a drop in the rate of replenishment is retarded or slowed down. Harvard and Cornell researchers have isolated this phenomenon to action of 2 genes: SIRT 3 and 4, which suggests that the process might be manageable in the future.

Experiments with animals have resulted in a 25-30% increase in lifespan. However, it is unknown if this will be as effective with humans. At today's average life expectancy of 77.9 in the U.S. (not in the world's Top 10), a corresponding increase would translate into an average of 97 years (minimum) to 101.2 years (maximum).

Your chance of getting Alzheimer's at this point approaches 67% - so that lifespan increases must be coupled with cognitive training and other enhancement programs. Something to remember is that exercise can also accelerate mitochondrial activity associated with delayed aging.

Labels: , ,

Great game for your mind

Can you get to level 30?

It's worth a try.


Labels: ,


How Eye Motion Impacts Cognitive Processes

Scientists assert that guiding eye movements impacts how people think.

What if our thoughts were actually controlled by our eyes?

By occasionally guiding the eye movements of participants with a tracking task unrelated to a primary investigative problem in a recent study, researchers boosted their chances of problem-solving success. Stimulated groups outperformed the control group at solving the defined problem, demonstrating that "it is now clear that eye movements reflect what we are thinking, and they can also influence how we think," said researcher Laura Thomas.

In addition to providing insights into problem-solving, the results have implications for how psychologists think about cognition.

"Earlier researchers found a link between eye movements and problem solving, but they could not directly show that the former can precede or affect the latter," Thomas added.

"They couldn't go further than saying cognition affects eye movement pattern. They're very close to it but they cannot argue more than that. We went a step further and said eye movements are actually influencing cognition and this is the way to prove it."

Just thinking about a task apparently activates structures in the brain normally associated with completing a task. So it could be that there is a matrix after all.

Labels: , , , ,

MRI's key


Mike Weiner helps Vets, fights Alzheimer's in San Francisco

UCSF's Dr. Mike Weiner, who helps veterans with Alzheimer's and also Traumatic Brain Injury(TBI) was featured in the SF Chronicle today. You can register for a study at http://brain.com - just follow the UCSF link.

Dr. Weiner swims in the Bay every day and his real age, so to speak, is much younger than his calendar age.

Of Dr. Weiner, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says:

"There's a saying in the military that on the battlefield no soldier will be left behind," she told The Chronicle. "We have made a promise that when our troops come home, no veteran will be left behind. The innovative and groundbreaking research by Dr. Weiner and his team at UCSF helps keep that promise, especially as more of our soldiers return home from Iraq with lifelong injuries and disabilities."

This kind of selfless work deserves the highest applause.

Labels: , ,


Joseph Conrad: Friday Thought

"One must explore deep and believe the incredible to find the new particles of truth floating in an ocean of insignificance."
- Joseph Conrad

Labels: , ,


Top Gun Economist to Advise Teen Portal

The proprietors of Gaia Online, a teen virtual world portal,looked down from their digital perch and noticed that supply-"S" was shifting to S'or S-prime. Time to take action, so they just named economist Michael Boskin of the Hoover Institution to their advisory board, according to news.com. He will chair the board of economic advisors. Google also recently added a UC-Berkeley transaction-cost economics professor, who specializes in the dynamics of virtual markets, as Chief Economist. We talked to him a few times in our first start-up,which had bid/ask auction components for the supply chain.

Why is this happening? Because the share of purely digital transactions is growing -imaginary or conceptual goods that are acquired with digital currency that is pegged, however, to real currencies like the dollar and euro in a determined exchange rate. Will the traditional currencies go the way of the gold standard? Instead of 'free silver' will it be free digital tokens, or unlimited scrip?

Labels: , ,


Brain Buzz- Led Zeppelin To Tour

This semi-annual rumor seems to be true. Hope they can pull it off as well as the slightly more mature Paul (McCartney). The date: November 27, 2007-London (not Vegas). The "most demanded ticket in history" crashed the servers. Over the Hills and Far Away...

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Cognitive Labs on pace for 500,000 visitor month

Surging growth of our brain gyms is pushing Cognitive Labs over 500,000 unique visitors per month; soon to be 1,000,000 hopefully.

If you are interested in featuring games on our site let us know.

On a personal front we have been working with search and retrieval algorithms which may affect how we relate with one another and with everything else, past and present, that is digitized - this we are calling the 'hyperspace' algorithm. Two items that are separated by a gulf are suddenly together, exemplified in a simple equation, solving a key problem, if you will.

Labels: , , ,


RS Ophiuchus, problem star

Here is an interesting link I picked up.

There is a troublesome star in Ophiuchus, the snake-charmer or serpent-handler. In Latin it was known as serpentarius. If this looks familiar, it is not deja vue there was another covered a few months ago, but the theme is picking up steam in the media.

Labels: , , ,


Fastest Brain, Fastest Player

According to ESPN.com, De Sean Jackson (A wide receiver at California) is 4th in the running for the Heisman Trophy. We have a high percentage of Old Blues related to our company (and Stanford, too).

I only bring this up because in '05 I had a meeting with Jeff Tedford's 'people' because there was a story in the SF Chronicle about his using speed checkers to train quarterbacks; this was a friendly meeting but nothing of concreteness happened. Now, since you have possibly the fastest player in college football who runs a 4.29 40-yard dash, it would seem a good match to have a 'fastest brain' game as well - at the end of the game, you will be presented the option of telling the editors at ESPN.com and some of the other media outlets who they should vote for. We'll release it soon and then let's see what happens. Fastest player/Fastest brain dichotomoy.

For now, check out the video as Jackson actually goes backward in what Brent Musburger's sidekick calls "EA Sports video-game stuff" in a game vs. Tennessee 2 weeks ago. (Thanks to our subscribers in Tennesee, too)

Labels: , , , , , , ,


GamerIQ Classic

A classic article from the achive: the Gamer-IQ dictionary, which outlines cognitive training, interventional actions, and substances that improve cognitive ability.

Since this was published (end of 2005) the caffeine-cognitive link has been more thoroughly established. This essay also predates Nintendo BrainAge in the U.S., though a colleague in Japan pointed out the popularity of his books to us "learning therapy" in Japan as early as 2003.

Labels: , , , ,


$30 Million Prize Offered by Google for Lunar Return

Whomever can design a robotic probe capable of reaching the lunar surface, trekking some 1,400 feet and sending back photos and video by 2010 - will win up to $30 million dollars from Google in the next iteration of the X prize.

The caveat is obtaining lift, attaining escape velocity, and then utilizing the appropriate telemetry to successfully land the object - possibly a bouncing ball lander would be appropriate, as the moon has no atmosphere, however, gravity is 1/6th what it is on the earth. Some of those old Commodore 64 programs that re-created the Apollo telemetry might come in handy.

Labels: , , , , ,

Read Blog Posts on Google Groups

Now you can subscribe to Cognitive Labs' blog posts by typing in your email address in the Google groups sign up box. You should receive an email whenever we publish, or in summary form (your option), or you can read posts right on Google. You also can submit comments and replies which can be read by the group. Consider this an experiment. Our goal is to create faster interaction with test takers - which is a large group and eventually more cohesion amongst 2.2 million signed-up people. Each group also has several feed options...so you can subscribe with Google viewer, as well.

Google Groups

Subscribe to Cognitive Labs


Labels: , , ,


Life Expectancy in U.S. Accelerates

The official statistics have been calculated, by the National Center of Health Statistics and the good news is that life expectancy has reached another all time high: 77.9 years for the average person in 2005 the U.S, an incease of .1 year over 2004.

This Gompertz function has been used for the last 180 years or so to plot lifespan and risk (it's also used by insurance carriers and actuaries).

Interestingly, while death rate from stroke and heart disease declined, deaths from cancer increased by just less than 0.8%

There was a significant 5.0% increase in deaths from Alzheimer's Disease year-to-year; however Alzheimer's Disease is sometimes not listed as a cause of mortality in favor of a condition that it promotes such as pneumonia, understating its impact.

The problem with Alzheimer's is that it will eventually become the world's leading cause of mortality, as gains in treating other illnesses continue to advance.

Labels: , ,


30 Years Ago: Man Reached for the Stars


30 Years ago George Lucas released Star Wars with the expectation that it might be more successful than his first science-fiction film, THX-1138. Certainly, critics at the studio didn't expect much, threatening the project's funding due to its apparent lack of progress, sheer weirdness, and reliance on undeveloped special effects that had to be improvised as the crew went along. But oftentimes genius emerges from the frenetic but focused efforts of desperation.

The story also borrowed liberally from heroic archetypes in many cultures, out of style in the post-modern, realist 1970's, but a long absent piece of a rich puzzle of cultural memories in both oral tradition and literature that extended back for thousands of years. The hunger for heroic meaning, which had faded at the end of the 1950's, or even in the aftermath of WW2 with its descent into darkness, automated brutality, and the unleashing of the energy of a new star in a four-ton, portable package, was sated by likeable characters who represented nothing less than a reflection of the audience itself - forming a strong neurotransmitter-approved connection with humanity.

Also in 1977, and thirty years ago this week, the Voyager spacecraft was launched by NASA. At the time, Voyager was a much bigger story than a mere movie, for Voyager included a First in human history: a recorded archive of what it meant to be human in 1977, designed by scientific experts (including Carl Sagan) and politicians to be a testament - a communication, if you will, for other civilizations that might come across Voyager in the decades ahead. Currently, Voyager is 9.6 Billion miles from earth headed in the direction of the constellation Camelopardalis.

Thirty years later, the testament of humanity which was intended to communicate clearly and forcefully with the great unknown and any inhabitants of a galactic terra incognita is a relic to people who were children at the time and unrecognizable to anyone younger, even though the science mission - and examination of interstellar plasma - continues.

Some observations:

(1) The format is a golden disk in the shape of a record (LP)
There is no readily available technology on earth that can play this testament.
How could we expect anyone else to play it if we can't on our own planet.

(2) A message is included, composed by Jimmy Carter
"We human beings are still divided into nation-states, but these states are
rapidly becoming a single global civilization..."

Mr. Carter was only briefly in power as spokesman for Earth. The communication,
while well-intentioned - was more hopeful than accurate. Within two years,
Carter's presidency was tarnished in the fiasco of Desert One and the hostage
crisis. Wars and upheavals continue...

(3) There is no mention of the Internet; it existed at the time. The Internet, if
you will, is not even restricted to earth's surface - already Java and software
from Wind River systems (and others) power rovers on Mars and interplanetary

(4) There is no reference to the human genome or DNA, instruction sets for life

In the popular memory, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader and Obi Wan have far outdistanced Voyager and Humanity's testament. Imagine if it was as difficult to playback Star Wars today as the unique 'golden disk.' How many times has the visual and auditory stimuli of Star Wars and its successors lit up the frontal lobe and amygdala of viewers? How many times has the 70's Golden disk done the same? The multifaceted nature of humanity, a Trinity of youthful idealism, darkness and evil, and benevolent Wisdom, is more accurately exemplified in those characters...than in the crafted message of officialdom.

The testament is the equivalent of an old newspaper, printed by a media company long out of business, with an editor in chief who retired long ago; in the interim, the old headquarters building was torn down. What would happen if the message was received? Where would a response be sent?

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,


Coglabs passes 1million uniques in 2007

Cognitive Labs has passed 1 million unique visitors in 2007, earlier today! Thanks for your help. Trailing 12 months is 1.4 million, forward 12 months is 4 million to 7 million visitors, following an S-curve.

Labels: , , , , ,


The Singularity Cometh

SNL used to have the segment "Deep Thoughts... by Jack Handy."

In a similar vein, AI gurus are clustering in San Francisco this weekend to envision the singularity, brought to you by the Singularity Institute funded by Paypal/Founder's Fund's Peter Thiel who also is betting on anti-aging shaman/Nostradamus look-alike Aubrey DeGrey.

It all started with this phrase:

'Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an 'intelligence explosion,' and the intelligence of man would be left far behind. Thus the first ultraintelligent machine is the last invention that man need ever make.' - I.J. Goode, Statistician (1965)

Here's a Singularity prediction from Cognitive Labs:

In the year 2012, the machines will gain sentience, a special Constitutional Congress will be called leading to the 27th Amendment: "Whereas, Individuals born overseas who are naturalized U.S. Citizens heretofore prohibited from holding titular leadership of the Executive branch are hereby manumitted from this restriction, particularly if their Country of birth is Austria, and in their care shall be vouchsafed the public trust and Commonweal"

Clearing the way for Governor Schwarzenegger to become the second actor president, saying 'Hasta la vista' to the heinous product of the Singularity and all thinking machines while 'cleaning out the barn' of the bureaucratic offal of Washington Insiders.

Meanwhile, we'll be shopping for pianos at Stanford courtesy of Yamaha.

Labels: , ,


Ocean-going water bug delights cognoscenti

Silicon Valley entrepreneur Ugo Conti and his wife have dreamed up a mode of travel as dazzling as Captain Nemo's Nautilus - a water skipper-inspired catamaran that can make a 5,000 mile voyage on one tank of fuel.

The Spartan accomodations of the Proteus don't detract from the greentech lustre of the craft. No word on the planned retail price of the craft, reportedly it cost aound $1.5 million to build. A company, Advanced Marine Research, has been established to advance the venture.

Alight in New York Harbor, the craft will now make waves in the media.

Proteus in Greek mythology:

n Greek mythology, Proteus is an early sea-god, one of several deities whom Homer calls the "Old Man of the Sea"[1], whose name suggests the "first", as protogonos is the "primordial" or the "firstborn". He became the son of Poseidon in the Olympian theogony (Odyssey iv. 432), or of Nereus and Doris, or of Oceanus and a Naiad, and was made the herdsman of Poseidon's seals, the great bull seal at the center of the harem. He can foretell the future, but, in a mytheme familiar from several cultures, will change his shape to avoid having to; he will answer only to someone who is capable of capturing him. From this feature of Proteus comes the adjective protean, with the general meaning of "versatile", "mutable", "capable of assuming many forms": "Protean" has positive connotations of flexibility, versatility and adaptability.

Labels: , ,

Sleeping like a Baby may Prevent Alzheimer's

Melatonin, derived from getting adequate rest - may help delay or prevent Alzheimers according to this study.

Labels: , , , ,


Exercise Builds Blood Vessels in the Heart

A new study shows that exercise actually builds small capillary blood vessels in the heart among those at risk for heart disease and also stimulates the formation of stem cells in the bones. This confirms two important benefits of cardiovascular exercise... read it

Labels: ,


People only 99% alike instead of 99.99%

People are less alike than scientists had thought when it comes to the billions of building blocks that make up each individual's DNA, according to a new analysis.

"Instead of 99.9 percent identical, maybe we're only 99 percent (alike)," said J. Craig Venter, an author of the study — and the person whose DNA was analyzed for it.

Several previous studies have argued for lowering the 99.9 percent estimate. Venter says this new analysis "proves the point."

The new work, in the latest issue of PLoS Biology, marks the first time a scientific journal has presented the entire DNA makeup, or human genome, of an individual. However, James D. Watson — co-discoverer of DNA's molecular structure — received his own personal DNA map from scientists a few months ago. And the genomes for both him and Venter are already posted on scientific Web sites.

Venter is president of the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Md., which does genetics research. He and scientists at his institute and elsewhere collaborated on the work that produced his genetic map.

The order of building blocks along a strand of DNA encodes genetic information, somewhat like the way a sequence of letters creates a sentence. Particular sequences form genes. Landmark studies published in 2001 indicated that the DNA of any two people is about 99.9 percent alike. The new paper suggests estimates of 99.5 percent to just 99 percent, Venter said.

The Venter paper joins several others published over the past three to four years that indicate an estimate of around 99 percent, said Richard Gibbs, a DNA expert at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston who didn't participate in Venter's study.

The studies produce the lower figure because they uncovered chunks of DNA that differ among people, whereas previous studies focused on differences in individual building blocks.

The 99 percent figure is close to what scientists have often estimated for the similarity between humans and chimps. But the human-chimp similarity drops to more like 95 percent when the more recently discovered kinds of DNA variation are considered, Venter said.

Gibbs called the Venter paper significant, along with a similar but not-yet-published analysis of Watson's DNA that he has worked on. That's because the analyses show more differences than expected from the standard human DNA sequence published by the federal government, he said. (The federal sequence was based on a mix of DNA from different people.)

That finding in turn is shedding light on how DNA varies among people, with implications for understanding the genetic underpinnings of disease, Gibbs said.

Although the new paper analyzes just Venter's genetic material, it can make estimates about how individuals differ in their DNA. Everybody inherits two sets of DNA, one from each parent. Venter's paper compared the DNA he inherited from his mother with the DNA from his father

Labels: , , ,

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?