Begin the Search Engine Wars Have

The Battle of Algorithms considered as ant vs. ant...

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The Vitruvian Man

And now, the Vitruvian man. Health and moderation, life in balance. Also on the site.

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Pollen in the Air? Spring

Outside, acacias are starting to blossom. Spring is around the corner.

not sure about the species-but probably from Australia

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Lead may Be the Culprit in Cognitive Impairment

lead atom

That's the provocative idea emerging from some recent studies, part of a broader area of new research that suggests some pollutants can cause harm that shows up only years after someone is exposed, according to a study by Dr. Brian Schwartz of Johns Hopkins and Dr. Howard Hu of University of Michigan.

The new work suggests long-ago lead exposure can make an aging person's brain work as if it's five years older than it really is. If that's verified by more research, it means that sharp cuts in environmental lead levels more than 20 years ago didn't stop its widespread effects.

"We're trying to offer a caution that a portion of what has been called normal aging might in fact be due to ubiquitous environmental exposures like lead. The fact that it's happening with lead is the first proof of principle that it's possible," said Dr. Schwartz, a leader in the study of lead's delayed effects. Other pollutants like mercury and pesticides may do the same thing, he said.

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Mona Lisa Test?

Who is the mysterious woman in Leonardo DaVinci's
masterpiece? Mona Lisa is named for Lisa del Giocondo, (c. 1502) the wife of a
merchant of Florence. Lisa was a member of the Gherardini family of
Florence and Tuscany who married Francesco del Giocondo, a silk

In the DaVinci Code, it was conjectured that mona lisa was an anagram of Amon and Isis, Egyptian gods - with Isis rendered in French. We notice her name spells 'aim loans.' Was Leonardo warning us about the subprime mortgage meltdown? Or perhaps it's an obscure reference to the 'alternative investment market' in the UK. More on
mona lisa

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Cognitive Awareness: Your Responsibility

New research from Washington University in St. Louis suggests that more education in a person leads to a realization that there may be a concern sooner, leading to earlier diagnosis. Self-awareness is key. Just like a car's engine, be sensitive to any signs of systemic change.

A review of epidemiological data finds that people who spend fewer years in school may experience a slight but statistically significant delay in the realization that they're having cognitive problems that could be Alzheimer's disease.

Scientists at the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC) at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis reviewed data on 1,449 Alzheimer's patients from their center and 21,880 patients from the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center (NACC), a collaboration of approximately 30 Alzheimer's disease research centers nationwide.

"We may have a group of people who are at risk for slightly delayed detection of Alzheimer's disease," says lead author Catherine Roe, Ph.D., a neurology research instructor at the ADRC. "Early detection of Alzheimer's disease is important as we progress toward treatments and cures because those treatments will need to be applied as early as possible to have the maximum possible benefit."

The paper appears in this month's issue of Archives of Neurology.

In an earlier study of patients with a form of Alzheimer's disease linked to a genetic mutation, Roe and other Washington University researchers found patients with more years of education were likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease earlier. This surprised them because higher levels of education have typically been associated with decreased risk of Alzheimer's disease.

The new study confirmed those surprising results, revealing that patients with 12 years or more of schooling were on average slightly younger when diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease than patients with less than eight years of schooling. Age of diagnosis for a group with eight to 11 years of schooling fell in-between the other two groups.

Next, researchers analyzed the severity of patients' dementia when they went to the Alzheimer's disease center for the first time. They found that patients with fewer years of education were likely to be more severely impaired on their first visit.

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Menopausal Stars are Having Babies

it's here.

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New Cargo Cult

What happens when the moguls of tinseltown collide with geeks of silicon valley?

Is it a case of 'you got your chocolate in my peanut butter' or 'you got your peanut butter on my chocolate?'

It will, it seems, induce brainfreeze.

Here's how physicist Richard Feynman described the phenomenon:

"In the South Seas there is a cargo cult of people. During the war they saw airplanes with lots of good materials, and they want the same thing to happen now. So they've arranged to make things like runways, to put fires along the sides of the runways, to make a wooden hut for a man to sit in, with two wooden pieces on his head to headphones and bars of bamboo sticking out like antennas - he's the controller - and they wait for the airplanes to land.

They're doing everything right. The form is perfect. It looks exactly the way it looked before. But it doesn't work."

Ok, sometimes it does.

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Bobby Fischer, 1943-2008

Chess champion Bobby Fischer, who won a world championship against a Soviet opponent in 1972 at the age of 28, passed away in Iceland.

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Schmidt to NASA Nabobs: Don't be Evil

That is: Be open source. And why not? Sun just illumined open source MySQL for a stratospheric $1 billion, more than 20x trailing revenues.

Was there a true connection or a functional acknowledgment? Or was his message subject to interplanetary packet loss and therefore lost in space?

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Early Warning System for Baldness

The genetic revolution meets late-night infomercials as an entrepreneur is marketing the first gene-based baldness test. I could see it emerging like this...

"Baldness, it doesn't have to happen to you...

If there was a way you could find out about being bald years before the Fates decreed it, you'd probably want to hear about it, right?

Friend, what if I told you that the key was in your genes, and I could tell you with 99.9% certainty when and if you will be bald by age 40?

No, it's not a dream come true. Just call this number - it's 3 easy payments, just pennies per day. No more wondering, no more worrying, instead, step up with confidence.

Knowing has its advantages. Head off balding with a lifetime supply of minoxydol, compresses of used Espresso coffee grounds wrapped in a turban, a pump-action concealing compound matched to your natural hair color; or better yet get a proactive hair transplant. Of course bald can be beautiful - just look at Barry Diller.

But first, let me send you my free book-all with absolutely no obligation. Operators are standing by...

And that's not all, call now and get 40% off the regular price and my handy guide to every single genetic test on Earth. Which ones can help you get ahead AND sleep soundly at night. Why wait? Call now.

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New Deal

The deal is this:

We've decided to spend no effort selling advertising until we reach 1,000,000 visitors per month. Though since we topped 700,000 collectively in December that might not be too long.

So far we've been approached by Blue Lithium (Yahoo!), several ad agencies, car companies, pharmaceuticals, etc., people who want to join us to sell ads and partnerships but all we've done so far is Adsense...which covers our operating expenditures, and we keep selling subscriptions.

Do you like music? That's an area of the web that has devolved, or evolved - depending on your perspective, whether you are a label exec or a technologist.

Should we launch a music service along with our games? Well, we've got some pretty cool technology in this area, that may let you see your tunes in a new light, keep checking in...also what do you think of helio - a mobile service with a retail presence in Palo Alto, Santa Monica, New York, and more; founded by Sky Dayton, Earthlink's founder. The co. is backed by both SK Telecom and Earthlink. And now, the video "Santa Monica" by Everclear...

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Genetic Mutation May Govern Lifespan, Cancer

Ras2 gene

"We've reprogrammed the healthy life of an organism," said Valter Longo, a biologist at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles who led the life-prolonging experiments.

A rare mutation seen in certain Ecuadorians may prevent cancer and extend lifespan. Scientist Dr. Valter Longo of USC has achieved a 1,000% increase in the lifespan of yeast by switching off a gene that controls growth and providing reduced nutrient intake to the yeast. In more complex organisms, it is believed that caloric restriction prompts the body to redirect energy from growth related activities to preservation of the DNA.

The effect is mimicked in certain individuals with one and two copies of the mutated RAS2 gene, who have small stature and other physical problems and may have abnormally large heads, but, Dr. Longo implies, have no known cases of cancer. If the physical complications introduced by the mutation could be managed, then a key to unlocking a vastly greater lifespan may be found.

This perspective supports the notion that aging is a genetic disease, necessary when organisms best chance for survival is fast growth and reproduction, but unnecessary when a hostile environment has been ameliorated.

The study will be published in the January issue of Plos Genetics.

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Sir Edmund Hillary, 1919-2008

Taming the wild mountain, making the impossible, possible - last of all, helping the people of Nepal.

Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay - test

an appraisal

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friday comedy

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This Little Piggy Glows

This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed home
This little had roast beef,
and This little piggy got cloned...
and this little piggy cried wee, wee, wee all the way home

Scientists showed a fluorescent baby pig that glows under special light. The pig was engineered to do so by Chinese cloners who modified its DNA.

In the future, maybe people will re-skin or 'mod' themselves or their offspring by making a few DNA adjustments on a web control panel or slider.

No 80's day-glo or paisley, please

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Human Tetris

courtesy of youtube

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We're working on a new diagnostic, informational site.


Historiography of the Slinky

It's been a short, but event-driven year already. Mysterious assassinations, winter storms that brought sheets of snow and rain to the West, a maelstrom of beemer-crushing tree limbs on the Coast and maybe the worst blizzard since the Donner party in the Sierra, as well as unforeseen political surprises in Iowa, where the favorites in both parties were lured into an ambuscade - all suggest that a layer of unreality has been deposited upon our collective perception.

The young year 2008 also marks the 65th anniversary of the invention of the Slinky. In 1943, Richard James was working on a springloaded-powered gauge to measure the horsepower of industrial engines - in this case boilers for U.S. Navy ships, when he accidentally dropped a spring and was shocked to see it take a step forward - illustrating the principle of conservation of energy in dramatic form.

"Hmm," he thought. "This might be an interesting toy."

He spent 2 years working on the concept and introduced the Slinky at a Philadelphia department store in time for Chistmas of 1945. He had a friend in the audience buy the the first one and from then on the saga continued.

Eventually James' wife, Betty, became CEO and led the company into a diverse line of product extensions.

More than 250 million Slinkies have been sold around the world.


Michigan State - history of the Slinky
About.com - invention of the Slinky

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UCLA researchers find that Axons morph after traumatic injury

Traumatic nerve injury was once believed incurable. Now, UCLA researchers have shown that axons can rewire severed links by creating slender filaments that re-connect a disrupted network such as the CNS (central nervous system).

Experiments conducted on mice at the University of California in Los Angeles showed for the first time that the central nervous system can rewire itself to create small neural pathways between the brain and the nerve cells that control movement.

This startling discovery could one day open the way to new therapies for damaged spinal cords and perhaps address conditions stemming from stroke and multiple sclerosis, according to the study.

Normally, the brain relays messages that control walking or running via neural fibers called axons...

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Cognitive Labs reaches 3.5 million visitors

2007 was a great year, we've now hit the milestone of 3.5 million visitors who are concerned with brain fitness.

The chart above shows the rate of growth.

In 2008 as of 11:40 Pacific time on 1/3 we have 73,000 visitors and 196,000 page views so far.

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Finding Alzheimer's Early in 2008

Scientists are beginning to realize that finding Alzheimer's earlier is the key to developing a preventative strategy.

It's possible that the destructive seeds of the disease are germinated decades before recognized onset. By then, it's almost too little, too late.

For that reason, developing a proactive approach earlier may yield dividends.

If your brain's processing speed begins to slow and the pace accelerates, that could be cause for concern.

For this self-monitoring is key. Some decline is normal with aging. Rapid decline is not. You would not want to carry 100 pounds of excess weight for 30 years and then find that your life expectancy is compromised. Well, it's the same for the brain

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Top Ten Brain Developments for 2007: look ahead to 2008

2007 Developments...

-Dr. James Watson, co-discoverer of the double-helix, gets decoded
and elects
not to know his APOEe4 (Alzheimer's genetic risk) status - book

-Brain Training: a Nascent Industry gets more support, led at the consumer end by Nintendo which has sold 10 million copies of BrainAge

-Personal Genetic Assessment Becomes Widely Available

-"Genebook/MyDNA" Hypothetically available from deCodeme and 23and me
-friends and contacts can see each others genetic make-up
-will people select associations in the future based on the data?
-Science fictional concept from many works including the film 'Gattaca'

-Connection Between APOEe4,Cognitive Speed and Early Detection of Impairment
shown by Cognitive Labs in peer-reviewed research

-Scientists moving toward cocktail approach in treating Alzheimer's

-Consensus on Early detection of Alzheimers is becoming increasingly vocal

-Cognitive 'Speed' a key measure of cognitive fitness, studies show speed exercises maintain brain fitness more effectively than randomly selected activities. Also, eat chocolate and have sex

-Cognitive Labs' creates first open source brain-training gadgets that can run anywhere

(successful beta complete, this may be one for 2008)

-According to New Scientist, there may be Multiple Universes in the same place, which would help to explain the problem of the 'missing mass' in astrophysics. Put a bag with a few grams of sand on a scale, yet the weight is 1 kilogram. Our present detection methods are insensitive to these hidden grains of sand.

Univ. of Arizona paper on missing mass

These Developments, in our biased opinion, will contribute towards a better year ahead - with greater life, prosperity and health for everyone.

(ankh, wedja, seneb)

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