Monday, October 9, 2017

Interesting Brain Difference

Men's and women's brains react differently when helping others, study says
12:12 PM EDT October 9, 2017

CNN reports-

There is pleasure in both giving and receiving. Does gender influence which of these pleasures we prefer?

In women, part of the brain showed a greater response when sharing money, while in men, the same structure showed more activity whenthey kept the cash for themselves, a small study published Monday in Nature Human Behavior found.

Searching  the brain for answers

Women tend to be more altruistic than men, previous studies have shown.
As Philippe Tobler, co-author of the new study, sees it, "women put more subjective value on prosocial behavior and men find selfish behavior more valuable."

"However, it was unknown how this difference comes about at the level of the brain," Tobler, an associate professor of  and social neuroscience at University of Zurich, wrote in an email. "But in both genders, the dopamine system encodes value."

By "encode," he means the activity in our brain changes in proportion to the value we give social experiences.
Searching for answers for why women and men are not equally selfish, he and his colleagues focused on the dopamine system.

Dopamine, which plays a fundamental role in the brain's reward system, is released during moments of pleasure, yet it also helps us process our values. This mental ability transpires within the brain machinery known as the striatum. Latin for "striped," the striatum is threaded with fibers that receive and transmit signals from the cerebral cortex, the thalamus and other brain regions.

Tobler and his colleagues designed a series of experiments to test how dopamine might influence the behavior of men and women. Fifty-six male and female participants made choices between sharing a financial reward with others or keeping the money for themselves.

Given only a placebo before making decisions, women acted less selfishly than men, choosing to share their money with others. However, when their dopamine systems were disrupted after they received a drug called amisulpride, women acted more selfishly, while men became more generous. Amisulpride is an antipsychotic normally used to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia.

"Based on the opposing priorities of the genders, interfering with the dopamine system has opposing effects," Tobler said.

In a second experiment, the researchers used functional MRI to investigate changes in the brain while eight female and nine male participants made choices. Compared with the males, the striatum in females showed more activity when they made a prosocial decision.

According to Anne Z. Murphy, an associate professor of neuroscience at Georgia State University, other research has shown "that females are more prosocial. We find it more rewarding, and if you manipulate dopamine signaling in the brain, you can make females less prosocial and males less selfish." Murphy was not involved in the study.

Still, she said, the study brings "greater awareness to the fact that there are brain differences in male and females."

"It just shows, once again, that people can point to a biological basis for some of the characteristics that are prototypically male," Murphy said. These traits would include selfishness, self-promotion, generally, a hard-driving profile.

"Now, you can point to another biological basis for it," she added, "And rather than using this knowledge to divide us, maybe we can use this to help make society a better place."

For instance, she said, when women act in more altruistic ways, they shouldn't be regarded as less deserving than male colleagues who are more self-promoting.

Gender differences in the brain may not be due to structural differences — for example, variations in region size or shape based on sex, noted the researchers. Gender differences in the brain could be functional. This would mean a flood of the very same neurotransmitter — dopamine — might cause a very different response in women than in men.

"It may be worth pointing out that the differences are likely to be learned," Tobler said.
Though male and female tendencies may be learned, Murphy said, these behaviors are not acquired in a single lifetime.

‘Shaped by history'

Instead, these preferences develop over time based on the differing roles of females and males: "reproduction versus resource-gathering," Murphy said.

"You see similar behavior in rodents," she said, noting that female rats act in more altruistic ways than males. "It's evolutionarily conserved. It's shaped by history."

The study has implications for drug research, Tobler noted.
"Historically, medical drugs were often tested primarily on men and sometimes drugs have been found to be more effective in men than women," he wrote.
Murphy explained that "preclinical studies have shown that females require approximately twice the amount of morphine than males to produce the same level of analgesia."
All opiates that are metabolized in one specific way produce what is known as a "sexually dimorphic response," she added.
"People are starting to look at whether cannabinoids are sexually dimorphic. It's been suggested that cannabinoids are more effective in females than in males," she said, with a lot of preclinical data showing this is the case.
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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Solar Eclipse 2017

 I wanted to document a solar eclipse August 21, 2017 the first time an eclipse pattern will cross the North American continent in 90 years.

From the NASA web site a

Eclipse: Who? What? Where? When? and How?

Total Solar Eclipse

On Monday, August 21, 2017, all of North America will be treated to an eclipse of the sun. Anyone within the path of totality can see one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights - a total solar eclipse. This path, where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun's tenuous atmosphere - the corona - can be seen, will stretch from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Observers outside this path will still see a partial solar eclipse where the moon covers part of the sun's disk.

Who Can See It?

Lots of people! Everyone in the contiguous United States, in fact, everyone in North America plus parts of South America, Africa, and Europe will see at least a partial solar eclipse, while the thin path of totality will pass through portions of 14 states.  

What is It?

This celestial event is a solar eclipse in which the moon passes between the sun and Earth and blocks all or part of the sun for up to about three hours, from beginning to end, as viewed from a given location.  For this eclipse, the longest period when the moon completely blocks the sun from any given location along the path will be about two minutes and 40 seconds.  The last time the contiguous U.S. saw a total eclipse was in 1979.

Where Can You See It?

You can see a partial eclipse, where the moon covers only a part of the sun, anywhere in North America (see “Who can see it?”). To see a total eclipse, where the moon fully covers the sun for a short few minutes, you must be in the path of totality. The path of totality is a relatively thin ribbon, around 70 miles wide, that will cross the U.S. from West to East.  The first point of contact will be at Lincoln Beach, Oregon at 9:05 a.m. PDT. Totality begins there at 10:16 a.m. PDT.  Over the next hour and a half, it will cross through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and North and South Carolina.  The total eclipse will end near Charleston, South Carolina at 2:48 p.m. EDT.  From there the lunar shadow leaves the United States at 4:09 EDT.  Its longest duration will be near Carbondale, Illinois, where the sun will be completely covered for two minutes and 40 seconds.

When Can You See It?

Times for partial and total phases of the eclipse vary depending on your location. This interactive eclipse map(link is external) will show you times for the partial and total eclipse anywhere in the world.

How Can You See It?

You never want to look directly at the sun without appropriate protection except during totality.  That could severely hurt your eyes.  However, there are many ways to safely view an eclipse of the sun including direct viewing – which requires some type of filtering device and indirect viewing where you project an image of the sun onto a screen. Both methods should produce clear images of the partial phase of an eclipse.  Click here for eclipse viewing techniques and safety. -   Picture taken by Eric Crouse 

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Because I want to understand and never forget

Monumental Lies: Charlottesville’s Lee Statue Was Designed to Erase a History We Need to Remember
Ben Davis, August 17, 2017

[Y]ou had some very bad people in that group. But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides…. I saw the same pictures as you did. You had people in that group that were there to protest the taking down, of to them, a very, very important statue and the renaming of a park from Robert E. Lee to another name.
Tuesday evening’s statement by the president was an appalling dodge, a nasty bit of self-serving obfuscation in an hour of heartbreak.

Perhaps the “very fine people” the president is referring to includes the twitchy, armed-to-the-teeth gentleman who told Vice News that the only thing he didn’t like about Trump was that he let his daughter marry a Jew?

I just want to say a quick word, however, about the historical meaning of that “very, very important statue,” and of Trump’s proposition that many “very fine people” came to the so-called “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia merely to defend the symbols of a virtuous Southern heritage.

The president has very effectively appropriated the term “fake news” for his own ends. I hope, then, that I am not walking into a trap when I say that the important thing to stress about the contested monument to Robert E. Lee is that it represents “fake history.”

Moreover, its particular brand of fake history is engineered to do exactly what it is doing now.

Looking at just how helps to understand the particular bond between the wealthy populist and the feral throngs of white nationalists who descended upon Charlottesville last weekend.

US President Donald Trump speaks to the press about protests in Charlottesville after his statement on the infrastructure discussion in the lobby at Trump Tower in New York on August 15, 2017. Photo credit should read Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images.

As Karen E. Fields and Barbara J. Fields emphasize in Racecraft, the “moonlight-and-magnolias” imagery, the cult of the heroic “Lost Cause of the Confederacy,” and the whole Confederate nostalgia industry in general was a product of the New South, not the Old. It was archaizing, but not archaic. “Only in the 1890s did the Confederacy become an emotional symbol,” they write.

Across the world, the late 19th century was epicenter for what historian Eric Hobsbawm termed “the invention of tradition.” Massive economic and social change in the era of unchained capitalism triggered a revival in various rituals that looked to the past, to give the semblance of continuity and wholeness to a rapidly changing world.

Post-Reconstruction Virginia, however, invented a form of rose-colored romanticism that had a particularly sinister cast.

The pioneering Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (APVA), founded in 1889, was the very first statewide historic preservation society in the United States, period.

The Southern society ladies who proselytized the late-19th century wave of Confederate museum, memorial, and monument building were very specifically out to create a new civic myth, a view of the past that could serve as a balm against the evils of the present as they saw it.

The Reconstruction Era (1865-1977) had seen newly freed blacks participate in political life to an unprecedented and, in the minds of their former masters, unacceptable degree. The cause of Confederate preservation would aid in reconsolidating the prestige of traditional Southern elites. They sought, as James M. Lindgren wrote, “to win through monuments and pamphlets what Lee had lost at Appomattox.”

This new program, it is interesting to note, was not just a matter of reasserting an Antebellum racial hierarchy. It also reflected the demands of the contemporary class struggle.

Why was Virginia specifically ground zero of Confederate myth-making? After the fall of Reconstruction, in 1879, a new force known as the Readjuster Party had risen up among poor Virginians. The Readjusters united poor whites and poor blacks with a program based on funding public education and challenging finance capital, aiming “to break the power of wealth and established privilege”—meaning the power of the white commercial and planter elite.

That elite counterattacked (as they had during Reconstruction) by stoking racial resentment as a wedge to drive this coalition of have-nots apart. A bloody riot in majority-black Danville on the eve of the 1883 election, provoked by a confrontation between Democrats and Readjusters, was used to flood the state with propaganda about threats to order by black rule. The racist Democrats retook the state from the Readjusters.

Such was the political backdrop for the emphasis on the Lost Cause mythology that percolated in Richmond in the 1880s.

Venerating the humble white soldier for his loyalty to wise generals like Lee provided an alternative identification for lower-class men, used to pry them away from those pesky class animosities. As Reiko Hillyer writes, “If the faithful slave was central to the mythic past that justified the Jim Crow present, then the faithful Confederate soldier might encourage obedient behavior among the working classes of the New South.” (White women got the myth of the eternally chaste and loyal priestess of the homefront, when actual Southern women had often bitterly opposed the unequal impositions of the war.)
If Virginia’s brush with the Readjusters was the immediate background for the birth of the Confederate monuments boom, that movement’s spread across the South was set against another cross-race insurgency—one whose influence was so dramatic that its name has passed into the political lexicon.

This was the Populist movement. In its original 1890s sense, “populism” was powerfully left-wing—and its most radical arm was in the South.

The Southern poor were hard-hit by a fierce agricultural depression, ripped-off by rapacious railroads and monopolies in basic goods. “The left Populists formulated and won support for a program unique in Southern history before or since,” Jack Bloom writes in Race, Class, and the Civil Rights Movement. “They proposed to organize a political coalition around the growing similarity of the economic conditions facing both black and white farmers.”

Once again, the Southern political establishment responded with vote fraud, coercion, bribery, and violence against blacks. “The danger of ‘negro domination’ was raised once again,” Bloom writes, “and once again, note, it was by the upper-class whites.”

An intensified myth of Confederate identity provided the imaginary alternative to the menace of “negro domination.” The Southern Poverty Law Center has a useful timeline of Confederate monument construction. It is no coincidence that it dramatically spiked during the Populist period. (A second spike of Confederate veneration came in the 1960s, as a rejoinder to the civil rights movement.)

By 1912, the Confederate Veteran would boast that the movement “caused more monuments to be erected to the soldiers of the Confederate Army then have ever been erected in any age of the world to any cause, civil, political, or religious.”

For its part, Charlottesville’s 14-foot-tall bronze Lee was designed in 1924 by New York sculptor Henry Shrady, well after the defeat of Populism and the consolidation of official segregation with Jim Crow laws. It was unveiled as part of a conclave of the Sons of the Confederacy, an organization established in Richmond in 1896.

In a useful article, University of Virginia Ph.D. candidates Sophie Abramowitz, Eva Latterner, and Gillet Rosenblith trace how the spread of the various Confederate monuments that dot Charlottesville, including the contested Lee statue, has always been about more than commemoration of the past. Their placement has been part of cementing spatial domination over the city’s black community, marking the edges of public spaces in the process of being claimed for gentrification.

Neo-Nazis encircle counter protestors at the base of a statue of Thomas Jefferson after marching through the University of Virginia campus with torches in Charlottesville on August 11, 2017. Photo by Zach D Roberts/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

When President Trump pipes up for the “very fine people” unaccounted for within the weekend’s “Unite the Right” protests—those innocent Southern history buffs hidden among the torch-wielding white nationalists—he is dissembling.

But he is also just re-activating the historic function these monuments were constructed to perform in the first place: not to communicate a real past, but to concoct an image of white greatness romanticized and sanitized enough to provide a semblance of a popular base for unscrupulous white elites.
“The South Will Rise Again” shades easily over into “Make America Great Again.”

But the other half of the equation should not be forgotten either. This romance of the Confederacy, with its combination of fantasized glory and actual, thuggish violence, has always shadowed something else: the fear of movements that challenge both racism and class hierarchy.

In that sense, it is actually the multi-racial crowds of counter-protesters—at least one of whom gave her life standing for justice last weekend—who can claim the real heroic history in Charlottesville, the history that Robert E. Lee’s image was raised to suppress.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The beginning of a new world order ?

January 22, 2017
 It is just days after Donald Trump has been sworn in as the 45th president of the United States  which was overshadowed by violent protest and many groups  across the country participating in Million Women Marches across the country. The unrest  that can be seen on our country is unprecedented  in the past  I had disagreements with our  Presidents  policies but I was never in such fear as I am  with the President we have now. The country is so divided it's difficult to even openly discuss your views the woman living next to me  Sarabelle changed her political party from Democrat to Republican I believe after Barack Obama became president which to me means there must be a very deep underlying distrust of  blacks and people that are different. The fact that in the last eight years being "gay,  or transgender", a woman  running for president  blacks fighting for what they deserve frighten people.  Liberals  agendas  oppressing the white man sadly people are hurting I've seen banks and car companies being bailed out and the American dream being set by the wayside  you no longer can see your way out of poverty and everyone is angry.