Of cupcakes and hockey sticks: Sharks say they have routines, but not superstitions

first_imgSAN JOSE — The first rule about having superstitions is to not to refer to them as being superstitions.They’re called routines, in case you were curious.“Superstition has this stigma about it,” Sharks winger Evander Kane said. “Superstitions are fine. Everybody has them, whether they admit it or not.”The Sharks have won six straight going into Tuesday’s home game against the Edmonton Oilers. They’ve completely turned around their season in that time, going from a team that was at the …last_img

How the Brain Serves the Mind

first_img(Visited 48 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 More sophisticated than any computer, the brain runs many background tasks to aid and assist our conscious choices.Vision ServiceSurprise discovery in the blink of an eye (Science Daily): This article says, “We probably do it every day, but scientists have only just discovered a distinct new way in which we move our eyes.” To find a new kind of eye motion after centuries of study on the eye was big news. And what a motion it is: it’s your eye’s image stabilizer.The movement they discovered helps to reset the eye after it twists when viewing a rotating object. It is like avoiding tiny rotations of a camera to stabilise the image we perceive. We don’t notice the eye resetting in this way because it happens automatically when we blink.The motion is not only synchronized to the blinking reflex, but to the other eye, which must stabilize the same way at the same time. “To discover such a ubiquitous phenomenon in such a well-studied part of the human body was astonishing to us and we’re very grateful to the volunteers who took part in the study,” one of the researchers commented.Biomedical research sheds light on the mysteries of vision (Medical Xpress). Other unknown aspects of vision are being studied at the University of Arizona. In particular, the scientists want to understand how your retina adjusts to sudden changes in light intensity, such as when you leave a theater into the bright sunlight. Calling the process “light adaptation” hardly explains it. The researchers are finding complex switching of retinal neurons to on-and-off stages so as to increase visual acuity and contrast as the light intensity changes.As it turns out, retinal neurons communicate in many directions and along many neural signaling pathways. The photoreceptors and other retinal neurons may be in an excitatory (on) or inhibitory (off) position, creating dynamic push-pull and feedback among neurons and neural circuits.Minimizing irrelevant visual information (Medical Xpress): When you try to remember something, do you ever stare off into the sky or look at a blank wall? There’s a reason for it, say scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Experiments with visual interference showed that subjects had a harder time recalling even simple objects when there were distractions in the visual field. “These results provide a hint of why we might do this: By minimizing irrelevant visual information, we free our perceptual system to help us remember.”Inner Brain ServiceYour inner mathematician (Medical Xpress): “The brain performs feats of math to make sense of the world,” this article says. Experiments at Princeton revealed processes requiring calculation behind the common-sense narratives we form as we negotiate our surroundings. You may not be good at math, you think—but your brain already is. It serves you up a simplified representation of a complex set of inputs, so that you can focus on the important things.Even if we find it difficult to calculate complicated probabilities on the spot, our brains constantly carry out these sorts of computations without our awareness—and they’re remarkably good at it.Princeton University researchers show in a new study how our brains combine complicated observations from our surroundings into a simple assessment of the situation that aids our behavior and decisions. This boiled-down representation also is flexible enough to account for new information as it becomes available. The researchers found that our brains can accurately track the likelihood of several different explanations for what we see around us. They traced these abilities to a region of the brain located just behind our eyes known as the orbitofrontal cortex.The brain’s thermostat found (Science Daily): “Finally,” this article states, “the brain sensor that turns down the heat” has been discovered. “Despite decades of research into the internal temperature sensors in the brain responsible for this well-orchestrated effort, scientists have not been able to identify a molecular temperature sensor underlying it.” It’s an important function, because core body temperature needs to be maintained in a narrow range. Specific cells in the rat hypothalamus were observed to be “uniquely activated in response to warming at temperatures above the physiological set point of 37°C.” These neurons activate an ion channel responsive to temperature, triggering physiological responses to prevent overheating and inflammation.Your navigational tracker (Medical Xpress): We’ve all had the experience of finding something interesting, and then wondering how we got there. Our brains have an “instant replay” function that can help us find it again next time, this article says. Experiments with rats showed how this works. “If there’s a ‘reward’ at the end of the trip, like the chocolatey drink used in their study, specialized neurons in the hippocampus of the brain ‘replay’ the route taken to get it, but backward,” neuroscientists at Johns Hopkins found. “And the greater the reward, the more often the rats’ brains replay it.” Chocolate sounds like a pretty good reward, indeed.Brain’s internal compass also navigates during imagination (Science Daily): Your brain’s navigation system comes into play even when you are only imagining going places, this article says. We have “grid cells” that help us form mental maps. They not only work when moving about; “the brain’s navigation system also plays a role in our capacity to imagine future events and construct them in our mind.”The symphony of recall (Science Daily): Speaking of recall, say you want to remember things in order. Scientists at New York University found that the “ode to recall” is downright philharmonic. “To remember events in the order they occur, the brain’s neurons function in a coordinated way that is akin to a symphony,” they say. How does that work? “We’ve known for some time that neurons increase their activity when we encode memories,” their prelude states before the first movement. “What our study shows is there’s a rhythm to how they fire in relation to one another — much like different instruments in a symphony orchestra.” This could be a key to remembering items in a list. Experiments showed that memorizing a list of items produces a pattern of coordinated brain waves. On recall, those patterns will match if recalled correctly.Brain can-do (Science Daily): The brain is “more robust than thought,” according to neuroscientists from the University of Amsterdam. By that, they mean that the brain is “well capable of coping with the erratic way individual brain cells transmit information.” The brain has a remarkable ability to tease out important information from the constant noisy whir and buzz of neurons firing. Detecting order in the chaos is actually an asset. “The activity of a single neuron in response to an image is variable and unreliable,” one spokesman said. “However, within the synchronised activity of a large number of neurons, patterns can be distinguished that seem to suggest the value of such variation.” Having noise to navigate gives the brain a more nuanced view of what is happening. The findings call into question the ability of unguided processes, working on random variations, to produce the coherent system described in the article by neuroscientist Guido Meijer:The brain turns out to be organised in such a way that it minimises the risk of misclassification but is still able to ensure variability.’The team’s findings offer further insight into the complexity of the brain. It appears that an understanding of the behaviour of individual cells isn’t sufficient to predict or understand the behaviour of the entire brain. ‘The brain isn’t a computer constructed from chips, which always process a signal in the same orderly fashion’, Meijer adds. ‘Nature is more chaotic, and is apparently also constructed to effectively manage this chaos. We have now found one of the underlying principles that ensures order arises out of chaos on the scale of large numbers of connected neurons.’What’s next for brain research? Medical Xpress reports that a neuroscientist in Madrid is proposing a solution for navigating “The anatomical problem posed by brain complexity and size.” What paradigm shifts are on the horizon? “This discussion comes at an important moment for neuroscience, with potential impact on the hundred millions of funding devoted to the development of extraordinary technology inspired by biology,” the article says. But don’t expect it to be easy. The article begins with a well-known fact: “The most complex piece of matter in the known universe is the brain.”Many of us are intrigued by the possibility of robots doing more and more work for us in the future. How about the robot inside your skull? Look at all these complex functions it does for you. The brain is not you. Your mind cannot be reduced to neurons firing. But those neurons come pre-programmed with solutions to many problems, helping you see, navigate, calculate, maintain the temperature, remember objects, and much, much more. It stores information you’ve gathered, making it accessible in usable form. It continues serving you in your sleep.Based on the information your robot delivers, you can make decisions. You can decide to use your brain, or not to. You can decide to damage your brain with drugs and bad habits. Or you can decide to sharpen its skills, and take in the right kind of information to make wise decisions. Your brain won’t decide these things for you. That’s the function of your inner self and conscience. Choose to take care of your brain. Choose to take care of your body. Choose to think about eternity. The One who “has made everything beautiful in its time,” including your physical brain, which is perishable, has also “put eternity in [your] heart”—a longing for meaning and significance that transcends the physical (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Finding and following that meaning and purpose is your main job on this earth.One story from the Olympics stands out in this regard. The 23-gold-medal Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps underwent a transformation two years before the Rio games. Despite his fame and achievements after the last Olympics, he was in a downward spiral toward meaninglessness and despair. Friends and fame left him feeling empty. Attempts to reform were fruitless. He got so low, he was even contemplating suicide. Everything changed when a Christian friend gave him a copy of Rick Warren’s best-seller, The Purpose-Driven Life. CBN News and Christian Times share what happened. He says in a YouTube video, that he learned from the book that “there is a power greater than myself, and there is a purpose for me on this planet.” Reconciliation with his estranged father ensued, and then his record-setting medal count in Rio.It’s not clear that Phelps really embraced Christ as his savior and Lord. Perhaps he is on that path. He’s listed with 10 Christian athletes who won gold in Rio, but his testimony as stated seems incomplete. Some evangelicals criticize Warren’s book as an inadequate presentation of the gospel. It is, however, loaded with Scripture that can speak for itself. Suffice it to say for the purposes of this entry that we all can make choices based on information we receive into our brains. In this case, it was words on a page entering Michael’s brain through his eyes, with all those visual systems described above at work. His eyes and brain could not choose for him. As an eternal soul, Michael had to act on what he was reading. We’re glad for the turnaround and hope he will really get into the word of God, having fully repented of sin and trusting Christ, to live from now on for the purpose of loving God with all his heart, soul, and strength.last_img read more

IDG Well Be in Print As Long as it Makes Sense

first_imgCarrigan also describedwhat he called the “Holy Grail” of online. CHICAGO—The 2009 FOLIO:Growth Summit kicked off here Monday with a keynote from Source Media CEO JimMalkin, who discussed why content—both print and online—can no longer be free,reasons to keep editors incentivized, and, of course, how monetization is thekey to it all.In a luncheon keynote, IDG CEO Bob Carrigan said his company looks at print as “profitgeneration.” “We don’t subsidize orinvest in it,” Carrigan said. “It gives us a great advantage as part ofthe entire package, and we are going to be in print as long as it makessense.” Back in 2007, IDG decided to make its IT newsweeklytitle, InfoWorld, Web-only when the printpublication was showing financial losses. “If it [print] doesn’tmake sense, we’re not attached to it,” he said. “When they find you through organic search—that’s the HolyGrail,” Carrigan said. IDG’s strategy, which has featured digital asthe main event in recent years, has changed from a revenue mix of 74/16/10percent print/event/online in 2002 to a 38/20/42 percent last year.Content is King A large focus for boththe large and small publisher tracks at this year’s summit was how content canbe used as a lead generation tool and can drive an online audience. “If contentis king, monetization is God,” said e.Republic CEO Dennis McKenna ofhis company’s mantra.Speaking to smallpublishers during a session entitled “The Role of Executive Leadership inDeveloping an E-Media Business Strategy,” McKenna outlined theimportance of publishers move from the role of an “infomediary” to a catalyst,particularly in the money-making potential of the digital space. The issuethat most editors have in the developing this online space, he said, is thatthey “only value print reader, not the online reader.” McKenna said he anticipatesthe most important jobs in the future of media to be community organizers,content producers and strategists, search optimization wizards, and mediaintegration officers.The days of atraditional masthead of just editors and publishers are long over, he said.last_img read more

AB de Villiers better than Virat Kohli Nathan Lyon picks Mr 360

first_imgNathan Lyon described AB de Villiers as the hardest batsman he bowled to, not Virat KohliIANSIn his now highly-successful career, Nathan Lyon has bowled to all the great batsmen who have played in his era. From the likes of Sachin Tendulkar to Virat Kohli, the off-spinner has been tested against the best batters in the world. But when he was asked in an interview to name the batsman he found most difficult to bowl at, the Australian chose AB de Villiers.The reason cited by him for his choice presents the reason why the South African has earned the epithet of Mr 360. Lyon said on ‘The Back Page Live,’ an Australian television show, that while bowling to de Villiers, he felt that the former Proteas batsman could hit him anywhere at any time.Considering that Indian batsmen were traditionally regarded as the most skilful in playing spin, it comes as a big surprise that Lyon faced most difficulty not from an Indian, or for that matter any other Asian, but a South African.Lyon’s recordIn his career, the 31-year old Aussie has played 15 Tests against South Africa and 18 against India. Kohli and de Villiers have been present in almost all these matches of their respective teams. So, it says a lot about de Villiers’ ability to play spin that the offie rates him higher than any other batsman.If we were to look at the record of the off-spinner against the two teams, he has done considerably better vs the Indians. While he has 85 wickets against the Asian giants with an average of 32.60 and strike rate of 60.2, against South Africa, he has 46 wickets at an average of 42.28 and strike rate of 83.7. The disparity can partly be attributed to highly spin-friendly conditions that the bowler had on his two visits to India.But even when it comes to bowling in his own country, he has a clearly better record against the sub-continental side. Gary, as he is fondly called by his teammates, has taken 18 wickets in 6 Tests against the South Africans in Australia at an average of 46.22 and strike rate of over 91. Against India at home, he has 51 wickets in 11 Tests and with an average just under 34 and strike rate a shade under 66. Clearly, home or away, Lyon loves bowling at the Indian team. Nathan Lyon has enjoyed great success against IndiaReutersSouth Africa’s better record against LyonIt is noteworthy that India’s supposed dominance against spin bowling has considerably declined in recent years. Even somebody like Kohli has had difficulties facing good spinners in the past. De Villiers, on the other hand, seems highly adept at playing the slower bowlers. Having been a hockey player in his pre-cricket days, he seems to have wonderful wristwork that allows him to place the ball in whichever area he desires.Lyon has had the opportunity to bowl at both Kohli and AB when they were in prime form. When South Africa famously saved a Test at Adelaide in 2012 by batting out the entire fifth day, de Villiers played his part by stonewalling Lyon and co for 220 deliveries while scoring just 33 runs. In the very next match at Perth, he scored a magnificent 169 to help his team win the match and series. In the last series between the Aussies and South Africans, the infamous 2018 rubber, de Villiers again starred with a superb knock in the second Test which allowed the Proteas to level the series after losing the first match.Kohli too has enjoyed great success against Australia. He has seven Test hundreds against the kangaroos, six of them scored away from home. Of these, four came in the 2014/15 series alone. Yet, Lyon has picked up the wicket of Kohli seven times in Tests, the most for any bowler in the format.So clearly, Lyon has good reason to rate de Villiers higher. But while the South African has retired from international cricket, Kohli remains and will remain active for some time to come. Hopefully, we will some more riveting contests between the two.last_img read more

Metros New Chairman Talks About The New Bus Network And Services For

first_img 00:00 /03:40 X Gail DelaughterHouston attorney Carrin Patman was recently appointed by Mayor Sylvester Turner as Metro Chairman.News 88.7 Transportation Reporter Gail Delaughter recently sat down with Carrin Patman to talk about some of the issues facing Metro. And what better place to do it than the Red Line train headed northbound. We begin the conversation with a look at Metro’s new bus routes.Gail DelaughterHouston’s buses are already promoting Super Bowl 2017.Delaughter: One of your goals is to develop the new bus network. What do you think needs to be done, now that the new network is in place, to get people to warm up to the bus system and to use the weekday buses in particular?Patman: Well, obviously any innovation has unintended consequences. And one of the things we’re working on now is tweaking the new bus system to make sure that some folks who feel left behind, or who — some feel left behind and just aren’t familiar with alternatives they may have in the new bus network. So getting the word out and communication out is a key part. Second though, some people may have been left behind. There are some routes that were eliminated that we probably need to do something about, in terms of re-embracing those people into a bus network. So we’re now at that stage of the iterative process, as some people would call it, of looking at where unintended consequences arose, where gaps exist, and how to plug those gaps.Delaughter: For those who may not have any other transportation options, how important is the bus service or rail service to them?Patman: The bus service is critical. And those are the people for whom it’s most important that Metro provide quality service. That’s the reason for existence for transit, or one of the big ones. Delaughter: The disabled constitute a large portion of Metro’s ridership, either people who use the lift buses or people who use the fixed-route buses. Visually-impaired, people who use mobility devices, what are things that you would like to do to improve the customer service experience for disabled riders?Patman: Interestingly enough, METROLift operations are the most challenging aspect for transit agencies across the country. And there is nothing more important, again, than serving that population. Because disabled folks are very dependent on transit. One of the problems is, that when you have a METROLift driver and the first customer doesn’t show or is late, it delays everybody else along the line. And so we’ve made some improvements to try to mitigate that. We did have to increase fares, the prior board did. I’m told that actually we hadn’t had a fare increase in many years. And to continue to provide the service we provide, we did need an increase. But that’s something actually I’m going to take a second look at, and just make sure that that’s really warranted.Delaughter: So one of the big events coming up for Metro is Super Bowl. How much of an effort will this be to get ready for Super Bowl?Patman: My understanding is that the Super Bowl committee is planning events, or selecting locations, based on where the bus stops are and the rail stops are, to make it really convenient for people. I don’t know if every event will be like that but many of them will be. I feel very confident we’ll do a good job. We are fully focused on it.   To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Listen Sharelast_img read more

Full Show Sutherland Springs Anniversary And Houstons Changing Skyline Nov 5 2018

first_img X To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: On Monday’s Houston Matters: Texas candidates have just a few hours left to make their cases to voters before Election Day. We learn how they’re spending their time. And today marks one year since more than two dozen people were shot and killed at a church in Sutherland Springs near San Antonio. We talk with Texas Public Radio’s Joey Palacios about how the South Texas community is faring a year later.Also this hour: A new report from Rice University says, as Houston continues to grow, its local governments are struggling to provide services to residents in an equitable and cost-effective way. We find out how the report is meant to help Houston-area officials consider reforms to ensure long-term stability.Then, how many of Houston’s skyscrapers can you name? We take a tour of downtown to learn the names of — and stories behind — some of the iconic buildings that adorn our skyline.Then, we discuss developments in Houston sports with Jeff Balke.WATCH: Today’s Houston Matters 360-Degree Facebook Live Video. Listen 00:00 /50:45 We offer a daily podcast here, on iTunes, Stitcher and other podcasting apps. This article is part of the Houston Matters podcast Sharelast_img read more

NASA scientist offers perspective on the factors that may lead to life

first_img Coronal mass ejections at Mars © 2014 Phys.org Conrad notes that a lot of the press regarding the study of Mars by scientists with NASA and other groups, tends to focus on the search for water, or evidence that water was once there—with the implication that if it was, then surely evidence will be found that life was there too. But that is not really the case, she asserts—there are likely a whole host of factors that must all be there for life to have been possible.Some of those factors might include a global magnetic field (likely produced by an internal dynamo) which would shield the planet from ionizing radiation. Another would be temperature and its variations—too hot or too cold for only part of any given period would likely prevent life from taking hold. Wind might also play a factor—she notes that as life is first starting, it’s not likely very mobile, thus wind that would carry essential material such as iron deposits to replenish supplies exhausted by new life forms would be essential. There is also the matter of an atmosphere—having one offers a shield against ultraviolet radiation and also serves as a cloak, moderating temperatures.But such factors, she continues, are much more difficult to find than water. Scientists are reasonably sure that Mars once had an atmosphere and global magnetic field—it’s more difficult to pin down whether they were existent at the same time, and if so, if temperatures were in a range during that period that would have allowed life to come about.Conrad notes that missions to Mars are proving fruitful regardless of whether proof of life is found or not. Such missions, she maintains are allowing us humans to learn more about how life could come about, which could prove useful once we’re able to study more distant planets more carefully—and that includes a manned mission, which should allow researchers, she believes, to do the kind of impromptu research that most often leads to breakthroughs. Citation: NASA scientist offers perspective on the factors that may lead to life on a planet (2014, December 12) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-12-nasa-scientist-perspective-factors-life.html Explore further This artist’s concept depicts a planetary system. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltechcenter_img (Phys.org)—NASA space scientist Pamela Conrad has offered a Perspective piece in the journal Science, reminding readers that the search for life on planets such as Mars, isn’t limited to just looking for water. Instead, she notes, most researchers believe that a combination of events must occur, likely simultaneously for life to get a start and then to be maintained. Journal information: Science More information: Scratching the surface of martian habitability, Science 12 December 2014: Vol. 346 no. 6215 pp. 1288-1289, DOI: 10.1126/science.1259943 AbstractEarth and Mars, though formed at the same time from the same materials, look very different today. Early in their histories they evolved through some of the same processes, but at some point their evolutionary paths diverged, sending them in perhaps irrevocably different directions. Knowledge of the factors that contributed to such different outcomes will help to determine how planets become habitable and how common habitable planets may be. The Mars surface environment is harsh today, but in situ measurements of ancient sedimentary rock by Mars Science Laboratory reveal chemical and mineralogical evidence of past conditions that might have been more favorable for life to exist. But chemistry is only part of what is required to make an environment habitable. Physical conditions constrain the chemical reactions that underlie life processes; the chemical and physical characteristics that make planets habitable are thus entangled. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more