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My daughters and I collaborated in a nice cross disciplinary study.

Here is what I am reading today:

“(Medical Xpress)—A team of researchers at Harvard University has found that the drug Valproate (valproic acid—normally used as a mood stabilizer) appears to offer a reset switch of sorts—those that take it find a part of their brain, the researchers say, resorting to that of a child—open to suggestion—and able to allow for learning to gain (absolute) perfect pitch. In their paper published in Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, the researchers describe a study they undertook of Valproate, where mice given the drug were able to develop skills generally only possible learned as pups and where human volunteers were able make gains in learning to have perfect pitch.”

“Deanna Barch talks fast, as if she doesn’t want to waste any time getting to the task at hand, which is substantial. She is one of the researchers here at Washington University working on the first interactive wiring diagram of the living, working human brain….

“When it comes to other events of 2014, partisans largely agree on what they are looking forward to. The Olympics and Super Bowl are high on both parties’ lists, while the World Cup ranks much lower; roughly equal shares are looking forward to this summer’s international soccer tournament (22% overall). However, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say they are especially looking forward to the Academy Awards (36% vs. 20%).”

“Recently, Casali et al have presented a quantitative metric. It provides, according to the authors, a numerical measure of consciousness, separating vegetative states from minimally conscious states. The study provides hints of being able to identify the enigmatic locked-in state, in which the subject is conscious but is unable to communicate with the external world due to motor deficits. What is most interesting is the claim that the measures provide scientific insight into consciousness, by providing an objective measure.”

“We hope you’re not afraid of heights, because this even made our palms sweat. What you see below is a mountain in China called Mt. Hua Shan. At its base, you’ll find a gigantic set of stone stairs, called “the Heavenly Stairs.””

“Friends come and go, but the number of close friends you have may remain surprisingly constant. That’s the main result from a new study in which researchers used cell phone data from British secondary school students as they transitioned to university to track how many close social connections they maintained. The research also suggests that people have distinct social “signatures,” or patterns of intimacy with others, which they tend to maintain over time.”