Fractal Analysis: Famous Works by Artists Like Dali Showed Early Signs of Disease

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Brushstrokes in paintings could help early diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases, according to a study published on Thursday of works by famous sufferers such as Salvador Dali and Willem De Kooning.

The analysis was carried out on 2,092 paintings, including those of two artists with Parkinson’s disease, Dali and Norval Morrisseau, and two with Alzheimer’s disease, De Kooning and James Brooks.

Works by Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet, who were not know to suffer from any such disease, were also included for comparison.

“Knowing that you have a problem sooner rather than later is always going to be an important medical breakthrough,” said Alex Forsythe from the University of Liverpool, one of the authors of the study.

Fractal analysis — a way to study patterns that is already used to spot fake paintings — was used to gauge the relative complexity of the works.

Fractals are often described as “fingerprints of nature.”

For De Kooning and Brooks, the study showed a sharp decrease in the complexity starting around the age of 40 — long before their Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

De Kooning received an official diagnosis in 1989 — the year he turned 85 — and Brooks when he turned 79. Read the rest of this entry »


Oliver Sacks, Neurologist Who Wrote ‘Awakenings,’ Dies at 82

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The acclaimed author, whose book Awakenings inspired an Oscar nominated film of the same name, reportedly died of cancer at his home in New York.

“He died surrounded by the things he loved and the people he loved, very peacefully, after an illness he had known about since January this year. He taught us a great deal, right up until the very end.”

In February he wrote about his illness – and being “face to face with dying”.

His publicist Jacqui Graham paid tribute to Dr Sacks, saying he was “unlike anybody I have ever met”, while JK Rowling said he was “inspirational”.

Dr Sacks was best known for his writing, including his book Awakenings – his account of how he brought a group of patients “back to life” after they spent years in “frozen states” after an illness.

Image caption Dr Sacks received a CBE from the Queen in October 2008

Image caption Dr Sacks received a CBE from the Queen in October 2008

The film version, which starred Robert De Niro and Robin Williams, was nominated for three Academy Awards in 1991, including best picture.

“He always taught us what it was to be human, and he taught us what it is to die.”

— His publicist Jacqui Graham, paying tribute to Dr Sacks

Dr Sacks, who was born in London but had lived in New York since 1965, was also the author of several other books about unusual medical conditions, including The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat and The Island Of The Colorblind.

He was awarded several honorary degrees recognising his contribution to science and literature, as well as a CBE in 2008 in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Read the rest of this entry »


Two Down: Reddit CEO Ellen Pao Resigns

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MARCH 10:  Ellen Pao leaves the California Superior Court Civic Center Courthouse during a lunch break from her trial on March 10, 2015 in San Francisco, California. Reddit interim CEO Ellen Pao is suing her former employer, Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers, for $16 million alleging she was sexually harassed by male officials. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Reddit CEO Ellen Pao has resigned after a week of uproar over the company’s firing of long-time staffer Victoria Taylor. Pao, who was serving as Reddit’s interim CEO, is leaving the company and also resigning her seat on Reddit’s board…(read more)

Variety

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The news of Pao’s resignation comes only hours after OPM Director Resigns over Hack. Who will be #3?  Would Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake‘s resignation be too much to hope for?

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Pao Out as Reddit CEO; Co-Founder Huffman Takes Over

Re/Code‘s  reports:

Ellen Pao is stepping down as Reddit’s CEO, a move that comes amid mounting pressure after a series of management mishaps that has angered its very vocal online community. Steve Huffman, Reddit co-founder and its original CEO, is Asa Mathat for Re/code MEDIAtaking over immediately.
In an interview this afternoon, Pao said the departure was a “mutual decision” with the board, due in part to different views on growth potential. “They had a more aggressive view than I did,” she said.

When I asked her directly if she was fired, Pao laughed and said, “Thanks for getting right to the point,” but again underscored that she resigned. Reddit board member and Y Combinator head Sam Altman answered more definitively about whether she was ousted: “No.”

Perhaps it is a matter of semantics, as it seemed that Pao — who has been interim CEO at the company — was inevitably headed for the exit after the ire over the firing of a support staffer for the site’s many moderators morphed and mutated into loud and sometimes vile calls for her ouster….(read more)

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Chart: The backlash against Reddit CEO Ellen Pao

For QuartzAlice Truong reports: Ever since a popular moderator was fired July 2, users have been taking aim at Ellen Pao, the social message board’s interim CEO. They’ve shut down hundreds of forums in protest, abandoned the site for new competitors, and called for Pao’s resignation with a Change.org petition (211,000 signatures and counting)…

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…The chart above created by Imgur user fantasia123, which was shared on Reddit, charts Pao’s comment karma. (A bit of background: On Reddit, accumulating karma is akin to collecting points in a video game. Users get karma when their posts or comments are upvoted by other community members, and they lose it when they are downvoted. Though karma can’t be redeemed for anything, it’s like a badge of honor and publicly displayed next to people’s usernames.) Read the rest of this entry »


Prison Inmate Neil Moore ESCAPES by Faking an Email Ordering His Own Release

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 writes: Neil Moore was locked up in England’s notorious Wandsworth Prison when he used a smuggled cellphone to send an email to the prison that appeared to come from a court clerk who was ordering his release on parole.

“A lot of criminal ingenuity harbours in the mind of Mr Moore. The case is one of extraordinary criminal inventiveness, deviousness and creativity, all apparently the developed expertise of this defendant.”

The prison figured out what had happened three days later when his lawyer showed up to interview him and he was gone. He turned himself in to the police three days after that. Moore is a convicted fraudster who stole £1.8M with social engineering techniques, including a gift for voice impersonation.

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Southwark Crown Court heard he had set up a fake web domain which closely resembled that of the court service’s official address.

He then emailed the prison’s custody inbox with instructions for his release. Read the rest of this entry »


Sterling Trial Begins; Donald Not Present

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LOS ANGELES (KABC) — For ABC7 Robert Holguin reports: After a morning delay, the trial that could make or break the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers got underway on Monday. But, Donald Sterling was nowhere to be found.

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[VIDEO] Watch Robert Holguin’s report here.

The legal battle between Donald Sterling and his estranged wife, Shelly, was caught in a “procedural limbo” during the morning session, after his attorneys filed a motion to shift the case to federal court.

But a federal judge ruled the case did not belong in federal court and sent it back to probate court.

When the trial finally started late in the afternoon, attorneys wanted to hear first from Donald Sterling, who was not there. Read the rest of this entry »


Why is Coffee Good? Because, Reasons

Coffee isn’t just warm and energizing, it may also be extremely good for you.

coffee-from-potIn recent years and decades, scientists have studied the effects of coffee on various aspects of health and their results have been nothing short of amazing.

Here are 7 reasons why coffee may actually be one of the healthiest beverages on the planet.

1. Coffee Can Make You Smarter

Coffee doesn’t just keep you awake, it may literally make you smarter as well.

The active ingredient in coffee is caffeine, which is a stimulant and the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world.    Read the rest of this entry »


Neuro-Waste Management: Sleep

A brain-designed computer seen at an electronic entertainment event on August 21, 2012 in Berlin.

A brain-designed computer seen at an electronic entertainment event on August 21, 2012 in Berlin.

Like a janitor sweeping the halls after the lights go out, major changes occur in the brain during sleep to flush out waste and ward off disease, researchers said Thursday.

The research in the journal Science offers new answers to explain why people spend a third of their lives asleep and may help in treating dementia and other neurological disorders.

In lab experiments on mice, researchers observed how cellular waste was flushed out via the brain’s blood vessels into the body’s circulatory system and eventually the liver.

These waste products included amyloid beta, a protein that when accumulated is a driver of Alzheimer’s disease.

In order to help remove the waste, cerebral spinal fluid is pumped through brain tissue.

Read the rest of this entry »