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Archive for October, 2015

Which best captures the fleeting present — past or future?

Monday, October 26th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — architectural history as a question in philosophy — Palmyra ]
.

Future?

Past?

**

I’ll admit my preference for “past” — but is it just “the patina of antiquity”I’m appreciating?

What building from the first decades of this millennium might people think worth preserving — or destroying — a thousand years hence?

And what if the present should arise and fade, unaided?

Sunday surprise: what’s your health tipple?

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — cheers! ]
.

Here’s our topic statement:

beer wine

**

Okay. I thought you might like to know:

Exercise training (ET) improves endurance capacity by increasing both skeletal muscle mitochondrial number and function, as well as contributing to favourable cardiac remodelling. Interestingly, some of the benefits of regular exercise can also be mimicked by the naturally occurring polyphenol, resveratrol (RESV). However, it is not known whether RESV enhances physiological adaptations to ET. To investigate this, male Wistar rats were randomly assigned to a control chow diet or a chow diet that contained RESV (4 g kg-1 of diet) and subsequently subjected to a programme of progressive treadmill running for 12 weeks. ET-induced improvements in exercise performance were enhanced by 21% (P < 0.001) by the addition of RESV to the diet. In soleus muscle, ET + RESV increased both the twitch (1.8-fold; P < 0.05) and tetanic (1.2-fold; P < 0.05) forces generated during isometric contraction, compared to ET alone. In vivo echocardiography demonstrated that ET + RESV also increased the resting left ventricular ejection fraction by 10% (P < 0.05), and reduced left ventricular wall stress compared to ET alone. These functional changes were accompanied by increased cardiac fatty acid oxidation (1.2-fold; P < 0.05) and favourable changes in cardiac gene expression and signal transduction pathways that optimized the utilization of fatty acids in ET + RESV compared to ET alone. Overall, our findings provide evidence that the capacity for fatty acid oxidation is augmented by the addition of RESV to the diet during ET, and that this may contribute to the improved physical performance of rats following ET.

  • Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Xanthohumol, a Polyphenol Chalcone Present in Hops, Activating Nrf2 Enzymes To Confer Protection against Oxidative Damage in PC12 Cells
  • and:

    Xanthohumol (2?,4?,4-trihydroxy-6?-methoxy-3?-prenylchalcone, Xn), a polyphenol chalcone from hops (Humulus lupulus), has received increasing attention due to its multiple pharmacological activities. As an active component in beers, its presence has been suggested to be linked to the epidemiological observation of the beneficial effect of regular beer drinking. In this work, we synthesized Xn with a total yield of 5.0% in seven steps and studied its neuroprotective function against oxidative-stress-induced neuronal cell damage in the neuronlike rat pheochromocytoma cell line PC12. Xn displays moderate free-radical-scavenging capacity in vitro. More importantly, pretreatment of PC12 cells with Xn at submicromolar concentrations significantly upregulates a panel of phase II cytoprotective genes as well as the corresponding gene products, such as glutathione, heme oxygenase, NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase, thioredoxin, and thioredoxin reductase. A mechanistic study indicates that the ?,?-unsaturated ketone structure in Xn and activation of the transcription factor Nrf2 are key determinants for the cytoprotection of Xn. Targeting the Nrf2 by Xn discloses a previously unrecognized mechanism underlying the biological action of Xn. Our results demonstrate that Xn is a novel small-molecule activator of Nrf2 in neuronal cells and suggest that Xn might be a potential candidate for the prevention of neurodegenerative disorders.

  • The Journal of Physiology, Improvements in skeletal muscle strength and cardiac function induced by resveratrol during exercise training contribute to enhanced exercise performance in rats
  • I know, I know, I should credit authors and give DOI numbers — but so many Style Manuals, so little patience.

    **

    Or to put the point less demandingly:

    SPEC tipple

    So — how much got lost in translation?

    Sources:

  • HuffPo, A Glass Of Red Wine Is The Equivalent To An Hour At The Gym, Says New Study
  • IBT, Drinking Beer Slows Down Alzheimer’s And Parkinson’s Disease
  • Of related interest:

  • HuffPo, Drinking Red Wine May Help Regulate Blood Sugar
  • **

    Or is it blonde vs brunette?

    SPEC DQ blonde brunette

    extrovert vs introvert?

    or just another skirmish in the class wars, perhaps?

    Two serpent-eats-tail views of the Brennan email hack

    Sunday, October 25th, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — spy vs spy as delicate moral balance ]
    .

    spy vs spy

    There are two sentences in When The Hackers Become The Hacked: Why Reading John Brennan’s Emails Feels Wrong, Ali Watkins‘ HuffPo piece a couple of days ago, that feature a neat sense of paradox, and what’s most interesting about them is that they show us two different sides of the coin.

    The first [upper panel, below] has a bit of an “ooh, look” feel to it, finding its turning point in the fact that the keeper of secrets has had his own secrets exposed:

    SPEC Brennan

    while the second [lower panel, above] centers on how it feels “from the inside“.

    **

    All of which reminds me of the Talmudic distinction between the Israelites’ view, watching as their enemies the Egyptians perish in the Red Sea, and God’s view, seeing the Egyptian plight from the inside as it were, encapsulated in R Johanan‘s phrase:

    My creatures are drowning in the sea, and you want to sing songs!

    Kudos to Ali Watkins.

    Patricia, the gathering storm

    Friday, October 23rd, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — spiral storming in the atmosphere, spiral vertiginous in the mind, inbound ]
    .

    Visual and verbal expressions of computational cognition:

    SPEC Patricia visual verbal

    Which conveys the most, which is most easily grasped, and how much do the models know?

    Sources:

  • Slatest, Patricia, Strongest Hurricane in History, Nears Mexico Landfall
  • Tribune, Forecasters: Patricia is strongest hurricane ever recorded in Western hemisphere
  • **

    Need to know, and why?

    SPEC Patricia need to know

    The zoom in, from need to know to why, exactly?

    Sources:

  • New York Times, Hurricane Patricia: What You Need to Know
  • New Scientist, Did climate change set the scene for hurricanes like Patricia?
  • **

    Cognitive dissonance:

    SPEC Patricia cog diss

    Cognitive dissonance, the human condition — or counterpoint, as understood by Bach and Glenn Gould?

    Sources:

  • NPR, Why Hurricane Patricia Can’t Be Blamed On Climate Change
  • Wired, Thank El Niño and Climate Change for Huge Hurricane Patricia
  • Roff, Danks and Danks meme meets the Turing Test

    Friday, October 23rd, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — once again learning the language i already speak ]
    .

    SPEC danks meme meets turing test

    **

    Okay, now the humor:

    Pursuant to my interest in learning the language which is now my mother tongue — including such terms as sperg out and edgelord —– Adam Elkus today updated me on the concept of the Dank Meme

    Dank meme? It’s another of those serpent eats tail things:

    Dank Meme Urban Dict

    — scrambling my mind in time for breakfast by introducing me to Thomas the Dank Engine:

    I must admit I’m more used to his Tank Engine cousin:

    **

    I’m a big fan of Gordon, the fictional anthropomorphic tender locomotive, by the way — it’s a clan thing.


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