News Mash: Did Science need to tell me about its fascianting criminal studies? No, but I appreciate it!

Scientists and criminals…

Two groups, when viewed separately, definitely lack cohesion.

But if pair together, regarding crime research?

Perfect fit!

[via PopSci]Brain Scan Predicts Whether Convicts Will Re-Offend: Welcome To The Sci-Fi Future ~by Dan Nosowitz

Researchers at the Mind Research Network in New Mexico–a non-profit, partially government-funded neuroscience facility–have discovered a way to predict whether released convicts will return to their own ways. Sort of.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found a correlation between activity in the anterior cingulate cortex of the brain and criminal activity. Researchers used fMRI machines on a population of 96 male convicts, then “followed” them for the next four years (we assume this means “checked their criminal records” and not “skulked after them while wearing balaclavas) to see whether they’d relapse. Many did, of course; the US is not a friendly place for an ex-convict, and there’s a high rate of relapse. But the correlation between the findings from the fMRI is what’s interesting here.

The anterior cingulate cortex is the section of the brain that circles around the corpus callosum, in the central-front part of the brain. It’s responsible, we think, for some involuntary functions like regulating heart rate and blood pressure, but there’s also some evidence that it has an impact on emotional response, motivation, and error detection, among other functions. In one study, increased activity in the anterior cingulate cortex was seen when study participants were shown particularly emotional video clips.

But in this study, men with lower activity in the anterior cingulate cortex were found to be significantly more likely to commit crimes after their release. It’s a significant correlation: men in the bottom half of anterior cingulate cortex activity were 2.6 times more likely to be arrested for violent crimes and 4.3 times more likely to be arrested for nonviolent crimes.

…[Read More]

Especially for other Info Addicts like myself…

I mean, knowing that criminal gangs act like pacts of animals in the wild, and as a result their fight locations can be predicted with 99% certainty?

Honestly, who needs to know this?



[via DailyMail]How gang members behave like animals… and maths experts are now predicting where they will fight rivals Criminal gang-ishwith 99% accuracy ~By Amanda Williams

Maths experts have used geometric equations learned from wild animals to predict the location of fights between rival gangs with almost 99 per cent accuracy.

Jeffrey Brantingham, an anthropologist at UCLA, in California, who uses statistics to study crime, has employed a theory devised by Alfred Lotka, an American statistician, and Vito Volterra, an Italian mathematician, in the 1920s.

The pair observed that similarly sized rival groups of a species – from lions to hyenas – claim territories whose boundaries form a perpendicular line halfway between each group’s home, be it a den or a beehive.

Their findings – called the Lotka- Volterra equations – have been long used as a staple of ecological theory.

Brantingham applied it to 13 equally sized criminal gangs from the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles’ East Side.

He and his team, aided by police, identified an area or ‘anchor point’ which functioned as the gang’s home base and used the Lotka- Volterra equation to draw borders between the turfs, Smithsonian.comreports.

Brantingham said that according to the equation, if the gangs are equal in ability, the boundary between them was equi-distant and perpendicular between their anchor points. He added: ‘It’s a nice, simple, geometric organization.’

According to the equations, researchers then predicted where the violence between the rivals gangs was most likely to take place. They predicted 58.8 per cent would occur less than a fifth of a mile from the borders, 87.5 per cent within two-fifths of a mile and 99.8 per cent within a mile.

Analysis of 563 gang-related shootings in the area between 1999 and 2002, showed researchers their predictions were almost exactly accurate, with the location of real-life shootings being 58.2 per cent, 83.1 per cent and 97.7 per cent, respectively.

Brantingham, who said his mapping method better reflects criminal activity than other police methods because it is not dictated to by geography,  is continuing to test the territory maps.

…[Read More]

So what am I saying?

Other than this information does me little, immediate benefit from the knowing…

Unless one counts the joys I will receive, when I recount my “knowledge” to others at a later date?

Oh, and believe you me…

I count it!

You should to.

There is joy in the simple knowing–Never doubt it!

News Mash: Natural, traditional medicines are only ‘implausible’…Until they are not!

When it comes to traditional medicines…

And natural ‘cures’?

Science isn’t buying it.

I mean, if they did, what would happen to all of their Big Pharma funding? Duh!

[via PopSci]Is Homeopathy Really As Implausible As It Sounds?

The new British minister of health has recently become the target of scorn and mockery, after a science writer with The Telegraph noted that he supports homeopathy, a branch of alternative medicine most health experts view as quackery. But just how quackish is it?

Quick as Western doctors are to equate alternative medicine with utter nonsense, there’s a difference between something that hasn’t been proven to work and something that couldn’t possibly work. The tools available for understanding the body are largely blunt, and some alternative theories have gained traction as those tools sharpen. Improvements in brain imaging technology, for example, have shown that meditation—a practice long dismissed by Western doctors as pure mysticism—can improve both the structure and function of the brain.

The form of alternative medicine known as Homeopathy was developed by a German physician around the turn of the 19th century. For two and a half centuries, it has sustained a solid following: According to the National Center for Homeopathy, over 100 million people worldwide use homeopathic medicine. There are—according to the Center’s website—eighteen homeopathic doctors within a ten-mile radius of Popular Science’s office in New York. Could it be that the practice of homeopathy is simply untested and unfairly stigmatized, or is it truly implausible?

All homeopathic remedies are available in a huge range of concentrations. But there’s a big difference: those concentrations are really small. In homeopathy, less is more, so homeopaths think of a large dose as a high dilution, instead of a high concentration.

In fact, most available treatments are sold at even more absurd dilutions. Oscillococcinum, a popular flu remedy derived from duck liver and made by Boiron, a French manufacturer of homeopathic cures, comes in a standard dilution of 400X.

At this low concentration, to ensure you actually did ingest one molecule you would have to swallow about 10380 pills—many, many more pills than there are atoms in the universe.

And that’s pretty implausible. [Read More]

But unfortunately for Big Pharma…

Slowly, some opinions are being changed in the scientific community.

And yes, I did only say “some” so no need to get excited yet.


It’s nice to have hope!

[via io9]Gathering Scientific Evidence that Traditional Medicines Can Work ~by Sophie Bushwick

Traditional medicine doesn’t just fill up the health food aisle at the supermarket — it could help make everybody healthier. But how can we figure out which ancient herbal remedies actually work, and which ones are just hype? An estimated 10,000 to 53,000 plant species were traditionally used as medicines, and only some of those could have bioactive molecules with actual molecules. That’s a lot of plants to sort through.

But now, a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that we can find out — by comparing the plants that multiple different cultures adopted as remedies.

For example, say a plant often used to cure headaches in an ancient Nepalese culture was closely related to a plant used for the same purpose in South Africa. The communication-crippling geographical distance between these two cultures indicates that they discovered their headache cures independently. So they probably began using these plants because the flora had real pain-killing abilities. This plant family may produce valuable bioactive compounds.

The authors conclude that the plants near hot nodes on the cross-cultural plant family tree are more likely to have biological effects on the human body, and should become targets for drug development. “More than 80% of plant species have not been investigated for bioactivity and methods to distinguish those plants most likely to be bioactive when selecting species for further testing are needed,” they write. “The finding that medicinal plant use shows strong phylogenetic clustering indicates targeting close relatives of plants with known bioactivity or phylogenetic medicinal hotspots identified as hot nodes is a good strategy for focused screening.” [Read More]

Cause honestly, if everyone started turning away from dangerous of our drug crazed medical science establishment…

Big Pharma, and the drugs they insidiously push on humanity, would come to irreparable harm.

Oh, wait.

That’s not a bad thing…

Please carry on, turn away as you please.

No really…


News Mash: The tiny size of bugs today is due to birds. Thank you, birds!


Make for a nice day when I can learn something new about myself.

Such as?

Oh, I am in love with bird. Madly. And have just uncovered this once deeply buried passion.


Because of THIS:

[via eScienceNews] Giant insects ruled the prehistoric skies during periods when Earth’s atmosphere was rich in oxygen. Then came the birds. After the evolution of birds about 150 million years ago, insects got smaller despite rising oxygen levels, according to a new study by scientists at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Insects reached their biggest sizes about 300 million years ago during the late Carboniferous and early Permian periods. This was the reign of the predatory griffinflies, giant dragonfly-like insects with wingspans of up to 28 inches (70 centimeters). The leading theory attributes their large size to high oxygen concentrations in the atmosphere (over 30 percent, compared to 21 percent today), which allowed giant insects to get enough oxygen through the tiny breathing tubes that insects use instead of lungs.

The new study takes a close look at the relationship between insect size and prehistoric oxygen levels. Matthew Clapham, an assistant professor of Earth and planetary sciences at UC Santa Cruz, and Jered Karr, a UCSC graduate student who began working on the project as an undergraduate, compiled a huge dataset of wing lengths from published records of fossil insects, then analyzed insect size in relation to oxygen levels over hundreds of millions of years of insect evolution. Their findings are published in the June 4 online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). [Read More]

And because, there exists…

A vampire spider that science is just NOW discovering, and to what degree, it hunts it prey.

This spider looks for two things: Girly appendages and for victims plump full of blood.

[via LiveScience] Jumping spiders, also known as vampire spiders, have a very specific diet: female mosquitoes that have just fed on blood. A new study using “Franken-mosquitoes”— glued-together parts of different mosquitoes — finds that the spiders check for not only a blood-red belly but also for girly antennae while choosing where to pounce.

“In the past it was thought that jumping spiders responded to very basic stimuli that triggered predatory behavior. Something along the lines of, ‘It is small and it moves, therefore it is prey,'” study researcher Ximena Nelson, of the University of Canterbury, in New Zealand, told LiveScience.

The new study indicates they are much pickier eaters than that, Nelson said: “It is clear from these results that this type of ‘algorithm’ is not used by E. culicivora [the jumping spider]. At the very least, it is much more sophisticated.” [Read More]

I am so glad, that thanks to birds?

These spiders are ‘bottom of my shoe’ size…

In other words?

Very smashable.


Thank you birds.