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Posted: 14 Mar 2015 08:04 PM PDT
Posted: 14 Mar 2015 07:37 PM PDT
I find it very interesting that 'temptation' may lie within the
'syn' - apse. Greg
Excerpt from huffingtonpost.com
Lack of self-control is at the root of many personal and social ills, from alcoholism to obesity. Even when we are well aware of the costs, many of us are simply unable to curb our desires and control our impulses. Indeed, so daunting is this psychological challenge that an estimate four in every ten American deaths is attributed to self-control failure of one kind or another.
Psychological scientists have been puzzling over this problem for years, but the answer remains elusive. Recently, researchers in the U.S. and Europe have been taking a different approach. They have been trying to integrate different disciplines, and different investigative strategies, to see if this approach might illuminate the dynamics of desire and self-control. Among those scientists is the University of Cologne's Wilhelm Hofmann, who with colleagues has been combining neuroimaging and experience sampling, searching for brain markers that predict whether people give in to their desires (or resist) in daily life. Hofmann discussed some of this ongoing work this week in Amsterdam, at the first International Convention of Psychological Science, a meeting organized specifically to share such innovative cross-disciplinary research.
It's difficult to study individual desire and self-discipline, because many self-reports are biased and unreliable. To get around this obstacle, Hofmann and his colleagues used an fMRI scanner to observe subjects' brains as they viewed appetizing foods--desserts, fast foods, and so forth. Specifically, they recorded neural activity in the volunteers' nucleus accumbens, or NAcc, a region of the forebrain associated with pleasure and reward. They also recorded neural activity in the inferior frontal gyrus, or IFG, while volunteers were performing a self-control task. The IFG plays an important part in inhibiting action.
The scientists wanted to see if neural activity in these two brain regions predicted actual desire and self-regulation in these volunteers' daily lives. So after the brain scanning was completed, the scientists gave the subjects Blackberries, which they used for a week of experience sampling: Each day, the scientists signaled the subjects every two hours, or seven times a day, and had them complete a short survey. They reported on any desires they might have experienced in the previous half hour, the strength of those desires, their resistance to the desire, and finally, whether they had given into the desire and eaten--and if so, how much.
The idea was to see if neural markers for desire and resistance, taken together, could identify individuals who are more likely to give in to temptation to eat, hour by hour. And they did, clearly. Neural reactivity in the NAcc in response to tempting snacks and sweets--this brain activity significantly predicted the strength of subjects' desire for food, their failure to control their desires, and even how much they ate. Additionally, those who recruited the IFG when faced with a self-control task--these subjects were less likely to succumb to temptation in daily life--and they also ate less.
These findings demonstrate the importance of individual differences in how people experience and respond to everyday temptation. These differences--how well or poorly individuals exert control in the face of temptation--appear to arise from brain mechanisms for both reward processing and regulation of responses. It's not just that people with self-control problems respond abnormally to food cues, and it's not just that they fail to inhibit their actions--it's apparently both. These abnormalities--and their neural signatures--may very well underlie other appetites and addictions, including binge drinking, compulsive gambling and risky sex.
WrayHerbert is reporting this week from the first International Convention of Psychological Science in Amsterdam.
Posted: 14 Mar 2015 07:20 PM PDT
Excerpt from huffingtonpost.com
When the National Atomic Testing Museum of Las Vegas opened its "Area 51: Myth or Reality" exhibit two years ago, it became an instant hit. It wasn't just the only place that had a comprehensive knowledge of Area 51 -- it gave a venue to former employees of America's top secret military base to present their involvement in declassified projects.
Today, the museum is expanding.
"Area 51: Myth or Reality" is re-opening its doors today to give the public more of the truth about one of the most secretive military installations. After all, Area 51 is the same facility that spawned America's stealth fighter technology as well as decades of speculation about the alleged testing of recovered UFOs.
"It's fair to say that an awful lot of people were very skeptical of us presenting anything that had to do with UFOs and space travel and aliens. But I felt compelled to at least address that part of the story in this Area 51 exhibit, so that became a big part of it," said museum executive director and CEO Allan Palmer.
Palmer, a former distinguished Air Forceand Navy jet fighter pilot, told The Huffington Post what people can expect from the newly-tweaked Area 51 exhibit.
"We've added some really interesting elements to the exhibit that weren't there before -- some extra artifacts, a different look and feel to make more of a definition between the myth and reality sides of the exhibit. We wanted to create the experience for the visitor of going through Area 51, first of all, just knowing what it is and getting a little bit of in-character view as you walk in, a briefing by the guards, admonishing you not to tell anybody about what's going on and keeping it to yourself."
The National Atomic Testing Museum -- one of a handful of national museums -- is the most logical place to house an exhibit devoted to Area 51, which is located about 100 miles north of Las Vegas.
The museum contains more than 12,000 artifacts related to the history of the development and testing of nuclear bombs.
Up until 1989, the public didn't know much about Area 51. There were reports of strange-looking lights in the sky in the general vicinity of what's now known as a military installation, but that's about it.
During that year, KLAS-TV news reporter George Knapp publicly broke the Area 51 story after an interview he conducted with Bob Lazar, who claimed to be a government physicist performing research on recovered alien technology at the top secret Nevada military base. Lazar's story included allegations of a campaign of intimidation against him.
Palmer, who also hosts a weekly Las Vegas-based radio program, "Myth or Reality," on KXNT-FM, told HuffPost he was all set to dismantle the Area 51 exhibit after its first two years, but thought better of it.
"It was so successful and was filling a need and a gap that existed. Nobody else really has dealt seriously with that whole business of Area 51 and UFOs and aliens that go with it, so we really felt obligated to do it, and at the end of two years, people still wanted to see it. It still has broad appeal, not just here in the museum, but throughout America and internationally, so we decided to change it a bit to make it more interesting, user-friendly and exciting, and I think the public is going to be really thrilled when they see what we've done with it."Today's re-opening of the Area 51 exhibit will include appearances by former employees of Area 51 -- government workers, test engineers, radar experts and pilots. KLAS-TV's multi-Emmy Award-winning Knapp, retired military officials, including Air Force Col. Charles Halt and Army Col. John Alexander, as well as former British Ministry of Defence UFO investigator Nick Pope will all be in attendance.
The exhibit features an alleged "authentic alien artifact" -- small pieces of material that came from a reported 1986 UFO crash in Russia.
Also on display are unique UFO photographs from the personal collection of Robert Bigelow, founder of Bigelow Aerospace, that is creating the next generation of spacecraft.
Palmer personally selected Bigelow's UFO images to include in the Area 51 exhibit.
"What's remarkable about them is that they were original negatives -- not prints -- they were negatives that we made prints from, so we know they were not doctored, they're all pre-Photoshop. These are photographic images of UFOs from around the world, going back to the 1940s up through the 70s. In some of the images, you can see that they may be confused with some naturally occurring phenomena, but there are others that are clearly not."
Posted: 14 Mar 2015 07:08 PM PDT
Excerpt from yahoo.com
Lockheed Martin and NASA’s N+2 jet could cut cross-country flight times in half. New York to Los Angeles in just over two hours? Passenger jets that fly faster than the speed of sound without that annoying sonic boom?
That could become reality thanks to two projects that aim to bring supersonic planes back to commercial air travel. Lockheed Martin is working with NASA on a design called the N+2, an 80-passenger jet capable of cruising at Mach 1.7 (1.7 times the speed of sound).
But what about that loud sonic boom you get when an airplane exceeds the sound barrier? Lockheed Martin and NASA are working hard to lower the boom, so to speak. They say their proposed new jet will be 100 times quieter than the Concorde, the supersonic passenger jets that flew transatlantic routes from 1969 until they were grounded in 2003.
A quieter jet would allow the N+2 to fly at supersonic speeds on cross-country routes as the FAA, concerned about sonic booms going off over sleepy U.S. suburbs, currently bans civilian planes from going all “Danger Zone” in American airspace. Lockheed Martin says their new jet would cut cross-country flight times in half. Related: Race for the First Windowless Plane Heats Up A rival supersonic jet development project is underway in Reno, Nevada, where European aircraft maker Airbus is working with American firm Aerion on a new, fuel-efficient plane for business clients. The 12-passenger Aerion AS2 will fly at 1,217 mph (which is almost as fast as the Concorde, which flew at 1,350 mph). That would take you from New York to London in three hours and from Los Angeles to Tokyo in six.
Since the AS2 would do most of its flying over oceans, its designers aren’t as concerned with loud sonic booms. The AS2’s big innovation is fuel efficiency, with new wings that are said to reduce drag by 20 percent. The makers of the AS2 plan to deliver their first plane in 2022 while Lockheed Martin hopes to have the N+2 flying in 2025.
Posted: 14 Mar 2015 06:55 PM PDT
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