Daily Archives: July 11, 2017

Within 30 years we will no longer use sex to procreate, says Stanford professor

Within three decades people will no longer be having sex to procreate, a professor from Stanford University has said.

Hank Greely, the director of Stanford’s Law School’s Center for Law and the Biosciences, believes the reproductive process will begin with parents choosing from a range of embryos created in a lab with their DNA.

Although this can already take place, Mr Greely believes it will become far cheaper to do so and couples will opt for this method to prevent diseases.

The process involves taking a female skin sample to create stem cells, which is then used to create eggs.

These eggs are then fertilised with sperm cells, resulting in a selection of embryos.

continue http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/sex-procreation-hank-greely-stanford-professor-prediction-humans-no-longer-reproduce-a7821676.html

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Professor: I Don’t Trust White People, They All Need To “Resign From Their Position of Power”

The University of Hawaii professor who wanted universities to stop hiring white men also said, “I don’t trust white people” and “cis het white people need to lose more,” according to screenshots obtained Friday by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Piper Harron, a temporary assistant math professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, made these remarks and others on Facebook in May and June 2017.

“I need to take a long break from disagreeing with white people,” Harron wrote in May. “Their Have You Considereds have worn me down and I’m showing signs of weakness. If you wanna know why I don’t trust white people, it’s because of what that trust costs me.”

continue http://thefederalistpapers.org/us/professor-dont-trust-white-people-need

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Cuckoos mimic the sound of musk hogs to avoid being eaten

Banded Ground-Cuckoo (Neomorphus radiolosus) perched on a branch in Ecuador, South America.
Hog mimicker

All Canada Photos/Alamy Stock Photo

Bird or beast? A cuckoo seems to have learned how to mimic the sounds made by the pig-like peccaries it lives alongside, perhaps to ward off predators.

The Neomorphus ground cuckoos live in forests in Central and South America, where they often follow herds of wild peccaries so they can feed on the invertebrates that the peccaries disturb as they plough through the leaf litter.

Ecologists have noticed that when the cuckoos clap their beaks together they sound a lot like the tooth clacks the peccaries make to deter large predatory cats. To find out whether this is just coincidence or evidence of mimicry, Cibele Biondo at the Federal University of ABC in Brazil and her team analysed the cuckoo and peccary sounds, and compared them with the beak clapping sounds made by roadrunners – close relatives of the ground cuckoos.

Logically, the cuckoos should sound most similar to roadrunners, given that the two are closely related. But the analysis suggested otherwise. “The acoustic characteristics are more similar to the teeth clacking of peccaries,” says Biondo.

continue https://www.newscientist.com/article/2139386-cuckoos-mimic-the-sound-of-musk-hogs-to-avoid-being-eaten/

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Tylenol May Kill Kindness

Abstract

Simulation theories of empathy hypothesize that empathizing with others’ pain shares some common psychological computations with the processing of one’s own pain. Support for this perspective has largely relied on functional neuroimaging evidence of an overlap between activations during the experience of physical pain and empathy for other people’s pain. Here, we extend the functional overlap perspective to the neurochemical level and test whether a common physical painkiller, acetaminophen (paracetamol), can reduce empathy for another’s pain. In two double-blind placebo-controlled experiments, participants rated perceived pain, personal distress and empathic concern in response to reading scenarios about another’s physical or social pain, witnessing ostracism in the lab, or visualizing another study participant receiving painful noise blasts. As hypothesized, acetaminophen reduced empathy in response to others’ pain. Acetaminophen also reduced the unpleasantness of noise blasts delivered to the participant, which mediated acetaminophen’s effects on empathy. Together, these findings suggest that the physical painkiller acetaminophen reduces empathy for pain and provide a new perspective on the neurochemical bases of empathy. Because empathy regulates prosocial and antisocial behavior, these drug-induced reductions in empathy raise concerns about the broader social side effects of acetaminophen, which is taken by almost a quarter of adults in the United States each week.

“I feel your pain.” – President William J. Clinton.

Bill Clinton’s memorable line during the 1992 presidential campaign (New York Times, 1992) became emblematic of his ability to connect with the American populace. This empathic ability to ‘put oneself in other people’s shoes’ and feel their pain is important not only in leadership, but also in daily social interactions with friends, family members, coworkers and strangers. Among its many forms, empathy for other people’s pain is particularly vital for societally important processes. For example, empathizing with another’s suffering is considered an important trigger of prosocial actions (Batson, 1998; see Eisenberg and Miller, 1987, for a meta-analysis).

continue https://academic.oup.com/scan/article/11/9/1345/2224135/From-painkiller-to-empathy-killer-acetaminophen

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Hollywood’s obsession with franchises is costing studios millions

As anyone who has been to the cinema recently will tell you, Hollywood are currently pumping out franchises and sequels like original concepts never existed.

We’ve had Pirate of the Caribbean 5: Salazar’s Revenge, Transformers 5: The Last Knight**, The Mummy, Cars 3, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Alien: Covenant, Baywatch, and Despicable Me 3, all within almost two months.

As a seeming result of “franchise fatigue”, each of these has underperformed to some degree in the United States, failing to match the only two blockbusters that have managed to do notably well this Summer: Wonder Woman and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

The current state of cinema was been brought to a head over the weekend with the release of Despicable Me 3, the threequel opening to $72.4 million, down from an expected $85 million and below both Despicable Me 2 and spinoff Minions, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

continue http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/film-franchises-cost-millions-box-office-despicable-me-transformers-pirates-of-the-caribbean-a7822756.html

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