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Select memories can be erased, leaving others intact. At least in the marine snail Aplysia. "The new study tested that hypothesis by stimulating two sensory neurons connected to a single motor neuron of the marine snail Aplysia; one sensory neuron was stimulated to induce an associative memory and the other to induce a non-associative memory. By measuring the strength of each connection, the researchers found that the increase in the strength of each connection produced by the different stimuli was maintained by a different form of a Protein Kinase M (PKM) molecule (PKM Apl III for associative synaptic memory and PKM Apl I for non-associative). They found that each memory could be erased -- without affecting the other -- by blocking one of the PKM molecules."

"In addition, they found that specific synaptic memories may also be erased by blocking the function of distinct variants of other molecules that either help produce PKMs or protect them from breaking down."

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"People whose minds tend to wander are less likely to stick to their long-term goals." "Those who could sustain focus in day-to-day life were more likely to report maintaining perseverance and passion in their long-term objectives." "We've shown that maintaining concentration over hours and days predicts passion over longer periods."

"The researchers' findings resulted from three separate studies. In the first two studies, surveys measured the mind wandering, inattention and grittiness of 280 participants. In the third study, 105 post-secondary students were asked to report on their mind-wandering habits during class and then fill out questionnaires to measure their grittiness."

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The NSA apparently has a GitHub account with a boatload of open source software, actually two accounts, one for the Technology Transfer Program, and one for the Information Assurance mission at the NSA.

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If you had voting ballots with a ranked list of all the candidates ranked in order by every voter, how would you convert that into an election result? It turns out there is no mathematically optimal answer.

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Norway sells oil, then uses the money to subsidize electric cars.

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Solar energy going exponential. Talk by Ramez Naam in India on the solar energy market and how solar energy prices are declining exponentially and growth of solar power generation is growing exponentially, at least in the parts of the world with the most sunlight (and Germany). Toward the end he also talks about electric cars and how they are already on an exponential growth trend.

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Are galactic civilizations possible? Absolutely not, says Matt O'Dowd. The size of civilizations is limited by the ability of the civilization to communicate with itself -- for parts to communicate with other parts, in order to maintain cultural and political cohesion. With a galactic civilization, even if you just want to colonize a small part of the galaxy, you're up against the speed of light. Cultures diverge rapidly across only a few generations.

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Fossils of almost anatomically modern people found at an archaeological site in Morocco were dated to more than 300,000 years ago. The oldest known fossils resembling modern humans was from a site in Ethiopia dated about 195,000 years ago.

"The residents of the Moroccan site weren't quite the Homo sapiens of today; their skulls were less rounded and more elongated than ours, perhaps signaling differences between our brains and theirs. However, their teeth closely resemble those in the mouths of modern humans -- and their faces looked just like ours."

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Graphs showing Bitcoin's response to the Cypriot banking crisis, Greek default fears, Brexit, and the Trump election win, compared with gold, US equities, and the 10-year bond yield. Author concludes that, "Bitcoin deserves a place in a passively-managed, long-only portfolio because it is uncorrelated with all major asset classes."

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"A given person, in 2006, eating the same amount of calories, taking in the same quantities of macronutrients like protein and fat, and exercising the same amount as a person of the same age did in 1988 would have a BMI that was about 2.3 points higher. In other words, people today are about 10 percent heavier than people were in the 1980s, even if they follow the exact same diet and exercise plans."

The explanation is unknown and was not part of this study (though the article gives a bunch of theories anyway).
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