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Religion Is Good For Your Brain 529

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Sheila M. Elred writes in Discovery Magazine that a recent study has found that people at risk of depression were much less vulnerable if they identified as religious. Brain MRIs revealed that religious participants had thicker brain cortices than those who weren't as religious. 'One of the worst killers of brain cells is stress,' says Dr. Majid Fotuhi. 'Stress causes high levels of cortisol, and cortisol is toxic to the hippocampus. One way to reduce stress is through prayer. When you're praying and in the zone you feel a peace of mind and tranquility.' The reports concluded that a thicker cortex associated with a high importance of religion or spirituality may confer resilience to the development of depressive illness in individuals at high familial risk for major depression. The social element of attending religious services has also been linked to healthy brains. 'There's something magical about socializing,' says Fotuhi. 'It releases endorphins in the brain. It's hard to know whether it's through religion or a gathering of friends, but it improves brain health in the long term.'" (Read more, below.)

Comment Re:If you don't like it.... (Score 1) 431

Since you are such a rational individual and by no way superstitious, you should have no fear to do the following: reply to this post by stating clearly that you hereby sell your soul to Satan for the price of a bag of Cheetos. If you have balls you will also include in this deal the souls of everyone in your family.

Sure, but first you have to let me take your photograph, to prove that you're not afraid that it's going to steal your soul.


Comment Ambient EM radiation. (Score 1) 22

The sensor uses an ultra-low-power receiver to extract and classify gesture information from wireless transmissions around us.

I live in a Faraday cage, you insensitive clod!


I approve of the name AllSee... well... except that they should drop the stupid CamalCase on the 'S'.... and the two l's might be a bit redundant.


Comment Radix sort well fits human skills (Score 1) 195

I've got some experience sorting huge stacks of pages. You basically want to maximize the work done per trivial-human-step. If you stick with some algorithm based on binary-comparisons you're missing out on some of the work a brain can do essentially for free.

If you're sorting based on a number, it's a pretty quick easy step to drop the current paper in one of ten piles. If you're sorting by alphabetical then you can do one pass 26 piles (bulky but workable) or two pass (first pass A-F, G-M, N-S, T-Z, second pass sort into individual letters). This provides you with more than one bit-comparison of sorting per action. If you're sorting by date then year, month, first-digit-day, second-digit-day make excellent radix values.

Merge sort isn't bad, but it's probably less efficient. If you work with two-stack merge you're only getting one bit of work per step. If you work with more than two stacks you have to scan the tops of the stacks to figure out which page to pick up. Contrast this with radix sort - it's quicker/easier to look at one page and drop it in one of N piles than it is to scan N piles to find which one to pick up.

I see a lot of people mentioning bubble sort and related sorts, but I doubt those people ever had to deal with a few hundred pages. Those sorts are O(N^2), inherently worse. And shuffling the order of pages in a stack is a much messier and slower physical operation than simply dropping pages on the top of stack.

All the other sorting algorithms I can think of seem to suffer from smaller work per step and/or messy physical manipulation. I'm open to other suggestions, but Radix sort seems to be best suited to human work. I had great success with it.


Comment Re:bad engineering? (Score 1) 526

I can run an a transformer at 40MVA average, but peak at 60MVA without additional cooling....
If I have correct protection circuitry, the system will function just fine

Except Dell connected mis-matched components without protection circuity. They delivered a product that self-destructs under normal operation in some circumstances, and they're trying to refuse warranty repairs.

"we don't support VLC"

Again, this really has nothing to do with VLC. Playing some (relatively rare) sound files causes speaker damage. VLC merely make it more common to run into this design flaw because VLC can make common sound files look like the less common sound files which trigger the problem.

A VCR is defective if it self-destructs when you play an ordinary videocassette of a movie set in a field of uncommonly colorful flowers. Same thing.


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How long does it take a DEC field service engineer to change a lightbulb? It depends on how many bad ones he brought with him.