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Science

Pregnancy Alters Woman's Brains 'For At Least Two Years' (bbc.com) 280

EzInKy writes: The BBC and others are reporting the results of a study that women's brains do in fact change during pregnancy. BBC reports: "Pregnancy reduces grey matter in specific parts of a woman's brain, helping her bond with her baby and prepare for the demands of motherhood. Scans of 25 first-time mums showed these structural brain changes lasted for at least two years after giving birth. European researchers said the scale of brain changes during pregnancy were akin to those seen during adolescence. But they found no evidence of women's memory deteriorating. This study, from researchers at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona and Leiden University and published in Nature Neuroscience, looked at the brain scans of women before they became pregnant, soon after they gave birth, and two years later, to see how the brain changed. And they compared these women's brains with those of 19 first-time fathers, 17 men without children and 20 women who had never given birth. The researchers found 'substantial' reductions in the volume of grey matter in the brains of first-time mothers. The grey matter changes occurred in areas of the brain involved in social interactions used for attributing thoughts and feelings to other people -- known as 'theory-of-mind' tasks. The researchers thought this would give new mothers an advantage in various ways - help them recognize the needs of their child, be more aware of potential social threats and become more attached to their baby." Thanks Mom! As for first-time fathers, the researchers found no changes in their grey matter.
Bitcoin

Federal Judge Rules Bitcoin Is Money In Case Tied To JPMorgan Hack (reuters.com) 87

Roughly two months ago, a Miami-Dade judge ruled that bitcoin does not actually qualify as money. Now, it appears that bitcoin does indeed qualify as money, according to U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan. "Bitcoins are funds within the plain meaning of that term," Nathan wrote. "Bitcoins can be accepted as a payment for goods and services or bought directly from an exchange with a bank account. They therefore function as pecuniary resources and are used as a medium of exchange and a means of payment." Reuters provides some backstory in its report: Bitcoin qualifies as money, a federal judge ruled on Monday, in a decision linked to a criminal case over hacking attacks against JPMorgan Chase and Co and other companies. U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan in Manhattan rejected a bid by Anthony Murgio to dismiss two charges related to his alleged operation of Coin.mx, which prosecutors have called an unlicensed bitcoin exchange. Murgio had argued that bitcoin did not qualify as "funds" under the federal law prohibiting the operation of unlicensed money transmitting businesses. But the judge, like her colleague Jed Rakoff in an unrelated 2014 case, said the virtual currency met that definition. Authorities have said Coin.mx was owned by Gery Shalon, an Israeli man who, along with two others, was charged with running a sprawling computer hacking and fraud scheme targeting a dozen companies, including JPMorgan, and exposing personal data of more than 100 million people. That alleged scheme generated hundreds of millions of dollars of profit through pumping up stock prices, online casinos, money laundering and other illegal activity, prosecutors have said.
Communications

Top DNC Staffers Leave Following WikiLeaks Email Scandal (usatoday.com) 424

An anonymous reader writes from a report via USA Today: Following the leak of nearly 20,000 Democratic National Committee emails and the resignation of DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, several more staffers are leaving their positions. USA Today reports Amy Dacey, the chief executive officer of the DNC, Luis Miranda, the party's communications director, and Brad Marshall, chief financial officer, are all leaving the DNC. The statement announcing the staff changes praises the outgoing aides and makes no mention of the email issue. "Thanks in part to the hard work of Amy, Luis, and Brad, the Democratic Party has adopted the most progressive platform in history, has put itself in financial position to win in November, and has begun the important work of investing in state party partnerships. I'm so grateful for their commitment to this cause, and I wish them continued success in the next chapter of their career," said Donna Brazile, the party's interim chairwoman. Some of the leaked emails from party staffers depicted officials favoring now-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders during their primary campaign.

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