Via Salon.com: ‘One of the last things Brown said, according to a witness: “I don’t have a gun! Stop shooting!” ‘
Via Cloud Surfing: ‘ “Circumstances have necessitated that all scheduled tour dates for Bob Weir & RatDog are being cancelled. This applies to all dates on the summer tour starting on Thursday, August 14 in Boston through September 14 in Nashville and also includes the Jamaica event in January of 2015….” ‘
If you know who Bob Weir is, you will likely care…
Via Discovery News, ‘A new gene linked to suicide risk has been discovered… [R]esearchers scanned the genes of brain tissue samples from people who had died by suicide, and compared these genes with those of people who died of other causes. …A genetic mutation in a gene called SKA2, was more common among the people who died by suicide [and] a chemical change, called anepigenetic change, on that same gene was more common among people who committed suicide than in those who died from other causes…
Next, the researchers examined whether these genetic changes could predict a person’s risk of having suicidal thoughts orattempting suicide. Using blood samples from 325 people, the scientists created a model that took into account whether a person had the SKA2 genetic mutation and the epigenetic change… The model correctly identified 80 percent to 96 percent of people who experienced suicidal thoughts or attempted suicide. It was more accurate among people at severe risk for suicide….
If the findings are confirmed and lead to a blood test for suicide risk, such a test might be used to screen people in psychiatric emergency rooms or to determine how closely a person needs to be monitored for suicide risk, the researcher said.’
However, from my perspective as a clinical psychiatrist working with suicidal patients, this is a meaningless finding. From the universe of those who are at “suicide risk” or have “suicidal thoughts” and would be identified by such a test, those who are at imminent risk constitute a vanishingly small proportion. And we can already identify those at theoretical suicide risk on demographic, historic and clinical grounds.
Via WIRED: ‘[The] FDA says it is now working to crack down on questionable healthcare apps, and some app makers may be willing to provide additional disclosures about their software when pushed to do so…’
Via BBC News: ‘A man died and several other people were injured in a thunderstorm off the coast of California. What happens when lightning hits the sea, asks Justin Parkinson.’
Simple answer: get out or go deep.
Via New Scientist: ‘In 2007, Paul Liu at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration compiled a catalogue of more than 50 historical incidents probably associated with rogue waves. Here are some of the most significant.’
Via Pacific Standard, ‘Why do we use the term “normal weight” when talking about BMI? What’s presented as normal certainly isn’t the norm, and it may not even be what’s most healthy.’
Via NYTimes.com, ‘Can people in high positions of power — presidents, bosses, celebrities, even dominant spouses — easily empathize with those beneath them? Psychological research suggests the answer is no.’ (thanks, Barbara)
The authors suggest that this is ‘because’ the mirror neuron system of powerful people is less responsive, but this seems to me to be an egregious example of neurological determinism. (You should always see ‘because’ in neurocognitive literature as a red flag, IMHO.) The mirror neuron system may be the neurophysiological basis of empathy, but the observed underactivity in people with power may be a reflection of rather than a reason for their empathic deficits.
Via NPR Science Friday, ‘A new online tracker is snooping on visitors to more than 5,600 popular sites, such as Cancer.org, WhiteHouse.gov and NYDailyNews.com—and its nearly impossible to block. Julia Angwin, author of Dragnet Nation and a senior reporter at ProPublica, talks about “canvas fingerprinting,” as the new technique is called, and what this post-cookie tracker means for privacy online.’ (thanks, Rich)
Via Salon.com, ‘Due to growing complaints over the rock singer’s racist past, an Idaho tribe has canceled a show. More may follow…’