This is the August 2014 edition of the Gwern.net newsletter (previously July); it is a summary of the revision-history RSS feed, overlapping with Changelog & including material from /r/gwern/. I thank my donors on Gratipay.
Three Coins in the Fountain (Actually not that bad. Sort of a silly romantic comedy of manners, and when you get bored with that, you can pay attention to post-WWII Italy and note how privileged Americans were, how women smoked back then, etc. It feels weird to see offices without computers in them—just papers. and phones. Oh, and random monks in the background: the camera just pans across them like they’re not there.)
This page is a changelog for Gwern.net: a monthly reverse chronological list of recent major writings/changes/additions.
Following my writing can be a little difficult because it is often so incremental. So every month, in addition to my regular /r/Gwern subreddit submissions, I write up reasonably-interesting changes and send it out to the mailing list in addition to a compilation of links & reviews (archives).
A subreddit for posting links of interest and also for announcing updates to gwern.net (which can be used as a RSS feed). Submissions are categorized similar to the monthly newsletter and typically will be collated there.
To determine if the large and highly reproducible interindividual differences in rates of performance deficit accumulation during sleep deprivation, as determined by the number of lapses on a sustained reaction time test, the Psychomotor Vigilance Task (PVT), arise from a heritable trait. Prospective, observational cohort study. Academic medical center. There were 59 monozygotic (mean age 29.2 ± 6.8 [SD] yr; 15 male and 44 female pairs) and 41 dizygotic (mean age 26.6 ± 7.6 yr; 15 male and 26 female pairs) same-sex twin pairs with a normal polysomnogram. Thirty-eight hr of monitored, continuous sleep deprivation. Patients performed the 10-min PVT every 2 hr during the sleep deprivation protocol. The primary outcome was change from baseline in square root transformed total lapses (response time ≥ 500 ms) per trial. Patient-specific linear rates of performance deficit accumulation were separated from circadian effects using multiple linear regression. Using the classic approach to assess heritability, the intraclass correlation coefficients for accumulating deficits resulted in a broad sense heritability (h2) estimate of 0.834. The mean within-pair and among-pair heritability estimates determined by analysis of variance-based methods was 0.715. When variance components of mixed-effect multilevel models were estimated by maximum likelihood estimation and used to determine the proportions of phenotypic variance explained by genetic and nongenetic factors, 51.1% (standard error = 8.4%, p < 0.0001) of twin variance was attributed to combined additive and dominance genetic effects. Genetic factors explain a large fraction of interindividual variance among rates of performance deficit accumulations on PVT during sleep deprivation.
Sleep deprivation can impair human health and performance. Habitual total sleep time and homeostatic sleep response to sleep deprivation are quantitative traits in humans. Genetic loci for these traits have been identified in model organisms, but none of these potential animal models have a corresponding human genotype and phenotype. We have identified a mutation in a transcriptional repressor (hDEC2-P385R) that is associated with a human short sleep phenotype. Activity profiles and sleep recordings of transgenic mice carrying this mutation showed increased vigilance time and less sleep time than control mice in a zeitgeber time- and sleep deprivation-dependent manner. These mice represent a model of human sleep homeostasis that provides an opportunity to probe the effect of sleep on human physical and mental health.
How do genes affect cognitive ability or other human quantitative traits such as height or disease risk? Progress on this challenging question is likely to be significant in the near future. I begin with a brief review of psychometric measurements of intelligence, introducing the idea of a "general factor" or g score. The main results concern the stability, validity (predictive power), and heritability of adult g. The largest component of genetic variance for both height and intelligence is additive (linear), leading to important simplifications in predictive modeling and statistical estimation. Due mainly to the rapidly decreasing cost of genotyping, it is possible that within the coming decade researchers will identify loci which account for a significant fraction of total g variation. In the case of height analogous efforts are well under way. I describe some unpublished results concerning the genetic architecture of height and cognitive ability, which suggest that roughly 10k moderately rare causal variants of mostly negative effect are responsible for normal population variation. Using results from Compressed Sensing (L1-penalized regression), I estimate the statistical power required to characterize both linear and nonlinear models for quantitative traits. The main unknown parameter s (sparsity) is the number of loci which account for the bulk of the genetic variation. The required sample size is of order 100s, or roughly a million in the case of cognitive ability.
Berkson's paradox, also known as Berkson's bias, collider bias or Berkson's fallacy, is a result in conditional probability and statistics which is often found to be counterintuitive, and hence a veridical paradox. It is a complicating factor arising in statistical tests of proportions. Specifically, it arises when there is an ascertainment bias inherent in a study design. The effect is related to the explaining away phenomenon in Bayesian networks, and conditioning on a collider in graphical models.
Objective: Dementia is a major public health issue, with notably high rates in persons with mood illnesses. Lithium has been shown to have considerable neuroprotective effects, even in trace or low doses. The aim of this review is to summarize the current understanding of lithium benefits in trace or low doses in dementia prevention and for other behavioral or medical benefits.
Methods: A systematic review identified 24 clinical, epidemiological, and biological reports that met inclusion criteria of assessing lithium in standard or low doses for dementia or other behavioral or medical benefits.
Results: 5 out of 7 epidemiological studies found an association between standard-dose lithium and low dementia rates. 9 out of 11 epidemiological studies, usually of drinking water sources, found an association between trace-dose lithium and low suicide/homicide/mortality and crime rates. All four small randomized clinical trials of lithium for Alzheimer's dementia have found at least some clinical or biological benefits versus placebo. Only one small randomized clinical trial (RCT) of trace lithium has been conducted, assessing mood symptoms in former substance abusers, and found benefit with lithium versus placebo.
Conclusions: Lithium, in both standard and trace doses, appears to have biological benefits for dementia, suicide, and other behavioral outcomes. Further RCT research of trace lithium in dementia is warranted. [Keywords: Cognition, dementia, lithium, prevention, standard dose, trace]
Harold Thomas Finney II was a developer for PGP Corporation, and was the second developer hired after Phil Zimmermann. In his early career, he was credited as lead developer on several console games. He also was an early bitcoin contributor and received the first bitcoin transaction from bitcoin's creator Satoshi Nakamoto.
Ragpicker, or chiffonnier, is a term for someone who makes a living by rummaging through refuse in the streets to collect material for salvage. Scraps of cloth and paper could be turned into cardboard, broken glass could be melted down and reused, and even dead cats and dogs could be skinned to make clothes.
The Gombe Chimpanzee War was a violent conflict between two communities of chimpanzees in Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania lasting from 1974 to 1978. The two groups were once unified in the Kasakela community. By 1974, researcher Jane Goodall noticed the community splintering. Over a span of eight months, a large party of chimpanzees separated themselves into the southern area of Kasakela and were renamed the Kahama community. The separatists consisted of six adult males, three adult females and their young. The Kasakela was left with eight adult males, twelve adult females and their young.
The Bedford Level experiment is a series of observations carried out along a 6-mile (9.7 km) length of the Old Bedford River on the Bedford Level of the Cambridgeshire Fens in the United Kingdom, during the 19th and early 20th centuries, to measure the curvature of the Earth. Samuel Birley Rowbotham, who conducted the first observations starting in 1838, claimed that he had proven the Earth to be flat. However, in 1870, after adjusting Rowbotham's method to avoid the effects of atmospheric refraction, Alfred Russel Wallace found a curvature consistent with a spherical Earth.
Azumanga Daioh is a Japanese yonkoma comedy manga series written and illustrated by Kiyohiko Azuma. It was serialized from February 1999 to May 2002 in the monthly magazine Dengeki Daioh by MediaWorks; three additional chapters were published in Shogakukan's Monthly Shōnen Sunday in May 2009 to celebrate the manga's tenth anniversary. The manga was first released in English by ADV Manga, and later re-issued by Yen Press.
Haibane Renmei is a Japanese anime television series. It is based on an original dōjinshi manga series by Yoshitoshi ABe, The Haibanes of Old Home, which was released from 1998 to 2002 and left unfinished as work on the anime began. The 13-episode series was animated by Radix and broadcast on Fuji TV between October and December 2002. It was also broadcast on Animax Asia in English and French under the title Ailes Grises.
RahXephon is a 26-episode anime television series created and directed by Yutaka Izubuchi. The series follows 17-year-old Ayato Kamina, his ability to control a mecha known as the RahXephon, and his inner journey to find a place in the world. His life as a student and artist in Tokyo is suddenly interrupted by a mysterious stalker, strange planes invading the city and strange machines fighting back.
TAMALA 2010: A Punk Cat in Space is a 2001/2002 Japanese animated film written, directed, animated and featuring music by a 13 to 16 year old person named Onizuka, also with his friends K. and kuno. The film features both 2D and 3D computer animation, and is mostly black-and-white. The characters, designed by Onizuka and a few background characters designed by Kentarō Konpon, are reminiscent of Sanrio's Hello Kitty and 1960's anime and manga such as Astro Boy.
A Judas goat is a trained goat used in general animal herding. The Judas goat is trained to associate with sheep or cattle, leading them to a specific destination. In stockyards, a Judas goat will lead sheep to slaughter, while its own life is spared. Judas goats are also used to lead other animals to specific pens and onto trucks. They have fallen out of use in recent times, but can still be found in various smaller slaughterhouses in some parts of the world, as well as conservation projects.
Chronicle of a Death Foretold is a novella by Gabriel García Márquez, published in 1981. It tells, in the form of a pseudo-journalistic reconstruction, the story of the murder of Santiago Nasar by the Vicario twins.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream is a 1971 novel by Hunter S. Thompson, illustrated by Ralph Steadman. The book is a roman à clef, rooted in autobiographical incidents. The story follows its protagonist, Raoul Duke, and his attorney, Dr. Gonzo, as they descend on Las Vegas to chase the American Dream through a drug-induced haze, all the while ruminating on the failure of the 1960s countercultural movement. The work is Thompson's most famous book, and is noted for its lurid descriptions of illegal drug use and its early retrospective on the culture of the 1960s. Its popularization of Thompson's highly subjective blend of fact and fiction has become known as gonzo journalism. The novel first appeared as a two-part series in Rolling Stone magazine in 1971, and was published as a book in 1972. It was later adapted into a film of the same title in 1998 by Terry Gilliam, starring Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro who portrayed Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo, respectively.
Fusé: Teppō Musume no Torimonochō is a 2012 Japanese animated film directed by Masayuki Miyaji based on Kazuki Sakuraba's book Fusé Gansaku: Satomi Hakkenden. Both novel and film are an adaptation of Kyokutei Bakin's Nansō Satomi Hakkenden, focusing on a female hunter named Hamaji.
Cat Shit One is a three volume manga series written and illustrated by Motofumi Kobayashi. It was published in North America and the United Kingdom in 2004 by ADV Manga. It was also released in Poland in 2006, also under the title Cat Shit One. It has been released in France, Belgium and Spain, as Cat Shit One, by Glénat in 2006.
The SoulTaker is an anime series that focuses on seventeen-year-old Kyosuke Date who was killed by his mother Mio Date, and afterward gained the ability to turn into an incredibly powerful winged mutant known as "The SoulTaker" and that he has a long-lost twin sister named Runa, and that his past is all a lie. The show was Tatsunoko's first attempt at a more adult series.
Three Coins in the Fountain is a 1954 American romantic comedy film directed by Jean Negulesco and starring Clifton Webb, Dorothy McGuire, Jean Peters, Louis Jourdan, and Maggie McNamara, and featuring Rossano Brazzi. Written by John Patrick, the film is about three American women working in Rome who dream of finding romance in the Eternal City.
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