Depression: what if it was the thyroid?

 

Article in french magazine « Alternative Santé »

 

 

” The depression is not a disease “, explains Dr Brogan, psychiatrist and practitioner in integrative holistic medicine in New York. ” It is the sign of an imbalance in the body, that must be simply restored. ” The real underlying physiological cause of the depression, the faintness, the anxiety, the reduction in libido, and the fatigue of a woman is far from being only situated in the brain. Very often, the exact cause is not diagnosed and untreated: only the symptom is masked, often with massive amount of antidepressants.

The neurologist Joseph Coyle for example, of Harvard Medical School, declared in 2014: ” the chemical imbalance is a kind of thought of the last century. It is much more complicated than that. It is not because these symptoms were caused by a chemical kind of problem, that the medicine is capable of correcting it. ” The author adds, sarcastic: ” the aspirin lessens headaches, but headaches are not caused by a deficiency in aspirin. “

Transhumanism in Paris La Villette

Specimens which we could soon cross in the street…

Liviu Babitz – La Villette 06/2017 – L BEAUDONNET / 20 MINUTES (in french)

 

“Liviu Babitz invented the “north sense”, an implant hung on the trunk which allows to perceive the North by small vibrations. It is not an instrument for the orientation, but a sense which allows to perceive the North when you like it or not, in the same way as we do not decide to hear the world which surrounds us, or in the same way as we do not remove the eyes after having looked at a movie. We do not choose when the sensible north gives us an information. More than 250 people were transplanted this new gadget and he gets ready to create new ones.”

Our opinion: sad, as all the transhumanist fantasies. But let’s try to laugh with it: it is small and it vibrates, a few ones may have the idea to be transplanted somewhere else…

 

To quote or not to quote…

 

 

…that is the question!

 

 

Many (cool) quotations spread on social networks; numerous are either inaccurate or awarded to the bad person.

On the one side, it is annoying if we want to be rigorous.

On the other side, the context of this sharing of inspiring quotations implies that it is not so bad in fact: we look for one-liners to make us feel better. Does a sentence need to be pronounced by someone famous to be cool?

In brief, concerning that above, somebody found the origin which does not come from Shakespeare, but from William A. Ward (1921-1994):

Before You (by William Arthur Ward)

Before you speak, listen. Before you write, think. Before you spend, earn. Before you invest, investigate. Before you criticize, wait. Before you pray, forgive. Before you quit, try. Before you retire, save. Before you die, give.

 

Did you say reCAPTCHA?


WHAT

Did you know you contribute to old books digitization by visiting websites?

WHY

I wanted to write this article to show you that even the daily and insignificant computing operations are in fact not insignificant… You doubtless already heard about “CAPTCHA”. It means “Completely Automated public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”. It is a way to prove to the website that you want to visit,that you are a human being and not a robot (thus this device avoids websites to be spammed, or to see their data being massively downloaded, which would also slow down the internet traffic for the human visitors, or whatever).

The idea of reCAPTCHA1 is to use the human authentication on websites via the CAPTCHA technology to meet a need which has nothing to do with human authentication at first sight, and which is… to OCRise old books!!! (OCR for “Optical Character Recognition” means the translation in “digital” characters (i.e.: UTF-8 character set) of characters printed on papers or scanned as images. In plain language, it means to turn an old and damaged (and perhaps even hand writed) piece of paper into a numeric file.

Actually, digitizing old books provides numerous cultural advantages (among them: everybody can reach the same document simultaneously, even though this one exists in a unique paper copy only, the consultation of this document will not damage it, etc.) and therefore, massive operations of digitization were undertaken from the early 21th century.

However, for old documents, the automatic OCRization is complicated: de facto machines have difficulty in recognizing the printed characters, because these are not regular (because of the deterioration of the paper and the ink due to the time)… like in a CAPTCHA…

HOW

Concerning visitors, captchas appears often as an image containing a series of slightly distorted alphanumeric characters, a text field in which the visitor of the website has to type the characters showed on the image and a button designed to validate the manual data entry. On the image, the characters are not much distorted in order to allow a human being to recognize these, but are distorted enough not to be recognized by a machine. Concerning the website’s administrator, the image is bound to its textual version,which is recorded in a database, and when the CAPTCHA is subjected to the visitor, the website compares his answer with the textual version of the CAPTCHA that is stored in the database: if both match, then the website authorizes the human being to visit it; otherwise, a new CAPTCHA is subjected to the visitor.

The idea of reCAPTCHA is all in all of a childish simplicity: it is about making translate old documents … by human beings (!!!) who authenticate themselves as human beings to visit websites!!!

The idea is made possible by the very large number of websites using CAPTCHAs and thus very significant number of daily human authentications, which allows, literally, to translate word by word old books. The mechanism is the following one: a reCAPTCHA consists of two words: the first one is a classical CAPTCHA, used to know if the entity passing the test is human or not (it is considered as human if it manages to solve the CAPTCHA), the second one is the image of a word taken from an old book. If the entity managed to translate the first word, it is authorized to visit the website, and the translation which it gives of the second word is stored in memory. If several “human beings” translate the same image of the old book in the same way, their translation is “validated” and the digitization of the book progressed2.

WHAT CAN BE DONE WITH IT

In this way, over the only year of 2009, 20 years of archives of the New York Times were digitized3 with a reliability better than 99 %.1

Here is a beautiful example of human and machine collaboration!

NOTES

1■ Luis von Ahn, Ben Maurer, Colin McMillen, David Abraham et Manuel Blum, « reCAPTCHA: Human-Based Character Recognition via Web Security Measures », Science, vol. 321, no 5895,‎ 12 septembre 2008, p. 1465-1468 [Science mag’s article on reCAPTCHA]

2■ Journal du Geek

3■ ReCAPTCHA on Wikipedia

 

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Relax, now!


WHAT

How to succed in relaxing yourself and in taking easy the numerous assaults you endure in your trivial days?

WHY

Right now, I’m just coming back home after my working day. I’m tired, irritated, and still have many things to do before to to go to bed (to clean the kitchen, to eat some food, to call a buddy and to wash-up my crockery). This takes place on Monday. Monday fifth of the week. Just a classical week.

This is a thought we all know: what matters the most is that the job is endless… Then if it is endless, it means clearly that something has to change! And the change has no reason to wait for tomorrow, as tomorrow will be same as today … Thus, yes: relax, now!

HOW

All in all, stress has two different origins, which means that you’ll have two working axes to manage with to really succeed to relax yourself. These are your body and your mind. We shall note however that both kinds of stress have physical and psychological consequences, which proves that body and mind are bound together: indeed, psychological stress can provoke fatigue, physical pains, digestive disorders1…) and physical stress has naturally psychological repercussions (it can cause depression, concentration difficulties…). Conclusion of this small remark is that to fight in an effective way against the stress means fighting against causes of the stress of the body, as against those of the stress of the mind: otherwise, neither the body, nor the mind can really relax themselves!

Knowing about that, we understand that it is absolutely necessary for us to act on our body and on our mind.

WHAT CAN BE DONE WITH IT

Regarding the body, doing sport regularly is of a certain help to feel better: in our society, for the majority of socio-professional groups, this one remains seated the largest part of the day. Doing sport allows everyone to reinvest his body, to spend the energy that it has accumulated during the day and, there, to evacuate the stress which it suffered. Many scientific studies on sport showed its multiple virtues, some of them being physical and some of them being psychological (for example, doing sport helps fighting against cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and depression). According to the results of these studies, doing sport 30 minutes two or three times a week would be enough to prevent rather significantly most of these troubles2.

Regarding the mind, it can be useful to force yourself to take a time during the day (ten minutes should make it), for example after work, when you arrive at home in the evening, during which you free your mind, making it full of vacuum, and during which you stop being supported by the needs of yours and your environment. This exercise should allow you to let the things of life be reorganized in your mind and their natural place and dimensions turn up in it. This exercise will free yourself from the psychological stress your mind suffered during the day and will help you to overcome the psychological effects of the unpleasant events you lived during the day.

If you force yourself to do these exercises, which are simple to implement and won’t cost you too much time, you will quickly notice that your life will have changed. You will notice it one evening, as you’re going home after work. Ready to make quietly a little of household before eating a well deserved meal and calling your old friend Georges to hear from him a little. Then, satisfied with your very busy day, you’ll sleep to rest of the sleep of the just man and then will make the most of your weekend. Because, yes, this evening will be your very first Friday evening.

Look further / Usefull link(s)
♦ french book “La solution intérieure“, Thierry Janssen, Ed.: Fayard, 2006

Notes
1■ http://www.psychologies.com/Moi/Problemes-psy/Anxiete-Phobies/Reponses-d-expert/Quand-le-stress-agit-sur-le-corps
2■ Le sport meilleur remède FRENCH

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Moral harassment weakens the health

We knew it, but it feels good to remind it…

« The consequences of the school harassment are more and more studied, and it’s for the best. The television series ” 13 Reasons Why “, which tells the story of the suicide of a teenager victim of harassment, recently knew a big success. If it aroused the debate, it has the merit to put back the subject in light. A team of American researchers was interested in the question too, publishing its results on April 28th in “Psychological Science”. Their discovery? The school harassment leaves profound marks on adulthood, on the health of the harassed one AND of the harasser. »
Article in french here.

Usefull links:
« Stalking the Soul: Emotional Abuse » from Marie-France HIRIGOYEN (i read it a few years ago, but i remember its topics were wide enough)

 

Transdisciplinarity in neuro-education


In Canada one can find some maple syrup i really like, and an association for neuro-education research. They wrote a very heavy report for their 5th congress1 at the end of 2016 : it is already an absolutely awfull text in french (very academic), so I didn’t translate it in English. If you want to read a summing-up in French I put it there, but they made a booklet in French and English (see below).

Go further / Usefull link(s)

♦ Their booklet in french and english here.

♦ Book « How We Learn » from B Carey

 

Notes

1■ Neuroéducation journal, septembre 2016, vol4 no1

Elon Musk wants to wire our brains with machines

 

Coming from a billionaire, let’s be suspicious…

 
“ Being “intrigued” by Neuralink and new ambitions of Elon Musk, a specialist of the machine and biological learning moderates however the fantasies of those who already imagine tomorrow an increased humanity. ” The track of the increased man does not seem credible to me “, he analyzes, essentially because of certain physical limits, in particular at the cerebral level. “

Article in French here.

Related links :

Book « L’humain augmenté » from Edouard Kleinpeter (FR only)

 

This AI Speech Generator Can Fake Anyone’s voice !

Lyrebird has just set up an incredible capacity of speech synthesis. I will never be tired of repeating: with the technological progress, it will be necessary to be more and more watchful on the reality of the images and the sounds which will be proposed to you …

You can listen to extracts HERE.

 

« Scientific American » talks about the technique HERE.