Later On

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Archive for September 30th, 2016

Signs for hope: Whistleblower in ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ case gets money and an award

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Marisa Taylor reports in McClatchy:

A senior intelligence official has settled with the federal government after he alleged that he was punished for disclosing that the Pentagon’s watchdog had shielded former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta from allegations that he’d leaked sensitive information.

Daniel Meyer, who previously oversaw the Defense Department’s decisions on whistleblower cases, also accused the Pentagon inspector general’s office of targeting him for being gay.

As part of the agreement, the Pentagon inspector general’s office said it would give Meyer an undisclosed monetary settlement, according to three people with knowledge of the negotiations. They asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The inspector general’s office also promised to give Meyer two awards in “recognition for his services,” a Sept. 19 settlement document obtained by McClatchy says.

Meyer, who is now the top official overseeing whistleblower retaliation complaints for the intelligence community, agreed to drop the complaint he’d filed with an administrative panel that handles grievances by federal employees.

Meyer had accused his former Defense Department bosses of “manipulation of a final report to curry favor” with Panetta.

A draft of the inspector general’s report had concluded that Panetta had leaked classified information to the makers of the film “Zero Dark Thirty,” Meyer said. That conclusion, however, was removed from the report’s final version.

Since then, the CIA has released documents that support Meyer’s allegations.

Allegations of anti-Semitism against Joseph Schmitz, one of Donald Trump’s foreign policy advisers, also surfaced in Meyer’s complaint filed with the federal panel. Meyer contended that Schmitz, then-Pentagon inspector general, had told former Pentagon official John Crane: “I fired the Jews,” while downplaying the extent of the Holocaust. . .

Continue reading.

Later in the story, the plot thickens:

. . . Meyer’s settlement, however, comes as an investigation into a related case advances. . .

Written by LeisureGuy

30 September 2016 at 5:40 pm

“I’ve come to admire Hillary Clinton. What on earth happened?”

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Very interesting column in the Washington Post by Dannielle Allen, a political theorist at Harvard University and a contributing columnist for the Post. She started out not liking Hillary Clinton very much at all (and she gives her reasons), but then:

. . . Yet somehow between Clinton’s 2015 campaign announcement and the present, I’ve come to admire her. What on earth happened? Call me crazy, but I read her emails. Or at least, I read as many of them as I could. You try it. It’s no small task. And what blazes out of those emails above all is a combination of discipline and dedication to the U.S. cause. Then I started listening to her town-hall events. The discipline and dedication were richly in evidence there, too.

A vast number of her emails concern her schedule. As it happens, I’m obsessed with calendars. I’m a reasonably busy person myself, and I’ve been interested in efficiency and time management ever since as a child I read “Cheaper by the Dozen.” I have never seen anything like Clinton’s discipline and efficiency. This is a woman who knows how to use her time to get things done. As a result, she has already won the greatest reward. As a working mom, she has a daughter who plainly, adoringly loves her. What’s more, this is a woman whose stamina is unlike anything I have ever seen. . .

Read the whole thing.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 September 2016 at 5:28 pm

Posted in Democrats, Election

Why is the American South so poor?

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Very interesting response to the question, with interesting comments as well.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 September 2016 at 5:00 pm

Lawmaker Who Pushed Bill to Protect People Filming Police Arrested for Filming Police

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Naomi LaChance reports in The Intercept:

An Arkansas State representative who helped pass a state law protecting people who film police was arrested Monday while filming Little Rock police as they put a black man in handcuffs after a traffic stop.

The charges against Rep. John Walker have been dropped, but his colleague, fellow civil rights lawyer Omavi Shukur, faces charges for obstruction of government relations.

Officer Jeff Thompson wrote in his police report: “I ordered Walker several times to leave or be arrested. Walker replied ‘arrest me’ at which point I did.”

Police on Wednesday released dashcam video of the incident. “I’m just making sure they don’t kill you,” Walker told the man who had been pulled over, according to the police report.

Citizens who film police often face arrest or retaliation. For example:

  • Ruben An sued the NYPD in July for arresting him in while he filmed police officers in 2014.
  • Ramsey Orta, who filmed Eric Garner’s arrest in 2014, said he was later arrested in “retaliation.” He is suing the city of New York.
  • Lynwood Keith Golden was arrested after filming police in Wetumpka, Alabama in June. He has filed a lawsuit.
  • Maurice Crawley was arrested in Syracuse, N.Y., in July while filming an arrest, sparking protests.
  • Kenneth Holmes was arrested in May while filming an arrest in Austin, Texas.
  • A lawsuit alleges that police illegally detained Abdullah Muflahi, the man who filmed police officer Blane Salamoni shoot Alton Sterling. They seized his convenience store surveillance video and cell phone in Baton Rouge.

Arrest for filming are actually becoming less common, said Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst at the ACLU. “The long time that it took police officers to recognize this right was in many ways an indictment of police management. It also shows that photography is a form of power,” he told the Intercept.

In February, though,  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 September 2016 at 4:29 pm

‘Do Not Resist’: A chilling look at the normalization of warrior cops

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UPDATE: This NY Times article is highly relevant to the story below.  /update

Radley Balko writes in the Washington Post:

The haunting thing about the new policing documentary “Do Not Resist” is what it doesn’t show. There are no images of cops beating people. No viral videos of horrifying shootings. Sure, there are scenes from the Ferguson protests in which riot cops deploy tear gas. But there’s no blood, no Tasings, no death. Yet when it was over, I had to force myself to exhale.

What makes this movie so powerful is its terrifying portrayal of the mundanities of modern policing. I watched the movie weeks ago, but there are scenes that still flicker in my head. We all remember the clashes between police and protesters in Ferguson. We’ve seen the photos. We saw the anger and the animus exchanged across the protest lines. What we didn’t see were the hours and hours before and after those moments. We didn’t see the MRAPs and other armored vehicles roll in, one at a time, slowly transforming an American town into a war zone. We didn’t hear the clomp of combat boots on asphalt in the quiet hours of the early morning, interrupted only by fuzzy dispatches over police radio.

It’s one thing to show an MRAP — a vehicle built for war, and for a very specific purpose in a very specific type of war — being misused after a small-town police agency obtained it from the Defense Department. “Do Not Resist” takes you to the base where those vehicles are stored. A camera trained on the window captures hundreds of MRAPs — rows and rows and rows of them — scrolling by, all destined for a police agency somewhere in America. Meanwhile, an Army specialist explains how the troops who use the vehicles get hours and hours of training before they’re entrusted to drive the trucks on a battlefield. The Pentagon then gives the trucks to police agencies to use on U.S. streets with no accompanying training at all. Sometimes, the specialist says, a police agency will find a body part in one of the trucks. They try to avoid that. But after all, these are machines of war.

The film crew then takes a ride with a small-town sheriff as he drives his hulking new MRAP through business districts and quiet neighborhoods — that is, once he figures out how to operate it. The most disturbing thing about this scene isn’t the truck itself, or the striking images of the truck in the town, or even the sheriff’s statement that it will probably mostly be used for drug raids. The most disturbing thing is that it simply doesn’t occur to the sheriff that the footage might be disturbing. He has no problem letting a film crew show this massive contraption built to withstand roadside bombs in a military convoy lumbering through his small town, because the notion that military vehicles aren’t appropriate for domestic policing is foreign to him.

Then there’s the drug raid. It’s one thing to read about a “dynamic entry” drug raid in which the police mistakenly or intentionally kill someone, or in which someone mistakenly or intentionally kills a police officer. It’s awful and tragic and unnecessary. “Do Not Resist” doesn’t show one of those. It instead shows the sort of drug raid that’s far more common. The movie depicts the raid from the beginning, as the officers from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department tactical team are meeting to discuss strategy. Some are wearing T-shirts with the tactical team’s logo. It’s a human skull imposed over two crossed AR-15s.

There are no children at the residence, the lead officer assures his colleagues. (There were.) There would be a significant quantity of illegal drugs at the house, another says. (There weren’t.) The tactical team then proceeds to raid the home of a black family in Richland County. Most officers storm the front door with their guns while one shatters some side windows as a distraction. Minutes go by. The officers’ body language eventually shows signs of frustration as their search for contraband continues to come up empty. Finally, someone finds a book bag with traces of marijuana at the bottom — not enough to smoke, much less sell. They arrest a young black man with long braids for possession.

“I never one time said you’re a bad person,” the lead officer tells his arrestee, with an odd cordiality. “I just have a job to do, and you happen to be in the middle of it.”

The officer also seems to know that the man is a student at a local technical college. He’s working toward a degree in construction. The man also runs a landscaping company to help pay for his education. The man later tells the officer that he was on his way to pick up some lawnmowers that morning. Knowing that he’s about to be arrested, he asks the officer if he could tell his employee that he was arrested and won’t be able to pick up the lawnmowers. He then gives the officer $876 in cash and asks it to give it to his employee to go pick up the mowers, along with a weed-eater.

Instead, the officer confiscates the money under civil asset forfeiture laws. There is no obvious connection between the money and the pot residue. The man volunteered the cash, mostly because he didn’t want his arrest to hurt his business. In doing so, he provided ample evidence that the cash had nothing to do with illegal activity. Still, if unchallenged, the $876 will go back to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, even if the man is never charged with a crime. The cost of hiring an attorney for such a challenge would likely exceed $876.

Meanwhile, the man’s father asks the officers whether the police would pay for the windows they just shattered. The lead officer tells him that breaking the windows was a tactic, then adds, “The moral of the story is, don’t sell drugs from your residence.” Perhaps realizing that he had no evidence for what he had just accused the man of doing, he tried to correct himself. “I didn’t say you were actually doing it, I just said — said you were associated with … ” and then there’s some mumbling.

The striking thing about the footage is, again, the utter mundanity of the raid. A family was just violently raided over an immeasurable amount of pot. A man was arrested over that pot. The money he needed for his business was taken from him. Yet there’s no shame or embarrassment from the officers. There’s no panic that the whole thing was captured on video. That’s when it hits you.  They don’t think they’ve made a mistake. This is what they do. The lead officers later tells the camera, matter-of-factly, that the raid turned up “a personal use amount of marijuana.” Perhaps realizing that he was also on camera back at the police station promising a much larger stash of drugs, he adds, “It happens. Drug warrants are, you know, 50-50.”

The documentary also . . .

Continue reading. At the link is the trailer for the documentary.

OTOH, US police may be better than Filipino police: see this report in the NY Times: “Duterte, Citing Hitler, Says He Wants to Kill 3 Million Addicts in Philippines.” Apparently Duterte taks Hitler as a role model.

UPDATE: The comments section pointed out this post by David Grossman, the man who teaches Killology 101 “The Science of Killing” to police departments all over the country.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 September 2016 at 3:36 pm

Teh stupid in Congress, explained in Vox

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Jennifer Williams reports in Vox:

The Senate on Wednesday voted 97-1 to override President Obama’s veto of a controversial bill, known as the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), that would allow the families of 9/11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia for its alleged financial support of al-Qaeda.

And then things got weird.

Almost immediately after the vote, 28 senators who had just voted for the bill sent a letter to the bill’s Senate sponsors, Republican John Cornyn of Texas and Democrat Charles Schumer of New York, saying they were concerned about the “potential unintended consequences that may result from this legislation for the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

The Obama administration has long argued that the bill could end up putting the United States at risk of being similarly prosecuted in foreign courts by undermining a long-standing tradition in foreign relations known as “sovereign immunity.” They made this argument when the bill was first up for a vote back in May and promised to veto it if it passed. Then, when it did pass, Obama vetoed it, citing once again his argument for why he thought the bill was a bad idea.

When Congress announced it would hold a vote to override the veto, Obama wrote a letterto Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, yet again making the case against the bill. But Congress voted to override the veto anyway — the first time they’d ever done so in Obama’s entire presidency.

It was only after that final vote on Wednesday to override the veto that Congress apparently figured out that — uh oh! — there might be some negative consequences to the bill they had just voted into law.

Their excuse for why they’d passed this potentially harmful bill? The Obama administration never told them it was a bad idea.

“Nobody really had focused on the potential downside in terms of our international relationships,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, said. “I think it was just a ball dropped.”

Never mind the fact that the Obama administration most definitely did explain, again and again, why they thought the bill was a bad idea, the fact is that it’s Congress’s job to understand the potential impact of any legislation they pass.

As White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest aptly put it, “what’s true in elementary school is true in the United States Congress, ignorance is not an excuse, particularly when it comes to our national security and the safety and security of our diplomats and our service members.”

Regardless, Congress still seems a little confused about all of this. Luckily, we have an explainer that should clear everything up for them — and you. Here, then, is the Obama administration’s case against the JASTA bill, and why top national security experts think he’s right. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 September 2016 at 3:17 pm

Posted in Congress, Law, Mental Health

Teh stupid takes over the country

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In addition to the stupidity of the veto override (followed immediately by complaints that Obama should … what? refuse to accept the veto?), we have this report from David Epstein in ProPublica:

You probably heard the one about the “darkly-complected” (he’s Italian) mystery man (Penn econ professor) who caused an American Airlines flight to be grounded because of his seatmate’s concerns over the inscrutable notes (math) he was intensely scribbling (still math) while the plane taxied. In the seatmate’s defense, humans have been freaking out at the sight of differential equations since the dawn of grades. This sort of troubling misunderstanding of technical material isn’t restricted to the Bloody Mary-and-peanuts set, though. Last year, the Justice Department arrested Xi Xiaoxing, chair of Temple University’s physics department, on charges that he was a spy — he was facing a cool 80 years in prison — after they obtained schematics he had shared with Chinese colleagues of a restricted piece of research equipment. Except, it turns out the schematics were for something completely different and not restricted. The feds just didn’t know how to interpret them. As pretty woman Julia Roberts would tell a haughty store clerk: Big mistake. Big. Huge. According to an article in the Washington Post’s eclectic Outlook section, Xi’s case is a great example that “tech law needs a reboot.” Your four W’s:

What?

As Garrett M. Graff writes in the Post article: “Both federal prosecutors and the attorneys who represent executive agencies in court are bungling lawsuits across the country because they don’t understand what they’re talking about.” OMG Garrett, do you know how high our unemployment rate would be if everyone had to know what they’re talking about??

What else?

Apparently Xi’s case is just one of a growing body of investigative tech flubs that have wasted time and resources and, ya know, sent a dozen FBI agents through a physics professor’s door. (Surprise!) Just last week, according to the Post piece, a federal judge in Iowa tossed evidence collected by the FBI in a child pornography case because the Justice Department didn’t seem to understand how its own digital investigative tools worked. … And all this after the Justice Department went to the trouble of unplugging it and plugging it back in.

What else?

The Post article details a litany of technical failings in government legal investigations. For example: “Government attorneys frequently confuse content and metadata, even though the two types of information face very different legal standards. One possible reason: The Justice Department’s decade-old Electronic Surveillance Manual is incorrect about the basic mechanics of how email works, according to a forthcoming article in the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology.” Is it just me or does it seem like the author is kind of obsessed with people knowing what they’re talking about? I bet Garrett M. Graff’s head totally does that Exorcist thing when he listens to talk radio.

What’s needed? . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 September 2016 at 3:10 pm

The veto override and Congressional puzzlement about why they did it

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Russell Berman writes in the Atlantic:

The enactment on Wednesday of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act should have been a triumphant moment for Republican leaders in Congress. They had succeeded, after years of trying, in overriding a presidential veto for the first time and forcing a bill into law over the strenuous objections of Barack Obama.

But the morning after brought no such celebration for House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader McConnellonly pangs of regret.

“It appears as if there may be some unintended ramifications,” McConnell lamented at a press conference barely 24 hours after all but one senator voted to reject the president’s veto of the legislation, which would allow victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. court. On the other side of the Capitol, Ryan said that he hoped there could be a “fix” to the very law he allowed to pass through the House—one that would protect U.S. soldiers abroad from legal retribution that the Obama administration had warned for months would follow as a result of the law.

A White House spokesman soon derided the Republicans’ “buyer’s remorse,” and indeed, the scenario was hard to fathom: How could a Congress plagued by gridlock pass legislation with overwhelming bipartisan majorities, initiate a rare veto override, and then immediately voice regret about the problems the new law might cause?The answer is a mix of sensitive 9/11 politics, an unusually powerful bipartisan alliance, election-year timing, and a heavy dose of mistrust and miscommunication between two branches of government that rarely see eye to eye.

The bill itself is not new. For years, victims of the 9/11 attacks and their families have pushed for a change in the law that would exempt acts of terrorism on U.S. soil from the principle of sovereign immunity, which prevents lawsuits against foreign governments and officials in American court. The families want to sue the Saudi government for damages over its alleged ties to the 9/11 hijackers, 15 of whom were Saudi citizens. The Saudis have denied any involvement, and as CIA Director John Brennan made clear on Wednesday, the U.S. government has backed up their denial.

The 9/11 families had two influential senators in their corner: Charles Schumer of New York, likely the next Democratic leader, and John Cornyn of Texas, the second-ranking Republican. With their backing, a revised version of the bill cleared the Judiciary Committee in the spring and then passed the full Senate on a voice vote—a rarity for legislation that drew such vociferous opposition from the White House. Any senator could have objected, but then as now, none wanted to go on record against a proposal billed as “justice for 9/11 families.” Yet because the legislation first passed the Senate without debate, many members only became aware of the administration’s concerns in the last several weeks after Congress returned from a long summer recess. The House passed the bill in similar fashion—without much debate—two weeks ago, and Obama returned it with a veto message last Friday.“This is a bill that should have been given a greater airing,” Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland told me on Thursday. “It was not on my radar screen until after the train was leaving the station. The next thing I know, it’s on the president’s desk.” Cardin is no backbencher; he is the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee and along with the panel’s chairman, Bob Corker of Tennessee, he spent the last several days scrambling to work out a compromise with the Obama administration that would have kept the bill, as written, from becoming law. Time ran out this week, however, as McConnell decided to bring up the veto-override vote just before lawmakers left to campaign for reelection.Technically, McConnell could have waited until the lame-duck session in November, allowing more time for debate and the possibility of a compromise. Cardin said, however, that it is Senate custom to act on presidential vetoes as soon as they are received. A Senate Democratic aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity, surmised that the timing had more to do with politics and a pent-up frustration with the outgoing Obama.Either way, neither Democrats nor Republicans objected to the vote, and the 97-1 tally was an overwhelming rebuke of the White House. Only Harry Reid, the retiring Democratic leader, supported the president’s veto. Vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine wasn’t in town to vote, but following the lead of Hillary Clinton, he said he would have gone against Obama and overturned the veto. Hours later, the House voted 348-77 to make the bill a law.

The White House was apoplectic. Josh Earnest, the press secretary, told reporters on Air Force One that the veto was “the single most embarrassing thing the Senate has done” since 1983—an apparent reference to a long-since-forgotten veto override in which Congress intervened in a federal land dispute. He went even further on Thursday, mocking lawmakers for claiming ignorance of what they were voting on and accusing them of ignoring warnings from the intelligence community, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, and even the head of General Electric that the bill could put U.S. soldiers, personnel, and broader economic and diplomatic interests overseas in jeopardy. “What’s true in elementary school is true in the U.S. Congress: Ignorance is not an excuse,” Earnest said.

Appearing at a CNN veterans forum Wednesday night, Obama called the override “a mistake” motivated by lawmakers’ understandable concerns about emotional 9/11 politics and the looming election. He reiterated the objections he outlined in his three-page veto message—that by overturning sovereign immunity even for terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, Congress could be exposing U.S. personnel to lawsuits and other legal action all across the globe. Under current law, the U.S. government can exempt a country from sovereign immunity by having the State Department designate it as a state sponsor of terrorism (which it has not done for Saudi Arabia). “This is taking that out of our military and our intelligence and the hands of our national-security professionals and putting it into the courts,” Obama said. “And that’s a mistake.”

Continue reading.

What is amazing is that several in Congress are saying that this is not their fault. Although they voted for the bill in the first place, and then saw the President veto it and explain why, and then they voted to override the veto, somehow they seem themselves as not responsible for what happened.

We need a better Congress: smarter, more thoughtful, less corrupt, and more interested in serving the country.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 September 2016 at 2:07 pm

Posted in Congress, Government, Law

The fat-fueled brain: unnatural or advantageous?

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Shelly Fan has a post at Scientific American that will be of interest to those who follow a low-carb, high-fat diet:

Disclaimer: First things first. Please note that I am in no way endorsing nutritional ketosis as a supplement to, or a replacement for medication. As you’ll see below, data exploring the potential neuroprotective effects of ketosis are still scarce, and we don’t yet know the side effects of a long-term ketogenic diet. This post talks about the SCIENCE behind ketosis, and is not meant in any way as medical advice.

The ketogenic diet is a nutritionist’s nightmare. High in saturated fat and VERY low in carbohydrates, “keto” is adopted by a growing population to paradoxically promote weight loss and mental well-being. Drinking coffee with butter? Eating a block of cream cheese? Little to no fruit? To the uninitiated, keto defies all common sense, inviting skeptics to wave it off as an unnatural “bacon-and-steak” fad diet.

Yet versions of the ketogenic diet have been used to successfully treat drug-resistant epilepsy in children since the 1920s – potentially even back in the biblical ages. Emerging evidence from animal models and clinical trials suggest keto may be therapeutically used in many other neurological disorders, including head ache, neurodegenerative diseases, sleep disorders, bipolar disorder, autism and brain cancer. With no apparent side effects.

Sound too good to be true? I feel ya! Where are these neuroprotective effects coming from? What’s going on in the brain on a ketogenic diet?

Ketosis in a nutshell

In essence, a ketogenic diet mimics starvation, allowing the body to go into a metabolic state called ketosis (key-tow-sis). Normally, human bodies are sugar-driven machines: ingested carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which is mainly transported and used as energy or stored as glycogen in liver and muscle tissue. When deprived of dietary carbohydrates (usually below 50g/day), the liver becomes the sole provider of glucose to feed your hungry organs – especially the brain, a particularly greedy entity accounting for ~20% of total energy expenditure. The brain cannot DIRECTLY use fat for energy. Once liver glycogen is depleted, without a backup energy source, humanity would’ve long disappeared in the eons of evolution.

The backup is ketone bodies that the liver derives primarily from fatty acids in your diet or body fat. These ketones – ?-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), acetoacetate and acetone – are released into the bloodstream, taken up by the brain and other organs, shuttled into the “energy factory” mitochondria and used up as fuel. Excess BHB and acetoacetate are excreted from urine, while acetone, due to its volatile nature, is breathed out (hence the characteristically sweet “keto breath”). Meanwhile, blood glucose remains physiologically normal due to glucose derived from certain amino acids and the breakdown of fatty acids – voila, low blood sugar avoided!

Brain on ketones: Energetics, Oxidation and Inflammation

So the brain is happily deriving energy from ketones – sure, but why would this be protective against such a variety of brain diseases?

One answer may be energy. Despite their superficial differences, many neurological diseases share one major problem – deficient energy production. During metabolic stress, ketones serve as an alternative energy source to maintain normal brain cell metabolism. In fact, BHB (a major ketone) may be an even more efficient fuel than glucose, providing more energy per unit oxygen used. A ketogenic diet also increases the number of mitochondria, so called “energy factories” in brain cells. A recent study found enhanced expression of genes encoding for mitochondrial enzymes and energy metabolism in the hippocampus, a part of the brain important for learning and memory. Hippocampal cells often degenerate in age-related brain diseases, leading to cognitive dysfunction and memory loss. With increased energy reserve, neurons may be able to ward off disease stressors that would usually exhaust and kill the cell.

A ketogenic diet may also DIRECTLY inhibit a major source of neuronal stress, by -well- acting like a blueberry. Reactive oxygen species are unfortunate byproducts of cellular metabolism. Unlike the gas Oxygen, these “oxidants” have a single electron that makes them highly reactive, bombarding into proteins and membranes and wrecking their structure. Increased oxidants are a hallmark of aging, stroke and neurodegeneration.

Ketones directly inhibit the production of these violent molecules, and enhance their breakdown through increasing the activity of glutathione peroxidase, a part of our innate anti-oxidant system. The low intake of carbohydrates also directly reduces glucose oxidation (something called “glycolysis”). Using a glucose-like non-metabolized analogue, one studyfound that neurons activate stress proteins to lower oxidant levels and stabilize mitochondria.

Due to its high fat nature, keto increases poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs, such as DHA and EPA, both sold over-the-counter as “brain healthy” supplements), which in turn reduces oxidant production and inflammation. Inflammatory stress is another “root of all evil”, which PUFAs target by inhibiting the expression of genes encoding for pro-inflammatory factors.

Neurons on Ketones: Dampen that enthusiasm!

Excited neurons transmit signals, process information and form the basis of a functioning brain. OVER-excited neurons tend to die.

The brain teeters on a balance between excitation and inhibition through two main neurotransmitters, the excitatory glutamate and the inhibitory GABA. Tilt the scale towards glutamate, which occurs in stroke, seizures and neurodegeneration, and you get excitotoxicity. In other words, hyper-activity is toxic.

Back in the 1930s, researchers found that direct injection of various ketone bodies into rabbits prevented chemically-induced seizures through inhibiting glutamate release, but the precise mechanism was unclear. A recent study in hippocampal neurons showed that ketones directly inhibited the neuron’s ability to “load up” on glutamate – that is, the transmitter can’t be packaged into vesicles and released – and thus decreased excitatory transmission. In a model of epilepsy that used a chemical similar to glutamate to induce damage, the diet protected mice against cell death in the hippocampus by inhibiting pro-death signaling molecules. On the other end of the excitation-inhibition balance, ketones increase GABA in the synapses (where neurotransmitters are released) of rats and in the brains of some (but not all) epileptic humans subjects. This increase in inhibition may confer both anti-seizure effects and neuroprotection, though data is still scant.

Then there are some fringe hypotheses. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 September 2016 at 10:08 am

Barrister & Mann Leviathan and a great shave

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SOTD 2016-09-30

Barrister & Mann’s Leviathan has a fragrance that I like and also lathers like a champ, this morning with Mr Pomp, a favorite brush.

Three passes with the X3 head on a UFO handle gave a BBS result with no trouble at all, and a good splash of Leviathan finished the shave.

Written by LeisureGuy

30 September 2016 at 8:29 am

Posted in Shaving

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