FRANCE, 1944 AND NOW

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WeymouthWeymouth
June 1944: Boats full of US troops wait to leave Weymouth to take part in Operation Overlord. 5 April 2014: A view of the harbour of the English town today. This location was used as a launching place for Allied troops participating in the invasion of Nazi-occupied France on D-day. Photographs by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty and Peter Macdiarmid/Getty

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Moreton-in-MarshMoreton-in-Marsh
May 1944: Ammunition stored in the town square of Moreton-in-Marsh shortly before D-day. 12 May 2014: A view of the high street in the English town today. Photographs by Frank Scherschel/Time & Life/Getty and Peter Macdiarmid/Getty

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Omaha BeachOmaha Beach
June 1944: American craft of all styles pictured at Omaha Beach, Normandy, during the first stages of the Allied invasion. 7 May 2014: A view of the beach near Colleville-sur-Mer, France. Photographs by Popperfoto/Getty and Peter Macdiarmid/Getty

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Nan RedNan Red
6 June 1944: Royal Marine Commandos of Headquarters, 4th Special Service Brigade, make their way from LCI(S) (Landing Craft Infantry Small) onto ‘Nan Red’ Beach at Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer. 6 May 2014: A view of the sea in the Juno beach area today. Photographs by Lt Handford/IWM/Getty and Peter Macdiarmid/Getty

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Juno BeachJuno Beach
6 June 1944: Troops of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division land at Juno Beach on the outskirts of Bernières-sur-Mer on D-day. 5 May 2014: A view of the seafront and beach in Normandy today. 340 Canadian soldiers lost their lives in the battle for the beachhead. Photographs by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty and Peter Macdiarmid/Getty

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Sainte Mere EgliseSainte Mere Eglise
1944: A French armoured column passing through Sainte-Mère-Église receives a warm welcome from its inhabitants. 7 May 2014: A view of the high street today. Photographs by Popperfoto/Getty and Peter Macdiarmid/Getty

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Sainte Marie du MontSainte Marie du Mont
12 June 1944: A group of American soldiers stand in the village of Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, which was liberated by paratroopers of the 501st and 506th Regiments of the 101st Airborne Division. 7 May 2014: A view of the old village fountain today. Photographs by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty and Peter Macdiarmid/Getty

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Bernieres-sur-MerBernieres-sur-Mer
6 June 1944: A Canadian soldier directs traffic in Bernières-sur-Mer. 14,000 Canadian soldiers had landed at nearby Juno Beach. 5 May 2014: A view of Notre-Dame Nativity church today. Photographs by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty and Peter Macdiarmid/Getty

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Saint LoSaint Lo
July 1944: United States Army trucks and jeeps drive through the ruins of Saint-Lo. 7 May 2014: A view of the roadway in the town today. Saint-Lo was almost totally destroyed by 2,000 Allied bombers when they attacked German troops stationed there during Operation Overlord. Photographs by Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty and Peter Macdiarmid/Getty

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German PrisonersGerman Prisoners
6 June 1944: A Canadian soldier stands at the head of a group of German prisoners of war, including two officers, on Juno Beach, Normandy. 8 May 2014: A view of the beach in Bernières-sur-Mer in Normandy today. Photographs by Ken Bell/ National Archives of Canada/Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty and Peter Macdiarmid/Getty

Your Dog Knows Exactly What You’re Saying

It doesn’t take a scientific study for dog owners to believe that their pets know what they’re saying. (We cat owners are a little less certain.)

But it’s not always clear exactly what Fido is paying attention to.

 

When we say “Good dog!” dogs hear both the words we say and how we say them, new brain scans show. For people, both the word and intonation are important, but no one knew—until now—whether that was also the case for dogs. (See “Dogs Are Even More Like Us Than We Thought.”)

In a study published August 29 in Science, scientists found the canine brain also processes the information in a similar way as humans.

 

“I’m quite excited by this finding. It’s really exciting to see such close correspondence between brain activity in humans and dogs,” said Chris Petkov, a neuropsychologist at the U.K.’s University of Newcastle who was not involved in the study.

Dog Brains Are a Lot Like Ours

 Study leader and dog lover Attila Andics started studying canines as a way to understand how the mammalian brain processes language.

 

The first step was not an easy one: Training dogs to remain absolutely still in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner. It took several months for dog trainers to work their magic on 13 pet dogs that live in Hungary, including six border collies, four golden retrievers, one German shepherd, and one Chinese crested.

“The hardest part was getting them to understand that they needed to lie absolutely still. Once they realized that we meant completely still, it worked out great,” says Andics, an ethologist at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary. (See “Can Dogs Feel Our Emotions? Yawn Study Suggests Yes.”)

In 2014, Andics and colleagues showed how the brains of the same 13 dogs respond to various vocalizations, like grunts, barks, whines, and shouts, from both people and other dogs. Happy and fearful sounds activated similar brain areas in both species, their study found.

Speech, however, was different. “There’s nothing in nature that’s as complex as human speech,” said Sophie Scott, a neuroscientist at University College London who wasn’t part of the new study.

‘That’s a Good Dog’

So with the same group of 13 dogs, Andics and colleagues played recordings of their owners talking in four different ways: A praising word (such as the Hungarian word for “clever” or “that’s it”) in a praising tone, a neutral word in a neutral tone, a praising word in a neutral tone, and a neutral word in a praising tone.

His neuroimaging results showed that the left hemisphere of the dogs’ brains responded to the word itself, and that their right hemisphere responded to intonation. (See “5 Amazing Stories of Devoted Dogs.”)

 

However, it took both a praise word and a praising tone to activate the dog’s reward center. In other words, your pet knows when you’re praising them and you actually mean it.

“For some dogs, praise might be enough to get them to do what you want. In this study, we treated our dogs like happy volunteers who wanted to please us,” Andics said.

The key to good dog behavior, then, is letting your pet know that they really are a good dog.

WE THE LIVING

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Lest we forget, we are the survivors.

We did not die horribly that sad September day.

This song celebrates us, the survivors, while remembering

those who perished in such a horrid manner.

WE THE LIVING (words and music by Kenneth Harper Finton) © 2007 HT MUSIC

On a clear September morning, it happened without warning:

two flights left from Boston to Los Angeles on time,

It was so unexpected; both planes were redirected.

The skyjackers had gained control; death was their unspoken goal.

The passengers would never know … never would know why.

So here’s to the living, for the dead will never know.

We, we the living, are left to choose the road.

And here’s to the safety of the world they left behind …

and here’s to the making of a better world in time.

In that most fatal hour, both planes hit the twin towers,

Where fifty thousand…

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DO WE SEE REALITY AS IT IS?

 

 

SEE ALSO: https://www.quantamagazine.org/20160421-the-evolutionary-argument-against-reality/

 

Look around you. What do you see?

Other people going about their business? Rooms with tables and chairs? Nature with its sky, grass and trees?

All that stuff, it’s really there, right? Even if you were to disappear right now — poof! — the rest of the world would still exist in all forms you’re seeing now, right?  Or would it?

 

Cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman is trying to answer a big question: Do we experience the world as it really is … or as we need it to be? In this ever so slightly mind-blowing talk, he ponders how our minds construct reality for us. TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and much more. Find closed captions and translated subtitles in many languages at http://www.ted.com/talks/donald_hoffm…

 

THE INVENTION OF TELEVISION

 

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It was on this day in 1927 that the first successful television image was demonstrated, by the inventor Philo T. Farnsworth. Farnsworth was a Mormon farm boy from Utah, and he grew up in a log cabin. When the family moved to a house in Idaho, Farnsworth was amazed that the house had electricity – he had never seen it before.

Farnsworth was a star science student. At the age of 13, he won a national competition for inventing a thief-proof lock. He was particularly fascinated by something called television. The basic premise of television existed, but the only technology used rotating discs, and it was basically a failure. Farnsworth was convinced that there was a better way. One day, when he was 14, he was plowing the family potato field with a team of horses. He looked back at his parallel lines of soil and was struck with an inspiration: What if he could scan an image in a similar way, with parallel lines of electrons, and reproduce it electronically? He approached his high school chemistry teacher with a set of complex drawings, his blueprint for electronic television. The teacher encouraged Farnsworth to pursue his idea, and filed away his student’s drawings.

Farnsworth finished high school in a couple of years, then started college at Brigham Young University. But after his father died, he dropped out to support his family. He couldn’t shake his television idea, so a few years later, the 19-year-old inventor approached two California businessmen and convinced them to lend him money to build a model. He moved to California, submitted a patent in January of 1927, and began building that summer.

On this day in 1927, he transmitted the first electronic television image: a straight line. When the line appeared on a separate receiver, his assistants just stared at it, speechless. Finally, Farnsworth announced: “There you are – electronic television!”

He continued to refine his technology. But he was not the only inventor who had been working on electronic television, and the powerful RCA (Radio Corp of America) tried to claim that its own chief engineer, a Russian-born scientist with a Ph.D., had invented it. The patent battle lasted many years, and the key piece of evidence to determine who had invented the television first turned out to be the teenage Farnsworth’s old sketches, which had been kept all that time by his high school chemistry teacher. The court sided with Farnsworth, but even though he had legally won, RCA’s publicity totally overshadowed his, and he never made much money on his patents. He was actually ambivalent about television, which he thought was generally a waste of time.

Farnsworth died of pneumonia in 1971. His final years had been marred by alcohol abuse and debt, and he died virtually unknown. The average television set sold that same year included about 100 items that had been first patented by Farnsworth.

-THE WRITER’S ALMANAC FOR 9/7/2016

The Best Olympians

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Nikki Hamblin (left) runner from New Zealand, helps USA runner Abbey D’Agostino off the track in the woman’s 5,000 meters after a crash. (Photo: Getty Images)

Hamblin and Abbey D’Agostino, a runner from Topsfield, Mass., collided on the track during the women’s 5,000-meter race. The two seemingly sacrificed any chance at an Olympic medal to help each other reach the finish line, picking each other up, urging each other to continue, pushing each other to the finish.

“I’m never going to forget that moment,” Hamblin said. “When someone asks me what happened in Rio in 20 years’ time, that’s my story.”

 

FULL STORY: https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/olympics/abbey-dagostino-nikki-hamblin-share-olympic-moment-we-have-to-finish-this/2016/08/16/8582f23a-63b1-11e6-96c0-37533479f3f5_story.html?wpisrc=nl_optimist&wpmm=1

Harry Burn, age 24, Gave Women The Right to Vote

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On August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, giving women the right to vote. The first national constitutional amendment had been proposed in Congress in 1878, and in every Congress session after that. Finally, in 1919, it narrowly passed both houses of Congress and was sent to the states to be ratified. Most Southern states opposed the amendment, and on August 18, 1920, it all came down to Tennessee.

The pro-amendment faction wore yellow roses in their lapels, and the “anti” faction wore red American Beauty roses. It was a close battle and the state legislature was tied 48 to 48. The decision came down to one vote: that of 24-year-old Harry Burn, the youngest state legislator. He had been expected to vote against it, but he had in his pocket a note from his mother, which read: “Dear Son: Hurrah, and vote for suffrage! Don’t keep them in doubt. I noticed some of the speeches against. They were bitter. I have been watching to see how you stood, but have not noticed anything yet. Don’t forget to be a good boy and help Mrs. Catt put the ‘rat’ in ratification. Your Mother.” He voted in favor of the amendment.

-THE WRITER’S ALMANAC, August 18, 2016