Booze Makes You Think You’re Starving – Episode 59

AT&T changing the rules for unlimited data plan holders.

  • In March 2017, the old AT&T data plan is going up another $5 to $40 a month.
  • In February 2016, it had gone up from $30 to $35.
  • It’s unlimited data, but not in the sense you think of it. It’s unlimited and unthrottled until you use 22GB. Then it’s throttled if you’re connected to a congested tower.
  • I suspect most towers are somewhat congested, at least at certain times of the day, particularly in metro areas with a high density of users.
  • Then again, 22GB is sort of a lot if you’re on wifi most of the time.
  • Oh, and by the way…rumor is that net neutrality is going away as FCC staffing changes under the Trump administration.

Filling tooth cavities without fillings.

  • Research team at King’s College in London have found that they can initiate teeth self-healing small cavities
  • They did this using biodegradable sponges soaked in a drug called Tideglusib, which is beginning to be used in Alzheimer’s patients and Autism spectrum patients.
  • The sponges were placed inside the cavity and then covered with a dental sealant.
  • “They discovered… heightened the activity of stem cells in the dental pulp so they could repair 0.13mm holes in the teeth of mice.”
  • As the sponge broke down it was replaced by dentine, healing the tooth.
  • They’re moving on to research on repairing larger cavities.
  • How soon to market?
    • Says project lead Prof Paul Sharpe, “I don’t think it’s massively long term, it’s quite low-hanging fruit in regenerative medicine and hopeful in a three-to-five year period this would be commercially available.”

This is your brain on booze.

  • Mice were given the equivalent of a bottle and a half of wine.
  • That level of alcohol caused AGRP neurons to fire. They do this when the body is experiencing starvation. (I think my AGRP neurons might be broken. Apparently, I’m starving all the time.)
  • This is presumed to explain why some people get hungry after having a drink.
  • Alcohol does other things to your brain as well. (Risky Drinking documentary statistics.)
    • 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. is a binge drinker.

    • Binge drinking accounts for more than half of the alcohol consumed by adults in the U.S.


    • Less than 20% of people with an alcohol use disorder receive treatment.


    • About 80% of people with an alcohol use disorder will relapse within the first year of sobriety.


    • Although more men than women have alcohol use disorder, the gap is quickly narrowing.


    • Blackouts are episodes of amnesia that disrupt the ability to form new memories while intoxicated.

    • One in six women will develop an alcohol related health problem including cancer, heart disease and liver damage.

    • Chronic alcohol use can cause an overall reduction in brain function and size.


    • Nearly one third of adults in the U.S. engage in problem drinking at some point in their lives. 

    • The majority of people who receive treatment for an alcohol use disorder will recover.

Signal others. Secretly.

  • Signal is an Android and iOS app for secure communications
  • Voice, Video, SMS & MMS
  • Free (apart from data network charges)
  • All communications are end to end encrypted. (Stored on the devices, not Signal’s servers)
  • Built in mechanisms to ensure no man-in-the-middle attacks are happening
    • For calls, Signal displays two words on the screen. If the words match on both ends of the call, the call is secure.
    • For messages, users can compare key fingerprints (or scan QR codes) out-of-band.]
    • The app employs a trust on first use mechanism in order to notify the user if a correspondent’s key changes.
    • For messages, Signal users can compare key fingerprints (or scan QR codes) out-of-band.
    • The app employs a trust on first use mechanism in order to notify the user if a correspondent’s key changes.
    • Scheduled message removal – deletes messages from both sending and receiving devices at a scheduled time
    • Encrypted local message store
    • Android users can choose to make it their default SMS application, which I’ve done. It’s lightweight, fast, and has some great UX tweaks over the stock messaging app on my Samsung S7
  • Servers – this has to be facilitated by servers at some point, right?
    • In addition to routing Signal’s messages and calls, the servers also facilitate the discovery of contacts who are also registered Signal users and the automatic exchange of users’ public keys.
    • Signal’s privacy policy states that these identifiers are only kept on the servers as long as necessary in order to place each call or transmit each message.
    • Because it’s end to end encrypted though, they can report that communication was initiated between end points, but nothing about the content of said communications.
  • Code Auditing and you

Forcing Mac gaming to not suck.

  • GeForce NOW – Their game streaming service, currently supports Shield set top boxes and tablets.
  • They’ve just announced PC & Mac streaming at CES, which should launch in March of this year (2017)
  • GeForce NOW streaming quality automatically adjusts to the speed of your broadband connection.
  • 10 Megabits per second – Required broadband connection speed
  • 20 Megabits per second – Recommended for 720p 60 FPS quality
  • 50 Megabits per second – Recommended for 1080p 60 FPS quality
  • < 60ms ping time to one of six NVIDIA datacenters world-wide
  • Pricing: When gamers register for GeForce NOW, they can play for free for 8 hours on a GeForce GTX 1060 PC or 4 hours on a GeForce GTX 1080 PC. For an additional $25, gamers can play for 20 hours on a GTX 1060 PC or 10 hours on a GTX 1080 PC. Early access to the new GeForce NOW service is scheduled for March in the continental United States, with full commercial service slated for the spring.



  • Verizon is buying Yahoo for $4.8 billion, with a B.
  • It’s not the entire portfolio of company assets. Alibaba is not part of the sale, for example.
  • What is bought is going to be turned into an investment company called Altaba.
  • Marissa Mayer’s future is in doubt. It doesn’t look like she’ll be involved in Altaba financial portfolio management. And it doesn’t look like she’s going to Verizon, either. Worst case, they fire her, and she ends up with $55 million. With an M.

Content I Like

Songfacts Music Blog

  • Songwriter Interviews – Go behind the music with some of the world’s best songwriters
  • Song Writing – Musical musings from journalists, authors and members of the Songfacts community
  • Fact or Fiction – Sorting Myth from Reality in the Musical Realm
  • They’re Playing My Song – Bruce Pollock asks artists about the one song they wrote or sang that most influenced their career.
  • Music Quiz – Lyric Quizzes and Next Generation Music Trivia
  • Songfacts Pages – Songfacts pages explaining who we are, what we do, and our policies.

Today I Learned

Africa is bifurcating.

  • There is a rift down the east side of the African continent that is, over the next few million years, going to fill in with ocean.
  • The eastern rift is termed the Somali plate.
  • “In north-eastern Africa’s Afar Triangle, which cuts across Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti, hundreds of crevices are reported as splitting the desert floor and the ground has slumped by as much as 100m.”

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