The Fringe Lost a Fringe

What was once, in the non-wired world, relatively difficult to find like Dead Milkmen stuff, is now always as easy to get as mainstream content. Does that take some of the fun out of the fringe?     Back to Punk Purity!   Maybe the Internet is separating the wheat …

Concentration

Maria Konnikova posts an interesting article in this past Sunday’s New York Times on the effects of undivided attention and mindfulness. In her post, she links concentration to Sherlock Holmes (perhaps because that’s a link to her forthcoming book), but she provides a nice if brief review of some of …

Strength Training and the Brain

Lots of evidence points to the usefulness of aerobic exercise for maintaining and improving mental functioning (see a previous blog post here and an extensive review article here). It is not as clear, though, whether strength training has an effect. An article in JAMA Internal Medicine shows that even a …

Eating for Brain Fitness

A lot has been written on the Web about eating for brain fitness. Almost anyone might want to know if one magic food can make your mind clear and keep your memory sharp. When it comes to eating, there are no magic bullets, but studies give us some direction. First, …

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The Fringe Lost a Fringe

November 30, 2014 Uncategorized No Comments
Hispanic Woman

What was once, in the non-wired world, relatively difficult to find like Dead Milkmen stuff, is now always as easy to get as mainstream content. Does that take some of the fun out of the fringe?

 
 

Back to Punk Purity!

 

Maybe the Internet is separating the wheat from the chaff in terms of punk fans. Now, since there is no ego/image payoff for a would-be Milkmen listener, for example, we might expect that the pool of fans will become purer, composed of people most interested in the music and fun surrounding it.

Nice thought, huh! On the other hand, the Web has given us countless new ways to build profile-based personal images for ourselves, far from the reality of our actual musical tastes. There are new ways to find obscure content online, after all — perhaps peer-to-peer software is like the new underground label experience.

Then there’s SoundCloud, where anybody can be a star, alongside the actual user-accounts of musical stars, who use the network as a way to release the un-released or un-release-able material. This is just one easy example of countless scenes that exist everywhere in the world, and all of them in the same place, online.

 

 

 

Crazy Ideas

 

If you were a band starting out today, how could you retain some sort of underground feel, even if just for the fun of it. Maybe these days, the art of communicating a band image — its ‘brand’, although that’s such a very yuppie thing to say — is about limiting the exposure and making that exposure highly targeted.

The good news is that it is today easier to gather a small crowd around what you’re doing. Forget about the other direction, of people finding you. As it turns out, there is a naturally self-organizing quality about the Web: people already group themselves into communities.

All there is to do for a young band is connect with online communities of high-potential listeners. Then, let the nature of the Web do the rest. And don’t neglect unusual venues.

In fact, by going to all sorts of cult or campy quarters of culture to mine for possible listeners, a band can evolve a quirky underground feel. You could even try a site like http://www.classycasinos.co.uk

 

 

 

Strength Training and the Brain

Gray haired woman lifting weight

Lots of evidence points to the usefulness of aerobic exercise for maintaining and improving mental functioning (see a previous blog post here and an extensive review article here). It is not as clear, though, whether strength training has an effect. An article in JAMA Internal Medicine shows that even a modest amount of resistance training (60 minutes two times a week for 6 months) can improve cognitive function in older women with evidence of mild cognitive impairment (MCI). MCI is defined as a condition in which persons have clear evidence of below average cognitive function in an area such as memory and in addition report that they have memory difficulties. It’s considered an important condition in part because people with MCI are believed to be an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

While other studies have shown that resistance training can help cognitive functioning, this study compared strength training with aerobic exercise (walking) and a less intense “balance and tone” intervention. The authors also studied the impact of their interventions on the brain using functional MRI (fMRI). Results showed that strength training was associated with improvements in cognitive function on several study measures, including an executive function measure (the Stroop task) and a memory task. In a subgroup of people who completed fMRI, the strength training was associated with changes in brain function during mental activity. The authors conclude that strength training can help to improve cognitive function in women with MCI, and may be a useful strategy in helping maintain cognitive function in persons at risk for decline.

Reference:

Nagamatsu, LS et al. (2012). Resistance training promotes cognitive and functional brain plasticity in seniors with probable mild cognitive impairment. JAMA Internal Medicine, 172, 666-668. Full article available without charge here.

Brain Fitness

Strength Training and the Brain

Gray haired woman lifting weight

Lots of evidence points to the usefulness of aerobic exercise for maintaining and improving mental functioning (see a previous blog post here and an extensive review article here). It is not as clear, though, whether strength training has an effect. An article in JAMA Internal Medicine shows that even a …

Concentration

Old book pen magnifier

Maria Konnikova posts an interesting article in this past Sunday’s New York Times on the effects of undivided attention and mindfulness. In her post, she links concentration to Sherlock Holmes (perhaps because that’s a link to her forthcoming book), but she provides a nice if brief review of some of …

Cognitive Lifestyle and Neuroprotection

man thinking

A study from earlier this year sheds light on how being mentally active may confer protection for cognitive decline. Michael Valenzuela is a researcher whose work focuses on understanding the links between mental activity over someone’s entire life and their later function. In previous studies, he and his colleagues have …

Physical Activity and How Long You Live

Man riding a bicycle in a race

Lots of research has shown that, at least over short periods of time, people who are physically active are more alert, remember things better, and are in better health. But does that mean that they live longer?  A recent review article looked at this question. The authors found 13 papers …

Pulmonary Function and Cognitive Aging

Picture of people running

An interesting study appears this month in the journal Psychological Science. The authors used data obtained over 19 years to study the relation of pulmonary (breathing) functions and changes in cognition with increasing age. Earlier studies had shown that both tend to get worse as we get older, but it …

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