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David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
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Bryan Cranston
Actor
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Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
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Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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Biohacking: Why I'll live to be 180 years old

From computer hacking to biohacking, Dave Asprey has embarked on a quest to reverse the aging process.

DAVE ASPREY: When I was 14 I was diagnosed with arthritis in my knees. And I remember, going home, I was shaken. Because in my mind, as a 14-year-old, I said, look, this is a disease that old people get. And now that I'm 46-- when I say "old people," I'm talking about people that I respect and admire, the sources of wisdom. And I cultivate friends, when I can find them, at least twice as old as I am, because they know all the stuff that I haven't learned yet.

But at the time, I said, I'm young. I'm a teenager. I'm not supposed to be experiencing this. And I was dealing with metabolic issues. I already had stretch marks that still cover me. I hit 300 pounds in my very early 20's. And I started having brain fog in my mid-20's. I was diagnosed with high risk of stroke and heart attack-- very high risk-- as circled by the doctor when I was 29 years old. It turns out I was dealing with all the stuff that normally hits you when you're 60-plus. And I was doing it as a young man. And it scared the heck out of me. And it did that because no one likes to look in the mirror at a time you're supposed to be growing your career and say, I can't remember what happened in that meeting. It's just gone. And I'm so tired. I just can't put one foot in front of the other. But I'm going to do it someway anyway.

It turned out that the people who knew how to fix this weren't my doctor. My doctor told me vitamin C would actually kill me, believe it or not. So I fired him. And for four years, I became my own scientist. Fortunately, I'm a computer hacker, and I know how to do that kind of thing. But then I hooked up with an anti-aging nonprofit group. And I started hanging out with these people full of wisdom who are making themselves younger. And the stuff that they knew, the things I was learning from them and from the top researchers in the world, they made me better.

They gave me the tools of what became biohacking, a movement of people that's now even a word in the dictionary. It didn't exist eight years ago. Well, it turns out that those tools that make older people young make younger people kick ass. And that's been a foundational thing for what I've done with Bulletproof and for what's changed my life in a very dramatic way. I'm about 10%, maybe 10.2% body fat right now. I don't experience hunger on a regular basis. I love what I eat. I have more energy at 46 than I did at 26. I feel amazing. My brain works. I can remember all the things I want to remember. I don't drop words. And it's been absolutely liberating. It also cost a million dollars along the way. And that is completely unfair.

Now, I am very fortunate that I was able to do that, because I worked at the company that held Google's first servers when Google was two servers and two guys. So I had a leg up early on, and I was able to spend myself to wellness, to make a lot of mistakes, to waste a lot of money getting younger, and then to say, all right, how do I go beyond getting younger? And it is that deep knowledge of 20 years of working with the world's best anti-aging researchers and scientists, and reading the papers, and doing the work, and trying it myself that led me to say, with reasonable confidence, look, I'm going to make it to at least 180 if I want to. And that's not the cap, that's the floor.

All right, let me see. Now, if we wanted to be ridiculous and you wanted to be like, here's an anti-aging thing, I can do something like this on camera. I'll just be like, how many people do you know with flexibility like they're teenagers? Do you want to do that? BIG THINK: We just got it. DAVE ASPREY: [LAUGHS] BIG THINK: Yeah.

  • As a teenager, founder of Bulletproof, Dave Asprey, began experiencing health issues that typically plague older adults.
  • After surrounding himself with anti-aging researchers and scientists, he discovered the tools of biohacking could dramatically change his life and improve his health.
  • He's now confident he'll live to at least 180 years old. "It turns out that those tools that make older people young make younger people kick ass," he says.

Hulu's original movie "Palm Springs" is the comedy we needed this summer

Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti get stuck in an infinite wedding time loop.

Gear
  • Two wedding guests discover they're trapped in an infinite time loop, waking up in Palm Springs over and over and over.
  • As the reality of their situation sets in, Nyles and Sarah decide to enjoy the repetitive awakenings.
  • The film is perfectly timed for a world sheltering at home during a pandemic.
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Our ‘little brain’ turns out to be pretty big

The multifaceted cerebellum is large — it's just tightly folded.

Image source: Sereno, et al
Mind & Brain
  • A powerful MRI combined with modeling software results in a totally new view of the human cerebellum.
  • The so-called 'little brain' is nearly 80% the size of the cerebral cortex when it's unfolded.
  • This part of the brain is associated with a lot of things, and a new virtual map is suitably chaotic and complex.

Just under our brain's cortex and close to our brain stem sits the cerebellum, also known as the "little brain." It's an organ many animals have, and we're still learning what it does in humans. It's long been thought to be involved in sensory input and motor control, but recent studies suggests it also plays a role in a lot of other things, including emotion, thought, and pain. After all, about half of the brain's neurons reside there. But it's so small. Except it's not, according to a new study from San Diego State University (SDSU) published in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences).

A neural crêpe

A new imaging study led by psychology professor and cognitive neuroscientist Martin Sereno of the SDSU MRI Imaging Center reveals that the cerebellum is actually an intricately folded organ that has a surface area equal in size to 78 percent of the cerebral cortex. Sereno, a pioneer in MRI brain imaging, collaborated with other experts from the U.K., Canada, and the Netherlands.

So what does it look like? Unfolded, the cerebellum is reminiscent of a crêpe, according to Sereno, about four inches wide and three feet long.

The team didn't physically unfold a cerebellum in their research. Instead, they worked with brain scans from a 9.4 Tesla MRI machine, and virtually unfolded and mapped the organ. Custom software was developed for the project, based on the open-source FreeSurfer app developed by Sereno and others. Their model allowed the scientists to unpack the virtual cerebellum down to each individual fold, or "folia."

Study's cross-sections of a folded cerebellum

Image source: Sereno, et al.

A complicated map

Sereno tells SDSU NewsCenter that "Until now we only had crude models of what it looked like. We now have a complete map or surface representation of the cerebellum, much like cities, counties, and states."

That map is a bit surprising, too, in that regions associated with different functions are scattered across the organ in peculiar ways, unlike the cortex where it's all pretty orderly. "You get a little chunk of the lip, next to a chunk of the shoulder or face, like jumbled puzzle pieces," says Sereno. This may have to do with the fact that when the cerebellum is folded, its elements line up differently than they do when the organ is unfolded.

It seems the folded structure of the cerebellum is a configuration that facilitates access to information coming from places all over the body. Sereno says, "Now that we have the first high resolution base map of the human cerebellum, there are many possibilities for researchers to start filling in what is certain to be a complex quilt of inputs, from many different parts of the cerebral cortex in more detail than ever before."

This makes sense if the cerebellum is involved in highly complex, advanced cognitive functions, such as handling language or performing abstract reasoning as scientists suspect. "When you think of the cognition required to write a scientific paper or explain a concept," says Sereno, "you have to pull in information from many different sources. And that's just how the cerebellum is set up."

Bigger and bigger

The study also suggests that the large size of their virtual human cerebellum is likely to be related to the sheer number of tasks with which the organ is involved in the complex human brain. The macaque cerebellum that the team analyzed, for example, amounts to just 30 percent the size of the animal's cortex.

"The fact that [the cerebellum] has such a large surface area speaks to the evolution of distinctively human behaviors and cognition," says Sereno. "It has expanded so much that the folding patterns are very complex."

As the study says, "Rather than coordinating sensory signals to execute expert physical movements, parts of the cerebellum may have been extended in humans to help coordinate fictive 'conceptual movements,' such as rapidly mentally rearranging a movement plan — or, in the fullness of time, perhaps even a mathematical equation."

Sereno concludes, "The 'little brain' is quite the jack of all trades. Mapping the cerebellum will be an interesting new frontier for the next decade."

Economists show how welfare programs can turn a "profit"

What happens if we consider welfare programs as investments?

Spencer Platt/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A recently published study suggests that some welfare programs more than pay for themselves.
  • It is one of the first major reviews of welfare programs to measure so many by a single metric.
  • The findings will likely inform future welfare reform and encourage debate on how to grade success.
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Two MIT students just solved Richard Feynman’s famed physics puzzle

Richard Feynman once asked a silly question. Two MIT students just answered it.

Surprising Science

Here's a fun experiment to try. Go to your pantry and see if you have a box of spaghetti. If you do, take out a noodle. Grab both ends of it and bend it until it breaks in half. How many pieces did it break into? If you got two large pieces and at least one small piece you're not alone.

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Unhappy at work? How to find meaning and maintain your mental health

Finding a balance between job satisfaction, money, and lifestyle is not easy.

Videos
  • When most of your life is spent doing one thing, it matters if that thing is unfulfilling or if it makes you unhappy. According to research, most people are not thrilled with their jobs. However, there are ways to find purpose in your work and to reduce the negative impact that the daily grind has on your mental health.
  • "The evidence is that about 70 percent of people are not engaged in what they do all day long, and about 18 percent of people are repulsed," London Business School professor Dan Cable says, calling the current state of work unhappiness an epidemic. In this video, he and other big thinkers consider what it means to find meaning in your work, discuss the parts of the brain that fuel creativity, and share strategies for reassessing your relationship to your job.
  • Author James Citrin offers a career triangle model that sees work as a balance of three forces: job satisfaction, money, and lifestyle. While it is possible to have all three, Citrin says that they are not always possible at the same time, especially not early on in your career.
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