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Henry Rollins: Music Is Powerful, but It Can't Stop a War

Is music a viable force for change?  Can music stop things, start things, change things?  To a certain degree yes, maybe in pop culture, but if a song or an artist could stop a war Bob Dylan and Bob Marley would have. If those songs couldn’t stop Vietnam or whatever then songs no, they can’t stop a war.  Can they mobilize people?  To a certain degree, maybe from Monday Night Football, but to turnover a government no, but you have to rally the troops somehow.  Look at wars of the past, buglers, bagpipes, songs.  In the Civil War you had fife and drum.  You had the rebel yell.  You had melody.  You had song.  It galvanizes people.  When I have to go to the dentist Slayer, I will get through this and so music is one of those things that—didn’t get enough sleep, here is a cup of coffee and a Ramones record.  You will be awake in two minutes.  And so music is very, very powerful.  It inspires a whole lot of people.  Look how many tickets get sold.  Look how many records get sold.  Look how we idolize rock stars because they come to our aid.  They inspire the hell out of us.  Okay, so there is a lot of power there.  Bands can certainly bring awareness to things like why did you go to that website, because Tom Morello said I should.  Way to go Tom Morello, smart guy, real smart guy and probably have opened the eyes of a lot of young people all over the world by saying I read this book, so should you.  Way to go and that is him using his rock stardom in a very good way and he does it all the time.

Like Eddie Vedder to say hey you like me, we love you man, good, then go to this website and read all about this, make a contribution if you think it’s worth it.  Hey, that website is going to get looked at by a whole lot of people and so musicians, artist types can definitely and they have historically, shine the light on something.  Can they affect real change?  To a certain degree and I think you can always fallback on the idea that you don’t have to necessarily change the world when you can change worlds.  If you can get to one person, I do it with my little radio show.  I have a radio show on a national public radio station called KCOW.  The best letters I get is I'm 16 years-old and you turned me on to John Coltrane.  That’s—got them.  So we just opened that young person’s mind up to bebop.  Let it spread like a virus.

And so you can change minds with your stardom or your notoriety, but as far as music being a powerful vehicle for change I’d like to be wrong about it, but I am not convinced of its power.

Produced/Directed by 

Jonathan Fowler and Elizabeth Rodd

Music has amazing inspirational powers, says former Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins – but only collective action can stop a war or change a government.

A new hydrogel might be strong enough for knee replacements

Duke University researchers might have solved a half-century old problem.

Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • Duke University researchers created a hydrogel that appears to be as strong and flexible as human cartilage.
  • The blend of three polymers provides enough flexibility and durability to mimic the knee.
  • The next step is to test this hydrogel in sheep; human use can take at least three years.
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Predicting PTSD symptoms becomes possible with a new test

An algorithm may allow doctors to assess PTSD candidates for early intervention after traumatic ER visits.

Image source: camillo jimenez/Unsplash
Technology & Innovation
  • 10-15% of people visiting emergency rooms eventually develop symptoms of long-lasting PTSD.
  • Early treatment is available but there's been no way to tell who needs it.
  • Using clinical data already being collected, machine learning can identify who's at risk.

The psychological scars a traumatic experience can leave behind may have a more profound effect on a person than the original traumatic experience. Long after an acute emergency is resolved, victims of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) continue to suffer its consequences.

In the U.S. some 30 million patients are annually treated in emergency departments (EDs) for a range of traumatic injuries. Add to that urgent admissions to the ED with the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. Health experts predict that some 10 percent to 15 percent of these people will develop long-lasting PTSD within a year of the initial incident. While there are interventions that can help individuals avoid PTSD, there's been no reliable way to identify those most likely to need it.

That may now have changed. A multi-disciplinary team of researchers has developed a method for predicting who is most likely to develop PTSD after a traumatic emergency-room experience. Their study is published in the journal Nature Medicine.

70 data points and machine learning

nurse wrapping patient's arm

Image source: Creators Collective/Unsplash

Study lead author Katharina Schultebraucks of Columbia University's Department Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons says:

"For many trauma patients, the ED visit is often their sole contact with the health care system. The time immediately after a traumatic injury is a critical window for identifying people at risk for PTSD and arranging appropriate follow-up treatment. The earlier we can treat those at risk, the better the likely outcomes."

The new PTSD test uses machine learning and 70 clinical data points plus a clinical stress-level assessment to develop a PTSD score for an individual that identifies their risk of acquiring the condition.

Among the 70 data points are stress hormone levels, inflammatory signals, high blood pressure, and an anxiety-level assessment. Says Schultebraucks, "We selected measures that are routinely collected in the ED and logged in the electronic medical record, plus answers to a few short questions about the psychological stress response. The idea was to create a tool that would be universally available and would add little burden to ED personnel."

Researchers used data from adult trauma survivors in Atlanta, Georgia (377 individuals) and New York City (221 individuals) to test their system.

Of this cohort, 90 percent of those predicted to be at high risk developed long-lasting PTSD symptoms within a year of the initial traumatic event — just 5 percent of people who never developed PTSD symptoms had been erroneously identified as being at risk.

On the other side of the coin, 29 percent of individuals were 'false negatives," tagged by the algorithm as not being at risk of PTSD, but then developing symptoms.

Going forward

person leaning their head on another's shoulder

Image source: Külli Kittus/Unsplash

Schultebraucks looks forward to more testing as the researchers continue to refine their algorithm and to instill confidence in the approach among ED clinicians: "Because previous models for predicting PTSD risk have not been validated in independent samples like our model, they haven't been adopted in clinical practice." She expects that, "Testing and validation of our model in larger samples will be necessary for the algorithm to be ready-to-use in the general population."

"Currently only 7% of level-1 trauma centers routinely screen for PTSD," notes Schultebraucks. "We hope that the algorithm will provide ED clinicians with a rapid, automatic readout that they could use for discharge planning and the prevention of PTSD." She envisions the algorithm being implemented in the future as a feature of electronic medical records.

The researchers also plan to test their algorithm at predicting PTSD in people whose traumatic experiences come in the form of health events such as heart attacks and strokes, as opposed to visits to the emergency department.

Hints of the 4th dimension have been detected by physicists

What would it be like to experience the 4th dimension?

Two different experiments show hints of a 4th spatial dimension. Credit: Zilberberg Group / ETH Zürich
Technology & Innovation

Physicists have understood at least theoretically, that there may be higher dimensions, besides our normal three. The first clue came in 1905 when Einstein developed his theory of special relativity. Of course, by dimensions we’re talking about length, width, and height. Generally speaking, when we talk about a fourth dimension, it’s considered space-time. But here, physicists mean a spatial dimension beyond the normal three, not a parallel universe, as such dimensions are mistaken for in popular sci-fi shows.

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How often do vaccine trials hit paydirt?

Vaccines find more success in development than any other kind of drug, but have been relatively neglected in recent decades.

Pedro Vilela/Getty Images
Surprising Science

Vaccines are more likely to get through clinical trials than any other type of drug — but have been given relatively little pharmaceutical industry support during the last two decades, according to a new study by MIT scholars.

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