On the Context Dependence of Qualia

Disjunctive anthropocentric properties can correspond to real causal structures.
--Hilary Putnam (blog posting 2015)

Agreed, but note that variable internal anthopocentric states can determine the details of that genuine correspondence, as we see in The Dress.

Australian Study Shows Angiostrongylus cantonensis Shedding in the Slime of Infected Snails

If this also happens in the Big Island's slugs and snails in the wild, it means that just removing visible debris from garden vegetables is not enough--all such produce should be rinsed and/or peeled well before eating uncooked.



The Prevalence of Angiostrongylus cantonensis/mackerrasae Complex in Molluscs from the Sydney Region

Douglas Chan, Joel Barratt, Tamalee Roberts, Rogan Lee, Michael Shea, Deborah Marriott, John Harkness, Richard Malik, Malcolm Jones, Mahdis Aghazadeh, John Ellis, Damien Stark

Published: May 22, 2015DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0128128

Angiostrongylus cantonensis and Angiostrongylus mackerrasae are metastrongyloid nematodes that infect various rat species. Terrestrial and aquatic molluscs are intermediate hosts of these worms while humans and dogs are accidental hosts. Angiostrongylus cantonensis is the major cause of angiostrongyliasis, a disease characterised by eosinophilic meningitis. Although both A. cantonensis and A. mackerrasae are found in Australia, A. cantonensis appears to account for most infections in humans and animals. Due to the occurrence of several severe clinical cases in Sydney and Brisbane, the need for epidemiological studies on angiostrongyliasis in this region has become apparent. In the present study, a conventional PCR and a TaqMan assay were compared for their ability to amplify Angiostrongylus DNA from DNA extracted from molluscs. The TaqMan assay was more sensitive, capable of detecting the DNA equivalent to one hundredth of a nematode larva. Therefore, the TaqMan assay was used to screen molluscs (n=500) of 14 species collected from the Sydney region. Angiostrongylus DNA was detected in 2 of the 14 mollusc species; Cornu aspersum [14/312 (4.5%)], and Bradybaenia similaris [1/10 (10%)], which are non-native terrestrial snails commonly found in urban habitats. The prevalence of Angiostrongylus spp. was 3.0% ± 0.8% (CI 95%). Additionally, experimentally infected Austropeplea lessoni snails shed A. cantonensis larvae in their mucus, implicating mucus as a source of infection. This is the first Australian study to survey molluscs using real-time PCR and confirms that the garden snail, C. aspersum, is a common intermediate host for Angiostrongylus spp. in Sydney.

Receptive awareness of prosody may be processed in the bilateral superior temporal sulcus.

Prosody is defined (Wikipedia) as "those elements of speech that are not individual vowels and consonants but are properties of syllables and larger units of speech. These contribute to such linguistic functions as intonation, tone, stress and rhythm. Prosody may reflect various features of the speaker or the utterance: the emotional state of the speaker; the form of the utterance (statement, question, or command); the presence of irony or sarcasm; emphasis, contrast, and focus; or other elements of language that may not be encoded by grammar or by choice of vocabulary."

As such, the rhythms, time patterning, and emphases of speech contain both verbal content and emotional content. It's not too surprising, therefore, that understanding the prosody of speech is processed bilaterally.



The cortical analysis of speech-specific temporal structure revealed by responses to sound quilts

Tobias Overath, Josh H McDermott, Jean Mary Zarate, & David Poeppel

Nature Neuroscience (2015) doi:10.1038/nn.4021

Received 08 February 2015 Accepted 20 April 2015 Published online 18 May 2015

Speech contains temporal structure that the brain must analyze to enable linguistic processing. To investigate the neural basis of this analysis, we used sound quilts, stimuli constructed by shuffling segments of a natural sound, approximately preserving its properties on short timescales while disrupting them on longer scales. We generated quilts from foreign speech to eliminate language cues and manipulated the extent of natural acoustic structure by varying the segment length. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we identified bilateral regions of the superior temporal sulcus (STS) whose responses varied with segment length. This effect was absent in primary auditory cortex and did not occur for quilts made from other natural sounds or acoustically matched synthetic sounds, suggesting tuning to speech-specific spectrotemporal structure. When examined parametrically, the STS response increased with segment length up to ~500 ms. Our results identify a locus of speech analysis in human auditory cortex that is distinct from lexical, semantic or syntactic processes.

Aloha Friday: I Kona

Ledward Kaapana plays James Kelepolo's I Kona, about the Big Island's leeward coast.

I Kona - by James Kelepolo (1864-1945)

Aia i Kona kai ʻōpua i ka laʻi
ʻAʻohe lua e like ai me ʻoe

Malihini mākou iā ʻoe i Kona
I ke kono a ke aloha no mākou

Haʻina ʻia mai ana ka puana
ʻAʻohe lua e like ai me ʻoe
There at Kona are the cloud banks and calm seas
Second to none, you are incomparable

We are your guests in Kona
By invitation, with love for us

Tell the refrain
Second to none, you are incomparable
Source: Recorded by Ledward Kaapana and the new I Kona, Researched by Hinauluohia
Aia i Kona ka ʻāina aloha
He ʻāina poina ʻole no mākou

Malihini mākou iā ʻoe i Kona
I ke kono a ke aloha e kamaʻāina
Mea ʻole e ka loa e ke aloha
I ke kono a ke aloha pumehana
Haʻina ʻia mai ana ka puana
ʻAʻohe lua e like ai me ʻoe
There at Kona is the beloved land
An unforgettable land for us

We were newcomers to you in Kona
By the invitation of love to take residency

The distance is nothing due to loveBy the invitation of warm affection
The story is told
There is no other like you

Source: Bishop Museum - Composed in 1929, the lyrics were given to George Naope by James Kelepolo in the early 1980s. The mele expresses the composer's love for Kona on the Island of Hawaiʻi and the reason he moved there.

Melatonin Modulates Serotonin and Norepinephrine Activity in the Midbrain

The article below finds a connection between serotonin and norepinephrine activity in mouse midbrain and exposure to longer versus shorter daylight periods. That the effect is most likely via melatonin is confirmed by the effect disappearing when melatonin receptors are blocked in the midbrain. Since depression is also modulated via serotonin and norepinephrne, this suggests that seasonal affective disorder in humans may be acquired via decreases in melatonin activity at the midbrain level.



Photoperiod Programs Dorsal Raphe Serotonergic Neurons and Affective Behaviors

Noah H. Green, Chad R. Jackson, Hideki Iwamoto, Michael C. Tackenberg, Douglas G. McMahon

Publication stage: In Press Corrected Proof

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2015.03.050


•Summer-like long photoperiods increase serotonin neuron excitability and firing

•Long photoperiods increase serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the midbrain

•Long photoperiods during development induce lasting increases in firing rate

•Knockout of the MT1 receptor negates the observed photoperiodic changes


The serotonergic raphe nuclei of the midbrain are principal centers from which serotonin neurons project to innervate cortical and sub-cortical structures. The dorsal raphe nuclei receive light input from the circadian visual system [ 1 ] and indirect input from the biological clock nuclei [ 2, 3 ]. Dysregulation of serotonin neurotransmission is implicated in neurobehavioral disorders, such as depression and anxiety [ 4 ], and alterations in the serotonergic phenotype of raphe neurons have dramatic effects on affective behaviors in rodents [ 5 ]. Here, we demonstrate that day length (photoperiod) during development induces enduring changes in mouse dorsal raphe serotonin neurons—programming their firing rate, responsiveness to noradrenergic stimulation, intrinsic electrical properties, serotonin and norepinephrine content in the midbrain, and depression/anxiety-related behavior in a melatonin receptor 1 (MT1)-dependent manner. Our results establish mechanisms by which seasonal photoperiods may dramatically and persistently alter the function of serotonin neurons.

Artificially Sweetened Soft Drinks May Increase the Risk of Stroke

This week JAMA published an epidemiological study of 451,743 Europeans from 10 countries which suggested there is an increased risk of m...