Regulate The Regulator.
The six-front war.
1. There are many good reasons to get a flu shot this fall, but here’s one that might surprise you: It could protect your brain. Recent research suggests that regular vaccinations against influenza and other infectious diseases such as shingles, pneumococcal pneumonia, and tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. “Vaccines are the great public health success story of our generation,” said Paul E. Schulz, professor of neurology and director of the Neurocognitive Disorders Center at the McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, who led several of the studies. “They keep you safe from any number of infections, many of which can be life-threatening. And now it appears there is another tremendous benefit, this one against a disease that is among the most feared.” (Sources: washingtonpost.com, content.iospress.com, med.uth.edu)
2. Scientists have created a neural network with the human-like ability to make generalizations about language. The artificial intelligence (AI) system performs about as well as humans at folding newly learned words into an existing vocabulary and using them in fresh contexts, which is a key aspect of human cognition known as systematic generalization. The researchers gave the same task to the AI model that underlies the chatbot ChatGPT, and found that it performs much worse on such a test than either the new neural net or people, despite the chatbot’s uncanny ability to converse in a human-like manner. The work, published on 25 October in Nature, could lead to machines that interact with people more naturally than do even the best AI systems today. (Source: nature.com)
3. According to the 14th Annual American Values survey, conducted by PRRI in partnership with the Brookings Institution, more than three-fourths of Americans (77%) believe that the country is going in the wrong direction, compared with only 22% who believe the country is going in the right direction. Fewer Americans believe that American culture and way of life has mostly changed for the better (44%) than changed for the worse (55%) since the 1950s. The country is more divided about the possibility of better days in the future. A slim majority of Americans (52%) agree that “America’s best days are now behind us,” while 43% disagree. Just under four in ten Americans (38%) agree with the statement, “Because things have gotten so far off track in this country, we need a leader who is willing to break some rules if that’s what it takes to set things right,” while 59% disagree. Disturbingly, support for political violence has increased over the last two years. Today, nearly a quarter of Americans (23%) agree that “because things have gotten so far off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country,” up from 15% in 2021. PRRI has asked this question in eight separate surveys since March 2021. This is the first time support for political violence has peaked above 20%. Survey charts are here. (Source: prri.org, brookings.edu)
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