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Mosby's Journal
Mosby's Journal
November 22, 2021

Babies emit smell to get aggressively loyal moms and mellow dads, Israeli study says

The smell of a newborn boosts their chances of survival by making moms more aggressive and dad less aggressive, Israeli scientists have suggested in peer-reviewed research.

They were astounded to find that inhaling hexadecanal, a chemical that is sometimes emitted from the human skin, especially on the heads of newborns, has an entirely different effect on men and women.

The scientists say their experiment, newly published in Science Advances, is among the first to provide a direct link between human behavior and a single molecule picked up through the sense of smell.

A team from the Weizmann Institute of Science got volunteers to sniff oil, some of it with hexadecanal and some without. Hexadecanal is odorless, but the men who sniffed it became less aggressive than others who didn’t — while the women who sniffed it became more aggressive.

“We were really surprised,” Dr. Eva Mishor, lead author of the study, told The Times of Israel. “Our hypothesis was that it was a social cue that reduced aggression, but we didn’t expect it to cause a different reaction in men and women.


October 28, 2021

Antisemitism on the left is subtler than on the right. But it's getting worse.

The Sunrise Movement knows a lot about climate change. As the self-described “youth movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process,” they have spent countless hours appropriately ringing the alarm bell about the now-quickening pace of climate change, arguing that we must act now before it’s too late.

Last week, however, the Sunrise Movement inadvertently alerted us all to another change in the climate: a slow but steady, unmistakable rise of antisemitism among progressive groups.

It started when its Washington, D.C., chapter issued a statement last Wednesday that it would not speak at a rally later that week in support of D.C. statehood because of the participation of three Jewish groups “that are all in alignment with and in support of Zionism and the State of Israel,” and asked the organizers of the rally to remove all three groups from the list of supporters.

When incidents like this happen, many wave it away, explaining that the real threat from antisemitism is from the far right and those who enable it. There is no denying that right-wing groups pose a material threat to Jewish life in America and to our democracy as a whole. Over the past 10 years, ADL has found that 75 percent of extremist-related murders were linked to right-wing ideology, including the 2018 Tree of Life massacre, the deadliest antisemitic attack in U.S. history. Many of the perpetrators of the Jan. 6 insurrection had ties to the Proud Boys and other extremist groups. And this week, the civil trial begins against the white supremacists who led a violent mob in Charlottesville in 2017, chanting “Jews will not replace us” as they marched down the street.

But that is not the only threat.

To use an analogy that Sunrise and its supporters should understand, right-wing antisemitism is the lethal category-5 hurricane threatening to bring immediate catastrophe. Antisemitism on the left, however, is more akin to climate change: Slowly but surely, the temperature is increasing. Often people don’t perceive the shift, or they choose to ignore it even in the face of once-uncommon storms. But the metaphorical temperature is rising, and the conditions threaten to upend life as we know it.


October 27, 2021


The election of the elders of an evangelical church is usually an uncontroversial, even unifying event. But this summer, at an influential megachurch in Northern Virginia, something went badly wrong. A trio of elders didn’t receive 75 percent of the vote, the threshold necessary to be installed.

"A small group of people, inside and outside this church, coordinated a divisive effort to use disinformation in order to persuade others to vote these men down as part of a broader effort to take control of this church,” David Platt, a 43-year-old minister at McLean Bible Church and a best-selling author, charged in a July 4 sermon.

Platt said church members had been misled, having been told, among other things, that the three individuals nominated to be elders would advocate selling the church building to Muslims, who would convert it into a mosque. In a second vote on July 18, all three nominees cleared the threshold. But that hardly resolved the conflict. Members of the church filed a lawsuit, claiming that the conduct of the election violated the church’s constitution.

Platt, who is theologically conservative, had been accused in the months before the vote by a small but zealous group within his church of “wokeness” and being “left of center,” of pushing a “social justice” agenda and promoting critical race theory, and of attempting to “purge conservative members.” A Facebook page and a right-wing website have targeted Platt and his leadership. For his part, Platt, speaking to his congregation, described an email that was circulated claiming, “MBC is no longer McLean Bible Church, that it’s now Melanin Bible Church.”

What happened at McLean Bible Church is happening all over the evangelical world. Influential figures such as the theologian Russell Moore and the Bible teacher Beth Moore felt compelled to leave the Southern Baptist Convention; both were targeted by right-wing elements within the SBC. The Christian Post, an online evangelical newspaper, published an op-ed by one of its contributors criticizing religious conservatives like Platt, Russell Moore, Beth Moore, and Ed Stetzer, the executive director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center, as “progressive Christian figures” who “commonly champion leftist ideology.” In a matter of months, four pastors resigned from Bethlehem Baptist Church, a flagship church in Minneapolis. One of those pastors, Bryan Pickering, cited mistreatment by elders, domineering leadership, bullying, and “spiritual abuse and a toxic culture.” Political conflicts are hardly the whole reason for the turmoil, but according to news accounts, they played a significant role, particularly on matters having to do with race.


As the author explains, evangelicals have adopted a form of political Christianity, where the Jesus of the Bible has been replaced by a rugged, masculine xenophobic Jesus, this has been going on for a long time, but has greatly accelerated due to trumpism. Its ironic that the very people who complain about cultural creep, have constructed a version of Christianity based on politics and white, southern culture.

October 15, 2021

Religion-related hate crime against Jews at highest level since records began...

Jews are now the victims of more than one in five hate crimes related to religion – the highest percentage ever recorded.

The shocking Home Office statistics continue a disturbing rise over the past few years.

The latest data reveals that there were 1,288 offences against Jewish people in which their perceived religion was recorded as relevant to the case in England and Wales.

The figures amount to 22 per cent of the total for the 12 months up to March this year, making Jews the second largest group.

The findings come after members of the community have been the targets of a series of shocking attacks over the past few months.


22% of the religious hate crimes, .45% of the population.

September 26, 2021

Preliminary research finds that even mild cases of COVID-19 leave a mark on the brain...

Preliminary research finds that even mild cases of COVID-19 leave a mark on the brain – but it’s not yet clear how long it lasts

With more than 18 months of the pandemic in the rearview mirror, researchers have been steadily gathering new and important insights into the effects of COVID-19 on the body and brain. These findings are raising concerns about the long-term impacts that the coronavirus might have on biological processes such as aging.

As a cognitive neuroscientist, my past research has focused on understanding how normal brain changes related to aging affect people’s ability to think and move – particularly in middle age and beyond. But as more evidence came in showing that COVID-19 could affect the body and brain for months or longer following infection, my research team became interested in exploring how it might also impact the natural process of aging.

In August 2021, a preliminary but large-scale study investigating brain changes in people who had experienced COVID-19 drew a great deal of attention within the neuroscience community.


The team found marked differences in gray matter – which is made up of the cell bodies of neurons that process information in the brain – between those who had been infected with COVID-19 and those who had not. Specifically, the thickness of the gray matter tissue in brain regions known as the frontal and temporal lobes was reduced in the COVID-19 group, differing from the typical patterns seen in the group that hadn’t experienced COVID-19.


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