A possible connection between Propionic Acid (Calcium Propionate) and Autism

This news flew around the web a bit about a month or two ago, but just in case you didn’t see it, I wanted to rebroadcast it here.

Propionic acid is a relatively common preservative (also known as E208, or Calcium Propionate). It’s an anti-mold/fungal agent that is added to some baked goods and cheeses to increase their shelf life, and also created in the body by some kinds of gut bacteria under specific circumstances. It’s also created naturally in some cheeses, for example Swiss.

This study came out recently, and was published in Nature: Propionic Acid Induces Gliosis and Neuro-inflammation through Modulation of PTEN/AKT Pathway in Autism Spectrum Disorder

It appears to be a potential cause of Autism-like symptoms, and some subset of Autism cases. It triggers the same kind of bad speciation/incorrect migration of neurons seen in the brain in people with Autism, as well as similar inflammatory markers seen in those people.

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#autism, #propionic acid, #calcium propionate
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A New Life Awaits You in the Off-World Colonies

I’ve just spent the last ten years of my life working inside of the Xbox Advanced Technology Group, a merry team of techninjarocketsurgeons known for being air-dropped into games companies to help them optimize their games for the Xbox console, and in doing so I’ve worked on thousands of games, from AAA to Indie titles, and helped everyone I could wherever I could. Including helping Xbox get together with Sony and others in the industry to set up an open-standards body around HDR gaming.1

We also did a bunch of things like helping developers write Windows games, write Kinect-based games for Xbox 360, a little research and development here and there on technology which may or may not have ever shipped, and who knows what else. We also did a bit of tech support, documentation, education (I also ran our games technology conferences - usually owning the entirety of the content production, strategy and planning side of the house, and doing everything from writing and structuring keynotes to giving a ton of highly-rated talks myself).

Xbox ATG has been around for 19 years at this point2, and I’m proud to have been a part of it for half of its lifetime. Not a bad innings.

Either way though, ten years is a long time. It’s time for a change.

  1. I’d claim that I had a hand in enabling Sony and Microsoft’s recent partnership to provide backend services for PSN Network, but to be honest, I have no idea if I did or not. That said, I’m relatively certain that if the stuff I’d worked on with them hadn’t work out well, and had soured the relationship between the companies (which was at risk), it would have been much more difficult for that deal to happen. So maybe that went a little easier because of me. I can’t really say. 

  2. I came up with the Latin motto3 for Xbox ATG for its 16th (or 0x10th, or %1000’th if you prefer) anniversary. It reads: “INDISCRETA MAGICAE • SCIENTIAS ET ARTES • IGNIS, LVX ET SONVM” which means “Indistinguishable from Magic - Science and Art - Fire, Light and Sound”… because any sufficiently Advanced Technology Group is indistinguishable from magic… 

  3. You can do this by round-tripping between English and any other language you want in an auto-translator such as Google Translate. Just keep slightly changing your sentence until you come up with something that you can translate with it to the other language and back again intact. If it does this, then you’ve probably got something which is a stable translation (if not always a good one), as it’s not shifting when it’s translated in either direction. 

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#new job smell, #Google, #Googler, #Noogler
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Flat People, Resumes and Coded Language

People often speak in coded language - some more than others. The problem with coded language is that it requires a secret decoder ring to figure out what they mean.

I'm not talking about jargon and vocabulary which are used in exclusionary ways. That particularly insidious form of manipulation - taking commonly used and understood terminology and morphing it to have a different, specific, and subtly different meaning - is often used as a two-pronged way in unfair, point-scoring debate:

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Altruism in an Uncaring Universe, and The Good Place

The last episode of Season 2 of The Good Place had a fantastic message buried inside of it.

Nobody is truly altruistic in the dictionary definition of the word. (But that's okay - we're only human, so we make human decisions).

Altruism does not exist in a vacuum. A good person doing kind acts will only perform those acts for so long before they stop doing them, if you kick them in the face every time they do them. Because they're good, not stupid.

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Why People Share Articles on Social Media

People rarely share articles to spread knowledge. More often they don't care about the details. They just care if the way the article made them feel matches the way they feel about the general topic.

This is why it's hard for people to keep a grip on facts, reason, or even basic journalism principles in an age when outrage, emotional responses, and clickbait are more important than fact, fairness, and judgement.

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