Collab on something creative for the upcoming Deconstruction online event

A project near and dear to me is back. Coming May 1 to 3 is The Deconstruction!

From my pal Jason Naumoff, co-founder of New Creatures, the group hosting the event:

The Deconstruction is open to artists, makers, creators, students, parents, and everyone, everywhere.

Over the course of the event weekend, create something new that reimagines the idea of distance. The results can be a game, a piece of art, an invention, a song, a solution, a poem, a pizza. Really just about anything goes.

It can be fun, it can be serious, it can be both those things.

Just come up with an idea and give it a go. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, even better!

He also shared that they're hoping middle and high school students, as well as parents and their younger kids, will get involved this year. And why not? Talk about a great teaching moment during this time of being sheltered in place.

He writes, "It’s been a ton of work in not much time, as always, but it should be a lot of fun" and that the "un-competition mindset still stands, but this year the 'awards' winners will win a cash donation to a COVID-19 relief organization of their choosing."

One of the projects from the last Deconstruction in 2016 was this complicated, multi-state Rube Goldberg machine.

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Coffee: An antidepressant and religion preventative?

A recently published study found a correlation between higher rates of coffee drinking in women and decreased risk of depression. Naturally, that finding made headlines. But blogger Scicurious has a really nice analysis of the paper that picked up a significant flaw in the way the data is being interpreted. There was a correlation between drinking more coffee and a lowered risk of depression. But that wasn't the only correlation the researchers found—just the only correlation they made a big deal of in their conclusions.

On her blog, Scicurious lists the other correlations and explains why it's hard to draw any solid conclusion from this data set:

1) Smoking. The interaction between depression risk, smoking, and coffee consumption was “marginally” significant (p=0.06), but they dismiss it as being due to chance because it was “unexpected”. Um. Wait. Nicotine is a STIMULANT. It is known to have antidepressant like effects in animal models (though the withdrawal is no fun). This is not unexpected.

2) Drinking: heavy coffee drinkers drink more. But note that they don’t say that drinking coffee puts you at risk for drinking alcohol.

3) Obesity: heavy coffee drinkers are, on average, thinner, but not more physically active. They do not conclude that coffee drinking prevents obesity.

4) Church going: heavy coffee drinkers are less likely to go to church. Less likely to go to church, less likely to develop depression…heck, forget depression, maybe coffee prevents religion now! Now THAT would be a heck of a finding.

Here’s the thing.

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