RISKY BUSINESS ... Whether you view gambling as a risk of terrible failure or a potential for huge success could depend on how connected two parts of your brain are, Stanford University researchers recently found. "Activity in one brain region appears to indicate 'uh oh, I might lose money,' but in another seems to indicate 'oh yay, I could win something,'" Brian Knutson, associate professor of psychology, told the Stanford News Service. "The balance between this 'uh oh' and 'oh yay' activity differs between people and can determine the gambling decisions we make." For their research, university scientists gave people $10 and told them they could gamble the money in a series of games with different odds. Research subjects could keep the money they had at the end of the experiment. Using an MRI, the scientists examined brain activity as the participants decided whether to gamble and noticed that the stronger the connection between a person's cautious brain region and enthusiastic brain region, as measured by fatty insulating tissue, the more financially cautious the person was. "Most people love the small chance of a huge win," Knutson said. "But people vary. Some people really, really like it. But people who have a stronger connection don't like it as much."
ABOVE AND BEYOND ... Five volunteers from the Palo Alto Emergency Services Volunteers program will be recognized for their roles in ensuring the community is safer and better prepared for emergencies during the seventh annual Community Partnership Awards Ceremony in the Council Chambers at City Hall on Thursday, Jan. 14, 7-9 p.m. Newly elected Mayor Pat Burt will host the event, which is free and open to the public. Director of Emergency Services Ken Dueker will preside over the ceremony, which will be followed by a reception. Award recipients include Eileen Altman, block preparedness coordinator; Monica Arima, block preparedness coordinator; Grant Elliot, Amateur Radio Emergency Services and Community Emergency Response Team member; Scott Peterson, Community Emergency Response Team trainer; and Marianne Strickfaden, neighborhood preparedness coordinator.
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