TOPLEY’S TOP 10 May 15 2024

1. Mag 7 ETF Re-Balanced to Equal Weight Quarterly …New Highs


2. Increase in Capital Spending from Big 3

The Big Picture Blog

3. The Biggest Capex of All=Global Energy

Scott Galloway Prof G Blog

4. Home Depot Chart

A chart to watch regarding rates, inflation and consumer spending. Home Depot -17% correction, 3rd pullback to 200-day

5. Gas Prices Down 3 Weeks in a Row Going into Summer Season

Advisor Perspectives Blog by Jennifer Nash

Gas prices are down for a third straight week. As of May 13th, the price of regular and premium gas fell 3 and 4 cents from the previous week, respectively. According to, California has the highest average price for regular at $5.25 and Mississippi has the cheapest at $3.05.

Currently, the national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline stands at $3.61 with premium gasoline averaging $4.51 per gallon. One year ago, regular gas was priced at $3.54 per gallon, while premium gas was at $4.36 per gallon.

6. U.S. Consumer Bankruptcies at Lows

Wolf Street Bankruptcies continue to scrape along the historic bottom, with just 121,000 consumers with bankruptcies in Q1, compared to the already low levels of the Good Times of around 200,000:

7. NATO Wargames and Increased Military Spending

8. Winning States from the Inflation Reduction Act

Barrons By Joe Light

9. Bringing the Multi-Level Marketing Model to Day Trading

10. Why We Love Music

Greater Good Magazine
Researchers are discovering how music affects the brain, helping us to make sense of its real emotional and social power.


I still remember when I first heard the song by Peter Gabriel, “Solsbury Hill.” Something about that song—the lyrics, the melody, the unusual 7/4 time signature—gave me chills. Even now, years later, it still can make me cry.

Who among us doesn’t have a similar story about a song that touched us? Whether attending a concert, listening to the radio, or singing in the shower, there’s something about music that can fill us with emotion, from joy to sadness.

Music impacts us in ways that other sounds don’t, and for years now, scientists have been wondering why. Now they are finally beginning to find some answers. Using fMRI technology, they’re discovering why music can inspire such strong feelings and bind us so tightly to other people.
“Music affects deep emotional centers in the brain, “ says Valorie Salimpoor, a neuroscientist at McGill University who studies the brain on music. “A single sound tone is not really pleasurable
in itself; but if these sounds are organized over time in some sort of arrangement, it’s amazingly powerful.”

How music makes the brain happy
How powerful? In one of her studies, she and her colleagues hooked up participants to an fMRI machine and recorded their brain activity as they listened to a favorite piece of music. During peak emotional moments in the songs identified by the listeners, dopamine was released in the nucleus accumbens, a structure deep within the older part of our human brain.
“That’s a big deal, because dopamine is released with biological rewards, like eating and sex, for example,” says Salimpoor. “It’s also released with drugs that are very powerful and addictive, like cocaine or amphetamines.”

There’s another part of the brain that seeps dopamine, specifically just before those peak emotional moments in a song: the caudate nucleus, which is involved in the anticipation of pleasure. Presumably, the anticipatory pleasure comes from familiarity with the song—you have a memory of the song you enjoyed in the past embedded in your brain, and you anticipate the high points that are coming. This pairing of anticipation and pleasure is a potent combination, one that suggests we are biologically-driven to listen to music we like.

But what happens in our brains when we like something we haven’t heard before? To find out, Salimpoor again hooked up people to fMRI machines. But this time she had participants listen to unfamiliar songs, and she gave them some money, instructing them to spend it on any music they liked.
When analyzing the brain scans of the participants, she foundthat when they enjoyed a new song enough to buy it, dopamine was again released in the nucleus accumbens. But, she also found increased interaction between the nucleus accumbens and higher, cortical structures of the brain involved in pattern recognition, musical memory, and emotional processing.

This finding suggested to her that when people listen to unfamiliar music, their brains process the sounds through memory circuits, searching for recognizable patterns to help them make predictions about where the song is heading. If music is too foreign-sounding, it will be hard to anticipate the song’s structure, and people won’t like it—meaning, no dopamine hit. But, if the music has some recognizable features—maybe a familiar beat or melodic structure—people will more likely be able to anticipate the song’s emotional peaks and enjoy it more. The dopamine hit comes from having their predictions confirmed—or violated slightly, in intriguing ways.

“It’s kind of like a roller coaster ride,” she says, “where you know what’s going to happen, but you can still be pleasantly surprised and enjoy it.”

Salimpoor believes this combination of anticipation and intense emotional release may explain why people love music so much, yet have such diverse tastes in music—one’s taste in music is dependent on the variety of musical sounds and patterns heard and stored in the brain over the course of a lifetime. It’s why pop songs are, well, popular—their melodic structures and rhythms are fairly predictable, even when the song is unfamiliar—and why jazz, with its complicated melodies and rhythms, is more an acquired taste. On the other hand, people tend to tire of pop music more readily than they do of jazz, for the same reason—it can become too predictable.

Her findings also explain why people can hear the same song over and over again and still enjoy it. The emotional hit off of a familiar piece of music can be so intense, in fact, that it’s easily re-stimulated even years later.

“If I asked you to tell me a memory from high school, you would be able to tell me a memory,” says Salimpoor. “But, if you listened to a piece of music from high school, you would actually feel the emotions.”

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