Meditation found to increase brain size (maybe) according to research led by Harvard neuroscientist Sara Lazar. Meanwhile, Atheist Manifesto author Sam Harris recently went on a meditation retreat and seemed to find it pleasant enough.
Blue Gene bears Blue Brain beats Deep Blue. Dr. Henry Markram answers questions in the FAQ. Neurons are beautiful. Blue Gene/L is now the fastest supercomputer in the world. IBM Research rocks. Deep Blue beat Kasparov almost a decade ago. Feeling Blue?
The first Transhuman Conference On the Law of Transhuman Persons: Whether or not you believe humans are set to evolve into gods, or AI is destined to achieve self-awareness the idea of the Transhuman is a thought provoking concept. Philosophers have debated the nature of the self, of the human for millennia. Is it time to start drafting new laws to govern all possible sentient beings on this planet? or is it all just a science of fiction? a comfortable humanist illusion?
If the universe is a hologram and the healthy human brain a valve of consciousness then where'd this mental infinity come from? Are we simply living the simulacrum? Or does Pi protect us all, forever, infinitely?
Nature has a somewhat technical but free supplement on sleep
A review of the current state of gender based brain research shows that women and men differ both in the way their brains are constructed and in how they function.
..correlation between brain region size in adults and sex steroid action in utero suggests that at least some sex differences in cognitive function do not result from cultural influences or the hormonal changes associated with puberty--they are there from birth.Treatment for such things as schizophrenia and depression will likely have gender specific variations in the future. Previously, brain research that examined gender differences was considered controversial because it was argued that the results might give rise to more sex discrimination against women. That view may be changing.
SexID Some researchers say that men can have 'women's brains' and that women can think more like men. Find out more about 'brain sex' differences by taking the Sex ID test, a groundbreaking experiment designed by a team of top psychologists:
The psychology of taboo. Commenting on the Harvard hullabaloo that took place a few weeks ago, linguist/cognitive scientist Steven Pinker offers his opinion, using ideas he previously presented in The Blank Slate (via AL Daily)
Red and green dots have never been so interesting. At least to a geek like me. I love it when my brain plays tricks on me.
What is the modus operandi of creativity? According to two cognitive scientists, Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner, the subconscious operation of conceptual blending. The formal theory, known as the Network Model of Conceptual Integration (CI), seeks to explain how creative insights are derived from pre-existing knowledge and understanding.
Interesting papers in neuroscience. From Wellcome Laboratory of Neurobiology.
Nootropics ("smart" drugs) - all wish to be smarter, correct ? And - while exercise, nutrition, learning, travel, and social interaction (the last 3 via release of neurotrophins) effectively do this, Nootropic drugs have been researched since the 1950's and have been shown to cause at least short term cognitive function enhancement. Piracetam, the first of this drugs, shows promise in the treatment of Alzheimer's and Attention deficit Disorder. Alas, as with poor little Algernon, the effect seems temporary. Nootropics can be a little difficult to acquire in the US. Beer is not a nootropic, but sex on the other hand.....
Making the Mind. "The general outlines of how genes build the brain are finally becoming clear, and we are also starting to see how, in forming the brain, genes make room for the environment’s essential role. While vast amounts of work remain to be done, it is becoming equally clear that understanding the coordination of nature and nurture will require letting go of some long-held beliefs."
The Harvard Brain Atlas has a veritable plethora of images of the brain, whether normal or diseased. Tours, 3-D Java exploration and a [very difficult] quiz are available. Plus: the top 100 brain structures!
Savant for a Day! NYTimes journalist Lawrence Osbourne becomes a guinea pig for a University of Sydney's professor's mind-enhancing device based on the theories of autistic "Rainman" cognition with interesting results.
Rock n Roll! We know that Sex and Drugs ain't good for us, but researchers at McGill University are using very fancy devices to learn how our brains react to music. (Probably not much to discuss, but it's an interesting article)
The strange range of human behavior continues to draw us like moths to a flame. Consider Amanda Fielding who continually performed self-surgery on her braincase, Catharina Geisslerin, the woman who vomited frogs, and the Collyer brothers, who collected so much junk that it crushed them in their own home. Samuel Johnson, compiler of the first dictionary of the English language, was compelled to whirl, twist, and make highly ritualized hand motions when going through doors. When he went for a walk, he touched every post he passed. If he missed one, he went back to touch it. Recent research suggests that obsessive-compulsive child behaviors can be caused by strep infection. Who do you think are the most interesting, eccentric, and compulsive personalities?
Tumor-induced Pedophilia - the BBC reports on an american man who, at the age of 40, developed completely uncontrollable and ammoral sexual impulses after developing a tumor in the right lobe of the orbifrontal cortex. After the tumor was removed, he returned to normal. More inside...
Gene Prevents 'Brains Everywhere' The human version of the gene probably is not involved in keeping the human brain inside the skull, but likely plays some other role in nervous system development in human embryos, says Alejandro Sanchez Alvarado, a developmental biologist at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Cool.
Musicians are really smart. They have larger and more sensitive brains than non-musicians, and their collective IQ is much higher. They have 130% more grey matter in one area of their auditory cortexes. The question of how this explains Ozzy Osbourne nonwithstanding, I'll bet if you're really, really smart, you could be one of the new members of Men Without Hats. Must be very knowledgeable in midi, sequences, and sampling.
SEX DIFFERENCES IN THE BRAIN: Men and women display patterns of behavioral and cognitive differences that reflect varying hormonal influences on brain development
SEX DIFFERENCES IN THE BRAIN: Men and women display patterns of behavioral and cognitive differences that reflect varying hormonal influences on brain development Sugar and spice versus snips and snails and puppy dog tails. Or was it masculinizing androgens 'organizing' behaviour at critical periods? At least now there is a scientific explanation of why my girlfriend beats me while watching Pat spin the wheel.
Bionic Man? "Australian scientists say they have created a "thinking cap" that will stimulate creative powers. It is based on the idea that we all have the sorts of extraordinary abilities usually associated with savants."
The device is said to improve drawing skills within 15 minutes.
The device is said to improve drawing skills within 15 minutes.
The brain is like the Internet.... Scary, huh...especially since things can go wrong...
Cool high-school science experiment: Mapping The Homunculus. The 15 year old in me wonders why nipples and other naughty bits aren't mentioned, though. Bet they'd be really big!!!
Brain Cells Used To Make Working Semiconductor "This is the first direct functional interfacing of a living neuronal network with an electronic semiconductor chip," said co-author Dr. Peter Fromherz of the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Munich, Germany, in an interview with Reuters Health. "It is a further step on our road to combine the elements of brains and computers," he added.
Men listen with half-the-brain. Women, the whole. Now it's obvious that women are superior and it is inevitable that they will dominate the human race, kill off the male and live like those space Amazonians you saw in Star Trek. Yep.
We're one step closer to William Gibson's vision as reported in today's NY Times Magazine article, "The Mind that Moves Objects."