Ever read a blog post, and think, "I wish I wrote that"? For all the Mefites with the many AskMe questions about "can I/should I/how should I learn to/ be a computer programmer", here's a pretty good explication of how good
programing is done: Holding a Program in One's Head
posted by orthogonality
on Aug 24, 2007 -
Dr James Anderson, from the University of Reading's computer science department, claims to have defined what it means to divide by zero. It's so simple, he claims, that he's even taught it to high school students
[via Digg]. You just have to work with a new number he calls Nullity
(RealPlayer video). According to Anderson's site The Book of Paragon
, the creation, innovation, or discovery of nullity is a step toward describing a "perspective simplex, or perspex [ . . . ] a simple physical thing that is both a mind and a body." Anderson claims that Nullity permits the definition of transreal arithmetic
(pdf), a "total arithmetic . . . with no arithmetical exceptions," thus removing what the fictional dialogue No Zombies, Only Feelies?
identifies as the "homunculus problem" in mathematics: the need for human intervention to sort out "corner cases" which are not defined.
posted by treepour
on Dec 7, 2006 -
Douglas Hofstadter says
, "What troubles me is the notion that things that touch me at my deepest core -- pieces of music most of all, which I have always taken as direct soul-to-soul messages -- might be effectively produced by mechanisms thousands if not millions of times simpler than the intricate biological machinery that gives rise to a human soul.
". That was prompted by his reception to the output
of David Cope's project Experiments in Musical Intelligence
posted by Gyan
on Apr 11, 2006 -
British nurses want patients who are intent on harming
themselves to be provided with clean blades so that they can cut themselves more safely.
posted by daksya
on Feb 5, 2006 -
Phantom limb illusions
Dr. Ramachandran is an investigator of the senses. His explorations on synesthesia
, phantom limbs, and human consciousness are revealing excursions into sensory awareness. And his reader-friendly books, such as A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness
Phantoms in the Brain
(both from Amazon) are a pleasure to read. His greatest gifts appear to be a childlike simplicity, coupled with straightforward empiricism. His writing is easy-to-understand, often sparked with unpredictable humor. Recommended for all mind & brain enthusiasts who may not have heard of him yet.
posted by ember
on Jun 3, 2005 -
download your mind
Realistically by 2050 we would expect to be able to download your mind into a machine, so when you die it's not a major career problem,' Pearson told The Observer. 'If you're rich enough then by 2050 it's feasible. If you're poor you'll probably have to wait until 2075 or 2080 when it's routine. We are very serious about it. That's how fast this technology is moving
posted by robbyrobs
on May 25, 2005 -
"Eventually it could help economists design incentives that gently guide people toward making decisions that are in their long-term best interests
in everything from labor negotiations to diets to 401(k) plans." Note the ambiguous use of the pronoun "their"--are we talking about the long-term interests of people in general or of economists?
posted by all-seeing eye dog
on Mar 22, 2005 -
"An autopoietic system
is one organised to respond to the world. Prod it and it will react homeostatically, striving to reach a new accommodation that preserves its integrity. There is a global cohesion - a memory of what the system wants to be - that reaches down to organise the parts even while those parts may be adding up to produce the functioning whole."
posted by all-seeing eye dog
on Mar 17, 2005 -
Clay Shirky smacks syllogism around.
Nice criticism of the semantic web
and the present (and increasing) hype of the "semantic web revolution"
. The most damning part of the essay is the part about languages and categories being deeply intertwined with worldview and with culture—if there's no good definition for the word "bachelor"
), how can there be an encoding of "friend"
(see article for the classic AI example of "John loves Mary"
) or anything else that isn't zipcode?
posted by zpousman
on Nov 8, 2003 -
Buddhism tames the amygdala
Covered recently on Metafilter (here
), new research at the University of California San Francisco Medical Centre ( into the "Happy Buddhist" phenomenon ) shows that Buddhist meditation techniques "can tame the amygdala, an area of the brain which is the hub of fear memory."
[BBC] -Is this the Rx for a nation of Americans gripped by fear? Do Christianity, Islam or Judaism have effective techniques to tame the amygdala too?
posted by troutfishing
on May 22, 2003 -
I Feel, Therefore I Am
. Consider the work of Dr. Antonio Damasio
, humanist and neuroscientist, who has turned the Mind and Body
debate between René Descartes
and Benedictus de Spinoza
upon its head--or at least the heads of Phineas Gage
and one Elliott
--via his research and writings such as The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness
, Descartes' Error: Emotion, reason, and the human brain
and Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain
. He's influenced writers like Ian McEwan
and David Lodge
, and via his thoughts on the perception of music
, inspired a composition
. (More Inside)
posted by y2karl
on Apr 19, 2003 -
"Modern scientists have known about synesthesia
since 1880, when Francis Galton
, a cousin of Charles Darwin
, published a paper in Nature on the phenomenon. But most have brushed it aside as fakery, an artifact of drug use (LSD
can produce similar effects) or a mere curiosity. About four years ago, however, we and others began to uncover brain processes that could account for synesthesia. " This article
from Scientific American seems to be turning heads around the Psychology Department at U of M [Michigan]. It's got me going too.
I've seen real connections between color and sound before, stone sober. Could there be something to all this?
posted by phylum sinter
on Apr 15, 2003 -
The mind-body divide in medicine
, whether having medicine embrace the understanding of the psychological aspects of symptoms of pain, for example, is simply a matter of working toward medicalizing psychology. How much is the brain and psychology taken into account in the medical profession?
posted by semmi
on May 6, 2002 -