A group of computer scientists have come up with a mathematical
technique to detect surprising features in dense information streams.
They tested their method by comparing it to what human’s considered
surprising, and the results were… surprisingly good! A mathematical
model of surprise could be very useful in next-generation information
systems, user-interfaces, situation rooms, and even fighter jet
cockpits, for filtering signal from noise and helping to focus
attention on what’s most important at a given time.
From the Fringe Department… This article is making the rounds today. It’s about a 15 year old boy in Nepal (see the picture) who is said to have been meditating under a tree without food or water, or even moving or going the bathroom, for 6 months.… Read More “Boy in Nepal Said to go Without Food or Water for 6 Months”
Now this is really interesting! New research has found that certain parts of the body emit measurable numbers of photons. This may open up new diagnostic techniques. But that’s just the beginning. Spiritual healers from many different faiths have long said that they experience light coming from their hands, and can feel (and even see) energy from the hands, feet and heads of other people.… Read More “New Study: Human Hands, Feet and Foreheads Emit Light”
Today I read this nice article which provides a short consumer-friendly overview of the history of the Digital Physics paradigm. Digital Physics is not mainstream physics — but it is growing and someday could become huge. It brings together computer scientists and physicists in an interdisciplinary approach to physics.… Read More “A Possible Future of Physics”
A cutting-edge research program is injecting human brain cells into monkey brains, to investigate whether this causes their brains to become more "human." This poses a potential ethical challenge: If the monkeys do become more human, would they be considered "human subjects" and be protected by ethical guidelines governing research onto humans?… Read More “Human-Brained Monkeys Pose Ethical Challenge”
Alex is a very smart parrot indeed. To the surprise of researchers, he understands the concept of zero, something which human children don’t grasp until they are 2 or 3 years old. Read more about Alex here.
Although it has always seemed obvious to me that animals have emotions and complex personalities, it’s taken the scientific community a long time to reach that conclusion. This article describes new findings in the field of animal behavior which indicate that not only do animals have emotions, but they also have a level of ethics, fair-play and morality that was previously thought to be impossible.
Fascinating article about research which has successfully extracted video from monitoring cat neurons. They have actually reconstructed what the cat actually saw from its neural signals. This opens the door to recording our day-to-day perceptions (lifelogs) and perhaps even to recording our dreams.… Read More “Extracting Video from Cat Brains”
A new technique has been successfully tested which appears to be able to bring dogs back to life after 3 hours of being clinically dead. This research may hold promise not only for saving lives in cases where clinical death happens before surgery can be performed or completed, but also perhaps for preserving and later reanimating healthy people who simply want to wake up in the future.… Read More “US Scientists Bring Dogs Back from Dead”
In a very interesting new finding, researchers have discovered the people’s brains contain individual neurons, or small groups of neurons, that seem exist only to recognize particular people or concepts. This would imply that there is one neuron, or at least a small group of neurons, in our brains for every unique thing that we know.… Read More “Brain Has Particular Neurons for Recognizing Celebrities and Other Concepts”
Researchers in Europe have completed the first phase of what may be the largest computational physics experiment in history: They built and ran a simulated universe through 14 billion years of development. The experiment used up 25 million megabytes of memory, and the biggest supercomputer in Europe for a month.… Read More “Simulated Universes and the Nature of Consciousness”
There’s a very interesting event taking place at MIT tonight — the first (and only?) Time Traveler Convention. The organizers are inviting anyone in the future who is capable of time travel to travel back to the geo coordinates of this event (to be held at MIT) and attend it, along with proof that they are from the future.… Read More “Time Traveler Convention and Further Thoughts”
A number of readers sent me links this week about the new Sony patent for ultrasonic neural stimulation. It is definitely interesting and could represent a useful new approach to non-invasive brainstate manipulation. However, it is by no means anywhere near being useful for entertainment, virtual reality, or mind control.… Read More “About Sony's Brain Stimulation Patent”
After 30 years of research, a very interesting new theory of cognition has been announced. The theory posits that all human cognition and behavior is based on just one simple, non-algorithmic procedure that has been named confabulation. If the theory is correct it could offer a radical new approach to artificial intelligence, knowledge discovery, and knowledge management.
Dr. Ian Stevenson has amassed 3000 documented cases of children remembering events from past lives.
In each case of children’s past life memory, Dr. Stevenson methodically documents the child’s statements. Then he identifies the deceased person the child remembers being, and verifies the facts of the deceased person’s life that match the child’s memory.
… Read More “Past Life Memories of Children”
Years ago I read about Persinger’s work on the induction of unusual states of consciousness using magnetic stimulation of the temporal lobe and always wanted to try it — unfortunately the only way to do that was to go to his lab (assuming you could get invited).… Read More “Brain Stimulation Helmet for your PC”
MIT neuroscientist, Guosong Liu, has found that human neurons compute in trinary, using signals that are the equivalents of -1, 0 and 1. By contrast, all computers compute in binary, using just 0 and 1. Because the units of trinary computation can in some cases be additive (e.g.… Read More “New Finding: Brain Computes in Trinary not Binary”
This article provides an overview of the Global Consciousness Project at Princeton, which has found that the behavior of a network of specially shielded random number generators deviates from stasticial randomness prior to major world events. I have been following this project for several years and have made various suggestions for further experiments to test the system.… Read More “A Machine That Sees The Future?”
I was fortunate enough to wander across this amazing online Flash presentation that reveals the hidden meaning of the film, "2001." It’s a thoroughly engaging, brilliantly produced, fascinating production — one of the best uses of Flash animation that I’ve ever seen.… Read More “An Incredible Flash Production — Must See!”
The New York Times has published a wonderful and fascinating set of mini-essays by leading scientists about their beliefs in the unknkown and unexplained — from consciousness, to God, to life on other worlds, and the existence of true love. There are some terrific thoughts in it — one of thoses rare articles that breaks through stereotypes and opens the door to new paradigms.… Read More “Scientists Discuss their Beliefs in the Unknown”
A new study has found that particular types of dreams take place during different phases of sleep, lending credence to the theory that dreams are not random.
This just in: Read this article about an amazing child prodigy who may be one of the greatest musical geniuses in 200 years. Not only can he compose like a master, but he can compose multiple pieces of music at once!… Read More “The Next Mozart?”
Here’s an interesting speculation. Assume for the moment that our universe is in fact a simulation running on a vast computing system created a race of beings that is far more advanced than we can presently imagine. The next logical question would be, “Why would an advanced civilization want or need to undertake such a project?”… Read More “If the Universe is a Simulation, then What?”
New research has found that running a mild electric current through your brain can significantly boost your verbal skills, with no side-effects, as far as anyone knows so far. Very interesting. It appears to decrease the firing threshold of neurons in the path of the current.… Read More “Zapping Your Brain Improves Verbal Skills”
This is pretty cool stuff — growing brains using live tissue and then teaching them to control software:
from an article in Slashdot: “Scientists at the University of Florida made a living ‘brain’ by extracting 25,000 neurons from a rat’s brain and culturing them inside a glass dish.
… Read More “Flying by Brain”
Scientists have discovered that by blocking the effect of a gene called D2 in a particular part of the brain they can transform normal monkeys into “drones” that will work as hard as they can, continuously, on repetitive tasks, without needing any expection of reward to keep going.… Read More “New Technique Turns Animals into Drones; Humans Next?”
Well, I’m finally doing it — I’ve started studying Classical Tibetan. After many years of procrastinating I’ve taken the leap. You may wonder why anyone would need to know Classical Tibetan — the answer is that it is the language used in all the classical Tibetan Buddhist texts.… Read More “I'm Learning Tibetan”