Archives for Consciousness

Boy in Nepal Said to go Without Food or Water for 6 Months

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”

New Study: Human Hands, Feet and Foreheads Emit Light

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”

Turing's Cathedral

George Dyson wrote a nice piece on his impressions from a visit to Google, and some speculations about the future of AI on the Net.

A Possible Future of Physics

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”

Human-Brained Monkeys Pose Ethical Challenge

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”

African Gray Parrot Understands Concept of Zero

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.

Researchers Discover Sense of Fair Play and Morality Among Animals

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.

Extracting Video from Cat Brains

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”

US Scientists Bring Dogs Back from Dead

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”

Brain Has Particular Neurons for Recognizing Celebrities and Other Concepts

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”

Simulated Universes and the Nature of Consciousness

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”

Time Traveler Convention and Further Thoughts

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”

About Sony's Brain Stimulation Patent

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”

Confabulation: New Theory of Cognition Announced

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.

Past Life Memories of Children

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”

Brain Stimulation Helmet for your PC

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”

New Finding: Brain Computes in Trinary not Binary

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”

A Machine That Sees The Future?

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?”

An Incredible Flash Production — Must See!

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!”

Scientists Discuss their Beliefs in the Unknown

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”

Study Disputes Randomness of Dreams

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.

The Next Mozart?

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?”

Brain Study Reveals Differences Between Semantic and Episodic Memory

This interesting new brain
study reveals processing differences between Semantic Memory and Episodic Memory in human brains.
Nature performs these functions differently, and there is probably a good reason why that
is so. On the Web we don’t really have an equivalent of Episodic Memory or Semantic Memory yet… but we’re working on it!
Read More “Brain Study Reveals Differences Between Semantic and Episodic Memory”

If the Universe is a Simulation, then What?

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?”

Zapping Your Brain Improves Verbal Skills

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”

Flying by Brain

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”

New Technique Turns Animals into Drones; Humans Next?

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?”

Minding the Planet: From Semantic Web to Global Mind

Draft 1.1 for Review (integrates some fixes from readers)
Nova Spivack (www.mindingtheplanet.net)

INTRODUCTION

This article presents some thoughts about the future of intelligence on Earth. In particular, I discuss the similarities between the Internet and the brain, and how I believe the emerging Semantic Web will make this similarity even greater.… Read More “Minding the Planet: From Semantic Web to Global Mind”

I'm Learning Tibetan

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”

New Version of My "Metaweb" Graph — The Future of the Net

metaweb_graph.GIF

Notes:

Many people have requested this graph and so I am posting my latest version of it. The Metaweb is the coming “intelligent Web” that is evolving from the convergence of the Web, Social Software and the Semantic Web. The Metaweb is starting to emerge as we shift from a Web focused on information to a Web focused on relationships between things — what I call “The Relationship Web” or the “Relationship Revolution.”… Read More “New Version of My "Metaweb" Graph — The Future of the Net”