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This is the archive for July 2008

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I'll post pictures of my kitchen remodeling project here.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

  • "Epigenetics is the study of heritable traits that are not dependent on the primary sequence of DNA. That's a short, simple definition, and it's also largely unsatisfactory. For one, the inclusion of the word "heritable" excludes some significant players ? the differentiation of neurons requires major epigenetic shaping, but these cells have undergone a terminal division and will never divide again ? but at the same time, the heritability of traits that aren't defined by the primary sequence is probably the first thing that comes to mind in any discussion of epigenetics." (Pharyngula)

    tags: epigenetics, genetics, biology, grue

  • "OCZ Technology has laid claim to being the first company to bring a "brain-computer" interface to the retail market and they have aimed it squarely at the gamer. The device is called the NIA, which is an acronym that stands for Neural Impulse Actuator, and instead of buttons, sticks, gyroscopes or motion sensors, it reads the body's natural biosignals and translates them into commands that can be used to control PC games. "

    tags: brains, clickers, grue

  • "Whether made of highly polished metal or of glass with a coating of metal on the back, mirrors have fascinated people for millennia: ancient Egyptians were often depicted holding hand mirrors. With their capacity to reflect back nearly all incident light upon them and so recapitulate the scene they face, mirrors are like pieces of dreams, their images hyper-real and profoundly fake. Mirrors reveal truths you may not want to see. Give them a little smoke and a house to call their own, and mirrors will tell you nothing but lies." (NYTimes.com)

    tags: mirror-test, mind, theory-of-mind, grue

    • They are using mirrors to study how the brain decides what is self and what is other, how it judges distances and trajectories of objects, and how it reconstructs the richly three-dimensional quality of the outside world from what is essentially a two-dimensional snapshot taken by the retina?s flat sheet of receptor cells.
    • Subjects tested in a room with a mirror have been found to work harder, to be more helpful and to be less inclined to cheat, compared with control groups performing the same exercises in nonmirrored settings.
    • people in a room with a mirror were comparatively less likely to judge others based on social stereotypes about, for example, sex, race or religion.
    • Physical self-reflection, in other words, encourages philosophical self-reflection, a crash course in the Socratic notion that you cannot know or appreciate others until you know yourself.
    • Our gregarious great ape cousins ? chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans and gorillas ? along with dolphins and Asian elephants, have passed the famed mirror self-recognition test, which means they will, when given a mirror, scrutinize marks that had been applied to their faces or bodies.
  • Krach S, Hegel F, Wrede B, Sagerer G, Binkofski F, et al. (2008) Can Machines Think? Interaction and Perspective Taking with Robots Investigated via fMRI. PLoS ONE 3(7): e2597. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002597

    tags: theory-of-mind, robots, azb, grue

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Sunday, July 06, 2008

  • "In recent years, Iacoboni has shown that mirror neurons may be an important element of social cognition and that defects in the mirror neuron system may underlie a variety of mental disorders, such as autism. " (In recent years, Iacoboni has shown that mirror neurons may be an important element of social cognition and that defects in the mirror neuron system may underlie a variety of mental disorders, such as autism. (Scientific American)

    tags: mirror-neurons, social, grue

Friday, July 04, 2008

  • "When I first started reading Paul?s work about Hume and free will, I couldn?t believe that Hume was a full blown compatibilist. In particular, I wondered whether Hume?s true views about free will might have been kept somewhat hidden, like his views about religion, until after his death. So I did some digging, and actually exchanged some lengthy emails with Paul about the topic, focusing on Hume?s later works." (>-- The Garden of Forking Paths --<: )

    tags: freewill, philosophy, Hume, grue

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

  • "So what is it that makes criminal psychopaths get into trouble, while non-criminal psychopaths do not? The researchers speculated that criminal psychopaths may be steered towards criminality by their backgrounds, in particular a lack of early parental supervision, deprivation and having a convicted parent." (BPS RESEARCH DIGEST)

    tags: neuroethics, psychology, grue