Neurophilosophy

Archives for December, 2007

Film footage of group hunting in killer whales

The film clip below shows a pack of killer whales co-operating to catch a seal. First, they break up the ice floe on which their prey is standing, and push it out into open water. Then, they create large waves to knock the seal into the water. This kind of behaviour has been observed in…

U.S. military psychic spy manual

Remote viewing is a form of “psychoenergetic perception” (i.e. clairvoyance) developed as part of a long-term $20 million research program initiated by U.S. intelligence agencies in the early 1970s. Now known by the codename Stargate, the program was initiated largely in response to the belief that the Soviets were spending large amounts of money on…

Biopolymer promotes nerve regeneration

Merged series of phase contrast micrographs showing neurite outgrowth in rat dorsal root ganglion cells grown on an acetylcholine biopolymer. (Christiane Gumera)  Last year, Yadong Wang and his colleagues at the Georgia Institute of Technology reported that they had produced a dopamine biopolymer that promotes the growth of neurites in PC12 cells. Now, the team…

w00t! Top of the class!

The word “wOOt” – spelt with zeros instead of the letter ‘o’ – has just been voted as Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary’s Word of the Year. Coined by internet users, and defined as an interjection “expressing joy”, it’s quite apt today, because my axon guidance essay was returned with a mark of 80%.  I posted the…

Hearing voices (of advertisers)

Here’s an article about a sophisticated type of advertising which uses hypersonic sound: New Yorker Alison Wilson was walking down Prince Street in SoHo last week when she heard a woman’s voice right in her ear asking, “Who’s there? Who’s there?” She looked around to find no one in her immediate surroundings. Then the voice…

Sega is developing toys controlled by brainwaves

Sega is to develop toys controlled by thought, in collaboration with NeuroSky, a Silicon Valley-based start-up company that interfaces biological feedback (such as brain waves) to consumer electronics. The toys will be based on NeuroSky’s ThinkGear, a brain-computer interface (BCI) consisting of a headset which incorporates an EEG. The device is basically the same as…

Illusory installations

Opposition of Memory, by Luzern-based artist Nils Nova.

A year of ideas

The New York Times has just published its seventh annual list of the year’s best ideas, which includes: Alzheimer’s telephone screening: a “telephone quiz” consisting of 50 questions, designed to measure the “cognitive vital signs”, such as short-term memory loss, which can identify Alzheimer’s Disease long before any visible symptoms; The God Effect: the finding,…

Tune in to the evolution of music & sociability

Yesterday’s Sunday Feature on BBC Radio 3 was program about the evolution of music, by Ivan Hewitt. It isn’t available online yet, but should be uploaded onto the Sunday Feature page soon, and will remain there for a week. The progam features linguist Steven Pinker of Harvard University, who argues that music is a kind…

Race, IQ & James Watson’s great grandparents

Richard Nisbett, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, discusses race and IQ, arguing that the differences in the IQ scores of blacks and whites are due largely to environmental factors. Nisbett begins his article by mentioning James Watson, who recently retired from his post as chancellor of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory…