Archive for January 12th, 2011

Blindsight demonstrated

| January 12, 2011 | Reply
Blindsight demonstrated

I spotted this article about blindsightedness at Seed:

TN’s rare condition is known as blindsight. Because his stroke damaged only his visual cortex, his eyes remain functional and as a result can still gather information from his environment. He simply lacks the visual cortex to process and interpret it. Sight has changed for TN from a conscious to a largely subconscious experience. He no longer has a definitive picture of his surroundings, but he has retained an innate awareness of his position in the world. He is, to some degree, able to see without being aware that he is seeing.

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Brain wiring

| January 12, 2011 | Reply
Brain wiring

Meet the new effort to map the wiring of the human brain. The brain connectome “offers a unique opportunity to understand the complete details of neural connectivity. The Human Connectome Project (HCP) is a project to construct a map of the complete structural and functional neural connections in vivo within and across individuals.” Do check out the images at the link location.

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On the proposed merger between Comcast and NBC

| January 12, 2011 | 1 Reply
On the proposed merger between Comcast and NBC

Senator Al Franken speaks somberly about this impending merger.

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More thoughts about Wikileaks and the First Amendment

| January 12, 2011 | 7 Replies
More thoughts about Wikileaks and the First Amendment

Glenn Greenwald is one of my most trusted self-critical sources of information. He writes for Salon.com. Check out this post (and explore his other recent writings) and consider viewing the short video interview at CNN, and you’ll see why I’m so cynical about the mainstream media, including host Jessica Yellin of CNN (BTW, the ex-Bush adviser on this clip is really a piece of work).

And then check out this post and the following comments, where Yellin tries to redeem herself:

The following comment to the video sums up Yellin’s alleged even-handedness nicely:

Jesse Frederik December 28th, 2010 7:33 pm ET
Compare the questioning of Fran Townsend:
“[After showing a video of Joe Biden calling Assange a high-tech terrorist] Is it fair to call him a terrorist?”
“Is there anything good that can come from what Assange is doing?”
To the questioning of Glenn Greenwald:
“Shouldn’t he go to jail in defense of his beliefs?”
“Any qualms about that he is essentially profiting of classified information?” [Bob Woodward anyone?] And do you see any irony in the fact that he’s making money of a corporate publisher?’
“What is his ultimate goal, beyond embarrassing and disrupting the US government? What good do his supporters hope will really come from everything he’s doing?”
“Do you think [the rape charges] are part of a smear campaign? And beyond that do you think it hurts his credibility?”
Is the difference in the questioning not obvious?

My feelings about Wikileaks and the person(s) that leaked the most recent cables are inextricably woven with the many disturbing revelations disclosed by Wikileaks. This is not the sterilized slow drip of information that you get from the mainstream media, such that we only really learn what was going on 30 years after we could have done something about it. Wikileaks has enabled a torrent of important and often disturbing information and it is causing massive embarrassment to the elites that run this country, and they run it far too often in secret.

Yes, I live in the U.S., but it is no longer my country. The leaders of the U.S. rarely speak for me anymore because they don’t treasure the First Amendment, they are crushing our children with debt and they are xenophobic and unapologetic warmongers and torturers.

[More . . . ]

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Happiness as overrated

| January 12, 2011 | Reply
Happiness as overrated

I recently stumbled upon a book called The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People: What Scientists Have Learned and How You Can Use It, by David Niven, PhD (2000). The book offers quite a bit of solid commonsense advice. For instance:

– Cultivate friendships,
– Turn off the TV (“TV reduces personal contentment “by about 5% for every hour a day we watch”),
– Get a good nights sleep, and
– Money does not buy happiness.

Fair enough. Interspersed with the good advice, however, is quite a bit of advice with which I am not impressed. For instance,

Chapter 8: Accept yourself-unconditionally.
Chapter 12: Have realistic expectations.
Chapter 16: Believe in yourself.
Chapter 23: Belong to a religion.
Chapter 26: Root for a home team (a sports team).
Chapter 34 It’s not what happened; it’s how you think about what happened.

[More . . . ]

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