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The Nature of Consciousness: How the Internet Could Learn to Feel - Steve Paulson

The Nature of Consciousness: How the Internet Could Learn to Feel - Steve Paulson
"Romantic reductionist" neuroscientist Christof Koch discusses the scientific side of consciousness, including the notion that all matter is, to varying degrees, sentient. If you had to list the hardest problems in science -- the questions even some scientists say are insoluble -- you would probably end up with two: Where do the laws of physics come from? How does the physical stuff in our brains produce conscious experience? Even though philosophers have obsessed over the "mind-body problem" for centuries, the mystery of consciousness wasn't considered a proper scientific question until two or three decades ago. Then, a couple of things happened. By the 1980s, Crick had jumped from molecular biology to neuroscience and moved from England to California. Koch remains on the front lines of neurobiology. Why have you devoted so much of your life searching for the neural roots of consciousness? Koch: Consciousness is the central factor of our lives. You actually see a world. Koch: Correct.

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A Brief Guide to Embodied Cognition: Why You Are Not Your Brain Embodied cognition, the idea that the mind is not only connected to the body but that the body influences the mind, is one of the more counter-intuitive ideas in cognitive science. In sharp contrast is dualism, a theory of mind famously put forth by Rene Descartes in the 17th century when he claimed that “there is a great difference between mind and body, inasmuch as body is by nature always divisible, and the mind is entirely indivisible… the mind or soul of man is entirely different from the body.” In the proceeding centuries, the notion of the disembodied mind flourished. From it, western thought developed two basic ideas: reason is disembodied because the mind is disembodied and reason is transcendent and universal. However, as George Lakoff and Rafeal Núñez explain:

Grand tree of life study shows a clock-like trend in new species emergence and diversity Temple University researchers have assembled the largest and most accurate tree of life calibrated to time, and surprisingly, it reveals that life has been expanding at a constant rate. "The constant rate of diversification that we have found indicates that the ecological niches of life are not being filled up and saturated," said Temple professor S. Blair Hedges, a member of the research team's study, published in the early online edition of the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution. "This is contrary to the popular alternative model which predicts a slowing down of diversification as niches fill up with species." The tree of life compiled by the Temple team is depicted in a new way --- a cosmologically-inspired galaxy of life view --- and contains more than 50,000 species in a tapestry spiraling out from the origin of life.

Magic Mushrooms Create a Hyperconnected Brain Magic mushrooms may give users trippy experiences by creating a hyperconnected brain. The active ingredient in the psychedelic drug, psilocybin, seems to completely disrupt the normal communication networks in the brain, by connecting "brain regions that don't normally talk together," said study co-author Paul Expert, a physicist at King's College London. The research, which was published today (Oct. 28) in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, is part of a larger effort to understand how psychedelic drugs work, in the hopes that they could one day be used by psychiatrists — in carefully controlled settings — to treat conditions such as depression, Expert said.

Philosophical zombie A philosophical zombie or p-zombie in the philosophy of mind and perception is a hypothetical being that is indistinguishable from a normal human being except in that it lacks conscious experience, qualia, or sentience.[1] For example, a philosophical zombie could be poked with a sharp object, and not feel any pain sensation, but yet, behave exactly as if it does feel pain (it may say "ouch" and recoil from the stimulus, or tell us that it is in intense pain). Types of zombie[edit] Though philosophical zombies are widely used in thought experiments, the detailed articulation of the concept is not always the same. Study Proves Vaccines — Not ‘Vaccine Refusers’ — Are Behind Whooping Cough Outbreaks (Melissa Melton via The Daily Sheeple) A new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that the whooping cough vaccines that have been in use since the 1990s — and not kids whose parents refuse the whooping cough vaccine — are actually behind the surge in whooping cough outbreaks across the U.S. This news flies in the face of scads of articles that have come out in the past few years claiming unvaccinated children are behind whooping cough outbreaks. One such article is Time Magazine’s, “Parents Not Vaccinating Kids Contributed to Whooping Cough Outbreaks” reported on back in September.

How to Cultivate Collective Intelligence The first time I heard the word "swarming" in a business context, it made me chuckle. I had an instant visual of bees dressed in suits and carrying briefcases, furiously buzzing over, under, and around a conference table. They weren’t accomplishing anything—just making a lot of noise and looking for something to sting. Then it occurred to me that all worker bees are female. Each bee in my mental image was now wearing a suit with a skirt, and red high heels on all six feet. By this point I was ready to give up on the idea of swarming in business altogether.

Can we get all the nature we need in digital form? – Sue Thomas There are fish in my phone. Some are pure orange with white fins; others have black mottled markings along their orange backs. They glide, twist and turn above a bed of flat pale sand fringed by rocks and the bright green leaves of something that looks like watercress. Sometimes they swim out of view, leaving me to gaze at the empty scene in the knowledge that they will soon reappear. When I gently press my finger against the screen, the water ripples and the fish swim away. Eventually, they cruise out from behind the Google widget, appear from underneath the Facebook icon, or sneak around the corner of Contacts.

Algae Virus May Be Changing Cognitive Ability While conducting a totally separate experiment, a group of scientists from Johns Hopkins and the University of Nebraska accidentally discovered something unexpected and potentially disturbing. A virus was living in the mouths and throats of a good portion of the people in the study, a virus that the researchers didn't think was capable of infecting humans. Worse still, it seemed to be slowing some of the subjects' mental abilities, especially their ability to process visual information. The surprising part about this for researchers was that a microscopic organism that we thought could only infect algae — plants — was living in about 40% of the small number of people tested.

The Internet and the New Transformation of Consciousness John H. Van Ness (email: What distinguishes human life from all other life forms? Thousands of citizens in India killed by reckless Big Pharma drug trials (NaturalNews) The second largest country in the world, India, has become a hotbed of pharmaceutical fraud, as unscrupulous drug companies, mostly from the West, continue to use India's generally poorer populations as human guinea pigs in unethical and flat-out inhumane clinical trials. And India's Supreme Court is finally taking action against this massive organized crime ring by ordering India's health ministry to justify its approval of 162 global clinical trials to take place in the country. Because it is a rapidly developing nation with lax regulatory protocols, India has been a primary target of the pharmaceutical cartel in its never-ending quest to dominate the medical systems of the world. Major drug companies have been largely successful in swindling the Indian government to approve trials for all sorts of "new chemical entities" (NCEs), many of which have been tested on rural Indians in poorer communities, where there is minimal access to proper medical care.

Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving - My Epiphany I became interested in the power of design in social contexts during a project at my former employer, frog design. Project Masiluleke (or Project M) was organized by Pop!Tech, frog, and MTN, an African mobile phone operator. Project M was designed to help stop the spread of AIDS in KwaZulu-Natal, a South African province with about 10 million people, including an estimated four million who are HIV-positive and 400,000 who will develop AIDS each year.Dugger, Celia. "South Africa Is Seen to Lag in H.I.V.

Why humans evolved to love watching animals – David Barash I like zoos. Really I do. I applaud today’s zoological parks for their increasing emphasis on naturalistic exhibits, their breeding programmes for endangered species, and their efforts to educate the public about wildlife conservation. But the truth is, I mainly like zoos for the same reason that other people do: because I love watching animals.