Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for July, 2012

Bottlenose dolphins that have learnt to use sea sponges as hunting tools form cliques with others that do the same — the first evidence of animal grouping based on mutual interest, a study said Tuesday.

via Dolphins sponge up culture: study.

Read Full Post »

From an evolutionary perspective, a central nervous system has two main functional aims:

1) avoiding damage (where the sensation of pain and learning from those negative experiences is central)

2) seeking pleasure (shelter, food, sex etc.).

So I really don’t undestand why some scientists still question whether or not some animals feel pain. It’s ridiculous. How did they become scientists to begin with if they are missing this fundamental understanding?

via Can slugs and snails feel pain? – The Naked Scientists June 2012.

Read Full Post »

A fascinating study. It shows that members (both male and female) of a chimp society pick up on the male members’ yawns much more than on the yawns of females in the group. Chimps are patriarchal to the extreme, so this, of course, makes sense. With male dominance for approximately 2 million years, it seems a self-imposed evolutionary twist has occurred within this species. I would guess yawning is just the tip of the iceberg. I think there are many implications inherent to this confirmation.

It is always interesting to see studies come forth which emphasize specific points which may seem readily apparent to many.

via Chimps catch yawns from dominant males – life – 25 July 2012 – New Scientist.

Read Full Post »

Our understanding of the varieties of sentience continues to expand.

via Tel Aviv University researcher says plants can see, smell, feel, and taste.

Read Full Post »

“Cells that fire together, wire together.”

 

via Hebbian theory – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Read Full Post »

A pretty significant finding. Researchers at John Hopkins University turned pain off without affecting other function.

via Newly Discovered Scaffold Supports Turning Pain Off – 07/25/2012.

Read Full Post »

Get ready. Here comes authentic, and somewhat simple, mind control. Really.

For the first time, scientists have been able to affect the behavior of a primate using optogenetics—a technique by which genetically modified neurons are made to fire with light.

via Scientists Control Monkeys’ Brains with Light – Technology Review.

via Scientists Control Monkeys’ Brains with Light – Technology Review.

Read Full Post »

Studies of lucid dreamers visualize which centers of the brain become active when we become aware of ourselves.

via The seat of meta-consciousness in the brain.

Read Full Post »

Birds can solve problems like the one in Aesop’s fable, but children are quicker to master more ambiguous puzzles.

via The Wisdom of Not Being Too Rational – ScienceNOW.

Read Full Post »

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn, is an analysis of the history of science, published in 1962. Its publication was a landmark event in the history, philosophy, and sociology of scientific knowledge and it triggered an ongoing worldwide assessment and reaction in — and beyond — those scholarly communities. In this work, Kuhn challenged the then prevailing view of progress in “normal science.” Scientific progress had been seen primarily as “development-by-accumulation” of accepted facts and theories. Kuhn argued for an episodic model in which periods of such conceptual continuity in normal science were interrupted by periods of revolutionary science. During revolutions in science the discovery of anomalies leads to a whole new paradigm that changes the rules of the game and the “map” directing new research, asks new questions of old data, and moves beyond the puzzle-solving of normal science.

For example, Kuhn’s analysis of the Copernican Revolution emphasized that, in its beginning, it did not offer more accurate predictions of celestial events, such as planetary positions, than the Ptolemaic system, but instead appealed to some practitioners based on a promise of better, simpler, solutions that might be developed at some point in the future. Kuhn called the core concepts of an ascendant revolution its “paradigms” and thereby launched this word into widespread analogical use in the second half of the 20th century. Kuhn’s insistence that a paradigm shift was a mélange of sociology, enthusiasm and scientific promise, but not a logically determinate procedure, caused an uproar in reaction to his work. Kuhn addressed concerns in the 1969 postscript to the second edition. For some commentators it introduced a realistic humanism into the core of science while for others the nobility of science was tarnished by Kuhn’s introduction of an irrational element into the heart of its greatest achievements.

via The Structure of Scientific Revolutions – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Read Full Post »

In this article, two philosophers provide good agruements that artificial moral enhancement is now essential if humanity is to avoid catastrophe.


Their book is available in the UK this month. It is entitled, “Unfit for the Future: The Urgent Need for Moral Enhancement”.

via Moral Enhancement | Philosophy Now.

Read Full Post »

A fascinating read on Nietzsche’s life, loves, history and legacy.

via Nietzsche Is Dead | Humanities.

Read Full Post »

Scientists Create First Virtual Organism – YouTube.

 

Read Full Post »

Craig Venter gives an after dinner talk on “Biology at the Speed of Light”. Well worth the half hour listen (or transcript read). 

An excerpt:
The idea that you’re basically a DNA-driven software device is not the view that people necessarily have of themselves. But every cell on this planet works that way in a biological-to-mechanical kind of fashion. No brain controlling what happens with DNA reading and protein synthesis in your cells. The combination of one hundred trillion cells gives different people different abilities to make wonderful music, to make science advances, to think, but every one of those cells operates in the same fashion. And that means we will be able to decode how the brain functions by understanding these same mechanisms. There’s no need to evoke mysticism or a higher being. That’s what Schrodinger did seventy years ago. He couldn’t explain things, so he did what people do when they can’t explain something. He evokes mysticism. But science is getting very advanced with regard our understanding life. We know what it is, and we now know how to reproduce it. We produce life by writing new software.”

via J. Craig Venter: The Biological-digital Converter, Or, Biology At The Speed Of Light @ The Edge Dinner In Turin | Conversation | Edge.

Read Full Post »

Search for ET continues using new biomarkers.

via New Biomarkers Honed to Help Search for Life on Earthlike Exoplanets – Yahoo! News.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »