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Showing posts with the label brain

Ammonites, Dinosaurs, and Us

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Today's world is remarkable for a lack of dinosaurs. Big ones, anyway. Those critters would have been among the first things someone would notice here for upwards of 200,000,000 years.

Then, about 66,000,000 years back, something awful happened. The only dinosaurs left are those little tweeting, chirping, and cawing critters we call birds.

Ammonites had been around for even longer, but whatever finished the 'thunder lizards' wiped them out, too. We showed up much more recently, and are learning that there's a very great deal of our past, and Earth's, that we don't know. Not yet....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

SETI: What If?

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Contacting extraterrestrial intelligence, meeting people whose ancestors developed on another world, has been a staple of pulp fiction for generations.

Lately, it's become a matter for serious discussion. I'll be looking at an op-ed's take on how learning that we're not alone might affect folks with various religious beliefs. I'll also share what I expect: and what I don't....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Brain Implants and Rewired Monkeys

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Someone from the Netherlands gained a small measure of freedom after learning to use a prototype computer-brain interface.

I see that, and experiments with rhesus monkeys, as a good thing....

...As usual, I'll also talk about why I don't think God is offended when we help folks....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Elastic Brains and New Tech

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Maybe 'you can't teach an old dog new tricks,' but apparently the adult brain isn't nearly as rigid as scientists thought.

I'll be looking at neuroplasticity, the idea that brains can change; research that may lead to better neural interfaces; and 'brain training' games....

...We've been learning a great deal about the human brain and how it works. That's a good thing for me, since I have maintenance issues with mine....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Mass Extinctions Revisited, Moving Octopuses

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We've known about the Capitanian crisis for some time: some scientists have, anyway. What's new is the idea that it may have been a major mass extinction in its own right: a sort of prequel to the Great Dying.

Other scientists solved part of the puzzle of how octopuses coordinate their arms when moving. Their research may help folks design soft robots: useful in medicine and rescue work....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

The Thumb-Brain Connection, and DIY Robots

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Scientists learned how using our thumbs changes our brains by collecting data from 26 smartphone users, 11 users of "old-fashioned cellphones," and electroencephalography.

Building your own robot is getting a whole lot easier, now that RoboCORE is around. It's a robotic central nervous system you can program with C++ or Python....

When I was in high school, I learned that adult brains were static, unchanging. Neuroscientists thought, or assumed, that once we get past youth — that our brains don't change: no new neurons, no new connections between neurons.

They were wrong....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

"Months of Misery" and Job's Friends

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My wife and a friend are making bread, about 15 feet from my desk. They're having a great time, and I'm trying to not get distracted while writing this post. The results may be interesting. Or confusing. I'll let you decide which.

Thanks to some very powerful prescriptions, my ADD-inattentive and major depression isn't nearly as hard to handle as it was: which reminds me of this morning's first reading.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.