Human-ities · Philosophy · Science · Technology

A Look at the Original Roots of Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Science, and Neuroscience? Steven Pinker moderates Noam Chomsky, Marvin Minsky, Barbara H. Partee, Patrick H. Winston, and Emilio Bizzi

Moderator: Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor and Johnstone Family Professor, Department of Psychology, Harvard University

* Emilio Bizzi, MIT Institute Professor; Founding Member, McGovern Institute for Brain Research

* Sydney Brenner, Senior Distinguished Fellow, Crick-Jacobs Center, Salk Institute? for Biological Studies

* Noam Chomsky, MIT Institute Professor, Emeritus; Department of Linguistics and Philosophy

* Marvin Minsky, Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, Emeritus, MIT?

* Barbara H. Partee PhD ’65, Distinguished University Professor Emerita of Linguistics and Philosophy, University of Massachusetts

* Patrick H. Winston ’65 SM ’67 PhD ’70, Ford Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Computer Science, MIT?; Principal Investigator, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory; Chairman and Co-founder, Ascent Technology

See this panel HERE. Photo above via

Human-ities · Videos · Vital-Edible-Health

Stress: Portrait of a Killer

National Geographic Documentary. Over the last three decades, science has been advancing our understanding of stress—how it impacts our bodies and how our social standing can make us more or less susceptible. From baboon troops on the plains of Africa, to neuroscience labs at Stanford University, scientists are revealing just how lethal stress can be. Research tells us that the impact of stress can be found deep within us, shrinking our brains, adding fat to our bellies, even unraveling our chromosomes. Understanding how stress works can help us figure out ways to combat it and how to live a life free of the tyranny of this contemporary plague. In Stress: Portrait of a Killer, scientific discoveries in the field and in the lab prove that stress is not just a state of mind, but something measurable and dangerous.

Human-ities · Science · Theory

What Happens to Consciousness When We Die

Where is the experience of red in your brain? The question was put to me by Deepak Chopra at his Sages and Scientists Symposium in Carlsbad, Calif., on March 3. A posse of presenters argued that the lack of a complete theory by neuroscientists regarding how neural activity translates into conscious experiences (such as redness) means that a physicalist approach is inadequate or wrong. The idea that subjective experience is a result of electrochemical activity remains a hypothesis, Chopra elaborated in an e-mail. It is as much of a speculation as the idea that consciousness is fundamental and that it causes brain activity and creates the properties and objects of the material world.

Excerpt of an article written by y Michael Shermer, at Scientific American. Continue HERE

Human-ities · Science

Empathy’s surprising roots in the sense of touch

When a friend hits her thumb with a hammer, you don’t have to put much effort into imagining how this feels. You know it immediately. You will probably tense up, your “Ouch!” may arise even quicker than your friend’s, and chances are that you will feel a little pain yourself. Of course, you will then thoughtfully offer consolation and bandages, but your initial reaction seems just about automatic. Why?

Neuroscience now offers you an answer: A recent line of research has demonstrated that seeing other people being touched activates primary sensory areas of your brain, much like experiencing the same touch yourself would do. What these findings suggest is beautiful in its simplicity—that you literally “feel with” others.

Excerpt from an article written by Jakub Limanowski, at Scientific American. Continue HERE

Bio · Human-ities · Science · Technology · Vital-Edible-Health

Neuroscience: The mind reader. Communicating with vegetative patients

Adrian Owen still gets animated when he talks about patient 23. The patient was only 24 years old when his life was devastated by a car accident. Alive but unresponsive, he had been languishing in what neurologists refer to as a vegetative state for five years, when Owen, a neuro-scientist then at the University of Cambridge, UK, and his colleagues at the University of Liège in Belgium, put him into a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine and started asking him questions.

Incredibly, he provided answers. A change in blood flow to certain parts of the man’s injured brain convinced Owen that patient 23 was conscious and able to communicate. It was the first time that anyone had exchanged information with someone in a vegetative state.

Excerpt of an article written by David Cyranoski, at Nature. Continue HERE

Human-ities · Science · Vital-Edible-Health

Deconstructing Dad

Having children changes a man. All of us know examples of that. I’m pretty sure, for instance, that the only time I ever saw my father sing was to his kids. It wasn’t always pretty, but it was pure Dad.

But is there something about fatherhood that actually changes the male brain? Studies suggest that it does, including one published a few years ago which found that new sets of neurons formed in brains of mouse dads that stayed around the nest after their pups were born.

Still, there’s much yet to be learned about the effects of being a father. And so scientists continue to explore the eternal question: “What’s with this guy?”

HERE are 10 recent studies deconstructing dad. Text and Image via Smithsonian.

Book-Text-Read-Zines · Human-ities

BBC Four: Why Reading Matters

Science writer Rita Carter tells the story of how modern neuroscience has revealed that reading, something most of us take for granted, unlocks remarkable powers. Carter explains how the classic novel Wuthering Heights allows us to step inside other minds and understand the world from different points of view, and she wonders whether the new digital revolution could threaten the values of classic reading.