“When I’m asked about the relevance to Black people of what I do, I take that as an affront. It presupposes that Black people have never been involved in exploring the heavens, but this is not so. Ancient African empires — Mali, Songhai, Egypt — had scientists, astronomers. The fact is that space and its resources belong to all of us, not to any one group.”Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space.
US brain project puts focus on ethics
…memories are surprisingly pliable. In the past few years, researchers have shown that drugs can erase fearful memories or disrupt alcoholic cravings in rodents. Some scientists have even shown that they can introduce rudimentary forms of learning during sleep in humans. Giordano says that dystopian fears of complete human mind control are overblown. But more limited manipulations may not be far off: the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), one of three government partners in the BRAIN Initiative, is working towards ‘memory prosthetic’ devices to help soldiers with brain injuries to regain lost cognitive skills. [via]
…or other manipulations to the brain that control the mind.
AN EXAMPLE OF AFRICAN MEDICAL SCIENCE. ILLUSTRATION OF AFRICAN DOCTORS IN 19TH CENTURY (1879) KAHARA,UGANDA PERFORMING A CAESARIAN SECTION. SUCCESSFUL EXAMPLES OF THIS OPERATION WERE VIRTUALLY UNKNOWN IN EUROPE AT THE TIME.
Africans were performing many advanced medical procedures long before they had been conceived in Europe this is just one of many examples.
The British traveler R.W. Felkin who reported this noted that the healer used banana wine to semi-intoxicate the woman and to cleanse his hands and her abdomen prior to surgery. He used a midline incision and applied cautery to minimize hemorrhaging. He massaged the uterus to make it contract but did not suture it; the abdominal wound was pinned with iron needles and dressed with a paste prepared from roots. The patient recovered well, and Felkin concluded that this technique was well-developed and had clearly been employed for a long time. Similar reports come from Rwanda, where botanical preparations were also used to anesthetize the patient and promote wound healing.
Reference: “Notes on Labour in Central Africa” published in the Edinburgh Medical Journal, volume 20, April 1884, pages 922-930.
Looking for a way to add a few wrinkles to your brain? Check out the debate at the link above.
One of my favorite passages, on how calculus fundamentally altered philosophy:
“The crucial notion of the calculus is the notion of the infinitesimal — the infinitely small. And what is the infinitesimal? It’s not nothing — but it’s not quite something, either. It somehow mediates between finitude and nothingness. … You have to have a temperamental attraction to dangerous ideas, and the infinitesimal is considered to be an extremely dangerous idea.”
Calculus: It’s a dangerous weapon?
‘Seeing’ the flavor of foods
The eyes sometimes have it, beating out the tongue, nose and brain in the emotional and biochemical balloting that determines the taste and allure of food, a scientist said here today. Speaking at the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society, he described how people sometimes “see” flavors in foods and beverages before actually tasting them.
“There have been important new insights into how people perceive food flavors,” said Terry E. Acree, Ph.D. “Years ago, taste was a table with two legs — taste and odor. Now we are beginning to understand that flavor depends on parts of the brain that involve taste, odor, touch and vision. The sum total of these signals, plus our emotions and past experiences, result in perception of flavors, and determine whether we like or dislike specific foods.”
Acree said that people actually can see the flavor of foods, and the eyes have such a powerful role that they can trump the tongue and the nose. The popular Sauvignon Blanc white wine, for instance, gets its flavor from scores of natural chemicals, including chemicals with the flavor of banana, passion fruit, bell pepper and boxwood. But when served a glass of Sauvignon Blanc tinted to the deep red of merlot or cabernet, people taste the natural chemicals that give rise to the flavors of those wines.
The sense of smell likewise can trump the taste buds in determining how things taste, said Acree, who is with Cornell University. In a test that people can do at home, psychologists have asked volunteers to smell caramel, strawberry or other sweet foods and then take a sip of plain water; the water will taste sweet. But smell bread, meat, fish or other non-sweet foods, and water will not taste sweet.
While the appearance of foods probably is important, other factors can override it. Acree pointed out that hashes, chilies, stews and cooked sausages have an unpleasant look, like vomit or feces. However, people savor these dishes based on the memory of eating and enjoying them in the past. The human desire for novelty and new experiences also is a factor in the human tendency to ignore what the eyes may be tasting and listening to the tongue and nose, he added.
Acree said understanding the effects of interactions between smell and vision and taste, as well as other odorants, will open the door to developing healthful foods that look and smell more appealing to finicky kids or adults.
Honeycombs end up hexagonal just from a bit of physics
According to research published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, bees initially make circular cells and use their body heat to turn the wax into a viscous liquid. Then the surface tension at the 3-point junctions pulls the wax into a hexagonal shape. Apparently Charles Darwin had come up with this idea before but didn’t have enough evidence to prove it.
Muggle scientists develop Harry Potter ‘Marauder’s Map’ technology
An algorithm developed at Carnegie Mellon University allows multiple individuals to be tracked in a complex environment even when they slip out of a camera’s view.
Although Harry Potter and his friends could use the Marauder’s Map only by tapping it with a wand and saying, “I solemnly swear I’m up to no good,” the CMU scientists hope their research will be used in positive ways.
"The goal is not to be Big Brother, but to alert the caregivers of subtle changes in activity levels or behaviors that indicate a change of health status," said Alexander Hauptmann, principal systems scientist in CMU’s Computer Science Department.
Yeah… I believe you guys…. this is used for “health research only”
Waiting hours for a cellphone to charge may become a thing of the past, thanks to an 18-year-old high-school student’s invention. She won a $50,000 prize Friday at an international science fair for creating an energy storage device that can be fully juiced in 20 to 30 seconds.
Everybody, remember this face.
Remember this name.
If this becomes a commonly used & highly lauded discovery, at some point a White guy is going to take credit, even if he has to word it like “Improved upon a previous…”
No no no
Fuck that guy.
Remember this brown girl.
On this date, June 5, in 1987, Dr Mae Jemison becomes first Black female astronaut.
Mae Carol Jemison (born October 17, 1956) is an American physician and NASA astronaut. She became the first black woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992. After her medical education and a brief general practice, Jemison served in the Peace Corps from 1985 to 1987, when she was selected by NASA to join the astronaut corps. She resigned from NASA in 1993 to form a company researching the application of technology to daily life. [Continue reading.]
And may there be more like her, science desperately lacks black female scientists and women like Mae give hope to generations of not just women but black women who are interested in science and careers in astronomy.
Good Scientists Don’t Think Like Lawyers
Are scientists different than you and me? I don’t think that’s particularly true. I think the difference is how they think about things. One thing that most scientists I know have at their core is when they hear an explanation for something and they don’t think it works they do an experiment to probe whatever it is they’re studying to determine whether the current explanation holds or whether it is challenged by new experiments. So this constant posture of disbelief of the current is what makes science great. And over time the underlying science gets better and better and better. That is the scientist’s mind that is at work.
There are a lot of professions that don’t do that. They go and learn the rulebook of their profession and they play by the rules and don’t say “I think this thing ought to be thrown out.” Law is one example. In law there is a rulebook and what the lawyers get extremely skilled at doing is learning how to play by the rules and they can tell you when you’re not playing by the rules. That’s fantastic and they’re running that show, but that’s not how scientists think. Scientists say “you know that is a silly thing, just get rid of it, let me show you why because there is new thinking on it and so forth and so on.”
So there are these cultural conflicts between the various professions and scientists are always saying “I don’t think you know, let’s make sure it works that way, let’s try again and come at this another way and see if we come up with the same answer as we have had before.” So that is a big deal within science.
by MICHAEL S. GAZZANIGA
Stay Curious: bigthink’s In Your Own Words interviews experts who are either at the top of their fields or disrupting their fields. This blog presents key ideas from the experts in their own words.
This is actually why I don’t do well with political arguments, because I find that people are like “hey lets do what we have been doing cause that works.” and I’m like “no it doesn’t, how about we try this.” and they’re like “we don’t know how it will end up.” which is where I reply “exactly.”
always move forward, always question, always strive to improve. there is no best version, everything could stand an upgrade.
An optical illusion can change the implicit biases of Caucasian people against people with darker skin, according to a study published in the August 2013 edition of Cognition.
The research, a collaboration between Royal Holloway University of London, the Central European University in Budapest and Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands, analyzed the implicit racial biases of 34 Caucasian participants, then subjected them to something called the Rubber Hand Illusion, where they watched a rubber hand being touched by a paintbrush as they felt their own hand being stimulated out of sight. The illusion creates the sense that the fake hand is part of the subject’s body, even when it’s of a completely different skin color.
The more the participants felt like the darker skinned fake hand was their own, the less racist they came off in a second implicit bias test.
In another test, participants underwent the same process, but some saw a white hand, while others saw a dark hand. The implicit bias test showed that the opinions of those who saw the white hand didn’t change, while again those who felt ownership of the darker hand felt less racial bias.
“Across two experiments, the more intense the participants’ illusion of ownership over the dark-skinned rubber hand, the more positive their implicit racial attitudes became,” the authors write.
“It comes down to a perceived similarity between white and dark skin,” lead author Lara Maister of Royal Holloway University of London said in a press statement. “The illusion creates an overlap, which in turn helps to reduce negative attitudes because participants see less difference between themselves and those with dark skin.”
The study suggests that racial biases aren’t necessarily cemented by adulthood, but that they can be altered. “Changes in body-representation may therefore constitute a core, previously unexplored, dimension that in turn changes social cognition processes,” the authors write. They suggest that future research into different social groups and stereotypes could expand on their work, since this research only explored the attitudes of white individuals.
I’m trying to figure this study out and figure out how it’s helpful.
They act like there is hope… “racial biases can be altered”, but how? By making White people think they have dark skin?
Like are they looking for real plausible solutions to racism or are they just doing random studies/experiments?
I’m not against random experiments, it’s just I’m trying to find real solutions… so I need to know if I should take this seriously or not.
So when it comes to science, unfortunately you have to start with a trillion little baby steps to build a foundation, before you’re able to “drop the boom” and say “hey this is how this works.”
There are many scientists who are under the impression that racism is “Inherent, inborn, and unchangeable” because of the fact that the brain naturally works to differentiate objects. For example, though a table and a chair may both be made of wood, you can differentiate them, you can also differentiate the types of wood and so forth. Which then is extended to “people will always see differences in others, and regardless of what ever PC socialization projects you have, racism will never go away.”
What this experiment shows is basically this. Even adult people are able to change their perceptions on race, so long as they feel some sort of connection to the subject. In this case, they were less racist against the images they saw, because they more closely identified with the images on the screen because their hand “was black” like the black people on the screen.
This is actually shown to be the case in the social psychology “Us Vs. Them” Phenomenon. Basically there is conflict over finite resources (money, power, status) and because of this people tend to form into groups, the “In Group” or “Out Groups”. People who make mistakes in the “In Group” will be excused for their errors (Oh they got a bad break, Everyone makes mistakes, no one is perfect) while members of the Out Group will be demonized for those same mistakes, (Black people are always on welfare, Mexicans are criminals, etc etc.).
This shows, that when we can make people consider themselves to be a part of groups they once considered “Out Groups” and fully adopt the identity of those within those groups, conflict can be abated.
Check out this article by Sherif http://www.simplypsychology.org/robbers-cave.html
so long story short, this isn’t exactly a “random experiment” it’s a building blog for wider social change.
“Life long neuroplastic change in the brain”
This is why I have such a problem with porn, it rewires your brain, and the messages you’re getting (whatever you do to a woman’s body, she’ll love it) become more ingrained into your mentality. You become desensitised and these behaviours are deemed acceptable.