When you think you’ve died, you haven’t actually died. Death is a two-stage process, and where you wake up after your last breath is something of a Purgatory: you don’t feel dead, you don’t look dead, and in fact you are not dead. Yet.
Perhaps you thought the afterlife would be something like a soft white light, or a glistening ocean, or floating in music. But the afterlife more closely resembles the feeling of standing up too quickly: for a confused moment, you forget who you are, where you are, all the personal details of your life. And it only gets stranger from here.
First, everything becomes dark in a blindingly bright way, and you feel a smooth stripping away of your inhibitions and a washing away of your power to do anything about it. You start to lose your ego, which is intricately related to the spiriting away of your pride. And then you lose your self-referential memories.
You’re loosing you, but you don’t seem to care.
There’s only a little bit of you remaining now, the core of you: naked consciousness, bare as a baby.
To understand the meaning of this afterlife, you must remember that everyone is multifaceted. And since you always lived inside your own head, you were much better at seeing the truth about others than you ever were at seeing yourself. So you navigated your life with the help of others who held up mirrors for you. People praised your good qualities and criticized your bad habits, and these perspectives—often surprising to you—helped you to guide your life. So poorly did you know yourself that you were always surprised at how you looked in photographs or how you sounded on voice mail.
In this way, much of your existence took place in the eyes, ears, and fingertips of others. And now that you’ve left the Earth, you are stored in scattered heads around the globe.
Here in this Purgatory, all the people with whom you’ve ever come in contact are gathered. The scattered bits of you are collected, pooled, and unified. The mirrors are held up in front of you. Without the benefit of filtration, you see yourself clearly for the first time.
And that is what finally kills you.
-Sum, by David Eagleman. My lab director is pretty good at fiction.
Running list of this
Since I’ve been in Houston studying crime for 3 months, the following have taken place at/round my place :
- 7 car break ins
- 2 obstructions of justice
- 1 stolen gun
- 1 burglary
- 1 shots fired
- 1 aggravated robbery (weapon)
- 1 robbery
- 1 assault
- 1 breaking & enter
- 1 account of possession of stolen property
- 1 noise complaint
- 1 evading & resisting arrest
Let’s go ahead an add robbery and assault to the list, as of last night.
And pop on another car break-in tonight, right in my face.
Our legal system is built on a dualist view of the mind-body relationship that has served it well for centuries. Science has done little to disrupt that until now. But neuroscience is different. By directly addressing the mechanisms of the human mind, it has the potential to adjudicate on issues of capacity and intent. With a greater understanding of impairments to consciousness, we might be able to take greater control over our actions, bootstrapping ourselves up from the irrational, haphazard behaviour traditionally associated with automata. Far from eroding a sense of free will, neuroscience may allow us to inject more responsibility than ever before into our waking lives.
From the Archives:
Was it really me? Neuroscience is changing the meaning of criminal guilt. That might make us more, not less, responsible for our actions
I can deadlift a Honda accord, but it only mildly makes up for the fact that I’m a runner now. We all know what that means. Next up: mom slacks and easy listening punk rock playlists. This has been a Jello Biafra approved post.
If I had a large amount of money I should found a hospital for those whose grip upon the world is so tenuous that they can be severely offended by words and phrases yet remain all unoffended by the injustice, violence and oppression that howls daily.
— Stephen Fry (via nedhepburn)
(Source: elledark, via nedhepburn)
Is the Universe a Simulation?
Mathematical knowledge is unlike any other knowledge. Its truths are objective, necessary and timeless.
It seems spooky to suggest that mathematical entities actually exist in and of themselves. But if math is only a product of the human imagination, how do we all end up agreeing on exactly the same math?
…one fanciful possibility is that we live in a computer simulation based on the laws of mathematics — not in what we commonly take to be the real world. According to this theory, some highly advanced computer programmer of the future has devised this simulation, and we are unknowingly part of it. Thus when we discover a mathematical truth, we are simply discovering aspects of the code that the programmer used. [img: DVDP ]
Government policy should be evidence-driven. If crime is going down, you shouldn’t be increasing resources for crime prevention. Or you should be taking note of what has worked and concentrate the crime-prevention methods on policies that have a track record of success.
— Steven Pinker
Much like me, it’s neurosciencey and lawish…but friendly and easy on the eyes.
Zombie apocalypse: not hot | Satanic panic murder cults: hot
Guess I better update my wardrobe.
Journal of Negative Results in BioMedicine
This should be a much thicker collection of these journals.
For any given research area, one cannot tell how many studies have been conducted but never reported. The extreme view of the “file drawer problem” is that journals are filled with the 5% of the studies that show Type I errors, while the file drawers are filled with the 95% of the studies that show nonsignificant results. via
…it should prompt more areas to publish their own file drawers, for free….and catcall *other publishers and funding organizations (replication studie$?).
Availability of unpublished findings could also address other shortcomings of the current scientific process, including the regular failure of scientists to report experiments, conditions or observations that are inconsistent with hypotheses; the addition or removal of participants and variables to generate statistical significance; and the probable existence of numerous published findings whose non-replicability is shrouded because it is difficult to report null results. via
After the noon R coding time, it’s heated debate on the drawing table time in the lab.