Posts tagged SCIENCE

We just launched a journal. 
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 ]

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 ]

While studies in behavioural genetics show certain gene and environment combinations correlate with antisocial conduct, many of the studies have not been replicated, which raises questions about their reliability.
Blame the brain ….and how about those grant offering institutions, which set requirements for studies they will fund. Rarely do you see replication involved or allowed. Confirming previous findings may not as sexy as publishing novel ones, but it’s as important -if not more so. 
It is always hard to predict things, especially the future

The Rational Choices of Crack Addicts

scottdshaffer:

“They didn’t fit the caricature of the drug addict who can’t stop once he gets a taste,” Dr. Hart said. “When they were given an alternative to crack, they made rational economic decisions.”

I want to know how this behavior compares to the behavior of gamblers, because playing slots and the lottery seems irrational from an economic point of view. It would be funny (and sad) if rational drug use is stigmatized and criminalized while irrational gambling is promoted by the state.

Interesting point. It’s about “providing attractive alternatives”, isn’t it. Very respectable work by Dr. H, highlighting social policy of problems we are content to slap a disease label on, wrap it in some stigma and jack up the penalties across the board. The options are less than desirable when you are dependent on drug related policies (which include chemical dependency facilities).  It’s no surprise that this narrative comes in handy for some politicians…but also this:

“Eighty to 90 percent of people are not negatively affected by drugs, but in the scientific literature nearly 100 percent of the reports are negative,” Dr. Hart said. “There’s a skewed focus on pathology. We scientists know that we get more money if we keep telling Congress that we’re solving this terrible problem. We’ve played a less than honorable role in the war on drugs.”

 The video is worth a watch. 

Rather than looking at drug addiction as a scientific and medical phenomenon, many still cast the issue in moral terms. It is perhaps not surprising that the criminal justice system has generally used retributive justice to deal with addicts, much like it traditionally did the mentally ill. The retributive stance generally extols “just deserts” and diminishes rehabilitative attempts, even when rehabilitation is guided firmly by physiological understandings of the underlying pathologies.

Why Neuroscience Matters for a Rational Drug Policy 

A paper from my lab director. You’d be amazed at the millions of points of drug crime data we have so far…some make sense…some counterintuitive…which is why it’s imperative to get this out to policy makers. Today, a high court admin reached out to me excited to see our results since they are 9 million dollars over budget. It all ties in. 

I’m still truckin’ you guys.

Neuroscientific evidence is increasingly being offered in court cases. Consequently, the legal system needs neuroscientists to act as expert witnesses who can explain the limitations and interpretations of neuroscientific findings so that judges and jurors can make informed and appropriate inferences. The growing role of neuroscientists in court means that neuroscientists should be aware of important differences between the scientific and legal fields, and, especially, how scientific facts can be easily misunderstood by non-scientists, including judges and jurors.

Neuroscientists in court

Like sands through the hourglass — back in the late 90’s/early 2000’s with the swing/swing door of the forensic psychology & law merge of linguistics, educating lawyers on psychological concepts and psychologists on legalese then translating expert witnesses to the jury — so are the days of our lives. 

Click here to support Send me away - FOR SCIENCE!

So there’s a story, cartoon, movie scene or maybe I made this up …about an elderly woman who is a stripper.

A guy comes into the club as she carefully wobbles out to the stage wearing a conservative, dated, red lingerie teddy and maybe a feather boa which, as you can imagine, is only highlighting her loosely hanging pale and wrinkled skin. She raises an arm or two as high as she can manage (which isn’t that high) and awkwardly syncopates her lower body while standing in place. The guy who came for a good time is confused, slightly disgusted and asks a bouncer, “What the hell is this?”

The bouncer states the obvious, she is a dancer. Seeing that the guy is even more baffled as men throw dollar bills her way, some even getting up from their seat to come give hand her a fiver…the bouncer says,”They mainly pay her to just go away”.

This is my story. 

More than any other species, humans form social ties to individuals who are neither kin nor mates, and these ties tend to be with similar people.

Here, we show that this similarity extends to genotypes.

So, I’ve received some asks about the who, what and why of my fund raiser to get down to the Eagleman lab. I’ll start sharing work he’s done in the past and jam up to what our group is working on now. Click thru pic for his 5 min. w. Stephen.
One of my favorite things in general, is how this lab is all about communicating science to the public. But I can’t do it in my pajamas from the internet forever you guys.  
Give $1 in 30 seconds.

So, I’ve received some asks about the who, what and why of my fund raiser to get down to the Eagleman lab. I’ll start sharing work he’s done in the past and jam up to what our group is working on now. Click thru pic for his 5 min. w. Stephen.

One of my favorite things in general, is how this lab is all about communicating science to the public. But I can’t do it in my pajamas from the internet forever you guys.  

Give $1 in 30 seconds.

Sorry regulars, but you know I’m on the paper chase to get some science done. Until then, I’ll be the worst, begging-est, number toting tumblr. ugh. i know.
But, hey new people, (and feel free to say hi). 
Well, here I am in the perfect lab working with a neuroscience rockstar researching ways to possibly improve things, which will then be published and presented to state officials across the country.
My grad program can’t afford to send me to this lab, so I’m doing what so many others on tumblr have done.  Click for more.

Sorry regulars, but you know I’m on the paper chase to get some science done. Until then, I’ll be the worst, begging-est, number toting tumblr. ugh. i know.

But, hey new people, (and feel free to say hi).

Well, here I am in the perfect lab working with a neuroscience rockstar researching ways to possibly improve things, which will then be published and presented to state officials across the country.

My grad program can’t afford to send me to this lab, so I’m doing what so many others on tumblr have done.  Click for more.

Face-to-face diplomacy has long been the lynchpin of international politics, yet it has largely been dismissed as irrelevant in theories of cooperation and conflict—as “cheap talk” because leaders have incentives to dissemble. However, diplomats and leaders have argued for years that there is often no substitute for personally meeting a counterpart to hash out an agreement. This article argues that face-to-face diplomacy provides a signaling mechanism thatincreases the likelihood of cooperation. Face-to-face meetings allow individuals to transmit information and empathize with each other, thereby reducing uncertainty, even when they have strong incentives to distrust the other. The human brain has discrete architecture and processes devoted to parsing others’ intentions via cues in face-to-face interaction. These processes enable actors to directly access the intentions of others with a higher degree of certainty than economic and gametheoretic models of bargaining predict.
garymarcus: 
What computers still suck at. 
On ‘forgetting the I in A.I.’

It’s not just that contemporary A.I. hasn’t solved these kinds of problems yet; it’s that contemporary A.I. has largely forgotten about them. In Levesque’s view, the field of artificial intelligence has fallen into a trap of “serial silver bulletism,” always looking to the next big thing, whether it’s expert systems or Big Data, but never painstakingly analyzing all of the subtle and deep knowledge that ordinary human beings possess. 

This trap is more like a virus spreading into other fields - for better or worse, no?

garymarcus

What computers still suck at

On ‘forgetting the I in A.I.’

It’s not just that contemporary A.I. hasn’t solved these kinds of problems yet; it’s that contemporary A.I. has largely forgotten about them. In Levesque’s view, the field of artificial intelligence has fallen into a trap of “serial silver bulletism,” always looking to the next big thing, whether it’s expert systems or Big Data, but never painstakingly analyzing all of the subtle and deep knowledge that ordinary human beings possess. 

This trap is more like a virus spreading into other fields - for better or worse, no?

Scientists use wearable electronics to show that touch is soothing—even when culturally inappropriate" via @mims

From the article:

Yet while both male and female subjects reported that they were uncomfortable being touched on the chest, and their heart rates sometimes went up before being touched there, the touch itself caused their heart rates to decrease.
(…) it also shows that even as culture determines what kind of touch we find acceptable, its ability to calm us is fairly universal.

[vid: "Shadazz" by Suicide,1979 & I’m forever obsessed with it.]

In the empirical sciences, almost everything is a matter of weighing evidence; outside of geometry, it is rare for scientists to literally prove anything. Rather, the more typical trajectory is to rule out competing theories, and accumulate more and more evidence in favor of particular hypotheses. At some level, all scientists are agnostics, and not just about religion, but about virtually everything.
People. Gary Marcus, has a tumblr you should know about. He’s an NYU professor, writes books and spicy little posts for the New Yorker, like this one: CAN SCIENCE LEAD TO FAITHHey, I appreciate a good critique as much as the next guy, I’ve been finding flaws in since 1982… and I like where these things go, but I do like when new ideas, or questions are offered up along side of it. Even if I am the Harry Caray of tumblr.