среда, 16 февраля 2011 г.

Australian science reporter Professor Funk has made a fantastic animated video about the science of the placebo effect that’s three minutes of sheer joy even without an active ingredient. It takes you through the remarkable ways in which the placebo effect differs between different types of pills, perceptions and places and is highly recommended.

понедельник, 14 февраля 2011 г.

The foundation

When someone says something about science fiction novels, first thing which comes to my mind is probably Isaac Asimov's novel "The Foundation" Truly great trilogy about mathematician who calculated that world goes straight to the era of chaos and only an artifically created secret goverment could stop it.

By accident I saw info about film made by this book which , as written, is coming in 2011. That is probably not happening but I hope work on the film isnt stopped.

NewSci on Coffee, Smell and Intelligence

 New Scientist has three articles for those interested in human behaviour: An article on the effects of coffee, one on the effects and possible treatments for losing the sense of smell, and Ray Kurzweil speculates on the future interaction between technology and human biology:
One benefit of a full understanding of the human brain will be a deep understanding of ourselves, but the key implication is that it will expand the tool kit of techniques we can apply to create artificial intelligence. We will then be able to create non-biological systems that match human intelligence. These superintelligent computers will be able to do things we are not able to do, such as share knowledge and skills at electronic speeds.
Steady on. I think Ray may have been at the coffee himself while writing that one.
Link to New Scientist table of contents.

суббота, 12 февраля 2011 г.

Bottled happiness

When I was in Barcelona I discovered a fantastic psychiatry-themed sweet shop called Happy Pills which sells every possible candy you could imagine packaged into mood-lifting pill bottles.
You can also browse their website although if you’re not a Spanish speaker wait for the ‘ingredients’ intro to pass before you can click to see the rest of the website in English if you so wish.
You can order online or track down one of their shops if you’re in Barcelona.

Crysis 2 has been leaked

Well, it's already available for download but EA says that build is incomplete. Shoud I take it or better wait for release?


When I was working in a mental health clinic as student going through nursing school, I was told to assist in watching over a young man named "Mike". Mike had very severe schizophrenia and would often hallucinate vividly.
One day, I was sitting with Mike and eating breakfast, and he began to describe his friend Jerry to me. Jerry was apparently 6'5, thin, with pale white skin, and dressed in a dark suit. He also talked in a deep voice, according to Mike, and, from his description, seemed to be grotesque and non-human like in appearance. I was slightly disturbed by this, and asked him if he talked to Jerry often.
Mike told me that Jerry was in the room right now, and was standing right behind me. I asked him if Jerry had anything to say. He said hello to Jerry, and then he introduced me to him.
Mike's face, I remember, grew very pale, and then he proceeded to say "You need to leave. Jerry doesn't like you, and wants you to get out."
Good lord, I was scared out of my mind. Thankfully, I was almost done with nursing school, and was able to leave. I still get chills when I think about "Jerry".

What do you guys think about this?

пятница, 11 февраля 2011 г.

Third of Russians believe sun revolves around earth

MOSCOW—Does the sun revolve around the earth? About one third of Russians appear to believe so, according to a survey published on Wednesday.
Thirty-two percent of Russians reject a sun-centered Solar system, four percent more than in 2007 when a similar survey was conducted, the Russian Center of Public Opinion Research showed.
The survey highlighted scientific superstitions among Russians and was released as Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called this week for national lunar and deep space programmes.
The survey also found 55 percent of Russians believe that radioactivity is a human invention.
Twenty-nine percent believe humans lived in the era of dinosaurs. Women are more likely than men to believe scientific superstitions, the survey found.
The survey was conducted in January among 1,600 people in different regions, with a 3.4-percent margin of error.

Evidence for ‘grandmother cells’

This week’s edition of the science journal Nature reports that single brain cells may be specialised for recognising specific faces.
This is an interesting finding, as it provides support for a derided hypothesis known as the ‘grandmother cell‘ theory, that was thought up to ridicule attempts to reduce human experience down to smaller and smaller components of the brain.
Neuroscience often develops by trying to understanding how smaller parts of the brain support larger processes. Bologist Jerry Lettvin argued that we can’t expect everything to reduce down to the smallest level, as some things will be distributed across the brain.
It is unlikely, he argued, that there is a single brain cell to represent each person we know, a neuron that is active when we see our grandmother, for example.
This has since been used as an argument against any theory that is seen as over-simplifying how things are represented in the brain.
But now, a team led by neuroscientist Rodrigo Quian Quiroga has identified neurons which do seem to be active for individual faces.
He implanted harmless electrodes into the temporal lobes of volunteers undergoing surgery for epilepsy.
halle_berry.jpgQuiroga then showed the participants pictures of famous faces, and discovered some cells were only active for individual faces in the set – Halle Berry, or even members of The Simpsons.
Of course, it’s impossible to say whether these cells are truly selective for an individual face out of all the ones a person may know, but this level of selectivity is a great surprise for those who thought individual cells would be active for very general features of the visual world.
Link to write-up from nature.com
Link to study abstract.

Dead space 2

As a shooter/action it was pretty average but as to plot - it's probably the greatest plot I've ever seen in sci-fi games. Even though with no cutscenes things were entertaining and rather original.
Also, the first one reminded me of "Solaris" where character was in same situation: he met his dead girlfriend on a space station due to alien interventions although other details were a bit different.
Dead spcace 2 has performed much more smooth engine and gameplay. The plot was also much more comprehensive.

first steps of frontal lobotomy

   Neurosurgical Focus has an excellent open-access article that takes a critical look at the work of the Portuguese neurologist Egas Moniz – who controversially won the 1949 Nobel prize for inventing the frontal lobotomy.
Although the over-enthusiasm for cutting patients’ frontal lobes to try and ‘cure’ them of mental illness is now looked upon as rather an embarrassing phase in the history of medicine, the article makes clear that criticism of the technique – including Moniz’s sloppy research – has been around for as long as the operation itself.
The article is a comprehensive look at the early history of frontal lobotomy and psychosurgery in general and is a wonderful guide to the long-standing controversies surrounding the procedure.

first post

hello, here'll be my blog. I  will try to post here some information about my hobbies.