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Creativity

Creativity | cognition | Scoop.it
Telling people how to be creative is easy - being creative is difficult. The legendary writer and actor has also become a well-known student of and speaker
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Through a series of stories, Cleese spoke of the importance of succumbing to the unconscious mind, two key traits possessed by highly successful creative people, the necessity of allowing for contemplative thinking, and why all of these together result in creative breakthroughs.

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Ivon Prefontaine's curator insight, February 6, 2013 6:44 PM

If you are going to consider creativity, what better source than Monty Python?

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How it evolved, what we do with it, futures; And otherwise interesting stuff
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Company Creates Bioethics Panel on Trial Drugs

Company Creates Bioethics Panel on Trial Drugs | cognition | Scoop.it
Johnson & Johnson named the bioethicist Arthur L. Caplan to create a panel to decide on patients’ requests for lifesaving medicines before they are approved.
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Chinese scientists genetically modify human embryos

Chinese scientists genetically modify human embryos | cognition | Scoop.it
In a world first, Chinese scientists have reported editing the genomes of human embryos. The results are published1 in the online journal Protein & Cell and confirm widespread rumours that such experiments had been conducted—rumours that sparked a high-profile debate last month2, 3 about the ethical implications of such work.

In the paper, researchers led by Junjiu Huang, a gene-function researcher at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, tried to head off such concerns by using 'non-viable' embryos, which cannot result in a live birth, that were obtained from local fertility clinics. The team attempted to modify the gene responsible for β-thalassaemia, a potentially fatal blood disorder, using a gene-editing technique known as CRISPR/Cas9. The researchers say that their results reveal serious obstacles to using the method in medical applications.

"I believe this is the first report of CRISPR/Cas9 applied to human pre-implantation embryos and as such the study is a landmark, as well as a cautionary tale," says George Daley, a stem-cell biologist at Harvard Medical School in Boston. "Their study should be a stern warning to any practitioner who thinks the technology is ready for testing to eradicate disease genes."

Some say that gene editing in embryos could have a bright future because it could eradicate devastating genetic diseases before a baby is born. Others say that such work crosses an ethical line: researchers warned in Nature2 in March that because the genetic changes to embryos, known as germline modification, are heritable, they could have an unpredictable effect on future generations. Researchers have also expressed concerns that any gene-editing research on human embryos could be a slippery slope towards unsafe or unethical uses of the technique.

The paper by Huang's team looks set to reignite the debate on human-embryo editing — and there are reports that other groups in China are also experimenting on human embryos.

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Daniel Levitin on information overload - Aeon Video

Daniel Levitin on information overload - Aeon Video | cognition | Scoop.it
The neuroscientist Daniel Levitin says multitasking doesn’t work and that we should daydream more to deal with our information overload.
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A 7 minutes video

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How science made me a writer

How science made me a writer | cognition | Scoop.it
As a programmer and all-around nerd, I learned that the intricacies of science can be a great driver for plot
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Andy Weir on the making of The Martian, with a glimpse into the 'making of Andy Weir'...

The book is a delight. A well told story that is also a peek into the rise of complex, rich, full of twists and turns unfoldment of ultimately 'simple' fundamental conditions. Not to mention how likable and involving the characters are.

They are making a movie out of it... not sure i'll like it. But the story and the story of the story are definitely recommended. 

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Hear Michel Foucault’s Lecture “The Culture of the Self,” Presented in English at UC Berkeley (1983)

Hear Michel Foucault’s Lecture “The Culture of the Self,” Presented in English at UC Berkeley (1983) | cognition | Scoop.it
United States in the last years of his life, particularly his time as a lecturer at UC Berkeley, proved to be extraordinarily productive in the development of his theoretical understanding of what he saw as the central question facing the contemporary West: the question of the self.

Via Xaos
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"The technique of confession, central even to secular psychoanalysis, informs a subjectivity that, for Foucault, always develops under the ever-watchful eyes of normalizing institutions. But in “The Culture of the Self,” Foucault reaches back to ancient Greek conceptions of “care of the self” (epimelieia beautou) to locate a subjectivity derived from a different tradition—a counterpoint to religious confessional and Freudian subjectivities and one he has discussed in terms of the technique of “self writing.” (The Care of the Self also happens to be the subtitle of the third volume of Foucault’s History of Sexuality, and “The Culture of the Self” the title of its second chapter.)"

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Complex Societies Evolved without Belief in All-Powerful Deity

Complex Societies Evolved without Belief in All-Powerful Deity | cognition | Scoop.it
The emergence of politically sophisticated societies may be assisted by faith in supernatural spirits but does not require "big god" religion
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“I think the ordering of events these authors prefer is what one expects from first principles,” says evolutionary biologist Mark Pagel of the University of Reading, UK. He says that societies became more politically complex as networks of trade and reputation emerged, and that the key to this process was language, not religion.

 

So what are MHGs for? “They are tools of control used by purveyors of religion to cement their grip on power,” says Pagel. “As soon as you have a large society generating lots of goods and services, this wealth can be put to use by someone who can grab the reins of power. The most immediate way to do this is to align yourself with a supreme deity and then make lists of things people can and cannot do, and these become ‘morals’ when applied to our social behaviour.”

 

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The smart unconscious

The smart unconscious | cognition | Scoop.it
We feel that we are in control when our brains figure out puzzles or read words, says Tom Stafford, but a new experiment shows just how much work is going on underneath the surface of our conscious minds.
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Human sex redefined: The idea of two sexes is simplistic. Biologists now think there is a wider spectrum than that

Human sex redefined: The idea of two sexes is simplistic. Biologists now think there is a wider spectrum than that | cognition | Scoop.it

As a clinical geneticist, Paul James is accustomed to discussing some of the most delicate issues with his patients. But in early 2010, he found himself having a particularly awkward conversation about sex.


A 46-year-old pregnant woman had visited his clinic at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Australia to hear the results of an amniocentesis test to screen her baby's chromosomes for abnormalities. The baby was fine — but follow-up tests had revealed something astonishing about the mother. Her body was built of cells from two individuals, probably from twin embryos that had merged in her own mother's womb. And there was more. One set of cells carried two X chromosomes, the complement that typically makes a person female; the other had an X and a Y. Halfway through her fifth decade and pregnant with her third child, the woman learned for the first time that a large part of her body was chromosomally male1. “That's kind of science-fiction material for someone who just came in for an amniocentesis,” says James.


Sex can be much more complicated than it at first seems. According to the simple scenario, the presence or absence of a Y chromosome is what counts: with it, you are male, and without it, you are female. But doctors have long known that some people straddle the boundary — their sex chromosomes say one thing, but their gonads (ovaries or testes) or sexual anatomy say another. Parents of children with these kinds of conditions — known as intersex conditions, or differences or disorders of sex development (DSDs) — often face difficult decisions about whether to bring up their child as a boy or a girl. Some researchers now say that as many as 1 person in 100 has some form of DSD2.


When genetics is taken into consideration, the boundary between the sexes becomes even blurrier. Scientists have identified many of the genes involved in the main forms of DSD, and have uncovered variations in these genes that have subtle effects on a person's anatomical or physiological sex. What's more, new technologies in DNA sequencing and cell biology are revealing that almost everyone is, to varying degrees, a patchwork of genetically distinct cells, some with a sex that might not match that of the rest of their body. Some studies even suggest that the sex of each cell drives its behaviour, through a complicated network of molecular interactions. “I think there's much greater diversity within male or female, and there is certainly an area of overlap where some people can't easily define themselves within the binary structure,” says John Achermann, who studies sex development and endocrinology at University College London's Institute of Child Health.


These discoveries do not sit well in a world in which sex is still defined in binary terms. Few legal systems allow for any ambiguity in biological sex, and a person's legal rights and social status can be heavily influenced by whether their birth certificate says male or female.


“The main problem with a strong dichotomy is that there are intermediate cases that push the limits and ask us to figure out exactly where the dividing line is between males and females,” says Arthur Arnold at the University of California, Los Angeles, who studies biological sex differences. “And that's often a very difficult problem, because sex can be defined a number of ways.”


That the two sexes are physically different is obvious, but at the start of life, it is not. Five weeks into development, a human embryo has the potential to form both male and female anatomy. Next to the developing kidneys, two bulges known as the gonadal ridges emerge alongside two pairs of ducts, one of which can form the uterus and Fallopian tubes, and the other the male internal genital plumbing: the epididymes, vas deferentia and seminal vesicles. At six weeks, the gonad switches on the developmental pathway to become an ovary or a testis. If a testis develops, it secretes testosterone, which supports the development of the male ducts. It also makes other hormones that force the presumptive uterus and Fallopian tubes to shrink away. If the gonad becomes an ovary, it makes oestrogen, and the lack of testosterone causes the male plumbing to wither. The sex hormones also dictate the development of the external genitalia, and they come into play once more at puberty, triggering the development of secondary sexual characteristics such as breasts or facial hair.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Comprehensive List of Free e-Book Websites for your e-Reader

Comprehensive List of Free e-Book Websites for your e-Reader | cognition | Scoop.it

If you own an e-reader you often can only buy e-books from the bookstore that is bundled on your device. Many of the budget e-readers out there don’t even have a bookstore that is accessible by users and many people are left to fend for themselves to load content on it.

Here is a comprehensive free e-book resource catalog online. All of these books are hardware agnostic, which means they are not locked by DRM (Digital Rights Management). All you have to do is simply download a title and load in via the USB cable from your computer to your e-reader. Many of these sites also provide the books in more than one format, so they will work with your Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Barnes and Noble Nook, Sony e-reader and hundreds of others.


Via Vicki Kossoff @ The Learning Factor
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Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, February 17, 9:55 AM

Great resource, and it's free!

Paul Mendelsohn's curator insight, February 18, 11:52 AM

Here is a cool one for all my Kindle toting friends - a comprehensive list of sources for free e-books.

SMARTERTEACHER's curator insight, February 19, 11:20 AM

Great resource for BYOD schools who want to create a level playing field for all students with all devices.

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The southern reach

The southern reach | cognition | Scoop.it
Online shopping from a great selection at Kindle Store Store.
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Bringing almost to grip, almost into full coherency, almost into the confines of logic, science or plain belief, a complex, inherently open-ended landscape of reality; one that humanity is probably incapable of gripping, cohering, confining, that is, without being transposed in the process.  

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Why animals eat psychoactive plants

Why animals eat psychoactive plants | cognition | Scoop.it
Johann Hari, author of Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, learns about drunk elephants, the stoned water buffalo, and the grieving mongoose.
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Professor Siegel claims the desire to alter our consciousness is “the fourth drive” in all human minds, alongside the desire to eat, drink, and have sex—and it is “biologically inevitable.” It provides us with moments of release and relief.

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Scientists sequence genome of longest-lived mammal

Scientists sequence genome of longest-lived mammal | cognition | Scoop.it
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have sequenced the genome of the bowhead whale, estimated to live for more than 200 years with low incidence of disease.

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How Skype Used AI to Build Its Amazing New Language Translator | WIRED

How Skype Used AI to Build Its Amazing New Language Translator | WIRED | cognition | Scoop.it
Very soon now, a select group of Skype beta testers will have a new Microsoft technology that seems borrowed from the world of Star Trek. It’s called the Skype Translator—a Skype add-on that listens to the English words you speak into Microsoft’s internet phone-calling software and translates them into Spanish, or vice versa. As you…

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New insight into how the brain makes memories | KurzweilAI

New insight into how the brain makes memories | KurzweilAI | cognition | Scoop.it
Every time you make a memory, somewhere in your brain a tiny filament called a dendritic spine reaches out from one neuron and forms an electrochemical connection to a neighboring neuron. Now a team of biologists at Vanderbilt University has discovered more about how these connections are formed at the molecular and cellular level.

In a series of experiments described in the April 17 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the researchers report that a specific signaling protein, Asef2, a member of a family of proteins that regulate cell migration and adhesion, plays a critical role in this spine formation. This is significant because Asef2 has been linked to autism and the co-occurrence of alcohol dependency and depression.

“Alterations in dendritic spines are associated with many neurological and developmental disorders, such as autism, Alzheimer’s disease and Down Syndrome,” said study leader Associate Professor of Biological Sciences Donna Webb. “However, the formation and maintenance of spines is a very complex process that we are just beginning to understand.”

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Existential Risk | Edge.org

Existential Risk | Edge.org | cognition | Scoop.it
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"We need to figure out how to steer the technological progress to ensure safe outcomes."

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A brain of wonders

A brain of wonders | cognition | Scoop.it
The U-T San Diego, which I originally thought was a university but turns out it’s a newspaper, has an excellent online multimedia project called ‘The Wonders of Your Brain’ which is an extensive and excellent look at some of the key issues in...
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Rats, reasoning, and rehabilitation: Neuroscientists uncovering how we reason

Rats, reasoning, and rehabilitation: Neuroscientists uncovering how we reason | cognition | Scoop.it
Even rats can imagine: A new study finds that rats have the ability to link cause and effect such that they can expect, or imagine, something happening even if it isn't. The findings are important to understanding human reasoning, especially in older adults, as aging degrades the ability to maintain information about unobserved events.

"What sets humans apart from the rest of the animal kingdom is our prodigious ability to reason. But what about human reasoning is truly a human-unique feature and what aspects are shared with our nonhuman relatives?," asks Aaron Blaisdell of the University of California, Los Angeles. "This is the question that drives my passion for research on rational behavior in rats."

Blaisdell hopes that his work with rats will teach us more about what it means to be human. His recent studies are part of a growing body of work on reasoning - the ability to figure out how to move from one state of affairs to another, to achieve a particular outcome.

From reasoning in rats to differences in reasoning among people with autism and schizophrenia, researchers are discussing the latest science on reasoning in a symposium today at the Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS) conference in San Francisco.

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Radical embodied cognition: an interview with Andrew Wilson

Radical embodied cognition: an interview with Andrew Wilson | cognition | Scoop.it
The computational approach is the orthodoxy in psychological science. We try and understand the mind using the metaphors of information processing and the storage and retrieval of representations.
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Death is Optional - A Conversation: Yuval Noah Harari, Daniel Kahneman [3.4.15] ,EDGE

Death is Optional - A Conversation: Yuval Noah Harari, Daniel Kahneman [3.4.15] ,EDGE | cognition | Scoop.it
Once you really solve a problem like direct brain-computer interface ... when brains and computers can interact directly, that's it, that's the end of history, that's the end of biology as we know it. Nobody has a clue what will happen once you solve this. If life can break out of the organic realm into the vastness of the inorganic realm, you cannot even begin to imagine what the consequences will be, because your imagination at present is organic. So if there is a point of Singularity, by definition, we have no way of even starting to imagine what's happening beyond that.

Via Spaceweaver
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From Article: "I think that many of these science fiction scenarios, that computers will be like humans, are wrong. Computers are very, very, very far from being like humans, especially when it comes to consciousness. The problem is different, that the system, the military and economic and political system doesn't really need consciousness."

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Spaceweaver's curator insight, March 4, 5:36 PM

Highly interesting

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Planting false memories fairly easy, psychologists find | Toronto Star

Planting false memories fairly easy, psychologists find | Toronto Star | cognition | Scoop.it
New study bolsters notion that memory is fragile and aggressive police interrogations don’t always serve justice.

Via Gerald Carey
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Gerald Carey's curator insight, February 22, 4:26 PM

This is scary. Psychologists were able to implant false memories (some of them criminal in nature) into 70% of the participants in the study!

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From the machine

From the machine | cognition | Scoop.it
A new film, Ex Machina, is released in the UK tomorrow and it is quite possibly one of the best sci-fi films of recent times and probably the best film about consciousness and artificial intelligence ever made.
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"This shifts the goalposts in a vital way. What matters is not whether Ava is a machine. It is not even whether Ava, even though a machine, can be conscious. What matters is whether Ava makes a conscious person feel that Ava is conscious. The brilliance of Ex Machina is that it reveals the Turing test for what it really is: a test of the human, not of the machine. And Garland is not necessarily on our side."

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Literature-Map - The tourist map of literature

Literature-Map - The tourist map of literature | cognition | Scoop.it
Travel the world of Literature.
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shows authors on a map chartered by what readers read.

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Candyland and the Nature of the Absurd - Existential Comics

Candyland and the Nature of the Absurd - Existential Comics | cognition | Scoop.it
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Why you can live a normal life with half a brain

Why you can live a normal life with half a brain | cognition | Scoop.it
A few extreme cases show that people can be missing large chunks of their brains with no significant ill-effect – why? Tom Stafford explains what it tells us about the true nature of our grey matter.
How much of our brain do we actually need?
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2014 Edge Annual Question Video by Jesse Dylan

This is "2014 Edge Annual Question Video by Jesse Dylan" by Edge Foundation on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them.
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