Sunday, January 28, 2007

Just cut it out, people.

Damaged brain region helps some kick habit

Many heavy smokers quit immediately and permanently when a small structure deep in the brain is damaged, a finding that provides a new lead in the search for smoking-cessation treatments, a study says.

Specifically, a small chunk of brain called the insula.


And then there's this, wherein we discover you can learn skills without actually physically practicing the action. It's quite literally all in your head. (via Ran Prieur).

See? Remo Williams is not bullshit.

Alright, forget I said that. Consider, instead, the implications of this. Your brain can't even tell the difference between a martial arts kata and you fantasizing (hopefully, albeit accurately) about a martial arts kata. This, while hugely exploitable, is not necessarily a bad thing.

The mind, emergent from the brain, can turn around and rearrange the brain, thereby influencing the mind all over again. That would be you exploiting the weaknesses of your brain for your own benefit. Potentially, runaway feedback loop of self-expansion - until you run into the limits of protein cross-connection phase space. Then again, you probably wouldn't so much run into a hard limit as continue to do soft erasures and reboots of existing data, paving it over with transient towers of thought. Castles of air built in beach sand, shifting in the undertow of uncertainty.

Gödel was right ... but we can sneak a little closer to that particular vertex.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Drug-resistant form of tuberculosis that kills people in TWO WEEKS?

Currently being desperately and frantically quarantined in South Africa. I've done some very rough math and Bruce Sterling is right, this is some world-killing stuff, man!

via Posthuman Blues via Beyond the Beyond

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Chinese Satellite-Killer Test Successful

For some reason, what I'm most curious about is the particular model/brand of missile used to do this. The impression I'm getting is that it doesn't require anything special. Worse, how long till less ... nation-state-type folks get this bright idea?

I'm not mentioning the first-order implications, on account of them being so obvious and all.

Fiction The Way God Intended.

Hectowords has been medusaheaded.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

She only want me for my link juice/not my link juice

Diary of a goof-off: No work, no pay - Bitch, there are way smarter ways to do what you did, depressive-impressive as it may be.

I am taught in schools. Me! - psh-yeah, right. They couldn't even mention my name? It's right there - on the right!


Violent Acres is so medusaheaded - This lady pwns. Must read every day.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Could My Morning Get *Any* More Awesome? Barring Oral Sex, I Should Think Not!

Neural 'extension cord' developed for brain implants

A "data cable" made from stretched nerve cells could someday help connect computers to the human nervous system. The modified cells should form better connections with human tissue than the metal electrodes currently used for purposes such as remotely controlling prosthetics (see Brain implant enables mind over matter).

"The nervous system doesn't like nasty hard metal or plastic," says Doug Smith, who is developing the cell-based cable at the University of Pennsylvania, US. Nerve tissue can develop scarring or shrink away from contact with metal and other non-biological materials, he says.

"Nerve cells will happily grow to form new connections with new nerve cells though," Smith adds, "we want to try that as an alternative to ramming something into a nerve or the brain ...

Friday, January 12, 2007

McSweeney's Monologues have been medusaheaded. Like so.

Monday, January 08, 2007

First Post of 2007 - That's All You Get.

If our Gods and our hopes are nothing but scientific phenomena, then let us admit it must be said that our love is scientific as well - Auguste Villiers de l'Isle-Adam, 1886

If we are vehicles for our genes and the seemingly-irrational actions driven ostensibly by love make sense when we view the gene as the true center of self, is it then possible for someone of sufficient existential paranoia to 'download' erself into er genes? Such a person would presumably become a super-Lamarckian lifeform.

If the genes give the commands, then take control of the genes and decide what commands they can give.

Additional thought: someone who could do this could probably resist torture indefinitely, particularly if the stakes were properly (and of course genetically) high (say, a father being told to kill his daughter or somesuch).