Computer trained to "read" mind images of words
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor Thu May 29, 4:32 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A computer has been trained to "read" people's minds by looking at scans of their brains as they thought about specific words, researchers said on Thursday.
They hope their study, published in the journal Science, might lead to better understanding of how and where the brain stores information.
This might lead to better treatments for language disorders and learning disabilities, said Tom Mitchell of the Machine Learning Department at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, who helped lead the study.
"The question we are trying to get at is one people have been thinking about for centuries, which is: How does the brain organize knowledge?" Mitchell said in a telephone interview.
"It is only in the last 10 or 15 years that we have this way that we can study this question."
Please check it out:
I discuss the mind-body problem.
The Good Life: Part 2: Exuberance
I have a Poison Ivy infection. I got it hiking at night with my friends. I am 29 years old this August, and I have a Poison Ivy infection and am likely to have them all summer long.
Because I really love nature.
When I started to study science, wanting to be exposed to the secrets of nature for me became a high comparable to any high from drugs.
It is awesome.
In fact I try to live my whole life like this. I try to love what I do, and do what I love.
This concept is simple, it is called Exuberance.
It is one of the chief humanist virtues according to Philosopher Paul Kurtz.
Kurtz argues that we need exuberance to feel the fullness and richness of life. Exuberance is literally enjoying what your doing. And enjoying it a lot.
A commitment to the idea of exuberance as a virtue requires a lot of responsibility.
If you think that being really happy about what your doing is something to be strived for, then when you have the freedom to change your job, or your lifestyle to bring you more inspiration for explosions of joy, you must do so.
In other words, you should try to be happy, and being happy is your problem.
But, I suggests that in the United States, there is a ripe field of happiness ready for the plucking. The meaning of life according to Kurtz, " life is full of opportunity."
Part 3 and/ or 4 (sorry):
If I haven't run them all off yet, which I know at least one will never leave me, I will probably lose even more anarchist readers with my post today.
It is unfortunate since I think of anarchists as something akin to a moral compass, as I believe in a world where the government interference in personal freedoms is minimized but that human cooperation is maximized.
One anarchist friend wrote that we should see anarchism as something analogous to the Limit in calculus, something we can always get closer too, but perhaps never achieve.
But I do think that for anything resembling an anarchist world which captures the utopian vision of Kropotkin, Goldman, and others would require a mastery of human nature which we are no where near achieving.
We have to learn how to ignore our evolutionary impulses to compete, overwhelm our enemy, and be as rich in resources as possible, to harness the need for a better system of ethics without enforcement.
I love the noble anarchists, but must beg their forgiveness as my wife and I actually indulge in a celebration of Memorial Day.
Kalisa's grandfather Harold Myers fought in world war two, including a fight for the terrifying uphill holding of the Nazi gun Anzio Annie, which was an uphill battle in which Americans led a Spartan charge uphill, fearlessly and took the gun out of sheer frustration.
On this episode I discuss my autobiography as well as how I have come to embrace humanism as the conclusion from my bizarre life experiences which have included fundamentalist christianity, skinhead gangs, and the mentally retarded.
Scott Hurst and I also discuss the science of alternative fuels.
Religion is NOT a private matter!
I have been reading Austin Dacey's bookThe Secular Conscience.
I am almost finished with it, and my only complaint is that Dacey gave his book the wrong title, he should have entitled it, "the most important book of 2008."
It is the most important book of 2008.
The basic argument of the book is that there is a public nature to ethics, because there is a public nature to ethics, all ethical claims are subject to public inquiry.
That may not sound contreversial until you understand that it has big implications.
For example when someone says something like "stem-cell research is wrong because life begins at conception."
or, "The Jews are chosen people, loved above other people, by God."
or, "Masturbation is harmful because imagining someone who is not your spouce is de facto adultery."
Most liberals, myself included, have tended to respond with a quiet respect for their neighbors belief.
You say that it would be wrong to say that this person is wrong.
After all this is a religious belief which they hold.
We must respect a person's religion.
After all, religion is a private matter.
Dacey says that this is not true.
Yesterday I read an essay by Paul Kurtz entitled"The Ethics of Excellence."
I'm finding the humanist work of Paul Kurtz reflects my own ethical intuitions and furthermore gives me ideas on how to elaborate them.
But I will try not discuss this great man so much, and focus on his work.
First we must ask ourselves the question, "What is excellence?"
In the essay Kurtz asks us to first thing of athletics and excellence in athletics, and he tells us that ethical excellence is not far off.
I'm not a big sports fan but I do like some. I like fighting, weight lifting, running and swimming.
An excellent fighter is one who can consistently dominate his/her oponent.
An excellent weight-lifter is one who is constantly outdistancing themselves and demonstrating ever-increasing strength.
Running is like weight lifting in that the runner races against him/herself and also like fighting in the domination of oponents. So is swimming.
Let these images enter your mind, and try to think of how a more absract concept of excellence might emerge.
Kurtz writes, "Excellence is a thoroughly relative term, applicable to human beings engaged in some activity to compare their capacities and achievements."
The Good Life : Part 1: Power
Ever since I stopped believing in God it took me a minute to find my positive outlook again.
I had been using the whole idea of God as justfification for betting on a better future, when I stopped I felt lost and depressed. I still felt that truth was important enough that I should endure my pain rather than flee back into a lie.
I stopped believing in God by reading "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins, which is truly a wonderful book, and really a great treatiese on scientfiic thinking. But it does nothing for someone who has truly placed their hope in God.
When I read "The God Delusion" I had been a liberal Christian for years.
I did not believe in Hell, I belonged to a Church which cared more about community service than it did about the angels, and it was a really fulfilling life. In fact it is because of churches like the one to which I belonged that I know I can make common cause with so many Christians.
What did Richard offer me as an alternative, well he offered awe at nature.