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Bertrand’s paradox

Why Evolution is True Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 10:30am

Reader Peter sent me this paradox (it’s not really a “paradox” as I understand the meaning of that term, but a result that, like the Monty Hall problem, is deeply counterintuitive). It’s called Bertrand’s Box Paradox after French mathematician Joseph Bertrand, who raised it in an 1889 book on probabilities.

The setup is simple:

There are three boxes:

  1. a box containing two gold coins,
  2. a box containing two silver coins,
  3. a box containing one gold coin and a silver coin.

The ‘paradox’ is in this solution to this question. After choosing a box at random and withdrawing one coin at random, if that happens to be a gold coin, what is the probability of the next coin drawn from the same box will also be a gold coin?

A graphic representation:

I got it after a few minutes of cogitation, but I won’t give you the answer. The only hint is that it’s not what you’d first think, unless you’re a savant. Give your answer and reasoning in the comments, and I’ll chime in showing which answer is right. The link to the paradox at top gives the answer, but try not to look till you’ve given it a go.

It turns out that the probability is identical to that for winning by “switching doors” under the Monty Hall problem with three doors—and for pretty much the same reason.

Categories: Science

I don’t even want to imagine

Pharyngula Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 10:10am

First Dog on the Moon

But we have to imagine, don’t we? It’s the only way we can get change done.

I recently stumbled across a cell phone video made by a student at Parkland as they were fleeing their classroom. The teacher was dead in a pool of blood. Another student was dead. Yet another student was moaning in pain, wounded. They fled through a hallway with more students lying dead. It was so horrific that I could not in good conscience repost it, out of respect for the dead and the families who have lost people they loved. I closed my eyes and shut that window, unwilling to look at it again. It’s no wonder that those students are being so articulate in speaking out against this ongoing nightmare.

We are allowing kids to be slaughtered and traumatized so the gun industry can make more profits and so the NRA can prosper. When will we wake up and shut those ghouls down?

Categories: Science

Carnival of Space #549

Universe Today Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 10:02am

Welcome to the 549th Carnival of Space! The Carnival is a community of space science and astronomy writers and bloggers, who submit their best work each week for your benefit. So now, on to this week’s stories!

First up, over at the Chandra X Ray Observatory Blog, they have two articles about the The Billion-year Race Between Black Holes and Galaxies – from guest bloggers Mar Mezcua and Guang Yang.

Then, we visit Zain Husain at the Brown Spaceman blog for his review of the amazing Falcon Heavy launch, and he discusses now Falcon Heavy could speed up science and space exploration.

Next we visit The Evolving Planet, where Astronomers release most advanced universe simulation yet, an amazing program called IllustrisTNG.

Over at CosmoQuest Jennifer Grier shares another CQ Science – Post 13: How Impacts Change the Rocks – Samples in Hand, which highlights the Planetary Science Institute’s fantastic impact rock kits, available for loan to educators. Then Amy Jagge discusses Using Astronaut Photography as an Instructional Aid in Science Education and Andrea Meado talks about Studying Clouds Dynamics as an Instructional Tool in Science Education Using Astronaut Photography. And finally, KT Seery gives us a fantastic infographic listing all of the Interesting Astronomy Objects this month!

Thank you for all of your stories – we’ll see you next week!

And if you’re interested in looking back, here’s an archive to all the past Carnivals of Space. If you’ve got a space-related blog, you should really join the carnival. Just email an entry to susie@wshcrew.space, and the next host will link to it. It will help get awareness out there about your writing, help you meet others in the space community – and community is what blogging is all about. And if you really want to help out, sign up to be a host. Send an email to the above address.

The post Carnival of Space #549 appeared first on Universe Today.

Categories: Science

Computers aid discovery of new, inexpensive material to make LEDs with high color quality

Matter and energy from Science Daily Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 9:48am
Computers have helped researchers develop a new phosphor that can make LEDs cheaper and render colors more accurately. Researchers predicted the new phosphor using supercomputers and data mining algorithms, then developed a simple recipe to make it in the lab. Unlike many phosphors, this one is made of inexpensive, earth-abundant elements and can easily be made using industrial methods. As computers predicted, the new phosphor performed well in tests and in LED prototypes.
Categories: Science

Computers aid discovery of new, inexpensive material to make LEDs with high color quality

Computers and Math from Science Daily Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 9:48am
Computers have helped researchers develop a new phosphor that can make LEDs cheaper and render colors more accurately. Researchers predicted the new phosphor using supercomputers and data mining algorithms, then developed a simple recipe to make it in the lab. Unlike many phosphors, this one is made of inexpensive, earth-abundant elements and can easily be made using industrial methods. As computers predicted, the new phosphor performed well in tests and in LED prototypes.
Categories: Science

The shame of public education in Oklahoma (and America)

Why Evolution is True Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 9:00am

Over the years, having dealt with students coming out of public schools, having lectured at public schools, and having talked to many teachers (usually science teachers), I’ve come to really admire these people. They slave away for a pittance, often using their own funds to buy school materials, and they are vitally important to the education of our kids—and to society as a whole. Inspiring teachers make all the difference in a child’s life. I know that I, for one, probably wouldn’t be a scientist if it weren’t for my fourth-grade teacher Mrs. Burns, who was constantly doing science demonstrations, encouraging her kids, and showing infectious enthusiasm for science.  My view is that public-school teachers (I’m not talking about professors here!) should, given their societal value, make at least twice what they’re paid now (see below). A surgeon can help one patient at a time; a teacher can change the lives of many children at once.

And so, this new article in the Financial Times is especially depressing (click on the screenshot to go there).  Oklahoma is going down the tubes vis-à-vis public education.

Consider these facts:

  • With an average starting salary of $31,606, Oklahoma is the third lowest in the nation, after Mississippi and South Dakota. That’s about 1/5 of the lowest average salary of any branch of medicine in the U.S. The average salary for all teachers is $44,128, barely enough to support a family. The teachers haven’t had a raise in ten years.
  • Many school districts have had to cut back public schooling from five to four days a week. That’s considered a perk for Oklahoma teachers.
  • Health insurance erodes even those salaries: a single teacher’s monthly healthcare costs are $400, and another $480 for a spouse and $208 for each kid. As the article notes, one teacher’s aide earned so little (and had a family), that she paid the school $200 a month to work there.
  • Oklahoma is bleeding teachers to other states, and of course that’s going to really hurt public education.
  • The reason? Oklahoma decided to reduce taxes on oil revenues from 7% to 1%, in contrast to other states (it’s 11.5% in North Dakota). Income taxes have also been cut under both parties, with Democrats doing it out of fear that if they didn’t the Republicans would win. Now the Republicans are doing it. The state education budget for grades K-12 has been cut by 28.2% in the last 8 years. There are constitutional limitations on raising property taxes.

This has hit not just the schools, but public employees in general. Cops are told not to fill up their gas tanks, and drunk drivers don’t have their licenses revoked because the bureaucracy doesn’t have the dosh to revoke them. Some teachers even dig into the leftovers from food drives for poor people!

I’m not sure why this isn’t a pressing national issue—not just in Oklahoma, but in many other states. Here’s a map of teachers’ salaries (graded by color, but the site, Niche, gives the figures for starting and average salaries). Only the northeast, Alaska, the District of Columbia, and California offer decent wages to their teachers. The highest average salary I could find was New York’s $75,279 and that’s a big outlier: 71% higher than Oklahoma’s.

Of all the “infrastructure” Americans should invest in, education is the most pressing. Screw Trump’s wall: that money should go for education! How many teachers could be hired with the cost of that wall, which could go up to $20 billion—or more. That would buy 450,000 teacher-years in Oklahoma, or pay for 10,000 careers of teachers given a 45-year career.

h/t: Grania

Categories: Science

Pattern formation: The paradoxical role of turbulence

Matter and energy from Science Daily Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 8:53am
The formation of self-organizing molecular patterns in cells is a critical component of many biological processes. Researchers have proposed a new theory to explain how such patterns emerge in complex natural systems.
Categories: Science

How come when Republicans talk about free speech it’s always about silencing me?

Pharyngula Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 8:32am

Minnesota Republicans are pushing a bill they say defends free speech on campus.

Introduced last week by State Sen. Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) and State Rep. Bud Nornes (R-Fergus Falls) at a press conference alongside members of the University of Minnesota College Republicans, the bill would make state-funded universities adopt policies that place a higher emphasis on free speech.

You will not be surprised to learn that the actual text of the bill does the opposite of that.

although faculty are free in the classroom to discuss subjects within areas of their competence, faculty shall be cautious in expressing personal views in the classroom and shall be careful not to introduce controversial matters that have no relationship to the subject taught, especially matters in which they have no special competence or training and in which, therefore, faculty’s views cannot claim the authority accorded statements they make about subjects within areas of their competence, provided that no faculty will face adverse employment action for classroom speech, unless it is not reasonably germane to the subject matter of the class as broadly construed, and comprises a substantial portion of classroom instruction.

So, placing a “higher emphasis on free speech” is to be accomplished by gagging college professors. That doesn’t sound like free speech to me. As usual, right-wingers use “free speech” as a code for limiting speech they don’t like.

This is also a bill that demonstrates a deep ignorance about how universities work. I am part of a team of faculty who have the mission of helping students acquire basic knowledge about a rich, complex subject. That knowledge is not imparted in a single class (why, not even my class); I rely on students learning preliminary information in the prerequisites to my courses, and my colleagues expect that students will emerge from my classes with knowledge they can build on. There is a tremendous amount of peer pressure to keep class content focused and substantial. I don’t need a law saying that I can’t spend hours and hours of class time talking about, oh I don’t know, Trump, atheism, lobsters, or feminism.

I really don’t need a bluenosed ideologue hovering over my should to police my class time in order to teach well, and in fact, that would be one other factor that would compromise my effectiveness.

Categories: Science

We’re evolving a gene that may stop us from drinking alcohol

New Scientist Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 8:23am
Humans are still evolving and producing new gene variants, and one of them may give protection against becoming addicted to alcohol - by stopping us drinking altogether
Categories: Science

Flexible warped nanographene developed for bioimaging

Matter and energy from Science Daily Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 7:39am
An international team of scientists has developed a water-soluble "warped nanographene," a flexible molecule that is biocompatible and shows promise for fluorescent cell imaging. The new nanographene molecule also induces cell death when exposed to blue laser light. Further investigation is required to determine how nanocarbons could be used for a range of biological applications, such as photodynamic therapy for cancer treatments.
Categories: Science

The starry sky shows nocturnal animals the way

Space and time from Science Daily Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 7:39am
Nocturnal animals can use the stars and the Milky Way to find their way during the darkest hours.
Categories: Science

Many colors from a single dot

Matter and energy from Science Daily Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 7:32am
Physicists have shown how even a separate single nanoparticle can be used to emit different colors of light. Their results show that the particles under consideration may be a very efficient and versatile tool to produce light of all colors at tiny scales.
Categories: Science

Microanalysis of biological samples for early disease detection

Matter and energy from Science Daily Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 7:32am
Researchers have developed a sensing method with the potential to significantly contribute to early detection of cancer and diabetes.
Categories: Science

Electric eel-inspired device reaches 110 volts

Matter and energy from Science Daily Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 7:24am
In an effort to create a power source for future implantable technologies, a team of researchers developed an electric eel-inspired device that produced 110 volts from gels filled with water, called hydrogels. Their results show potential for a soft power source to draw on a biological system's chemical energy.
Categories: Science

The pall of intersectionality: “Must everything be everything?”

Why Evolution is True Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 7:00am

Yesterday reader Vaal asked me what I thought of the new movie “Black Panther”, which has an all-black cast and an African-American director. The film has cleaned up, nabbing a box office of $361 million worldwide in the first few days after release—nearly doubling the entire production cost! It already is a huge success. Vaal expressed a bit of concern whether this would reinforce black identity politics, but in general agreed with my response; this is what I said:

I haven’t seen the movie, nor read much about it or the Internet reaction, but if it gives black kids role models and makes them feel less marginalized, so much the better. That’s different from “identity tactics”, which are to try to censor others who aren’t in your group; it seems to be just a boost in self-esteem. I don’t see any downside of that. Everyone feels part of a group, and if you’re downtrodden and your group gets celebrated, that seems great to me.

I won’t see the movie, as I don’t like superhero or action films (or even space films). I did see “Wonder Woman”, but it was on a plane and I turned it off halfway. Nevertheless, I wish “Black Panther” well.

The movie, of course, is touted for its black director and cast, giving kids role models from their group. And, as I said, that’s great. But it wasn’t enough for some people. Grania called my attention to a pair of tweets, the first calling out the movie for its “lack of LGBT representation”:

'Black Panther' Criticized for Lack of LGBT Representation. Thoughts? https://t.co/vakoRNgQIA pic.twitter.com/zHcUIUc4GI

— 24/7 HipHop News (@BenjaminEnfield) February 18, 2018

And then actress Ellen Barkin’s weary response; she’s clearly tired of ubiquitous “intersectionality”. 

But was there more than just a single tweet criticizing the movie for its lack of LGBT representation? Checking the internet, I found that indeed there was. Here’s a link to an article at i09 (Gizmodo):

Marvel Misses Another Easy Opportunity for LGBTQ Representation With Black Panther https://t.co/01z1rYIwq8

— LGBT History Month (@LGBTHM) February 14, 2018

The article mentions one cut scene in which two women dance around each other lasciviously, suggesting perhaps an impending sexual interaction. And that flirtation was in the comic, too, though involving different characters. (There was no explicit mention of gayness or homosexual activity in the deleted scene). The author of the io9 article beefs:

This isn’t the first time that Marvel Studios have missed a readily-available opportunity to finally bring some queer representation to the big screen, but it’s particularly odd given how right there and on the page this particular story is when you look to the comics.

Though Aneka is not Okoye, characters become remixed and reimagined all the time when they’re adapted for films. A romance between Okoye and Ayo is the sort of thing that easily could have been included in Black Panther with something as simple as a longing look and a bit of flirting kiss, but it looks like we’re going to have to wait even longer for the MCU’s films to catch up with the times.

But wait! There’s more!

It would have taken five seconds of screentime to have Nakia ask Ayo “how’s the girlfriend” and Ayo answer “Aneka is good.” Or insert whoever’s name. Disney+Marvel consistently drop the ball on LGBT rep and this is the second time they’ve done it with a black woman #BlackPanther

— i'm kidding, we're vegetarians (@inkyubus13) February 14, 2018

I’m not sure what this would have accomplished. Would it empower gay black children? Or gay people in general?

Here’s an article (actually, a video) from The Advocate, a gay magazine (click on screenshot to see it):

They criticize the director for cutting the scene and co-writer Joe Robert Cole’s “vague answer” about why the scene was omitted (he noted that it wasn’t a major part of the story arc, and only vaguely remember the comic-book scene).

But wait! There’s more.

When it comes to bringing LGBT representation to a broader audience, they call it “a risk.” But isn’t it their responsibility to elevate the standards and change people’s perceptions? #LetAyoHaveAGirlfriend

— The Gay Robot

Categories: Science

Poor James Damore — losing again

Pharyngula Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 5:58am

Some good news, at least: James Damore had charged that Google violated labor laws by firing him, claiming that he was merely providing useful internal criticism of Google’s procedures, and you can’t fire someone for that. His claim has been thrown out. It seems Google was very careful to clearly state its reasons for the firing, and it wasn’t because he was trying to improve their training methods: it was because he was bigoted and promoting discrimination. Oops.

The NLRB memo includes talking points that Google prepared and read over the phone to Damore when he was fired. “I want to make clear that our decision is based solely on the part of your post that generalizes and advances stereotypes about women versus men,” Google’s talking points stated. “I also want to be clear that this is not about you expressing yourself on political issues or having political views that are different than others at the company. Having a different political view is absolutely fine. Advancing gender stereotypes is not.”

Now Damore still pursues “a class action lawsuit in which he accuses Google of discriminating against its white, male, and conservative employees.” You might think that maybe that has a better chance of success, since he’s arguing that he’s opposing discrimination against men, but look at what Google said. They’re against “stereotypes about women versus men”. Those hurt men as well as women, so they were also careful to insulate themselves against the charge that they were favoring one sex over another.

Categories: Science

Cox interviews Attenborough on Darwin (and other interviews)

Why Evolution is True Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 5:45am

by Matthew Cobb

My friend and colleague Professor Brian Cox is not only a Professor of Physics at the University of Manchester, he is also Professor for Public Engagement in Science at the Royal Society in London. As part of this, he decided to interview a number of Fellows of the Royal Society about their scientific heroes, in a series called People of Science. These brief interviews are informal,  insightful and fascinating. The one that will probably interest readers most is the one with David Attenborough, on Darwin. Here it is, it’s only 5 minutes long:

 

[Gratuitous comment by JAC: I have one beef with what Sir David says about The Origin at 3:50:

“What is marvelous about it is that anybody can read any page and it makes absolute sense. It’s not full of jargon; it’s full of argument and observation.”

True, it’s full of argument and observation, and Darwin generally avoids jargon. But it’s simply not true that anybody can read any page and make sense of it. Sometimes it’s hard going, even for a biologist. For those who believe Sir David’s words, I challenge you to read the chapter on “Hybridism”. My students often objected to my requiring them to read it because they weren’t used to the dense Victorian prose. (Eventually I gave up and went to the “abridged” Origin. That, too, was a failure.)  I should know, because I’ve read the book a gazillion times and the margins are full of question marks. Here’s my copy of the first edition, dog-eared, taped together, and covered with scrawls. Now that the pages have started falling out, I’ll have to retire it.  If you haven’t read this book, you can’t consider yourself educated!

Back to Matthew:

Readers might also like this interview with Sir David Spiegelhalter about the work of amateur mathematician Thomas Bayes and of statistician Ronald Fisher (includes some practical experimentation!):

This one is about Alexander Fleming, and is with Brian’s fellow Manchester graduate, Dame Sally Davies, England’s Chief Medical Officer (to do with public health):

The other three interviews are developmental psychologist Uta Frith discussing Alice Lee (no, you haven’t heard of Lee), author Bill Bryson (yes, he is an FRS, or an honorary one, anyway) on Benjamin Franklin and President of the Institute of Physics Professor Julia Higgins on Michael Faraday.

The interviews all take place in the library in the Royal Society’s home on Carlton House Terrace in London (you’ll notice a bust of Darwin in the background). Until 1939, the building was the German Embassy, before being closed for obvious reasons. In a nice twist, when General de Gaulle came to London in June 1940 following the fall of France, the Free French, as they became known, had their headquarters at the other end of the terrace. The Royal Society moved in there after the end of the war.

Categories: Science

Some anniversary

Pharyngula Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 5:37am

Would you believe it’s been 20 years since Andrew Wakefield published his disgraceful paper? It was retracted for undisclosed conflicts of interest, unethical treatment of children, and dishonest data manipulation. So Wakefield ought to be commemorating the destruction of his career from a nice ditch somewhere with a bottle of Thunderbird, right?

Wrong.

Wakefield got to celebrate the death by neglect of children with celebrity appearances on a tour for an anti-vaccination movie, the spawn of his bad study, and he attended an inaugural ball for Donald Trump. Last year, he was invited back for another round of talks in Europe.

Last week, Wakefield did not speak at a working men’s club, but at the supposedly reputable Regent’s University in London. To top that, he was invited to the European parliament, not by a neofascist know-nothing, but by an MEP from a Green party, which readers who have not been paying attention may think is filled with decent people.

And now he lives in a nice house near Austin, Texas, profiting off the conspiracy theory he instigated.

There is no justice in the world.

Categories: Science

Brain Plasticity in Infants

neurologicablog Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 5:09am

A new study looks at the brains of young adults who suffered a stroke in the language center of their brains as infants. They found that the subjects developed normal language, which just relocated to the mirror-image other side of the brain. This is not surprising, and reflects our evolving understanding of how the brain develops and functions.

For most people language localizes to the left frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. Broca’s area in the frontal lobe is involved in speaking, in the subtle motor output necessary to precisely articulate words. Wernicke’s area is in the temporal lobe and is involved in translating words into ideas and ideas into words. The two areas are connected by the arcuate fasciculous. These are the central language areas. There is also surrounding cortex which is necessary for communication between the language structures and other parts of the brain.

For most people the language area is on the left side of the brain. Meanwhile, the mirror right side of the brain is involved with understanding and producing speech intonation – knowing when someone is asking a question or being sarcastic. The right side is also involved with music and singing.

We also know that brains are plastic, meaning they can change the structure of their connections as necessary. People often use a computer analogy when talking about the brain, but the analogy to digital computers is flawed. Computers are hardware that run software, but brains are neither hardware or software – they are wetware, which is both at the same time. The connection of neurons in the brain is where information is stored and processed, and those connections change as a result of the processing, which alters the memory.

In addition, not just the connections but the anatomy can change in response to use and need, but in a constrained way. The brains of people who play the violin from a young age are different – the part of their cortex that controls their non-dominant hand, the one that works the strings, is hypertrophied.

This new study fits into this model and extends it. The researchers found that the subjects with a dominant hemisphere stroke as an infant developed normal language, but still has a bit of a limp or decreased motor function on their dominant side. Imaging showed that their language function had relocated to the opposite hemisphere, but in the mirror locations.

These findings reflect several concepts important to our understanding of brain function.

First is the basic concept of plasticity itself, the ability of the brain to alters its structure with use and demand. Plasticity is maximal as a fetus or neonate, and then decreases as we age, although never going away completely. Further, there appears to be developmental windows with maximal plasticity for certain functions (including language). For example, you need to develop the wiring for binocular vision by a certain age.

Plasticity is also limited by the parts of the brain involved. It seems that only the mirror cortex can take over language function, not other parts of the brain. In some people, after a language area injury, other parts of the cortex will become more active during speech, but they will not function as well. They are trying to compensate, to take over some of the lost function, but they are just not organized for speech.

Putting all of this together to give us a view of how the brain probably works – it seems that the brain is not a uniform mass of neurons, but is anatomically divided into discrete areas and networks with different kinds of neurons connected in specific ways. Some scientists refer to these basic structures as brain modules, which are connected in brain networks.

But these modules and networks are only semi-specific. They are optimized for a certain kind of processing, but that processing can be used for many different specific functions, and can participate in many different networks.

This explains why language relocates to the opposite hemisphere. It now seems that when language develops, both hemispheres have language capable cortex in the frontal and temporal lobes. The two hemispheres then divide up the work, with words and articulation going to the dominant hemisphere, and emotional content and music going to the other. They subspecialize, but both have the basic architecture capable of language. So when the primary language cortex is damaged, the other hemisphere has the function necessary to take over. The visual cortex, however, has a very different structure and could not function for language.

We might see the cortex as having at least three layers of specialization when it comes to the structure of the neurons and supporting cells that determine function. Cortical neurons have a basic structure that determines the kinds of processing they can do. With development, appropriate cortex is adapted to whatever functions are necessary, essentially determined by use. That function is then coded with the specific details of your environment, including culture and family.

So, for example, the language area has the capability of developing language function, but will only do so if a child is exposed to language. Further, the language area will reflect the specific language or languages learned. It will learn the phonemes and grammar of the primary language to which a person is exposed.

All of this reflects the fact that brains are an adaptation specifically to quickly adapt an organism to the environment. Brains learn, they change, they remember – all of which gives the ability to adapt dynamically to changing behavioral needs.

This is why it is misleading to talk about a brain being “hard-wired” for some behavior. That is not how the brain works. But neither is behavior entirely learned. The old nature-nurture debate has been resolved – the brain is both. That’s kind f the point.

Evolution, genetics, and development determine the basic structure of the brain and the kinds of processing the brain can perform well. This translates in a person to their propensities, their talents, their strengths and weaknesses. But all of this interacts heavily with the environment – what they do and what they learn. People can change, learn, and adapt at any age, however it does become more difficult as we get older. Also, deeply learned patterns at a young age may be very difficult to change.

Also, some aspects of personality seem to be more genetically and developmentally determined than others. We are born with a personality, but again we can look at it like a general propensity that can manifest in many different specific ways determined by environment. So we are not blank slates, but neither are we the slaves to neural destiny.

This kind of research, in addition to giving us insights into healthy neurological function, may also help us treat patients with various kinds of brain injury. How can we optimize plasticity, and improve recovery? Is it possible to de-specialize a part of the brain so it can take over a different function? Perhaps not, but it’s an interesting idea.

Also, this kind of knowledge will be key to developing brain-machine interfaces. We need to know what kind of processing the brain is doing. We may be able to make brain prosthetics that take over for lost or damaged brain functions. As we develop neural-net computer chips, understanding how the different parts of the brain are fundamentally organized and how that relates to their function will be important.

Categories: Skeptic

Modern tech unravels mysteries of Egyptian mummy portraits

Science News Feed - Mon, 02/19/2018 - 5:00am
A museum exhibit showcases what modern analytical tools can reveal about ancient Egyptian funerary portraits and mummies.
Categories: Science

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