Abstain From Beans
Lady Justice depicts justice as equipped with three symbols: a sword symbolizing the court's coercive power; a human scale weighing competing claims in each hand; and a blindfold indicating impartiality.
--Marshall Cohen (New York Times Book Review )
I mean ...to press my recommendation of [this book] to non-philosophers, especially those holding positions of responsibility in law and government. For the topic with which it deals is central to this country's purposes, and the misunderstanding of that topic is central to its difficulties.
The most substantial and interesting contribution to moral philosophy since the war.
--Stuart Hampshire (New York Review of Books )
Fine Collector Plates
How the 1% Took America's Wealth--
and How to Get It Back
Column by Glen Allport
Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence
How to learn things automatically
OK, this one’s right out of The Matrix and The Manchurian Candidate.
Imagine watching a computer screen while lying down in a brain imaging machine and automatically learning how to play the guitar or lay up hoops like Shaq O’Neal, or even how to recuperate from a disease — without any conscious knowledge.
Researchers at Boston University (BU) and ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan used decoded functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to induce visual cortex activity patterns to match a previously known target state and thereby improve performance on visual tasks.
“Adult early visual areas are sufficiently plastic to cause visual perceptual learning,” said lead author and BU neuroscientist Takeo Watanabe, director of BU’s Visual Science Laboratory.
Neuroscientists have previously found that pictures gradually build up inside a person’s brain, appearing first as lines, edges, shapes, colors and motion in early visual areas. The brain then fills in greater detail to make a red ball appear as a red ball, for example. Researchers studied the early visual areas for their ability to cause improvements in visual performance and learning.
“However, none of these studies directly addressed the question of whether early visual areas are sufficiently plastic to cause visual perceptual learning,” said Watanabe. So they used decoded fMRI neurofeedback to induce a particular activation pattern in targeted early visual areas that corresponded to a pattern evoked by a specific visual feature in a brain region of interest. The researchers found that repetitions of the activation pattern caused long-lasting visual performance improvement on that visual feature — without the subject’s active involvement. The method could be used for improving memory or motor (muscle) skills, the researchers suggest.
But that’s where is gets a bit scary. “In theory, hypnosis or a type of automated learning is a potential outcome,” said Kawato. “However, in this study we confirmed the validity of our method only in visual perceptual learning. So we have to test if the method works in other types of learning in the future. At the same time, we have to be careful so that this method is not used in an unethical way.”
Uh, ya think?