Myself, and other myths

I just watched a BBC documentary, Horizon: The Secret You, about recent results in the scientific study of consciousness. There were three experiments discussed in the program which seemed to me to be particularly key. The first experiment was carried out at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. It involves having the subject wear a stereoscopic VR helmet attached to two video cameras. Using this simple apparatus, the subject can be given an out-of-body experience, without drugs or meditation.

if u cn rd this, ur smrt

There’s an article in the New Yorker that talks about the death of reading, and the effects of reading on the human mind. It covers a lot of interesting ground. For example: In a study published this year, experimenters varied the way that people took in a PowerPoint presentation about the country of Mali. Those who were allowed to read silently were more likely to agree with the statement “The presentation was interesting,” and those who read along with an audiovisual commentary were more likely to agree with the statement “I did not learn anything from this presentation.

The eyes have it

Some people believe that they perceive the world as it actually is. There are many experiments that can disprove this notion. For instance, take a look at Edward H Adelson’s checker shadow illusion. To me, the two squares A and B look so obviously different that if I didn’t know it was an optical illusion, I would never pause to think that they might be exactly the same color. Similar experiments can demonstrate that your hearing is just as subjective.


A UT professor took 50,000 nerve cells from a dog brain, and grew them in a petri dish. Then he wired the micro-brain to an interface via 120 electrodes. And then, of course, he taught it to play Quake 3.