NEWS: Neurons, Computers and Space

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Thu, 22 Jul 1999 18:01:36 -0500

> DURHAM, N.C. -- Using a high-resolution video technique
> on laboratory rats, neurobiologists
> at Duke University Medical Center have captured the
> first detailed images of the living brain
> in the act of recognizing specific odor molecules.
> The scientists say their achievement will
> open the way to deciphering the brain's internal
> "language" of smell.

Looks like a significant step towards monitoring individual neurons, which makes it important to computer telepathy.


> On average, ice ages occur about every 100,000 years, and the
> next one should begin with plenty of notice in about 60,000
> years, says Dr. Jose Rial, professor of geophysics at the
> University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. So not to worry.

I *was* worried, actually, especially given the speculation that global warming could trigger a new ice age (you just can't win...); but if this is correct, I don't know of any events that would lead to catastrophic, instead of gradual, problems. Okay, I think I can dismiss all considerations of environmental catastrophe from my navigation.


> Carnegie Mellon scientists demonstrate spontaneous
> speech translation in six languages

Not all that important, but still cool.


> Building upon these studies, investigators have developed
> computer models that show how spontaneous neural
> activity may help to wire the visual system, and in the
> process they have gathered data that indirectly support
> the idea. Still, no one had been able to record the
> spontaneous brain activity patterns in living animals,
> mainly because the task was so difficult.
> In the July 23, 1999, issue of the journal Science, Katz
> and Michael Weliky, a former postdoctoral fellow in
> Katz's laboratory who is now an assistant professor at
> the University of Rochester, report results from just
> such experiments. "I cannot emphasize enough how
> difficult these experiments were to do," says Katz. "It's a
> real tribute to Michael, who designed and built the
> equipment to make it happen."

More computer telepathy. It's not the discovery that counts, it's the methods.


> Two scientists make case against ice on the moon

Oh, well.

           Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Running on BeOS           Typing in Dvorak          Programming with Patterns
Voting for Libertarians   Heading for Singularity   There Is A Better Way