Charlie Rose

Charlie Rose

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Health, Code Tech, Science

by maria on 26 Mar 2013 - 22:01  

I was on TV! Well, not really. My boss, Michael Shadlen, was on the Charlie Rose Show with Eric Kandel of Columbia University, Walter Mischel of Columbia University, Daniel Kahneman of Princeton University, and Alan Alda, host of the upcoming PBS program, “Brains on Trial”. But he showed some movies I made, so that's cool. There is a bit more information about the movies I've made for him here. The Charlie Rose show he is on is called "Public Policy Implications of the New Science of Mind" and it is part of his Brain Series. The whole show is very good, and I encourage you to watch all of it, but if you want to see the part where Mike talks about our research and shows the movies, go to 37:20. I created these movies by importing the experimental data into ActionScript and coding a re-creation of the experiment with the eye position of the animal superimposed on the re-creation of what she/he was seeing on the screen during the task. The spike train was added to the video, both visually and audibly, so you could get an idea of what was going on in the brain at the time. Link to Charlie Rose Show

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Unaware

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Health, MyRamblings, Science

by maria on 25 Oct 2010 - 18:06  

Our brains have to sort out a lot of stuff. We aren't consciously aware of most of the stuff going on, which is a good thing, since just walking across the room would be a serious challenge if we had to think about every bit of muscle movement. There was a bit on npr recently about a guy who had a stroke that wiped out his ability to read. English suddenly looked like some foreign language that he didn't know. But, his motor memory of writing was still in tact, so if he pretended to write the letters that he saw, he was now able to recognize the letters. But, that is a lot of effort, and if you had to think like that for everything you did, it would be difficult to get anything done. Fortunately, our brain takes care of lots of stuff behind the scenes, and we are unaware of it even happening. However, now we are discovering that some things our brains do without our realizing it may be causing us problems. I recently ran across an old article by Gavin Mandel, published in Science magazine in 2005, which was fascinating, and I hope people that missed it when it came out will take a look at it now. The basic finding is that we are profoundly influenced by our environment, but completely unaware of this influence. Not only that, but even when people/researchers try to make us aware when we have been influenced, we do not believe it, and our mind makes up stories to otherwise explain the influenced behavior. So, I guess when we sound like we are making something up to justify our actions after the fact, rather than explaining why we decided to do something, we may be doing just that. It does put an interesting light on our gut feelings.

The majority of the time, our unconscious does a stellar job picking out the relevant information, and making decisions based on that, but unsurprisingly, it doesn't always get it correct. It seems likely that the more we are bombarded by media trying to influence our decisions, the less reliable it may become. It is hard to imagine how our unconscious deals with such a large amount of, often conflicting, data, but scientists are starting to figure this out. It appears that there are certain rules that our unconsciousness uses to guide it. One is exemplified by a pantyhose experiment summarized in the 'Introspective Essay', and it points to a bias for the first thing the brain sees. One of the best studied biases is race. I am trying to find a source of various biases that our brains have constructed, because I think this would be useful knowledge for everyone to have when they are making decisions. Because intuition is not always correct, it is sometimes based on rules that we may not consciously agree with, but have internalized. I will close with a quote from cognitive neuroscientist Itiel Dror,

"Take what you believe is an absolute truth with a grain of salt," Dorr suggested. "Question yourself, and understand that we're all locked in our own brain, in our own perceptions, with our own experiences that paint the world. We may have a better understanding of the world if we know that what we see is not 100 percent the world itself, it iw us interacting with the world around us." *

* From the article, Experts Live and Die With Mental Shortcuts, from Miller-McCune.

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False Confession?

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by maria on 21 Sep 2010 - 14:00  

I have recently started reading a blog with a bit of a narcissistic byline, "What the smartest people on the net read." Fortunately, they seem to be living up to their name. I found the blog post, What would you do? to be especially interesting. The post is discussing an article by Professor Garrett that is about the surprising amount of detail that can be found in false confessions gathered by police officers, and how this detail is most likely being disclosed to them during the interrogation process. People seem to instinctively believe that false confessions would be weak, but the detail included in most of these confessions makes them seem substantial. The blog post recommends making changes to the criminal procedures to take into account the reliability of confessions and their content.

It seems that many people think that most people are not likely to confess to crimes they did not commit. I wonder if this is because most people believe that they themselves would not give in. After all, we are talking about situations where physical torture is not involved. I have always thought of myself as pretty strong, but have recently found myself in a situation where I allowed myself to be psychologically manipulated, and did not even realize it until a few hours later. I'm not trying to say that people offering false confessions do not realize they are giving false confessions, but that our ability to resist may be very dependent on the situation. If there is one thing I have learned about myself during my life, it is that I don't know myself as well as I thought I did. I am capable of surprising myself when I find myself in a novel situation, and being falsely accused of a crime would fall into that category. From the post, "According to one person who (falsely) committed to a crime, "You've never been in a situation so intense, and you're naive about your rights,' he said. 'You don't know what you'll say to get out of that situation.'"

Changing criminal procedures to take into account the reliability of confessions and their content seems especially important, because according to another article Farnam Street Blog did a post about, jurors don't even discount evidence obtained from rough treatment. It therefor seems really unlikely that they would take into consideration the validity of a confession full of detail and taken when rough treatment isn't involved. The Garrett article recommends "a series of reforms that focus on the insidious problem of contamination, particularly videotaping interrogations in their entirety, but also reframing police procedures, trial practice, and judicial review." I concur.

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More disbelief in Science

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by maria on 21 Apr 2010 - 21:20  

Just read a very good article Convincing the Public to Accept New Medical Guidelines. It has me thinking about how to convince people to change their beliefs. It has long been obvious to me that people often discount or don't believe scientific studies if they conflict with their pre-conceived notions. Now we have research to back up that claim, not that it would matter to people who don't believe me. Plus, apparently people are more likely to believe what everyone else believes, regardless, or apparently in spite of, scientific evidence to the contrary, according to this article. Ugh. Not sure where this puts us. A very uphill battle, but says a lot about why people still believe that there is a connection between immunizations and autism. So, how can we take current scientific understanding and translate it into something that is popular? How can we use our understanding of why/how people believe things to get them to believe in scientific evidence, and to be willing to change those beliefs when new evidence surfaces? Tough questions.

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Red Herrings

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by Maria on 13 Apr 2010 - 21:10  

Herring
Herring (Kippered)

I very much enjoyed the TED talk by Michael Specter on the danger of science denial. His main point is that we will continue to do real damage to our planet and our communities, if we continue to ignore what science tells us. His two main examples are the trend to not immunize because of the supposed link between autism and immunizations, and frankofoods, iow, genetically modified foods. I think both of these cases demonstrate the publics tendency to take a scary finding, latch onto the first thing that comes along to blame, and then ignoring science and facts and beat the hell out of the red herring. In the case of the autism and immunizations, study after study has shown there is no link. But the original study, however misguided, did demonstrate that we need to continue to put pressure on manufacturers and the government to ensure that vaccines are safe to use, as some things were brought up that were questionable. We need to learn to accept science and facts when they become undoubtable, stop beating a dead horse, and look to new places for answers. That second point is very important. There is much money and time now being spent trying to convince parents that autism is caused by immunizations, money that should be spent on coming up with the actual causes and cures to autism. Not to mention this misguidedness is causing a crisis in immunization that could cause many diseases that we have not seen in decades to return to the United States. If you are unconvinced that immunizations do not cause autism, check out this pdf from immunize.org.

The second issue, genetically modified foods, is very interesting. In this case, the red herring is GMO's themselves. Although more research is needed, so far, it appears that the insertion of new genes does not, by itself, change the plant in a negative way. In Specter's talk he mentioned the noble ideas about adding vitamin A in rice and adding protein and vitamins in cassava, using genetic modification. He did not mention anything about adding resistance to pesticides or insecticides. These are the truly scary things, the things we should be up in arms about. The movie Monsanto's World is extremely interesting, and brings to mind the things we need to be extremely concerned about. First and foremost, are the ties between government and corporations. Monsanto has become a scary monopoly because the US government let it happen, and, in fact, encouraged it to happen. And, it can, and probably has, happened in other industries as well. It is the ties between industry and government that has caused the scientific data to not be scrutinized as it should be. Check out the wikipedia article about Monsanto, under Public officials formerly employed by Monsanto. Which brings up and interesting question. Who should be in charge of government agencies that oversee industries? In many cases, it seems the government decides that people from industry are the best choice, since they would presumably know the most about that particular industry. But, they also have the hardest time separating themselves from the corporations they use to be a part of, and present a real conflict of interest. Time after time, in many different industries, government has failed to enforce or enact the regulations it should in the interest of public safety, because of the ties with corporations. The other thing that we should be up in arms about is the abuse of patent law by Monsanto. Monsanto has used patent law to bully farmers, so that it now controls most of the U.S. corn and soy seed market, according to the non-profit Center for Food Safety. And there is no doubt that Monsanto and its connections in government have worked hard to suppress scientific evidence that its products are not as harmless as it claims. But, you shouldn't take my word on this, do your research. So, while I agree with Specter about there being good that can come from genetic modification, and while at its root, it is not much different from the modifications we have been making to animals and plants for hundreds of thousands of years by breeding, there is still some very scary stuff going on in the genetic modification industry, and most of it has to do with the corporation that controls a very large portion of the seed market, Monsanto, and allows farmers to completely douse their fields with herbicides and/or insecticides. And regardless of whether the food that has been modified to survive such dowsing is harmful, we already know that dowsing fields with herbicides and/or pesticides is terrible for the soil and the nature/people surrounding the fields. For the most common of these herbicides, Roundup, check out the wikipedia article.

Which brings me to another interesting article I have read recently. In the article Is it okay to ignore results from people you don't trust? by Ben Goldacre on badscience.net. He gives a nice example of industry scientists getting the results you would expect them to want, which was different from what non-industry scientists found. Repeated experiences like this makes it is easy for us to ignore results from people we don't trust. We have come to expect scientists from industry to get results more favorable to their industry (which is why the government should have been more critical of the data from Monsanto), but then he goes on to give an example of researchers you may not normally trust, publishing a study with a result that was both accurate and earlier then any other researchers. So, it appears that it is not enough that the public pay attention to scientific data, the public must learn to think critically about the data that they are given. Consider the source, but also consider the data itself. Ask questions. Be skeptical, but do not reject science simply because you want to believe in voodoo. And above all, do not look for studies to validate your opinion, because you will find them no matter how crazy your opinion is. Instead, look at everything you can find that examines the question with an open mind, consider the sources, the methods, the number of studies, and ask questions until you are satisfied. But when some new piece of evidence comes up, be willing to look anew at the question, and to reconsider your position. Yup, it is a lot of work, but it is so very important to our health and the health of our planet.

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Week in Review

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by maria on 31 Jan 2010 - 20:04  

Lots about death this week, but lets start with autism. Andrew Wakefield, the doctor who supposedly linked MMR and autism, is closer than ever to being banned from practicing as a doctor, according to NewScientist. Apparently the ban (on him and two co-authors) doesn't actually have to do with the autism claims, but has "concerned itself with the conduct, duties, and responsibilities of each doctor". However, the findings of the investigators does seriously call into question his integrity as a scientist as well, apparently peppered with words such as "dishonest", "irresponsible" and "misleading". It is so sad the panic this mans irresponsible claims have caused over immunizations. While true that the attention over this has caused manufacturers and regulators to pay more attention to the safety of vaccines, which is very important, it has also meant much valuable time and resources have been spent disproving this link. Time and resources that should have been going to investigate, more likely links.

Continuing on to the death theme, we move on to a very concerning development with the "suicides" in Guantanamo back in June of 2006. I highly recommend reading the Harper's article in full, but if you want the short version, watch the video at the bottom of the update. I am sickened by our government, and hope that the Obama administration will do the right thing, and come clean with all that has happened, before and since, they came to power, regarding Guantanamo and the policies of torture by the USA.

This afternoon I read an article in The New Yorker about dying and mourning. I had already been thinking about death after hearing an amazing podcast from Radio Lab. The 8th segment, at about 13:30, is a story by David Eagleman from his book, SUM, read by Jeffrey Tambor. I recommend listening to the entire hour, but this is the story that got me thinking down this particular line. It is sort of an echo of something that I had been thinking about, although better articulated than I could have done, and it's kind of a natural continuation of my thoughts about emergence. It is the thought that there is a connection that we all have at many levels. There is the connection between our atoms, molecules, cells and cell structures, organs, organisms, planets, etc., which form groups at various levels. Maybe it is true that at each level there is some awareness of the interconnectedness, and some feeling like loss when the group breaks up. Strange that a type of mourning that may happen to my atoms when I die is a comfort to me, and whose to say there is no awareness in atoms or planets? Next thing you know, I'll be following the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I do recommend the article in The New Yorker about dying and mourning, and which has nothing to do with the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I agree with Meghan O'Rourke, I think we do not do the death and mourning thing well in the USA.

Before we leave the death theme, I'd like to take a moment to join many fans, friends and family in the mourning of Howard Zinn and J. D. Salinger. Both made amazing contributions to our society, and I am very grateful for their lives, loves and works.

On the tech front, a scary thing happened with Facebook on AT&T phones. Apparently last weekend, some people with AT&T phones logged into Facebook, and found themselves in someone else's account. There is a good, but somewhat technical, article about what happened and what needs to be done about it at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

As a reaction to the crazy ruling recently by the Supreme Court, Murray Hill Inc. is running for congress. Hmmm.

Interesting article about skunk weed. According to the article, "studies have shown that pure, synthetic THC causes transient psychosis in 40 to 50 per cent of healthy people". Apparently, there is normally a compound in weed, cannabidiol (CBD), that counteracts the psychosis producing effects of THC. Guess we should stick to the other strains...

Finally, time for some fun. Start with the Ultimate Graphic Novel (in Six Panels). The first comment was almost as good as the novel. Also discovered a great music site, http://digital.thinkindie.com, and found a cool new video, Anna Rose "Picture":

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Dangerous Attitudes

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by maria on 16.01.2009 - 22:10  

From the attack on Matthew Shepard and many others we learned how it can be dangerous, and even deadly, to be gay. Now it is becoming clear that this danger isn't just from the hate crimes of bigots. A new study has linked suicide attempts, riskier sexual behavior and higher drug use to gay adults whose families rejected them compared to gay adults whose families were accepting of them. True, correlation does not prove causation, and better studies should be designed and carried out, but in this case, I think it is a fair assumption that the rejection played a role in the increased numbers. After all, it doesn't seem crazy to assume that someone rejected by a parent, for any reason, would be more depressed as an adult. I find this so incredibly sad. These parents can't or won't recognize that their prejudices are literally hurting their children, and setting them up to be unnecessarily more miserable in their adulthood. This is why I believe our society's attitude towards gay marriage is not just immoral, but dangerous. Some may say that we can be accepting of gays and gay relationships, and still not allow gay marriages, but I believe this is equivalent to saying we can believe that women and men are equal, but still require women to stay barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. Wrong, wrong, wrong. As long as we are saying, one must do something or cannot do something based solely on one's race, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. we are being prejudiced, and furthermore, we are endangering people by promoting prejudice. I think the links found in this study should really have been already somewhat obvious (like I said earlier, who doesn't believe that a child rejected by a parent, for any reason, is more likely to be depressed as an adult), but I understand not being able to see the forest for the trees, and I hope that having studies that confirm what many of us were suspicious of already will help to change attitudes. One can hope.

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The battle to marry *

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Politics, Science, Religion

by maria on 29.12.2008 - 22:57  

It has been a while since I have posted anything. November and December sort of blindsided me. Lots going on. Somehow between dealing with craziness, ;-) I did run across an interesting article about the question of whether sexual orientation is a lifestyle choice or a biological trait. The article compares sexual orientation to handedness, and it seems a very apt comparison, and makes very good arguments as to why sexual orientation is a biological trait. I assumed that this would be the end of the story, but recently I was part of a discussion with a person from the religious right persuasion, who thinks that even if sexual orientation is a biological trait, and even if there is nothing a person can do about which sex they are attracted to, practicing homosexuality is still a sin. Apparently, according to her church, some people are unlucky enough to be born having to fight their sexual urges their entire lives. I can sort of see the logic, I mean I guess there are people who have an urge to murder people, and they probably have to fight this urge their whole life. But, murderers are clearly infringing on other people's right to life, if they give in to their urge, and consenting homosexual adults are clearly not. And on the more common end of the comparison spectrum, it seems to me a bit more intense then say, a married person having to battle wanting to cheat on their spouses occasionally (adultery, interestingly enough, is illegal in about 20 states, according to myfamilylaw.com, and is arguably infringing on the spouses rights). According to this church, it seems some people are given homosexuality as their cross to bear. I'm guessing there aren't a whole lot of gay men and women in her church. But the worse bit is that apparently she is obligated by her religion to push for legislation against giving gay people the right to marry each other. So, it isn't just wrong for her, and people with the same beliefs that she has, but it is also wrong for people who worship the flying spaghetti monster. While I can see where this argument comes from, it just seems a bit ridiculous to me. My first hurdle is getting past my 'if it isn't infringing on someone else's rights, then leave well enough alone' tendency. And then, I just completely don't understand the leap from, 'my religion states that this is wrong so I shouldn't do it' to 'I must do what I can to make sure this becomes against the law'. Is there going to be legislation soon that we cannot work on Sundays or that we aren't allowed to eat pork?

  • I did amuse myself with this title, which if I were talking about myself, would have been titled the battle not to marry.

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Global Warming

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by maria on 03.09.2008 - 20:38  

I was reading an article about Sarah Palin, and one of the topics brought up was that Sarah Palin doesn't believe global warming is man-made. I think that her opinion is actually irrelevant to the debate, (although a bit disturbing, but we'll save that for a different post). I think the global warming controversy generally presented in the media is a bit off. The two questions that I hear being disputed are 1) Is gobal warming real? and 2) are humans responsible for it? I think the first one has been shown to be quite believable, and we need to stop debating it already. But, I think the second question is just the wrong question, and should be instead, Can we, and should we, do anything about it, no matter why it is happening? To answer the should question, we need to ask, how much damage is global warming really doing to our planet and to our children's futures? But, let us set aside the question of damage for a minute, and assume we believe the effects of global warming will be catastrophic. Can we do anything about it?

To find out the answer to that we need to know what is causing global warming. From Wikipedia:

The Earth's climate changes in response to external forcing, including variations in its orbit around the Sun (orbital forcing),[15][16][17] changes in solar luminosity, volcanic eruptions,[18] and atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations.

Ok, so of those, the one that we could possibly affect is atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. Next question: do we want to change the volume of greenhouse gases we are putting into the atmosphere? That is the million dollar question. Changing the amount of greenhouse gasses we are putting into the atmosphere is the most likely way that we could affect global warming. So, if global warming is a serious problem, regardless of whether we caused it, we probably should do something about it. Currently, what we are doing is something that could only make it worse or have no effect (best case scenario, however improbable...). Since none of the other plants or animals on the planet are likely to start trying to do anything about greenhouse gas levels, and waiting to see if they just goes down by themselves seems a little optimistic given the current trend, we should probably try to slow way down our outpouring of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, assuming it is doing serious damage.

Let us now go back to our big unknown. Is global warming a catastrophe? We don't know. So, what do we do? One problem is that changing climate is kind of like trying to turn a very large freighter. There is a lot of lag time between starting the turn and actually having any noticeable affect. So, if we wait until it becomse obvious that we are on a path to catastrophe, it may very well be too late to do much about it. If we then add in that a lot of the the human activities responsible for green house gases are also responsible for smog and pollution, which are well documented to be causing problems to our health, it suddenly becomes a no-brainer. Why should we continue to pour these gasses into our environment at such a phenomenal rate, when we know they are harming the air we breathe, and that if we cut back we could be (maybe, of course) helping to prevent a disaster of global proportions? I like this quote from Bruno Giussani, who is quoting Bjorn Lomborg's new book "Cool It", and then adding on his own two cents:

"It's time to put the debate over whether human-driven climate change is happening behind us and instead focus on technologies to decarbonize the economy," writes Anderson. But climate change is only one of three strong reasons to do this, he adds: the others are economics (rising direct and indirect costs of oil and carbon fuels) and geopolitics (oil revenues prop up bad governments around the world).

There is a fourth reason that Anderson forgets, and which has been convincingly put forth by Al Gore in his TED2006 speech: it's a moral imperative.

Amen.

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Choice

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by me on 22.07.2008 - 00:08  

It is strange how we humans like to draw lines. From the time we are small, and draw the imaginary line down the middle of the backseat of the car to keep our sibling away from us, we seem to think we can draw lines to separate things. And, usually we seem to want straight lines. But nature is not that way. Our lines twist and turn, become blurred and erode away. We create laws and rules based on what we think is black and white. But it isn't.

Life seems to be a continuum. We start out as a single cell, not much more than amoebae, really. When do we become a human? There are so many ifs along the way. If the egg is fertilized. If the egg is implanted. If the placenta develops correctly. There is no magic moment when suddenly this cell has multiplied and grown enough to be considered human. There is no magic moment when an embryo becomes a fetus or a fetus becomes a baby. There is no magic moment when the fetus can survive outside of the womb. There are only likelihoods. So, what does this mean? It means we do not know, and to me, that means that each woman has to decide for herself what is best for herself and her fetus. Sure, a fetus has the potential to become a human. But the woman is here, now, and has needs and thoughts that I cannot possibly know or judge. It is her life that will be turned upside down, and she needs to decide which way to turn it.

But, the legislature in South Dakota thinks it knows when we become a human. They apparently believe that pretty much as soon as the egg is fertilized it is a "whole, separate, unique living human being". South Dakota is now requiring that medical providers present a statement (written by all of those medical doctors and researchers in the legislature, presumably) to women that are seeking abortions. This statement will inform women that an abortion "will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique living human being." Where did they get that from? Last time I checked separating a fetus from its mother will kill it, so how can it be a separate human being? The Human Nature Blog at Slate.com has a great essay about the whole separation thing. The doctor is also suppose to inform the woman that she has "an existing relationship" with the fetus, that is protected by the U.S. Constitution, and that "her existing constitutional rights with regards to that relationship will be terminated" if she has an abortion. I have no idea what that is suppose to mean. Does that mean that if she keeps the fetus than the government will help pay for the medical cost of delivery and child rearing? No, I suspect it means, well, nothing. The statement also goes on and on about the possible repercussions to the woman's emotional and mental health if she has an abortion, and requires the woman be given "A statement setting forth an accurate rate of deaths due to abortions, including all deaths in which the abortion procedure was a substantial contributing factor". Funny how it doesn't mention the dangers to her emotional and mental health if she has a baby, and last time I checked, there is a higher risk of death and complications in childbirth than abortions.

So, having written this, I went on a google quest to see if it is really the case that abortion is safer than childbirth. Turns out, it depends on whether you ask someone who is pro-no-choice or pro-choice. No surprise there. What was surprising was the lack of statistics in general. The only scientific paper I ran across, gave these statistics (for maternal death):

    * 1/1,000,000 with surgical abortion through 63 days gestation
    * 1/100,000 with medical abortion through 63 days gestation
    * 1/100,000 with miscarriage
    * 1/10,000 with a term delivery

This was in a paper called 'Mifepristone-Misoprostol Medical Abortion Mortality' published in MedGenMed. 2006; 8(2): 26.

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Cool new toy

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Science, Tech

by me on 21.05.2008 - 15:20  

This just looks like a bunch of fun:

http://store.chumby.com/

In completely unrelated news, I also liked this post about the theory of evolution:

http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/postmonth/nov05.html

Finally, here is a cool black hole demo.

http://www.thinktechnologies.com/portfolio/demos/Blackhole.html

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emergence

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by me on 20.04.2008 - 15:22  

I've been thinking about emergence intelligence lately. Emergence intelligence is basically the idea of the whole is larger than the sum of its parts. For example, looking at the way an ant colony works, or how birds fly in flocks or birds swim in schools. There are no leaders in these groups, and individuals aren't particularly smart, and yet somehow the group solves complex problems and seems more intelligent than one would expect looking at the individuals. Other people have already compared this behavior to the cells in our brain. There is no one brain cell where we do our thinking or that is controlling the rest of the cells. Somehow, we think using all of our brain cells working together, although individual cells seem to have little intelligence. Recently I've been thinking about applying this idea to entire species, or the earth in its entirety. What if we are also all part of a greater intelligence. We don't realize it, in much the same way our brain cells don't know that they are part of a more intelligent being. Or think about the ant. The ant is just following signals, and although it may realize it is in a colony with other ants, it doesn't really realize that the problems that the colony as a whole are solving are much more complex then those that that ant could solve on its own. It is busy solving its own individual problems, and somehow by doing that is working with other ants to solve much greater problems. I believe we are all part of a greater intelligence, and are collectively solving problems that we are only vaguely aware of, if at all. We are all intricately connected in ways we don't really understand. When I think of god, this is what I think of. We are all part of an intelligence that is taking care of us, but there is no individual guiding anything. We are all part of it, but none of us is particularly important. There is no single guiding individual. Which is a humbling thought.

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