The promise of quantum computing?

Anyone who follows the computing industry knows that Moore's Law, the observation that computing power doubles every couple of years, has been sputtering in recent years.  This isn't unexpected.  Gordon Moore himself predicted that eventually the laws of physics would become a constraint. One of the technological hopes for a revival is quantum computing.  Quantum … Continue reading The promise of quantum computing?

Maybe we wiped Neanderthals out after all

Or at least, that's the conclusion of a paper which models the population changes and other factors involved. New model to study hominin interactions in time-varying climate environment. Neanderthals experienced rapid population decline due to competitive exclusion. Interbreeding only minor contributor to Neanderthal extinction. Abrupt Climate Change not major cause for demise of Neanderthals. Of … Continue reading Maybe we wiped Neanderthals out after all

Building a consciousness-detector

Joel Frohlich has an interesting article up at Aeon on the possibility of detecting consciousness.  He begins with striking neurological case studies, such as the one of a woman born without a cerebellum, yet fully conscious, indicating that the cerebellum is not necessary for consciousness. He works his way to the sobering cases of consciousness … Continue reading Building a consciousness-detector

Predictions and retrodictions

I've often noted here the importance of predictions, both in terms of our primal understanding of reality, such as how to get to the refrigerator in your house, or in terms of scientific theories.  In truth, every understanding of reality involves predictions.  Arguably a fundamental aspect of consciousness is prediction. Of course, not every notion … Continue reading Predictions and retrodictions

Postdictive perception and the consciousness finish line

(Warning: neuroscience weeds) Recently I noted that one of the current debates in cognitive science is between those who see phenomenal and access consciousness as separate things, and those who see them as different aspects of the same thing.  Closely related, perhaps actually identical, is the debate between local and global theories of consciousness. Local … Continue reading Postdictive perception and the consciousness finish line

COVID-19 Vaccine

Broad Speculations

A week ago I received at COVID-19 vaccine injection as a part of a Phase 1 clinical trial.

Basically this is same vaccine and trial described here except the trial has expanded to include an older age group. I am in a group receiving the highest dose  250 mcg.  In a week I will be tested to antibodies. In a few weeks, I am supposed to receive a booster shot. The vaccine is called  mRNA-1273 and has messenger RNA that is used by the virus to build the spikes it uses to attach to cells. There is no live or dead virus itself in the vaccine so there should be no danger of actually getting COVID-19. This is a Phase 1 trial. That means the objective is to determine if the vaccine is safe and has few or no side effects. It is not to determine the effectiveness of the…

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Subjective report doesn’t support the idea that phenomenal consciousness is separate from access consciousness

One of the current debates in consciousness research is whether phenomenal consciousness is something separate and apart from access consciousness.  Access consciousness (A-consciousness) is generally defined as perceptions being accessible for reasoning, action decisions, and communication.  Phenomenal consciousness (P-consciousness) is seen as raw experience, the "something it is like" aspect of consciousness. Most researchers accept … Continue reading Subjective report doesn’t support the idea that phenomenal consciousness is separate from access consciousness