An exercise in detection

I had to watch this several times before I saw it, so don't be discouraged if you don't the first time. If you're having trouble, it auto-replays at the original TikTok. https://twitter.com/social_brains/status/1518786027288104960 When you do see it, assuming you didn't initially, what were you conscious of before you caught it? Does it make sense to … Continue reading An exercise in detection

How much can we change the causality of the brain and keep consciousness?

James of Seattle clued me in to a thought experiment described by Dr. Anna Schapiro in a Twitter thread. https://twitter.com/AnnaSchapiro/status/1512866137809195011 It's very similar to one discussed in a new preprint paper: Do action potentials cause consciousness? Like all good thought experiments, it exercises and challenges our intuitions. In this case, it forces us to contemplate … Continue reading How much can we change the causality of the brain and keep consciousness?

The benefits of functionalism for animal welfare

Last week, Science News had an article about the difficulty of studying animal emotions, on understanding what an animal in a particular situation is really feeling. It's an interesting article, although not one with much new information for many of you. However, I want to focus on one point raised by one of the researchers … Continue reading The benefits of functionalism for animal welfare

Decoded: How does a quantum computer work?

This Scientific American video, shared by Aeon, is pretty good if you're looking for a quick basic primer on quantum computing. It's short, less than nine minutes. Although I do have a beef which I'll discuss below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLnGp1WTNFQ Decoded: How Does a Quantum Computer Work? The beef, which is pretty common with popular explanations of … Continue reading Decoded: How does a quantum computer work?

Complex life may be more rare in the universe than we thought

Image of the sun

Quanta has a pretty interesting article up today: A Solution to the Faint-Sun Paradox Reveals a Narrow Window for Life. Our understanding of the physics of the sun indicate that it should have been only 70% as bright as it is today. But if so, early Earth should have been a snowball not really capable … Continue reading Complex life may be more rare in the universe than we thought