Daniel Wolpert: The real reason for brains

I came across this old TED talk today and decided to share it because it's relevant to the previous post on consciousness and simulations.  Daniel Wolpert's talk doesn't address consciousness specifically, only the overall role of the simulations, but it's still a fascinating exploration of what we're doing when our attention is focused on a … Continue reading Daniel Wolpert: The real reason for brains

Atul Gawande: How do we heal medicine?

An interesting TED talk by Atul Gawande discussing some of the problems with the modern medical profession. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3QkaS249Bc I came across this video when reading a recent piece by Dr. Gawande on the medical field's struggles to clearly explain a terminal patient's real situation to them, often relying on a blizzard of facts instead of … Continue reading Atul Gawande: How do we heal medicine?

Hans Rosling and Ola Rosling: How not to be ignorant about the world

Worried the world is going to hell in a handbasket?  You'll feel better after watching this video, and also get some insight into why you might have thought it was. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sm5xF-UYgdg Watching this video also reminded me of something I learned years ago, not to trust numbers given in isolation.  Whenever I hear about the … Continue reading Hans Rosling and Ola Rosling: How not to be ignorant about the world

David Chalmers: How do you explain consciousness?

In this TED talk, David Chalmers gives a summary of the problem whose name he coined, the hard problem of consciousness. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhRhtFFhNzQ via David Chalmers: How do you explain consciousness? - YouTube. It seems like people who've contemplated consciousness fall into two groups, those who are bothered by the hard problem, and those who are not. … Continue reading David Chalmers: How do you explain consciousness?

Naomi Oreskes: Why we should trust scientists

This excellent TED talk by Naomi Oreskes covers many of the same topics we've discussed before, concerning the limitations of scientific expertise, why scientists trust experts in other fields, and why lay people should trust scientific consensuses. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxyQNEVOElU via Naomi Oreskes: Why we should trust scientists | Talk Video | TED.com. Of course, trusting science is … Continue reading Naomi Oreskes: Why we should trust scientists

Ants, the brain, cancer, and the internet

Deborah Gordon gave an interesting TED talk on ants.  Regular readers have seen posts from me before on ants.  An ant colony seems to operate as a type of superorganism.  I used to wonder if colonies were conscious.  (Although I now doubt it since I see consciousness requiring a model of an system's attention, and that … Continue reading Ants, the brain, cancer, and the internet

The long reach of reason

A cool TED cartoon video of Rebecca Goldstein and Steven Pinker discussing reason and its effects on history. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uk7gKixqVNU I've said it before, but just because reason is a means to an end, as they note Hume observed, doesn't take away its value.  Acknowledging it only gives us a healthy, and reasonable, awareness of its … Continue reading The long reach of reason