News Briefs 30-03-2010

So, what are earphones doing to us? And are the Stone Spheres really man-made? Post your thoughts

  • Scientists discover moral compass in the brain which can be controlled by magnets.
  • An archaeological mystery in a half-ton lead coffin.
  • Mycenaean tombs discovered might be evidence of classless society.
  • The stone spheres of Costa Rica.
  • The biblical plagues really happened.
  • Gulf stream is not slowing down.
  • Human bones successfully grown in lab from stem cells.
  • Will the real Moses please stand up.
  • Ancient Egyptian door to afterlife found.
  • Angkor Wat doomed by drought and floods.
  • Rosslyn Chapel discovery is causing a buzz.
  • The long-lost tomb of the 4,300-year-old Egyptian pharaoh Userkare may have been located.
  • A new ancestor? Siberian DNA pondered.
  • A slow mind may nurture more creative ideas.
  • Scientists stumped as bee population declines further.
  • Probe spots Pac-Man on Saturnian Death Star.
  • Undersea volcano threatens Italy.
  • Teen sees with kaleidoscope eyes.
  • Enter the jaguar.
  • Astronomers discover 90% more universe. A viewpoint on this.

Quote of the Day:

Eternity’s a terrible thought. I mean, where’s it all going to end?

Tom Stoppard

  1. Cell Phones, Magnets, and the Brain.
    Could the behavior of some people while using cell phones, be caused by the magnetic field of the phone affecting that section of the brain?

      1. Au contraire!
        Who knows what kind of material may be present? Nails, ball bearings, bus tokens, et cetera might be affected by the magnetic field generated. All of these may have been introduced nasally. It would be like someone constantly jingling change inside their head.

        I am at the moment envisioning a dejected hamster frustated by his magnetically locked exercise wheel. For some, that would certainly freeze up the only active process in their cranium!

  2. White Brain Matter
    About the article about how levels of N-acetylaspartate affect creativity…

    I’m curious as to if there is a possibility of controlling levels of NAA in the brain to affect the speed at which you think, so to speak. It seems interesting that one could lower NAA in order to think more slowly but possess more creative thoughts. Am I alone in being willing to possibly sacrifice intelligence (reason) for an artistic sake, even at the result of mental disorders?

    Insanity is only a small price to pay for genius.

    1. speed is not everything
      There seems to be a common belief that thinking faster is better. Why would it be better to arrive at conclusions faster, when one’s conclusions are wrong the same percentage of the time?

      All such a faster thinker would achieve is to get in trouble more often.

      1. actually speed does help
        when someone is in an accident or some other traumatic incident, they say that everything slowes down. I believe some chemical compond made in the body speeds the brain up which allows you to make life saving decisions 10 times faster then normal.
        Everything around you seems to be in slow motion and details seem more accurate.
        This gives you a little more time to make a good decision.
        So faster could be better?
        Just a thought…………..

        1. what about overall
          In certain moments, it’s definitely likely that the brain overloads on a chemical that allows instinctive survival decisions, but what about controlling that chemical (is it NAA??) to allow different ways of thought (i.e. faster, more strategic thought for a sport like soccer, and more deliberate, yet slower, thought for writing music)?

          Even a more in depth example in music:
          I went through a phase of listening to prog rock like Dream Theater, Rush, etc. and most of them seem to churn out records almost every year. Prog rock is HEAVY into music theory, which arguably is mainly intellectually based and drains emotion and creativity out of the musician (maybe a reason for inevitable cheesy lyrics for prog rockers). These bastards are elites in theory and think faster (maybe another reason for the fastest riffs possible). Perfect example on the other end of the spectrum and who everyone on this site is most likely familiar with: Tool. Lifetimes between records, but they draw on the slower, creative mindset. They absolutely need patience when working on the next album, and it’s almost like they use their “fast brains” for other things outside of Tool.

          I like to think that I’m on to something… you know, the ability to control the rate of thought, but the idea of me reading to much into this doesn’t seem that far-fetched.

          1. overall
            this is actually a very interesting subject that has a depth to it that we may not realise. I am very intersted in your curiosity in this. I have not stumbled on any specific reaserch either.
            But imagine if we did have a chemical that would excelerate our minds at will. I know some drugs do that now but with unpleasant side effects. Like hallucinations. Shrooms give you a speeded up thought proccess but deny you of some logical aspects of reality.
            The thing about music, well I have some thoughts but unable to put them in words. But it would be similar with just about anything.
            Could be a vibrational thing as well.

            Worth doing some more reseach on this I think.

          2. fast experts
            In most cases experts in a field are faster because they concentrate on the particular problem, to the exclusion of all else. Chess players are a commonly used example.

            Another thing experts do is think in different chunks than non-experts. Someone who just learns to read looks at one letter at a time, people with reading experience look at words, phrases, sentences and paragraphs. That’s why most spelling mistakes go unnoticed.

            The same thing happens with chess players, computer engineers, and I’m sure musicians. A chess player doesn’t think in terms of individual pieces, but instead of the patterns of pieces. Computer engineers don’t think in terms of bits, they think in terms of large structures that happen to be made of bits. I’m sure that musicians don’t think of individual notes, or of individual finger motion for playing an instrument.

            So come of the speed comes from thinking in larger chunks, and some of it comes from reducing the number of other things one thinks about. Probably some drugs help with the second part, by turning off (or slowing down) parts of the brain.

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