Tag Archives | Perception

Intel Panel ‘Very Close’ on Killing NSA Phone Programs

This reminds me of a Richard Pryor Joke. “The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is because vampires are allergic to bullshit.” They’re also allergic to sunlight, much like the NSA.

Crypt

Crypt (Photo credit: chb1848)

via Politico

The House Intelligence Committee’s Republican and Democratic leaders said Thursday they’re nearing agreement on legislation that would end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of U.S. citizens’ telephone data.

Negotiations on some key details remain fluid, but Ranking Member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) said in an interview that he’s “very close” to a deal with Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) on a plan that would allow phone companies to hold telephone records now collected by the NSA and conduct individual searches needed to pinpoint suspicious activity.

“We’ve got to have legislation that will take away the concern and perception that people are being listened to,” Ruppersberger said. He added that he hoped to reach an agreement before the end of this month.

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Your Brain Sees Things You Don’t

spoonVia ScienceDaily:

University of Arizona doctoral degree candidate Jay Sanguinetti has authored a new study, published online in the journal Psychological Science, that indicates that the brain processes and understands visual input that we may never consciously perceive.

The finding challenges currently accepted models about how the brain processes visual information.

A doctoral candidate in the UA’s Department of Psychology in the College of Science, Sanguinetti showed study participants a series of black silhouettes, some of which contained meaningful, real-world objects hidden in the white spaces on the outsides.

Saguinetti worked with his adviser Mary Peterson, a professor of psychology and director of the UA’s Cognitive Science Program, and with John Allen, a UA Distinguished Professor of psychology, cognitive science and neuroscience, to monitor subjects’ brainwaves with an electroencephalogram, or EEG, while they viewed the objects.

“We were asking the question of whether the brain was processing the meaning of the objects that are on the outside of these silhouettes,” Sanguinetti said.

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An Experiment To Allow Us To See New Colors

colorsAre we missing out on most of reality? Via OMNI Reboot, Rich Lee on transhumanist experimenters hoping to expand the color spectrum (and render all past and current art, fashion, and design obsolete):

Of the vast wavelengths that span the electromagnetic spectrum, humans can see a mere 2.3%. Rainbows? They’re just a fraction of the real picture. We’ve crafted abstract theories to understand x-rays, radio, microwaves, and gamma rays. But how much more advanced would humanity be if we could perceive the other 97.7% of reality?

A team of “Grinders,” or self-experimenting biohackers, calling themselves Science for the Masses (SFM) has started a crowdfunding campaign to raise the $4,000 necessary to procure the equipment and chemicals for the execution of their plan.

If successful…Their work will enable humans to see the near-infrared spectrum with their naked eyes. As the project overview explains, SFM hope to augment sight through “human formation of porphyropsin, the protein complex which grants infrared vision to freshwater fish.”

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How To Trigger An Out-Of-Body Experience Using Video

out-of-body experienceOut-of-body experiences on demand? Gizmag reveals:

New research demonstrates that triggering an out-of-body experience (OBE) could be as simple as getting a person to watch a video of themselves with their heartbeat projected onto it. According to the study, it’s easy to trick the mind into thinking it belongs to an external body and manipulate a person’s self-consciousness by externalizing the body’s internal rhythms. The findings could lead to new treatments for people with perceptual disorders such as anorexia.

Most of us don’t experience OBE’s because our brains are constantly filtering information from all our senses to help us identify what we are and what we aren’t. For instance we know that our reflection isn’t actually part of us. However the processes that give us the feeling of being in our bodies can be disrupted either naturally (seizures) or artificially (feeding the brain conflicting sensory inputs).

Dr. Jane Aspell and Phd Student Lukas Heydrich attached 17 participants to electrocardiogram sensors and had them view videos of their bodies through virtual reality goggles so that their body appeared to be two meters in front of them.

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Your Consciousness is Editing Itself

Our brains have a lot of ways of tricking us. In many ways, they are worse enemies to our faculties of logic and critical thinking than even some exterior forces, for the ‘tricks of the mind’ often facilitate demogogues, cult leaders, and even magicians with their illusory machinations.

New research led by cognitive scientist Claire Sergent has found that conscious experience can be altered retrospectively. Specifically, the information of visual input can be ‘altered’ by the brain a split second later by distracting our attention elsewhere.

"Cueing Attention" circles used in the study

Via Mind Hacks:

The research involved asking people to stare at a centre point of a screen with two empty circles either side.

At some point, one of the two circles would fill with randomly oriented stripes for just 50ms (one twentieth of a second) and afterwards the participants were asked to say which direction the stripes were pointing in.

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The Aarhus Interpretation

Via Opinion & Kommentar:

The Aarhus Interpretation : A lecture given at The Danish Neuroscience Center (DNC) on may 28TH 2010 by author and philosopher Erwin Neutzsky-Wulff:

It has been said that those who know least about the sea are the fish. The same may perhaps be said about scientists.

Working on the tenth floor of a building doesn’t necessarily mean that you have any idea what is going on in the basement or how or when it was constructed. Of course, when it’s burning, you may take a sudden interest in the location of the fire-escapes.

Also, if you’re a window-cleaner, you may be more aware of what floor you’re on. In science, the window-cleaners are those who work on the frontiers of science.

In a way, they’re always half in and half out of the building. They are also more likely to fall off or to discover a crack in the concrete.… Read the rest

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We’re All Tripping, All The Time…

Beau Lotto explains in his Ted Talk... ...and Ben Thomas interprets for Huffington Post:
The year was 1943, and the Pentagon had a problem. They'd poured millions of dollars into a new voice encryption system -- dubbed the "X System" -- but no one was certain how secure it was. So the top brass called in Claude Shannon to analyze their code and -- if all went well -- to prove that it was mathematically unbreakable. Shannon was a new breed of mathematician: A specialist in what's known today as information theory. To Shannon and his fellow theorists, information was something separate from the letters, numbers and facts it represented. Instead, it was something more abstract; more mathematical: in a word, it was non-redundancy...
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Are Our Minds Really Confined To Our Brains?

Via Reality Sandwich, Rupert Sheldrake argues no:

Materialism is the doctrine that only matter is real. Hence minds are in brains, and mental activity is nothing but brain activity. This assumption conflicts with our own experience.

In his study of children’s intellectual development, the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget found that before about the age of ten or eleven, European children were like “primitive” people. They did not know that the mind was confined to the head; they thought it extended into the world around them. But by about the age of eleven, most had assimilated what Piaget called the “correct” view.

But not all philosophers and psychologists believe the mind-in-the-brain theory, and over the years a minority has always recognized that our perceptions may be just where they seem to be, in the external world outside our heads, rather than representations inside our brains.

My own interpretation is that vision takes place through extended perceptual fields, which are both within the brain and stretch out beyond it.

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Synesthesia May Explain Healers Claims of Seeing People’s ‘Aura’

Via ScienceDaily:
Researchers in Spain have found that at least some of the individuals claiming to see the so-called aura of people actually have the neuropsychological phenomenon known as "synesthesia" (specifically, "emotional synesthesia"). This might be a scientific explanation of their alleged ability. In synesthetes, the brain regions responsible for the processing of each type of sensory stimuli are intensely interconnected. Synesthetes can see or taste a sound, feel a taste, or associate people or letters with a particular color. The study was conducted by the University of Granada Department of Experimental Psychology Óscar Iborra, Luis Pastor and Emilio Gómez Milán, and has been published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition. This is the first time that a scientific explanation has been provided for the esoteric phenomenon of the aura, a supposed energy field of luminous radiation surrounding a person as a halo, which is imperceptible to most human beings...
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Instead of Being Disgusted by Poverty, We are Disgusted by Poor People

Suzanne Moore writes at the Guardian:
She is there whenever I go the shops. Every time I think she can't get any more skeletal, she manages it. Wild eyes staring in different directions, she must have been pretty once. I try not to look, for she is often aggressive. Sometimes, though, she is in my face and asking me to go into the shop, from which she has been banned, to buy her something. A scratchcard. She feels lucky. "Maybe some food?" I suggest pointlessly, but food is not what she craves. Food is not crack. Or luck. She has already lost every lottery going. An addict is the author of their own misfortune. Her poverty is self-inflicted. All these hopeless people: where do they all come from? It is, of course, possible never to really see them, as their distress is so distressing. Who needs it? Poverty, we are often told, is not "actual", because people have TVs. This gradual erosion of empathy is the triumph of an economic climate in which everyone, addicted or not, is personally responsible for their own lack of achievement. Poor people are not simply people like us, but with less money: they are an entirely different species. Their poverty is a personal failing. They have let themselves go. This now applies not just to individuals but to entire countries. Look at the Greeks! What were they thinking with their pensions and minimum wage? That they were like us? Out of the flames, they are now told to rise, phoenix–like, by a rich political elite. Perhaps they can grow money on trees?
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