Tag Archives | Science

Surfing the Liminal Aether with Bruce Damer Ph.D

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Bruce Damer with Terence McKenna in 1999.

Via Midwest Real

Dr. Bruce Damer is a multi-disciplinary scientist and a (proud) woo-drenched renaissance man. He researches evolutionary biology, especially focusing on the murky questions surrounding the origin of life. Damer also designs asteroid-wrangling spacecrafts and is an expert in computer science who has spent decades researching emergent, lifelike virtual systems.

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Why is it that we’re always searching for someone to tell us answers? We have an obsession with experts, scientists, teachers — gurus of all sorts. As long as I can remember, I’ve been under the impression that learning and knowledge come from some sort of external source, but what if that’s entirely backward? 

What if all of the answers are right there inside of you, somewhere within your own deepest murk just waiting to be discovered? Perhaps great men are simply skilled facilitators of knowledge and learning, while the actual evolving and growth is wholly incumbent upon the individual.Read the rest

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Harmonia Macrocosmica — History’s Most Beautiful Star Maps

The Harmonia Macrocosmica is a star atlas written by Andreas Cellarius and published in 1660 by Johannes Janssonius.

The Harmonia Macrocosmica is a star atlas written by Andreas Cellarius and published in 1660 by Johannes Janssonius.

The Harmonia Macrocosmica is a star atlas written by Andreas Cellarius and published in 1660 by Johannes Janssonius.

 

The first part of the atlas contains copper plate prints depicting the world systems of Claudius Ptolemy, Nicolaus Copernicus and Tycho Brahe. At the end are star maps of the classical and Christian constellations, the latter ones as introduced by Julius Schiller in his Coelum stellatum christianum of 1627. The translations are by dr. Henry A.I. Stadhouders (Theological Institute, University of Utrecht).

In the foreword to his Chronologica, Gerard Mercator stated the intention to publish an atlas which would cover everything of the then-known cosmos, geography and history of the earth. During his life, Mercator published five volumes of his atlas, the last one being published by his son Rumold. After Mercator’s death, the Amsterdam cartographerJohannes Janssonius took over the project.… Read the rest

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How Julian Jaynes’ famous 1970s theory about consciousness is faring in the neuroscience age.

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Julian Jaynes, author of The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mindis well known for his controversial theory that consciousness in humans began only 3,000 years ago.

At Nautlius, Veronique Greenwood analyzes Jaynes’ thesis and its continued impact in philosophy and neuroscience circles:

In the beginning of the book, Jaynes asks, “This consciousness that is myself of selves, that is everything, and yet nothing at all—what is it? And where did it come from? And why?” Jaynes answers by unfurling a version of history in which humans were not fully conscious until about 3,000 years ago, instead relying on a two-part, or bicameral, mind, with one half speaking to the other in the voice of the gods with guidance whenever a difficult situation presented itself. The bicameral mind eventually collapsed as human societies became more complex, and our forebears awoke with modern self-awareness, complete with an internal narrative, which Jaynes believes has its roots in language.

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Philosophy Recap: Quantum Approaches to Consciousness

Ralph Buckley (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Ralph Buckley (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Via The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

It is widely accepted that consciousness or, more generally, mental activity is in some way correlated to the behavior of the material brain. Since quantum theory is the most fundamental theory of matter that is currently available, it is a legitimate question to ask whether quantum theory can help us to understand consciousness. Several programmatic approaches answering this question affirmatively, proposed in recent decades, will be surveyed. It will be pointed out that they make different epistemological assumptions, refer to different neurophysiological levels of description, and use quantum theory in different ways. For each of the approaches discussed, problematic and promising features will be equally highlighted.

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Memories Can Survive Cryogenic Preservation

Richard Gray via Daily Mail:

It is a technology that has remained firmly in the realms of science fiction, but new research has provided hope for those hoping to be revived after being cryogenically frozen.

The study claims to have shown for the first time that memories formed before an animal has been frozen can survive intact after it has been thawed.

While the experiments were carried out in an organism with a somewhat simpler brain than humans – nematode worms – they answer an important question about the cryogenic process.

Overall there are not many creatures capable of being revived after being cryogenically frozen, and it has never been successfully achieved with any mammal.

However, if they could be reanimated, scientists have questioned whether the memory and personality of someone who had gone through the process would remain the same.

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Romeyn de Hooghe: Hieroglyphica — Symbols of Ancient People

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EGYPT-CHALDEAN-HYROGLYPHIC-SYMBOL-Romeyn de Hooghe-1735 Plate 2 dealing with Egyption and Chaldean Hyroglyphics and symbols, This plate shows: A. Pilars of Seth. B. Pyramid. C. King, nimrod with the crown of the Chadeans. D. Chaldean high priest. E. Fire god. F. Wisdom, Philosophy. G. Wise men, Seres. H. The bull Amunx or the ox Apis. I. Laziness. K. Bestiality, brutality. L. Lazy owl. M. Cain, primitive stubborn.

Hieroglyphica, of, Merkbeelden der oude volkeren : namentlyk Egyptenaren, Chaldeeuwen, Feniciers, Joden, Grieken, Romeynen, enz.

Translation: Hyroglyphics or symbols of ancient people: namely Egyptians , Chaldeans , Phoenicians, Jews , Greeks, Romeynen , etc.

By Romeyn de Hooghe, edited by Arn. Henr. Westerhovius and published in Amsterdam by Joris van der Oude, 1735.

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In the Beginning there were Simple Chemicals – New Evidence on the Origins of Life

Via Phys.org:

In the beginning, there were simple chemicals. And they produced amino acids that eventually became the proteins necessary to create single cells. And the single cells became plants and animals. Recent research is revealing how the primordial soup created the amino acid building blocks, and there is widespread scientific consensus on the evolution from the first cell into plants and animals. But it’s still a mystery how the building blocks were first assembled into the proteins that formed the machinery of all cells. Now, two long-time University of North Carolina scientists – Richard Wolfenden, PhD, and Charles Carter, PhD – have shed new light on the transition from building blocks into life some 4 billion years ago.

“Our work shows that the close linkage between the of amino acids, the , and protein folding was likely essential from the beginning, long before large, sophisticated molecules arrived on the scene,” said Carter, professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the UNC School of Medicine.

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WSU researchers see link between hunter-gatherer cannabis use, fewer parasites

Jordan Greentree (CC BY-SA 2,0)

Jordan Greentree (CC BY-SA 2,0)

Washington State University conducted an interesting study that points to the benefits of cannabis use. Hunter-gatherers that smoke cannabis have a lower rate of infections by parasites. Though, the researchers are quick to note that the study has its limits.

Washington State University via EurekAlert:

VANCOUVER, Wash.–Washington State University researchers have found that the more hunter-gatherers smoke cannabis, the less they are infected by intestinal worms. The link suggests that they may unconsciously be, in effect, smoking medical marijuana.

Ed Hagen, a WSU Vancouver anthropologist, explored cannabis use among the Aka foragers to see if people away from the cultural and media influences of Western civilization might use plant toxins medicinally.

“In the same way we have a taste for salt, we might have a taste for psychoactive plant toxins, because these things kill parasites,” he said.

In an earlier study, Hagen found that the heavier tobacco smokers among the Aka also had fewer helminths, parasitic intestinal worms.

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Melvin Way’s meanderings offer the possibility of a parallel universe in “GAGA CITY”

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Melvin Way Untitled, 2003 Ballpoint pen on paper, Scotch tape 7 x 3 inches

 

All image credits Courtesy of Christian Berst Art Brut (New York/Paris).

Melvin Way invented the Dell computer, founded collegiate and educational institutions all over the Northeastern United States, and wrote songs that were recorded and popularized by the Supremes. He had a ticket on the last Amtrak train that crashed near Philadelphia, but missed it, intentionally, because “something just wasn’t right.” Way’s enormously important intellectual and cultural accomplishments might explain the 6.2 million dollars he made last year. But what would you expect from a man who graduated high school fourteen times (ten times in South Carolina and four times in New York City) and who also happens to be “post-mortal?”

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