Wednesday 31 March 2004

Today's Brain Link(s)

Brain in a VatCourtesy of Normblog : The Brain in a Vat conundrum. Anyone who's studied Philosophy will get a chuckle out of the numerous "in-jokes", most of which are explained for the Layperson. Worth a read even for the Philosophically Challenged.

The History of the article is also worth a read in its own right.

While searching for a suitable illustration, I happened to come across a Symposium on the Neuro-Ethics of Brain Damage, which although a bit dry in parts, I have a particular interest in. I suffered some neurological damage due to E-II viral Encephalo-Meningitis in my early 20's. (You could tell, right?). But apart from some lingering Aphasia, and a bit of numbness in the extremities, I've got back over 90% of what I'd lost, and most of that within 10 years of the injury. On the other hand, I gained a greatly increased ability to pick up new languages, an ability that had atrophied almost completely before I'd reached my mid-teens (as my school marks in Latin and German can attest to).

I found the section on Neuro-Prosthetics... very disappointing. The last article in Session 3 was all about the problems poised by damage to the Hippocampus. Yet there was nothing about developments that will make the problems moot in the near future. <sarcasm>It's almost as if Computer Scientists, Psychologists, Neuro-Anatomists and Ethicists aren't talking to one another. </sarcasm>

Not exactly surprising. But as I've blogged before, computational developments (at least) are rapid in this area, even if Psychology is still mostly guesswork. We need to start considering this stuff from an ethical viewpoint, and do it PDQ.

Finally, sthe graphic comes from Brainjar.Com, an interesting site containing experiments in advanced HTML. An avowed "learning resource" rather than a "cut'n'paste" site, useful for anyone wanting to know about Document Object Models (DOM) etc. Worth a look for the expert, and even more so for those wanting to become experts.

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