Reading: “The hard problem of consciousness is a distraction from the real one”

There is a final twist to this story. Predictive models are good not only for figuring out the causes of sensory signals, they also allow the brain to control or regulate these causes, by changing sensory data to conform to existing predictions (this is sometimes called ‘active inference’). When it comes to the self, especially […]

The Associated Press: Chimp owner begs police in 911 call to stop attack

Herold, a widow whose daughter was killed in a car accident several years ago, told the Today Show that the incident was “a freak thing.” She said Travis “couldn’t have been more my son than if I gave birth to him,” and rejected criticism that chimpanzees are inappropriate pets. “It’s a horrible thing, but I’m […]

Oldest Animal Fossils Discovered | Wired Science from Wired.com

The animals’ remains don’t look like traditional fossils. They’re more like fossil echoes: chemical traces of a compound only produced — at least in modern times — by demosponges, descendants of what some scientists consider to be the last common ancestor of all animals. “It is, definitively, the earliest evidence for animals,” said geochemist Gordon […]

Attenborough reveals creationist hate mail for not crediting God | World news | The Guardian

Sir David Attenborough has revealed that he receives hate mail from viewers for failing to credit God in his documentaries. In an interview with this week’s Radio Times about his latest documentary, on Charles Darwin and natural selection, the broadcaster said: “They tell me to burn in hell and good riddance.” Telling the magazine that […]

‘Jesus was born in June’, astronomers claim – Telegraph

Using the St Matthew’s Gospel as a reference point, Mr Reneke pinpointed the planetary conjunction, which appeared in the constellation of Leo, to the exact date of June 17 in the year 2BC. The astronomy lecturer, who is also news editor of Sky and Space magazine, said: “We have software that can recreate exactly the […]

we can read minds now. no, really.

Researchers from Japan’s ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories have developed new brain analysis technology that can reconstruct the images inside a person’s mind and display them on a computer monitor, it was announced on December 11. According to the researchers, further development of the technology may soon make it possible to view other people’s dreams while […]

Humans 80,000 Years Older Than Previously Thought?

Using argon-argon dating—a technique that compares different isotopes of the element argon—researchers determined that the volcanic ash layers entombing the tools at Gademotta date back at least 276,000 years. Many of the tools found are small blades, made using a technique that is thought to require complex cognitive abilities and nimble fingers, according to study […]

Creationists fail again: taken for granite

But I’m thinking that no matter what, we’re talking ages significantly longer than say, 6000 years. In fact, unless Antarctica was moving at a pace faster than you can jog, we’re talking millions if not hundreds of millions of years here. Of course, creationists have an answer for this, including “catastrophic plate tectonics”, which apparently […]

Evolution: what’s the real controversy?

Here, it was clear that there simply is no controversy. In contrast to the arguments over bacterial trees and the origin of eukaryotes, none of the researchers felt compelled to explain or justify their focus on the role of mutation and selective pressure. Concerns, when they arose, were simply focused on identifying the consequences of […]

chile volcano the next ompeii?

Chilean authorities are considering the possibility that Region X’s Chaitén Volcano, now in its eighth day of continuous eruption, might collapse and thus release a torrent of red-hot pyroclastic material (burning gas and rock) that could devastate the surrounding area.  Very much a ‘worst case scenario,’ the possibility is nevertheless a very real one, vulcanologist […]