Nautilus


How Do You Say "Life" in Physics? - Issue 50: Emergence

Nautilus

The 34-year-old assistant professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is the architect of a new theory called "dissipative adaptation," which has helped to explain how complex, life-like function can self-organize and emerge from simpler things, including inanimate matter. Wittgenstein argued that a word's meaning depends on its context, a context determined by the people who are using it. Wittgenstein, however, argued that a word's meaning depends on its context, a context determined by the people who are using it. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth ..." Here, the Hebrew word for "create" is bara, the word for "heavens" is shamayim, and the word for "earth" is aretz; but their true meanings, England says, only come into view through their context in the following verses.


The Strange Similarity of Neuron and Galaxy Networks - Issue 50: Emergence

Nautilus

The total number of neurons in the human brain falls in the same ballpark of the number of galaxies in the observable universe. Interestingly enough, the total number of neurons in the human brain falls in the same ballpark of the number of galaxies in the observable universe. Researchers regularly use a technique called power spectrum analysis to study the large-scale distribution of galaxies. Based on the latest analysis of the connectivity of the brain network, independent studies have concluded that the total memory capacity of the adult human brain should be around 2.5 petabytes, not far from the 1-10 petabyte range estimated for the cosmic web!


Where Did Time Come From, and Why Does It Seem to Flow? - Facts So Romantic

Nautilus

There might be some pre-geometry, that would give rise to geometry just like atoms give rise to the continuum of elastic bodies. Clocks don't measure the flow of time, they measure intervals of time. And the other thing people contemplate: They think denying the flow of time is denying time asymmetry of the world. John Wheeler believed in and wrote about this in the 1950s--that there might be some pre-geometry, that would give rise to geometry just like atoms give rise to the continuum of elastic bodies--and people play around with that.


Ingenious: Jack Gilbert - Issue 50: Emergence

Nautilus

So, instead of curing the patient and removing the dangerous sources, we're actually creating an environment inside the patient that selects for organisms that are dangerous. But if we add the bacteria back into the mouse, literally with probiotic formulations into its gut, it'll start to hide back in the boxes like a normal mouse would. And we've started to demonstrate this in humans by taking formulations of bacteria that produce gamma-Aminobutyric acid [GABA], a neurotransmitter, which produces a sense of calm. So if we took the bacteria from an obese person and we put it into a mouse, the mouse would put on more calories than a mouse that got bacteria from a thin person for the same calorific intake, and for the same exercise regimen.


Monsters, Marvels, and the Birth of Science - Issue 50: Emergence

Nautilus

We know that reptiles lay eggs, while mammals bear live young; the Earth revolves around the sun every 365.25 days; electrons glom onto protons like bears onto honey. We know that reptiles lay eggs, while mammals bear live young; the Earth revolves around the sun every 365.25 days; electrons glom onto protons like bears onto honey. Since ancient times, curiosity was associated with vice rather than virtue, with people who meddled in other people's business. Since ancient times, curiosity was associated with vice rather than virtue, with people who meddled in other people's business.


Why You Need Emoji - Issue 50: Emergence

Nautilus

The other dimension of nonverbal communication involves paralinguistic features of speech, first studied by American linguist George Trager. Prosodic features include rhythm, relative volume, pitch, intonation, and the pitch range the voice operates in--higher for women, on average, than men. As a significant proportion of the meaning of a communicative message in social interaction derives from nonverbal cues, it stands to reason that text alone--the linguistic mode--conveys only a relatively small proportion of the information we have access to, in spoken exchanges. Much of the information relating to emotional expression, projection of personality, the nuancing that accompanies words in spoken language, is missing.


how-to-obfuscate?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication

Nautilus

As we will see, some forms of obfuscation generate genuine but misleading signals--much as you would protect the contents of one vehicle by sending it out accompanied by several other identical vehicles, or defend a particular plane by filling the sky with other planes--whereas other forms shuffle genuine signals, mixing data in an effort to make the extraction of patterns more difficult. Responding to calls for accountability, search companies have offered ways to address people's concerns about the collection and storage of search queries, though they continue to collect and analyze logs of such queries.6 Preventing any stream of queries from being inappropriately revealing of a particular person's interests and activities remains a challenge.7 The solution TrackMeNot offers is not to hide users' queries from search engines (an impractical method, in view of the need for query satisfaction), but to obfuscate by automatically generating queries from a "seed list" of terms. Hashtags are useful for organizing the flood of tweets into coherent conversations on specific topics, and #триумфальная (referring to Triumfalnaya, the location of a protest) became one of several tags people could use to vent their anger, express their opinions, and organize further actions. Obviously, these Twitter accounts were "Twitter bots"--programs purporting to be people and generating automatic, targeted messages.


Why Your Brain Hates Other People - Issue 49: The Absurd

Nautilus

To simplify, this can be revealed with the Implicit Association Test, where subjects look at pictures of humans or trolls, coupled with words with positive or negative connotations. Recent work, adapting the Implicit Association Test to another species, suggests that even other primates have implicit negative associations with Others. And monkeys would look longer at pairings discordant with their biases (e.g., pictures of members of their own group with pictures of spiders). Thus, the strength of Us/Them-ing is shown by the: speed and minimal sensory stimuli required for the brain to process group differences; tendency to group according to arbitrary differences, and then imbue those differences with supposedly rational power; unconscious automaticity of such processes; and rudiments of it in other primates.


The Unusual Language That Linguists Thought Couldn't Exist - Facts So Romantic

Nautilus

For example, one core property of human languages is known as duality of patterning: meaningful linguistic units (such as words) break down into smaller meaningless units (sounds), so that the words sap, pass, and asp involve different combinations of the same sounds, even though their meanings are completely unrelated. ABSL contrasts sharply with other sign languages like American Sign Language (ASL), which creates words by re-combining a small collection of gestural elements such as hand shapes, movements, and hand positions. Instead, they argue, languages share certain properties because they all have to solve similar problems of communication under similar pressures, pressures that reflect the limits of human abilities to learn, remember, produce, and perceive information. The signs of ABSL, though, may be easier to learn because many of them are concretely related to the things they symbolize--for example, the sign for "lemon" resembles the motion of squeezing a lemon.


When Neurology Becomes Theology - Issue 49: The Absurd

Nautilus

The patient's mother had died in a state hospital of Huntington's disease--a genetic degenerative brain disease. Though I didn't know it at the time, I had run headlong into the "hard problem of consciousness," the enigma of how physical brain mechanisms create purely subjective mental states. My first hint of the interaction between religious feelings and theories of consciousness came from Montreal Neurological Institute neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield's 1975 book, Mystery of the Mind: A Critical Study of Consciousness and the Human Brain. To see how this might work, take a page from Penfield's brain stimulation studies where he demonstrates that the mental sensations of consciousness can occur independently from any thought that they seem to qualify.