« March 8, 2020 | Main | March 10, 2020 »

March 9, 2020

Read the Sign


March 9, 2020 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Paw Placement: Master Class

Gray Cat's right front paw, seemingly dropped without a thought atop her rear legs, is the epitome of elegance.

March 9, 2020 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Three reasons why pioneer neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield said the mind is more than the brain

From MindMatters:

Penfield gave three lines of reasoning, based on brain surgery on over a thousand patients who were conscious during brain mapping

He started his career as a materialist.

He thought the whole mind came from the brain and he was just going to study it.

And at the end of his career, thirty years later, he was a passionate dualist.

He said that there is a part of the mind that is not from the brain.

He had several lines of reasoning that convinced him of that.

1. One line of reasoning was that, in mapping people’s brains — and again he mapped upwards of a thousand people this way — he would do hundreds of individual stimulations of the surface of the brain to see what happened. And people would have all sorts of things happen. They would have their arm move or they would feel a tingling or they would see a flash of light. Or sometimes they’d have a memory or they would have an impediment. Sometimes they couldn't speak for a minute or two after a certain spot was touched.

But Penfield noted that, in probably hundreds of thousands of different individual stimulations, he never once stimulated the power of reason. He never stimulated the intellect. He never stimulated a person to do calculus or to think of an abstract concept like justice or mercy.

All the stimulations were concrete things: Move your arm or feel a tingling or even a concrete memory, like you remember your grandmother's face. But there was never any abstract thought stimulated.

Penfield said that if the brain is the source of abstract thought, once in a while, putting an electrical current on some part of the cortex, I ought to get an abstract thought. But he never ever did. So he said that the obvious explanation for that is that abstract thought doesn't come from the brain.

2. A second line of reasoning he had is that, since he was a pioneer in the treatment of epilepsy, not only did he study the surgical manifestations of epilepsy but he also studied the presentation of seizures that people would have in their everyday life. So he studied hundreds of thousands of seizures that people had and he never found any seizure that had intellectual content. Seizures never involved abstract reasoning.

When people have seizures, sometimes they have a generalized seizure. Sometimes they just fall to the ground and go unconscious. Or sometimes they'll have what's called a focal seizure where they'll have a twitching of a finger or a twitching of a limb or they'll have tingling feelings, the same kind of things that he got when he stimulated the surface of the brain. But nobody ever had a calculus seizure. Nobody ever have a seizure where they couldn't stop doing arithmetic. Or couldn't stop doing logic.

And he said, why is that? If arithmetic and logic and all that abstract thought comes from the brain, every once in a while you ought to get a seizure that makes it happen. So he asked rhetorically, why are there no intellectual seizures? His answer was, because the intellect doesn’t come from the brain.

3. His third line of reasoning was the following: He would ask people to move their arm during the surgery. He'd say. "Whenever you want to, move your right arm." The person would move their arm.

Then he'd stimulate the part of the brain that made the arm move. And they moved their arm when he did that. And then he would ask them, "I want you to tell me when I'm making your arm move and when you're moving your arm without me making you do it. Tell me if you can tell the difference." And the patients could always tell the difference.

The patients always knew that when he stimulated their arm, it was him doing it, not them. And when they stimulated their arm, they were doing it, not him. So Penfield said, he couldn't stimulate the will. He could never trick the patients into thinking it was them doing it. He said, the patients always retained a correct sense of agency. They always know if they did it or if he did it.

So he said the will was not something he could stimulate, meaning it was not material.

So he had three lines of evidence: His inability to stimulate intellectual thought, the inability of seizures to cause intellectual thought, and his inability to stimulate the will. So he concluded that the intellect and the will are not from the brain, Which is precisely what Aristotle said.

March 9, 2020 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Helpful Hints from joeeze: Save the plastic scoops that come inside laundry detergent powder boxes



Because if you have 3 or 4 of them nestled inside your box, when it's time to do laundry (for me, about once every two weeks, when I've run out of running socks/shorts/t-shirts/etc.) you can fill each scoop the first time you open the box to get your detergent and Bob's your uncle.

I am so all about doing as little as possible to accomplish something.

Laziest person I ever met.

But you know what? 

If I were running a company and hiring peeps, lazy people would be my target employee pool.

March 9, 2020 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Anti-Theft Plug Mug


Constant readers will recall Friday's Left-Hander's Mug, which features ingenious integrated anti-borrow/theft technology.

Now comes this variation on a theme: righties can enjoy the same peace of mind as us southpaws when leaving the office.

True, it's not as elegant as the lefty mug, what with an added piece that invariably will get lost — or stolen by a disgruntled officemate.


March 9, 2020 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

« March 8, 2020 | Main | March 10, 2020 »