Monday, November 20, 2006


Why do our brains seem so noisy?

"In the November issue of Nature Neuroscience, the Rochester study shows that the brain's cortex uses seemingly chaotic, or 'noisy,' signals to represent the ambiguities of the real world--and that this noise dramatically enhances the brain's processing, enabling us to make decisions in an uncertain world."
(via Statistical Modeling...)

The Last Man Who Knew Everything

"We don't like polymaths any more. Perhaps it's because even being a monomath is too difficult now; even specialists specialise only in a small subset of their specialty, and learning is an either/or business. The wave/particle duality of light or the practice of medicine, but not both. Making a serious breakthrough in the deciphering of Egyptian hieroglyphs or serving with distinction on the Board of Longitude, but not both. That's the modern way.

Thomas Young, who lived from 1773 to 1829, felt no such constraints. While he may not have been the last 'man who knew everything', he made significant progress in the fields of Egyptology, optics and the physics of light, and serious contributions to many other disciplines."
The New Statesman
(via 3 Quarks Daily)

Milton Friedman, R.I.P.

"For right-of-center American libertarians, Milton Friedman was a powerful leader. For left-of-center American liberals, Milton Friedman was an enlightened adversary, and one whose view is now ascendant. We are all the stronger for his work. We will miss him."
Brad DeLong writes at Salon

Charging Batteries without Wires

New MIT research reveals a way to send wireless energy to mobile phones and laptops. Technology Review

Brilliant Minds Forecast The Next 50 Years

Articles such as this always intrigue me...

"What will be the biggest breakthrough of the next 50 years? As part of our 50th anniversary celebrations we asked over 70 of the world's most brilliant scientists for their ideas."
The New Scientist


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