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Greg Batmarx
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Open Source Advocate and Biosocial Revolutionary, Vegan all the way and Brain Researcher, Philosopher and Human. A Human Conundrum.
Open Source Advocate and Biosocial Revolutionary, Vegan all the way and Brain Researcher, Philosopher and Human. A Human Conundrum.

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Suffering a brain injury can make people more religious, scientists have found.
Researchers from Northwestern University in Illinois, USA, found patients who had a brain trauma were less willing to accept new ideas and became more extreme in their religious beliefs.
The study, published in the journal Neuropsychologia, found that lesions in a part of the brain called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex were linked to higher levels of religious fundamentalism.
Previous research has suggested the ventromedial prefrontal cortex is important to enabling people to critically assess beliefs and ideas.
If it is damaged, the new study found, people have reduced “cognitive flexibility”, the ability to change their views in response to new evidence or ideas, and were therefore more likely to show signs of religious fundamentalism.
Jordan Grafman one of the researchers involved in the study, said the findings revealed that a person’s religious beliefs were closely linked to their physical brain structure.
The variation in the nature of religious beliefs are governed by specific brain areas in the anterior parts of the human brain and those brain areas are among the most recently evolved areas of the human brain he told PsyPost.

The researchers examined 119 US army veterans with brain injuries and another 30 veterans without any brain injury. All of the participants had served in the Vietnam War.
The team used brain scans to assess the extent of the damage to the participants’ ventromedial prefrontal cortex and then measured the strength of their religious beliefs using a commonly-used survey.
While highlighting the significance of their findings, however, the scientists also warned there are a number of other factors that determine the force of a person’s religious convictions, including personality traits and their social environment.

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As electronics become increasingly pervasive in our lives, from smart phones to wearable sensors, so too does the ever rising amount of electronic waste they create.
A United Nations Environment Program report found that almost 50 million tons of electronic waste were thrown out in 2017, more than 20 percent higher than waste in 2015.
Troubled by this mounting waste, Stanford engineer Zhenan Bao and her team are rethinking electronics.
In my group, we have been trying to mimic the function of human skin to think about how to develop future electronic devices Bao said.
She described how skin is stretchable, self-healable and also biodegradable, an attractive list of characteristics for electronics.
We have achieved the first two [flexible and self-healing], so the biodegradability was something we wanted to tackle.
The team created a flexible electronic device that can easily degrade just by adding a weak acid like vinegar. The results were published May 1 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
This is the first example of a semiconductive polymer that can decompose said lead author Ting Lei a postdoctoral fellow working with Bao.
In addition to the polymer, essentially a flexible, conductive plastic, the team developed a degradable electronic circuit and a new biodegradable substrate material for mounting the electrical components. This substrate supports the electrical components, flexing and molding to rough and smooth surfaces alike.
When the electronic device is no longer needed, the whole thing can biodegrade into nontoxic components.

Biodegradable bits
Bao a professor of chemical engineering and materials science and engineering, had previously created a stretchable electrode modeled on human skin. That material could bend and twist in a way that could allow it to interface with the skin or brain, but it couldn’t degrade. That limited its application for implantable devices and, important to Bao, contributed to waste.
Bao said that creating a robust material that is both a good electrical conductor and biodegradable was a challenge, considering traditional polymer chemistry.
We have been trying to think how we can achieve both great electronic property but also have the biodegradability Bao said.
Eventually, the team found that by tweaking the chemical structure of the flexible material it would break apart under mild stressors.
We came up with an idea of making these molecules using a special type of chemical linkage that can retain the ability for the electron to smoothly transport along the molecule Bao said. But also this chemical bond is sensitive to weak acid, even weaker than pure vinegar.
The result was a material that could carry an electronic signal but break down without requiring extreme measures.
In addition to the biodegradable polymer, the team developed a new type of electrical component and a substrate material that attaches to the entire electronic component. Electronic components are usually made of gold. But for this device, the researchers crafted components from iron. Bao noted that iron is a very environmentally friendly product and is nontoxic to humans.
The researchers created the substrate, which carries the electronic circuit and the polymer, from cellulose. Cellulose is the same substance that makes up paper.
But unlike paper, the team altered cellulose fibers so the “paper” is transparent and flexible, while still breaking down easily.
The thin film substrate allows the electronics to be worn on the skin or even implanted inside the body.

From implants to plants
The combination of a biodegradable conductive polymer and substrate makes the electronic device useful in a plethora of settings, from wearable electronics to large-scale environmental surveys with sensor dusts.
We envision these soft patches that are very thin and conformable to the skin that can measure blood pressure, glucose value, sweat content Bao said. A person could wear a specifically designed patch for a day or week, then download the data. According to Bao, this short-term use of disposable electronics seems a perfect fit for a degradable, flexible design.
And it’s not just for skin surveys: the biodegradable substrate, polymers and iron electrodes make the entire component compatible with insertion into the human body. The polymer breaks down to product concentrations much lower than the published acceptable levels found in drinking water. Although the polymer was found to be biocompatible, Bao said that more studies would need to be done before implants are a regular occurrence.

Biodegradable electronics have the potential to go far beyond collecting heart disease and glucose data. These components could be used in places where surveys cover large areas in remote locations.
Lei described a research scenario where biodegradable electronics are dropped by airplane over a forest to survey the landscape. It’s a very large area and very hard for people to spread the sensors,” he said. “Also, if you spread the sensors, it’s very hard to gather them back. You don’t want to contaminate the environment so we need something that can be decomposed. Instead of plastic littering the forest floor, the sensors would biodegrade away.
As the number of electronics increase, biodegradability will become more important. Lei is excited by their advancements and wants to keep improving performance of biodegradable electronics.
We currently have computers and cell phones and we generate millions and billions of cell phones, and it’s hard to decompose he said. We hope we can develop some materials that can be decomposed so there is less waste.

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As with any new transportation technology, it's not as simple as building your first vehicle and expecting the whole world to change. And yet, it appears as if the world is finally cottoning on to this whole electric cars are better and cheaper to run thing.
The European Automobile Manufacturers Association has revealed that EV sales in the first quarter of 2017 are spiking. Overall, sales of so-called "Alternative Fuel Vehicles" have increased by an overall 37.6 percent compared to the first quarter of 2016.

Those figures seem to mirror Bloomberg's research into the state of the US electric market, which has seen demand trend northward. In the same period, American sales of electric vehicles jumped 49 percent, with sales totaling 40,700.
As heartwarming as the stats are, it's worth noting that the law of small numbers makes them sound a little more impressive than they actually are. For instance, Germany's 117 percent rise in EV sales reflects a jump from 2,332 cars in Q1 2016 to 5,060 now.

Around a quarter of European greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation, as well as it being the primary cause of air pollution in cities.
So there's something of an imperative to get on with getting everyone to make the switch, which should be helped by cheaper, newer EVs, like the Renault Zoe.

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The potential for 3D printing to revolutionize manufacturing is astounding—if the technology can overcome a few limitations. Researchers at MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab have come up with a novel way to both speed up the 3D printing process, and free it from the restrictions imposed by gravity.
3D printing involves slowly building up an object using thousands of thin layers of extruded melted plastic that can take hours, even days, to complete, depending on what’s being printed. The soft nature of the material being used, which takes a few moments to cool and harden, also means that models have to be designed and reinforced with temporary structures to account for the pull of gravity. You can’t 3D print something that just hangs in mid-air, it will simply collapse before it becomes rigid.
So the scientists at MIT, working with furniture maker Steelcase and materials researcher Christophe Guberan, developed a new 3D printing process that takes place inside a vat filled with a thick gel suspension that essentially negates the effects of gravity.

The gel suspension provides a constant support for the liquid material as it’s being extruded.
So instead of a nozzle limited to moving in just two directions, it’s able to extrude materials in three dimensions.
This allows more complex objects to be printed without the need for added supports, and at a considerably faster pace. Speaking with designboom, the lab’s founder Skylar Tibbits explained how the team had successfully reproduced a structure that would have taken 50 hours to print using a traditional 3D printer in just 10 minutes using their rapid liquid printing process.
The new process allows more than just melted plastic to be used as the printing material. Rubber and foam in liquid states can also be extruded, with the gel itself serving as an instant chemical hardening agent so that objects can be removed as soon as the printing process is over.

For the time being, the MIT lab has been working with Steelcase to create some intricate but bizarre-looking furniture to demonstrate just how complex of a 3D-printed object can be produced.
But without the limitations of gravity, one might imagine entire machines eventually being 3D-printed in a single pass, including gears, wiring, and other moving components, without requiring the assembly of hundreds of different parts afterwards.
There’s no timeline on when this new printing process will be available to manufacturers, or hobbyists, and it’s still not quite the replicators that Star Trek promised us, but it’s definitely a step towards that ultimate goal.

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The limbic system is a set of brain structures located on top of the brainstem and buried under the cortex. Limbic system structures are involved in many of our emotions and motivations, particularly those that are related to survival. Such emotions include fear, anger, and emotions related to sexual behavior. The limbic system is also involved in feelings of pleasure that are related to our survival, such as those experienced from eating and sex.
The limbic system influences both the peripheral nervous system and the endocrine system.
Certain structures of the limbic system are involved in memory as well.
Two large limbic system structures, the amygdala and hippocampus, play important roles in memory. The amygdala is responsible for determining what memories are stored and where the memories are stored in the brain.
It is thought that this determination is based on how huge an emotional response an event invokes.
The hippocampus sends memories out to the appropriate part of the cerebral hemisphere for long-term storage and retrieves them when necessary. Damage to this area of the brain may result in an inability to form new memories.

Part of the forebrain known as the diencephalon is also included in the limbic system.
The diencephalon is located beneath the cerebral hemispheres and contains the thalamus and hypothalamus.
The thalamus is involved in sensory perception and regulation of motor functions (i.e., movement).
It connects areas of the cerebral cortex that are involved in sensory perception and movement with other parts of the brain and spinal cord that also have a role in sensation and movement.
The hypothalamus is a very small but important component of the diencephalon. It plays a major role in regulating hormones, the pituitary gland, body temperature, the adrenal glands, and many other vital activities.

LIMBIC SYSTEM STRUCTURES
Amygdala - almond shaped mass of nuclei involved in emotional responses, hormonal secretions, and memory. The amygdala is responsible for fear conditioning or the associative learning process by which we learn to fear something.
Cingulate Gyrus - a fold in the brain involved with sensory input concerning emotions and the regulation of aggressive behavior.
Fornix - an arching, band of white matter axons (nerve fibers) that connect the hippocampus to the hypothalamus.
Hippocampus - a tiny nub that acts as a memory indexer -- sending memories out to the appropriate part of the cerebral hemisphere for long-term storage and retrieving them when necessary.
Hypothalamus - about the size of a pearl, this structure directs a multitude of important functions. It wakes you up in the morning and gets the adrenaline flowing. The hypothalamus is also an important emotional center, controlling the molecules that make you feel exhilarated, angry, or unhappy.
Olfactory Cortex - receives sensory information from the olfactory bulb and is involved in the identification of odors.
Thalamus - a large, dual lobed mass of gray matter cells that relay sensory signals to and from the spinal cord and the cerebrum.

In summary, the limbic system is responsible for controlling various functions in the body. Some of these functions include interpreting emotional responses, storing memories, and regulating hormones. The limbic system is also involved in sensory perception, motor function, and olfaction.

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We all know that the human brain is ridiculously large, but how many of us realise that it’s lopsided as well? It turns out that the cockeyed shape of our brains is as important to understanding human evolution as its size is.
The brain’s lopsidedness is most evident through our hand preferences. Roughly nine out of every ten people are right handed. Lefties are indeed a rarity. And these figures hold across all human populations and cultures showing that it’s a universal pattern for Homo sapiens, being genetically hardwired.
Below the surface, these statistics about right versus left handedness reveal something rather peculiar about human brains: the left hemisphere generally dominates over the right when it comes to controlling the movements of the hands. And this hemispheric dominance, or asymmetry, is unique.
Similar patterns can be seen for the language areas of the brain as well. Regions on the left side such as Broca’s Area which play a vital role in language production and comprehension – are disproportionately enlarged, lopsided even, compared with their right side equivalents.
In fact, Broca’s Area is six times larger than the same region on the right side of the brain when compared with a chimpanzee’s noggin. That’s twice as large as you’d expect based on our threefold larger brains.

Another way the human brain is lopsided is the misalignment or even skewness between the left and right hemispheres themselves, a feature called petalias.
When seen from above, the front most part of the right hemisphere juts further forward than the left. And the opposite configuration is seen on the left side, where the rear of the left hemisphere projects further back then the right.
A similar pattern is seen in the brains of other apes and even some monkeys, but it’s nowhere near as striking as in the human brain. And petalias are also seen in the arrangements of the blood vessels that supply and drain the brain and can even be observed on a microscopic level.
What role do petalia’s play? Well again they seem to be a part of the overall asymmetry of the human brain, whereby functions are relegated to a particular side, much like we see with hand control or language.
If our cockeyed brains are so unique, then why did they evolve to be this way? Well, the extreme specialisation of regions like Broca’s Area probably evolved to allow faster and more efficient neural processing. It cuts out the need for input or perhaps even disruption from the opposite hemisphere, helping us to think and act much faster.
What’s the earliest evidence we have for hemispheric specialisation? How can we even detect it given that brains don’t fossilise? Believe it or not, anthropologists have devised several ways to detect brain asymmetry, either directly or indirectly. And all of them point to a very early shift in the structure and functioning of the brain in our evolution.
The first piece of evidence comes from the models we can make of the surface of the brain, which we call endocasts. These are a kind of fossil brain if you like, although they lack a lot of the detail we’d see in a real brain.
During life, the brain actually pulsates and leaves impressions of its surface on the inside of the bones of the skull. Anthropologists can use this phenomenon to make simple models of how the brain would have looked. Regions like Broca’s Area are often very distinct and the petalias are especially clear on endocasts.

Endocasts show us that the pre-human genus Australopithecus our ancestor living in Africa between roughly 4.5 and 2 million years ago, provides the earliest evidence we have for brain asymmetry.
Then there’s the indirect evidence we can glean from teeth. It turns out that the damage done to the enamel of the front teeth of early humans can indicate whether an individual was right or left handed. How do we know this? Through an ingenuous set of experiments conducted by anthropologists, that’s how!
The results showed that when meat is held between the teeth (using them as a vice) and a stone tool is used to cut it, tell tale scratches are left on the enamel by the tools, and these are angled in such a way that right handers can be distinguished from lefties.
And of the dozens of fossil human teeth that have been studied for these scratches, it turns out that they are overwhelmingly from right handers, with the odd lefty, especially among the Neanderthals.
Fascinatingly, the tooth wear method shows us that the earliest right hander lived almost two million years ago and belonged to the species Homo habilis from Olduvai Gorge. And we can take this as our minimum age for brain asymmetry, and probably also the beginnings of speech, given the parallels between manual and language control and brain lopsidedness.
The final piece of evidence comes from archaeology and the stone tools made by Palaeolithic humans. Careful studies of the way that tools were made shows clear evidence for handedness at each and every step of production process.
Archaeologists think the evidence for handedness can be seen in stone tools from about 2 million years ago. And chances are the signs will be there in the earliest tools now dating to around 3.3 million years ago, when someone eventually takes a look.
Some of the most striking features of humanity, the ones that mark us out as unique, are not always so obvious. Sometimes they’re so obvious that we don’t even notice them! Like our left versus right hand preferences.
They’re certainly no less fascinating than the ones that get most of the attention, like big brains, complex thinking, language, culture, two-footed walking etc.
And they’re no less deserving of scientific scrutiny, often having far more interesting tales to tell us about our evolutionary origins.

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Google is not only one of the biggest contributors to the open source community but also has a strong track record of delivering open source tools and platforms that give birth to robust technology ecosystems. Just witness the momentum that Android and Kubernetes now have.
Recently, Google launched a new home for its open source projects, processes, and initiatives. The site runs deep and has several avenues worth investigating.
Here is a tour and some highlights worth noting.
Will Norris a software engineer at Google's Open Source Programs Office, writes: One of the tenets of our philosophy towards releasing open source code is that ‘more is better.’ We don't know which projects will find an audience, so we help teams release code whenever possible. As a result, we have released thousands of projects under open source licenses ranging from larger products like TensorFlow, Go, and Kubernetes to smaller projects such as Light My Piano, Neuroglancer, and Periph.io. Some are fully supported while others are experimental or just for fun. With so many projects spread across 100 GitHub organizations and our self-hosted Git service, it can be difficult to see the scope and scale of our open source footprint.

Projects. The new directory of open source projects, which is rapidly expanding, is one of the richest parts of the Google Open Source site. If you investigate many of the projects, you can find out how they are used at Google.
A pull-down menu conveniently categorizes the many projects, so that you can investigate, for example, cloud, mobile or artificial intelligence tools. Animated graphics also shuffle between projects that you may not be aware of but might be interested in. Here is an example of one of these graphics:
Do you know about Cloud Network Monitoring Agent, or Minimal Configuration Manager? The Projects section of Google’s site is where you can discover tools like these.

Docs. One of the most compelling components of Google’s new home for all things open source is a section called Docs, which is billed as “our internal documentation for how we do open source at Google." From open source contributors and developers to companies implementing open source programs, this section of Google’s site has a motherlode of tested and hardened information. There are three primary sections of the docs:
Creating covers how Google developers release code that they've written, either in the form of a new project or as a patch to an external project.
Using explains how Google brings open source code into the company and uses it. It delves into maintaining license compliance, and more.
Growing describes some of the programs Google runs inside and outside the company to support open source communities.
According to Norris: These docs explain the process we follow for releasing new open-source projects, submitting patches to others' projects, and how we manage the open-source code that we bring into the company and use ourselves. But in addition to the how, it outlines why we do things the way we do, such as why we only use code under certain licenses or why we require contributor license agreements for all patches we receive.

Blog. The Google Open Source site also includes a tab for the Google Open Source blog, which has steadily remained a good avenue for finding new tools and open source news. The site houses blog posts from people all around Google, and includes collections of links that can take you to other useful blogs, such as the Google Developers Blog and the official Google Blog.
Community. Not only does Google run open outreach programs such as Google Summer of Code and Google Code-in, it also sponsors and contributes projects to organizations like the Apache Software Foundation. The Community section on the Google Open Source site is dedicated to outreach programs and is also a good place to look in on if you want to get involved with Google’s programs. Here are just a few of the community-centric affiliations Google has that you may not know about.

It’s no accident that Google is evolving and improving its home for all things open source. The company’s CEO Sundar Pichai came up at Google as chief of products, and helped drive the success of open source-centric tools ranging from Chrome to Android. Pichai knows that these tools have improved enormously as a result of community involvement. Now, more than ever, Google’s own success is tied to the success of open source.

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Humans consume 221 tonnes of coal, 1,066 barrels of oil, and 93,000 metric cubes of natural gas per second.
These materials were wonderful for the industrial revolution that started in Britain in the 18th century and made use of “new energy” sources such as coal and petroleum. At the start of the 21st century, however, it’s time to reassess the notion of “new energy”.
Fossil fuels have no place in any long-term sustainable energy solution for the planet. It needs to be replaced with renewable energy sources. But which ones?
Sooner or later humanity needs to get its head around the fact that the only long-term sustainable energy solution is solar energy.
This is simply borne out by the immense amount of energy potential that the sun can provide versus any other renewable resource such as wind, nuclear, biomass or geothermal.
To place that in perspective: the theoretical potential of solar power is 89 terawatts (TW), which represents more energy striking the Earth’s surface in 90 minutes (480 Exajoules, EJ) than the worldwide energy consumption for the entire year 2001 (430 EJ) from all other resources combined.

Off-grid solar should be Africa’s energy future.
Off-grid solar should be Africa’s energy future. Off-grid simply means a system where people don’t rely on the support of remote infrastructure, like connectivity to a centralised electricity transmission line, but instead use a stand-alone independent power supply.
Such systems are perfect for people living in rural areas. Access to energy should be a basic human right for the 620 million people across Africa deprived from it. To achieve this, one should look beyond the grid for future power solutions.
In my years of teaching an advanced level sustainable energy course, it’s clear that the ‘sustainable energy’ solution requires a multidisciplinary approach and needs expertise from the fields of chemistry, biophysics, biology and materials engineering.
For example, photosynthesis is nature’s solution to sustain life and its complete understanding touches many disciplines. Can science learn from it to provide a sustainable energy solution? Yes, through a process called artificial photosynthesis. Large-scale photovoltaic (PV) panels dot the landscape in solar farms. Can we imagine transparent solar cells with the look of glass that can be brought to the city? The answer is yes.

Say yes to the sun
Energy is the most important resource for humanity and solar energy is the ultimate energy source. The sun as a solar energy source has a number of advantages: it is abundant, it is essentially inexhaustible, and it doesn’t discriminate but provides equal access to all users.
Let us not repeat the deadly sins of considering nuclear power as an option.
Earth presently consumes energy at a rate of about 17.7 trillion watts (17 terawatt, TW), that would reach 30 TW by 2050 assuming a similar population growth rate. The solar energy irradiating the surface of the Earth is almost four orders of magnitude larger than the rate our civilisation can consume it. This is obviously more than sufficient if harnessed properly.
The energy potential of the sun is 120,000 TW at earth surface.
More practically, assuming that only 10% efficiency and covering less than 2% of earth surface would get us 50 TW;
Wind is at 2-4 TW at 10 meters;
Nuclear 8 TW, build one plant every 1.5 days forever, due to decommissioning;
Biomass 5-7 TW, all cultivatable land not used for food;
Geothermal 12 TW.
The solution should thus be clear: focus on the sun, nothing else gets the required numbers.
The solar and wind duo has been considered a viable option at least for Africa’s future. The challenge is that solar energy only becomes useful once it’s converted into usable energy forms like heat, electricity, and fuels.

New technologies
Black solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are the most familiar to generate electricity.
A game changer will be a new technology where such PV panels are transparent. This could then replace regular glass, wherever one finds glass. For example, on large buildings, the vertical “glass panels” can literally become the source that powers the building.
The solar company Onyx Solar has already demonstrated proof-of-concept by applying PV glass for buildings in 70 projects and in 25 different countries. Its only current competitor, Ubiquitous Energy focuses more on mobile devices.
On a mobile phone, the glass screen will become the power source, potentially making batteries redundant.
In simplest terms, photosynthesis is a process where green plants use the energy in sunlight to carry out chemical reactions. One such reaction is to break water molecules into its constituent parts of oxygen and hydrogen.
Artificial photosynthesis is a process that mimics parts of natural photosynthesis to suit our needs, like forming hydrogen. And because hydrogen is considered the fuel of the future, a large research focus is to capture and convert sunlight into energy with storage of hydrogen.
In South Africa, the nuclear energy landscape has been tainted by political greed, rather than scientific reasoning.
Fortunately, in April 2017 all further developments for a nuclear future were halted by a high court.Say no to nuclear energy
Let us not repeat the deadly sins of considering nuclear power as an option, but remind ourselves of two consequences.
It takes 10 years and billions of rand to commission a nuclear power station, let alone eight. Once commissioned, such stations don’t last forever, but after 50 years has to be decommissioned again, costing the same amount in time and fiscal.
Suppose South Africa is a country with stockpiles of enriched uranium and nuclear plants, such utilities become primary targets for terrorists and are expensive to safeguard. Why even take the risk?
It’s now 31 years since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. It devastated Ukraine and the 2,600 square kilometres of surrounding land is still considered unsuitable for humans.
A colossal radiation shield is now concealing the stain on that landscape. Is such a risk worth it for South Africa when the sun has so much potential?

Werner van Zyl Associate Professor of Chemistry, Lecturer in sustainable energy, University of KwaZulu-Natal

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There are hundreds of surprising, perspective-shifting insights about the nature of reality that come from neuroscience. Every bizarre neurological syndrome, every visual illusion, and every clever psychological experiment reveals something entirely unexpected about our experience of the world that we take for granted.
Here are a few to give a flavor:

1 Perceptual reality is entirely generated by our brain.
We hear voices and meaning from air pressure waves. We see colors and objects, yet our brain only receives signals about reflected photons. The objects we perceive are a construct of the brain, which is why optical illusions can fool the brain.

2 We see the world in narrow disjoint fragments.
We think we see the whole world, but we are looking through a narrow visual portal onto a small region of space. You have to move your eyes when you read because most of the page is blurry. We don't see this, because as soon as we become curious about part of the world, our eyes move there to fill in the detail before we see it was missing. While our eyes are in motion, we should see a blank blur, but our brain edits this out.

3 Body image is dynamic and flexible.
Our brain can be fooled into thinking a rubber arm or a virtual reality hand is actually a part of our body. In one syndrome, people believe one of their limbs does not belong to them. One man thought a cadaver limb had been sewn onto his body as a practical joke by doctors.

4 Our behavior is mostly automatic, even though we think we are controlling it.
The fact that we can operate a vehicle at 60 mph on the highway while lost in thought shows just how much behavior the brain can take care of on its own. Addiction is possible because so much of what we do is already automatic, including directing our goals and desires. In utilization behavior, people might grab and start using a comb presented to them without having any idea why they are doing it. In impulsivity, people act even though they know they shouldn't.

5 Our brain can fool itself in really strange ways.
In Capgras syndrome, familiar people seem foreign (the opposite of deja vu). One elderly woman who lived alone befriended a woman who appeared to her whenever she looked in a mirror. She thought this other woman looked nothing like herself, except that they seemed to have similar style and tended to wear identical outfits. Another woman was being followed by a tormenter who appeared to her in mirrors but looked nothing like herself. She was fine otherwise.

6 Neurons are really slow.
Our thinking feels fast and we are more intelligent than computers, and yet neurons signal only a few times per second and the brain's beta wave cycles at 14-30 times per second. In comparison, computers cycle at 1 billion operations per second, and transistors switch over 10 billion times per second. How can neurons be so slow and yet we are so smart?

7 Consciousness can be subdivided.
In split-brain patients, each side of the brain is individually conscious but mostly separate from the other. In post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) memories of a traumatic event can become a compartmentalized inaccessible island. In schizophrenia, patients hear voices that can seem separate from themselves and which criticize them or issue commands. In hypnosis, post-hypnotic suggestions can direct behavior without the individual's conscious awareness.

That's a glimpse of the world through the eyes of neuroscience.

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You know when someone’s on your wavelength. Conversations go great.
You get them, and they get you. It’s groovy. Now science is proving this concept’s more than metaphorical.
A study on brain-to-brain synchrony, published in Current Biology on April 27, examined the neuroscience of classroom interaction and found that shared attention, spurred by certain stimuli, like eye contact and face-to-face exchange, generated similar brain wave patterns in students.
The research, led by psychologist Suzanne Dikker at New York University, indicates engaged groups are literally in sync on a brain-to-brain basis.
The human brain has evolved for group living, yet we know so little about how it supports dynamic group interactions the study notes.
Real-world social exchanges are a mystery and much previous research has been limited to artificial environments and simple tests.
This effort, however, measured brainwave activity during face-to-face interaction in a natural rather than constructed environment, investigating social dynamics across time.
Classrooms make a particularly good place for neuro-scientific exploration because they’re lively, with lots of actors and factors at play, but also semi-controlled environments with limited influences and all activities led by a single teacher.
This allowed us to measure brain activity and behavior in a systematic fashion over the course of a full semester as students engaged the researchers explain.
The brainwaves of 12 teenage students’ brainwaves were recorded during 11 different classes throughout the semester; each session was 50 minutes long.
The students followed live lectures, watched instructional videos, and participated in group discussions.
Researchers tracked students’ brainwaves throughout using portable electroencephalogram (EEG) systems.

The study tested the hypothesis that group members think similarly, and that the more engaged they are, the more similarly the think, and that this could be seen in shared brainwave patterns.
The researchers believed that engagement predicts, and possibly underpins, classroom learning specifically and group dynamics generally.
Indeed, they found that when students were more engaged in a teaching style, listening to a lecture versus watching a video, say, they were also more likely to show similar brainwaves.
That brainwave synchronicity seems to be generated from a number of small, individual interactions. Particular types of exchanges seemed to especially influence the meeting of the minds in the study, say the researchers.
For example, eye contact was linked to shared intentions, which “sets up a scaffold” for social cognition and more engagement.
These individual interactions seemed to lead to a shared sense of purpose across the group—which manifested in specific brainwave patterns, likewise shared across the group.
The researchers believe their work with teens in the classroom, which wasn’t easy given the students’ energy levels and EEGs attached to their boisterous young brains, shows it is possible to investigate the neuroscience of group interactions under ecologically natural circumstances.
They hope it leads to more exploration of brainwaves out in the wilderness that is civilization.
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