Archive for the brain Category

Time and Consciousness (Penrose)

Posted in brain, philosophy on July 8, 2012 by ewakening
The way in which time is treated in modern physics is not essentially different from the way space is treated, and the ‘time’ of physical descriptions does not really flow at all. …. The temporal ordering that we appear to perceive is something that we impose on our perceptions to make sense of them in relation to the uniform forward time-progression of an external physical reality.

— Roger Penrose, from The Emperor’s New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds, and the Laws of Physics.

Scientific “Thinking Cap” Boosts Brain Power

Posted in brain, brain enhancement on February 6, 2011 by ewakening

Scientists have created a real-life thinking cap which works by zapping electricity through the brain. The weird-looking headgear has had extraordinary results and experts believe it could help people be more creative. The device was developed by the University of Sydney’s Center for the Mind and suppresses the left side of the brain to catalyze the more creative right side into action.

The device, which uses two electricity conductors, significantly boosted results in a simple math test. Out of a sample of 60 participants, three times as many people who wore the cap were able to complete it, compared to those who tried it without. The cap was inspired by accident victims who experienced a sudden surge in creativity after damaging the left side of their brains.

Short-term Meditation Changes Brain

Posted in brain, brain enhancement, meditation on January 23, 2011 by ewakening

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital had meditation study participants take part in an eight-week meditation program requiring only 30 minutes of unstructured meditation per day.  Brain scans conducted at the end of the test period showed that even within this brief span of time, changes in certain parts of the brain could be detected.  The brain scans showed that participants’ hippocampal regions had increased, suggesting an increase in capacity for memory and learning.  Also, the density of the amygdala decreased, implying a decrease in stress and anxiety.  Such studies demonstrate that the brain is highly malleable and readily responds to even short-term, light meditational discipline.


Our Mysterious Universe, Part I

Posted in brain, psychonautics on September 5, 2010 by ewakening

The Banach–Tarski paradox is a theorem in set theoretic geometry which states that a solid ball in 3-dimensional space can be split into a finite number of non-overlapping pieces, which can then be put back together in a different way to yield two identical copies of the original ball. The reassembly process involves only moving the pieces around and rotating them, without changing their shape. However, the pieces themselves are complicated: they are not usual solids but infinite scatterings of points. A stronger form of the theorem implies that given any two “reasonable” objects (such as a small ball and a huge ball), either one can be reassembled into the other. This is often stated colloquially as “a pea can be chopped up and reassembled into the Sun.”

The reason the Banach–Tarski theorem is called a paradox is because it contradicts basic geometric intuition. “Doubling the ball” by dividing it into parts and moving them around by rotations and translations, without any stretching, bending, or adding new points, seems to be impossible, since all these operations preserve the volume, but the volume is doubled in the end.

— Wikipedia, “Banach-Tarski paradox”

Mind and God (Dyson)

Posted in brain, evolution, genetics, god on May 23, 2010 by ewakening

I do not make any distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension. …. Atoms and humans and God may have minds that differ in degree but not in kind. We stand midway between the unpredictability of atoms and the unpredictability of God. Atoms are small pieces of our mental apparatus, and we are small pieces of God’s mental apparatus.

— Freeman Dyson

How the brain creates “time”

Posted in brain on October 23, 2009 by ewakening

currentcoverPerhaps the most fundamental question neuroscientists are investigating is whether our perception of the world is continuous or a series of discrete snapshots like frames on a film strip. Understand this, and maybe we can explain how the healthy brain works out the chronological order of the myriad events bombarding our senses, and how this can become warped to alter our perception of time.

It seems that each separate neural process that governs our perception might be recorded in its own stream of discrete frames. But how might all these streams fit together to give us a consistent picture of the world? Ernst Pöppel, a neuroscientist at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany, suggests all of the separate snapshots from the senses may feed into blocks of information in a higher processing stream. He calls these the “building blocks of consciousness” and reckons they underlie our perception of time

“Perception cannot be continuous because of [the limits of] neural processing,” says Pöppel. “A space of 30 to 50 milliseconds is necessary to bring together in one time-window the distributed activity in the neural system.”

— from New Scientist magazine (

Humans Glow in Visible Light

Posted in brain, healing, psychonautics, technology on September 27, 2009 by ewakening

humanglow2Scientists in Japan using special high-sensitivity cameras have found that the human body emits a tiny quantity of visible light which varies throughout the day. Unlike the body’s usual infrared (heat) radiation which is already well known, this visible light is believed to be a product of various biochemical reactions in the body which can fluctuate based upon changes in the body’s metabolism. Future research may investigate the effect that the mind or meditation could have on controlling this light output.

(, 22 Jul 2009)