Archive for May, 2012

Reach and grasp by people with tetraplegia using a neurally controlled robotic arm : Nature : Nature Publishing Group.

//Functional movement by wired hook-up between robotic arm and a small population of motor neurons in M1. No training required. Looks like one direction of rehab in the future. Need to get it wireless. Lower limb control for gate may be more difficult until real-time speed is achieved.


How do you learn to unthink? Dylan believes the creative impulse needs protecting from self-analysis: “As you get older, you get smarter, and that can hinder you…You’ve got to programme your brain not to think too much.” Flann O’Brien said we should be “calculatedly stupid” in order to write. The only reliable cure for overthinking seems to be enjoyment, something that both success and analysis can dull. Experienced athletes and artists often complain that they have lost touch with what made them love what they do in the first place. Thinking about it is a poor substitute.

via NON COGITO, ERGO SUM | More Intelligent Life.

Gazzaniga also thinks that this left-hemisphere “interpreter” creates the unified feeling of an autobiographical, personal, unique self. “The interpreter sustains a running narrative of our actions, emotions, thoughts, and dreams. The interpreter is the glue that keeps our story unified, and creates our sense of being a coherent, rational agent. To our bag of individual instincts it brings theories about our lives. These narratives of our past behaviour seep into our awareness and give us an autobiography,” he writes. The language areas of the left hemisphere are well placed to carry out these tasks. They draw on information in memory amygdalo-hippocampal circuits, dorsolateral prefrontal cortices and planning regions orbitofrontal cortices. As neurologist Jeffrey Saver has shown, damage to these regions disrupts narration in a variety of ways, ranging from unbounded narration, in which a person generates narratives unconstrained by reality, to denarration, the inability to generate any narratives, external or internal.

via CultureLab: Storytelling 2.0: When new narratives meet old brains.

When people thank and tell you how much you’ve helped them, what they say has nothing to do with you. This is just their way of expressing joy in their own experience. Remember this, too, when people complain or criticize.

via Musings: Wash your own dishes.

Wonderful insight!

Drop Open

Posted: May 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

Drop Open.

One way that Buddhism informs today’s situation is in the focus on change. It must have been difficult for students in ancient Tibet to conceive of change, given that their society was very stable for thousands of years, with no change in population, and likely little change in technology.

Today we are flooded with change, and it is hard to find stability. It is easier for us to see this aspect of Buddhist teaching. Meditation techniques and mind training help us deal with change. Change is life, like the “clouds described as the magical creations of the sky.” We learn to sit in the middle of the swirling confusion, holding our seat, finding the stillness that is always here. There’s no need to worry that the sky is falling because we have smart phones with us all the time – these are tools at our service. Things still are just as they are.

Another way that Buddhist teachings assist us today is in the development of attention and insight; mind training that enables us to see what is needed, what is useful, from all that is before us. We need this focus to successfully search and filter information to discover the important, innovative ideas amidst the sea of noise.

The coming generations will grow up in a world where the norm is access to any information. This will certainly change the way we view knowledge and wisdom. The skills needed will be searching and filtering information, which is easily stored and made available by technology, and creation of knowledge and wisdom that can only be done by humans.

Perhaps this is the best time to know of Buddha’s teachings, because they address the very problems that we have, as always.