Tag Archives: Consciousness

Previews: New Scientist Magazine – August 28

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New Science Podcast: Lab-Grown Mini Brains, Herd Immunity & Bat Dinosaurs

The chances of mini brains becoming sentient, herd immunity, bat-like dinosaurs, and a UK government decision threatens gender diversity in academia.

In this episode:

00:59 The ethics of creating consciousness

Brain organoids, created by culturing stem cells in a petri dish, are a mainstay of neuroscience research. But as these mini-brains become more complex, is there the chance they could become conscious, and if so, how could we tell?

News Feature: Can lab-grown brains become conscious?

09:01 Coronapod

So called ‘herd immunity’ is claimed by some as a way to break the chain of infection and curtail the pandemic. However epidemiologists say that this course of action is ineffective and will lead to large numbers of infections and deaths.

News Explainer: The false promise of herd immunity for COVID-19

20:59 Research Highlights

Volcanic ash degrades ancient art in Pompeii, and the aerial ineptitude of two bat-like dinosaurs.

Research Highlight: The volcanic debris that buried Pompeii wreaks further destruction; Research Highlight: A dead end on the way to the sky

23:22 How cutting red-tape could harm gender diversity in UK academia

The Athena SWAN scheme, designed to boost gender-equality in UK academia, has proved effective, and has been exported to countries around the world. But now a decision by the UK government to cut bureaucracy could mean that institutions pay less heed to schemes like this and threaten future efforts to increase gender diversity in UK academia.

Editorial: Equality and diversity efforts do not ‘burden’ research — no matter what the UK government says

31:00 Briefing Chat

We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, oncologists discover a potential new human organ, and how re-examined fossils have given new insights into the size of baby tyrannosaurs.

Top New Science Podcasts: ‘Sniff-Response’, Carbon Dioxide And Vaccinations Replacing Antibiotics

nature-podcastsThis week, how the ‘sniff-response’ can help clinicians determine a patient’s state of consciousness, and how vaccines could help drive down antibiotic use.

In this episode:

00:45 Sniffing out consciousness

Researchers have found that the sniff reflex can indicate whether a patient is in a vegetative state, and even the likelihood that they will recover consciousness. Research Article: Arzi et al.

08:37 Research Highlights

The stupefying effect of carbon dioxide, and a chameleon gemstone that tricks your eyes. Research Highlight: Rising carbon dioxide levels will make us stupiderResearch Highlight: How a chameleon gemstone changes from red to green

11:12 Vaccination and antibiotic usage

Looking at data from low- and middle-income countries, researchers have determined that vaccination could prevent millions of infections currently treated by antibiotics. Research Article: Lewnard et al.

16:49 Pick of the Briefing

We pick our highlights from the Nature Briefing, including the forgotten mother of climate change science, and a new global study on insect declines. Chemistry World: Eunice Foote: the mother of climate changeScience: Meta-analysis reveals declines in terrestrial but increases in freshwater insect abundances

Subscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.

Artists: Belgian Surrealist Painter René Magritte Linked “Consciousness And The External World”

From a Christies.com online article:

René Magritte, The Son of Man, 1964
René Magritte, The Son of Man, 1964

‘The creation of new objects, the transformation of known objects; a change of substance in the case of certain objects: a wooden sky, for instance; the use of words in association with images; the misnaming of an object… the use of certain visions glimpsed between sleeping and waking, such in general were the means devised to force objects out of the ordinary, to become sensational, and so establish a profound link between consciousness and the external world.’

René François Ghislain Magritte (1898-1967) was born in Lessines, Belgium. His father was a tailor and textile merchant; his mother committed suicide in 1912, drowning herself in the River Sambre.

René Magritte 1898 - 1967 Le Somnambule 1946

From the 1930s, Magritte sought to find ‘solutions’ to particular ‘problems’ posed by different types of objects, a method that enabled him to challenge and reconfigure the most ubiquitous and commonplace elements of everyday life. These problems obsessed him until he was able to conceive of an image to solve them.

This philosophical method had come to him after waking from a dream in 1932. In his semi-conscious state, he looked over at a birdcage that was in his room but saw not the bird that inhabited the cage, but instead an egg. This ‘splendid misapprehension’ allowed him to grasp, in his own words, ‘a new and astonishing poetic secret.’

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Neuroscience Podcast: “Consciousness Theories” And “Biased Childhood Memories” (ScienceMag)

We don’t know where consciousness comes from. And we don’t know whether animals have it, or whether we can detect it in patients in comas. Do neuroscientists even know where to look? A new competition aims to narrow down the bewildering number of theories of consciousness and get closer to finding its biological signs by pitting different theories against each other in experimental settings. Freelance journalist Sara Reardon talks with host Sarah Crespi about how the competition will work.

Science Mag Podcast ConsciousnessIn our second segment, we talk about how we think about children. For thousands of years, adults have complained about their lack of respect, intelligence, and tendency to distraction, compared with previous generations. A new study out this week in Science Advances suggests our own biased childhood memories might be at fault. Sarah Crespi talks with John Protzko of the University of California, Santa Barbara, about how terrible people thought kids were in 3800 B.C.E. and whether understanding those biases might change how people view Generation Z today.

To read more: https://www.sciencemag.org/podcast/trying-find-mind-brain-and-why-adults-are-always-criticizing-kids-these-days