Communicating with the dead is a standard job requirement for a psychic such as the infamous medium John Edward of the television show Crossing Over who claims to be able to listen to what the deceased family members of his studio audience have to say. Hearing the thoughts of the dead would appear to be one superpower we certainly do not possess. Surely this superpower must remain firmly in the realm of fiction (Edward included). However, a little thought reveals that we in fact do this all the time. …by simply reading.
In my article on brain waves and consciousness
I looked at some research associating gamma wave activity with consciousness. This is, however, a controversial area in that other researchers have found that such gamma activity is also correlated with eye movements known as saccades: these are the small eye movements that the brain edits out so that we do not perceive the world as a blur as we switch focus. So, are brain gamma waves merely a byproduct of saccadic movements or are they correlated with consciousness or, potentially, both?
Our everyday visual perceptions rely upon unfathomably complex computations carried out by tens of billions of neurons across over half our cortex. In spite of this, it does not “feel” like work to see. Our cognitive powers are, in stark contrast, “slow and painful,” and we have great trouble with embarrassingly simple logic tasks.
Specially medicated contact lenses loaded with vitamin E can keep glaucoma medicine near the eye — where it can treat the disease — almost 100 times longer than possible with current commercial lenses, scientists reported today at the ACS National Meeting.
Glaucoma is second only to cataracts as the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in the world. It affects almost 67 million people. Eye drops that relieve the abnormal build-up of pressure inside the eye that occurs in glaucoma, are a mainstay treatment.
Researchers writihg in Proceedings of the Royal Society B say they have made a discovery in understanding the origins of human vision. They say they have determined which genetic 'gateway,' or ion channel, in the hydra is involved in light sensitivity. Hydra are simple animals that, along with jellyfish, belong to the phylum cnidaria. Cnidarians first emerged 600 million years ago.
Complex traits with components of individual evolutionary histories are always more difficult to understand but a gene called opsin is present in vision among vertebrate animals and is responsible for a different way of seeing than that of animals like flies. The vision of insects emerged later than the visual machinery found in hydra and vertebrate animals.
I really like this optical illusion made by Japanese artist Hajime Ouchi. It's just so simple - just black and white rectangles - and yet has the illusion of both movement and depth. Reminds me a little of some Vasarely images but his were mainly warped spaces - more optical-candy rather than optical-high!
Migraine sufferers have long complained about how their headaches worsen with bright light, and in case you ever doubted their complaints, Rami Burstein and other researchers from Harvard Medical School and the Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah recently made a giant step in understanding the light-to-headache mechanism
in Nature Neuroscience
. They found neurons in the rat thalamus sensitive to both light and to the dura (the membrane surrounding the brain).
Other people have an accent, but not me. And this is not just because I have no accent. I wouldn’t have an accent even if I had one!
Accent is a strange thing (as is my reasoning style). No matter the accent you get stuck with – southern, New Yorker, or my valley girl rendition – you feel as if it is the other accents that sound accented to you. Your own accent sounds, well, unaccented, like vanilla, corn flakes, or white bread. Arguments about which person “has an accent” don’t tend to be productive; just a lot of pointing and reiterating the pearl, “No, you’re the one with the accent.”
It’s nearing the end of American football season, with the Super Bowl fast approaching. These games involve displays of tremendous strength, agility and heart. What you may not have known is that some of the most talented players out on the field are doing it all with their eyes closed. Literally. The American football player Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals made news last year when photographers captured him catching the ball with his eyes closed. He apparently does this all the time. And it is not just Fitzgerald who does this: after just five minutes searching online I found evidence that acclaimed college wide receiver Austin Pettis of Boise State, this year’s Fiesta Bowl Champion’s, closes his eyes when catching, as seen in the photo here.
How does an outfielder get to the right place at the right time to catch a fly ball? According to a recent article in the Journal of Vision, the "outfielder problem" represents the definitive question of visual-motor control. How does the brain use visual information to guide action?
To test three theories that might explain an outfielder's ability to catch a fly ball, researchers programmed Brown University's virtual reality lab, the VENLab, to produce realistic balls and simulate catches. The team then lobbed virtual fly balls to a dozen experienced ball players.