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In the November issue of Nature Neuroscience, the Rochester study shows that the brain’s cortex uses seemingly chaotic, or “noisy,” signals to represent the ambiguities of the real world—and that this noise dramatically enhances the brain’s processing, enabling us to make decisions in an uncertain world.
“You’d think this is crazy because engineers are always fighting to reduce the noise in their circuits, and yet here’s the best computing machine in the universe—and it looks utterly random,” says Alex Pouget, associate professor of brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester.
Pouget’s work for the first time connects two of the brain’s biggest mysteries; why it’s so noisy, and how it can perform such complex calculations. As counter-intuitive as it sounds, the noise seems integral to making those calculations possible.
I may resent this. He’s saying your brain sputters like an out of tune 57 Desoto for a while before it comes up with the correct thoughts. On the other hand that sounds about right most days.
One of the tenets of Scientology is that anyone who criticizes the religion is fair game for any and all kinds of retribution. You can file lawsuits against them, you can harass them, you can spread lies about them, and it’s OK because the critic is fundamentally evil.
This is the same reason Republicans have no problem running push polls, or handing out leaflets with false accusations, or calling Dems and telling them that their polling place has been changed… all this dishonest, sleazy stuff is OK because it’s in the service of a greater good.
I’m not saying Dems don’t indulge in vote shenanigans from time to time, but it’s never on the same level. And when the Democrats do win, the impetus isn’t to work with them, it’s to destroy them – that was how Bill Clinton was received.
For a good chunk of the GOP base, the Democrats are literally in league with the Devil, so any means of keeping them out of power is legitimate.
In fact, this attitude is only a matter of degrees away from the belief radical Muslims have that any wrong perpetrated against the “infidels” is justified.
This also ties into the so-called father of neo-conservatism, the philosopher Leo Strauss, who argued that the only way to stop liberalism from ruining society was for the elites (a.k.a his neocon followers) to exploit myths (religion) or create new myths (the Islamic Menace) that will unite the hoi polloi in an orgy of nationalistic fervor. Sounds like fascism? Yup. But an interesting feature of Straussism is that the elites don’t care if the myths they are exploiting are actually true; that’s irrelevant as long as they’re effective. Which is why we get Karl Rove talking about the Christian “nut-jobs,” and the Kerry-hates-the-troops nonsense from last week. All those Republicans parroting the talking point re Kerry knew it was bullshit but they didn’t care because it was an effective myth.
Bill Maher used to have a show before his current one on HBO called Politically Incorrect. He hasn’t lost his touch.