Summary of “Boston’s EMPath Program Uses Science to Fight Family Poverty”

The overload can be prompted by any number of things, including an overly stressful day at work or a family emergency.
After years of coaching adults and watching those benefits trickle down to children, EMPath has brought children into the center of its model-offering a way out of intergenerational poverty with brain science.
EMPath’s Intergenerational Mobility Project, known as Intergen, uses three tools-one for adults, one for kids, and one for the family as a whole-to frame how they think about their individual and collective lives.
“The Bridge to Self-Sufficiency,” for adults, guides parents to consider family stability, well-being, financial management, education and training, and employment and career management.
“The Family Carpool Lane Tool,” meanwhile, helps parents and their children align individual and family goals.
EMPath mentors understand the way the brain works, and their interventions are designed to help families effectively rewire their brains.
When discussing the benefits for her children, she says the family goal-setting does more than simply foster togetherness, which is a benefit in its own right.
EMPath is among the minority of agencies helping families break them down-using an understanding of the human brain to effect lasting change.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Training Your Brain So That You Don’t Need Reading Glasses”

It’s based on perceptual learning, the improvement of visual performance as a result of demanding training on specific images.
The training involves looking at images called “Gabor patches” in various conditions.
A great deal of the training involves trying to see Gabor patches placed between closely spaced, distracting flankers.
In training, the flanker spacing is varied, the target contrast is turned way down, and the images are flashed on a screen for fractions of a second – to the point that one can barely see the target.
Similar training is an effective component in treating amblyopia, also called “Lazy eye,” which is the most frequent cause of vision loss in infants and children, affecting 3 percent of the population.
The older adults’ ability to see low-contrast images improved to the level that the college-age ones had before training.
According to feedback from GlassesOff, my vision after training is equivalent to a man about 10 years younger than my age.
If I reach 50 – the age at which almost everyone needs corrective lenses to read – and still don’t need reading glasses, I may conclude that the training has paid off.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Roger Penrose Discusses Consciousness”

Once you start poking around in the muck of consciousness studies, you will soon encounter the specter of Sir Roger Penrose, the renowned Oxford physicist with an audacious-and quite possibly crackpot-theory about the quantum origins of consciousness.
“Perhaps Roger Penrose can think that fast, but I sure can’t.” Even Penrose’s old collaborator Stephen Hawking is dubious.
“His argument seemed to be that consciousness is a mystery and quantum gravity is another mystery so they must be related.” Penrose dismisses Hawking’s criticism, saying their disagreement is really about the nature of quantum mechanics.
Last year I saw Penrose in action at a one-day conference on consciousness in Lucerne, Switzerland.
In my brief interactions with them, I got the sense that Hameroff plays the role of willing accomplice-not only touting the genius of Sir Roger, but also looking after Penrose when it came to travel arrangements and even getting to the conference site.
This past March, when I called Penrose in Oxford, he explained that his interest in consciousness goes back to his discovery of Gödel’s incompleteness theorem while he was a graduate student at Cambridge.
He first contacted Penrose after reading The Emperor’s New Mind, suggesting he might have the missing biological component that would complement Penrose’s ideas about the physics of consciousness.
“As I wondered why Penrose keeps hammering away at his theory on consciousness after all these years, I asked him if he thinks there’s any inherent meaning in the universe. His answer surprised me.”Somehow, our consciousness is the reason the universe is here.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Your Brain Can Only Take So Much Focus”

As helpful as focus can be, there’s also a downside to focus as it is commonly viewed.
The problem is that excessive focus exhausts the focus circuits in your brain.
The brain operates optimally when it toggles between focus and unfocus, allowing you to develop resilience, enhance creativity, and make better decisions too.
Studied for decades by Jerome Singer, PCD activates the DMN and metaphorically changes the silverware that your brain uses to find information.
While focused attention is like a fork-picking up obvious conscious thoughts that you have, PCD commissions a different set of silverware-a spoon for scooping up the delicious mélange of flavors of your identity, chopsticks for connecting ideas across your brain, and a marrow spoon for getting into the nooks and crannies of your brain to pick up long-lost memories that are a vital part of your identity.
If it’s a creative task you have in front of you, you will likely need a full 90 minutes for more complete brain refreshing.
If we built PCD, 10- and 90- minute naps, and psychological halloweenism into our days, we would likely preserve focus for when we need it, and use it much more efficiently too.
Unfocus will allow us to update information in the brain, giving us access to deeper parts of ourselves and enhancing our agility, creativity and decision-making too.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The New York Review of Books”

What is the function of the body in consciousness? Am I my body, or my brain, or a part of my brain? Could I ever exist separately from my body, my consciousness downloaded in a computer, for example, or received into heaven?
Tim Parks: Riccardo, if I accept that when I see an apple, my experience simply is the apple, and is external to my body, then we have eliminated the traditional distinction between subject and object and with it the possibility of any experience that is not the material world, any interior “Mental” existence that could be separated from it.
It’s one thing to say, as I certainly do, that you can’t exist without your body and quite another to say that you are your body.
So the body is part of your experience, just as things in the world outside are part of your experience.
Since experience comes from having a body, it can only involve the objects that enter into a causal relationship with that body.
Manzotti: First, precisely because the interaction of body and the surrounding world creates a relative world that is unique to that body and to no other, we each experience a world that is different from what others experience.
Let me get to the second equally crucial misconception; our tendency to confuse the body with the “Person,” or the self, when very obviously the self is not the body.
Parks: So the combination of an early identity of self and body in childhood, together with an awareness that my experience is unique to me, creates, you claim, the illusion that the self is the body, or, since we never see the self, a privileged private space internal to the body, or the head. Whereas, in your view, the self is an ever-expanding accumulation of experiences made up of those external objects, thousands upon thousands of them, relative to our bodies, either immediately present or still causally active on us despite now being in the past or distant from us?

The orginal article.

Summary of “deadspin-quote-carrot-aligned-w-bgr-2”

Take the most computational part of the body, the brain.
Our brains do not “Store” memories as computers do, simply calling up a desired piece of information from a memory bank.
Research into some of these things is underway, but so far much of what it has uncovered is that the body and brain are incredibly complex.
Scientists do hope, for example, that one day brain computer interfaces might help alleviate severe cases of mental illnesses like depression, and DARPA is currently funding a $65 million research effort aimed at using implanted electrodes to tackle some of the trickiest mental illnesses.
After decades of research, it’s still unclear which areas of the brain even make the most sense to target for each illness.
Within a mere two years, Facebook thinks it’ll know whether its plan to send 100-word-per-minute status updates from our brains to our screens is possible.
The technology available today can only measure a fraction of the neural activity necessary to link someone’s entire brain to a computer, or allow them to communicate with another person without speaking.
In his 1958 book The Computer and the Brain, the mathematician John von Neumann stated explicitly that the human nervous system is ‘prima facie digital.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Nature Manages Its Information”

Shouldn’t information in biological systems be handled messily, and wasted? In fact, many biological computations are so perfect that they bump up against the mathematical limits of efficiency; genius is our inheritance.
A developing embryo must self-direct the rapid division, migration, and specialization of its constituent cells based on the information stored in DNA. Cells diverge from one another to grow in different ways, depending on their position in the embryo.
The question is, how quickly and effectively can spatial information be communicated in order for development to unfold properly? Alan Turing, the father of modern computing, was fascinated by the idea that life might be reducible to mathematical laws, and tackled this question in the early 1950s.
His prediction of a chemical system of information management was proven true decades later with the first discovery of a morphogen in fruit flies, called bicoid.
Its body must learn how to sample and integrate both external and internal information.
The BrainThe brain represents the height of biological information processing and transmission.
Neurons code information with binary electrical events called spikes, shocking one another like tiny batteries.
Most recently, a study1 published in Nature in October 2013 showed that activity within dendrites shapes the information processed by that neuron.

The orginal article.