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How quantum trickery can scramble cause and effect : Nature News & Comment

within the mathematical formalism of quantum theory, ambiguity about causation emerges in a perfectly logical and consistent way. And by creating systems that lack a clear flow of cause and effect2, researchers now think they can tap into a rich realm of possibilities. Some suggest that they could boost the already phenomenal potential of quantum computing. “A quantum computer free from the constraints of a predefined causal structure might solve some problems faster than conventional quantum computers,” says quantum theorist Giulio Chiribella of the University of Hong Kong. What's more, thinking about the 'causal structure' of quantum mechanics — which events precede or succeed others — might prove to be more productive, and ultimately more intuitive, than couching it in the typical mind-bending language that describes photons as being both waves and particles, or events as blurred by a haze of uncertainty.

8 Ways to Read (a Lot) More Books This Year

A good friend once told me a story that really stuck with me. He said Stephen King had advised people to read something like five hours a day. My friend said, “You know, that’s baloney. Who can do that?” But then, years later, he found himself in Maine on vacation. He was waiting in line outside a movie theater with his girlfriend, and who should be waiting in front of him? Stephen King! His nose was in a book the whole time in line. When they got into the theater, Stephen King was still reading as the lights dimmed. When the lights came up, he pulled his book open right away. He even read as he was leaving. Now, I have not confirmed this story with Stephen King. But I think the message this story imparts is an important one. Basically, you can read a lot more. There are minutes hidden in all the corners of the day, and they add up to a lot of minutes.

Whether our speech is fast or slow, we say about the same -- ScienceDaily

"It seems the constraints on how much information per second we should transmit are fairly strict, or stricter than we thought they were," Cohen Priva said. In information theory, rarer word choices convey greater "lexical information," while more complicated syntax, such as the passive voice, conveys greater "structural information." To stay within the channel, those who talk quickly speak with more common words and simpler syntax, while those with a slower pace tend to use rarer, more unexpected words and more complicated wordings, Cohen Priva found. The study provides only hints about why a constrained information rate might govern conversation, Cohen Priva said. It could derive from either a speaker's difficulty in formulating and uttering too much information too quickly or from a listener's difficulty in processing and comprehending speech delivered at too fast a pace.

My father’s death by suicide inspired me to learn how to just ‘be’ – The Washington Post – Medium

That “anxiety needs the future,” and “depression needs the past.” My dad suffered deeply from both of these things: his fear and lack of control over all that lay ahead, and his regret over the things he couldn’t go back and change. He suffered from an unhealthy relationship with time. He lost his footing in the here-and-now. And it made him struggle — as all too many of us do — with the age-old Shakespearean dilemma: “To be, or not to be.”

The Endless, and Expensive, Quest for Rare Objects

Rarity isn’t all about social signalling, though. Pappy’s rarity also makes the bourbon taste better, since people often consume rare products in an especially deliberate way. Precisely because they know rare experiences are scarce, they slow down and savor them, revealing layers of pleasure that might go unnoticed otherwise. After I spoke at the conference in Chicago, the organizer handed me a glass containing two ounces of Pappy twenty-year, and I sat alone in a corner and sipped the bourbon very slowly. Inspired by its rarity, I extracted extra pleasure from a mundane act that I’ve performed many times before. It helped, obviously, that the bourbon was excellent to begin with, but who knows—by savoring a lesser bourbon, I might have increased its value, too. Rarity isn’t essential to savoring, but it does nudge you toward mindfulness when you might otherwise consume mindlessly.

Hit of dopamine twelve hours after event is crucial for memory formation

The FMI scientists found that dopamine, through the D1/5 dopamine receptor on basket cells, helps maintain the changes induced in basket cells during learning. Interestingly, this is particularly important 12-14 hours after the learning experience, when enhanced network activity is thought to consolidate circuitry changes that encode long-term memories. Without the dopamine signal after 12 hours, basket cell plasticity is rapidly lost and no long-term memory is formed. "This time window at 12-14 hours is independent of the day-night cycle, and specifically associated to each memory. It is as if each new learning process starts a clock that will ultimately result in consolidation of memories 12-14 hours later. So, why 12-14 hours? We do not know," commented Caroni. "It might be that the processes occurring between acquisition and this critical 12-14 hours time window ensure that what is learned is validated through subsequent experience, and that what is consolidated into long-term memory is also compared and integrated with previous learning."

Takes a long time to form a sentence

The brevity of these silences is doubly astonishing when you consider that it takes at least 600 milliseconds for us to retrieve a single word from memory and get ready to actually say it. For a short clause, that processing time rises to 1500 milliseconds. This means that we have to start planning our responses in the middle of a partner’s turn, using everything from grammatical cues to changes in pitch. We continuously predict what the rest of a sentence will contain, while similarly building our hypothetical rejoinder, all using largely overlapping neural circuits.

Brain has internal ‘odometer’ and ‘stopwatch’

To prove the contrary, researchers put rats on treadmills and recorded the activity of grid cells, keeping either distance or duration of running unchanged, and only varying the speed. As a result, 92% of grid cells in rats emitted signals at specific moments: for instance, one cell would fire 8 seconds into the run, not taking into account speed or distance covered, and another cell would emit a signal every 400 cm, not depending on speed or duration of the run. 50 percent of the cells were affected by distance, another half by time, and around 40 percent by both factors. "Space and time are ever-present dimensions by which events can be organized in memory," senior study author Howard Eichenbaum, a psychologist and neuroscientist at Boston University, said in the official press release.

Mike Nichols on choices

I was sitting in the stalls, and a stagehand walked in with a chair in either hand, and he shouted to Mike, Which chair? And Mike instantly said, That one, indicating the one in his left hand. As the guy walked off, I was thinking, Christ, I’ll never be a director. The chairs weren’t that different, you know, and I said, What was it about that chair? He said, Nothing, you just have to answer instantly—you can change your mind later.

Building for the future

Years ago, Seung officiated at his best friend’s wedding, and during the invocation he told the gathering, “My father says that success is never achieved in just one generation.” As he has grown older and had a child of his own, he has felt his perspective shift. When Seung was in his 20s, science for him was solving puzzles, an extension of the math problems he did for fun as a child alone in his room on Saturdays after soccer. Now he finds great satisfaction in encouraging younger scientists, in helping them avoid dead ends that he has already explored. He wants to do something that will allow the community to progress, to build “strong foundations, steppingstones that the next generation can be sure of.”

Identity, time and the brain

Seung told me to imagine a river, the roiling waters of the Colorado. That, he said, is our experience from moment to moment. Over time, the water leaves its mark on the riverbed, widening bends, tracing patterns in the rock and soil. In a sense, the Grand Canyon is a memory of where the Colorado has been. And of course, that riverbed shapes the flow of the waters today. There are two selves then, river and riverbed. The river is all tumult and drama. The river demands attention. Yet it’s the riverbed that Seung wants to know.

The brain as orchestra, with each system listening to the others

"each structure in the brain contributes its own resonance, and all these oscillations are monitored and integrated by the basal ganglia or striatal circuits. It's like a conductor who listens to the orchestra, which is composed of individual musicians. Then, with the beat of his baton, the conductor synchronizes the orchestra so that listeners hear a coordinated sound." Thus, in essence, the entire brain is an intricate interval timing machine, in which individual structures busy with their own neural tasks, generate resonances that integrate to become ticks of the neural clock.

Biological Rhythms as a Basis for Mood Disorders

Exogenous rhythms are the result of external factors, such as a change in the seasons, or the transition from day to night. Environmental stimuli that help to maintain these cycles are called zietgebers, which comes from German and translates as "time givers." Zietgebers include sunlight, noise, food, and even social interaction, all cues that help the biological clock maintain a 24-hour day.