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India! I dare you to be rich

Category Archive: Science

Further proof that we are predators: carnivores, meat eaters.

I chanced upon this short video. It shows that having eyes in the front is often a key characteristic of predators (for details also see this).

The owl is a classic example. Among the birds it is a pure predator. And this is how its eyes focus on prey:

Some birds can see the full 360 degrees. Many herbivores can also see almost 360 degrees, since they are designed to FLEE, not to ATTACK. 

You can see below one of our closest animal relatives (chimpanzee) hunting for a monkey which they EAT RAW.

Coupled with a lot of other evidence, this is CONFIRMATION that man is a predatory meat eater.

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Two self theory (a mammalian primate with a lizard hiding inside) – and the secret of self-mastery and control

Each of us is not just one of us, but two of us, a human (primate) with a reptile (lizard?) inside us. Not a very pleasant thought, perhaps, but we all know about the tussle between our "angel" and "devil", our two 'natures'.

We have this push-pull between our lazy self and the other which drives us to our future goals. All this is easy to understand using the simplistic model of the Triune brain (which I've also discussed in DOF in detail).

Recent literature on will power suggests that ordinary "will power" has a "quota" and if one exhausts it early during a day, it can reduce by the end of the day (e.g. see this PDF report for the layman from the American Psychological Association). But I believe this only partly fits with my experience. There have been times when I've driven myself to extreme self-defined goals, without ANY respite. And at others, I've allowed my body/mind to slacken and lose control. There is not just a 'fixed' amount of will power, nor anything 'fixed' at all about anything in our lives.

We are just TWO OF US. Once the primate within us decides to do something, the primate can quickly overpower and control the lowly reptile that lives within us, regardless of whether our "quota" of will power has been used during the day. 

This piece of research suggests that our INSTINCT (which is always most powerful) is our "animal" self, our "reptile" self, and will drive us into the ditch, if allowed to take control.

The way out is simple: to imagine that our body is a PET DOG, to be tightly controlled. Treat the body well, but realise it is merely an animal. Imagine you are a human perched atop an animal.

And at that point, once the animal is brought under control, the HUMAN within us can start functioning for his/her goals.

Btw, this makes far more sense to me than Advaita, which merely refers to ONE self. I disagree with that approach (for practical purposes). I've seen even the great proponents of Advaita slip up and get into trouble. That's because while they thought they were a great "spiritual" self, their ANIMAL body overpowered them and drove them into a ditch.

INSTINCT IS ALWAYS MORE POWERFUL. It is up to us to treat our instinctive response as an ANIMAL response, and to aggressively tame it under all circumstances, like we tame our pet dog and keep it on the leash.

INSTINCT IS IMPORTANT

I do not mean to suggest that instinct is irrelevant. 95 per cent of our body runs on instinct (breathing, heart beat, etc. etc. ). Our 'gut' reactions are also mostly accurate (Thinking Fast and Slow, Kahneman).

Our instinct kicks in when we are walking in a dark night on a lonely street and we perk up on hearing footsteps. Our instinct kicks in when we withdraw our hand from hot water. These are all critically important. But our instinct fails us when we are faced with abundance of food. It over-eats, like a lizard gorging on insects hovering near a light bulb.

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I’m amazed by the quality of this elephant’s art work. We need to revisit the ranking of intelligent life.

I've always known (as has everyone) that animals possess a sharp sense of intelligence – some more, some less. Indeed, all animals (even the smallest of them) behave consistently with the laws of economics – which means they behave rationally.

But intelligence means using tools. And so we rate chimpanzees as intelligent. Allegedly chimps are our nearest 'smart' relative.

But this video (and many others of this sort) about the art work of elephants puts them CLEARLY in league with humans. Not even the average 16 year old human can paint with the dexterity with which this elephant uses the brush.

I was shocked to even imagine that elephants can use a paint brush, but the resultant work is beyond the ordinary. It is superlative.

Elephants clearly have an IQ very close to humans, and this confirms that intelligence will evolve on its own in ANY form or shape with time. It is not necessary to look human in order to be intelligent. The great advantage we have over elephants, of course, is our hand which allows us extremely convenient use of tools. But in pure brain power, it is clear that elephants are very close to humans in every way.

And they are the only 'spiritual' animal as well (as seen by the regard they have for their ancestor's bones). Our conception of life on earth must now change.

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IBM, we want freedom from monopolist unaccountable doctors. Please make Watson’s service available to ANYONE – on payment.

Watson has become really smart and becoming even smarter by the day:

"I've had a couple of patients where Watson found things that I had missed," says Dr. Neil Mehta, the staff physician who's leading the Cleveland Clinic's end of the Watson project. "It doesn't work every time, but it's getting better." One example is a patient suffering from sleep apnea-like symptoms. Years earlier, this patient had a blood gas test that would have confirmed the diagnosis, but the test results were hidden in a hard-to-find section of the medical record. Without Watson, Mehta says he never would have seen the result.” [Source]

And:

"It would take at least 160 hours of reading a week just to keep up with new medical knowledge as it's published, let alone consider its relevance or apply it practically. Watson's ability to absorb this information faster than any human should, in theory, fix a flaw in the current healthcare model. Wellpoint's Samuel Nessbaum has claimed that, in tests, Watson's successful diagnosis rate for lung cancer is 90 percent, compared to 50 percent for human doctors."  [Source]

I’m disappointed to learn that IBM doesn’t see Watson as a tool to DISPLACE doctors, but only as a doctor's assistant.

It is likely that the doctor monopolists (all monopolies are state created) will get government regulators to disallow the widespread PRIVATE availability of Watson through the cloud to every citizen on earth. That would be FATAL to the purpose of Watson. And destructive of human freedom.

Watson should aim for bigger things – to entirely DISPLACE doctors (like reference librarians have long been displaced by wikipedia), not to just be a doctor's helper.

There is currently so little trust of doctors amongst many patients (at least I have almost no trust in most doctors) that people want to be rid permanently of this monopoly profession of unaccountable crooks who fleece patients but NEVER assure them of any cure or even the right diagnosis. Despite their Hippocratic oath, most doctors today are ruthless mercenaries, driven by an insatiable urge to make money and BULLDOZE patients into submission, even when they have provided entirely wrong and costly advice – or even harmed the patient.

I would have been more sympathetic to the medical profession if its representatives behave professionally and in an accountable manner. But the average doctor is entirely unaccountable. After many, many wrong diagnoses, when I tried to hold one of these crooks to account, the medical fraternity – through its regulatory control over the system - very conveniently allowed that doctor to get away with BLATANT LIES. I finally gave up since this was costing me a huge amount of time (in addition to lost money and pain). They wore me out, but have made an enemy of the profession for life.

We want FREEDOM TO TREAT OURSELVES. That's our birthright. Our body is nobody's property but ours. And what we do or how we treat is, is our BASIC property right. We the free citizens would rather consult Watson (like we consult google today), and decide how to treat ourselves, than hand our our body to an unaccountable profession.

Citizens of the world want freedom from this monopolist profession of unaccountable doctors. IBM, please don’t make Watson available only to doctors. It is morally wrong for IBM to hire Watson out only to doctors.

Indeed, IBM will be commercially foolish to hire Watson only to doctors. It could in due course be out-competed by open source AI bsed competition. IBM must not make the commercially costly mistake of taking the side of doctors.

IBM can charge for Watson’s consultancy, but it should make Watson freely available to ANYONE in the world, without requiring citizens to visit an untrustworthy intermediary – a doctor.

We will hire a doctor when we feel it is appropriate to do so, but let us talk to Watson DIRECTLY.

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Let Seralini publish his data. The world will evaluate the merit of his study.

The Seralini study is attracting two kinds of comments:

a) Those, like me, who agree it was bad science.

b) Those who believe it is being falsely labeled bad science

Debate is good, but uninformed debate is bad.

The solution to this issue is to have Seralini publish all his data in the public domain so statisticians can independently evaluate its results and help the world form the CORRECT opinion.

I believe the study is mistaken. But I also believe the retraction wasn't transparent enough. The world is capable of judging for itself if the data are made avaialble.

There is already a petition for Seralini to release the data. I join in this request for public release.

ADDENDUM

I also support the idea of Monsanto publishing its data:

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The Seralini retraction didn’t have sufficient transparency. Science deserves a fresh, rigorous study.

Further thoughts, primarily on Twitter:

The COPE guidelines allow a paper to be retracted for honest error (e.g. miscalculation or experimental error).

In this case there was no miscalculation. There was a clear experimental error.

The problem with the retraction, though, is the following:

- the peer review process NOTED the experimental limitation but the paper was allowed to go through.

- the additional review of raw data presumably provided the following information:

A more in-depth look at the raw data revealed that no definitive conclusions can be reached with this small sample size regarding the role of either NK603 or glyphosate in regards to overall mortality or tumor incidence. Given the known high incidence of tumors in the Sprague-Dawley rat, normal variability cannot be excluded as the cause of the higher mortality and incidence observed in the treated groups.

This is unclear. Why would raw data provide MORE information than published results? Did the journal re-run the tests? If so, the results should be published.

The issue I have with this retraction is its lack of transparency. It sounds OK. It is probably OK. But it a touch-and-go border case retraction. Won't stand in a court of law.

I'm inclined to reaffirm the view I formed yesterday, namely that science deserves a repeat study, with full rigour.

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