Predatory Practices.

Oh, we are so fucking bad-ass. Even Science says so. The paper’s called “The Unique Ecology of Human Predators” (commentary here), and it’s been getting a lot of press since it came out last week. “People Are Deadliest Predators”, trumpets Discovery News; “Humans Are Super Predators”, IFL Science breathlessly repeats. Even Canada’s staid old CBC, […]

Posted in: biology, eco, marine, science by Peter Watts 30 Comments

By & About

Me, that is. In reference to a couple of essays that have gone live over the past 24 hours. * I haven’t had a lot contact with the good folks over at The Canadian Science Fiction Review— I don’t even know why they call themselves “Æ”, now that I think of it— but over the […]

A Breath of (Extrasolar) Air

Yeah, I know, I’m supposed to be face-down in work.  And I am, I am.  But this is just too cool to let pass without pointing it out:  a team out of Santa Cruz and Carnegie have tagged a potentially habitable planet around Gliese 581. And they did it with a good  old-fashioned ground-based telescope. […]

Posted in: astronomy/cosmology, science by Peter Watts 41 Comments

A Romance to make Seth Brundle Weep

Haven’t been posting the past few days.  I really should have written something to commemorate Darwin’s 200th birthday, but how can you celebrate when the latest Gallup poll shows that over 60% of the US population is too blinkered, too misled, or too downright stupid to grasp the reality of natural selection? And I would […]

Posted in: biology, evolution, science by Peter Watts 11 Comments

Avast! Here Be a Blindsightinator for Ye!

Aye me hearties, be ye rememberin’ that time in Blindsight when Rorschach, she be putting the sun in scurvy Szpindel’s eyes? “Argh, I be seein’ naught,” Szpindel be sayin’, his timbers a’shiver. “It be the EM fields,” James be barking. “That be how they signal. The briney deep, she be fulla words, she be—” “I […]

Posted in: biology, blindsight, neuro, science by Peter Watts 5 Comments

Living in the Past.

Most of you here have read Blindsight. Some of you have made it almost to the end. A few have even got as far as the references (I know this, because some of you have asked me questions about them). And so you might remember that old study Libet did back in the nineties, in […]

Posted in: blindsight, neuro, science by Peter Watts 42 Comments

Cybersnot

Inspired by the synergy of my own stuffed, crusty, raw red nose and the long-awaited return of Battlestar Galactica (and if you haven’t seen the season premiere yet, what are you wasting time here for? Get onto BitTorrent and start downloading right fucking now, do you hear me?), I am reminded of this little tech […]

Posted in: AI/robotics, science by Peter Watts 6 Comments

Your Brain is Leaking

This punch-happy little dude has been all over the net for the past week or so: easily the world’s coolest crustacean even before then, insofar as how many lifeforms of any stripe can bash their furious little claws through the water so fast (accelerating at over 10,000G!) that the resulting cavitation bubbles heat up to […]

Posted in: neuro, science by Peter Watts 6 Comments

Is this theory of yours accepted by any respectable authorities?

The long-awaited new Neuropsychologia‘s finally on the stands, and it’s a theme issue on — wait for it — consciousness! Lots of articles on blindsight, interhemispheric signaling, anosognosia, all that cool stuff. And nestled in the heart of this month’s episode is a paper by David Rosenthal entitled “Consciousness and its function“. Guess what. He […]

Posted in: biology, blindsight, neuro, science by Peter Watts 8 Comments

The View From The Left

This is an ancient review article — about ten years old, judging by the references — but it contains an intriguing insight from split-brain research that I hadn’t encountered before: The right hemisphere remembers stuff with a minimum of elaboration, pretty much as it happens. The left hemisphere makes shit up. Mr. Right just parses […]