The Horror: It's all in the Brain

We love to be afraid, just ask Hollywood marketing experts who turn out horror movies and thrillers regularly to consistently solid box-office returns. It turns out that the brain processes 'fright' through the amygdala. The adrenaline boost associated with fear, if the the fear is not too real, can become addictive. This is why some people enjoy skydiving, free-form rock climbing, or surfing very large waves, where the risk is manageable, but still provides a 'rush.'
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Firefox game gets picked up by blogs in Iran

Iranian tech blog picks up the firefox game. Maybe we can all learn to get along in this world and focus on the important stuff like building a better browser and solar energy.

Spooky Halloween-for-Geeks Test Arrives

Here's the Halloween test. It includes (even) a geek-jack o'lantern (see below)

:-) have fun

Halloween: Spooky brain

Halloween brain exercises are coming.


Google scholar at cognitivelabs.com

Google scholar utilizes the page-rank algorithm to so show circles of influence in the academic substrate(from whence it came) so that scholarly work is ranked by the number of citations. For example, look at JW Ashford, Elan Amir, or Arthur Jensen.

firefox vs. internet explorer brain game

the ultimate in browser rivalry...for brains everywhere.


Alzheimer's Turns 100

In 1901, Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a German psychiatrist, (Deutsch article)interviewed a patient named Mrs. Auguste D, age 51. He showed her several objects and later asked her what she had been shown. She could not remember. He would initially record her behavior as "amnestic writing disorder," but Mrs. Auguste D. would be the first patient to be identified with Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer would later work in the laboratory of the esteemed Emil Kraepelin in Munich, Germany. Kraepelin was the author of a leading textbook in psychiatry and was a strong believer that neuropathology could be linked to clinical psychiatric function. Early in April 1906, Auguste D died, and Alzheimer worked with two Italian physicians to examine her anatomy and neuropathology. On November 3, 1906, he presented Auguste D's case to the 37th Assembly of Southwest German Psychiatrists and described the neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaques that would be the hallmark of the disease. Kraepelin would later write about this case and others in his Textbook for Students and Doctors and index them under Alzheimer's disease. By 1910, the name of the disease was well established among the specialist community. [1]

CLEVELAND, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- Many of the world's Alzheimer's disease experts will be in Cleveland next week to observe the 100th anniversary of the first Alzheimer's disease diagnosis.

Approximately 350 scientists from Australia, Canada, China, Britain, Japan, Mexico and the United States are to attend a conference Nov. 6-7 sponsored by Case Western Reserve University to discuss advances in technology, environmental design, ethics and care in dealing with the disease that affects 18 million people worldwide.

There are 4.5 million U.S. citizens with the disease and that number is expected to double by 2025.

"As we mark the 100th anniversary of Alzheimer's, it is time to think broadly and reflect deeply on the meaning of Alzheimer's for individuals and society," said Dr. Peter Whitehouse, professor of neurology at the university's Center for Memory and Aging.

Speakers at the "Reflecting on 100 Years of Alzheimer's: The Global Impact on Quality of Lives" conference will discuss the challenges created by Alzheimer's disease and related conditions in the areas of psychiatry, neurology, geriatrics, psychology, nursing and social work.


100 Million Year Old Bee Found; Honeybee Genome Sequenced

A couple of fascinating general science stories over the weekend:

First, scientists have sequenced the honeybee genome, which is pretty interesting because bees have such different appearances and behaviors depending on minor edits to the genetic structure. At slashdot, a clever poster had this to say:

< script language="make honeybee" >
Make Wings;
Make Thorax;
Make Head;
Size = 10;
if (GrowthStoppingHormonePresent == false){
if (OtherQueenPresent == true){kill it;}
Spray Growth Stopping Hormone On All Bees Around You;
Behavior = "Go around gathering honey";

< / script>->

Secondly, a scientist in Oregon announced the discovery of the first known bee, 100 million years old, trapped in a chunk of amber extracted from a Chinese rock mine. (Think of the film Jurassic Park, a perennial favorite). This bee, only 1/10 of an inch long, was responsible for the flourishing of flowering plants which started around that time.

Dots a part of the brain's evolution

It seems that seeing dots is part of the brain's evolution, part of the development of consciousness that can be traced back tens of thousands of years. Why did cro-magnon people suddenly "get it" and learn to see the world symbolically? While before, they were little more than beasts, unable to speak and comprehend. What's next? Some people think that this level of consciousness could be compared to a chicken getting out of its egg and seeing a wider world. However, there's an even bigger egg that we have to hatch from, that's the egg that surrounds the earth and moon. As a species, we pecked at the shell, chickened out, and now we're getting ready to make another effort to crack that shell. The Internet is one of the tools that extends beyond this second shell and exists everywhere, it's a fulcrum for the future growth of the brain and moving on into, possibly, higher levels of awareness and consciousness, also including as Hawking says, moving out into space and permanent habitation - that's another characteristic of the breaking of this second shell.


Firefox game: get refreshed


Enjoy. 30% of the visitors now use FireFox, up from 6% last year, an astounding growth rate. Our audience is now large enough to indicate this is a significant movement. Our audience also, is not just the few thousand people in Silcon Valley and the tech industry who watch trends but folks all over the U.S. and the world, similar to those people that might want to track a UPS package on the Internet. (Flat Earth, Thomas Friedman, Chapter 8) or search on Google (Flat Earth, Thomas Friedman, Chapter 9) you could buy it at Amazon or pick it up at Target...another Flat Earth demonstration. The book also talks about unzipping the human genome and designer drugs, a future growth area. For example: "Mr Jones, your brainspeed seems a little slow these past few days, how about an XYZ pill?" - this would be via email or chat. Or, Mr Jones, your brainspeed is trending downward for 3 months...maybe it's time to schedule an MRI?"
The MRI will be evaluated by experts in India, who will make some suggestions. (this all assumes Jones opts-in to the voluntary tracking program). Best of all, Assume Mr. Jones schedules an offworld vacation, staying at the Budget Space Inn. First, he can log in to spacetix.org and see if there are any cancellations (he doesn't want to pay $200,000)Great! there is availability, then Jones picks the cognitive games tailored to enhancing low-gravity cognitive fitness, as part of his personal training regimen. Spaceflight training will become a domain of personal trainers in the near future, just watch. While in space, Jones uses Google earth to home in on and his free-IP based phone account to talk to family and colleagues at home (for free) over a satellite connection.


The Matrix Comes Alive....

We're working on an interesting feature....hope you like it.

let's just say you'll have a couple ways of exercising your brain.

What's Cognitive Labs Listening To?

Right now, She Sells Sanctuary...an 80's Tune by the Cult.

An oldie but it still rocks.

Simon Says: Do it

do what simon (and Flash master paul neave) says.


Toddler Growth

You can see the past two years graphically above, the data ends today. This chart is for advertisers and sponsors to see the runaway growth of the site. Sometime this evening we'll reach 1.6 million users (1,600,000) which is better than the circulation of many large newspapers, but there is much more growth to come, so hold on to your hats.

A couple of years ago we just wanted to help people take an active role in confronting memory loss. Former president Ronald Reagan passed on due to Alzheimer's, as well as Scotty (James Doohan) from the original Star Trek, but we had a view that easy to use tools should be in the hands of people with the most at stake (that's you - it's your brain) and kept to the plan. And we've overcome the technical hurdles that have blown in every now and then. Well, we're not satisfied; every test and game can be improved - and that's what we're focused on.

play Space Invaders with you brain

Almost, right on the home page... Actually, you will find it a good exercise. Move L-R using the arrow keys, launch a missile with the spacebar. All the sounds of the original 1979 arcade game.


Google Coop: Build Your Own Search Engine

If you're a member of Google Coop, you might have guessed where part of the initiative was headed: towards making a custom search API available which exceeds what could be accomplished before with Google search. Coop allowed you to highlight references of interest and let others find the references you built into your directory and subscribe to updates....this takes it a step further as you can now define the web for your own comunity with your own search engine. Become the editor of the metadata that describes your personal or community web.


Faces of Mummies

What did mummies really look like?
Now you can find out. By the 3rd century A.D., the people in Egypt were still practicing mummification, but replaced the old King Tut style masks with realistic face paintings, characteristic of Greek and Roman art. Some of the people in this memory TV exercise had red-bordered tunics, indicating they were probably Roman citizens (possibly a stereotype broken as well). Take yourself back 2,000 years and see faces you might see right now, anywhere. This is the same time period when Gnosticism grew in popularity in Egypt...

paint with your brain

this may be the most fun you have had with your computer since fingerpainting. express yourself


NIH plans massive clinical trial of compound Huperzine A

The National Institutes of Health is spending million of dollars studying the compound Huperzine A, derived from a Chinese moss. Huperzine A was an active ingredient in the formulation of BrainSpeed from Natrol, which allowed people to monitor themselves over time using several of the Cognitive Labs tests.


Kibra: Scanning the Human Genetic Code and Correlating with Results on Memory Tests yields New Gene

number of Cognitive Labs users in Arizona: >100,000

Researchers at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) have discovered a gene that plays a significant role in memory performance in humans. The findings, reported by TGen and research colleagues at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, Banner Alzheimer's Institute, and Mayo Clinic Scottsdale, appear in the October 20 issue of Science.

The study details how researchers associated memory performance with a gene called Kibra in over 1,000 individuals --both young and old-- from Switzerland and Arizona. This study is the first to describe scanning the human genetic blueprint at over 500,000 positions to identify cognitive differences between humans.

"Using the latest whole-genome association technologies, we have shed light on the fundamental biological process of human memory performance," said Dr. Dietrich Stephan, Director of TGen's Neurogenomics Division and a senior author of the paper. "The capacity to remember is a defining feature of humans and we can now use this new understanding to develop drugs that will improve memory function."

Researchers at the University of Zurich, collaborating with colleagues at Arizona's Banner Alzheimer's Institute, Mayo Clinic Scottsdale, and the Arizona Alzheimer's Consortium, collected DNA samples from cognitively healthy people and measured memory performance. TGen researchers screened the collected DNA samples using the whole-genome microarray technology. Researchers then combined the scan data with the memory performance test results and found a connection between Kibra and memory.

According to the study's lead author, Dr. Andreas Papassotiropoulos, professor at the University of Zurich, "The link between Kibra and memory could lead to new treatments for memory loss and possibly help improve memory in patients with memory disorders such as Alzheimer's disease."

Not only did the research team identify that the Kibra gene was associated with memory performance, but they also showed that the gene is turned on in the hippocampus, a brain region known to be critical to memory function.

"Using sophisticated functional brain imaging techniques, we showed that individuals who had a version of the gene that is related to poorer memory potential had to tax their brains harder to remember the same amount of information," said Dr. Dominique de Quervain, professor at the University of Zurich.

"Researchers now have enough of the 'letters' to read the 'genetic book of life' with unprecedented power," said Dr. Eric Reiman, executive director of the Banner Alzheimer's Institute and one of the study investigators. "We're excited about the chance to identify a gene that accounts for some of variation in normal human memory and to use this information in the discovery of promising new memory-enhancing treatments."

Until now, researchers did not have access to the high-density technology to examine the genetic components associated with memory performance. The team at TGen used Affymetrix Human Mapping 500K Arrays to simultaneously analyze 500,000 genetic markers from the people who were tested. They made the memory discovery by comparing the genetic blueprint of people with good memory to people with poor memory; memory performance was based on a series of gold-standard tests for all individuals. The researchers then validated their discovery by replicating the Kibra gene finding in two separate and distinct groups of subjects.

"This memory study is a perfect example of how the use of advanced technologies in human genetics yields fundamental discoveries," said Dr. Stephen P.A. Fodor, Chairman and CEO at Affymetrix, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based manufacturer of the technology.

The impact of the study is that it gives the research community a new and important handhold into truly understanding the process of memory. The ramifications of this report are ultimately developing new and effective medicines that can combat memory loss, and that might also help improve memory in people with memory disorders like Alzheimer's disease.

The team has already begun working on new drugs to restore memory function in age-related memory loss and diseases that have a memory loss component.


skateboard, test you brain

some skateboarders can reach 70 MPH.

I didn't know that. I found it on concrete disciples' forum.

skate and snow boarders are also testing their brains there.


10 second brain game (javascript Ap)

This is a pretty new test that anyone can play.

If you want a thorough workout, hit the link at the bottom.

Mankind in 1000 years: Think 'Hansel'

In 1,000 years, humans will evolve into 2 species, according to the BBC. There will be a class of beautiful people and then an undercaste of untouchables.

Life expectancy will be longer, just about everybody could play in the NBA, and people will be better looking, in fact - incredibly good looking - sort of like "Hansel" from the movie Zoolander, and everybody will be a vegan.

They'll all be smarter too, from using cognitivelabs.com for at least 999 years.

read slashdot for the intriguing comments.


Google goes Solar

The Mountain View campus of Google will go solar according to Slashdot.


Back to the Future

To create the interesting mind-machine symbiosis mentioned below, they had to use an Atari 2600 box and write a very lean program.

Instruction sets for those processors could be only about 16k, so you are talking about one page of text for a program, maybe 1/2 page.

Maybe it will be a C64 or Apple 2 to solve the Alzheimer's question, a 64-128-256k box.

In Slashdot

Slashdot.org picks up the "Ad(Smell)Sense" piece. from yesterday. Cool.


Epileptic Teenager plays Space Invaders with just his brain

Washington University Scientists create brain powered Space Invaders game for an epileptic patient:

The boy, a 14-year-old who suffers from epilepsy, is the first teenager to play a two-dimensional video game, Space Invaders, using only the signals from his brain to make movements.

Getting subjects to move objects using only their brains has implications toward someday building biomedical devices that can control artificial limbs, for instance, enabling the disabled to move a prosthetic arm or leg by thinking about it.

Many gamers think fondly of Atari's Space Invaders, one of the most popular breakthrough video games of the late '70s. The player controls the motions of a movable laser cannon that moves back and forth across the bottom of the video screen. Row upon row of video aliens march back and forth across the screen, slowly coming down from the top to the bottom of the screen. The objective is to prevent any one of the aliens from landing on the bottom of the screen, which ends the game. The player has an unlimited ammunition supply.

The aliens can shoot back at the player, who has to evade, moving left and right. There are lots of levels of play, reflecting the speed at which the aliens descend. The Washington University subject mastered the first two levels of play, using just his imagination.

Here's how:
The teenager had a grid atop his brain to record brain surface signals, a brain-machine interface technique that uses electrocorticographic (ECoG) activity - data taken invasively right from the brain surface. It is an alternative to a frequently used technique to study humans called electroencephalographic activity (EEG) - data taken non-invasively by electrodes outside the brain on the scalp. Engineers programmed the Atari software to interface with the brain-machine interface system.

First Computer Mouse Pics

Pictures of the first computer mouse....circa 1964, before the release of the original Star Trek episode.

Fresh-baked Cookie Aroma Activates Neurons, Influences brain function long afterwards

Certain stimuli in the brain, such as the smell of freshly based cookies, lead to higher levels of dopamine that remain after the stimulus is removed, leading to changed behavior through interaction with memories - leading perhaps to the buying impulse.

According to new research presented at the Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting today shows that the neurotransmitter dopamine continues to be released for nearly an hour after neurons are stimulated, suggesting the existence of secondary mechanisms that allow for sustained availability of dopamine in different regions of the brain including areas critical for memory consolidation, drug induced plasticity and maintaining active networks during working memory, according to a University of Pittsburgh study.

Determining the mechanisms that cause what is being called "post-stimulus activated release" and how they maintain dopamine levels could have important implications for understanding and treating neurological and psychiatric disorders caused by an imbalance of dopamine function including schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Tourette's syndrome, Parkinson's disease and addiction.

According to Bita Moghaddam, Ph.D., professor of neuroscience and psychiatry, who led the study, in addition to its clinical benefits, post-stimulus activated release can be used to explain how brief events that activate neurons for short periods of time can influence brain function long after the events. For example, it can be used to explain how smelling freshly baked cookies could evoke childhood memories of spending time with a beloved grandparent, leading a person to reminisce long after the smell is gone and take the unplanned or impulsive action of baking or buying cookies.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter associated with learning and memory, motor control, reward perception and executive functions such as working memory, behavioral flexibility and decision making. When a novel or salient stimulus occurs, the dopamine neurons in the brain increase their firing rate, boosting the release of dopamine. The dopamine is diffused into the extracellular space of the brain until it can be transported or metabolized.

In a rat model, the researchers have been attempting to understand increases in extracellular levels of dopamine during behaviorally active states, such as completing a cognitive task or experiencing stressful situations and in response to the electrical stimulation of neurons. In their studies, they have observed that dopamine levels remain above the baseline long after neurons had been stimulated – from five to 20 minutes in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and 40 to 100 minutes in the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex.

Attempting to discern the cause of the elevated levels, researchers stimulated the VTA of the brain of a rat model by using an electrode. The VTA is a nucleus in the midbrain where dopamine neurons are located. After stimulating the neurons, the researchers measured the amount of dopamine in the extracellular fluid of the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex – two areas where the VTA is known to send signals. They found that dopamine levels increased during stimulation, and remained elevated for an hour after stimulation.

Dopamine levels wane as dopamine is taken back into cells by an active transport system. Yet this active transport system is not abundant in the ventral striatum and prefrontal cortex areas, leading researchers to think that perhaps the dopamine levels remained elevated due to an excess that had yet to be absorbed. To test this hypothesis, they applied tetrodotoxin (TTX), a neurotoxin that blocks the active release of dopamine, to the nucleus accumbens and prefrontal cortex. TTX caused dopamine levels to drop, indicating that the dopamine levels remained elevated because dopamine was being actively released after the neurons fired and not because there was residual dopamine in the brain.


Stephen Hawking on the Planet's Future....

The Stephen Hawking test now tells an important message from amongst Dr. Hawkings recent talks....click to exercise your brain and hear


six million dollar man test

Try the Six Million Dollar Man Test.

Pretty Soon people will be able to take any kind of test they want, that is of interest. Audio aids in recall, but you need to assess the image flow.


Accept Your Mission: Brain improvement

There is an allusion to the Six Million Dollar Man (plus MI) on the home page. I can just barely remember it, except the beginning "we can rebuild him, we have the technology" section.

In case you forgot, I found this:

Here's a real factoid:

The aircraft seen crashing in the show's opening sequence was an M2-F2, a "flying body configuration" built by Northrup. The audio sound effects are from a crash that occurred on May 10, 1967, at Edwards Air Force base in California (although the dialog heard was recorded by Majors). The test pilot, Bruce Peterson, hit the ground at 250 mph, tumbling six times. He lost use of his right eye and had to stop flying, ending his career. Understandably, Peterson has said that he hated reliving his accident, week after week, courtesy of the show.

Also, viewers didn't digg Steve Austin's Ron Burgundy-like mustache in the 1977 season....

here's the intro

Quarterback brain

Last year we spoke with Jeff Tedford's people about a brain game. Tedford actually uses a brain puzzle game/checkers with a twist to train QB's to focus.

Since last year wasn't a great year for QB's, it was probably good to wait a year.

But knowing that QB's can use a speed and focus test to improve, it's a good idea to get started now.

We do know that some people have improved their IQ score, their SAT score, and a few pro athletes claim positive results. These are all-star caliber players.

So, maybe it's time to get started. Interestingly, all the people involved in the company have some kind of UC-Berkeley connection, most Stanford as well.


More evidence Alzheimer's Kept at Bay by Mediterranean Diet

Further evidence on the health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet has just been advanced. This diet, with a high percentage of legumes, whole grains, and fruit, and less beef and dairy products, has been associated with greater longevity, and also appears to cause less stress to blood vessels, resulting in fewer coronary issues also, fewer cases of Alzheimer's.


Sentient computer administers human memory test

Take the HAL 9000 test. It's the first test, to our knowledge, administered by a sentient, talking computer that uses a memory algorithm deployed in scientific research, here. Scan the article on Hal until you find it.


Preliminary Data: My Genes Trump Diet, Longevity

What do you think is more important? Your DNA, your diet and weight, or your longevity?

This is a question people who have taken our 'thinking speed test' an objective measure of raw brain speed as collected by your computer's CPU, often see depending on the specific offer.

We started running this test in connection with revolutionhealth.com, a portal that is under development, and that explains the logo on the test. 21,000 people have completely and accurately filled out this simple survey, which is just an optional link from that specific test implementation, e.g., "thinking speed."

Interestingly, knowledge about one's genetic background is of more interest than the usual concern with fitness, diet, and longevity. That is because it is the genes that are the 'key' or program to your existence, a pathway to better strategies in each of the typical health concern areas. Stanford has observed the correlation between test performance on several of our tests available here and conditions such as APOEe4 positive as it relates to earlier than usual cognitive impairment. For now, the tools are in your hands to monitor yourself over time and detect the degree of variance. We'll keep records for you as a timesaver.

And that is the serious part of the fun that makes up our site, now by far the largest in the world.... We think it's possible that we will be the first company to generate a very signficant number of users in this arena, probably 100 million is achievable within 1-2 years. It's already happening.

You'll see on the home page some new nomenclature: the number of registered users X the number of neurons of each user, and therein the 1.3 x10 to the 17th number.

Brain as Social Network? ZDnet article

ZDNet has an interesting piece about our "brain functioning as a social network" based on a publication in this week's issue of Science.

more on the Science piece later.


How the Internet Can Benefit the Planet

The Internet functions like an ecosystem living in balance with the people on the planet. When people are engaged and create, the Internet evolves along with their work. More content becomes available and through branching and separation, growth continues at the edge of the network. The more fertile the environment, the faster it grows.

Contrary to what one might think, Internet access does not require a great deal of industrialization. For example, a local recycling center here in the Valley powers it's whole operation off of solar energy. You can return cans and bottles, and when you get a receipt, it is printed not by a full size register but by a web-connected Palm, linked to a tiny printer appliance connected with a wire to a solar cell on the roof. A couple of small batteries serve as back-ups for cloudy days. When the sun comes out again, the batteries recharge.

It may be possible on the one hand, to become more advanced in our access and use of information, with global networks of contacts and new services, and on the other, to simplify existence so that we are in a more sustainable balance with the planet.


MIT tries to replicate 'open source' successes: eBay, Google, Wikipedia with a brain focus

MIT launches an effort to create open source communities building on the success of eBay, Google, and Wikipedia.

Participating in the initiative are the McGovern Institute for Brain Science and the MIT Media Lab, Pearson Publishing, and Wharton.

The goal is to replicate the new model of collaborative work, loose networks connected by information. It reminds me of my dissertation, which was how organizations compete by creating interorganizational systems within a matrix of network organizations, the palimpsest at that time being Electronic Data Interchange and XML. It tied in with the UPS goal of linking the flow of funds, goods, and information and that's why they generously underwrote all of my doctoral studies and research while I was working full time.

No mention of MySpace or ta-dum Cognitive Labs.

We added 3,000 + members in the past 18 hours, some people stumbling upon us literally. Some of the stumblers, nominating their friends. Quite a few people opted to share the HAL test.

We hope to try out some new features, we've developed a 'forums' section but it is not publicly available yet. We're not sure if we want forums as they exist today or something else, and if we go with forums, it might be a transition that would be hard to re-engineer or transmigrate so we're not quite sure yet.


HAL 9000 Test

On our home page you'll see the panel that protected the HAL9000. If you look around the site, you'll be sure to find the Hal test. If you listen, HAL will talk to you. Make sure the volume is on. As of yet, no computer can pass the Turing test.

The assumption in 1968 was that this would be accomplished by 2001, as well as the facile interpretation of natural languages, recognition of facial characteristics, and so forth. However, the vast number of variances that would need to be calculated and the imposition of multiple constraints assure that this level of AI is beyond our capabilities.

However, the degree of portability of devices in the movie - as futuristic a projection as HAL or going to Jupiter with an advanced ship featuring a novel kind of propulsion (ion) - has been met and even exceeded.

This element is as fantastical as any of the other speculations, but it has already come true. Surely, some of the others may come true as well, including...learning to use technology as an aid in the monitoring of cognitive state according to a definitive schema by age and other factors as a quick check, even a do it yourself activity, to say nothing of the neuroplastic benefits, neurogenesis, or mental reserve created.

Brain Workout can muscle out Alzheimer's

Pumping 'Mental' Iron

More news on ththis topic...
Brain 'workout' may muscle out Alzheimer's, including games and trivia plus TV-based games for your brain, according to Canada.com.


Tropical Spider now showing up in the South

The thing about systems is that an action at one end of the system effects the other end of the system. That's why the fact that this spider is showing up in the South is so interesting. (In an earlier post we noticed that the Bandai Aceh tsunami was measured in a deep aquifer in western Nevada, the so-called Devil's Hole) There are many other examples of systems thinking that could be mentioned.


Cognitive Labs "Cities"

Remember 'CitySearch' or for those of a literary bent, Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities?

We're doing a regional trial of Cognitive Labs Cities.

For example, suppose I live in Austin Texas. I would want a local memory test and probably some relevant information.

Maybe even some photos of Austin, gosh here's some courtesy of Flickr.

So that's your test, close to your interests....


Increasing Returns and the New World of Business

I read this paper by the Santa Fe Institute's W. Brian Arthur back in 1996. I was just in the early stages of my doctorate and also was product manager of UPS Online. Our team was tasked with figuring out what to do with the world wide web (WWW) as they used to call it. We made up stuff as went along. What was clear was that there was a seachange in processes brought about by collaboration.

In his view, technology was a casino with different tables, multimedia at one, the WWW at another, semiconductors at another. Success was defined by skill in gaming - defining the game, changing the rules, and making sure you understood the strategies of the other players. The article is somewhat relevant today, even though the names might have changed...

Arthur proposes in this paper his theory of increasing returns and he uses the example of DOS vs. CPM, and also, the early growth of Netscape.

The corollary is "what gets ahead, stays ahead" and is seen in the steep adoption curve of such technologies.

Somewhat after this, Google said "if users come, so will the money" referring to experimentation and coming up with something great before the avenues for marketability are readily apparent. The bigger your audience is, the quicker and more relevant the feedback.

Then you go back and alter your product mix based on the user reaction. For example, some tests here get a 10% sign-up rate. Others get 50% Others get 80%!

There are certain characteristics that define the 80% home runs. It's probably not what you'd think.

The user-defined home runs tend to be the simplest offers where the service provider (cognitivelabs.com or other) just gets out of the way.

Sometimes what we think is great in fact, is thoroughly rejected. Other times what we suspect needs improvement in some way, in fact, is exactly what people want (e.g. MySpace)

Below, please see the sigmoid function of the Logistic curve known as an S-curve

The equation defines basically an exponential function. The S-curve is often used to describe the growth of runaway hits. It follows this rule: 1,2,4,8,16,32,64.

This approximates the growth curve of Netscape years ago.

It also defines the growth of an embryo in biology, which divides according to the same formula.

Now I am going to show you the slope of Cognitive Labs growth:

So you see, there is a fairly good correlation between the classic S-curve and the growth of cognitivelabs.com.

Turn your brain into an RSS reader

Turn your brain into an RSS reader.

Handle numerous reality 'feeds' at the same time.

With the acceleration of neurotransmitter function, you will indeed, be thinking and reacting more quickly.

We suggest starting with a multi-tasking exercise.


chimps and humans

The differences and similarities between chimps and humans.

Just a slight alteration of the amino acids.
A different brain.

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