Solving the Tower of Hanoi

A lego version of the Tower of Hanoi....read more about it here

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In case you are wondering

The troops in this photo were only six miles (6!) or 10 km from the blast center.

One soldier to the next: "Hey buddy, when you feel the shockwave coming, hit the deck. Oh yeah, try not to breathe when the radioactive dustcloud gets here...pass it on."

The observation team in the previous story may have been even closer...

Overall, about 85% of the tests were below ground. However, the above ground tests were marketed as tourist attractions in newly developed Las Vegas, where the clouds could be seen as a backdrop to the skyline. See the promo piece for "atomic tourism" below...

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Scenic Mushroom Cloud

Another amazing nuclear test photo...operation teapot in 1955 at the nevada proving ground.

archive of free films, pics, and media materials in the public domain

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An Ambidextrous Thinker

Herbert Simon on the Cognitive Input into literary theory. Herbert Simon (bio) was a very interesting intellect. He had a vast range of interests and practice, including management theory, computer science, economics, machine-thinking, semiotics, and even literature...and is hugely cited. Along the way, he was awarded a Nobel prize in Economics and the John Von Neumann Theory Prize.

However, he is not easily pigeonholed into one or even two disciplines. I first was introduced to his thinking in a management theory class in a master's program, then had a very liberal dose in doing the literature review for a dissertation. One of the ways to handle "chains of data" is to kind of make decision trees using the seminal ideas of a particular work scratched on a 3 X 5 card (with the bibliographical info on the back) and then spread the trees out on the ground by laying out the cards in arrays - helpful in visualizing the data and who influenced whom. These chains can get pretty long.

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Closing in on 12 Million Visitors

Cognitive Labs'- 12 Million visitors is in sight...just passed 11.6 million.

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Vitamin D Deficiency and Alzheimer's

A separate research study examines Vitamin D deficiency and Alzheimer's Disease. Scientists speculate that lack of adequate Vitamin D could be one of the causal factors for Alzheimer's. Another study (just published) finds an association between cognitive processing speed and administration of Vitamin D.

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Efficient H20-Free Spaghetti

At crunchtime, I've been experimenting with time-saving food ideas that also conserve resources. One I've just come up with is 'efficient spaghetti/pasta.'

Basically, all you do is take a package of dry pasta of some type (preferably whole wheat but 'plain' works as well) and throw it into a slowcooker or crock pot. Then, take your tomato/pasta sauce and pour it over the dry pasta.


Throw some cheese or diced vegetables on top (or both - use ricotta or cream cheese for a lasagna-type experience)

Turn on for a couple of hours (usually there's just a few options) with lid on.

Go do your work. Come back in a few hours and you'll have a delicious, tender but baked-tasting pasta dish.

All prepared with no water, boiling, rinsing, draining, preparing of sauces, or chances of getting scalded, or even using a stove.


Flash Player - Browser

A user emailed me and said that their game was not loading properly. Everything had gone awry when they installed a new version of Internet Explorer.

I remarked in my response that they could try another browser or make sure that there was not a sudden incompatibility between the Flash player plug-in they had already downloaded and the new browser. You might get prompted to go to Adobe.com to download a new player, but for some reason like a hanging resource, this might not be happening. Fortunately, the visitor tried this and it worked. The new plug-in worked seamlessly.

Game now loads properly....:-)

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Go to the Beach, Get a Faster Brain

A new study of 3000 European men aged 40-79 evaluated the impact of Vitamin D on cognitive performance and found a significant improvement on information processing, particularly as individuals aged, when they received a plethora of vitamin D.

The main sources of Vitamin D synthesis include sunshine and certain oily fish. Information processing and speed may have a variety of health-related implications...

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The list of games...text only.

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Video Game Attentiveness Tops Cinema Attendance

Entertainment researchers report that 53% of people in the U.S. have watched a theatrical film in the past six months, while a greater percentage - 63% have played a video game...

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Edwin Smith Papyrus

Scholars believe the Edwin Smith Papyrus, above, with a provenance dating to the 17th century B.C.E. is the earliest detailed medical text, mainly focused on traumatic conditions, starting with the head, and progressing downward. It is noteworthy in that the major internal organs were identified and blood vessels were believed to radiate from the heart. The translator, James H. Breasted - believed that the text was copied by one or more scribes from an earlier codex, perhaps dating to the period between 3000 B.C.E. and 2,500 B.C.E.

This is just one of several significant papyri examples covering this topic.

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New Nasa Head Named

Here's the announcement.

Let's hope human space exploration (in various projects) gets a boost.

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Library of Alexandria: Intro

From the 1980 TV series Cosmos. Carl Sagan links the Library of Alexandria with the development of the brain and our destiny in space.


Brand of the Illuminati

Wondering if branding is going to gain in popularity at the expense of tattooing due to the film Angels and Demons...

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Called out by Elvis

Who did the King say was the greatest musician of all time?

Roy Orbison, a man from the tiny town of Wink, Texas.

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2001 Blog Post

This is the 2001st blog post on Cognitive Labs...so, the clickable mosaic below is appropriate...

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Missing Link Located

The missing link may have been found.

No, it was not a wrestler on the show 'Wrestling Hawaii' by the same name.

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Defragment Your Brain

Here is a test for defragmenting your brain... Similar, but slightly different in how it 'blows up.'

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I can't wait to start working on some new projects like the world's largest telescope, made of tiny mirrors. The proof of concept goes bak


Everybody more or less accepts the idea of DNA as software. That's one of its nicknames: the code of life. It's an instruction set for being. The sequencing of DNA means all kinds of wonderful things, once people overcome the FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) factor, which they will eventually.

What if there was a similar way of asessing human hardware - the body? While we have made great strides in probing and visualizing structures in the body using various bandwidths of radiation, and assessing its general health through blood tests and other diagnostica, we don't have a definitive holistic, elemental snapshot.

It would be great if the concept of spectroscopy could be used to check the hardware. Small samples of tissue could be spectrally analyzed for elemental content...deviation from the norm would be indicative of disease or dietary deficiency..and remedied scientifically. Spectroscopy has been the key in unlocking the secrets of heavenly bodies, no matter how far away they are. Why not the human body? It's a whole new way of looking at healthcare.

A Computer Models the Skin of a Neutron Star

New computer models are enabling researchers to create virtual 'skins' on neutron stars. The collapsed remnant of supernovas, neutron stars possess some of the following dazzling properties:

The density is so great that one teaspoonful of a neutron star would weigh 100 million tons. Compare that to baking soda.

If you could replace the shiny clean floor of your kitchen (clean enough to see your reflection) with a neutron star crust, guess what would happen?

Let's say you were groggy after an all-nite programming session or skipped your caffeine fix and you dropped the hypothetical teaspoon, it would strike the surface at 4.3 million mph!

Wow. What would Galileo have said?

In addition, the new computer model projects that the compressed selenium atoms in the crust of the neutron star could be 10 billion times stronger than the strongest cobalt steel on earth.

syndicated space.com article

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Potato Chip Machine and Dense Literature

The author Gene Wolfe, an Industrial Engineer by training, invented the machine that produces the healthful Pringles potato chip.

In his spare time, he wrote science fiction and started accumulating all of the possible literary awards in the field.

Some authors (see the bio above) regard him as one of the best prose stylists writing in the English language today - due to his ability to insert clues into his text and obscure circuitous references to them throughout the text, even in separate volumes, visible only to the shrewd puzzle-solver. Indeed in this regard, he resembles Dan Brown.

In addition, he created a completely different fictional universe - and pulled it off believably - an accomplishment akin to Tolkien, George Lucas, and Roddenberry, though it borrows heavily from the early Medieval Greek and references terms seen in works such as the Strategicon, Procopius' Secret History and the document of Late Roman officialdom the Notitia Dignitatum, while also mastering principles of physics yet undiscovered, but at the time of writing, are in the process of being forgotten by a decaying civilization.

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Surge Over 11.5 million visitors

The recent NY Times article pushed cognitivelabs.com over 11.5 million visitors, 45 million page views and about 135 Million game plays for neurogamer studios....

World of Warcraft has 11.5 million users, in its latest ads.

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The Phorid Fly: Brain Hijacking Nemesis

The phorid fly is a tiny parasitizer.

The adult fly hovers over unsuspecting fire ants in the Southern US and Latin America and jabs its ovipositor in the ant's thorax or abdomen, laying an egg. After a while, the larva hatches and crawls to the ant's head, where it establishes itself in the brain. Gradually munching away, the 'hijacked' ant behaves abnormally at the whim of its unseen master. Eventually, it dies and the adult phorid fly climbs out, of the cognitive cockpit ready to continue the lifecycle.

This series of circular life events is very common for a wide array of flies and wasps. Natural pest experts often make use of this oddity of nature to control populations of undesirables such as aphids on roses and organic crops - where managing the balance of benificents and antagonists can lead to happiness and bountiful crops without non-decaying pesticides, which tend to stay in the ecosystem for a very long time.

The article on national geographic


Denomination Effect is Universal: Researchers

Marketing researchers in the U.S. may have a solution to the consumer slowdown. Increased spending, but utilizing the "denomination effect" - the propensity to spend greater amounts of lower valued currency or coinage (cognitively regarded as 'small change') when a subject is offered a stimulus.

It turns that across cultures, people spend a greater amount overall when they don't have to "break" a large denomination instrument that they are more likely to save through a mental impulse to hoard items of perceived 'higher value' - even if the differentiation is illusory.

In the U.S., a $2 coin is recommended as salutary. If pursued, such a strategy would lead almost certainly to an acceleration of inflation - as the coin could not be much larger than a quarter.

Even if offered in a "valuable" color such as gold, the public has voted with its feet in the past by driving new denominations out of circulation almost immediately. The latest dollar coin experiment, featuring a brassy planchet, is almost never encountered unless you buy stamps at a USPS facility or a public transit ticket with a bill and receive the unpopular coin as change.

Eliminating small bills entirely might also stimulate spending - instead offering $1, $5, and $10 coins. However, citizens might then palpably feel the decline in purchasing power that has been occurring. Policy makers might be tempted to institute wage and price controls.

Examples: 1971 Intervention - U.S.

Edict of Wage and Price Controls (Historica1)

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Researchers: UBE3A Gene Mutation Causes Severe Learning Disorder

The lack of expression of the gene UBE3A on the 15th chromosome manifests itself in the brain through a severe inability to learn, according to UNC and Duke University researchers.

This inactive gene disables neuron communications, so the brain is unable to encode experiences into memory or learned paractice. One of the medical terms for the resulting condition is Angelman Syndrome. Understanding the genetics behind the condition may offer hope for solutions in the future.

Science Release at EurekaAlert.

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Official End to Caterpillar Pandemic

In 2007 and 2008, individuals in the SF Bay Area couldn't have missed this creature, the Western Tussock Caterpillar, which spent a lot of time in and around oak trees in April, May, and June.

This year, not a single soft, fuzzy bottle-brush resembling example has been observed. It's a definite caterpillar bust. However, there is a boom in the number of orange-brown soldier beetles and zillions of tiny parasitizing wasps, which are as small as tiny mayflies and no-see-ems'. Both of these critters are a powerful check on caterpillar populations.

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NY Times Television Review of Alzheimers Awareness Media

HBO is airing a wide variety of Alzheimer's Awareness programming...with an estimated 5 million people now with the disease...and millions more at risk. HBO is even leveraging new platforms such as Facebook and Youtube with channels to build community.

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More on the Bomb

Check out the Tsar Bomba - world's biggest.

It's the Bomb

The most bombed place on earth.

strangelove pickens test

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For Brain Food- What's Hot, What's Not?

Hot: Blueberries
Not: Bread and Bagels

Hot: Small Amount of Coffee
Not: Red Bull in the Afternoon

Hot: Tea
Not: Tea with Milk or .5 & .5

Hot: Salmon
Not: Panakes

Hot: Spinach
Not: White Chocolate (dark choco OK!)

Hot: Flaxseed
Not: Alcohol


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Neurogamer Art Design

Here's a design for neurogamer studios, the name or avatar for our game development side.... see more below

this work reflects the development of the linguistic-semiotic-symbolic bloom in the brain that resulted in formal written language, which ocurred between 5,000 and 3,000 B.C.E. By 3,000 B.C.E. both cuneiform and hieroglyphic systems were developed, as were other expressions of consciousness around the world such as stone monuments and runic inscriptions, among others.

read more about it. We'll be alternating the design every month or so, or even more frequently. What will be next? Wait and Find out.

Note: We also added a search box to the blog so readers can search using keywords or any term they like to pull up the related article - utilizing the 2,000 or so (and growing) stories that are archived on cognitive health. This was done because the archive is getting lengthy and really does not give you any idea of the wide array and depth of topics that have been documented and, with no chance of 'expiring' as is the case with articles by some news organizations - that drive readers to their site only to put up a blank page with a note saying the link is expired or the story is missing. This is routine with some all-encompassing web portals and news organizations for documents as recent as 45 days old that are well-indexed, costing these companies tens (or hundreds) of millions of page views per month, and lost revenue.

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Vitamin E and Cognitive Decline

A study with over 540 patients over three years has found that moderate Vitamin E intake combined with anti-inflammatories was effective in producing a statistically significant intervention against cognitive decline, compared with a placebo, Vitamin E alone, or anti-inflammatory medication alone.

"Our results are consistent for a potential benefit of vitamin E on slowing functional decline and a smaller possible benefit of anti-inflammatory medications on slowing cognitive decline in patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease," according to researcher Alireza Atri.

Atri, at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the VA Bedford Medical Center, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, led the National Institutes of Health-sponsored research. article

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What Would it Be like to fall into a Black Hole?

It would not be possible for you to experience the entire event, as intense gravitational forces would cause the end of life. If you could stay conscious you would witness the fall towards the singularity, however, and perception would skew towards a narrow band - as stellar objects and the Milky Way would be either red-shifted (getting further away) or blue-shifted (getting closer). Red shifted objects would be dim, blue shifted objects would be intensely bright.

Researchers at the University of Colorado developed this animation to show the hypothetical view if one were watching a live feed from an indestructible probe or if you were equipped like an astronaut with an impervious spacesuit.

original piece

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Good News on Vitamin E

Vitamin E was thought a few years ago to be potentially good for cognition....then about 2 years ago a study was published which seemed to nix this conclusion, so the jury was out.

A new study (details later) now suggests that Vitamin E is beneficial as an anti-Alzheimer's agent. This latter study was of longer duration and involved more subjects...more later.

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Wait and See

People searching with the term "wait and see attitude" come up with Juan Cole's blog as the number one response on the web.



Long Life Secrets of the Icarians

If living forever (or at least a long time like a millennium), which some people are really working on, is possible - a first glance would be to find the best practices in the present day.

The Island of Icaria

The idea is to get into good habits in the thirties and forties of your life (or better yet, before) and its never too late to begin, to reduce accumulated wear and tear.

If it is not an impossible task like Icarus' Flight, where might one look for inspiration?

The answer might be found on the Greek island of Icaria, where 30% of the inhabitants reach the age of 90 - and heart disease, cancers, and dementias - are much less frequent than in the industrialized West.

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We Can Remember it For You

Upload your memories. If you don't like them, swap them with someone else.

Tagged memories will be available by topic to make searching easy.

Will a subscription model work? Or should it be more like your favorite downloadable media service?

At a fictitious brain.com type site, you'll be able to remember anything... wholesale. It may not be impossible after all, or at least, much more possible than people think today...

hint: think more 'gaming' and game-theory than 'neuroscience' - which is a fuzzy topic and means 1,000 different things to 1,000 experts depending on their academic specialty.

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Time to Defrag the Brain

Cognitive Spring Cleaning Time...

This one will be out shortly....but you can see this one on the cognitive labs page, too.

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Watching the Brain Under Junk Food Selection

Brain Activation in 3 Dimensions - MRI

Caltech researchers led by Dr. Todd Hare using MRI have examined dieters and non-dieters and found that those with the ability to inhibit choice showed differential response in the brain from those who appear immediately susceptible to the allure of food rich in sugar and fat. From Ars technica, originally published in Science.

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