Findings, ideas and conversations from Dr. John Skoyles, an Uomo Universale at University College London
not only large size but also your prolonged
your short legs came hot neurons—200,000 years ago evolution extended
their energy guzzling period of synapse
exuberance, and this revolutionized intelligence. story here
dexterity and speech/song make
us human—and amongst animals uniquely skilled.
expansion starting two million or so years ago for enabling them to
share the same well-researched
paleoanthropologically ignored human specific upgrade in motor control.
us, there existed Lucy and Australopiths—short bipedal chimp-like
apes. When these ancestors of ours stopped living in trees,
they evolved a new taller shape—that
of the human body. The answer why is remarkably
Consonants—every word we say
is "phonetic". No one knows why. Likewise, it is a mystery why
children after hearing speech can so rapidly expand their spoken
vocabulary by incorporating all the tens of
thousands of words they overhear. Could mirror
neurons have created phonetics by selecting vowels and consonants as
easy-to-copy units of pronunciation? Click
syntactically organized into well-formed phrases and sentences, and
this enables articulate thought and language. But
even Chomsky is mystified as to its origin.
Could reliable and efficient packing
codes for complex motor communications within the brain provide an
Meaning—without semantics the mind cannot think and language cannot express and yet until recently the exact nature of "meaning" as a neurobiological phenomena baffled scientists. Now latent semantic analysis (LSA) shows that it arises when we navigate and map the context that gets generated out of higher-order associations.
packed our brains with genes. But not to create cognitive
liberated from the past with the power to invent and share new
cognitive capabilities. The extraordinary science
of this is
the great story of our origins and our most magnificent inheritance.
and present human
thought and feeling is enriched by the
diversity of symbols that intertwine our lives into shared culture.
your prefrontal cortices for letting symbols exist and rework
brains. This makes us unique
and enables our species to keep reinventing itself.
Individualism—each of us is a skilled social primate. But human evolution left the psychology of that primate sociality open as to whether it skilled us to belong to one group (collectivism), or let skilled us to promiscuously hop in and out of many (individualism).
is necessary if we are to be rational. Necessary—but not sufficient: an
of quality controls upon human error is also
needed. There is
to rational persuasion than valid deduction. Truth seekers
ignore it at their
is not only about elections and politicians. Even more crucial
is the existence of institutions and a public ethos
that spots and checks the human
and the self-serving manipulations of those in control. With
people-power goes rational quality control. Here is the
untold story of the open society.
|Literacy—not just skill in reading and writing but the confidence to use them to answer back those with power. Such modern literacy first became possible with the completely vowelled Greek alphabet and its easy-to-acquire full literacy. It was a key stepping-stone to our modern world.|
civilization is grounded upon personal freedom that fosters
individualism (see above) while growing out of institutions
that quality control those with power. This
form of human coexistence first started with the
Classical Greeks. Here is how it arose.
tricks and traps of
letting the unsavored moment be—guidance gleamed from human
physiology and neuroscience about walking, breath and
uncluttering your mind.
asked that question of machine thinking. His solution applied to
aesthetics rewrites Art's
history. Enter here to meta-view the latest Koon, Hirst et al on
display at your nearest MOMA.
play and race free—but not when inherited physiology and
determines who wins. Here is the case for race-neutral
athletics that puts everyone irrespective of genetic background on the
same starting block.
Sex. Fun with other humans—whether sport, drinking, or friendship—is shared with those of the same gender. So why is intercourse and "love" the exception? The answer why may not be so simple as you think.
lives in behavior, or otherwise it is just atheism with lots
socializing, self-deception, and a
Modern piety is a scandal—but it does not have to
be. Religion is not contrary to science, but not so the present
fraud that goes in its name.
|Crohn’s disease and
ulcerative colitis—when the gut mistakes microbial friend
for microbial foe, problems
arise. So we better know how the normal gut is smart to microbes. Could
be that guts identify the good from the bad by a trick of
sampling that lets it spot the behavioral difference between pathogens
and nonpathogens to
the gut wall? Click here
failed to find an explanation. For why—and the directions where we
an answer Click
|Dyslexia —was once attributed to the visual system, in particular to magnocellular system deficits. Here is why that idea is wrong. Also, my own story of growing up with dyslexia.|
the magnocellular system defective in those with schizophrenia? Here is
why that idea is lacks science.