COUNTDOWN TO RELEASE: Here comes the next and final installment in The Cybernetic Theory of Mind series ― The Omega Singularity: Universal Mind & The Fractal Multiverse ― which is now available to pre-order as a Kindle eBook on Amazon. In this final book of the series, we discuss a number of perspectives on quantum cosmology, computational physics, theosophy and eschatology. How could dimensionality be transcended yet again? What is the fractal multiverse? What is the ultimate destiny of our universe? Why does it matter to us? What is the Omega Singularity? These are some of the questions addressed in this concluding volume of my eBook series.
This final book V of The Cybernetic Theory of Mind series is an admittedly highly speculative theoretical work where we’ll be testing the limits of our imagination envisioning the prospects of our distant future and the deepest secrets of hyperreality. In our fractal, computational Omniverse (all multiversal structure combined, all that is) one may assume that an infinitely large number of civilizational minds, syntellects, have followed or will follow a path, similar to ours, in their evolutionary processes. At the highest level of existence and perceptual experience, that we can rightfully call ‘Dimensionality of Hypermind’, universal minds would form some sort of multiversal network of minds, layer after layer seemingly ad infinitum.
The Cybernetic Theory of Mind series is a collection of books by evolutionary cyberneticist and philosopher Alex M. Vikoulov on the ultimate nature of reality, consciousness, the physics of time, computational physics, philosophy of mind, foundations of quantum physics, the technological singularity, transhumanism, posthumanism, the impending phase transition of humanity, the simulation hypothesis, economic theory, the extended Gaia theory, transcendental metaphysics and God. If you’re eager to familiarize with probably the most advanced ontological framework to date or if you’re already familiar with the Syntellect Hypothesis which, with this series, is now presented to you as the full-fledged Cybernetic Theory of Mind, you should get this book five of the series which corresponds to Part V of The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind’s Evolution.
Our gut microbiome helps us out every day by processing the fiber we can’t digest. The bacteria ferment the fiber into key chemicals known as short-chain fatty acids, or SCFAs, that are essential for human health. SCFAs fight inflammation, help kill dangerous bacteria, protect the lining of the gut, and can even help prevent cancer.
In a new study, the John Denu lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Wisconsin Institute for Discovery has learned that the fatty acids butyrate and propionate also activate p300, a crucial human enzyme that promotes the unspooling of DNA. This unwound DNA allows more genes to become active and expressed, which ultimately affects human health.
A study by Wisconsin Institute for Discovery researchers challenges long-held beliefs, with potential implications for physiological processes and diseases such as propionic acidemia, autism spectrum disorder and Alzheimer’s disease.
Down syndrome is the most common genetic disorder, impacting about 1 in 700 newborns around the world. At some point during their first hours and days of embryonic development, their dividing cells fail to properly wriggle a chromosome pair away from each other, leaving an extra copy where it shouldn’t be. Although scientists have known for more than six decades that this extra copy of chromosome 21 causes the cognitive impairment people with Down syndrome experience, exactly how it happens remains a matter of debate.
But in recent years, scientists using new RNA sequencing techniques to study cells from pairs of twins — one with Down syndrome and one without — have repeatedly turned up a curious pattern. It wasn’t just the genes on chromosome 21 that had been cranked way up in individuals with Down syndrome. Across every chromosome, gene expression had gone haywire. Something else was going on.
On Thursday, a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology reported in Cell Stem Cell that it may have found a surprising culprit: senescent cells, the same types implicated in many diseases of aging. The study was small and preliminary, and some experts want to see it replicated in samples from more individuals before buying into its interpretations. But they are nevertheless intriguing.
From the fMRI scans, the researchers saw the same areas of the brain light up but with different activation patterns, depending on whether the dogs were hearing the story in their native language or a new one—suggesting that they were neurologically processing differences between the two languages.
Then the researchers tried to test whether the dogs were responding to specific characteristics intrinsic to each language. Were the animals reacting to actual changes in speech patterns—that Hungarian words put stress on the first syllable, for instance—or just responding to basic differences in fundamental auditory signatures between the two languages—alterations in tones that occur during vowel pronunciation? They tested this by playing recordings in which the speech from the story had been garbled, resulting in gibberish that “sounded” like Hungarian or Spanish. Again, the team saw different patterns in brain activity when a dog heard real human speech instead of speechlike gibberish, although the researchers cannot yet say whether this is evidence that dogs can recognize human speech as speech (sounds strung together in a meaningful way for humans to communicate with one another)—or whether their brain was just responding to the more natural sound when compared with the weird-sounding gibberish. There was no change in brain activity between hearing Spanish gibberish versus Hungarian gibberish, however, implying that the canines’ brain was not just responding to the different tonal qualities.”
A new study’s authors say their investigation represents the first time that a nonhuman brain has been shown to detect language.
Of course, a minimum level of fidelity is required, but what’s far more important is perceptual consistency. By this, I mean that all sensory signals (i.e. sight, sound, touch, and motion) feed a single mental model of the world within your brain. With augmented reality, this can be achieved with relatively low visual fidelity, as long as virtual elements are spatially and temporally registered to your surroundings in a convincing way. And because our sense of distance (i.e. depth perception) is relatively coarse, it’s not hard for this to be convincing.
But for virtual reality, providing a unified sensory model of the world is much harder. This might sound surprising because it’s far easier for VR hardware to provide high-fidelity visuals without lag or distortion. But unless you’re using elaborate and impractical hardware, your body will be sitting or standing still while most virtual experiences involve motion. This inconsistency forces your brain to build and maintain two separate models of your world — one for your real surroundings and one for the virtual world that is presented in your headset.
When I tell people this, they often push back, forgetting that regardless of what’s happening in their headset, their brain still maintains a model of their body sitting on their chair, facing a particular direction in a particular room, with their feet touching the floor (etc.). Because of this perceptual inconsistency, your brain is forced to maintain two mental models. There are ways to reduce the effect, but it’s only when you merge real and virtual worlds into a single consistent experience (i.e. foster a unified mental model) that this truly gets solved.
A cheap, widely available drug used to treat mental illness cuts both the risk of death from COVID-19 and the need for people with the disease to receive intensive medical care, according to clinical-trial results1. The drug, called fluvoxamine, is taken for conditions including depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. But it is also known to dampen immune responses and temper tissue damage, and researchers credit these properties with its success in the recent trial. Among study participants who took the drug as directed and did so in the early stages of the disease, COVID-19-related deaths fell by roughly 90% and the need for intensive COVID-19-related medical care fell by roughly 65%.
Study co-author Angela Reiersen, a psychiatrist at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri, has long been interested in using fluvoxamine to treat a rare genetic condition. While monitoring the fluvoxamine literature before the pandemic, she came across a 2019 study showing that fluvoxamine reduced inflammation in mice with sepsis2. When COVID-19 hit, “I immediately thought back to that paper with the mice,” she says.
Reiersen and her colleagues partnered with the organizers of the TOGETHER Trial, which aims to identify approved drugs that can be repurposed to treat COVID-19. The team’s study included 1,497 people in Brazil who had COVID-19 and were at high risk of severe disease. Roughly half received fluvoxamine, and the rest received a placebo.
The trial’s results, published on 27 October, mean that fluvoxamine is one of a handful of therapies that show strong evidence of preventing progression from mild to severe COVID-19. The only early-stage treatments currently recommended by the US National Institutes of Health are monoclonal antibodies, which are costly and difficult to administer in an outpatient setting.
If you had a few hundred experiments to manage during your days in space, how would you blow off steam in your spare time?
A badminton match was the activity of choice for International Space Station astronauts and spaceflight participants during the holidays. You can catch a short video of the activities of several crew members of Expedition 66 below; make sure to rotate it so you can watch the crew members working in 360 degrees.
The module they are using is the Japanese Kibo module, which is a common location for crews to conduct press conferences. The Kibo module also has a little more space for physical activities than some of the other ones, especially since there are no laptops or delicate experiments crowding the walls.
Space agencies around the world ask their astronauts to exercise for about 90 minutes to two hours a day, which does everything from keeping their bones and muscles secure for Earth living again, to providing mental well-being.
While the match was all in good fun, professional astronauts have a long-term goal of studying medicine on the International Space Station, both to prepare for long-duration missions to the moon and also to help seniors on Earth.