11.15.11 (1)

posted Nov 15, 2011, 6:59 AM by Franklin Shaddy
  1. Lehrer, on the limitations of fMRI: "The problems begin, however, when researchers attempt to take complex psychological phenomena, such as the experience of love, and reduce them to particular blobs of cortex. They do this by leaning heavily on complex statistical algorithms that allow them to sort the "noise" from the "signal." The noise is all those changes in blood flow deemed irrelevant; it's also the vast majority of what's taking place. The end result is that, in many instances, the statistical filter misrepresents our neural reality, focusing on peaks of activity instead of on all the interactions that make those peaks possible. The brain isn't simple; our pictures of the brain shouldn't be, either."
  2. Unlikely beneficiaries of the foreclosure mess: "While students at other colleges cram into shoebox-size dorm rooms, Ms. Alarab, a management major, and Ms. Foster, who is studying applied math, come home from midterms to chill out under the stars in a curvaceous swimming pool and an adjoining Jacuzzi behind the rapidly depreciating McMansion that they have rented for a song. Here in Merced, a city in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley and one of the country’s hardest hit by home foreclosures, the downturn in the real estate market has presented an unusual housing opportunity for thousands of college students. Facing a shortage of dorm space, they are moving into hundreds of luxurious homes in overbuilt planned communities."