We Don’t Know How We Know that Genes Make Minds

first_img“If the mind can be explained from the workings of the brain, and the brain develops by direction from our genes,” Anthony Monaco (Oxford) writes, “then presumably the mind can be explained from our genetic make-up.  But how can only 30,000 genes make a brain with billions of neurons and encode the particular aspects of cognition that make us human?”    This question opens his book review of The Birth of the Mind: How a Tiny Number of Genes Creates the Complexities of Human Thought by Gary Marcus (Basic Books, 2004) in the Feb. 19 issue of Nature.1  Monaco describes the book’s proposed answers to two paradoxes: (1) how a small number of genes codes for millions of neurons, and (2) how the brain can code for flexibility: “How does the brain of a newborn, with its complex structures and connections, have the plasticity to enable it to respond to environmental influences as it develops further?”    He seems to agree with the view of author Gary Marcus, a cognitive psychologist, that “the brain is built by genes in a self-organized way before being reorganized and shaped by experience and the environment.  It is not a battle where one side wins, but a vital interaction.”  But how do we get from genes to mind, to cognition, thought and reason?Having clarified these two paradoxes using our current knowledge of genetics and neuroscience, can we explain how genes make minds?  The story is only beginning.  This book shows that genes build brains and that brains are designed to be flexible and to learn, but the jump from genes to the mind is an indirect one.  The question cannot yet be answered, and it is not entirely clear where the answer will come from.Cognitive psychologists and neurologists have some clues, aided by real-time imaging techniques, but Monaco warns that “The path ahead to integrate these disciplines to gain a fuller understanding is optimistically vague….”  He warns readers about the “sheer complexity of the science”.1Anthony P. Monaco, “A recipe for the mind,” Nature 427, 681 (19 February 2004); doi:10.1038/427681b.A naturalistic explanation for the mind, soul and spirit does not seem to be forthcoming, does it?  (By “explanation” we do not mean a just-so story; those are always in plentiful supply.)(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Manage Your Task Lists Collaboratively With Flow

first_imgWeb workers and small teams are always on the lookout for really solid, affordable productivity apps, especially when it comes to task management. Although the field may already seem crowded with popular products like Remember the Milk, Things and Producteev, there’s one more that’s worth checking out, called Flow.Flow is a new task management Web app that comes from MetaLab, a design firm that specializes in very slick, app-like interfaces for Websites, desktop and mobile applications. Accordingly, Flow is particularly well-designed, with a clean interface and the feel of a desktop app. In terms of features, it offers the usual: entering and managing tasks, deadlines, tags, and the ability to enter new tasks via email. What’s a little different about Flow, at least compared to something like Remember the Milk, is that it can be used collaboratively, as well as on an individual basis. Team members can be added and tasks can be delegated to them. Rather than a static list of to-do items, each task can be commented on by team members. 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App Related Posts 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… In Flow, task lists can be broken down by “project,” but that’s about as far as things go in the direction of project management. Flow isn’t trying to be a substitute for more robust productivity suites like Basecamp and Highrise, but by the time it comes out of beta, it may give other task managers like Things and Remember the Milk a run for their money.One common shortcoming in some of these to-do list managers is cross-platform compatibility. For those of us who work off of several devices each day, a Web-based desktop solution is not enough. We need native or Web apps for iPhone, Android, iPad and Blackberry for these tools to truly be useful. Remember the Milk, for example, has iPhone, Android and Blackberry versions, but its iPad app is still under development. Meanwhile, Things is really impressive, but it’s only available for Mac and iOS and it’s not cheap. So far, Flow is only available as a Web app, but they’re working on an iPhone version, which is “almost done” according to a recent tweet from MetaLab. Flow is currently in private beta, but you can sign up for an invite here. 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… Tags:#biz#Reviews john paul titlowlast_img read more

Activists arrest: Pune court orders police to comply with Supreme Court direction

first_imgThe sessions court at Shivaji Nagar here on Wednesday directed the Pune police to place under “house arrest” three of the alleged “urban Maoists” arrested on Tuesday, following a Supreme Court order.Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves and Varavara Rao were produced in the Pune court, where police sought 15-day custody for further interrogation. They were arrested from their homes in Mumbai, Thane and Hyderabad, respectively. The police said they would be taken to their homes on Thursday. Accusing the three of waging war against the Government of India and training youth and students in Naxal activity, special public prosecutor Ujjwala Pawar demanded their police custody. The state alleged that the accused were working under the guise of an anti-fascist front called the All India United Front to overthrow the government.Ms. Pawar said the arrests were made based on an investigation of an FIR filed on January 8 by Tushar Damgude against the organisers of the Elgar Parishad in Pune on December 31, 2017. The state submitted a total of seven letters to the court, allegedly exchanged between members of the banned CPI(Maoist), where the names of the three accused were mentioned. None of the letters was correspondence between any of the accused. According to Ms. Pawar these letters were retrieved from seized material after the arrests of Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Rona Wilson, Mahesh Raut and Sudhir Dhawale in June. She said Varavara Rao was assigned the task of amassing weapons from Nepal and Manipur. Mr. Ferreira and Mr. Gonsalves were given the task of identifying young students, recruiting them, sending them to Naxal areas, training and using them against the Indian government.One of the letters read out by Ms. Pawar said CPI (Maoist) commander Comrade Ganapathy wanted to meet Mr. Rao. The prosecution said the CPI (Maoist) had developed links with separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir.last_img read more

People’s march to seek Goa CM’s resignation

first_imgFew Goa-based NGOs, political parties, including Congress, civil society groups and individuals will join a ‘people’s march’ led by social activist Rajan Ghate to Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s private residence on Tuesday, to demand his resignation. “The march will be held on Tuesday, November 20,” activist lawyer Aires Rodrigues told the press at Azad Maidan, venue of the on-going hunger strike by Mr. Ghate. Mr. Ghate’s indefinite hunger strike to demand the resignation of of ailing Chief Minister to “improve collapsed governance in the State” entered fourth day on Monday.“Mr. Ghate will lead the march to the Dona Paula residence of CM Manohar Parrikar. The march will be attended by Goa’s NGOs, leading individuals and some political parties, including the Congress,” Mr. Rodridgues said. Goa Congress president Girish Chodankar confirmed his party’s participation in the march.Mr. Ghate has been on fast-unto-death for the last four days at the city square demanding that Mr. Parrikar, who is suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer and has been unable to attend office for several months now, either resign or handover the charge of the government in public interest.Apart from the Opposition, which has been demanding his resignation for several months now, on Saturday some Cabinet Ministers from the ruling alliance also conceded while interacting with media that Mr. Parrikar’s prolonged absence from office had brought administration to a standstill.last_img read more