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Adventures in Engineering
The wanderings of a modern ronin.

Ben Cantrick
  Date: 2008-08-11 14:56
  Subject:   Risk and reward in the brain: it's all about the dopamine.
  Tags:  reddit

In recent years Montague has shown how this basic computational mechanism is a fundamental feature of the human mind. Consider a paper on the neural foundations of trust, recently published in Science. The experiment was born out of Montague’s frustration with the limitations of conventional fMRI. “The most unrealistic element [of fMRI experiments] is that we could only study the brain by itself,” Montague says. “But when are brains ever by themselves?” And so Montague pioneered a technique known as hyper-scanning, allowing subjects in different fMRI machines to interact in real time. His experiment revolved around a simple economic game in which getting the maximum reward required the strangers to trust one another. However, if one of the players grew especially selfish, he or she could always steal from the pot and erase the tenuous bond of trust. By monitoring the players’ brains, Montague was able to predict whether or not someone would steal money several seconds before the theft actually occurred. The secret was a cortical area known as the caudate nucleus, which closely tracked the payouts from the other player. Montague noticed that whenever the caudate exhibited reduced activity, trust tended to break down.

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Ben Cantrick
  Date: 2008-08-11 15:08
  Subject:   Pelosi, on Kucinich's 36 articles of impeachment: "I haven't even read them."
  Music:Damageplan - Fuck You
  Tags:  politics, reddit, usa not worth saving

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Ben Cantrick
  Date: 2008-08-11 15:16
  Subject:   What's that you say? NeoCons love and glorify war above all else?
  Mood:\n// !
  Music:GWAR - Bring Back The Bomb (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6Mwxq2auyU)
  Tags:  politics, reddit, usa not worth saving

I have listened to Republican Radio for over 15 years. And I have never been more disturbed by it than I have come to be this year. It has always been bad, it has always been simplistic. But this year in particular it has become blazingly clear just how destructive to the health of our country and citizenry this vile stream of verbiage really is.

What put me over the edge? It's the discovery that they are deeply deeply cynical people. They do not believe in anything that they say they believe in. Except for one thing. There is one common thread that they manage to hold allegiance to over the years. War. They like war. War makes them feel proud. War increases their sense of personal self-esteem. You can hear Limbaugh swell up like a bloated frog when he talks about US engagement in war. For him, being on the US side in a military engagement is like having one's favorite team win the Super Bowl. You feel proud of how "your guy" obliterated the other guys.

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Ben Cantrick
  Date: 2008-08-11 15:47
  Subject:   PETH protesters mob CERN, protest subatomic particle cruelty.
  Tags:  humor, reddit

As the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) nears completion, many people have worried about the implications of colliding subatomic particles at high velocities. Some have suggested that the device could destroy the Earth by creating black holes or dangerous subatomic particles, but a new group calling themselves People for the Ethical Treatment of Hadrons (PETH) are worried about the health of the subatomic particles.

Scientists at CERN working on the LHC say this is a new one to them. "We've got the wackos who think we're going to rip a hole in the universe, and the people who think our real purpose is to create a race of Dr. Manhattans, but this is just weird," said Erich Stanhoffe who heads the LHC project.

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May 2015