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Biological Complexity – Dumb, Random and Tinkering

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This brief report seems to describe biological systems pretty straightforwardly as pretty simple really.   Event he most “complex” and adaptive.  This is likely generalizable to all biological systems including human institutions and businesses, personalities, groups, etc.  Evolution then is very much a hodgepodge and kluge from which seemingly well designed and complex products and systems emerge.  Seemingly.

Bottom Line:

“These really aren’t like precision-engineered machines at all.  They’re groups of molecules that happen to stick to each other, cobbled together during evolution by tinkering, degradation, and good luck, and preserved because they helped our ancestors to survive.”

Scientists Recreate Evolution Of Complexity Using ‘Molecular Time Travel’

…just a few small, high-probability mutations increased the complexity of a molecular machine more than 800 million years ago…the researchers showed that a new component was incorporated into the machine due to selective losses of function rather than the sudden appearance of new capabilities. Continue reading

Addiction and Self-Harming Behaviors

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Take Aways

  • Overall, these results provide strong support for the hypothesis that impaired decision-making in SDI is associated with altered reactions to rewarding and punishing events, as well as altered elicitation of emotional signals that help forecast or anticipate the consequences of future events.

  • Some studies have reported that chronic alcohol abusers show significant alterations in the processing of facial expressions

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Brand and Item Excellence – Just About Marketing and Social Status

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Violinists Can’t Tell The Difference Between Stradivarius Violins And New Ones

…professional violinists [were asked] to play new violins, and old ones by Stradivari and Guarneri. They couldn’t tell the difference between the two groups. One of the new violins even emerged as the most commonly preferred instrument.

The joy of owning and playing a Stradivarius comes not from any objective advantage in its sound, but simply from the knowledge that it is a Stradivarius.

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Great Art Brain Research — It’s Just Marketing

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Bottom Line:  “We only see the beauty because we are looking for it.”

Take Aways

  •  The quality of art seemed to be irrelevant.
  • the sensory differences on display are overwhelmed by our cognitive beliefs about what we’re experiencing.

How Does the Brain Perceive Art? | Wired Science (excerpted)

We want to believe that pleasure is simple, that our delight in a fine painting or bottle of wine is due entirely to the thing itself. But that’s not the way reality works. Whenever we experience anything, that experience is shaped by factors and beliefs that are not visible on the canvas or present in the glass. Even the most exquisite works in the world — and what is more exceptional than a Rembrandt portrait? — still require a little mental help. We only see the beauty because we are looking for it. Continue reading