THYMOS
A newsletter of research on Consciousness, Mind and Life

by piero scaruffi

Researchers are welcome to submit news and articles about breakthroughs and events in the areas of cognitive science, artificial intelligence, neurobiology, artificial life, linguistics, neural networks, connectionism, cognitive psychology, mind, philosophy, psychology, consciousness. Email the editor at this Email address. Readers who would like to receive periodic news and updates on cognitive science, philosophy of mind, neurobiology, artificial intelligence, etc, are invited to register to my mailing list.

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December 2009
  • The brain "learns" and "remembers" by a process that strengthens connections among neurons. These connections are called "synapses". Kenneth Kosik and others at the University of California Santa Barbara have discovered the chemical process that strengthens the synapses. The synapsis is "guarded" by an apparatus of proteins that "silences" it. When the synapsis needs to be strengthened, first a signal deteriorates the silencing compound so that the synapsis is no longer silenced, and then the RNA is free to synthesize a new protein.
  • The MIT announces the Mind Machine Project
November 2009
  • A team of Japanese and USA scientists have found out that the human genome contains genes of a virus. The virus infected hominids 40 million years ago, and its genes have been passed down ever since (New York Times)
  • Scottish biologist Klaus Zuberbuhler is trying to decipher the language of monkeys (New York Times)
October 2009
  • Marc Pagel at the University of Reading has proposed a theory that the oldest words in each language are those that have been used the most: 'I', 'we', 'who' and the numbers '1', '2' and '3'.
September 2009 June 2009 May 2009
  • British chemist John Sutherland at the University of Manchester has shown how to synthesize a nucleotide from the elements of prebiotic Earth. If he is right phosphate played a critical role as much as carbon.
February 2009 January 2009
  • The USA biologist Gerald Joyce at the Scripps Institute has produced two RNA molecules that can promote each other's synthesis.

Click here for 2008 news
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