sahux009: October 2011 Archives


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Take a look at this guy:

This man, named Bradley Boyce, is looking right into the eyes of a life long sentence. For what you may ask? He raped a woman. On August 29, 2010, the victim, identified as Jane Doe, called the police a little after 4 a.m. to report the incident. The most important piece of evidence? He was confirmed by the DNA testing that was done at the crime scene. Boyce was there that night whether he was aware of it or not. The victim suffered "traumatic injuries", but made it through. Boyce claimed he was sleepwalking through the entire incident.

What happened after the defendants and the prosecution made their statements?

He was found guilty and sentenced to a life in prison. This is really interesting to me, because there have been a variety of cases around the world that have been excused on the basis of sleepwalking. I keep on wondering why some get away and some are sentenced. The answer, I think, is due to court precedence. The less the court has to worry about precedence, the more proactive the judge can be. In this case, there must not have been too much precedence for the judge to use. Also, in this case it is important to consider the fact that the doctor herself had very little to test. All she was able to do was to check whether Boyce was eligible for sleepwalking, something that occurs in 4%-5% of adults. Chances are Boyce doesn't sleepwalk. The most invalid part of the entire test is the fact that instead of a sleep study on Boyce, she relied on what information was given by the defense attorney.

According to Psychology, from Inquiring to Understanding a man killed his mother-in-law with a tire iron, and seriously injured his father-in-law. He claimed that he was sleepwalking and was not guilty or responsible. The judges agreed.

When we compare a case like this one to the Boyce case it is interesting to see how differently the decisions went.

Check out the article here:

Scientific Smackdown

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I have to say, this is by far one of the most interesting articles I have seen in a long time. First off, this article is almost like the "WWE smackdown" of science. There is a man named Martin Lindstrom, a respected opinion page contributor to the New York Times. He wrote an article about the effects of the iPhone on the brain. He used functional magnetic resonance imaging to test how people react to things they love, such as electronics and their religions. What he did in this test was he showed a subject a picture of an Apple product, and then showed the same subject a picture of the Pope. He found that there were some striking similarities. When subjects viewed the Apple product, and a picture of the Pope the brain activity was similar. It seems Lindstrom has done some extensive tests (though he has not provided any link to his tests) even with babies and Blackberrys.

He even goes as far as saying:
"I enlisted eight men and eight women between the ages of 18 and 25. Our 16 subjects were exposed separately to audio and to video of a ringing and vibrating iPhone. In each instance, the results showed activation in both the audio and visual cortices of the subjects' brains. In other words, when they were exposed to the video, our subjects' brains didn't just see the vibrating iPhone, they "heard" it, too; and when they were exposed to the audio, they also "saw" it. This powerful cross-sensory phenomenon is known as synesthesia."
Honestly, there are a few problems. First off, did he randomly assign? He didn't seem to clarify this, but with that he only had 16 people. Secondly, this is not a representative sample of the population. There needs to be more than sixteen people. Third, it seemed like he diagnosed quickly. A few days after this was published (originally published on September 30th, 2011), Russel Poldrack a Psychology and Neurobiology professor from University of Texas at Austin that wrote to the editor. Poldrack said: 'The brain region that he points to as being "associated with feelings of love and compassion" (the insular cortex) is active in as many as one-third of all brain imaging studies.' It seems Lindstrom not only conducted a poor test, but also made an extraordinary claim he had no clear evidence for. In the end, the fact that Lindstrom thought he had found a case of synesthesia, cross-modial sensation, didn't really matter. More importantly however Poldrack made sure to "punch hard" by adding a list of 44 other neuroscientists that signed his letter to the New York Times. Poldrack even stated how disappointed he was in the New York Times. That list had name of neuroscientists from Duke, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, Princeton, Cornell, Harvard, Columbia, and more. Ironically, the population of neuroscientists was larger than Lindstrom's sixteen subjects.

No matter what, we all make mistakes.

So what is a better conclusion than Lindstrom's conclusion? Here is a simple equation:

Also, I happened to pick this article because of the iPhone and in memory of Steve Jobs.



Websites Used: (Full list of neuroscientists available).

What do we really know?

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Since the beginning of time, humans have had mysteries. As a human, I think we have significantly progressed from when we first came to earth (still disputed). However, even with mass transit running at two hundred miles an hour and multi-national trade organizations we still have some mysteries that we encounter. From the many mysteries we still encounter, here we have Brooke Greenberg:

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How old is this girl? Maybe one or two years old? No, this girl was born in 1993 making her eighteen years old now. At this point she is equivalent in age to a college freshman! According to Dr. Walker in South Florida, Brooke's body is aging out of synchronization. Some parts of her body are aging faster than other parts of her body. He nails and hair seem to be the only things that grow normally. In 2009, her bone development was equivalent to that of a ten year old. Of course Brooke has had some health problems, but she has recovered sometimes spontaneously. For example, Brooke was only four years old when she fell into a fourteen day lethargy. The doctors diagnosed her with a brain tumor. After the parents bought a casket for her, she woke up like nothing had ever happened.
What I am so intrigued by is how unique she is. The only thing doctors can do at this point is rule out rival hypotheses. I could be a simple miracle, but scientists are skeptical and strive to scientifically explain this. All around the country, doctors could guess what might cause this across the world, but Dr. Richard Walker and geneticist Maxine Sutcliffe have to work together to rule out other hypothesis. This, in the world of medicine, is sometimes the best way to narrow the results. Many times diagnosing a patient is a "team endeavor". Doctors will give a diagnosis and after many tests, the patients doctor must rule out other hypothesis. In the end, however, the doctor will try his/her best to correctly diagnose the patient. In this case, Walker could claim one mutation for example, but in this case this claim requires extraordinary evidence. However, it seems like doctors have not been able to diagnose Brooke.

Maybe she holds the secret to staying young forever?

Stay tuned Vogue Magazine!


Article Used:
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This page is an archive of recent entries written by sahux009 in October 2011.

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