Monthly Archives: April 2015

The same face? The same young lady?

Face recognition, face identification, face matching, call it whatever you like, the question of whether some photographs are records of the same face (at different ages) is central to solving a long-argued and fascinating mystery about the famous author Lewis Carroll. My first impression, as a super-recognizer, is that the mystery photo is of the same young lady. As a super-recognizer I look at the whole face and feel whether it is the same person whose face I have already become familiar with. As a logical person who who understands that a proper investigation involves looking for any evidence that potentially could disprove a proposition, I would like to spend more time looking individually at all of the facial and body features in two photos to see if they match or have clear differences that cannot be explained by the effects of age or other possible alteration, just as the people do in this documentary.

Viewing trainsmashes

I’ve been disappointed but not surprised to find that the reviewer of the peer-reviewed neuroscience journal paper that failed to recognize my priority in regard to the main hypothesis of that paper, which was published in 2013 and which I believe constitutes plagiarism of two of my highly original ideas about the immune system and synaesthesia that I published at the blog in 2012, will be hosting the 11th Annual Conference of the American Synesthesia Association in 2015. I’m not that surprised because one of the co-authors of the contentious paper had been a star of synaesthesia research, a leader in professional activities such as conferences and was one of two editors of the major textbook on the subject of synaesthesia.

Sometimes my friends ask me why I’m not working at some university. I’m clearly very interested in neuroscience and psychology and they think I’m smart. I do have an applied science degree and I have also studied psychology at the university that has been regarded as Western Australia’s most prestigious (UWA), achieving some passes with distinction and higher distinction. But unfortunately I don’t have endless time and money to pursue further study, and to be honest, I don’t think the world of academia is a place that I’d want to be too much a part of. I’ve been concerned by the unfortunate events this month at UWA regarding former WA Scientist of the Year Professor Jorg Imberger, the now-defunct Centre for Water Research, Professor Ian Dadour, the UWA’s Centre for Forensic Science, and like many Australians I’ve been stunned and amazed in a bad way by the controversy over the Abbott government’s idea to bring the controversial “climate contrarian” Bjorn Lomborg to Perth to establish a $4 million “think tank” that UWA’s business school. Local, national and international press are reporting claims and leaks and counter-claims about whose idea the centre was; the federal government or UWA administrators. I’m sure there are many people working at UWA who are unhappy about recent events, because I know that some of the lecturers who made my time as a student at UWA wonderful and very worthwhile are still listed as staff. I blanch when I open the paper and read about recent events at the university that I once studied at and held in high regard, and when I look at the world of synaesthesia research, an area of science that has fascinated me for many years, I see academic leaders who have played central roles in what I believe is an astounding case of scientific plagiarism. Do I want to be a part of that? I don’t think I do.

Postscript May 2015

The plan the establish an Australia Consensus Centre at UWA has been cancelled, a wise decision.

For important people only

I’ve just discovered the details of this “by invitation only” workshop that was scheduled for February past. I’m guessing the subject of the event was the Perth face-space project, which I have written about previously, but the description of the event seems deliberately vague.


Make no mistake

Occupational Therapy and neuroscience are not the same thing, and I find it pretty annoying when the former is presented in a way that makes it look like some kind of science that I or anyone should take seriously. Don’t waste my time. For heaven’s sake, there’s enough nonsense, hype and shoddy work in neuroscience as it is.

Another computer algorithm created to perform a face perception task that any person can do without even thinking

Wenz, John This Algorithm Guesses Your Biological Age Just by Scanning Your Face. Popular Mechanics. April 1st 2015.

“For example, if a person appears to be considerably older than they really are, a doctor might look for something to explain that, whether it’s a genetic disorder or a lifestyle issue.”

I do not doubt the link between appearance of facial aging and genetic syndromes or drug addiction as I personally know of some real-life examples of both, and I don’t doubt that a good doctor should look for this in facial appearance and make appropriate investigations, but I do question why any doctor with normal eyesight and face perception would need a computer to do this, and I also question whether under the current “5 minute medicine” model of general practice in Australia, most doctors would have the time or the inclination to enquire about apparent accelerated physical aging in a patient.

I know of quite a long list of things that might accelerate the appearance of aging in the face, including at least one genetic disorder (I know of one family but do not know exactly which disorder), a drug addict lifestyle, smoking (which apparently destroys some vitamin and thus exposes cells to extra stress), and poorly controlled diabetes. There are probably many more things that can have this effect. Ask your doctor.