Monthly Archives: July 2016

A nice bit of botanical pareidolia

Davis, Josh (2016) Newly Described Orchid Has A Tiny Demon At Its Center. IFLS. 15th July 2016.

http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/newly-described-orchid-has-a-tiny-demon-at-its-center/

 

Two recently-published attention-grabbing open-access neuroscience journal papers

Shriki O, Sadeh Y, Ward J (2016) The Emergence of Synaesthesia in a Neuronal Network Model via Changes in Perceptual Sensitivity and Plasticity. PLoS Computational Biology. 12(7): e1004959. doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004959

http://journals.plos.org/ploscompbiol/article?id=10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004959

“The model unifies different causes of synaesthesia within a single theoretical framework and repositions synaesthesia not as some quirk of aberrant connectivity, but rather as a functional brain state that can emerge as a consequence of optimising sensory information processing.”

 

Anders Eklund, Thomas E. Nichols, and Hans Knutsson (2016) Cluster failure: Why fMRI inferences for spatial extent have inflated false-positive rates.
PNAS 2016 ; published ahead of print June 28, 2016, doi:10.1073/pnas.1602413113

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2016/06/27/1602413113.full

“In theory, we should find 5% false positives (for a significance threshold of 5%), but instead we found that the most common software packages for fMRI analysis (SPM, FSL, AFNI) can result in false-positive rates of up to 70%. These results question the validity of some 40,000 fMRI studies and may have a large impact on the interpretation of neuroimaging results.”

Interesting commentary:

Oxenham, Simon Thousands of fMRI brain studies in doubt due to software flaws. New Scientist. July 18th 2016.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2097734-thousands-of-fmri-brain-studies-in-doubt-due-to-software-flaws/

 

 

 

Showing off

One of our kids was looking through an illustrated biographical book about Albert Einstein the other day. Just to show off, I identified Albert Einstein correctly in this school class photo, without looking at the answer.

https://superrecognizer.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/4e993-6a00d83542d51e69e2017c31e8d596970b-pi.jpg

 

See No Evil

The See No Evil TV series episiode 3 about the murder of Kelsey Smith, which was broadcast on the Sunday just past on the Nine TV network in Australia was an illustrative example of the central and essential importance of crowdsourced face recognition and CCTV surveillance in solving serious crimes. I just wish that law-enforcement authorities wouold do more to use these tools to prevent crimes or to intervene in crimes, rather than waiting for someone to be killed or harmed, then using these tools to solve crimes.

https://www.9now.com.au/see-no-evil

 

 

This study came out in March

Ramon, M., Miellet, S., Dzieciol, A. M., Konrad, B. N., Dresler, M., & Caldara, R. (2016). Super-Memorizers Are Not Super-Recognizers. PloS one, 11(3), e0150972. Published: March 23, 2016.

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0150972

This study has been published for a good while but I’ve just stumbled across it. It does not appear to be a study of super-recognizers, but makes reference to the concept of super-recognition in the title. I suspect that their might be some incorrect assumptions in the premise of this study, as one cannot compare natural face recognition or natural face memory with the kinds of mnemonic tricks used by competitors in memory championships, and you also cannot compare the tasks, which are actually quite different and utilise different abilities. I’ve seen the face-related tasks in such competions, and I’ve also read books by memory champs and stage memory performers about how to perform these tricks, and it isn’t natural face recognition. Anyway, I should limit my comments until I get a chance to read the study in full, which might never happen.

 

But is it really Gina?

I’m well aware that weight loss, ageing and remodelled or drawn-on eyebrows can mess up our natural face recognition abilities, but even though, I’m not 100% convinced the lady in the photos is really the Australian mining magnate Gina Rinehart. I feel that the lady in the photo has quite a different personality than Rinehart, kinder but perhaps not as canny.

If this lady is the real Gina, I’m sure she’s had work done on her face, and in my opinion, her unique personality can no longer be seen in her face. I hate watching the fascinating faces of famous women all morph into that homogenous face of the older woman who has had her face done over.

Mining magnate Gina Rinehart shows off amazing weight loss. Daily Telegraph. July 1 2016.

http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/mining-magnate-gina-rinehart-shows-off-amazing-weight-loss/news-story/145abfd505908795a600d5bb7e7b9197