from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Math is simultaneously illusory and real. On the one hand, it's a set of arbitrary symbols and chosen rules that can be modified and manipulated as we see fit, since it's just a human invention; on the other hand, the patterns it identifies and describes have intrinsic reality and significance. The same could almost be said about the concept of the human mind — so where the two intersect, there are fascinating things to be learned:
- Recent mathematical models are changing the nature of the scientific conversation about consciousness, with one controversial theory suggesting our minds are ultimately non-computable. Could cognition be something other than just extremely advanced computation? [url]
- Computers are now producing mathematical proofs that are essentially beyond human comprehension, or at least beyond our realistic ability to do any double-checking. One recently computed proof involves 13 gigabytes of recorded calculations, or more text than all of Wikipedia. [url]
- Researchers are beginning to understand what happens in the brain to cause Savant syndrome after an injury. Jason Padgett developed the ability to visualize complex mathematical and physical problems after suffering a severe beating, and it's possible that this ability lies dormant in everyone. [url]
If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.