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Messages - LMNO, PhD (life continues)

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A day in the life of Nigel:

Bring and Brag / Re: Great game from the world of Chaos- Game Torah Online
« on: November 16, 2014, 02:35:54 pm »

I clicked through a few pages.  Layout poor, design garish, text poorly translated.  Ultimately, not terribly interesting. 

This is one of those times where "disorder and confusion" is neither entertaining nor enlightening.

Um.  You already agreed that the mechanism as hypothesized doesn't work.  The evidence is in the studies.  The study shows minimal movement of cranio spinal fluid, but evidence that the theory behind why scalp massage would do this was not found.

Remember, you agreed to that conclusion.

Woot, new bookmark!  Thanks, Cain.

I noticed something.

I was in a couple of discussions/arguments/head-wall-bashing on FB a few days ago.  One was about making the Internet a utility, and one was about catcalls.*  It was pretty standard -- people talking past each other, ossified talking points, non-sequitor arguments, heel-dig-screech, etc.  Fun for a while, in that way.

But since I am nothing if not a naive idealist, I began to honestly be confused at some of the positions these people were taking.  They seemed completely foreign to me.  I couldn't find any entry point in how their position holds up.  So I decided to take it out of the public forum.  I PMd them, and asked if they could clarify themselves.

Not a single one of them wanted to engage in a private discussion.  They would much rather bluster on where everyone can see them.  There's no thinking things through, it's all tribal signalling.  And the thing about signals is that there's no truth value to them.  That would be like saying "the color green is true".  It's meaningless.  The problem is that since they're signalling with words rather than colors, you might get the impression that they're trying to communicate ideas instead of [/i]affiliations[/i].  And you can't use rationality or well-constructed arguments to change someone's affiliation.

But I'm sure many of you have already realized this.

*I'm pro-utility and anti-catcall, for the record.


Sorry, snarky.

Anyway, Holist, Dodo, whatever: 
It's pretty clear that if craniosacral massage has an effect, it's not via the claimed mechanism.
Yes, I agree with that.

Here's the thing: The entire point of science* is to have an idea about how the universe works, find a way to test that idea, and then look at the result.  If the results say your idea doesn't work, then you go back to the drawing board and come up with another idea.

The test was if a form of scalp massage can substantially affect the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in a person's body. 
The results of the test, which you agree with in the above quote shows that whatever cerebrospinal fluid movement occurred (which you also agree was minimal), it was not because of the scalp massage.

So now you have to go back and figure out, if not scalp massage, what was the cause of the movement?

What you don't do is sit back and claim that because there was a mild effect, Craniosacral therapy has not been disproven.

*Hyperbole.  There are other points.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Today's LessWrong moment
« on: November 14, 2014, 01:08:26 pm »
The LW post explains it more thoroughly, but check it:

Without the sensor, the photon can go
A -> B -> D -> Detector E
A -> B -> D -> Detector F
A -> C -> D -> Detector E
A -> C -> D -> Detector F

When you do the calculations and combine all results of Detector E, you get Zero.
When you do the calculations and combine all results of Detector F, you get Two.
(the math is more complicated, and involves i, but the general point is the same.  If you want confirmation, read the actual article)

So, your experimental result is that you get no photons detected at E.

Now, for the sensor:

So, taking the sensor into account:
A -> B -> D -> Detector E [sensor NO]
A -> B -> D -> Detector F [sensor NO]

A -> C -> D -> Detector E [sensor YES]
A -> C -> D -> Detector F [sensor YES]

This time, when you do the calculations, the addition of the sensor state means that when you combine the results for detector E, they don't cancel out.  Therefore, you'll see photons at both detectors equally.

Elizer again:
Configurations are not belief states.  Their distinctness is an objective fact with experimental consequences.  The configurations are distinct even if no one knows the state of S; distinct even if no intelligent entity can ever find out.  The configurations are distinct so long as at least one particle in the universe anywhere is in a different position.  This is experimentally demonstrable.

Which is to say: your conciousness, what you believe, has absolutely no impact on configurations.  The configuration is like a barstool. It exists, regardless of what you think about it.

Why do you refer to your wife as a hammer?

One interpretation of Kabala is this exactly. You spend years learning these utterly strange rules and associations between letters, numbers, animals, position, color, etc. to the point of mastery. And then it hits you how absurd it all is, your mind breaks, and you see God.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Today's LessWrong moment
« on: November 13, 2014, 10:18:01 pm »
It's not so much they're the "same", it's that the sensor needs to be taken into account. So, while before you had two identical calculations canceling out, now you have two different calculations.

Think for Yourself, Schmuck! / Re: Today's LessWrong moment
« on: November 13, 2014, 03:50:07 pm »
Ok, in light of some stuff floating around my FB feed, here's a couple of posts that relate to the idea of quantum conciousness; or rather, relate to why quantum conciousness is not necessary for QM to function.

If I can try to summarize without messing it up too much: This is about how when photons are shot through a sequence of half-silvered mirrors at two detectors, they arrive at each about half the time, as if the mirror "lets" the photon through half the time, and reflects it the other half.  But that's not really what's going on.

QM uses something called "configurations" which are, essentially, a "state of the system" calculation.  It is not linear, all the calculations occur simultaneously, and include all parameters.  When calculating the configuration "detector 1 gets a photon", it has the same value as "detector 2 gets a photon."  So when you run the experiment, you get results equally from 1 and 2.

If you set up a few more mirrors, you now have four configurations to calculate.  Of course, the configurations now need to take the added mirrors into account in their calculations. And as it turns out, two of these configurations effectively cancel each other out and give you an answer of zero for the photon arriving at detector 2.  Which means when you run the experiment, you only get results from detector 1.

Weird, but the math works, so it kind of makes sense.

Ok, now lets get crazy, and fire two photons into a mirrored array from two different directions.  You could end up with two photons at detector 1, two photons at detector 2, or one at each.  Your configurations now must include both photons, in addition to the mirrored array, and you once again have four calculations to make.  And again, two of the calculations cancel each other out, which means when you run the experiment, you'll have either two at 1, or two at 2, but never one at each.

This is where it really starts differentiating itself from classical mechanics. If you were in a linear framework, you would calulate a "one at each" result as a 50% probability.  But since we're doing configurations, we get a different answer.

Ok, here we go.  We want to see when a photon is going in a certain path, so we put a sensor at a certain point, which changes state when a photon zooms by.  But remember, your configuration has to take into account everything going on, and that includes the sensor.  So when you calculate your configurations, the two that canceled out before no longer do, because one of them now has the sensor.  So when you run the experiment, you're now seeing what you'd expect in classical mehanics.

And those calculations are true, even if we don't bother to look at whether the sensor changed state as when we run the experiment.

So, run the previous experiment, and you get a weird result.  Add a detector to see what's going on, the weird result goes away.

Take it away, Elizer...
I mean, now how crazy is that?  What kind of paranoia does that inspire in some poor scientist?

Okay, so in the 21st century we realize in order to "know" a photon's history, the particles making up your brain have to be correlated with the photon's history.  If having a tiny little sensitive thingy S that correlates to the photon's history, is enough to distinguish the final configurations and prevent the amplitude flows from canceling; then an entire sensor with a digital display, never mind a human brain, will put septillions of particles in different positions and prevent the amplitude flows from canceling.

But if you hadn't worked that out yet...

Then you would ponder the sensor having banished the Mysterious Phenomenon, and think:

The photon doesn't just want to be physically free to go either way.  It's not a little wave going along an unblocked pathway, because then just having a physically unblocked pathway would be enough.

No... I'm not allowed to know which way the photon went.

The mysterious phenomenon... doesn't want me looking at it too closely... while it's doing its mysterious thing.

It's not physical possibilities that have an effect on reality... only epistemic possibilities.  If I know which way the photon went, it's no longer plausible that it went the other way... which cuts off the mysterious phenomenon as effectively as putting a block between the mirrors.

I have to not observe which way the photon went, in order for it to always end up at Detector 2.  It has to be reasonable that the photon could have gone to either mirror.  What I can know is the determining factor, regardless of which physical paths I leave open or closed.


You can still read this kind of stuff.  In physics textbooks.  Even now, when a majority of theoretical physicists know better.  Stop the presses.  Please, stop the presses.

So, hope that helps.

Anne Hathaway poses in the same position for 15 minutes, making you think the film has frozen.


The theory behind craniosacral therapy is not particularly wooey.

Quote from: RationalWiki
Practitioners claim there are small, rhythmic motions of the cranial bones, which they attribute to cerebrospinal fluid pressure, or perhaps arterial pressure. The therapist places their hands on the patient's head and (apparently) tunes into the craniosacral rhythm, the regular flow of the cerebrospinal fluid, allowing cerebrospinal fluid to move through the spine more easily. They then lightly palpate the patient's body and focus on the communicated movements. After this, the theory becomes wildly inconsistent between different authorities and practitioners.

Given that a rhythmic (though daily, rather than more frequent) process of cranial fluid managed to be missed until 2012 (see Nigel's Neuroscience Nook), I think it is possible that the autonomous rhythm, pulsation of the craniospinal fluid that Osborne described is not mythical.

After having outlined the theories of cranial osteopathy (SUTHERLAND, KARNI, UPLEDGER, and, more recently, CLAUZADE and DARRAILLANS), the authors refute the latter point by point. "Primary respiration" is in fact a way of thinking, and the various bones making up the calvaria and base of the skull, which are solidly synostosed in the adult, are clearly incapable of the pretended rhythmic displacements "described" by the osteopaths. Moreover, the C.R.L., like any liquid, is incompressible and mildly pulsatile. Conversely, although the brain clearly shows rhythmic pulsations, which every neuro-surgeon notes every day, the latter are exclusively connected to the vascular system.

The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / Re: Die Antwoord
« on: November 12, 2014, 07:48:43 pm »
Yes.  They are.

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