The approach locks understanding of alzheimers to body chemistry and that's certainly one component, but there are other elements that go unaddressed. In western nuclear families children grow up and move elsewhere and the elderly often end up living alone. Exclusion and isolation are painful and severe punishments, particularly for women. Elderly women typically fret constantly about their sons, daughters and grandchildren, whom they are lucky to see once a month. In this position little else seems important, and that which is unimportant is deleted from memory. Knitting classes, Bridge clubs and TV are wholly inadequate substitutes... Drug companies would have us believe that the answer to all problems is a drug, and the tunnel vision that produces blinds us to other important causes of the condition.
Charles Bonnet Syndrome. Some people who lose their vision report florid visual hallucinations, and anyone who spends a day wearing a blindfold is likely to experience them as well. We assume that we see with our eyes, but the eyes are only the start point. The brain takes the raw information feed and constructs our visual reality for us. When you're dreaming that system is constructing a visual reality disconnected from the usual input from the eyes. The majority of theories we hear about the nature of dreams suffer from a profound ignorance about how visual information is processed.
We'll be seeing a lot more of this, marketed as a cool new feature. Everyone makes about 250,000 saccades per day and the vast majority are unconsciously generated. By logging saccade targets one can easily map a person's interests, tastes, fears, sexual orientation, etc. Instead of page views ad companies will be selling saccade targets. That's bad enough, but the NSA will be collecting information about you that you don't even know yourself. With enough effort it would be possible to generate user profiles and identify users soley by their saccade fingerprints.
The big question is...how would China have confined the malware to the US? Such an infection would wipe them out as well, and likely faster. China is awash in pirated copies of Windows that don't update. The report is just pure propaganda aimed at the technically ignorant.
"just changes the way the traits already encoded"... That would mean there'd be a pre-existing definition of the scent of cherry blossoms, which seems unlikely. There are already hard coded aversions to heights, teeth, staring eyes, etc, but this reaction is to one of billions of innocuous stimulae. More likely, the system would read the definition of cherry blossom scent from the amygdala together with it's threat assessment tag and add it to the presets. This appears to be a brilliant evolutionary shortcut so I'd be wary until the results are proven to be reliable.
"you can't argue correlation-but-not-causation"... If you're assuming that the Art was the cause you can. The Art is only one part of the experience and the context it's presented in is likely much more significant. The context conveys it's importance and it's association with wealth. In some ways it mimics the environment in a church, where people speak in hushed tones. It would be useful to put the same paintings in a thrift store, march another group of kids round and then do the same tests later. Or put truly garbage Art on the museum walls and do the same tests.
Einstein also had a bigger nose than most people. The brain is far more complex than painted here, having more connections than there are stars in the universe. While there are specialized modules, thinking is a committee activity and it turns out that almost all decisions are not made rationally but emotionally, with your consciousness being informed moments later
...all the while believing it is in control. If Einstein had only had the rational going for him he would never have found anything of note... Niels Bohr had a dream in 1913 of electrons whirling around a nucleus, woke up and wrote it all down. That dream is the basis of atomic theory. The ability to pull together disparate threads to make something new is now suspected to be the work of the associative cortex... but still in collaboration with all the other committee members that make up the brain.
Elderly drivers actually have fewer accidents than young drivers and are far less likely to speed, run red lights, etc... There was a time when women were assumed to be bad drivers. That also was false.
Culture bound syndrome and suggestibility... Symptoms of schizophrenia vary from culture to culture and the symptom pool is interactive. In the west sufferers are met with fear and dehumanization and are believed to be violent. The patient himself holds these culturally generated expectations of his behaviour and acts them out. Also, the attitude of carers, particularly family members, in the west is aggressive, and puts the sufferer under pressure on a daily basis. The common belief is that schizophrenia is a disease like cancer and if the patient tries hard enough he will "beat" it. That daily pressure yields bad outcomes. Cultures where patients are not pressured have much better success... Hearing voices is very common in normal people, especially in very stressful situations where their life is at stake. One idea with steady support over the last 30 years is that hearing voices is a natural feature and was very common in early cultures.
The results of the tests don't necessarily support the interpretations. IQ tests were devised during the same period when doctors were making fortunes transplanting goat testicles into men to cure impotence. (Dr. John Brinkley and others)... Motion detection is crucial for detecting threats so it must be dealt with very early on, much of that being done in the amygdala, whose work is independent of higher functions. Conscious control over the system is an illusion. Find Wally is a good example. Wally is hard to pick out if his expression is neutral, but we'd catch him immediately if he looked angry. Another good example of the separation of this processing from consciousness is Blindsight... People who are blind due to damage to their visual cortex but can still detect threats despite seeing only blackness.
Yes it is the placebo effect. Mentally ill people adopt the symptoms they have learned in their culture. Whether it's depression or schizophrenia various mental illnesses manifest in very different ways. In traditional cultures that believed in spirit possession schizophrenics were 70% less likely to have remissions. Depression as we understand it didn't exist in Japan until the drug companies marketed it. Women in the late 1800s would suffer leg paralysis as part of hysteria, which no longer exists. Anorexia Nervosa didn't exist in China before media reports caused an epidemic. There's a good book about all this, "Crazy Like Us, The Americanisation of Mental Illness", by Ethan Watters. This may shed light on how mass shooters in the US find their way to their endpoint.
This is about herding. Terrorist attacks are pretty common around the world but we only hear about those involving Muslims. Italy has suffered a long series of bombings by anarchists over the last decades, many of them mail bombs, but they don't make news in Canada and the US. Spain had bombings by ETA for decades with hundreds killed but they were ignored here. The IRA flubbed setting off another car bomb in Ireland a short time ago but it was ignored here. We are being herded to more and more fear and the goal is to strip us of more and more of our freedom.
I know you're joking, but 85% of murders are committed by males. The propensity to kill comes with the Y chromosome, and there's nothing that can be done about it short of mass castration.
The article referenced mentions "eye-tracking sensors" and suggests they could be used for improving gaming. They could also be used for recording which parts of every page you find interesting and sending those records to advertisers. With that information they can construct ads on the fly to better suit your preferences and sell those preferences to others, A profile could be built of the target that would be more accurate than his view of himself. Security services would demand all this information as well. You'd have a super drone in your hand watching what catches your eye from moment to moment. They'd know what turns you on.
"corresponding greater allocation of the brain to process visual information". As both hunters and hunted, humans and neanderthals would both need the best systems possible. The size of the eyes would be far less significant than what the brain does with the information they collect... Humans may simply have lived in larger groups, allowing them to out compete Neanderthals by killing the males and stealing the females... just as we do today amongst ourselves.