Daily Download: August 22, 2013 (Ancient spices / Yahoo overtaking Google / consciousness & awareness)

6,100-year-old crock pot has earliest evidence of food spicing — The oldest evidence to date of humans spicing their food has been found in a Denmark and Germany. The spice is a garlic mustard seed, and the evidence shows that the seeds were finely crushed to create the flavoring. The researchers involved in the discovery actually reformulated the spice mix and tried it for themselves, and they said that it still tastes good.

Yahoo! Overtakes Google In US Web Traffic — How interesting! For the first time in over 2 years, Yahoo sites have had more pageviews than Google sites. Interestingly, that ranking doesn’t take into consideration search engine usage, which is dominated by Google, or mobile services, but it also doesn’t include traffic from Tumblr, which has huge pageviews and was recently acquired by Yahoo. From my own personal experience, Google killing off its Google Reader and Google Notebook and announcing that it’s killing off its iGoogle landing page are pushing people to other platforms for those services. And, if you haven’t noticed, I was using Google Blogger service for this blog, but yesterday I shifted it over to the WordPress service because Blogger has some idiosyncrasies that were driving me crazy. I love Google’s services, but their strategy and branding is odd right now.

How Consciousness Works — Excuse the pun, but this is truly mind-boggling information. Neuroscientist Michael Graziano walks through his theories of consciousness, attention and awareness. The basic concept is that we have a constantly updating model in our brains of ourselves and the world around us. The model of “ourselves” is consciousness and the model of “the world around us” is awareness. That model, like a military commander’s map of his battle units in relation to the enemy’s, is updating our relation to things and people around us, is attributing our response to those things (emotions, thought processes, whatever) but is also attributing perceived responses of the other things around us, such as our perceptions of what other people are feeling at the moment. And our brain is updating this model with a vast number of calculations about a vast number of objects at any given moment while also giving us the ability to zoom in and focus on certain specific elements, becoming more intimately and specifically aware of the things we’re focusing on at any given moment. He then rolls into theories of false awareness when you hear voices in your head or when someone believes a squirrel is in their head and how the brain process all such items. It’s an engrossing theory, and then the comments continue on in critiquing and discussion these concepts.


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