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- Accidental Telepathy | Archive of Our Own
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William Proxmire D-WI was issuing the Golden Fleece Award to target wasteful federal spending and often targeted peer-reviewed science because it sounded odd. Cooper believed such an award was needed to counter the false impression that odd-sounding research was not useful. In the s and '60s, the National Institutes of Health and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research supported the work of Hubel and Wiesel, who were studying how the visual centers in cats and monkeys process simple stimuli.
Across a year collaboration, beginning at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and continuing at Harvard Medical School, the pair would go on to make extraordinary discoveries that eventually earned them a Nobel Prize. The researchers had begun with what was known: light stimulates light-sensing receptor cells in the retina of the eye, and different receptor cells respond to stimuli in different parts of the retina's visual field. But Hubel and Weisel were studying nerve cells, or neurons, in higher-functioning areas of the brain not previously studied, which they found frustratingly unresponsive to their simple stimuli—small spots of light or a black dot on a clear glass slide projected onto a screen.
Then, as the cats watched, one of the researchers accidentally moved the glass slide a little too far, bringing its faint edge into view.here
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And suddenly those same neurons began firing like mad! Over the course of the next several months, Hubel and Wiesel made the first crucial steps forward in our understanding of visual processing. They found that particular neurons in the visual cortexes of cats and monkeys—the areas in their brains responsible for processing visual information—didn't respond to simple points of light, but rather to lines, and in particular, lines and contours with specific orientations.
Some neurons responded to horizontal lines, others to vertical, and still others to orientations in between. In addition, they found neurons responding to signals from both eyes, but usually one or the other would dominate.
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Over subsequent years, Hubel and Wiesel refined their understanding, mapping the visual centers of their feline and primate subjects with increasing precision. They found the visual cortex consisted of narrow columns of cells organized by eye preference and response to orientation, which they termed "ocular dominance columns" and "orientation columns.
As they were adjusting their equipment, a single line moved across the screen at a particular angle—and that caused one cat's neuron to fire. The scientists proceeded to study that single neuron for nine consecutive hours. That work led to a groundbreaking study that ultimately led to their winning the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, which they shared with CalTech's Roger Sperry.
The Nobel committee singled out their research for solving "one of the most well-guarded secrets of the brain: the way by which its cells decode the message which the brain receives from the eye. Hubel—who died on Sept. He intended to study neurology but suddenly found himself drafted into the U. There he did his first scientific research, delving into the spontaneous firing of single cortical cells in sleeping and waking cats.
He returned to Hopkins to continue his research with Vernon B. In Games Now!
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Accidental Telepathy | Archive of Our Own
First, Google has not wanted to compete directly with its licensees Sound familiar? Second, it can be difficult to create a "pure" Android experience as some expect Google might want to do with Motorola in the face of carrier customization demands. Google is thus hamstrung with Motorola. It wants to keep the division profitable to meet financial goals and keep a major U.
However, it can't offer the device maker an unfair advantage lest it alienate Android licensees and destroy the promise of the Open Handset Alliance. Next week's Switched On will look at why Google's ownership of Motorola is also unlikely to bring much disruption to cable or bolster the competition.
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Ross Rubin rossrubin is executive director of industry analysis for consumer technology at market research and analysis firm The NPD Group. Views expressed in Switched On are his own. Buyer's Guide. Log in. Sign up.