Saturday, August 15, 2009

superdeep holes and self-unawareness

Other stuff:

World's deepest hole (Kola superdeep borehole). So coool.

World's second deepest hole:

"This well reached a depth of 31,441 feet where it encountered molten sulfur that melted the drill pipe and forced the end of drilling." Damn.

Unilateral neglect.

Some people neglecting a side of their own body, some neglecting a side of external objects. You can try to draw their attention to the "missing" side gradually, putting an eyepatch over the other eye, throwing a ball at them from that side, etc.

The Dunning-Kruger effect. In short, if you're ignorant, you are more likely to overestimate your own competence in something. The more you become familiar with it, the more accurate, and the more humble, your self-perception becomes.

Similarly, there is anosognosia, a lack of awareness about your own illness or disibilities. Like, even to the extent of not being aware that you have become paralyzed.
The condition does not seem to be directly related to sensory loss and is thought to be caused by damage to higher level neurocognitive processes which are involved in integrating sensory information with processes which support spatial or bodily representations (including the somatosensory system).

However, this can be temporarily cured. By squirting ice-cold water into someone's left ear (WTF?):
In regard to anosognosia for neurological patients, there are currently no long-term treatments for anosognosia, although, like unilateral neglect, caloric reflex testing (squirting ice cold water into the left ear) is known to temporarily ameliorate unawareness of impairment.

It is not entirely clear how this works, although it is thought that the unconscious shift of attention or focus caused by the intense stimulation of the vestibular system temporarily influences awareness. Most cases of anosognosia appear to simply disappear over time, while other cases can last indefinitely. Normally, long-term cases are treated with cognitive therapy to train the patient to adjust for their inoperable limbs (though it is believed that these patients still are not "aware" of their disability).

I got an MRI today, not as a medical precaution but because I wanted to experience that and see what my brain looked like. (I didn't pay for this or anything, the data will be used in a study.) It looks pretty cool, even though for the most part I don't know WTF anything is in there. It is easy to find images in there, Rorschach-test like. MIND READING LOL.

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