New Scientist Life, Apr. 26, 2010

The brain’s power will turn out to derive from data processing within the neuron rather than activity between neuron, suggests University of Cambridge research biologist Brian J. Ford.

“Each individual neuron is itself a computer, and the brain a vast community of microscopic computers… the human brain may be a trillion times more capable than we imagine,” he adds.

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The Australian Thinker of the Year 2011 Award will be presented to Professor Peter Singer in recognition of his exemplary contribution to bioethics in Australia and globally.

The 2011 Award will be hosted by the Crown Conference Centre in Melbourne.

Peter Singer is Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University in the USA and he is also the founder of the Centre for Human Bioethics at Monash University. He is an internationally recognised public academic and is considered to be Australia’s greatest living philosopher.

As well as being recognised as Australia’s greatest living philosopher, Peter is the author of the best selling The Life You Can Save; an eminently well-reasoned book that grapples with the fact that 9.7million children under five die each year from poverty. He also offers a way that the reader can do something about it.

Peter Singer first became well-known internationally after the publication of Animal Liberation in 1975.

Since then he has written many books in more than 20 languages.

Peter Singer was born in Melbourne, in 1946, and educated at the University of Melbourne and the University of Oxford. He has taught at the Oxford, La Trobe, and Monash. Since 1999 he has been Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University. Since 2005 he has also held the part-time position of Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne, in the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics.

The 2011 award will be presented to Professor Singer at a private reception of Australian leaders in science, art, business, education and media on Thursday, March 31.

This unique award was created in 2005 by the School of Thinking (SOT) to recognise the contribution Australian thinkers make both nationally and globally. There is only one award each year.

Are you easily influenced by what others do and say?

If so, you’re just the type of person that hypnotists, magicians and mind-readers seek out as you’re more likely to fall for their mind tricks.

In this video, psychologist Richard Wiseman gives you the chance to find out how suggestible you are. Give it a go – even the most hardened skeptics might be surprised by the results.

The test can also reveal something about your character. “Non-suggestible types tend to be more down-to-earth, logical and enjoy puzzles and games. In contrast, suggestible types tend to have a good imagination, be sensitive, intuitive and find it easier to become absorbed in books and films,” says Wiseman.

To accompany his new book Paranormality, Wiseman has released a free set of psychological demonstrations where you can learn to perform mind tricks on others.

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Wikipedia: A Rube Goldberg machine is a deliberately over engineered machine that performs a very simple task in a very complex fashion, usually including a chain reaction.

The expression is named after American cartoonist and inventor Rube Goldberg. Since then, the expression has expanded to denote any form of overly confusing or complicated system.

Here’s a recent example, a 2010 music video by rock band OK Go entitled This Too Shall Pass