Wednesday, December 30, 2015


One of the theories in LOST is that the main characters had some sort of "shared memory" even though they were strangers. Sci-fi aspects of this theory speculated that could have been done as a metaphor for a on-line game world, connected series of mental patient fantasies, or some mental/drug induced brain washing experiment.

But researchers are trying to implant memories into living beings.

Vulcan mind-melts and magic wands or hypnotism are ways in which people share memories in fictional films and TV shows.

But such fantastical ideas could soon become a reality, using electrodes implanted in the brain.

Neuroscientists have already begun trying implants that boost memory loss, and in the future they believe these implants could be used to replicate memories in the brains of others.

Research teams from the University of Southern California and University of Pennsylvania have been testing the technology on epilepsy patients.  These patients already have electrodes implanted in their brains, which means the experts didn't need to insert the prostheses in new patients through risky brain surgery.
The research centers on the hippocampus, a seahorse-shaped part of the brain associated with the formation of memories. The hippocampus gathers sensory information that is then transformed into short-term memories, between 15 and 30 seconds.  These can then form more lasting memories, but only if they are accessed while the hippocampus is storing them. This seems to be the portal for long term memory creation.

People with significant memory deficits typically have a damaged hippocampus. Scientists are trying to restore memory loss to patients with a damaged memory center.

The USC team, led by brain implants expert Ted Berger, was interested in two particular areas of the hippocampus, called CA3 and CA1. Researchers thought that an electrical signal travelling from CA3 to CA1 was key to memory formation. Therefore, they tried to recreate a similar signal in order to restore the hippocampus' functionality. To do this, the researchers monitored the brain of 12 epilepsy patients performing a memory exercise that included memorising pictures to see how CA3 and CA1 interacted.

Eventually, they developed a mathematical model to predict the pattern of the signal CA3 would fire to CA1. The predictions were correct 80 per cent of the time. The USC team's idea is that brain implants could provide electrical stimulation resembling that key CA3 signal to improve memory in patients with hippocampus damage. 

Once scientists can create a connection to the hippocampus, and send signals that the patient can understand and remember, it is a logical conclusion that the signals can be enhanced to the point of adding visual and audio information. It would be like a direct imput of a VR movie straight into your memory banks.

The odd thing is that your brain will not realize that this is not "a real, personal memory."  And that is why LOST theorists think the complexity of the brain in creating real memories caused many continuity errors in the series because the "forced" new memories did not take or conflicted with real events.

Saturday, December 26, 2015


In 1977, I went to a large suburban theater to watch the first Star Wars movie. I do not recall what actually motivated me to see the movie, except that that was what kids did on Saturday afternoons.

The old theater had a monster screen and new Dolby sound. It could fit three current theaters into it. It was the last arc of the grand movie palace experience, where the characters and action on the huge screen was larger than life.

I remember it was a very good action-adventure movie. So much so, that I made a point of seeing the next two sequels.  But then after that, I had no interest in George Lucas' prequels. It came mostly from negative reviews and the lack of the original characters involved in the movies.

And that is a point of franchise stories: people get personally invested in the characters that they are drawn to . . . in such a fashion to follow their stories to the bitter end.

With Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I can guess a couple of major plot twists because I know that Hollywood rarely has a totally original story idea. I have been spoiler free in internet surfing so if I make the commitment to elbow through the mobs this holiday season to see the picture, I will get the full effect of re-boot.

But I am thrilled with JJ Abrams at the helm. As a loyal, old school Roddenberry Star Trek fan, I was disappointed with his franchise reboot to the point of not watching any more of his "alternative" universal thought. It seems the younger generation does not care about alternative canon story lines since the major comic book makers seem to re-boot their franchise characters every couple of years, to the point of total confusion of character roles and motivations. Example, is Batman good or bad?

So I wonder if the new Star Wars movie will hold to Lucas' vision, or will it be a tale of Hollywood Disneyification profiteering, or a mixed bag of hope dreams bruised by formula pole tent movie making.

Great science fiction charges one's imagination. Poor sci-fi clouds the mind.

This new Star Wars movie is supposed to break all box office records. But industry insiders think it will be a commercial flop if it does not make $1.5 billion at the box office. Reports indicate that Disney has strong armed many theater chains to pay higher ticket gate percentages in order to show the film. To be super successful, Disney hopes for multiple viewings by fans and a huge rush of merchandise purchases.

But let's hope the old characters can gracefully hand over the story to the new, younger Jedi characters. Because in the end, it is still the story that counts the most.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


Time was the worst component to LOST.

The unexplained time skips and time travel aspects of the show still grate deep thinking sci-fi fans.

It may just come down to the use of time as a clumsy metaphor.  A metaphor is a thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else, esp. something abstract.

What could the time reversals represent in LOST?

If a normal person "could turn back time," it would mean going back in their personal history and change something that had happened. Most likely, it would have been a personal event choice of action. For example, going back to a first date and being too afraid to express yourself to your date, leaving him or her in an emotional flux that would lead to regret later on. If you only had said something clever; or kissed her on the cheek, or asked her out again, or didn't say some stupid thing . . .  these are the types of mental parasites that whittle away a person's psyche.

Redemption is the process of saving someone from sin, evil or an error. On a personal level, only one's inner self can redeem themselves from a bad path, bad decisions, or bad way of life. Usually it can only happen by personal sacrifice on behalf of another person. This was one of the themes of the show, but if one looks upon the main characters, it was a hollow theme.

Only one character "changed" during the time travel arc. Sawyer. He turned from outcast rogue into the new Dharma sheriff. But was it truly a change, or another long con of personal survival? It would seem to be the latter, because in the end game Sawyer did not want to do anything for anyone except to get off the island. However, some will point out that Sawyer did change his perception of women because of his relationship with Juliet.

Even Jack's noble sacrifice to die as the island guardian was weak. If he was an immortal, he did not need to die. He selfishly chose to end his own life because he squandered his time to re-do things with the people he once cared about. In a time loop, Jack's gnawing personal demon was the relationship he had with his father. But that never resolved itself, even in the sideways world. Being dead lifts many burdens. Or did it? Now, with all the time in the universe ahead of him, Jack stared blankly in his final scene. As his excuses evaporated, so did his drive to live and prove himself.

In reality, human events are fixed in a linear time line. The mistakes we make in the past stay as fixed events. Only remorse, love, caring and change can create a newer event to hopefully replace that past mistake. Replacing bad memories with good memories seems to be the function of good mental health. In order to do so, you need true friends and family around you. They are the people who you have been around the most in your life. They know your "true self." They are the key to turning back the clock to re-live the fond memories during current dark days. Sadly, this was not a major lesson in the show. It was more an after-thought.

Sunday, December 20, 2015


A recent study showed that grumpy people and those under stress do not have shorter lifespans than happy people. The norm was that unhappy people have more stress in their lives which equates to higher blood pressure and other ailments. But in a large sample study, that could not be proven.

Another study concluded that lonely people had shorter lifespans. How to quantify the amount of loneliness to shaving years off one's life is unknown. But it would seem that depressed people would be more sad and despondent which could led to chemical imbalances in their system.

So it is possible that grumpy, stressed people who have friends can have a normal lifespan. 

The reason is simple: people with friends can unload their inner burdens on someone. Keeping troubles bottled up inside you may be the root cause of ailments, mental or physical. By having a supportive release makes sense since navigating personal decisions in life can be hard and daunting at times.

The more powerful, negative emotions may cause the most lingering problems. Anger, spite, frustration that wrap around someone being mad at someone else or something in their lives can be like constant large waves crashing on your psyche to erode away your thoughts and dreams.

In human relations, the most powerful tool a person has to neutralize the negative emotions is forgiveness.

To forgive means to stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake; or used in polite expressions as a request to excuse or regard indulgently one's foibles, ignorance, or impoliteness.

To ask for forgiveness is hard because it means you must accept and speak out that you made a mistake. On the other hand, those who feel they have been wronged or hurt by another person who is asking for forgiveness may question the sincerity of the act of forgiveness.

Friendships are like a roller coaster; there will be ups and downs. It is the overall ride that matters. If one cannot forgive a friend for a mistake, then that person truly is not a real friend.

Thursday, December 17, 2015


NASA is looking to have a manned mission to Mars.

And one benefit to this mission would be to determine if there was evidence of life on the red planet. Or, as some believe, the basis of life on Earth.

A theory called panspermia, which dates back to the 5th century BC, posits that certain life forms can hop between planets, and even star systems, to fertilize them with life. 

Following this theory, science theorists suspect that the first life on Earth never formed on our planet at all, but instead, hitched a ride inside planetary fragments from Mars that were flung into space after a powerful impact and eventually fell to Earth. 

This travel between different planets has a parallel in the lost time-travel/sideways universe arcs.

There is still no clear cut conclusion between the island world and the sideways world, which mirrored the lives of the characters on Earth. Various theories believed the sideways universe was connected to the island by some portal or electromagnetic time-space machine.

If you take this old science theory and apply it to the fiction of LOST, could the sideways world be actually another planet - - - a second Earth that was being colonized by removing human beings from Earth and teleporting them to a distant, similar world?

Why would anyone do this? In some sci-fi series, like Star Trek, there are advanced races of aliens with vast technologies who use it to help to reverse the decline in their own humanoid species. By taking humans from Earth and re-creating an Earth like setting (as was done in The Cage), with a group of people who are close knit friends, the alien planet could have its new gene pool.

So the sideways world was not purgatory but a New Earth, replicated for the benefit of the LOST survivors who were deemed dead by their families but kidnapped by the aliens to bond together on an island adventure in order to accept their new home in a distant galaxy.

Monday, December 14, 2015


The Mirror (UK) recently published an article which stated that researchers have found that lonely people die earlier than people in relationships.

Scientists revealed why being lonely increases your chances of dying early because being lonely appears to weaken people's immune system. Researchers said their findings were independent of factors such as depression, stress and social support.

Lonely people are more likely to die early due to their immune system being weaker, according to a new study. People who do not have frequent interaction with others are 14 per cent more likely to die early as they appear to have much lower levels of white blood cells in their body.

The cells are the human body's way of battling diseases and illnesses and researchers stressed their findings were independent of other factors such as depression, stress and social support. Research shows loneliness leads to fight-or-flight signalling occurring in the body, which can lead to a drop in white blood cells for over a year weakening the immune system.

University of Chicago scientists examined gene expression in leukocytes, there are cells responsible for protecting us against bacteria and viruses. Their previous study found a link between loneliness and a phenomenon called 'conserved transcriptional response to adversity' (CTRA).

CTRA describes the effect of lonely people tending to have a weaker immune system response than those with a healthy social life. This occurs when the number of genes involved in inflammation increases and the amount of genes involved in antiviral responses falls.

The PNAS study reconfirmed these findings, but also revealed that loneliness could predict future CTRA gene expression over a year later. The researchers also found that loneliness and leukocyte gene expression appeared to provoke each other over time.

Next, research on monkeys found that the lonely primates showed higher CTRA activity.
But on a cellular level, they also found higher levels of the fight-or-flight neuro transmitter, norepinephrine.  Research conducted previously has revealed norepinephrine can provoke stem cells in the bone marrow to produce more of a particular kind of immune cell - an immature monocyte.
These particular cells have high levels of inflammatory gene expression and low levels of antiviral gene. Further tests found both lonesome humans and solitary monkeys had high levels of monocytes in their blood samples.

Finally the researchers tracked the HIV version of monkeys (simian immunodeficiency virus) in isolated primates. They found the altered antiviral gene expression in "lonely like" monkeys allowed the condition to grow faster in both blood and brain.

Professor John Cacioppo said: "Taken together, these findings support a mechanistic model in which loneliness results in fight-or-flight stress signalling, which increases the production of immature monocytes, leading to up-regulation of inflammatory genes and impaired anti-viral responses. The 'danger signals' activated in the brain by loneliness ultimately affect the production of white blood cells. The resulting shift in monocyte output may both propagate loneliness and contribute to its associated health risks."

There is a connection to LOST's main characters. Each main character had traits of deep loneliness, with associated levels of stress and depression. How each dealt with it was different; Jack dived into his work to create "miracles," while Hurley took eating to mask his depression.

But it would seem that all the main characters "died" on or about their island age (if one believes that our bodies are re-united in the afterlife after death). This contradicts Christian's statement to Jack at the sideways church memorial service. But taken the presence of the main characters have not aged, and that the survivors who left the island apparently did not re-unite with loved ones post-island (i.e. having a real, long life with new people - - - including spouses, children, new friends, etc.), the conclusion is that the main characters died early, before their time.

And the only thing that could help them move along from their "lonely" pre-island existence were the friendships and bonds created in the island time period. If LOST was really the culmination of various characters dying alone but having to make "post-life" connections on the island in order to be enlightened to make it to heaven, that is a premise that some could find comforting in relation to The End.

No one wants to die alone. In fact, many people's greatest fear is dying alone.

Friday, December 11, 2015


One aspect of LOST was the disconnect between the island time period and the memories lost in the sideways purgatory world.

This was never explained to the viewers.

Now, the federal government is probing a memory restoration program which sort of fits science into the breach of LOST's lost science fiction explanation of memory loss.

Memory loss can be from trauma, old age, chemical imbalances and genetics.

The U.S. government's new Restoring Active Memory (RAM) program has been created for an implantable neural-interface designed to restore lost memories in those suffering traumatic brain injuries.

As stated by DARPA in its recent press release, traumatic brain injuries (TBI) affect roughly 1.7 million civilians each year and an astounding 270,000 military servicemembers since 2000. Further, TBI has shown to impair one's ability to recall memories created before suffering the injury while also limiting the capability to form new ones after. With the RAM program, DARPA intends to expedite the process of developing tech designed to bridge the gaps created in injured brains. In other words, TBI sufferers may not have to worry about lost memories if DARPA has its way.

The RAM program aims to accomplish this memory-saving goal by performing two steps. First, DARPA hopes to create a multi-scale computational model that describes how neurons code memories. Assuming it can gather the necessary data, DARPA's next step is to create a neural-interface armed with the ability to bridge memory flow gaps created in the brain after a traumatic injury. The implant would essentially stimulate the desired target in the brain to help it restore its ability to create new memories.

DARPA says it plans on working with a number of human volunteers for its clinical trials and also intends to run studies of the tech with animals. For the volunteers, it's targeting individuals with traumatic brain injuries who have trouble encoding or recalling memories, as well as those with other neurological conditions scheduled to undergo neurosurgery. Moreover, DARPA already has the insight of a relative Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications panel for supplemental information regarding human and animal trials of this nature.

"As the technology of these fully implantable devices improves, and as we learn more about how to stimulate the brain ever more precisely to achieve the most therapeutic effects, I believe we are going to gain a critical capacity to help our wounded warriors and others who today suffer from intractable neurological problems" DARPA's biological technologies program manager told Popular Science magazine. 

No official timetable was given regarding the release of the RAM program's test results, though DARPA did say it had already begun administering trials since September. If all goes according to plan, the agency intends to expand the context of its research to those outside of the military who also experience brain trauma.

It is uncertain how a neuro-implant can "restore" lost memories if the memory center of the brain is damaged. However, in most defense projects there is something called redundancy. It is the concept that you put in a back-up into the main program or function in case of emergency. Humans also have redundant properties such as two lungs and two kidneys, in case one is compromised. But since memories are so individual and coded in brains by chemical-protein-neuron receptors, it is not like a computer chip can "reload" lost memories into an individual (like the concept in Ghost in the Shell series). 

But LOST's sideways reveal of past memories seems to indicate, at least on the surface, that the main characters' memories were either a) blocked or b) damaged when they eventually died on Earth. They could not move on until they were "awakened" by some strong emotional tie or bond. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


What is happiness? We know when we are happy, but what causes it?

Two studies recently reported in The Independent try to explain this simple but elusive concept.

Everyone wants to be happy and it’s long been the ultimate goal for humans. Now researchers at Kyoto University believe they have found the region in the brain that is responsible for controlling these feelings by looking at the neural structures that cause people to be happy.

The research has been led by Wataru Sato, who thinks he has found the answer as to what makes us happy, by using MRI to find out where in the brain happiness happens.

Their study revealed that, an overall feeling of happiness is caused by happy emotions and life satisfaction. When these two feelings happen at once in the precuneus, you become happy.

The precuneus is found in the medial parietal lobe of your brain (located at the top of your head, towards the back) which is involved in episodic memory, reflecting upon self and some aspects of consciousness.

Doctors are still unclear what the neural mechanism behind happiness occurring is though.

Participants had their brains scanned with MRI and then completed a survey. The survey involved describing how happy the participants were generally, how intensely they feel emotions, whether these are positive or negative feelings and how satisfied they are with their lives.

The results showed there was a positive relationship between the subjective happiness score and grey matter volume on the right precuneus. People who were more content with their lives, had a larger precuneus.

Analysis also indicated that the same area had an association with the combined positive and negative emotional intensity and life satisfaction.

The study also reveaed that people experience emotions in a variant of ways. Some people feel more happiness more intensely when they receive compliments, for example. Those people who feel happiness more intensely also feel sadness at a lower intensity as well.

Overall, the findings suggested that the precuneus is able to mediate overall happiness by integrating the emotional and cognitive components of happiness.

Mr Sato said: “Over history, many eminent scholars like Aristotle have contemplated what happiness is. I’m very happy that we now know more about what it means to be happy. Several studies have shown that meditation increases grey matter mas in the precuneus. This new insight on where happiness happens in the brain will be useful for developing happiness programs based on scientific research."

However, Generation Y is having their own issues with finding happiness.
This is the generation born between the late 1970s and the mid 1990s. There is a sub-part of a yuppie culture that makes up a large portion of Gen Y called  "Gen Y Protagonists & Special Yuppies," or GYPSYs.  A GYPSY is a unique brand of yuppie, one who thinks they are the main character of a very special story.

A typical  GYPSY is very pleased with themself.  Only issue is this one thing: they are generally unhappy.

Happiness comes down to a simple formula:

Happiness = Reality - Expectations

It’s pretty straightforward—when the reality of someone’s life is better than they had expected, they’re happy.  When reality turns out to be worse than the expectations, they’re unhappy.

A GYPSY's parents raised them with a sense of optimism and unbounded possibility.  And they weren’t alone.  Baby Boomers all around the country and world told their Gen Y kids that they could be whatever they wanted to be, instilling the special protagonist identity deep within their psyches.
This left GYPSYs feeling tremendously hopeful about their careers, to the point where their parents’ goals of a green lawn of secure prosperity didn’t really do it for them.  A GYPSY-worthy lawn has  more, like flowers.

The GYPSY needs a lot more from a career than a nice green lawn of prosperity and security.  The fact is, a green lawn isn’t quite exceptional or unique enough for a GYPSY.  Where the Baby Boomers wanted to live The American Dream, GYPSYs want to live Their Own Personal Dream.

The phrase “follow your passion” has gotten traction only in the last 20 years, according to Google’s Ngram viewer, a tool that shows how prominently a given phrase appears in English print over any period of time.  The same Ngram viewer shows that the phrase “a secure career” has gone out of style, just as the phrase “a fulfilling career” has gotten hot.

To be clear, GYPSYs want economic prosperity just like their parents did—they just also want to be fulfilled by their career in a way their parents didn’t think about as much.While the career goals of Gen Y as a whole have become much more particular and ambitious, GYPSYs been given a second message throughout her childhood as well: You're Special.

This message creates a major problem for GYPSYs: They Are Delusional

Gen Y has been taught “everyone will go and get themselves some fulfilling career, but I am unusually wonderful and as such, my career and life path will stand out amongst the crowd.”  So on top of the generation as a whole having the bold goal of a flowery career lawn, each individual GYPSY thinks that he or she is destined for something even better.

So why is this delusional?  Because this is what all GYPSYs think, which defies the definition of special: better, greater, or otherwise different from what is usual. According to this definition, most people are not special—otherwise “special” wouldn’t mean anything. They have the self-perception of having a pre-determined destiny of greatness without doing much to achieve such status. As such, a harsh reality hits when they reach out into the real world.

A second GYPSY delusion comes into play once the GYPSY enters the job market.  While their parents’ expectation was that many years of hard work would eventually lead to a great career, Gen Y considers a great career an obvious given for someone as exceptional as they are, and it is up to them and   a matter of time and choosing which way to go.  Gen Y's  pre-workforce expectations look something like this:

Unfortunately, the funny thing about the world is that it turns out to not be that easy of a place, and the weird thing about careers is that they’re actually quite hard.  Great careers take years of blood, sweat and tears to build—even the ones with no flowers or unicorns on them—and even the most successful people are rarely doing anything that great in their early or mid-20s.

But GYPSYs aren’t about to just accept that. Paul Harvey, a University of New Hampshire professor and GYPSY expert, has researched this, finding that Gen Y has “unrealistic expectations and a strong resistance toward accepting negative feedback,” and “an inflated view of oneself.”  He says that “a great source of frustration for people with a strong sense of entitlement is unmet expectations. They often feel entitled to a level of respect and rewards that aren’t in line with their actual ability and effort levels, and so they might not get the level of respect and rewards they are expecting.”

For those hiring members of Gen Y, Harvey suggests asking the interview question, “Do you feel you are generally superior to your coworkers/classmates/etc., and if so, why?”  He says that “if the candidate answers yes to the first part but struggles with the ‘why,’ there may be an entitlement issue. This is because entitlement perceptions are often based on an unfounded sense of superiority and deservingness. They’ve been led to believe, perhaps through overzealous self-esteem building exercises in their youth, that they are somehow special but often lack any real justification for this belief.”

Gen Yers' extreme ambition, coupled with the arrogance that comes along with being a bit deluded about one’s own self-worth, has left her with huge expectations for even the early years out of college.   Their reality pales in comparison to those expectations, leaving them “reality – expectations” happy score coming out at a negative.

And it gets even worse.  On top of all this, GYPSYs have an extra problem that applies to their whole generation: GYPSYs Are Taunted

Sure, some people from GYPSY’s parents’ high school or college classes ended up more successful than her parents did.  And while they may have heard about some of it from time to time through the grapevine, for the most part they didn’t really know what was going on in too many other peoples’ careers. On the other hand, Gen Yers areconstantly taunted by a modern phenomenon: Facebook Image Crafting. Social media creates a world for Gen Y where A) what everyone else is doing is very out in the open, B) most people present an inflated version of their own existence, and C) the people who chime in the most about their careers are usually those whose careers (or relationships) are going the best, while struggling people tend not to broadcast their situation.  This leaves a typical Gen Y feeling, incorrectly, like everyone else is doing really well, only adding to their misery.

So that’s why Gen Y is unhappy, or at the least, feeling a bit frustrated and inadequate.  In fact, they  probably started off their careers perfectly well, but to them, it feels very disappointing.

Experts' advice to this unhappy youth:

1) Stay wildly ambitious.  The current world is bubbling with opportunity for an ambitious person to find flowery, fulfilling success.  The specific direction may be unclear, but it’ll work itself out—just dive in somewhere.

2) Stop thinking that you’re special.  The fact is, right now, you’re not special.  You’re another completely inexperienced young person who doesn’t have all that much to offer yet.  You can become special by working really hard for a long time.

3) Ignore everyone else. Other people’s grass seeming greener is no new concept, but in today’s image crafting world, other people’s grass looks like a glorious meadow. The truth is that everyone else is just as indecisive, self-doubting, and frustrated as you are, and if you just do your thing, you’ll never have any reason to envy others.

Friday, December 4, 2015


Science is trying to unravel why some people do not have the drive to meet the minimal demands of daily life.

There’s a neurological reason for apathy and laziness, according to new research. Inefficient connections between certain areas of the brain may make it harder for some people to decide to act.
Although inefficient neural connections don’t explain away everyone’s laziness, new research could shed some light on the kind of pathological, extreme apathy that sometimes plagues people with Alzheimer’s disease or recovering from certain types of stroke. 

To understand the neurological basis of apathy, neurologists at Oxford University looked for differences in the brains of young people who appeared motivated (based on a questionnaire) and those who appeared more apathetic. Participants played a decision-making game while researchers watched what happened in their brains, using an MRI.

In each round of the game, the researcher offered the subject a reward in return for some effort. Participants had to decide whether to accept the offer, based on whether the reward as worth the effort. Predictably, the participants who had already been identified as apathetic were much less likely to accept offers that required effort, even if the reward was large - but when apathetic subjects did choose to accept an offer, their MRIs showed much more activity in the pre-motor cortex, an area of the brain involved in taking actions, than in more motivated participants.

That was the opposite of what researchers expected. They had assumed that lazy people’s pre-motor cortices would show less activity when deciding to take action.

“We thought that this might be because their brain structure is less efficient, so it’s more of an effort for apathetic people to turn decisions into actions,” said lead researcher Masud Husain, a professor of neurology and cognitive neuroscience at Oxford University.

 After further investigation, it turned out that people who identified as apathetic had less efficient connections between the anterior cingulate cortex, a part of the brain involved in making decisions and anticipating rewards, and the supplementary motor area, a part of the brain that helps control movement.

“The brain uses around a fifth of the energy you’re burning each day. If it takes more energy to plan an action, it becomes more costly for apathetic people to make actions,” explained Husain. “Their brains have to make more effort.” Husain said.

What motivates people used to be tied to environmental upbringing and the need to feed any or all of the Seven Deadly Sins. But the Oxford research seems to explore that there may be a physical neurological basis why certain people are slackers while others are motivated Type A personalities.

Even brilliant people can be apathetic in certain areas of their daily lives. Take for example, Jack. He was a brilliant surgeon, but he failed to put in the time and effort in his social relationships. He had no friends, only distant colleagues at work. He had no real social life; his marriage failed from jealousy and rage because he failed to work on his communication with his spouse. 

In fact, most of the main characters had a clear lack of attitude toward being social animals. They were basically loners. They shied away from commitment or change for fear of rejection. 

Of characters like Shannon used their spoiled, rich upbringing to conclude that they did not have to put themselves on the line in order to get what she wanted from men. Even when she was rejected or abandoned, she did not have the mental strength to change or adapt to the island circumstances.

If one looks at LOST as an experiment in human neurology, did the base line of the island trauma and need for survival override the inherent physical neurological deficits that cause them to be normally apathetic? It would seem that despite the need for the characters to change their behavior, very few did except to form loose friendship bonds. A lazy friend is a bad friend.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


In the top of some search news pages, there is usually generalized questions and "answers."

Recently, during a scroll down the page the headline "7 Worst TV Show Endings of All Time."

Of course it was click bait, but the first item on the slide show was LOST:

The Answer stated:

After six seasons of intricate plot build-up and a never-ending series of loose ends and questions about the true nature of the island and its inhabitants, the writers revealed they had written themselves into somewhat of a corner.

Instead of answering the audience's questions, the two hour finale "The End" ended up smoothing over most of the show's most important and unresolved problems by explaining that they all were in purgatory, though if they had really been there the whole time, no one knew.

Ask a "Lost" fan about the finale and you're sure to summon rage and frustration years later.