Interesting ideas interspersed with nonsense - RSS - by nikhil bhatla, -
About Me   Jan 9, 2009

Web trinkets
What color is this spectrum?
C. elegans Interactive Cell Lineage
C. elegans Interactive Neural Network
Countdown Timer with Markers
Bacterial Chemotaxis Interactive Simulator
Exon-Intron Graphic Maker
Attack of the Microscopic Vacuum Cleaners

Android apps
Brightness Rocker Lite - free
Brightness Rocker Pro - $1.99

Favorite posts
An Argument for the Existence of the Soul
Survival School
I Know You
Stool Sampler
Arrogant Atheists vs. Everyone Else
How I came to believe in God

Business ideas
Gift Cards, Post-Pay Style

Blog Update (4)
Book Notes (12)
Building Stuff (1)
Business (8)
Communication (3)
Consciousness (16)
Culture (4)
Democracy (6)
Dreams (2)
Environment (2)
Ethics (2)
Fiction (7)
Friends (1)
Health and Medicine (6)
Imagination (1)
Investing (2)
Law (1)
Life (48)
Organization (3)
Photos (8)
Poetry (1)
Religion (3)
Science (16)
TV (1)
Technology (13)
Temporary (1)
Thinking (1)
Videos (1)

Friends' blogs
Sachin Agarwal
Omar Khan
Casey & Henok's Wedding!
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Classes I've taken at MIT »

Books I've read »

Videos I've watched »

First Pics with Canon SD700
Jul 9, 2007, 4:02p - 26 photos

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Hearst Castle & Morro Bay
Jun 18, 2007, 8:25p - 15 photos

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Washington DC
May 10, 2007, 12:09p - 35 photos

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Philadelphia & Longwood Gardens
May 8, 2007, 11:54a - 16 photos

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Manhattan with the 'Rents
May 6, 2007, 11:45a - 8 photos

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Amit & Bianka's Wedding on Long Island
May 5, 2007, 9:56a - 133 photos

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Browse by month »
Free will
May 16, 2014, 11:23p - Consciousness
As a conscious human, I feel as if I'm in control of my actions. When I'm considering what to drink with dinner and get a beer, that action is preceded by the conscious feeling of having made a choice. This contrasts with situations where actions are taken without any feeling of choosing: when I do something when I'm drunk, or ... more »

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Getting books as PDFs
Feb 14, 2014, 6:19a - Technology
Ever since I started in grad school, my reading consumption has changed significantly. Before, I would read physical books, usually non-fiction. In the past 7 years eBooks have grown in popularity, but I never really got into them. In fact, I've never bought a single eBook. I really like highlighting and leaving comments in the margins of my books, esp. ... more »

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Medicine as Evolutionary Expansion
Jan 23, 2014, 12:46p - Science
We've all heard about "survival of the fittest." This saying explains why certain species thrive and others go extinct, and it captures the core of Darwin's idea of evolution by natural selection. People also use it colloquially to explain why certain individuals are successful and rich and others are weak and poor - some people are more "fit" than others. ... more »

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Jan 14, 2014, 1:31p - Fiction
In the end, the sun burns out.


It's 2012. But humans have roamed this planet for 200,000 years, so I suppose it's actually something closer to 202,012. If you estimate 20 years per generation, humans have persisted for 10,101 generations. In the days of our great10,098-grandparents, there were no farms, no roads, and no cities. They had ... more »

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A time for feeling
Nov 12, 2013, 11:37p - Fiction
After the first year, sadness hit. It stayed, an unshakeable tug down. Not that he wanted to shake it. It was novel and curiosity encouraged exploration. He hung to the secret hope that now was the starvation that meaned the food.

After the second year, dimness enveloped. Darker and hazier the world became. They still went to the same parties, ... more »

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Consciousness as the only true emergence
Aug 9, 2013, 9:41a - Consciousness
As a neuroscientist obsessed with consciousness, I've spent the past 6 years in grad school grappling with what my philosophical point-of-view should be on the topic. I just read a new favorite, William Seager's Natural Fabrications (2012), and it has motivated me to write my current thoughts on a whole host of philosophical topics related to consciousness.

Since "consciousness" means ... more »

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"Representation" in neuroscience
Aug 5, 2013, 12:19p - Science
The word "representation" is used pervasively in neuroscience. Here's an example:

"The neural activity in visual cortex represents the visual input received by the eyes."

I've found this word troubling since the very day I started grad school, and I had hoped that my troubles would abate as I learned more in the last 6 years. Alas, they have not, ... more »

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Lab pics on MIT CAST
Jul 29, 2013, 3:35p - Science
The MIT Center for Art, Science and Technology (CAST) is doing a series on the similarity between lab workspaces and artist studios. They put up some photos of my lab workspace, so if you're interested, check it out.
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Countering a primitivist attack on the soul
May 1, 2013, 11:51a - Consciousness
I probably spend more time thinking about consciousness than any other topic or person (shh, don't tell Becca or my worms :). Previously, I described a simple argument for the existence of the soul, which formed the rational basis for my belief in the soul. My argument was that the existence of consciousness requires a non-physical explanation, so I ... more »

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Gap-free neural circuits
Dec 8, 2012, 11:38a - Science
As I mentioned in a previous post, Tots and I are teaching a class on neural circuits this January during IAP at MIT. IAP is a time where anyone can teach anything they want - I think it's a cool testing ground for classes, and we didn't have anything like it that I remember at Stanford.

I'm excited about ... more »

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