William Softky

William Softky is a biophysicist who was among the first neuroscientists to understand microtiming, and among the first technologists to build that understanding into algorithms. Thousands have cited his scientific work, his PhD in Theoretical Physics is from Caltech, his name is on 10 patents and two of the companies he inspired were acquired for $160 million total.

Can Neuromechanics Help Jump-Start a Yoga Revolution?

Feb 21, 2020

Last fall, I applied to the yoga teacher training program at Avalon Yoga in Palo Alto.  I wrote the following to the director, the scientist and historian Dr. Steve Farmer: “I am perhaps the least naturally-gifted yoga student ever.  I was surprised to find through a chiropractor’s X-ray, at age...

A Cure for the Global Isolation Epidemic Is Close at Hand

Feb 07, 2020

Isolation, loneliness, anxiety and alienation are trending worldwide. They feed on themselves to breed the anti-social reactions of mistrust, hostility and depression, and thus create yet more isolation. That feedback loop makes isolation structurally self-reinforcing, which is the key scary feature of a spreading epidemic. Hence, a global isolation epidemic,...

The Paywall Paradox: How Good Business Does Bad

Jan 24, 2020

Newspapers were already good business, way back when they carried actual news, on paper. Gather some news, write it down, stamp cheap ink on cheap wood-pulp and presto! — scalable revenue, with no obvious upper bound. In fact, the more people read printed news, the more valuable it is, being both trusted by...

The “Man in the Middle” Is Media Messing With Your Messages

Jan 05, 2020

The global tsunami of mental misery is ever-more-closely tied to rising human interaction with digital technology. Media theorist Douglas Rushkoff explains why in his recently-published manifesto, “Team Human.” In short, our natural collaborative instincts have been undermined and toxified into an unnatural anti-sociability, caused by (and also causing) digital dependencies....

When Data Science and Neuroscience Collide

Dec 15, 2019

You know how certain technologies can be dangerous together? Texting and cars. Cigarettes and filling stations. Blood thinners and surgery. It turns out that data science and neuroscience are like that. Those barely-overlapping disciplines each understand complementary things about human brains. Unfortunately, when these insights combine, the consequences can be...

White Hat Neurohacking for Paleo Superpowers

Dec 06, 2019

By modern standards, our paleo ancestors had superpowers. They could run marathons barefoot on a starvation diet; sleep naked outdoors every night; go without water for long periods; endure bites, scratches and untreated wounds; and mind-meld with the same small group every day for life. With all their needs supplied...

How to Reboot an Infected Nervous System

Nov 09, 2019

Yes, the world seems less trustworthy every day. Politics is corrupted, science is corrupted, the law is corrupted, etc. Worst of all, education and the news are corrupted, so we can’t even know what’s true. It’s like John Wanamaker said a hundred years ago, “I know 30% of my ad...

The Triumph and Tragedy of the Data Scientist

Oct 25, 2019

As data scientists, we’re lucky. Data scientists, in the broadest sense, are the very first human beings whose conceptual language — in particular dimensionality-reduction, compression and statistical validation — can explain human bodies and minds, and hence “consciousness,” in neutral, actionable terms. Our brains are information processors, and data scientists know information theory. We...

How Science Got Sound Wrong

Oct 12, 2019

Neil Young was a famous rock musician in the 1970s, specializing in live performance and weird acoustic spaces, like the echo-filled iron sawdust burner I once camped in as a kid. In a recent interview for The New York Times Magazine, he claimed that digital compression technology — CD, MP3,...

Our Personal Styles of Information Gathering

Sep 20, 2019

There are two kinds of people — and not just people. Rather, I should say, there are two kinds of sensory styles. This applies to animals, even to Roombas. Knowing those styles helps fix some common arguments. Think of sensory processing in general — the making sense of the world we do for...

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