Nicky's Blog / Students Blogs

Day four at the festival with Nicky

Day four starts with Who are You? The Psychology of Consciousness. Daniel Bor started with an overview of consciousness; what is it, when do we develop it and do animals have it? In our brains we have 85 million neurons with an overall length of 6,000,000km. The brain is really just a very powerful supercomputer. Therefore, it is not unrealistic that in the distant future, it would be possible for all our thoughts and experiences to be transferred and stored on a computer; connecting the whole of the human race.Rene Descartes, a French philosopher, is most famous for his quote ‘I think, therefore I am.’ Descartes spent a lot of time contemplating the truth of our thoughts; how can we know they are true and real? This quote is his conclusion that we must exist, because we think, therefore we must exist to be able to believe. A complex thought to word.

Interactive lecture on dwarf elephants

A fun and interactive lecture followed with Victoria Herridge talking all about dawrf elephants for the Charles Lyell award. Taking it a bit easier I moved onto a discussion of Our Amazing Brains. This involved alot of illusions and trickery of the brain. For example, allowing us to see all the blood vessels which completely cover our eyes and yet do not disrupt our vision. After this short talk I went onto to see John Barrow speaking about Expanding Minds and the Universe; all about the theory of relativity discovered by Albert Einstein and the various solutions from this complex theory. I even learnt the origin of’s name. It was originally going to be named BackRub which was then changed to Googol which means 10 to the power of 100. But when registering the website, the discover mispelt the word and so it was named Google.
Another fascinating but random talked followed, all about Bread, Brie and Booze and the role of microbes in making each of these. I even got some baking tips. I learnt the best temperature to keep bread is at about 60*C and the worst place to keep bread is in the fridge. Also, most beers that are in the market are not vegetarian due to the use of Isinglas which is derived from fish swim bladders. A combination of water and caffiene is the best for hangovers due to alcohol (and caffeine) being diurectic causing excess urination. Alcohol is also a vasodilator, causing that pressurising

Inside the speigeltent during the Bread Brie and Booze talk

feeling in your temples due to the expansion of vessels. Caffiene however is a vasoconstrictor. Hence, a combination of caffeine and water is the best cure for a hangover.

To end the day was a talk on Dating, Mating and Relating. This included several speakers talking about who we find attractive and why. People who have older parents when they are born are more likely to be attracted to people older than themselves. We are also more likely to find people attractive who have similar hair or eye colour to our parents. However, if a female has a brother then she is more likely to prefer individuals who do not have similar facial features to herself than those without male siblings. I also learnt that we have an innate preference for those who are most visually symmetrical due to this representing our growth rates and hence our abilities to deal with stress. So another entertaining and informative end to the day.


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