In 1964, Simone de Beauvoir, arguably one of the greatest writers of 20th century Europe, published an account of the final 6 weeks of her mother’s life. It is a beautifully written, raw, honest, and powerful evocation of that period from the viewpoint of a relative. Its themes are universal—love, ambivalence in family ties, loss, and bereavement. Given that the events preceded the modern palliative care movement, reflections are made on differences in medical practice since the book’s publication.
A comparison is made between the frequency of local minima in the analytic power of intracranial EEG (ECoG) from waking and unconscious human subjects and the frequency of putative frames of consciousness reported in earlier psychological literature. In ECoG from unconscious subjects, the frequency of deep minima in analytic power is found to be a linear function of bandwidth. In contrast, in ECoG from conscious subjects, the bandwidth/minima-frequency curve saturates or plateaus at minima frequencies similar to the frequencies of previously (...) reported frames of consicousness. This result is consistent with the hypothesis that local minima in analytic power may act as the shutter in a cinematographic model of consciousness. The fact that artificially generated samples of black noise with power spectra similar to ECoG data give similar results in the analyses above suggests that the discontinuous nature of consciousness is not due to some specifically biological factor, but is simply a consequence of the physical properties of the 1/f (aka power law) oscillations that are widely found in nature. (shrink)
Demonstration and self-evidence, by E.D. Simmons.--The significance of the universal ut nune, by J.A. Oesterle.--William Harvey, M.D.: modern or ancient scientist? by H. Ratner.--Medicine and philosophy in the eleventh and twelfth centuries: the problem of elements, by R.P. McKeon.--The origins of the problem of the unity of form, by D.A. Callus.--The celestial movers in medieval physics, by J.A. Weisheipl.--Gravitational motion according to Theodoric of Freiberg, by W.A. Wallace.--"Mining all within," Clarke's notes to Rohault's Traité de physique, by M.A. Hoskin.--Darwin's dilemma, (...) by C. DeKoninck.--[phi]úsló: the meaning of nature in the Aristotelian philosophy of nature, by S. O'F. Brennan.--Order in the philosophy of nature, by M. Glutz.--Motionless motions, by R.A. Kocourek.--Time, the measure of movement, by Sister M. Jocelyn.--Evolution and entropy, by V.E. Smith. (shrink)