This is a collection of supporting articles and footnotes for some of the other blog posts here. It focuses on biochemistry, neuroscience and the physics and mathematics of phase transitions in networks. It is meant to be a complement to the Social Network Crisis Reading List, which describes social media (facebook, youtube) as networks, and the Capitalism Reading List, which focuses on the political and economic fallout from the crisis in social media (in the context of neurobiology). Articles on ecology too, as ecology is the science of complex biological, environmental systems.
- The medications that change who we are. By Zaria Gorvett, 8th January 2020 BBC Future. A single dose of LSD makes one person hallucinate. A single dose of speed gives a single person superpowers for a day. A single dose of anti-depressants makes one person slightly happier for a day. An entire society high on pervetin…
- Speaking of an entire society high on Pervetin, there’s “The Very Drugged Nazi’s“, by Antony Beevor, The New York Review of Books. We’re talking Pervetin (trade name for methamphetamine), Eukodal (trade name for Oxycodone), Benzedrine, and Heroin (everyone knows that: trademarked name for diactyl morphine).
- How to use chemicals responsibly: “Wireheading Done Right: Stay Positive Without Going Insane“, by algekalipso, Qualia Computing. August 20, 2016.
A few words about what chemicals do:
- Slime molds solve the two-armed bandit problem. Original article: “Decision-making without a brain: how an amoeboid organism solves the two-armed bandit” Chris R. Reid, Hannelore MacDonald, Richard P. Mann, James A. R. Marshall, Tanya Latty and Simon Garnier, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, June 2016.
- Slime-molds, explore vs. exploit pop-sci: “Thinking while Brainless: Slime Mold Gives Insight into the Intelligence of Neuron-Less Organisms“, Patricia Damm , June 2016
- The jellyfish does one better: it invents the neuron. A signalling molecule enters a synapse here, comes out at another synapse 2 feet away, in only a millisecond. So 10000x faster than diffusion. And no cross-talk, either. The neuron is a kind-of stargate, star-trek teleporter for signalling molecules! Jellyfish have trouble deciding if they should eat, or if they should flee from predators. So they usually do both at the same time. The bilaterian does one better, by inventing a split brain… “Forced moves or good tricks in design space? Landmarks in the evolution of neural mechanisms for action selection”, Tony J. Prescott (2007)
Neurochemistry and it’s manifestation in Politics:
- Aljosa Puzar, (2021). Towards a critical cultural epidemiology. Academia Letters, Article 570.
https://doi.org/10.20935/AL570. This article is ostensibly about the sociology of pandemics. Careful reading shows that it is a far more careful study of the topics I try to broach here. For example: the Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020 is presented as a coupling of primal fear, neurochemically and socially expressed, to neoliberal competitiveness, capitalist supply chains and “neuro-politics”.