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News & Ideas

November 2018  | ISSUE No. 49

In this issue:
Advances | Interview | Events | Awards & Honours 


Governor General becomes CIFAR’s honorary patron

This month, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, agreed to become CIFAR's honorary patron. By granting her patronage, the Governor General affirms her support of CIFAR’s work creating transformative knowledge for the benefit of society.


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ADVANCES

Nurse Visits

Altered consciousness isn’t higher consciousness

Drugs like LSD and magic mushrooms may feel like they elevate you to a higher plane of consciousness, but philosopher Tim Bayne, a senior fellow in CIFAR’s Brain, Mind & Consciousness program, argues that this is not a useful way to talk about the phenomenon.

In a recent paper published in Neuroscience of Consciousness, Tim Bayne and Olivia Carter take aim at the notion that consciousness is a phenomenon usefully described by the terminology of “levels.” Their ammunition? LSD and magic mushrooms.


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Nurse Visits

World’s largest sleep study concludes you probably need more sleep

We’ve all heard that people function best on seven to eight hours of nightly sleep. But did you know that more sleep than that can be just as bad as less? Neuroscientists at Western University’s Brain and Mind Institute have uncovered this and many more interesting facts about one of our most desperately-needed natural resources, in what’s been dubbed the World’s Largest Sleep Study.


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Nurse Visits

Building a fly brain in a computer

Despite the simplicity of their visual system, fruit flies are able to reliably distinguish between individuals based on sight alone. This is a task that even humans who spend their whole lives studying Drosophila melanogaster struggle with. Researchers have now built a neural network that mimics the fruit fly’s visual system and can distinguish and re-identify flies. This may allow the thousands of labs worldwide that use fruit flies as a model organism to do more longitudinal work, looking at how individual flies change over time. It is also more evidence that fascinating research happens at the intersection of scientific disciplines.


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INTERVIEW


Fast Radio Bursts

Making a moral machine

Imagine driving down a road with your family in the car, when all of a sudden a cat jumps in front of the vehicle. Do you swerve to avoid the cat, risking a crash into a wall that will endanger you and your family, or do you keep driving straight? What if instead of a cat, it was a child? Or an elderly person? How does that change your moral calculation?

In order to understand who to save, researchers built a website called the Moral Machine that has been presenting millions of people with permutations of this problem for the past two years. To get a better idea of what it all means, we spoke with Joe Henrich, one of the authors of a recent paper on the study. Henrich is a professor in Harvard’s Department of Human Evolutionary Biology and a CIFAR senior fellow in the Institutions, Organizations & Growth program.


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EVENTS


Fast Radio Bursts

AICan 2018: 1st Annual Meeting of the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy

Dec. 3, 2018 | Montreal

AICan 2018 is the first annual meeting of the Pan-Canadian AI Strategy. The event brings together AI researchers and industry and government partners from across Canada. The event will showcase and celebrate the first cohort of the Canada CIFAR AI Chairs program, forty of Canada's leading AI researchers from across our three national AI Institutes, Amii, Mila and the Vector Institute, including long-standing Canadian leaders and new recruits to Canada.

Please note this event is by invitation only. For more information about this event, please contact AI@cifar.ca.


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AWARDS



Louis Taillefer (QM, Sherbrooke) has been awarded the 2018 Prix Acfas Adrien-Pouliot, which salutes collaborative research between Quebec and France. Dr. Taillefer’s award honours his successful collaboration with CIFAR Fellow Cyril Proust (QM, Laboratoire national des champs magnétiques intenses.)

CIFAR President’s Research Council member Ed McCauley has been selected as the University of Calgary’s ninth president and vice-chancellor.

TWITTER



Follow us @CIFAR_News

CIFAR @CIFAR_News Oct 30: A new book by Rachel Parker, Senior Director, Research at CIFAR is a must-read. Out today in paperback - Innovation in China: Challenging the Global Science and Technology System

 


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