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Finding Your Mind & The Jennifer Aniston Neuron Spark

by The Wrinkle | July 9, 2010

In light of last week’s blog it was interesting that SBS aired a documentary called “Finding my Mind” on Tuesday at 7.30. This was a bit of a “smorgasbord” of research going on around the world by neuroscientists interested in the mind. Given the nature of the program it jumped around a bit, but there were two things the Wrinkle found very interesting. The first was that scientists have been able to map activity in individual neurons in the brain. There are millions and millions of these so it’s a bit like “random number theory” research in these early stages.

However in one case they were able to demonstrate that a neuron can attach to one idea, person, or concept. One person effectively had a Jennifer Aniston neuron (he was obviously male) and every time he saw a picture or her name the neuron would light up. However pictures of her with other men had no impact. Interesting, so who lights up your neurons?

Now for those who thought I was blowing smoke, or smoking funny cigarettes last week in my discussion about shadow, and the conscious and unconscious mind, this next cameo should blow you away. Another researcher in the UK has developed a map of real time brain activity. Using this map they are able to accurately predict Yes/No type decisions prior to them being consciously recognised. How this works is that a person is asked to press a button a number of times at random. He has two button controllers in his hands, one left, one right. Now the brain activity map indicates that the unconscious mind knows the decision prior to the conscious mind pressing the button. So you say, sounds logical, maybe a split second or so. Guess again, their experiment showed that the unconscious mind (aka shadow) knew the decision a full six seconds before the conscious mind sent the instruction to the body. Six seconds, count from 1,000 to 1,006, that is a long time. Which begs the question, are you really in control of your self?

Which concludes the twilight zone segment for this week.

Last week, the Wrinkle incorrectly called a very early election move by Julia Gillard, primarily as he didn’t think she could add much in the way of new policy announcements. Everyone was a little surprised including “moi” when she pulled “a rabbit out of a hat” with the East Timor refugee processing station. In the end it appears the rabbit only got halfway out and this hasn’t been a clear winner. The calling of the election is definitely getting closer, and Tony Abbot is now forecasting 21/28 August as the likely dates.

For those who like a little light relief with their dose of politics, on Monday night Q&A on ABC, aired a spoof video designed to get the 1.3 million Australian voters not registered to sign up and have their say. This is largely a computer gaming based send up of Rudd, Gillard, and Abbott by Get Up and isn’t half bad. Be warned, it contains a lot of gratuitous violence but isn’t that simply politics?

There is also some good sports action coming up over the next month or so with the Tri-Nations and the cricket Test series between England, Australia, and Pakistan. The Wrinkle has two sport betting strategies, the small fun bet on a match by match basis and a longer term punt where I try to use bet/lay options within Betfair, not dis-similar to a short term play on the stock market.

My favourite in this second area are cricket test matches, as they go over four to five days and you get three to four easy bet revision points at the end of each day (or of course you can always change your position intra-day via phone). Plus especially for the better teams there is normally a good liquid market and the spreads are fair. The strategy is simple; at the start you have three teams, the two sides, and the weather (draw). Then you simply look at the longest odds offered and determine if you think over the five days those odds will shorten giving you the chance to lay off for a free bet or a guaranteed return.

For example, in next weeks test, Pakistan is paying just under $6 to win, and Australia and the draw are between $2 to $2.70. In the Wrinkle’s view, Pakistan has a strong emotional element in their performance; their last test thrashing by Australia will be “steeled” by their recent back to back wins in the two 20/20 games. Accordingly the Wrinkle has backed Pakistan on the hope that at some stage in the five days (weather permitting) Pakistan will get much closer to winning the match than the current $6 odds indicate and at this point I’ll lay off the bet.

Accordingly the strategy here is not to pick the ultimate winner, but to pick who is most likely to improve their chances of winning during the match, and bank the difference before the end. I’ve had fun with this strategy over the last 12 months or so, and overall I’m still up and have subsidised my fun bets in the interim. So good luck if you want to give it a go!

Next week I have another stock tip I’m working on, and ultimately would like to build up to five or so “roughies” to follow in the market. The US earning season is another week or so away, to be followed by ours. The early indications are that this may be at least up to, and maybe better than, expectations. This would be good as it would build a platform for growth under the current market levels.

Have a great week, and I’ll leave you with one of my favourite quotes;

“Never mistake a clear view for a short distance”

- Paul Saffo.

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