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  1. #1

    Default Paradox in shape-study findings

    Im aware that new studies produce new results:

    but you may find these interesting...one article claims that scientists have debunked lock and key while the other affirms shape theory:

    http://www.physorg.com/news143125816.html


    http://www.physorg.com/news149185891.html

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Paradox in shape-study findings

    Thanks, helo. I had not seen the first article. I find that one really interesting. I'm going to have to look at that one. I had seen the second one.

    These are both interesting, but to me, in a sense, they show the same thing - the fact that we're dealing with "floppy" locks and keys. I think everybody agrees at this point that there are locks and keys. The question is now how they operate. People today are a bit fooled by the quality of our own "shape-based" locks on our doors. We think one lock, one key. But because I still remember the days of bad locks, I recall that I occasionally found keys that "almost worked", and I once found a wrong key that did work. And of course the whole concept of lock-picking works on the idea that locks can be fooled by a super-flexible process that mocks the correct key.

    We really have to be careful about this "shape theory" thing. I know it's driving David to distraction, and worse than that, I think it's misleading to ourselves. Perhaps it's just a case of journalists oversimplifying things, or marketers trying to gin up a conflict to make a book subject "hotter", but I think we have to be on the same page on this. Locks and keys are here to stay.

    The second article is showing me that when you pin down a floppy molecule that activates a particular olfactory receptor, it can prevent it from accessing the particular shape that best turns the key, or it can (theoretically) pin it into a particularly good shape that fits the lock. There's a bit of a problem in the study here, in that you can't really lock the molecule into its "loose and long" conformation, and that's what seems to work best. Still, it's interesting.

    I find the first article really interesting. I may buy it. If I read the abstract correctly, they're saying that the electronic signal sent from the lock (ignoring to some extent what turned the key) is itself not very precise, and that they were able to rule out a lot of explanations other than the neurons themselves (the cells with the receptors) having a certain amount of unpredictability. That says loose locks to me, although I have to look at the article and see if what they say sheds any light on the manner of looseness, and where it enters into things. And is the looseness truly random, or just pseudo-random? (I almost have to use the book title pun "Fooled By Pseudo-Randomness"! ) No matter what - very interesting.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Paradox in shape-study findings

    good points.

    i dont know if this is good to put here, or in a separate thread, but it seems fitting here too.

    its just an abstract, but:

    http://www.perfumerflavorist.com/fra.../37572479.html

    Flexitral Inc. (Chantilly, Virginia) will provide a principal investigator, founder Luca Turin, to the MITRealNose project funded by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency). According to DARPA, “The key to the program concept is that by simulating the entire mammalian olfactory system (from air intake to pattern recognition), revolutionary detection capabilities will be created. The primary goal is to create a more advanced model of the e-nose, one that can detect specific substances at increased distances and with higher accuracy (essentially, to be as reliable as a dog).” The program will utilize Turin’s well-publicized “vibration” theory of olfaction.
    so there is still some validity to Turin, I think. Shape may still be alive and kicking, but vibration sure isnt dead

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Paradox in shape-study findings

    Brought to you by DARPA - makers of the internet!

    Love your last link, helo. It's true - just look at the human brain. The idea that the brain works by simple electrical circuits like wires is wrong, but that didn't mean that pursuing a faulty model in a new direction didn't have uses. In the end, synthetic senses may be of much greater and more lasting importance than figuring out how the evolutionarily evolved ones work. Or at least for the short long-term.

    Frankly, I enjoy seeing the military moving away from offensive weapons toward defensive things with robust non-military potential. Everything can be abused, but explosions tend not to have that many constructive civilian applications.
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