Robert L. Blum, MD, PhD




AI: Future of Humanity

Sphere of Interest

WebBrain: AI
neurosci psych

Stanford Brain Lecture Notes

The RX Project:
Robotic Discovery

CV Biblio (1985)


Index of Essays

Psychology &
Neuroscience brain-icon

Computer Science,
Robotics, and AI

Health & Biotech

Earth Wisdom: Universe

Be Saved by Bob!!!
(And Other Balms )

Optimal Nutrition:
Are Fats Killers
or Saviors?


Consciousness Video:
Who, What, When?

Stan Dehaene's
Consciousness & Brain

Near Death Experiences: In the Desert With Pim Van Lommel

Fine-Tuned for Life?

Neuron Videos Say
Forget Realistic AI

EUV 2014 - Future of Moore's Law

BAM: Brain Activity Map of Spikes

Beating Jeopardy!
What is Watson?
AI Overlord or Tool?

SETI: Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

KEPLER Seeks Earth-like Worlds

STEVE PINKER in the Amazon: photos

Billion Year Plan:
AI Formulation

AI Awakens

CONSCIOUSNESS as Global Resonance

SEAN's Accident

Coronary Artery
CT Scan: Yes!

Book Review: TRANSCEND

Book Review:
Create a Mind

Does Drug X


Total Recall:
Everything, Always

Ralph Triumphs:
Elbot Cheers

Scientists &
Evangelicals Unite

Thomas Berry,
Geologian: Obituary

Calorie Restriction
Works in Monkeys!

TheBrain &
WebBrain: Review


Little Balms for the Nuclear Family

The Galaxy Song: Monty Python's Eric Idle
at the top of his game. Pure joy!
Wiki says: "Galaxy Song facts are accurate, too."

I am the very model of a Singularitarian
Featuring Charlie Kam, with an up-to-the-nanosecond version of
Modern Major General from Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan.

Pinky and the Brain Teach Neuroanatomy
"The Brain" of Pinky and the Brain takes a break from his fanatical
quest for galactic domination by teaching a class in neuroanatomy - to song, no less.

Web Site Story
A modern version of West Side Story for the computer age. (Thanks, Sharron!)

Bohemian Gravity
I'm not sure that my understanding of string theory or quantum loop gravity
has deepened. Yet somehow I do feel much lighter. This is massively entertaining.

The Hippopotamus Song
Flanders and Swann were one of the best musical comedy teams ever,
and this song is one of their most memorable, here sung by
humorist Rolf Harris. "Mud, Mud Glorious Mud!"

The Gnu Song
And yet another of the Flanders and Swann masterpieces,
here sung by the incomparable Michael Flanders himself.

Glass Harp - Toccata and Fugue in D minor Bach
Hauntingly beautiful and kinesthetically connected to the thermin work below.
Also watch him (Robert Tiso) perform Tchaikovsky's Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy,
and Thomas Bloch on the Glass Harmonica, playing Mozart.

The Swan (Saint-Saens) on Theremin
A captivating rendition of Le Cygne played on the theremin by Clara Rockmore.
(Excuse the following abrupt transition from the ethereal to the earth-bound ...)

It's All About the Pentiums
"Upgrade my system twice a day; I'm strictly plug n play; ain't afraid of Y2K.
I'm down with Bill Gates; I call him "Money" for short;
I call him at home; make him do my tech support."
Weird Al Yankovic has long been a fave... speaking of which ...

Bob = boB
In 1967 in France (during my hippie period) Parisians asked me,
"Tu connais Bob Dylan?" Yeah, I channel Bob.
Yo, banana boy! (and other palindromes by Weird Al).
Are we not drawn onward, we few, drawn onward to new era?
No, sir, away! A papaya war is on!

White & Nerdy
I've still got my MIT slide rule, but my pocket protectors are long gone.

Amish Paradise
Luddites rejoice! Technological civilization is going to hell!

How did I accumulate all this crap?

world's funniest joke

World's Funniest Joke
Is there a science of humor? Yes! And here it is
engagingly described by UK Prof. Richard Wiseman.
And, here are the funniest jokes and the research project, Laughlab, that identified them.
Of course, for Wiseman levitating corks is all in a day's work.
Find that astounding feat and others on his Quirkology website.

Augmented Reality Magic 1.0
A beautiful magic show by techno-magician Marco Tempest, The Virtual Magician.

The Brain As Explained By John Cleese
A clear and concise explanation by one of the Monty Python crew.

Robot Dancer: HRP-4C
She's kinda stiff compared with the human females,
but she can also invert thousand by thousand matrices.

World of World of Warcraft
Warcraft sequel lets you simulate being a nerd playing Warcraft.
Game's amazing level of detail makes players feel like they are actually in a
cramped, dark apartment playing World of Warcraft!

Stanley Realizing He's a Brain in a Vat

An illustration from the always delightful collection at
(Thanks, Snaggy!) An audience member at one of my lectures pointed out,
"And, she's reading Scientific American!"Yeah, she's got it all.
(Each of us is a brain in a vat floating inside a skull
connected to a bunch of peripherals by high speed cable.)

Sheldon Cooper's Friendship Algorithm
Sheldon, notorious physics nerd of tv's Big Bang Theory, has finally
deciphered friendship. And, here, illustrating the doppler effect.
Or here, on Superman's flight dynamics.
And, here as the ShelBot (using Willow Garage's TechAI telepresence.)
Here, the Wolowitz robotic space arm does a Chinese food "pick and place."

And here, Howard Wolowitz (the multi-talented Simon Helberg)
serenades his great love, Bernadette
. (Hat tip to my pal, Sharron.)

Want to understand positive reinforcement?
Sex works even better than chocolate.

The Elements
Satire pre-Weird Al? Yes, kids, back then there was Tom Lehrer.

Lobachevsky - Tom Lehrer
Here, Prof. Lehrer teaches us the secret of success in mathematics: plagiarize!
Tom's song is based on Danny Kaye's Stanislawsky. No video of that exists,
but I did find this wonderful clip of Danny Kaye with Louis Armstrong.)

The Vatican Rag
Another of Tom Lehrer's greatest hits: irreverent lyrics set to a catchy tune.

Turing Test? Try Elbot!
In 1950 British code breaker Alan Turing set the most famous goal of AI research
- faking human discourse. A computer passes the Turing Test
if it can fool people into thinking that it's human.
Kevin Warwick presents a good backgrounder on the Turing Test.
Better still is the Loebner Prize website, awarding money to the best competitors.
But, best of all is ELBOT - the reigning champion. Try it (him?) out!
Elbot insists that this is his favorite music.

I also gave myself the Turing Test ... and passed.

Your Own Home Computer?
Believe it or not, home computers may be possible by 2004.
They will even be easy to use, if the family learns Fortran.

A Magazine is Just an iPad that doesn't work
That's reality for kids growing up these days.

Wall-E Sounds
A robot without a voice is like a soprano with laryngitis.
Sounds are next for the designers of Willow Garage's PR2,
whose cousins, R2D2 , Wall-E, and MO all have superb voices.

Generic Academy Award Movie Trailer
Insert endorsement for YouTube clip by self-styled movie critic to show great wit.

Elaine Pawns Her Emmy to Breaking Bad Crew
In a dangerous lapse of judgment, Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Elaine of Seinfeld)
pawns her Emmy to the Breaking Bad Crew (Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul) .

Susan Boyle: I Dreamed a Dream
Susan Boyle stunned Britain's Got Talent when she sang this song
from Les Miserables: an amazing rendition.

Jackie Evancho: Ave Maria
Even more surprising and delightful is child opera phenom, Jackie Evancho.
She was age 9 when she sang Ave Maria on America's Got Talent.

Czardas: Hyun-Su Shin
A beautiful rendition of this gypsy violin favorite - music I grew up with -
to be savored while drinking tea from the family samovar.
To play this well, Hyun-Su must be one of those rare Korean Jews.
My trumpet teacher would also play Czardas, as in this virtuoso performance -
and here by the incomparable Rafael Mendez.

Paganini La Campanella
Another long time favorite, here played by Stefan Milenkovich.

Pipe Dream
These are stunning musical animations from the geniuses at Animusic:
Aqua Harp, Resonant Chamber, Harmonic Voltage, and Acoustic Curves.
In contrast, the Rolling Ball Marble Machine is real, and so is this
robot playing an unmodified clarinet.

Diavolo Highlights
Spectacular dance performance!

Chomskybot: Words Noam Never Said
Noam Chomsky, the famous linguist, did say
"Colorless Green Ideas Sleep Furiously" to show
that syntax and semantics are separately processed.
The Chomskybot, in turn, repeatedly generates
paragraphs that Chomsky might have written.
(After you click on Chomskybot above, click "Next Paragraph.")

The Treadmill Video: OK Go
"Come on, lads. Let's do the treadmill." Beatles sound, but it's actually OK Go.
U like OK Go? Try these! End Love; White Knuckles; WTF?

Glee: We Are Young
And, other wonderful tunes from Glee: Total Eclipse of the Heart,
Uptown Girl, Torn, and Smile.

Jason Mraz - Bella Luna
The new generation of musicians is not lost. There is Jason Mraz:.
transcendental rumba with magical lyrics.

You Grew on Me
Tim Minchin: Elton John with a black heart.
Is love really like this? ET wants to know..

flying spahetti monster

Flying Spaghetti Monster
Pastafarians believe that God created cephalopods (and more!) in His own image.
Wiki describes the beliefs of this fanatical sect.

PrayerMAX 5000
Prayers not bringing you vast material wealth? You may just need a technological boost.
And here, the delightful Edward Current naughtily inquires, "what if God disappeared?"

Off That (Rationalist Anthem)
Baba Brinkman is angry and blunt here on pseudoscience: homeopathy,
parapsychology, et al. Warning: this violates my "PG-13" code, but it's sooo well done.

Keepon Dancing to Spoon's I Turn My Camera On
What do you get when you combine a Terminator with a rubber ducky?,
A BeatBot (product of very cool San Francisco robotics firm)

OMG Particles!
Some low-key entertainment til your LeapMotion shows up.

Donald Trump Interviews Himself in the Mirror
The Donald is clearly the only one qualified to interview himself,
and particularly not that lightweight, Jimmy Fallon.
(But, I'm really waiting for Sarah Palin to join The Donald's political team.)

Dana Carvey as George Bush (Senior (the smarter one))
This is an oldie but goodie - so good that Pres. Bush invited Dana
to the White House to do it.

World Ending in 2012? Vote for Sarah!
John McCain's picking Sarah Palin as a running mate was a boon
to comedians everywhere. Alaska's loss was our gain. In case you missed
the fun, here's SNL's Tina Fey again as Sarah Palin and with "Joe Biden."

Brian Greene Explains General Relativity to Colbert
In 2015 we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Einstein's General Relativity.
Here, physicist Brian Greene demos it to gadfly Stephen Colbert.
(Hat tips to my lovely dance partner, Sharron, for this and the one below.)

Stephen Colbert Interviews Smaug, the Dragon
Colbert asks the tough questions (at great peril) to the arch conservative
Smaug, who reveals he will support Rand Paul in 2016 to put America
back on the gold standard.

Mitt Romney at Al Smith Dinner 2012
This was a wonderful, comedic, conciliatory moment in a hard fought campaign.
And, here is Pres. Barack Obama's retort.

Be Saved by Bob!!!
Church of the Subgenius

Guided by their prophet, the charismatic J. R. "Bob" Dobbs,
the faithful of His Church strive mightily for Divine Slack.
This is an unauthorized excerpt from the Book of Bob.

Glucose Song
Who knew glycolysis could be so catchy?

Computer Geek
Ok, many of my friends are computer geeks. They do have some redeeming qualities -
like nifty collections of pocket protectors.

Jay Leno 63 = Taylor Swift 22
Did Taylor shamelessly ripoff Jay in her song about being 22.

Rich Flavell: Rejected
Who knew that Prof. Richard Flavell (Yale Univ.) , wizard of
the immunology world, was also its Paul McCartney?

Everlasting Life by Uploading (with a Catch)
Some of my friends are head freezers - they've signed up with
Alcor to cryopreserve their heads, so they can be uploaded to a mainframe
post-Singularity and maybe even downloaded to a new body. It's not without peril.

She Blinded Me With Science
A quaint little ditty from the 1980s - not quite Verdi or Mozart.

Siggraph 2010: Emerging Technologies Trailer
A hep 3 min. summary of cutting-edge tech shown at the recent Siggraph in LA.

Tablet Evolution presented by Motorola
Very cool promo combines history lesson with buzz on Motorola's new Honeycomb.

Samsung SSD Awesomeness
Another cool promo. After seeing this I bought an ssd. Now I just need another
couple of dozen to put in parallel in a RAID array.

The Mom Song
Mother's wisdom and admonitions summarized in 3 minutes.

You Won't Succeed on Broadway
What's up with all those "Jewish" Nobel Prizes?
(My favorite non-explanation is that the Swedes just love Jews.)
Here, David Hyde Pierce shows us that it also extends to Broadway.

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog - Laundry Dy (My Freeze Ray)
Even arch-villains (Neil Patrick Harris) need love. (Start at minute 3:40; play to min 5.
Song itself is also here:

Tony Awards 2013 Opening Number
Here, the multi-talented Neil Patrick Harris opens the 2013 Tonys.

Meryl Davis & Charlie White: Ice Dancing
My favorite performance by these spectacular world champions.

I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You
Just a very pretty song. (Don't look for romantic love between robots anytime soon.)

Glen Campbell and Bobby Gentry: Let it be me
Another beautifully romantic tune.

Il Volo: Grande Amore

Carino by Chris Spheeris:
a beautiful guitar solo. Another lovely song - Heaven's Gift by Gypsy Enchantress.

My Valentine: Paul McCartney
Paul's still got it.

Celine Dion - To Love You More

Old Spice Commercial
that brings a very old product into the Third Millennium. On a side note,
here's how I remember to spell millennium (two "n's").

Will Ferrell Wired into the Future

Will Ferrell's Future That Never Was
A funny article in Wired featuring funnyman Will Ferrell on inventions of yesteryear
that never materialized: designer babies, food in a pill, flying cars, sexbots etc.
Also, here see Will accepting the Mark Twain Award.

All Theories Proven with One Graph
And, other nuggets in the Journal of Irreproducible Results.

Modern Science Condensed Into One Subway Map
by Crispian Jago, who explains that this was achieved "via the medium of
gross over simplification, glaring omission, and a very tiny font."

Alitteration Gone Mad
assumes an articulate author, appropriately adept at alliteration

The Mickey Mouse Club - Original Mouseketeers
just one of the great memories from my youth (and perhaps my introduction to dancing)
And, while we're strolling down memory lane, there's The Lone Ranger,
Zorro, and Roy Rogers.

Billy Crystal - You Look Marvelous (SNL 1985)
My aesthetic on the dance floor channels Billy Crystal.
"You rrrooook mahvelous, my dahlings (and you know who you are!)

Sacha Baron Cohen Kills Presenter and Accepts Award
OMG! Sacha at his best. (BTW: his cousin, Simon, is a superstar
neuropsychologist, who specializes in autism.)

The Turkey that Ate St. Louis
What do you get when you cross Jay Leno and Carl Sagan: Seth Shostak -
SETI's most entertaining lecturer
. This student film by Seth shows his many talents.

Tina Fey & Robert Downey, Jr: Best Original Screenplay

Writers, not actors or directors, make or break a movie (or so say the writers.)
In this 2010 Oscar introduction, Tina and Robert duke it out.
Movies need actors and writers: "a collaboration between handsome, gifted people
and (watch the clip)."

Diet Coke + Mentos
Almost as good as the Bellagio Fountains in Vegas, only funnier.
The Mythbusters provide an explanation.

Best Kinect Hacks
Kinect is Microsoft's new computer vision system - here put to good use by "the street."

Watsky Raps
and raps superfast (Local Boy - George Watsky - makes good.) Also see Goat Fast.

Native Instruments: The Mouth
An essential tool for would-be DJs and rap artists.

Cymatics: Science vs Music
An incredible melding of physics and music from artist engineer Nigel Stanford.
Resonance lies at the beating heart of aesthetics and spirit.

Vsauce2 - Kwazy Inventions
Hummingbird feeder on your head, robobutt, robomusician, robo-cocktail mixer, etc.
And, more wacky science (color perception and electricity from fruit) from Vsauce.

Where Do Babies Come From?
My favorite Kaiser Permanente Ad. (Also, a great reminder that your knowledge
as an adult was learned at some point in time. Remember?)

Mozart - Don Giovanni - Deh vieni alla finestra
Gustave Flaubert opined that God's most sublime three creations were
Hamlet, Don Giovanni, and the sea. Perhaps he was talking about this aria.

Valentina Lisitsa - Chopin Etude Op25 No.12
I first heard this piece played live at a Christmas party in 2014.
For Valentina fans here are two more: Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody
and the Rachmaninoff Prelude in g minor op. 23 #5.
(Neuro comment: for virtuoso performances like this,
forget micro-managing by the neocortex; that'd be way, way too slow.)

Phantom of the Opera
Here with four phantoms.

Quantum Levitation
very cool demo of quantum locking. (Thanks, Bill Berry. And, speaking of cool demos,
see the pix of Bill and Jonathan of Team Rootberry in my photo collection.)

World Champion Jugglers

Root + Berry = Rootberry
My buddies - Jonathan Root and Bill Berry - at work. Bill - just hanging on;
Bill - getting inflamed; Bill - on vacation; Bill - in a somber, meditative mood.
BTW when I do my 3 ball cascade, my neocortex (beginner land) is hard at work;
when Rootberry juggles 7 balls it's nonconscious . 11 balls for them
is like 3 for me: prefrontal cortex and parietal cortex light up when it's a struggle.

Anthony Gatto: World's Top Juggler
He is Planet Earth's best. I have it on good authority (again, thank you, Bill Berry.)
Juggling robots have a ways to go. (This is a good motoric Turing Test.)

Man vs Robot in Ping Pong: Timo Boll vs KUKA Robot
Wow! Stunning performances on both sides of the net.

The Ascent of Alex Honnold
I backpack every summer in Yosemite where Alex Honnold is Crown Prince
of the Big Wall climbers. He climbs 3,000 foot rock faces with no rope and no gear.
Alex has been featured on CBS's 60 Minutes (above link), and in a NatGeo Special.

Felix Baumgartner's Top 5 Freefalls
I was amazed by Fearless Felix's jump from the edge of space at 39,000 meters.
But his other jumps (above) are equally amazing.

Andy Lewis: Superstar of the Slackline
Stunning bravery.

Career Advice: Follow Your Passion (Not!)
Realistic career advice from the Onion.

Jack Black in Tenacious D - Tribute
And, here is Black, the id-persona of rock, in Wonderboy.
Ok now, this has gone on too long (according to Jack and Will Ferrell.)

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