Sherrington … argued that the nervous system responsible for this simplest class of determinate decision making [harm avoidance] could be … composed of three critical elements: a selective sensory element, … a detector for … events in the outside world…; a selective motor element … that led to the activation of muscles; and a point of contact between these two systems (… the integrative element).[1] A sensor fires when it detect something, however, since they are imperfect (both natural or man-made) an additional element is required to collect evidence over time (integrate) to remove errors and noise from the signal – as in a sequential-sampling model.[2]

These models serve as the basis for more complex discriminating behavioural diffusion models, such as directional motion tracking. Consider a juvenile primate watching its mother walk through long grass: as the adult moves rightward it displaces grass, but the juvenile will also see leftward, upward, and downward movement. To tack its mother, the juvenile must discern which of these multiple movements is the primary movement.

Diffusion models add an integration step to collect the relative difference between two options and trigger an action only when the difference exceeds a threshold. Diffusion models have accurately accounted for the observed reaction times and accuracy in experiments compared to accumulator and race models.[2] Diffusion models can also account for the fast erroneous actions which have been experimental observed.[2] Diffusion models using the relative difference implicitly treat evidence for one alternative as evidence against another alternative preventing the errors of multiple conclusions and race-conditions possible in accumulator and counter models which do not have mutual inhibition.[2]

Read More

The following text is my 500 word response to the above essay question for the course Introduction to Neuroeconomics: How the Brain Makes Decisions on Cousera.

‘Cogito, Ergo Sum’ wrote René Descartes — ‘I think, therefore I am’. His rationalist argument was that the only we could trust was our conscious thoughts — our “inner-voice”. He argued our senses could be deceiving us, positing that we cannot know a demon is not deceiving us with false inputs — as in the “The Matrix”. His refutation of empiricism is a central text in the historical belief of dualism — i.e. that the human mind is separate from the body; that we are the “Ghost in the Machine”. [1]

Subsequent research has advanced our understanding of ourselves beyond the ancient guesses about the nature of thought. The physicalist paradigm assumes that all that exist is built upon the physical world and its interactions. [2] This paradigm assumes that human consciousness is a manifestation of processes running in our physical bodies, on the nervous system and under the influence of our endocrine system. [5] The physicalists accept emergence as an ontological reality and that our consciousness emerges out of the interactions between our neurons. [6]

Read More

To build a strong community, the persons within must feel respected. All persons must know that their feelings and needs are acknowledged and respected. No country should run roughshod over some of its people just because they’re in the minority.

There are good reasons for some Australians to feel 26 January represents the start of a two hundred year period of darkness and despair.

So let’s drop the bulldust surrounding 26 January and consider it rationally.

26 January 1788 was the start of the dispossession and systematic extermination of the indigenous Australians by the arriving settlers and this continued for over two hundred years. Extermination is a strong word, but it is accurate. During the discussions on federation, Aboriginal Australians were denied natural rights as they were considered lesser people.

No country thrives when the powerful continue with decisions that mistreat a section of the community it governs. We now understand how indigenous people were disenfranchised, and it is past time to address these issues in earnest. It is improper for our national day to continue to reinforce a policy of ignoring the existence of people who find the current date insensitive.

As Australians, two of our strengths are being adaptable and being inclusive – let’s use these strengths and end this division.

As stated on “The tradition of having Australia Day as a national holiday on 26 January is a recent one. Not until 1935 did all the Australian states and territories use that name to mark that date. Not until 1994 did they begin to celebrate Australia Day consistently as a public holiday on that date.” Every year we are told by some that we must celebrate Australia Day on 26 January because it is traditional. In reality it is just a very recent invention. 26 January1788  is the date the English landed in what is now New South Wales, the other states did not consider that date the start of the nation.

26 January is considered by some Australians as a date to commemorate The Invasion and to celebrate the survival of indigenous people and their cultural identity despite systematic attempts to destroy both.

However justified that idea and understanding of 26 January is not an inclusive one. It tells the majority of Australians that they are part of an invading force. It alienates those born in Australia since 1788 from their homeland. Unintentionally that idea reinforces the very notion of otherness separating Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders Australians from other Australians.

So let’s turn 26 January on its head and make it inclusive. Let’s celebrate 40,000+ years of human survival in Australia. But most of all let’s celebrate our shared history of surviving tyranny, bigotry, and imperialism. As Australian’s let us commemorate the indomitable spirit of Aboriginals & Torres Strait Islanders, the migrants seeking a better life, the refugees seeking safety, and those like the convicts & settlers seeking freedom and a second chance. Let us celebrate those who survived and worked to build a nation of respect, inclusion, and democracy. Let’s demonstrate these principles by respecting our indigenous fellows and accepting that 26 January is not a good date for our national day.

As an alternative national day, I do have a suggestion. Clearly the starting day of federation is out; it was 1 January 1 1901. Let’s just say a national day after New Year’s Eve would not work.

However, there is another date that reflects our national character: 3 March 1986.

In 1985 the Australian Parliament informed the UK Parliament and Privy Council that they would no longer have any power over Australian law, and sought the passage of the Australia Act 1986 to make it so. Every year 3 March goes unremarked, but it was the day a mature country formally and finally became independent of the UK. This independence was achieved not by violent revolution but through negotiation and a quiet act of democracy.

In 2016, after hundreds of years of argument and animosity, the Christian churches are working towards a consensus on the dates to celebrate Easter. Humans can overcome history and difference and by respecting each other’s feelings and beliefs build a strong community.

So let’s move Australia day to 3 March; we’ll have our ceremonies like citizenship and national honours on that day. Maybe this change will demonstrate our acknowledgement of the struggle for survival by Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Australians. Let’s keep 26 January as a day to celebrate our shared humanity and all our survival stories.


Inner City Route Map

Inner City Route Map

Heavy Rail

  • Redfern East Station at George & Phillip St

Light Rail

  • Oxford St
  • Anzac Parade
  • Parramatta Road
  • King St, Enmore Rd, Victoria Rd, & Marrickville Rd
  • Elizabeth St, George St (Redfern), Mc Evoy Rd, Euston Rd, etc;
  • Gardeners Rd, & Edinburgh Rd
  • Crows St, Baptist St, and Green Square Light Rail Corridor

Light Rail Discussion Inner West

Light Rail Discussion Inner West

And Zoomed In

Light Rail Discussion Inner West - Waterloo and Zetland

Although the previous post can be useful to see the detail, 6000+ entries is too much.

For a taste here are the top three (and there are some surprises in the rest)

Riverstone – Marsden Park 134,633

Cobbitty – Leppington 10,5314

Rouse Hill – Beaumont Hills 61,130

So after the fold is the data summarized to SA2 – usual a classification of several suburbs.

Read More

That is a very reasonable question considering my blog consists of one post and Media Release.

Basically, I am co-convenor of Ecotransit Sydney and NoWestconnex; this does not leave a lot of time for blogging. I’m also the webmin for both stylish websites: Ecotransit, NoWestconnex.

So, posting my media releases is a way of keeping them public and indexable; while giving my blog some content. Win, Win!

There is a constant stream of tweets over @MathewHounsell.

Consider the tourist with one week who wishes to see several historic areas in Spain. Say for example, the cities of Malaga, Cordoba, Granda and Madrid.

The tourist can fly in to Malaga and spend two days seeing the sites. On the morning of the third day they can catch a train and be in Cordoba in one hour for sixty euro; yes, just one hour. That means they can get up in the morning and move on to Cordoba without losing a day to travel. Granada is two hours from Cordoba; but Madrid is four hours from Granda.

This means that the tourist can see four great historic cities with only seven hours of traveling.

In New South Wales, two hours wont even get you to Newcastle and one hour wont get you to Wollongong. Moreover it takes eight hours with an avergae speed of 60Km/h to reach Armidale.

No wonder the furthest our tourist go is Katoomba (two hours).

Check out the excellent (outside of Oz SNCF (France) and Renfe (Spain)