Jason Bourne didn’t really have amnesia – it was more of a writer’s trick

It turns out Jason Bourne didn’t really have amnesia. That would require a hit on the head or something similar. He would then lose all of his past memories and kind up wake up clueless, maybe even unable to make new memories.

No, Jason Bourne had selective amnesia where he was able to forget all the bad things in his life, but remember how to speak several languages, fight 16 bad guys at once, and generally act like a superhero. This is called ‘dissociative amnesia’ which usually occurs after a traumatic event.

So, it is a form of amnesia just not one that requires you to be bonked on the head. It’s sort of the brains way of dealing with something to hard to handle. You forget that incident but remember pretty much everything else and function normally.

It is the perfect writer’s device. Start your character with nothing but an awesome set of skills and bad guys to foil…fill in the personality later.

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More on this from an engaging post on neuroscience, The Weird History of Amnesia:

The major fascination with amnesia is that it’s so specific. When an amnesiac wakes in a hospital, they may not know who they are or where they are, but they do know that they are in a hospital. They know what hospitals are and what they look like. They retain the ability to talk, to count, to recognize certain aspects of the world they live in, while blanking out personal memories entirely.

 

 

Continue reading Jason Bourne didn’t really have amnesia – it was more of a writer’s trick

Professors fight crime with math – using data to predict crime ‘hot spots’

I love this story on ‘predictive policing’. Researchers use data to predict “hot spots” for crime and then send it over to the police. The cops on the beat patrol those areas more often and crime drops.

Math for the win.

The best way to fight crime is to keep it from happening in the first place. And while they don’t wield guns or carry badges, three UCLA faculty members are helping the Los Angeles Police Department do just that.

The scholars bring cold, hard science to predicting where certain crimes are most likely to be committed, a practice that, until now, relied largely on cops’ experience and intuition. In development for six years, the “predictive policing” software helps cops identify potential crime hotspots and stop illegal activity before it takes place.

The program generates color-coded "heat maps" that indicate the "highest probability areas for where crime will occur that day," says math professor Martin Short.

In its initial test, the software did a great job of befuddling bad guys. During one five-week period last fall, police recorded about 100 fewer burglaries and motor vehicle thefts than they had during the same timeframe in 2010.

At the heart of the work is the premise that certain crimes—home invasion, burglary and grand theft auto are prime examples—are more likely to occur in rapid succession and close proximity to one another, which Anthropology Professor Jeffrey Brantingham calls a “self-exciting process.”

via – UCLA Magazine