Yes, they just released a TED talk on this very thing.  Apparently, the problem is dopamine and what it&#39;s doing floating around there in your brain:<div><br></div><div><a href="http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_shermer_the_pattern_behind_self_deception.html?utm_source=newsletter_weekly_2010-06-15&amp;utm_campaign=newsletter_weekly&amp;utm_medium=email">http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_shermer_the_pattern_behind_self_deception.html?utm_source=newsletter_weekly_2010-06-15&amp;utm_campaign=newsletter_weekly&amp;utm_medium=email</a></div>
<div><br></div><div><a href="http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_shermer_the_pattern_behind_self_deception.html?utm_source=newsletter_weekly_2010-06-15&amp;utm_campaign=newsletter_weekly&amp;utm_medium=email"></a>Christie<br clear="all">
_______<br>&quot;Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities. The latter cannot understand it when a man does not thoughtlessly submit to hereditary prejudices but honestly and courageously uses his intelligence.&quot; -- Albert Einstein<br>

<br><br><div class="gmail_quote">On Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 2:33 PM, Jesse Zbikowski <span dir="ltr">&lt;<a href="mailto:embeddedlinuxguy@gmail.com">embeddedlinuxguy@gmail.com</a>&gt;</span> wrote:<br><blockquote class="gmail_quote" style="margin:0 0 0 .8ex;border-left:1px #ccc solid;padding-left:1ex;">
This is an interesting question. I believe there is a cognitive defect<br>
which causes people to become obsessed with the idea that they have an<br>
arcane power to understand mysterious sequences of symbols and<br>
numbers. I have long suspected this would explain why otherwise<br>
rational geeks such as Isaac Newton become entranced by numerology.<br>
Probably the same neural structures which enable works of mathematical<br>
genius can get derailed and create things like The Chronology of<br>
Ancient Kingdoms. Moreover, the kind of mathematics involved in<br>
elementary cryptography, i.e. relationships between small integers, is<br>
fun and easy to conceptualize, so I expect you get more number theory<br>
cranks than e.g. real analysis cranks.<br>
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