Thursday, 13 October 2011

You stand in the losing medium. Something will remain ever out of reach. What would happen if you finally grasped it? Would it stay the same or cease to be? When you let go it won't matter. If you forget it will remain.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Ever fleeting. Instantly present and immediately absent. As air, simultaneously there and not, neither here nor there, nowhere and everywhere at once. A swelling phantasm, too elusive to truly let go, too ominous to grasp. Too complex for 101s. To look into a window and see nothing of what's inside, but a faint reflection of what's already behind you. Turning around, you won't have half as much, because to have it all is to have nothing at all. The only light is knowing that you can never know. Let your eyes adjust to the darkness. Nothing is something.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Music for sleeping cats

Alain Destexhe from the Unité de Neurosciences, Information & Complexité at the CNRS near Paris produced music from the neuronal activity of a cat. By assigning spikes of activity from certain neurons to specific notes, he was able to sonify the animal's mental activity.

Waking cacophony, sleeping harmony
It is interesting to see how repetition of single notes or short phrases rises more readily during REM sleep than in wakefulness or even shallow sleep. Might it be because during dreams, we are more inclined to go with the flow and accept absurdities as reality, than if we are lucid?

Though not the point of the experiment, the sonification helps to illustrate the difference between mental states. The music itself does not go any further on its own. The research was published in The Journal of Neuroscience in June, 1999.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Collective Animal Behaviour

From flocks of birds to schools of fish and locust swarms, Iain Couzin (assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University) outlines the mathematical models his group used to identify the behaviour of large groups of individuals when acting as part of a greater collective. There is an interesting sweet spot between attraction and repulsion. While we don't want to be stepping on each other, we can't stray too far or else we may be left behind. He also illustrates why larger groups are less vulnerable to attacks than individuals.

Taken from the Radiolab Blog.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

So this is progress?

"Progress today can be defined as man's ability to complicate simplicity. Nothing in all the procedure that modern man, helped by all his modern middlemen, goes through before he earns money to buy a fish or a potato will ever be as simple as pulling it out of the water or soil. Without the farmer and the fisherman, modern society would collapse, with all its shops and pipes and wires. The farmers and the fishermen represent the nobility of modern society; they share their crumbs with the rest of us, who run about with papers and screwdrivers attempting to build a better world without a blueprint."

Thor Heyerdahl

The medium is the message

A book by Marshall McLuhan