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How to speak Hip October 7, 2008

Posted by Ana Bird in Uncategorized.
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from: Skylab

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Parallel Universe: George Orwell’s blog August 27, 2008

Posted by Ana Bird in people, writing.
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THE ORWELL PRIZE via kwout

http://orwelldiaries.wordpress.com/

20 Astonishing Abandoned Buildings, Property and Other Places from Around the World August 4, 2008

Posted by Ana Bird in Uncategorized.
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from: WebUrbanist

Abandoned places, particularly those that once housed the mentally ill, wartime inmates and even nuclear missiles have a creepy, haunted quality that some urban explorers go to great lengths to capture on film – whether they be individual structures or entire abandoned cities. These abandoned buildings, ships, railroads, theme parks and other facilities may no longer be inhabited, but they all possess an eerie, almost permeable sense of history. The uneasy feeling that one gets simply by viewing photos of these decaying structures is multiplied when personal items are left behind … including jars full of brains and skulls.

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From Mark Twain’s Following the Equator July 25, 2008

Posted by Ana Bird in people, writing.
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Why Chris Anderson’s “Long Tail” theory might be all wrong July 14, 2008

Posted by Ana Bird in art, commerce, film, music, tech.
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From: Slate

By Farhad Manjoo

The Long TailNearly four years ago, first in a widely cited articleand later in a best-selling book, Chris Anderson posited that the Internet, with its vast inventories of books, albums, and movies, would liberate the world from blockbuster schlock. Anderson, the editor ofWired, labeled his concept “the Long Tail,” after the shape our digital desires leave on a graph: When we buy stuff online, we can reach beyond big hits and into the “tail” of the demand curve, where we’re free to indulge our most obscure passions. Anderson argued that serving our niche interests could also make for booming Web businesses. This was the thrill of the Long Tail—it seemed to offer a way for art and commerce to thrive side-by-side.

Now, just in time for The Long Tail‘s paperback release, the book has fallen under critical scrutiny. Anita Elberse, a marketing professor at the Harvard Business School, recently examined several years’ worth of American movie- and music-sales data. The entertainment business has indeed seen its inventory shifting toward a Long Tail curve, Elberse writes in the Harvard Business Review. The shift is slight, however, and Anderson’s Long Tail is also “extremely flat.”

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Julian Oliver: Cartography – the most influential art form? July 13, 2008

Posted by Ana Bird in art, politics, religion, science, sociology.
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from: Julian Oliver Vimeo
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Video documentation of Julian Oliver’s keynote: Cartofictions: Maps, the Imaginary and GeoSocial Engineering at Inclusiva-net, Madrid 2008.

Abstract:
From the earliest world maps to Google Earth, cartography has been a vital interface to the world. It guides our perceptions of what the world is and steers our actions in it. As our knowledge about the world has changed, so have maps with it (or so we like to think).

In this lecture Julian shows a darker side of map-making, covering various reality-distorting effects innate to the graphic language of cartography and how they can be easily exploited for gain..

In doing so Julian positions cartography as an abstract and influentual creative practice, rich with the power to engineer political views, religious ideas and even the material world itself.

Julian Oliver: spatial-memory game July 13, 2008

Posted by Ana Bird in art, creative, design, innovation.
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from: levelHead
Vodpod videos no longer available.

As yet unseen footage of the first stable version of levelHead, an augmented-reality spatial-memory game by Julian Oliver.

This is a spoiler for the first 3 levels. Don’t watch this if you want to solve them yourself..

Read more about the project here:

julianoliver.com/levelhead

Subjectivity and the Subjugated July 11, 2008

Posted by Ana Bird in anthropology, art, ethno.
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from: The nonist

Feathers and beak but not a bird, not quite. It is roughly man-shaped; and though the head tilts and the arms outstretch like a midnight stranger, without a face and without hands it is not a man either, not quite. It is Man-but-not-Man, that most ancient mold for the manufacture of disquiet, never failing to lend a nightmarish quality to the unknown. The light is cluttered with hard shadows and the mind, unsure, is forced toward interpretation. You are a child and it is a swooping, enveloping horror. You are a hunter and it’s an avenger. You are a Freudian and it is your mother hovering, unreachable, in the middle-distance. You are a seer and it is an omen. You are a vaudevillian and it is a punch-line delivered into silence. You are a captain of industry and it is an accusatory night-sweat. On and on for each. At bottom its simple: you are a you and it is not, which is enough. Its “otherness” provokes an aggressive subjectivity.

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Training can increase fluid intelligence, once thought to be fixed at birth July 7, 2008

Posted by Ana Bird in science.
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from: National Science Foundation
Plastic Brain Outsmarts Experts

Illustration showing the memory storage area of the brain with a nerve network.

Can human beings rev up their intelligence quotients, or are they stuck with IQs set by their genes at birth? Until recently, nature seemed to be the clear winner over nurture.

But new research, led by Swiss postdoctoral fellows Susanne M. Jaeggi and Martin Buschkuehl, working at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, suggests that at least one aspect of a person’s IQ can be improved by training a certain type of memory.

Most IQ tests attempt to measure two types of intelligence–crystallized and fluid intelligence. Crystallized intelligence draws on existing skills, knowledge and experiences to solve problems by accessing information from long-term memory.

Fluid intelligence, on the other hand, draws on the ability to understand relationships between various concepts, independent of any previous knowledge or skills, to solve new problems. The research shows that this part of intelligence can be improved through memory training.

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TinEye – the first image search engine July 6, 2008

Posted by Ana Bird in copyright, innovation, tech.
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TinEye is the first image search engine on the web to use image identification technology. Given an image to search for, TinEye tells you where and how that image appears all over the web—even if it has been modified.

Just as you are familiar with entering text in a regular search engine such as Google to find web pages that contain that text, TinEye lets you submit an image to find web pages that contain that image.

When you want to find out where an image is being used on the web, you submit it to TinEye. The attributes of the image are analyzed instantly, and its fingerprint is compared to the fingerprint of every single image in the TinEye search index. The result? A detailed list of any websites using that image, worldwide.

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How Does Your Memory Work? July 4, 2008

Posted by Ana Bird in science.
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Aired: March 25, 2008 on BBC2

Horizon takes viewers on an extraordinary journey into the human memory. From the woman who is having her most traumatic memories wiped by a pill, to the man with no memory, this film reveals how these remarkable human stories are transforming our understanding of this unique human ability.
John Forbes is not like most of us. The hardware for his memory was damaged at birth. Although he’s an intelligent young man, his specific injury prevents him from doing simple tasks such as catching a bus, or cooking a meal, because he constantly forgets what he is doing. And, the same areas of the brain used to process memories also produce our ideas about the future. So, without a past, John is also unable to imagine his own future.

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DEMOCRATIC DESIGN? Philippe Starck’s Designer Wind Turbine July 3, 2008

Posted by Ana Bird in design.
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from: Inhabitat

by Jill Fehrenbacher

A few months ago, prolific product design star Philippe Starck shocked the world with his proclamation ‘Design is Dead’, and the announcement of his pending retirement due to his frustration with the ethical/consumption issues inherent to product design. Sounds to us like Starck had some sort of a midlife crisis and came to a realization that everything he’s ever designed is totally useless:

“Everything I designed was unnecessary… and I am ashamed of this fact”

Of course, we could have told him this awhile ago – but were still a bit surprised and frustrated about his pessimistic proclamation and subsequent retirement. One would think that the most helpful and sensible approach to the realization that one has been wasting one’s time producing useless crap (like uncomfortable see-through plastic chairs and scarily alien looking lemon-juicers that can’t actually be used) – would be to STOP producing useless crap and start putting one’s talent to use to try to make a positive difference in the world.

And despite the melodramatic announcement this spring, perhaps this is where Starck is headed after all, regardless of the threats of giving up entirely. Recently Philippe Starck has brought an amazing idea for renewable wind energy to life through a sleek new mini wind turbine called ‘Democratic Ecology’.

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Intuition can be explained July 3, 2008

Posted by Ana Bird in science.
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from: Linkoping University


Intuition, or tacit knowledge, is difficult to measure, so it is often denigrated. A dissertation in education research shows that there is a neurobiological explanation for how experience-based knowledge is created.

“Can’t ‘splain sump’n to somebody who doesn’t understand it”; “my legs think faster than I do” (Swedish alpine skiing champion Ingemar Stenmark). “Skate where the puck´s going, not where it´s been” (Wayne Gretsky).

Lars-Erik Björklund uses these quotations in his dissertation to illustrate what we mean by intuition, tacit knowledge, hands-on knowledge, or practical wisdom.

“In studies from the 1980s on nurses, it was shown that those who had been in the profession for a long time saw more and made better judgments more quickly,” says Lars-Erik Björklund, who devoted his thesis to a review of research in various fields involving this knowledge.

The fact that people with long experience are often better at what they do, that practice makes perfect, is nothing new. But no good explanations have been put forward as to why this is the case.

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Cafesonique -the world’s first 3D virtual music community June 29, 2008

Posted by Ana Bird in art, creative, design, innovation, music, tech.
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from Cafesonique.com

By creating virtual spaces from existing real-world environments, artist and music industry players will now have the ability to mold their unique vision and identity into a framework that wasn’t possible five years ago. Selling music-related merchandise in 3D, showcasing an act from the comfort of a virtual chair, and chatting in a familiar coffee shop not only will engage the artist and the consumer alike but also will pave the way to the next generation of musicians , singers, and song writer who have already developed a natural aptitude for online3D environments.

These new virtual spaces will also cater to the music industry support workforce including photographers, models, dancers, videographers, filmmakers, and actors. The creation of Cafesonique Campus fir virtual training and education is already underway as it the Art Center that will house virtual art galleries for cafesonique.com members to showcase their latest works.

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Can Machines Be Conscious? June 28, 2008

Posted by Ana Bird in philoshophy, science, tech.
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By Christof Koch and Giulio Tononi

Image: Bryan Christie Design

Would you sell your soul on eBay? Right now, of course, you can’t. But in some quarters it is taken for granted that within a generation, human beings—including you, if you can hang on for another 30 years or so—will have an alternative to death: being a ghost in a machine. You’ll be able to upload your mind—your thoughts, memories, and personality—to a computer. And once you’ve reduced your consciousness to patterns of electrons, others will be able to copy it, edit it, sell it, or pirate it. It might be bundled with other electronic minds. And, of course, it could be deleted.

That’s quite a scenario, considering that at the moment, nobody really knows exactly what consciousness is. Pressed for a pithy definition, we might call it the ineffable and enigmatic inner life of the mind. But that hardly captures the whirl of thought and sensation that blossoms when you see a loved one after a long absence, hear an exquisite violin solo, or relish an incredible meal. Some of the most brilliant minds in human history have pondered consciousness, and after a few thousand years we still can’t say for sure if it is an intangible phenomenon or maybe even a kind of substance different from matter. We know it arises in the brain, but we don’t know how or where in the brain. We don’t even know if it requires specialized brain cells (or neurons) or some sort of special circuit arrangement of them.

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