MonthApril 2006

DeLanda’s Markets and Anti-Markets series

For those unfamiliar with him, this interview serves as a good introduction.

Markets, Antimarkets and Network Economics.

Markets and Antimarkets pt. 1.
Markets and Antimarkets pt. 2.
Markets and Antimarkets pt. 3.
Markets and Antimarkets pt. 4.

Markets and Anti-markets in the World Economy.

Markets, Antimarkets and the Fate of the Nutrient Cycles.

Via the Manuel DeLanda Annotated Bibliography.

DJ Spooky Interviews Manuel DeLanda

Manual DeLanda in conversation with DJ Spooky:

Today I see art students trained by guilt-driven semioticians or post-modern theorists, afraid of the materiality of their medium, whether painting, music, poetry or virtual reality (since, given the framework dogma, every culture creates its own reality). The key to break away from this is to cut language down to size, to give it the importance it deserves as a communications medium, but to stop worshipping it as the ultimate reality. Equally important is to adopt a hacker attitude towards all forms of knowledge: not only to learn UNIX or Windows NT to hack this or that computer system, but to learn economics, sociology, physics, biology to hack reality itself. It is precisely the “can do” mentality of the hacker, naive as it may sometimes be, that we need to nurture everywhere.

Full Story: Front Wheel Drive: Manuel De Landa: ILLogical Progression

Randomly-generated ‘scientific paper’ accepted

Sick of receiving spam emails requesting submissions to the 2005 World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics – which charges $390 for each attendee – students Jeremy Stribling, Daniel Aguayo and Maxwell Krohn of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology wrote a program to generate a nonsense paper.

Starting with skeleton sentences, pools of nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs, and a random assortment of computer science jargon, the program produced a grammatically correct yet utterly nonsensical paper titled: “Rooter: a methodology for the typical unification of access points and redundancy”. “This isn’t artificial intelligence, it’s the dirt-simplest way we could think to do this,” Stribling says.

Full Story: New Scientist: Randomly-generated ‘scientific paper’ accepted

Angry/negative people can be bad for your brain

An A-List blogger’s recent decision to avoid “people who were deeply unhappy” and spend more time with people who are happy earned him a lot of scorn. But another blogger says that the decision might be scientifically sound.

A few things I’ll try to explain in this post:

1) One of the most important recent neuroscience discoveries–“mirror neurons”, and the role they play in a decision like Robert’s

2) The heavily-researched social science phenomenon known as “emotional contagion”

3) Ignorance and misperceptions around the idea of “happy people”

Full Story: Creating Passionate Users: Angry/negative people can be bad for your brain

Watching the brain ‘switch off’ self-awareness

Everybody has experienced a sense of “losing oneself” in an activity – being totally absorbed in a task, a movie or sex. Now researchers have caught the brain in the act.

Self-awareness, regarded as a key element of being human, is switched off when the brain needs to concentrate hard on a tricky task, found the neurobiologists from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel.

The team conducted a series of experiments to pinpoint the brain activity associated with introspection and that linked to sensory function. They found that the brain assumes a robotic functionality when it has to concentrate all its efforts on a difficult, timed task – only becoming “human” again when it has the luxury of time.

Full Story: New Scientist: Watching the brain ‘switch off’ self-awareness

(via Occult Design).

Mind Control iPod Update

From ZPi:

According to a transcript of President Bush’s remarks on the American Competitiveness Initiative at Tuskegee University on April 19th:

“The government funded research in microdrive storage, electrochemistry and signal compression. They did so for one reason: It turned out that those were the key ingredients for the development of the Ipod. I tune into the Ipod occasionally, you know?”

Ask yourself: Why would the US government, acting through DARPA, fund all that research just to produce a simple consumer music player? And what does Bush mean by “tune into”? iPods are not tuners — or are they?

Full Story: ZPi: Mind Control iPod Update.

Cheese Won’t Give You Nightmares

The age old myth that cheese gives you nightmares has finally been laid to rest this week following the release of a new study carried out by the British Cheese Board.

The in-depth Cheese & Dreams study, a first of its kind, reveals that eating cheese before bed will not only aid a good night?s sleep but different cheeses will in fact cause different types of dreams.

Of the 200 volunteers who participated in the week-long study, 72% slept well every night, 67% remembered their dreams and none recorded experiencing nightmares after eating a 20g piece of cheese half an hour before going to sleep.

Full Story: British Cheese Board: Sweet Dreams Are Made Of Cheese

Deep brain stimulation to treat depression

From The Guardian:

Sufferers from depression who do not respond to existing treatments could soon benefit from a new procedure in which electrodes are inserted into the core of the brain and used to alter the patient’s mood.

Later this year, scientists at Bristol University will conduct the first trials of the so-called deep brain stimulation method on sufferers from depression. They will use hair-thin electrodes to stimulate two different parts of the brains of eight patients who suffer from an extreme form of recurrent unipolar depression – where mood only swings in one direction.

If the trials are successful, deep brain stimulation could be extended to the estimated 50,000 people in the UK who suffer from depression but cannot be helped by drugs or electroconvulsive therapy.

Full Story: Guardian: Deep brain stimulation to treat depression

The Trippy Art of Naoto Hattori

hand with eyes

Naoto Hattori Gallery

(thanks Danny)

Exit Mundi: a collection of end of the world scenarios

A comprehensive guide to the end of the world.

Exit Mundi: a collection of end of the world scenarios.

(thanks Danny).

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