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How to preserve competing memories by zapping your brain

July 12, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

(Credit: iStockphoto)

Attention, mind-control victims: mad scientists want to zap your brain. But you knew that.

It’s a problem every student has when cramming for an exam: some of the information is usually forgotten. The common belief is that your brain simply doesn’t have the capacity necessary to process both memories in quick succession. But is that true?

Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) decided… read more

BOOK REVIEW | Dark Hero of the Information Age

March 21, 2005

dark_hero

Source: New York Times — Mar 20, 2005 | Clive Thompson

Norbert Wiener, the inventor of cybernetics, is profiled in a new book, Dark Hero of the Information Age, by journalists Flo Conway and Jim Siegelman.

Cybernetics is the science of feedback — how information can help self-regulate a system. That includes everything from biological mechanisms (like the human immune system) to artificial ones, like thermostats that regulate a building’s temperature. Even in the early 20th century, when Wiener… read more

book review | The Department of Mad Scientists

January 14, 2010

The Department of Mad Scientists

Source: The New York Times — December 24, 2009 | William Saletan

“The Body Electric” | Two years ago, in his book Rocketeers, Michael Belfiore celebrated the pioneers of the budding private space industry. Now he has returned to explore a frontier closer to home. The heroes of his new book, The Department of Mad Scientists, work for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, better known as DARPA, a secretive arm of… read more

classic film | The Age of Intelligent Machines

January 1, 2000

The Age of Intelligent Machines - film - A2

Dear readers,

From my archives, I wanted to share this classic documentary film and book from the late 1980s, almost 30 years ago. It’s an interesting restrospective of my early visions of the future of computing, along with commentary and insights from many industry experts.

I wrote and produced the film in 1987 to accompany the museum exhibit “Robots and Beyond.” The film became the basis for my… read more

comic | And then nothing turned itself inside-out

October 31, 2010

1777

Source: Questionable Content — October 20, 2010

Reverse-engineering Hollywood

How to bypass Netflix and create your own custom search genres
January 6, 2014 by Amara D. Angelica

sliders

If you’re a combo Netflix/Internet-text-algorithm-obsessed geek like me, you will totally love this amazing article in The Atlantic.

Turns out Netflix has created a database of 76,897 micro-genres that offer a peek into the American psyche, The Atlantic senior editor Alexis Madrigal has discovered, using a program called UBot Studio to scrape every single one of them and then deconstruct the system.

Hidden syntax revealed

“As the… read more

Medieval tech support

January 21, 2010

medieval-tech-support

Source: "Øystein og jeg" on Norwegian Broadcasting — 2001

From the show “Øystein og jeg” on Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) in 2001. With Øystein Backe (helper) and Rune Gokstad (desperate monk). Written by Knut Nærum.

Health Tips | Boosting your brain, living longer

December 3, 2010 by David Despain

Quit smoking; feel better (Credit: Mike Cohea/Brown University)

LIVING LONGER

Check your BMI (Body Mass Index). A healthy BMI between 20 and 24.9 is generally best for avoiding disease and living longer (calculate your BMI) [NEJM]. 

Eat dark green and orange vegetables daily. They contain alpha-carotene (a cousin to vitamin A), an antioxidant compound that protects your cells and your health by lowering your risk of heart disease, cancer… read more

The Submarines’ song ‘Modern Inventions’

February 11, 2011

declare a new state

The apropos track “Modern Inventions,” from the Submarine’s debut album Declare a New State!, released in 2006. An acoustic version of this track was also used in the closing credits for the documentary The Pixar Story (below).

Related:
The Submarines website

Toward a Science of Consciousness: Brain, Mind, Reality

April 27, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

(Credit: Center for Consciousness Studies)

Toward a Science of Consciousness: Brain, Mind, Reality will be held May 3–7, 2011 at Stockholm University, Stockholm Sweden, keynoted by Sir Roger Penrose, speaking on “Consciousness and Physical Law.”

I attended the 2010 conference in Tucson; it was one of the most interesting and mind-expanding events I’ve ever experienced. This one should be even better.

It will feature sessions like Brain Electromagnetic Fields andread more

BOOK REVIEW | Augmented Animals

May 4, 2005

augmented_animals

Source: Wired News — May 3, 2005

James Auger in his controversial new book, Augmented Animals, envisions animals, birds, reptiles and even fish using specially engineered gadgets to help them overcome their evolutionary shortcomings.

He imagines rodents zooming around with night-vision survival goggles, squirrels hoarding nuts using GPS locators and fish armed with metal detectors to avoid the angler’s hook.

HUMOR | Hilarious computer pranks

January 10, 2008

Source: YouTube — February 15, 2007

Bing likes Britannica, Bruno burns

June 11, 2012 by Amara D. Angelica

Giordano Bruno, heretical cosmologist

Microsoft has announced a deal with Encyclopaedia Britannica to add entries from the prestigious reference work to Bing search results.

The deal appears related to Britannica’s decision in March to stop producing a print edition and Google’s “knowledge graph,” which consolidates search information about specific subjects.

Et tu, Bruno?

For example, a Bing search for Giordano Bruno would provide a quick overview of… read more

book review | Technology’s Promise: Expert Knowledge on the Transformation of Business and Society

January 28, 2010

Author: William Halal
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN-10: 0230019544
ISBN-13: 9780230019546
Format: Hardcover, 256 pages

Technology’s Promise: Expert Knowledge on the Transformation of Business and Societybrilliantly deals with the co-evolution of technology, business and society. It is a concise but complete “history of the future,” covering most scientific and technological fields, with specific scenarios until 2050 and with general ideas for the future of humanity.… read more

Films inspired by renowned sci-fi author Philip K. Dick

March 30, 2011

(image: Philip K. Dick official website)

Philip K. Dick Films website | Since Ridley Scott turned Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? into the science fiction classic Blade Runner, eight of Philip K. Dick’s novels or short stories have made their way to the big screen.

To date, these films have generated over $1 billion in world-wide box office and ancillary revenue. This astounding success is the result of combining visionary stories with talent from… read more

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