‘Love is blind; friendship closes its eyes.’ —Nietzsche

31.jpg

You see a man at the grocery store. Is that the fellow you went to college with or just a guy who looks like him? One tiny spot in the brain has the answer.

Neuroscientists have identified the part of the hippocampus that creates and processes this type of memory, furthering our understanding of how the mind works, and what’s going wrong when it doesn’t.

{ Lunatic Laboratories | Continue reading }

‘The message is, there is no message.’ —James Holmes

45.jpg

Artificial-intelligence researchers have long struggled to make computers perform a task that is simple for humans: picking out one person’s speech when multiple people nearby are talking simultaneously.

It is called the ‘cocktail-party problem’. Typical approaches to solving it have either involved systems with multiple microphones, which distinguish speakers based on their position in a room, or complex artificial-intelligence algorithms that try to separate different voices on a recording.

But the latest invention is a simple 3D-printed device that can pinpoint the origin of a sound without the need for any sophisticated electronics.

{ Nature | Continue reading }

photos { 1 | 2. Yo-landi Visser photographed by Pierre Debusschere }

My name’s Elvira but you can call me tonight

44.jpg

State-of-the-art forensic technology from South Africa has been used to try and unravel the mystery of what was smoked in tobacco pipes found in the Stratford-upon-Avon garden of William Shakespeare.

Residue from clay tobacco pipes more than 400 years old from the playwright’s garden were analysed. […] Results of this study (including 24 pipe fragments) indicated cannabis in eight samples, nicotine in at least one sample, and in two samples definite evidence for Peruvian cocaine from coca leaves.

{ The Independent | Continue reading }

photos { 1 | John K. }

What’s up with your bad breath onion rings

43.jpg

Stanley: I lost my brother years ago

Ford: (from the other room) QUIT TELLING PEOPLE I’M DEAD

Stanley: Sometimes I can still hear his voice

{ Cyclone Rachel }

Into the blue again, after the money’s gone

42.jpg

Around 1930, the director of an evening newspaper had hired Georges Simenon as an advertising attraction. He’d had a cage constructed in the hall of his newspaper where Simenon, under eyes of the public, was to write a serial, non-stop. But on the eve of the big day, the newspaper went bankrupt. Simenon wrote the book in his room.

{ Paris Match | Continue reading }

In 1927 the publisher of Paris-Soir proposed to place Simenon in a glass cage, where he would spend three days and three nights writing a novel in public.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

photo { Mark Heithoff }

Azur, nos bêtes sont bondées d’un cri

41.jpg

Dogs can infer the name of an object and have been shown to learn the names of over 1,000 objects. Dogs can follow the human pointing gesture; even nine week old puppies can follow a basic human pointing gesture without being taught.

New Guinea Singing dogs, a half-wild proto-dog endemic to the remote alpine regions of New Guinea, as well as Dingoes in the remote outback of Australia are also capable of this.

These examples demonstrate an ability to read human gestures that arose early in domestication and did not require human selection. “Humans did not develop dogs, we only fine-tuned them down the road.”

Similar to the chimpanzee, Bonobos are a close genetic cousin to humans. Unlike the chimpanzee, bonobos are not aggressive and do not participate in lethal intergroup aggression or kill within their own group. The most distinctive features of a bonobo are its cranium, which is 15% smaller than a chimpanzee’s, and its less aggressive and more playful behavior. Dogs mirror these differences relative to wild wolves: a dog’s cranium is 15% smaller than an equally heavy wolf’s, and the dog is less aggressive and more playful. The guinea pig’s cranium is 13% smaller than its wild cousin the cavie and domestic fowl show a similar reduction to their wild cousins. Possession of a smaller cranium for holding a smaller brain is a telltale sign of domestication. Bonobos appear to have domesticated themselves.

In the “farm fox” experiment, humans selectively bred foxes against aggression which caused a domestication syndrome. The foxes were not selectively bred for smaller craniums and teeth, floppy ears, or skills at using human gestures but these traits were demonstrated in the friendly foxes.

Natural selection favors those that are the most successful at reproducing, not the most aggressive. Selection against aggression made possible the ability to cooperate and communicate among foxes, dogs and bonobos. Perhaps it did the same thing for humans.

{ Wikipedia | Continue reading }

Why is the caps lock key still so prominent on keyboards?

21.jpg

Hospitality is always a matter of urgency, always a question of speeds. The unexpected guests arrive and there is always a rush of activity: a hurried welcoming at the door, a quick cleaning up, a surreptitious rearranging or putting back into order, a preparing of food and drink. But even when the guest is expected, has been expected for a long time, there is a sense of urgency. The guests arrive — always too early or too late, even if they are ‘on time.’ Coats are taken; tours are given of the immaculate, impossibly ordered home; drinks are served, food presented. For there to be a place for hospitality, for hospitality to take (the) place, the host must hurry.

{ Sean Gaston | via Austerity Kitchen/TNI | Continue reading }

Every day, the same, again

jfk.jpgLondon bar where you absorb equivalent of large drink through lungs and eyes in 40 minutes

Finnish schools phase out handwriting classes, in favour of keyboard skills

Seven-year study of adults in China matches regular consumption of spicy foods, such as chilli peppers, to 14% reduced risk of death

Fatherhood at young age linked to greater likelihood of mid-life death

How to Flirt Best: The Perceived Effectiveness of Flirtation Techniques

We present a provisional list of 50 commonly used terms in psychology, psychiatry, and allied fields that should be avoided, or at most used sparingly and with explicit caveats.

How your eyes betray your thoughts

Archillect’s curation process works like a simple neural network [archillect.com] [Thanks Tim]

Facebook patents technology to help lenders discriminate against borrowers based on social connections Related: Like [Thanks Tim]

How to Charge $1,000 for Absolutely Nothing

You can now listen to NASA Voyager’s ‘Golden Record’, intended for aliens & future humans

A golden sex toy that contains your partner’s ashes

‘It’s about a guy who acts like he knows everything and then comes back crawling on his knees, which has happened to me so many times.’ —Claire Boucher

4.jpg

An experiment was carried out in a French bar. A waitress briefly touched (or not) the forearm of a patron when asking him/her what he/she want to drink. Results show that touch increases tipping behavior although giving a tip to a waitress in a bar is unusual in France. The familiarity of tactile contact in France was used to explain our results.

{ International Journal of Hospitality Management | Continue reading }

still { Ingmar Bergman, The Passion of Anna, 1969 }

A tweeker will steal your stuff and then help you look for it

3.jpg

“Despite the common belief that remembering our mistakes will help us make better decisions in the present,” says the study’s lead author, “we actually find that thinking about our failures at self-control leads us to repeat them and indulge in the present, so it’s not helpful at all.”

{ EurekAlert | Continue reading }

Apollo Creed: Now, when we fought, you had that eye of the tiger, man

2.jpg

Criminal investigations often use photographic evidence to identify suspects. Here we combined robust face perception and high-resolution photography to mine face photographs for hidden information. By zooming in on high-resolution face photographs, we were able to recover images of unseen bystanders from reflections in the subjects’ eyes.

To establish whether these bystanders could be identified from the reflection images, we presented them as stimuli in a face matching task (Experiment 1). Accuracy in the face matching task was well above chance (50%), despite the unpromising source of the stimuli. […] In a test of spontaneous recognition (Experiment 2), observers could reliably name a familiar face from an eye reflection image.

For crimes in which the victims are photographed (e.g., hostage taking, child sex abuse), reflections in the eyes of the photographic subject could help to identify perpetrators.

{ PLOS | Continue reading }

Who we are when we are not paying attention

44.jpg

One woman reported having 8 car accidents in one 150 mile journey. She was also unlucky in love. After joining a dating agency, her first date fell off his motorcycle and broke his leg. The second date walked into a glass door and broke his nose. Eventually she met her future husband and the church they were going to get married in burned down the day before the wedding. […]

In total, 80 percent of people who attended Luck School said that their luck had increased. […]

Lucky people just try stuff.

{ Barking Up The Wrong Tree | Continue reading }