Sunday, 13 January 2013

Sunday Surprise: 10 more miscellaneous "things"

Amnesia and the Self That Remains When Memory Is Lost
an article by Daniel Levitin (a neuroscientist and author of This Is Your Brain on Music and The World in Six Songs. His forthcoming book is The Organized Mind) published in the Atlantic
The tumour that erased Tom’s memory did not touch his “soul”.
Tom was one of those people we all have in our lives – someone to go out to lunch with in a large group, but not someone I ever spent time with one-on-one.
We had some classes together in college and even worked in the same cognitive psychology lab for a while. But I didn’t really know him.
Even so, when I heard that he had brain cancer that would kill him in four months, it stopped me cold.
Continue reading
Thanks to 3 Quarks Daily

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
The controversies of Ryszard Kapuscinski are those of journalism, the writing life, and Poland during the Communist years... more

Why the stuff you don't see at the museum matters
via Boing Boing by Maggie Koerth-Baker

Chicago’s Field Museum isn’t just a science museum. It’s also a research center, especially for archaeologists and anthropologists who come to the museum to make use of its extensive collections of artefacts – only a tiny fraction of which is on public display at any given time. Unfortunately, the museum is currently up to its neck in debt, and part of the current administrators’ plan to deal with that problem is to restructure the research department and cut back on curators and staffing there. It’s hard to understand why this has the archaeology community so on edge unless you really understand what the Field Museum has in those vast Indiana-Jones-inspiring storage collections.
Here’s Michael Smith, an archaeologist who studies the ancient Aztecs, explaining why the Field Museum is so important to his work and that of his colleagues.
The photo above shows an Aztec flute in the museum. I have excavated many small fragments of these objects in Aztec domestic middens, but never an entire example. When one just has the animal’s ear, or a segment with a hole, or a fragment of the mouthpiece, it is hard to figure out just what these are pieces of. It is through study of the whole flutes in the Field Museum or other museums that I learned to interpret the tiny fragments of musical instruments, and of many other unusual items, from my excavations. Or consider our knowledge of Aztec music. Scholars such as Adje Both have reconstructed aspects of Aztec music by studying flutes like this and by playing them (and recording the tones and doing analyses of the sound diagrams). Museums are the only places with the resources for such research, and the Field Museum is one of the most important in the U.S. and the world.
Read a Chicago Tribune story on the Field Museum’s debt problem

Issues of Artforum Carved into Artful Swirls of Color
via Flavorwire by Emily Temple
We’re big fans of magazine art here at Flavorpill, and we also happen to be big fans of Artforum, so it’s a no brainer that we’d be interested in Francesca Pastine’s Artforum Excavation Series, in which she engages with the magazine on its own terms – artistically, of course.
“I recontextualise content and subvert it in order to insert myself into larger global narratives,” Pastine writes. “My manipulations map out a tangle of associations, unique contradictions and paradoxes through curious juxtapositions. I consider my interaction with Artforum magazine as a meditation on materiality which results in a palpable complexity between form and information.”
Check out a few of our favourites from Pastine’s series, and then head here to check out more of her work.
And my favourite?

Thumbnail size does this piece of work no favours!

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
The biggest problem with the self-help movement isn’t charlatanism, shoddy science, or New Age gimmicks. It is a woefully inadequate view of the self itself... more

Friday Fun: Electric Joint
via How-To Geek by Asian Angel
This game is an electrifying puzzler that tests your ability to successfully connect all the electrical points and create a working circuit.
Can you succeed at powering all the levels up or will you need to call in a “professional” to handle the job?
Link to the original post for Asian Angel’s walkthrough (and see the adverts that keep HTG free at the point of use) or go straight to the game here.

Delaware, Lackawanna & Western: 1900
via Shorpy Historical Photo Archive – Vintage Fine Art Prints by Dave
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western: 1900
Scranton, Pennsylvania, circa 1900
“Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad yards”
Panorama of two 8x10 inch glass negatives
We’ve seen the left half of this view before; the right side, with someone’s laundry billowing bravely amid the the soot, is new
Detroit Publishing Company
View original post (and then go to the full size view to see the washing over on the right-hand side of the picture)

Arts & Letters Daily – ideas, criticism, debate
You like the formality of Garamond Premier? The swagger of Baskerville Original? The uniformity of Helvetica? You might be a font fanatic... more

Census Dotmap: a dot for every person in the United States
via Boing Boing by Dean Putney

Cartography and data analysis nut Brandon M-Anderson put together this impressive zoomable map of the United States with one dot for each of the 308,450,225 people recorded by the 2010 census: oddities revealed include people living in "abandoned" areas or parks. A Redditor stitched the tiles into a huge image.
Even at that size it looks awesome!

Of coral and common sense: Why it’s important to test our theories
via Boing Boing by Maggie Koerth-Baker

Pseudopterosins are a family of naturally occurring chemicals with the power to reduce inflammation, skin irritation, and pain. In other words, they make a great additive in skin cream.
If you want skin that’s less red, pseudopterosins can help.
Want a lotion that soothes your face after a particularly vigorous round of exfoliation? Call on pseudopterosins.
Pseudopterosins come from a coral called Pseudopterogorgia elisabethae. That’s it in the photo above. For years, researchers and pharmaceutical companies thought they were sustainably harvesting P. elisabethae because, instead of simply gathering any of the coral they could find, they merely pruned it – leaving plenty of the creature to grow back.
But, it turns out that this is a really good example of a frustrating problem – what seems sustainable is not always actually sustainable. Doing the right thing, environmentally speaking, isn’t as intuitive as we’d like it to be. (Also, pruning an animal isn’t like pruning a plant.)
At Deep Sea News, Dr. M explains:
After prunings in 2002 and 2005 and before the annual spawning, Christopher Page and Howard Lasker examined 24 pruned corals and 20 unpruned corals. What the researchers found is that although colonies appeared healthy pruned corals produced less eggs. ... Why would pruned corals produce less eggs and sperm? When organisms are injured more energy is diverted away from reproduction and toward repair. Interestingly, this pruning may actually also creating artificial selection. If workers are targeting larger and fuller corals to prune, then smaller less thick corals will be reproducing more and eventually become more dominant.
This is why science is important. Because, frequently, “common sense” isn’t really all that sensical.
Read the full story

No comments: