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“We live at a time when friendship has become both all and nothing at all. (...) Facebook isn’t the whole of contemporary friendship, but it sure looks a lot like its future. (...) Inevitably, the classical ideal [of friendship] has faded. The image of the one true friend, a soul mate rare to find but dearly beloved, has completely disappeared from our culture. (...) We seem to be terribly fragile now. A friend fulfills her duty, we suppose, by taking our side—validating our feelings, supporting our decisions, helping us to feel good about ourselves. (...) We’re busy people; we want our friendships fun and friction-free. (...) Friendship is devolving, in other words, from a relationship to a feeling—from something people share to something each of us hugs privately to ourselves in the loneliness of our electronic caves, rearranging the tokens of connection like a lonely child playing with dolls. (...) Until a few years ago, you could share your thoughts with only one friend at a time... more... - Amira from Bookmarklet
"'Friendship (like activism) has been smoothly integrated into our new electronic lifestyles. We’re too busy to spare our friends more time than it takes to send a text. We’re too busy, sending texts. And what happens when we do find the time to get together? (...) The more people we know, the lonelier we get. ["About me" section] Identity is reducible to information (...) So... more... - Amira
thanks for your pointer to this well-written essay on how the evolution of social communication (mutated by tech :-) affects our friendships. Deresiewicz also gave a radio interview: http://www.nhpr.org/audio... 14-min MP3. - Adriano
Thank you Adriano! :-) I'm listening right now - Amira
Becoming a Cyborg should be taken gently: Of Modern Bio-Paleo-Machines » Cyborgology - http://spaceweaver.tumblr.com/post...
thks for sharing this on the Global Brain - Wildcat
Alexander Kruel
Conference to examine dangers of artificial intelligence http://www.ox.ac.uk/media...
Anibal M. Astobiza
Alexander Kruel: Why I am Skeptical About Risks from AI http://hplusmagazine.com/2012...
"The adjacent possible is a kind of shadow future, hovering on the edges of the present state of things, a map of all the ways in which the present can reinvent itself" - http://online.wsj.com/article...
"The adjacent possible is a kind of shadow future, hovering on the edges of the present state of things, a map of all the ways in which the present can reinvent itself"
"Ideas are works of bricolage. They are, almost inevitably, networks of other ideas. We take the ideas we’ve inherited or stumbled across, and we jigger them together into some new shape. We like to think of our ideas as a $40,000 incubator, shipped direct from the factory, but in reality they’ve been cobbled together with spare parts that happened to be sitting in the garage. (…) Our bodies are also works of bricolage, old parts strung together to form something radically new. “The tires-to-sandals principle works at all scales and times,” (...) “The adjacent possible.” The phrase captures both the limits and the creative potential of change and innovation. In the case of prebiotic chemistry, the adjacent possible defines all those molecular reactions that were directly achievable in the primordial soup. Sunflowers and mosquitoes and brains exist outside that circle of possibility. The adjacent possible is a kind of shadow future, hovering on the edges of the present state of things, a map of all the ways in which the present can reinvent itself. (...)" - Amira from Bookmarklet
"Four billion years ago, if you were a carbon atom, there were a few hundred molecular configurations you could stumble into. Today that same carbon atom can help build a sperm whale or a giant redwood or an H1N1 virus, along with every single object on the planet made of plastic. (...) In the movie [Apollo 13], Deke Slayton, head of flight crew operations, tosses a jumbled pile of gear... more... - Amira
See also: The Kaleidoscopic Discovery Engine. ‘All scientific discoveries are in principle ‘multiples’’ http://ff.im/GkKoJ [updated] - Amira
“‘It is obvious,’ says Hadamard, ‘that invention or discovery, be it in mathematics or anywhere else, takes place by combining ideas. (…) The Latin verb cogito for ‘to think’ etymologically means ‘to shake together.’ St. Augustine had already noticed that and also observed that intelligo means ‘to select among.’ The ‘ripeness’ of a culture for a new synthesis is reflected in the... more... - Amira
Anibal M. Astobiza
One Molecule for Love, Morality, and Prosperity? http://www.slate.com/article...
The Humanities, Digitized. "Our ability to analyze information has created possibilities unimaginable a few generations ago" | Harvard Magazine - http://harvardmagazine.com/2012...
The Humanities, Digitized. "Our ability to analyze information has created possibilities unimaginable a few generations ago" | Harvard Magazine
The Humanities, Digitized. "Our ability to analyze information has created possibilities unimaginable a few generations ago" | Harvard Magazine
"Like pyramid-building itself, the work of the humanities is to create the vessels that store our culture. In this sense, the digitization of archives and collections holds the promise of a grand conclusion: nothing less than the unification of the human cultural record online, representing, in theory, an unprecedented democratization of access to human knowledge. Equally profound is the way that technology could change the way knowledge is created in the humanities. These fields, encompassing the study of languages, literature, history, jurisprudence, philosophy, archaeology, religion, ethics, the arts, and arguably the social sciences, are entering an experimental period of inventiveness and imagination that involves the creation of new kinds of vessels—be they databases, books, exhibits, or works of art—to gather, store, interpret, and transmit culture. Pioneering scholars are engaged in knowledge design and new modes of research and expression, as well as fresh reflection and... more... - Amira from Bookmarklet
"The ability to analyze a vast body of texts also implies a dramatic expansion of the field of questions humanities scholars can ask. (...) “Most literary historians work on a small corpus of texts where their expertise is manifest through the finesse with which they can demonstrate certain features of that corpus. Those noble skill sets are not about to disappear with a wave of the... more... - Amira
"“Where does that put us?” he asks. “Well, it puts us at a place where the boundary line between what we have traditionally called the humanities and what we have traditionally called the social sciences becomes awfully porous. For me that’s an expansion and enhancement of the humanities of the most creative and best sort.” (...) “I think the quality of scholarship that can be produced,... more... - Amira
This much I know: Daniel Kahneman | The Observer http://www.guardian.co.uk/science... "we should accept the world is incomprehensible much of the time."
PhilPapers: Online Research in Philosophy | University of London & Australian National University http://philpapers.org/
"PhilPapers is a comprehensive directory of online philosophical articles and books by academic philosophers. We monitor journals in many areas of philosophy, as well as archives and personal pages." - Amira
The Self Illusion: How the Brain Creates Identity | Edge - http://aminotes.tumblr.com/post...
The Self Illusion: How the Brain Creates Identity | Edge
"John Locke, the philosopher, who also argued that personal identity was really dependent on the autobiographical or episodic memories, and you are the sum of your memories, which, of course, is something that fractionates and fragments in various forms of dementia. (...) As we all know, memory is notoriously fallible. It’s not cast in stone. It’s not something that is stable. It’s constantly reshaping itself. So the fact that we have a multitude of unconscious processes which are generating this coherence of consciousness, which is the I experience, and the truth that our memories are very selective and ultimately corruptible, we tend to remember things which fit with our general characterization of what our self is. We tend to ignore all the information that is inconsistent. We have all these attribution biases. We have cognitive dissonance. The very thing psychology keeps telling us, that we have all these unconscious mechanisms that reframe information, to fit with a coherent... more... - Amira from Bookmarklet
The hierarchy of representations in the brain: "Representations are literally re-presentations. That’s the language of the brain, that’s the mode of thinking in the brain, it’s representation. It’s more than likely, in fact, it’s most likely that there is already representation wired into the brain. If you think about the sensory systems, the array of the eye, for example, is already... more... - Amira
[Update] "The Illusion of the Self" -- Bruce Hood interviewed by Sam Harris: "I think that both the “I” and the “me” are actually ever-changing narratives generated by our brain to provide a coherent framework to organize the output of all the factors that contribute to our thoughts and behaviors. I think it helps to compare the experience of self to subjective contours – illusions such... more... - Amira
"By rejecting the notion of a core self and considering how we are a multitude of competing urges and impulses, I think it is easier to understand why we suddenly go off the rails. It explains why we act, often unconsciously, in a way that is inconsistent with our self image – or the image of our self as we believe others see us. That said, the self illusion is probably an inescapable... more... - Amira
Manuel Lima: The Power of Networks. Mapping an increasingly complex world | TED, RSA Animated - http://www.youtube.com/watch...!
Manuel Lima: The Power of Networks. Mapping an increasingly complex world | TED, RSA Animated
"Manuel Lima is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Senior UX Design Lead at Microsoft Bing and founder of VisualComplexity.com - A visual exploration on mapping complex networks." See also: The Story of Networks http://aminotes.tumblr.com/post... - Amira from Bookmarklet
Diana Tamir + Jason Mitchell :: Disclosing information about the self is intrinsically rewarding (2012-05-07 PNAS) . [SELF-DISCLOSURE: why else would you tweet? Dopamine] - http://www.pnas.org/content...
Diana Tamir + Jason Mitchell :: Disclosing information about the self is intrinsically rewarding (2012-05-07 PNAS) . [SELF-DISCLOSURE: why else would you tweet? Dopamine] - http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/05/01/1202129109.abstract
"Humans devote 30–40% of speech output solely to informing others of their own subjective experiences. What drives this propensity for disclosure? We test recent theories that individuals place high subjective value on opportunities to communicate their thoughts and feelings to others and that doing so engages neural and cognitive mechanisms associated with reward. Self-disclosure was strongly associated with increased activation in brain regions that form the mesolimbic dopamine system, including the nucleus accumbens and ventral tegmental area. Moreover, individuals were willing to forgo money to disclose about the self ["penny for your thought" study]. Additional studies demonstrated that these effects stemmed from the independent value that individuals placed on self-referential thought and on simply sharing information with others." - Adriano
Human brain shaped by duplicate genes - copies of gene may have boosted computational power of our ancestors' brains - http://www.nature.com/news...
Human brain shaped by duplicate genes - copies of gene may have boosted computational power of our ancestors' brains
"Two studies published online today in Cell1, 2 suggest that DNA duplication errors that happened millions of years ago might have had a pivotal role in the evolution of the complexity of the human brain. The duplications — which created new versions of a gene active in the brains of other mammals — may have endowed humans with brains that could create more neuronal connections, perhaps leading to greater computational power. The enzymes that copy DNA sometimes slip extra copies of a gene into a chromosome, and scientists estimate that such genetic replicas make up about 5% of the human genome. (...) “Ten years after the human genome was sequenced and declared done, we’re still finding new genes in new places that are really important to human brain function and evolution,” Eichler’s team calculates that SRGAP2C appeared roughly 2.4 million years ago, around the time that big-brained species of Homo evolved in Africa from smaller-skulled Australopithecines, and around the time that... more... - Amira from Bookmarklet
Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology have created the first complex works of nanoarchitecture - http://www.architizer.com/en_us...
Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology have created the first complex works of nanoarchitecture
Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology have created the first complex works of nanoarchitecture
"Researchers at the Vienna University of Technology have created the first complex works of nanoarchitecture. Using their own custom made high-precision 3-D printer, the team recreated models of Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral and London’s Tower Bridge at the scale of a dust mite. The feat was made possible through two-photon lithography, whereby a laser is guided by a chain of controllable mirrors through a liquid resin to form a solid polymer line only several hundred nanometers wide. The resin solidifies only when the initiator molecules within in have absorbed two photons of the spent laser beam at once, or when the polymer molecules fall directly under the laser’s central focal point. The experiment’s achievement, however, lay in the rapid rate at which the printer laid down material lines. Whereas “the printing speed [of similar printers] used to be measured in millimeters per second,” says Professor Jürgen Stampfl of TU Vienna, ”our device can do five meters in one second.”... more... - Amira from Bookmarklet
Kinda reminds me of Superman's microscopic/bottled city of Kandor - CarlC
Anibal M. Astobiza
Unhappiness Is in the Eye of the Beholder http://news.sciencemag.org/science...
Can the Computers at Narrative Science Replace Paid Writers? http://www.theatlantic.com/enterta... meta-journalists & big data via @evgenymorozov
The Cognitive Basis of Material Engagement: Where Brain, Body and Culture Conflate by Lambros Malafouris (pdf) - http://cogprints.org/4629/#
"In this paper I attempt to sketch a preliminary framework for understanding the cognitive basis of the engagement of the mind with the material world. I advance the hypothesis that contrary to some of our most deeply-entrenched assumptions the relationship between the world and human cognition is not one of abstract representation or some other form of action at a distance but one of ontological inseparability. That is, what we have traditionally construed as an active or passive but always clearly separated external stimulus for setting an internal cognitive mechanism into motion, may be after all a continuous part of the machinery itself; at least, ex hypothesi." - Amira from Bookmarklet
”We’re living in Escher’s world it seems / we’re wide awake within our dreams." http://www.washingtontimes.com/news... Reality: A Very Short Introduction
Todd Hoff
Scientists solving the mystery of human consciousness - http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_rel...
Scientists solving the mystery of human consciousness
"Awakening from anesthesia is often associated with an initial phase of delirious struggle before the full restoration of awareness and orientation to one's surroundings. Scientists now know why this may occur: primitive consciousness emerges first. Using brain imaging techniques in healthy volunteers, a team of scientists led by Adjunct Professor Harry Scheinin, M.D. from the University of Turku, Turku, Finland in collaboration with investigators from the University of California, Irvine, USA, have now imaged the process of returning consciousness after general anesthesia. The emergence of consciousness was found to be associated with activations of deep, primitive brain structures rather than the evolutionary younger neocortex. These results may represent an important step forward in the scientific explanation of human consciousness. The study was part of the Research Programme on Neuroscience by the Academy of Finland. "We expected to see the outer bits of brain, the cerebral... more... - Todd Hoff from Bookmarklet
So the deep brain structures are like the BIOS and the cerebral cortex is the OS? Man, I need an upgrade. :) - That's So CAJ!
Or maybe that what you thought was implemented int the OS was really in the BIOS? - Todd Hoff
This makes sense, since a lot of animals with less developed neocortices also seem to exhibit consciousness. I'd think of the limbic system as the kernel. The prefrontal cortex is actually more like a scheduler ;) - Victor Ganata
+ - Amir
Philosophically Thinking Through Nihilism: A Reclamation of Embodied Thought http://theeyelessowl.wordpress.com/2012... Empedocles & Nietzsche via @davidbmetcalfe
The Mind is a Metaphor ☞ interactive, solidly constructed collection of mental metaphorics (database) - http://mind.textdriven.com/db...
The Mind is a Metaphor ☞ interactive, solidly constructed collection of mental metaphorics (database)
“The Mind is a Metaphor, is an evolving work of reference, an ever more interactive, more solidly constructed collection of mental metaphorics. This collection of eighteenth-century metaphors of mind serves as the basis for a scholarly study of the metaphors and root-images appealed to by the novelists, poets, dramatists, essayists, philosophers, belle-lettrists, preachers, and pamphleteers of the long eighteenth century. While the database does include metaphors from classical sources, from Shakespeare and Milton, from the King James Bible, and from more recent texts, it does not pretend to any depth or density of coverage in literature other than that of the British eighteenth century.” - Amira from Bookmarklet
See also James Geary, metaphorically speaking - TED talk http://www.ted.com/talks... - Amira
Link Remix: Melancholic Cyborgs Singing in My Head. Despite several days of overcast skies, the weather’s been pleasantly mild and dry this week in this corner of the west of Ireland. Among the stories that have most caught my eye and mind recently: Are Smartphones Changing What It Means to be Human? It’s gotten to the point where my phone now... - http://jamreilly.tumblr.com/post...
Link Remix: Melancholic Cyborgs Singing in My Head.
Despite several days of overcast skies, the weather’s been pleasantly mild and dry  this week in this corner of the west of Ireland. Among the stories that have most caught my eye and mind recently:
Are Smartphones Changing What It Means to be Human?
It’s gotten to the point where my phone now somehow knows more about me than anyone else in the world, including my own darling husband. My gadget has become a tiny black mirror, reflecting back how I see myself. Which means things are getting more complicated between us.ᔥ via Boston Magazine
How Memory Works and the Pill of Forgetting.
Memories are not formed and then pristinely maintained, as neuroscientists thought; they are formed and then rebuilt every time they’re accessed. “The brain isn’t interested in having a perfect set of memories about the past,” LeDoux says. “Instead, memory comes with a natural updating mechanism, which is how we make sure that the information taking up valuable space inside our head is still useful. ᔥ via Wired
The Making of W.G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn.
Our spread over the earth was fueled by reducing the higher species of vegetation to charcoal, by incessantly burning whatever would burn. From the first smouldering taper to the elegant lanterns whose light reverberated around eighteenth-century courtyards and from the mild radiance of these lanterns to the unearthly glow of the sodium lamps that line the Belgian motorways, it has all been combustion. Combustion is the hidden principle behind every artifact we create. The making of fish-hook, manufacture of a china cup, or production of a television program, all depend on the same process of combustion. Like our bodies and like our desires, the machines we have devised are possessed of a heart which is slowly reduced to embers. ᔥ via Quarterly Conversation
Bones of the Book: the past, present and future of ebooks.
Writing is a miraculous technology all its own—a code that, when input through the optic nerve, induces structured, coherent hallucinations. An equivalent experience does not exist. Words have shape and musicality. They almost have a flavor. But they are too easily drowned out by stronger stimuli. ᔥ via n+1
Two Minds in One Brain: In this short, humourous and enlightening clip, in a discussion moderated by Alan “Hawkeye” Alda, neuroscientist Giulio Tononi talks about the odd phenomenon of “split-brain” patients with filmmaker Charlie Kaufman. ᔥ via World Science Festival
Sticking to brains and their two hemispheres: Pirate-Eye Pigeons Reveal How The Brain Talks To Itself. 
there is also a lot of evidence suggesting that even if both hemispheres contribute equally to a cognitive task such as speech or creating a visual model of the world, each half may favor particular aspects of that task. For her part, Mann hopes to untangle these issues. And she thinks there is no better model than bird brains. ᔥ via Scientific American
The Fabric of the Cosmos with Brian Greene. I’ve only watched the first two of four episodes so far and aside from the occasional silliness of the televisual gimmicry it’s a very good lesson in contemporary physics, both thought-provoking and thought-stopping.  ᔥ via Open Culture.
In the week that #STOPJOSEPHKONY hysteria gripped the interweb, some needed perspective from netizens in Uganda: Can A Viral Video really #StopKony?
We could be reading the world just as wrongly as the world is reading us. ᔥ via Global Voices
On a similar note, I watched a Ted talk recently by Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Adichie and her message was that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.
“Power is the ability not just to tell the story of another person, but to make it the definitive story of that person”
ᔥ via Ted.com: The Danger of a Single Story.
Finally some music, a haunting piece from Gavin Bryars, the first release on Brian Eno’s Obscure record label in 1975, deserving of renewed interest in this the 100th anniversary year of the event commemorated therein: The Sinking of The Titanic. ᔥ via youtube
This symbol ᔥ used in places above is from a new project aimed at encouraging the culture of attribution for the stuff we share on the web. You can read more about it here from Maria Popova ᔥ Brainpickings: Introducing The Curator’s Code. 
Image at top of post  ᔥ  via Data Garden: Expanded Cinema
Anibal M. Astobiza
Cohen and Dennett on Reportability and Consciousness http://schwitzsplinters.blogspot.com/2012...
Does Neuroscience Change The Way We Understand Ourselves? http://theschooloflife.typepad.com/the_sch... Fiction as a barometer of change - by @cfernyhough
A mathematical formula for rhythm | Discovery News - http://news.discovery.com/tech...
A mathematical formula for rhythm | Discovery News
"Led by neurologists Daniel Levitin of McGill University and Vino Menon of Stanford, a team of researchers analyzed nearly 2,000 musical compositions by more than 40 composers over the last 400 years. The verdict? They discovered a mathematical formula for rhythm. (...) In the large swath of Western musical genres the researchers studied, they found that all compositions adhered to the same "fractal" quality. (...) "Mozart's notated rhythms were the least predictable, Beethoven's were the most, and Monteverdi and Joplin had nearly identical, overlapping rhythm distributions. But they each have their own distinctive rhythmic signature that you can capture. Our findings also suggest that rhythm may play an even greater role than pitch in conveying a composer’s distinctive style." - Amira from Bookmarklet
The deep roots of gaiety http://blog.oup.com/2012... "The main mystery is the origin of the French word, the etymon of Engl. gay" via @OUPacademic
Mind & Brain
Study: The Brains of Storytellers And Their Listeners Actually Sync Up | Discover Magazine - http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/80beats...
As Silbert spoke about her prom experience, the same areas lit up in her brain as in the brains of her listeners. In most brain regions, the activation pattern in the listeners’ brains came a few seconds after that seen in Silbert’s brain. But a few brain areas, including one in the frontal lobe, actually lit up before Silbert’s, perhaps representing listeners’ anticipating what she was going to say next, the team says. The study certainly comes with caveats: Its sample size is small, and scientists don’t know exactly what causes the synchronization, nor the exact function of the brain regions in question to any more specificity than “language.” But Stephens and Hasson argue that their findings speak to conceptual common ground people must meet to make conversation possible: “If I say, ‘Do you want a coffee?’ you say, ‘Yes please, two sugars.’ You don’t say, ‘Yes, please put two sugars in the cup of coffee that is between us,’” said Hasson. “You’re sharing the same lexical items, gram
Alexander Kruel
How shellfish saved the human race - http://www.boingboing.net/2009...
How shellfish saved the human race
"Turns out, somewhere between 130,000 to 190,000 years ago, the human species was reduced to less than 1000 breeding individuals--just a few thousand people in total. Ancient, naturally driven climate change pushed our species to the brink, said Curtis Marean, Ph.D., a professor with the Institute of Human Origins and the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University. What saved us? According to Marean, the answer may be "shellfish"." - Alexander Kruel from Bookmarklet
Wow, thank you, forefathers for risking eternal damnation to save the human race. That's taking a bullet for the team. - Eivind
Elaine Morgan says we evolved from aquatic apes http://www.youtube.com/watch... P.S. Watching this soon. Curtis Marean lecture http://gustavus.edu/events... ps4-11 http://friendfeed.com/search... , pstp anthro - Thomas Page
The "Stoned Ape" hypothesis of human evolution McKenna hypothesized that as the North African jungles receded and gave way to savannas and grasslands near the end of the most recent ice age, a branch of our tree-dwelling primate ancestors left the forest canopy and began to live in the open areas outside of the forest. There they experimented with new varieties of foods as they adapted,... more... - Thomas Page
Inuit's risky mussel harvest under sea ice http://www.bbc.co.uk/news... , ( Clams are taken from walrus stomachs. http://www.enotes.com/food-en... ) , However, it prefers benthic bivalve mollusks, especially clams, for which it forages by grazing along the sea bottom, searching and identifying prey with its sensitive vibrissae and clearing the... more... - Thomas Page
Top 5 Reasons To Give Thanks For Being Primate http://www.npr.org/blogs... - Thomas Page
Shellfish & the human bottleneck posted by Razib @ 12/16/2009 06:02:00 PM http://www.gnxp.com/blog... , 2 -12 Toba catastrophe theory http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki... , 2 -24 Toba volcano eruptions - 1.000 - 10,000 breeding pairsunb http://www.physicsforums.com/showthr... , 6 -19 Can our DNA be traced to see that we... more... - Thomas Page
Scholar publications
Mind Perception is the Essence of Morality by Gray, Young & Waytz (pdf) | University of Maryland, Northwestern University - http://www.mpm.umd.edu/Gray%2C...
"Mind perception entails ascribing mental capacities to other entities, while moral judgment entails labeling entities as good or bad or actions as right or wrong. We suggest that mind perception is the essence of moral judgment. In particular, we suggest that moral judgment is rooted in a cognitive template of two perceived minds – a moral dyad of an intentional agent and a suffering moral patient. Diverse lines of research support dyadic morality. First, perceptions of mind are linked to moral judgments: dimensions of mind perception (agency and experience) map onto moral types (agents and patient), and deficits of mind perception correspond to difficulties with moral judgment. Second, not only are moral judgments sensitive to perceived agency and experience, but all moral transgressions are fundamentally understood as agency plus experienced suffering – i.e., interpersonal harm – even ostensibly harmless acts such as purity violations. Third, dyadic morality uniquely accounts for th
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