Lucid dream [is] a phenomenon in which the dreamer becomes aware they are dreaming and can potentially control their actions as…

Lucid dream [is] a phenomenon in which the dreamer becomes aware they are dreaming and can potentially control their actions as well as the content and context of the dream. Lucid dreams are generally understood to occur exclusively during REM, the final phase of the sleep cycle that is most closely related to wakefulness and the one generally associated with dreams. Research on the prevalence of lucid dreamers suggests that if you’ve never had a lucid dream, you may be in the minority.

[…]

[Studies indicate] that practicing a physical activity during a lucid dream could improve performance in waking life.

[…]

The strategy laid out for actively training yourself to lucid dream [in the] 1991 book,Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming … boils down to are identifying discrepancies from reality that can help you realize you are dreaming and, hopefully, gain conscious control of your dream. The first step, therefore, is to spend a few weeks recording your dreams and identifying these themes.

The Atlantic’sTiffanie Wen exploresthe latest research on lucid dreaming. Pair with thisanimated explainer of how it works, then dive deeper with Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming. (viaexplore-blog)

So does Tamiflu work? From the Cochrane analysis – fully public – Tamiflu does not reduce the number of hospitalisations. There…

“So does Tamiflu work? From the Cochrane analysis – fully public – Tamiflu does not reduce the number of hospitalisations. There wasn’t enough data to see if it reduces the number of deaths. It does reduce the number of self-reported, unverified cases of pneumonia, but when you look at the five trials with a detailed diagnostic form for pneumonia, there is no significant benefit. It might help prevent flu symptoms, but not asymptomatic spread, and the evidence here is mixed. It will take a few hours off the duration of your flu symptoms. But all this comes at a significant cost of side-effects. Since percentages are hard to visualise, we can make those numbers more tangible by taking the figures from the Cochrane review, and applying them. For example, if a million people take Tamiflu in a pandemic, 45,000 will experience vomiting, 31,000 will experience headache and 11,000 will have psychiatric side-effects. Remember, though, that those figures all assume we are only giving Tamiflu to a million people: if things kick off, we have stockpiled enough for 80% of the population. That’s quite a lot of vomit.”

What the Tamiflu saga tells us about drug trials and big pharma (viaiamdanw)

Japanese Robots In Danger Of Being Replaced By Human Workers

robots, robotics, work, labour, toyota

Citing a need to “become more solid and get back to basics,” and “to sharpen our manual skills and further develop them,” Toyota CEO Mitsuru Kawai wants humans to take the place of machines in plants across Japan so workers can develop new skills and figure out ways to improve production lines and the car-building process.

http://io9.com/japanese-robots-in-danger-of-being-replaced-by-human-wo–1561280442/+georgedvorsky

Meet the Company That Secretly Built ‘Cuban Twitter’

the atlantic, zunzuneo, state, security, NSA, US, surveillance, politics, business, cuba, tunisia

If ZunZuneo looks ridiculous in retrospect, it’s because 2011 is a different country. We now know U.S. security apparatus may threaten the “open Internet” as much as an oppressive government, if not more. Clinton’s speeches as secretary of state dwell on freedom of expression but not freedom from surveillance, and now—following the NSA revelations—we have a good idea why. Beyond all this, as sociologist Zeynep Tufecki writes, it’s likely that the failure of ZunZuneo will threaten online activism abroad, even if it’s not associated with the U.S. government.

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/04/the-fall-of-internet-freedom-meet-the-company-that-secretly-built-cuban-twitter/360168/

The answer to yesterday’s Hump Day Head Scratcher:

littlebrownmushroom:

The answer to yesterday’s Hump Day Head Scratcher:

“I went to the railway station followed by two photographers who, with Polaroid cameras, documented by journey moment by moment. They photographed me while I was getting my ticket, buying a newspaper, having my shoes shined, getting on the train, getting off and taking a taxi. Once at the Galleria 2000 I started putting up the pictures on the wall and I put my ticket in the box attached to the opposite wall especially for this purpose. The two photographers carried on taking pictures and the new ones were then added to the others. In this way, the exhibition was self-constructing, self-generating. Whoever came to see the exhibition was immediately incorporated, multiplied, recorded, caught in unrepeatable instants, and this destroyed the space of contemplation to open it up to action. At a certain point I took back my ticket and left.”

Franco Vaccari
Exhibition in real time n.2 Journey + rite, 1971

To cover their tracks, they decided to have a company based in the United Kingdom set up a corporation in Spain to run ZunZuneo….

twitter, Cuba, ZunZineo, infowar

To cover their tracks, they decided to have a company based in the United Kingdom set up a corporation in Spain to run ZunZuneo. A separate company called MovilChat was created in the Cayman Islands, a well-known offshore tax haven, with an account at the island’s Bank of N.T. Butterfield& Son Ltd. to pay the bills.

A memo of the meeting in Barcelona says that the front companies would distance ZunZuneo from any U.S. ownership so that the “money trail will not trace back to America.”

US secretly created ‘Cuban Twitter’ to stir unrest (viaiamdanw)

Speculative Design and Contemporary Food Cultures

food, food design, spectacle, culture, fibre culture, Carl DiSalvo

Although public interest in food is not new, there seems to be a reinvigorated attentiveness to food in contemporary society. Multiple factors are at play in this. In part this reinvigorated attentiveness to food stems from an increasing awareness of the connection between kinds of food, modes of food production, and health. In part it stems from the topic of sustainability and the realization that changes in agricultural practices could help foster a more sustainable society. For some, this attention to food is as an act against previous paradigms of domestic convenience. And, in part this reinvigorated attentiveness to food stems from access to a greater diversity of food and thereby an ability to experiment with different foodstuffs and cuisines.

http://twenty.fibreculturejournal.org/2012/06/19/fcj–142-spectacles-and-tropes-speculative-design-and-contemporary-food-cultures/

This is one reason merchant seafaring is still, by some accounts, the world’s second-most-dangerous occupation, after commercial…

“This is one reason merchant seafaring is still, by some accounts, the world’s second-most-dangerous occupation, after commercial fishing. According to Imperial College London, 200 supertankers and container ships have sunk in the past two decades due to weather. Wolfgang Rosenthal, a scientist at the European Space Agency, which studies sea conditions via satellite, estimates that two “large ships” sink every week on average. Most of these, he says, “simply get put down to bad weather.’ “”

Monsterwellen (viaiamdanw)

The House of the Octopus

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The House of the Octopus: Essays on the Real-Life ‘Cthulhu Cult’ of the Pacific edited by Jason Colavito.

imageJason Colavito The House of the Octopus

Well, who knew? Jason Colavito has unearthed some late-19th-century accounts of cults involving an actual octopus god in the South Pacific. The sources are proto-anthropologists and scholar-missionaries, whose accounts often acquire the tone of a travelogue, and come close to the narrative tone used by some of Lovecraft’s scholarly protagonists. There is nothing here to contradict “The Call of Cthulhu,” and the notion of a sleeping-not-slain cephalopod deity is practically confirmed by these pages.

Of particular note is the Samoan temple ruin referenced in the title of the volume. The “House of the Octopus” (O le Fale o le Fe’e) was evidently distinctive for its stone vertical supports, a design otherwise absent in the island environment where plenty of trees were to hand for building pillars. Although the cuttlefish god continued to be reverenced, this site was already in long disuse by the 19th century, and the writers represented here had the opportunity of discovering it as a “lost” site (with the aid of knowledgeable locals).

Colavito has provided a rather minimal editorial service here, pulling the five source essays together into a single, brief volume that he has issued through lulu.com. His foreword provides little more than a reassurance that the materials are in factual earnest. He seems sure that Lovecraft didn’t know about the Samoan cuttlefish cult, but I have to wonder. See, for example, the reference to the Australian Buddai in “The Shadow Out of Time” for evidence of HPL’s study in this sort of material.

At some point, optical character recognition (OCR) was used to gather these texts, and they have suffered for it. Insufficient care was taken to eliminate artifacts like “rougli” for “rough,” and “cither” for “either” (both on p. 5, with many more to come). The cover design is attractive and appropriate, featuring a detail from an Enoch Arden engraving of 1869, and the book is a slim, convenient digest for the use of latter-day Miskatonic University students. [via]

Originally posted on The Hermetic Library Blog at http://library.hrmtc.com/2014/03/31/the-house-of-the-octopus/

Big data: are we making a big mistake?

big data, analytics, google, flu, correlation, theory, theory-free

Four years after the original Nature paper was published, Nature News had sad tidings to convey: the latest flu outbreak had claimed an unexpected victim: Google Flu Trends. After reliably providing a swift and accurate account of flu outbreaks for several winters, the theory-free, data-rich model had lost its nose for where flu was going. Google’s model pointed to a severe outbreak but when the slow-and-steady data from the CDC arrived, they showed that Google’s estimates of the spread of flu-like illnesses were overstated by almost a factor of two.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/21a6e7d8-b479–11e3-a09a–00144feabdc0.html#axzz2xS1VXiUc

Processing —

0x4e71:

#Processing —

Original photo:

Lindsey Wixson on the set of i-D Wink! Photographed by Beto Cabrera

Passionate beliefs produce either progress or disaster, not stability. Science, even when it attacks traditional beliefs, has…

“Passionate beliefs produce either progress or disaster, not stability. Science, even when it attacks traditional beliefs, has beliefs of its own, and can scarcely flourish in an atmosphere of literary skepticism. … And without science, democracy is impossible.”

Timeless wisdom fromBertrand Russell onhuman nature, education, the root of progress, and the heart of the good life.  (viaexplore-blog)

No, Nasa Does Not Think Civilization Is About To Collapse

collapsonomics, Nafeez Ahmed, collapse, reductionism, problems

A model with this few equations will always provide egregious predictions about “industrial collapse”. Anyone who spends more than two minutes looking on Gapminder will recognise that inter-country differences are so vast that using eight equations to accurately model humanity is like replicating the Sistine Chapel using a crayon.

http://carboncounter.wordpress.com/2014/03/16/truly-inane-apocalyptic-journalism-at-the-guardian/

Seeing Machines

Trevor Paglen, seeing machines, photography

Seeing machines is an expansive definition of photography. It is intended to encompass the myriad ways that not only humans use technology to “see” the world, but the ways machines see the world for other machines. Seeing machines includes familiar photographic devices and categories like viewfinder cameras and photosensitive films and papers, but quickly moves far beyond that. It embraces everything from iPhones to airport security backscatter-imaging devices, from electro-optical reconnaissance satellites in low-earth orbit, to QR code readers at supermarket checkouts, from border checkpoint facial-recognition surveillance cameras to privatized networks of Automated License Plate Recognition systems, and from military wide-area-airborne-surveillance systems, to the roving cameras on board legions of Google’s Street View” cars.

http://blog.fotomuseum.ch/2014/03/ii-seeing-machines/

Scripts (for Seeing Machines)

Trevor Paglen, seeing machines, photography

21st Century “photography” has come to encompass so many different kinds of technologies, imaging apparatuses, and practices that the kinds of things we easily recognize as photography (cameras, film, prints, etc.) now actually constitute an exception to the rule. I proposed a much broader definition – seeing machines. The point of having such an expanded definition is to help us notice and recognize the myriad ways in which imaging systems (including traditional cameras), and the images they produce, are both ubiquitous, and actively sculpting the world in ways that were unimaginable just a few decades ago.

http://blog.fotomuseum.ch/2014/03/iii-scripts/

Jon asked various colleagues to manage lists like all those names ending in .com, and others ending in .org, etc. He maintained…

“Jon asked various colleagues to manage lists like all those names ending in .com, and others ending in .org, etc. He maintained a list, called the root, of those names. It was Jon who agreed to create .uk for those interested in United Kingdom-themed domain names. When he realized that domain names were taking on real meaning to people, he looked for other ways to create names rather than just deciding on his own. (For countries, he found a list of country names maintained by the International Standards Organization and stuck to it—creating names for lots of peoples whose governments hadn’t formally asked for them.) And when disputes came up, he looked for consensus to settle them, such as when there was objection over the person originally entrusted to maintain names under .pn, for Pitcairn Island, population 50. (The objection was lodged by the entire adult population of Pitcairn Island, with the exception of the trustee and his wife.) It took years to settle the issue.”

U.S. Withdraws from ICANN: Why It’s No Big Deal | New Republic (viaiamdanw)

an· i· so· tro· py : the property of being directionally dependent, as opposed to isotropy, which implies identical properties…

robotics, 3dprinting, anisotropic, geometry, sculpture, architecture, form, aesthetics

video link

warrenellis:

an· i· so· tro· py : the property of being directionally dependent, as opposed to isotropy, which implies identical properties in all directions. Anisotropic Formations is a proto-architectural exploration of anisotropic aesthetics and structures through vector based 3d printing. Taking inspiration from 3d printed fashion, composite sail manufacturing and experimental application of 6-axis robotics, the project takes the anisotropic approach as both an aesthetic and a fabrication logic. Anisotropic geometry is vector-based and is directionally dependent. Combinations of these vectors result in rich surface and 3d qualities of varied densities, hierarchies and multi-directional layering. There was an imperative to pursue this design research in a post-digital platform, stepping out from the Euclidean flatness of the computer screen onto the non-Euclidean platform of the physical. Plastic extrusion provided direct access to vector geometry in physical space, enriching it with material agency. Flexibility of the scaffold allowed for multiple configurations and other possibilities. The project was realized through a series of iterations that subjected the design agenda to a series of different machining workspaces and digital-to-physical workflows. From Cartesian workspace of a conventional 3d printer to spherical workspace of multi-axis collaborative robotics and from vector based workflows of 3d modeling to motion based work flows of animation. Anisotropic Formations_SCI-Arc 13FA_Testa ESTm Vertical Studio Team: Salvador Cortez / Cheng Lu / Avra Tomara / Nikita Troufanov Instructor: Peter Testa
 Robot Lab Coordinator: Jake Newsum Anisotropic Formations Nikita Troufanov

First Direct Evidence of Cosmic Inflation

physics, cosmology, inflation, decelerator, BICEP2

This announcement has implications far beyond the field of cosmology. If the detection is confirmed, and inflation theory is eventually accepted, particle physicists will also be intrigued. According to inflation theory, a quantised particle called the inflaton exists, and is hypothesized to be responsible for cosmic inflation in the very early universe. So as physicist Richard Easther, points out, “we’re not just looking at the beginning of the universe, we are exploring undiscovered vistas in particle physics.”

http://decelerator.blogspot.sg/2014/03/first-direct-evidence-of-cosmic.html

Turing Morphogenesis

pattern, CA, morphogenesis, Turing, Wolfram, biology

If you want to get a rough grasp of how the leopard might get its spots, then building a CA model (or something similar) can be very illuminating. It will not tell you whether that’s actually how it works. This is an important example, because there is a classic theory of biological pattern formation, or morphogenesis, first formulated by Turing in the 1950s, which lends itself very easily to modeling in CAs, and with a little fine-tuning produces things which look like animal coats, butterfly wings, etc., etc. The problem is that there is absolutely no reason to think that’s how those patterns actually form; no one has identified even a single pair of Turing morphogens, despite decades of searching. [See “Update, 4 March 2012” below.] Indeed, the more the biologists unravel the actual mechanisms of morphogenesis, the more complicated and inelegant (but reliable) it looks. If, however, you think you have explained why leopards are spotted after coming up with a toy model that produces spots, it will not occur to you to ask why leopards have spots but polar bears do not, which is to say that you will simply be blind to the whole problem of biological adaptation.

http://vserver1.cscs.lsa.umich.edu/~crshalizi/reviews/wolfram/

Uncoiling the spiral: Maths and hallucinations

visual hallucinations, hallucinations, mathematics, pattern, geometry, visual cortex, neurophysiolog

Popping peyote buttons with his assistant in the laboratory, Klüver noticed the repeating geometric shapes in mescaline-induced hallucinations and classified them into four types, which he called form constants: tunnels and funnels, spirals, lattices including honeycombs and triangles, and cobwebs. In the 1970s the mathematicians Jack D. Cowan and G. Bard Ermentrout used Klüver’s classification to build a theory describing what is going on in our brain when it tricks us into believing that we are seeing geometric patterns. Their theory has since been elaborated by other scientists, including Paul Bressloff, Professor of Mathematical and Computational Neuroscience at the newly established Oxford Centre for Collaborative Applied Mathematics.

http://plus.maths.org/content/uncoiling-spiral-maths-and-hallucinations

Space Ripples Reveal Big Bang’s Smoking Gun

NYT, inflation, gravity, astrophysics

Reaching back across 13.8 billion years to the first sliver of cosmic time with telescopes at the South Pole, a team of astronomers led by John M. Kovac of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics detected ripples in the fabric of space-time — so-called gravitational waves — the signature of a universe being wrenched violently apart when it was roughly a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second old. They are the long-sought smoking-gun evidence of inflation, proof, Dr. Kovac and his colleagues say, that Dr. Guth was correct.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/18/science/space/detection-of-waves-in-space-buttresses-landmark-theory-of-big-bang.html?_r=1

Did Malaysian Airlines 370 disappear using SIA68 (another 777)?

MH370, SIA68, aircraft, hijacking, data, airspace, tracking, missing aircraft

Once MH370 had cleared the volatile airspaces and was safe from being detected by military radar sites in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan it would have been free to break off from the shadow of SIA68 and could have then flown a path to it’s final landing site. There are several locations along the flight path of SIA68 where it could have easily broken contact and flown and landed in Xingjian province, Kyrgyzstan, or Turkmenistan. Each of these final locations would match up almost perfectly with the 7.5 hours of total flight time and trailing SIA68. In addition, these locations are all possibilities that are on the “ARC” and fit with the data provided by Inmarsat from the SATCOM’s last known ping at 00:11UTC.

http://keithledgerwood.tumblr.com/post/79838944823/did-malaysian-airlines–370-disappear-using-sia68