Sounds that will define the highways of the future September 28th, 2019
Via The New York Times: "Two years ago, Nissan hired the studio Man Made Music for what seemed like a straightforward task: Design a sound that its quiet electric vehicles could play to announce themselves on the road.
The automaker wasn’t just splurging on a flashy feature. It was preparing for a federal regulation set to take effect next year that would require all hybrid and electric vehicles, which are quieter than their gas-guzzling ancestors, to emit noise at certain speeds for pedestrian safety. […]
The team at Man Made Music, which is used to developing audio for TV, movies and radio, spent nearly half of 2017 working on the sound, a layering of sampled wind and string instruments, and analog and digital synth sounds [listen to “Canto,” the future sound of Nissan’s electrified vehicles]."
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Illustration by Geoff McFetridge, who not only has his own design studio but has been showing internationally with his so complex yet simple, elegant, colorblocked works.
Via Nature: "When faced with a personal problem people typically give better advice to others than to themselves. This has been termed ‘Solomon’s Paradox’, named after the biblical King Solomon who was wise for others, but not so when it came to making decisions that would have an impact on his own standing.
Suppose that instead of imagining a problem from the perspective of another you were actually able to have a conversation with yourself about it, but from the embodied perspective of another.
A previous study showed how it is possible to enact internal dialogue in virtual reality (VR) through participants alternately occupying two different virtual bodies – one representing themselves and the other Sigmund Freud. They could maintain a self-conversation by explaining their problem to the virtual Freud and then from the embodied perspective of Freud see and hear the explanation by their virtual doppelganger, and then give some advice. Alternating between the two bodies they could maintain a self-dialogue, as if between two different people.
Here we show that the process of alternating between their own and the Freud body is important for successful psychological outcomes. An experiment was carried out with 58 people, 29 in the body swapping Self-Conversation condition and 29 in a condition where they only spoke to a Scripted Freud character. The results showed that the Self-Conversation method results in a greater perception of change and help compared to the Scripted. We compare this method with the distancing paradigm where participants imagine resolving a problem from a first or third person perspective.
We consider the method as a possible strategy for self-counselling."
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Illustration by Laura Callaghan, a Irish illustrator based in London. On her Instagramm she subtiles this image, "Maidin Mhaith 3. A piping hot cup of HELP."
"BE IMPECCABLE WITH YOUR WORD Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.
The Four Agreements sound simple, even simplistic. But try keeping just one for an entire day!"
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Big Science is the 1982 debut album by avant-garde artist Laurie Anderson.
Na na na na na, na na na (bop bop-bop-bop-bop, bop)
July 21st, 2019 The Hippies Were Right: It's All about Vibrations, Man!
Via Scientific American: "The mind-body problem enjoyed a major rebranding over the last two decades and is generally known now as the hard problem of consciousness […] Fast forward to the present era and we can ask ourselves now: Did the hippies actually solve this problem? My colleague Jonathan Schooler of the University of California, Santa Barbara, and I think they effectively did, with the radical intuition that it’s all about vibrations … man. Over the past decade, we have developed a 'resonance theory of consciousness' that suggests that resonance—another word for synchronized vibrations—is at the heart of not only human consciousness but of physical reality more generally. […]
Stephen Strogatz provides various examples from physics, biology, chemistry and neuroscience to illustrate what he calls 'sync' (synchrony) […] Fireflies of certain species start flashing their little fires in sync in large gatherings of fireflies, in ways that can be difficult to explain under traditional approaches. […] The moon’s rotation is exactly synced with its orbit around the Earth such that we always see the same face. […]
The panpsychist argues that consciousness (subjectivity) did not emerge; rather, it’s always associated with matter, and vice versa (they are two sides of the same coin), but mind as associated with most of the matter in our universe is generally very simple. An electron or an atom, for example, enjoy just a tiny amount of consciousness. But as matter 'complexifies,' so mind complexifies, and vice versa."
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Diane Arbus photographed by Tod Papageorge, Central Park, New York, 1967.
Via The Conversation: "The internet currently accesses about 15 zettabytes of data, and is growing at a rate of 70 terabytes per second. It is an admittedly leaky vessel, and content is constantly going offline to wind up lost forever.
Massive and desperate efforts are underway to preserve whatever is worth preserving, but even sorting out what is and what is not is itself a formidable undertaking. What will be of value in 10 years – or 50 years? And how to preserve it?
Acid-free paper can last 500 years; stone inscriptions even longer. But magnetic media like hard drives have a much shorter life, lasting only three to five years. They also need to be copied and verified on a very short life cycle to avoid data degradation at observed failure rates between 3% and 8% annually."
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The Prisoner (1967) Brit TV show, episode 1 "Arrival".
Via Yes!: "According to the 2019 World Happiness Report, negative feelings are rising around the world—and the United States is particularly hard hit with an 'epidemic of addictions.' Tellingly, the report also shows a widening happiness gap, with some people reporting much more well-being and others showing much less within each country. Released annually on the International Day of Happiness, the World Happiness Report ranks countries based on their life satisfaction in the Gallup World Poll. Residents rate how satisfied they are with their lives on a scale of zero to 10, from the worst possible life to the best possible life. This year, the most satisfied country was Finland, followed by Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and the Netherlands. [...]
One trend is very clear: Negative feelings—worry, sadness, and anger—have been rising around the world, up by 27 percent from 2010 to 2018. [...]
One thing is certain, says Sachs: 'The U.S. is suffering an epidemic of addictions.' This includes an addiction to technology, which researcher Jean Twenge largely blames for the worrying mental health trends among U.S. adolescents. In her chapter of the report, she argues that screen time is displacing activities that are key to our happiness, like in-person social contact. Forty-five percent of adolescents are online 'almost constantly,' and the average high school senior spends six hours a day texting, on social media or on the internet. But we’re hooked on more than just technology. According to researcher Steve Sussman, around half of Americans suffer from at least one addiction. Some of the most prevalent are alcohol, food, and work—which each affect around 10 percent of adults—as well as drugs, gambling, exercise, shopping, and sex."
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Cultural evolution of emotional expression in 50 years of song lyrics. Authors: Charlotte Brand, Alberto Acerbi, Alex Mesoudi.
Emotional expression in 50 years of song lyrics
Cultural evolution April 25th, 2019
Via Center for Open Science: "The cultural dynamics of music has recently become a popular avenue of research in the field of cultural evolution, reflecting a growing interest in art and popular culture more generally. Just as biologists seek to explain population-level trends in genetic evolution in terms of micro-evolutionary processes such as selection, drift and migration, cultural evolutionists have sought to explain population-level cultural phenomena in terms of underlying social, psychological and demographic factors. Primary amongst these factors are learning biases, describing how cultural items are socially transmitted from person to person. As big datasets become more openly available and workable, and statistical modelling techniques become more powerful, efficient and user-friendly, describing population-level dynamics in terms of simple, individual-level learning biases is becoming more feasible. Here we test for the presence of learning biases in two large datasets of popular song lyrics dating from 1965-2015. We find some evidence of content bias, prestige bias and success bias in the proliferation of negative lyrics, and suggest that negative expression of emotions in music, and perhaps art generally, provides an avenue for people to not only process and express their own negative emotions, but also benefit from the knowledge that prestigious others experience similarly negative emotions as they do."
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From an altitude of 255 miles, an Expedition 59 crewmember photographed the Richat Structure, or the "Eye of the Sahara," in northwestern Mauritania. The circular geologic feature is thought to be caused by an uplifted dome—geologists would classify it as a domed anticline—that has been eroded to expose the originally flat rock layers.
Via Quartz: "...a team of psychology researchers began to challenge his ideas using a technique called paradoxical thinking. The premise is simple: Instead of presenting evidence that contradicts someone’s deeply held views, a psychologist agrees with the participant, then takes their views further, stretching their arguments to absurdity. This causes the participant to pause, reconsider, and reframe their own beliefs."
"When the Organ Played 'O Promise Me' " (1943) by Cecil Stokes.
"When the Organ Played 'O Promise Me' " (1943)
Auroratone by British filmmaker Cecil Stokes March 27th, 2019
Via YouTube: "This is an Auroratone produced and created by British filmmaker Cecil Stokes for use in the treatment of mental disorders - definitely a kinder, gentler alternative to the electric-shock treatments which were then in vogue! The soundtrack features Bing Crosby and organist Eddie Dunstedter. An online biography of Bing Crosby notes that he was a shareholder in Mr. Stokes' Auroratone Foundation. It also notes that Mr. Crosby made exclusive recordings of Ave Maria, Home on the Range, and When You Wish Upon a Star, for Auroratones, but there's no mention of this film's soundtrack When the Organ Played Oh Promise Me. It's possible that Mr. Stokes used a recording that Bing and Mr. Dunstedter had made several years earlier. [...]
Regarding the films themselves, I've found scant information other than a few mentions in psychiatric journals from the period. Several websites devoted to experimental film do mention Mr. Stokes and briefly describe his work and technique, but none of them offer any visual examples at all. One website promises to teach you how to create The Auroratone Effect for a fee - but its preview shows a modern re-creation only. It appears that my YouTube clip is currently the only example of an original Cecil Stokes Auroratone that exists on the internet anywhere."