Links for 10th June 2009

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. Operant conditioning chamber

    "An operant conditioning chamber (also known as the Skinner box) is a laboratory apparatus used in the experimental analysis of behavior to study animal behavior. The operant conditioning chamber was created by B. F. Skinner while he was a graduate student at Harvard University (Masters in 1930 and doctorate in 1931). It is used to study both operant conditioning and classical conditioning." Read this. Then look at social nets like Facebook. You are a rat. Push the button for more treats!

    Tagged with: psychologyresearchSkinner-boxoperant-conditioning

  2. Search (and Destroy) Engines

    "Fortunately, human flesh search engines don't end the lives of their victims, like the witch-hunts or lynching of the past. We will not know for some time how these cyber-hunts will shape the future of our privacy, freedom of speech and sense of justice and security. But there is no doubt that these cases are just the beginning a vast social change taking place right now. What we can see from these incidents is that the flow of information will no longer be controlled and that the power of public outrage will not easily be quelled.

    Kitten Killer of Hangzhou and her cameraman will walk away from their brutal act.. An apology is hardly appropriate recompense for the death of the tiny tortured feline. But these small stories will remain a part of our collective human memory and help guide the decisions of future societies, because the Internet does not forget, does not forgive and cannot be stopped. Ever."

    Tagged with: internetculturecrimememevigilantismcrowdsourcingwitch-huntsanonymityparticipatorypanopticon

  3. Time moves too slowly for hyperactive boys

    "When they were given the drug methylphenidate, aka Ritalin, which boosts dopamine levels and is used to treat ADHD, brain activity in the ADHD group became indistinguishable from that of the healthy boys. "Ritalin enhances brain regions that are important for time perception in ADHD children," concludes Rubia.

    Rubia believes this is evidence that faulty time perception causes the major symptoms of ADHD, by making children perceive even short periods of inactivity as inordinately long and boring. Because novelty-seeking and risky behaviour increase dopamine levels, children with ADHD may be become hyperactive as a way of "self-medicating" with dopamine." Hmmm.

    Tagged with: psychologybiologyADHDneurologydopamineRitalin

  4. WordPress: How to get custom fields outside the loop

    Tagged with: wordpresscustom-fieldloopdisplayhackcode

  5. Virtual Currency Extortion Leads to Three Years of Prison in China

    "Despite the clear financial value, no law exists in China to protect virtual goods or currency. This case changed set a new precedent: The court ruled that the victim should be protected because he spent money on the extorted items. Under the ruling, the three men who assisted in the crime were fined. The primary defendant was sentenced to three years in prison.

    This marks not only a significant precedent for Chinese law, but for the legal treatment of virtual goods worldwide."

    Tagged with: virtualmoneymetaversepropertylawChinacrime

  6. Drinking Water From Air Humidity

    "“The process we have developed is based exclusively on renewable energy sources such as thermal solar collectors and photovoltaic cells, which makes this method completely energy-autonomous. It will therefore function in regions where there is no electrical infrastructure,” says Siegfried Egner, head of department at the IGB. The principle of the process is as follows: hygroscopic brine – saline solution which absorbs moisture – runs down a tower-shaped unit and absorbs water from the air. It is then sucked into a tank a few meters off the ground in which a vacuum prevails. Energy from solar collectors heats up the brine, which is diluted by the water it has absorbed." Dune-tastic!

    Tagged with: sciencetechnologyenvironmentecologydesertdrinkingwaterhumidityDune

  7. The death bloggers

    "In two investigations between 2007 and 2009, I encountered countless examples of fake deaths in all corners of the online world. A contributor to a knitting forum, for instance, faked her death rather than provide patterns she had been commissioned to design. A member of an online art gallery discovered that the 18-year-old, gay, male, lead-singer of a rock band, with whom she had developed a close friendship before he was killed in a car crash, was actually the work of two 14-year-old girls, who had entirely invented his life. A teenage British boy broke up with his real-life girlfriend to marry a 16-year-old online friend, later discovering (on her "death") that his deceased wife-to-be was a 12-year-old fantasist who had been sending photos of her older cousin and inventing graphic details of incest and rape." Weird and fascinating stuff. 'Pseuicide' is my neologism of the week.

    Tagged with: internetcultureidentityfraudfakedeathhoaxespseuicide

  8. Ethics and Enthusiasm

    "Bollocks to that, I say. Fuck “good science fiction”. Let’s blow it the fuck up. With a big fucking crater where the warden’s office used to be, we can turn the panopticon into a colloseum. We'll have gladiators and chariot races and plays and gigs and clowns and Christians thrown to the kittens.

    We can still have the bloodsport, but at least we’ll be able to see what’s going on in all those other cells." Hal Duncan.

    Tagged with: Hal-Duncanliteraturesfreviewscriticismprescriptivismethics

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