Links for 23rd June 2009

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. Animals that count: How numeracy evolved

    "This ability may date back to even more primitive organisms than fish. Jürgen Tautz, an entomologist at the University of Würzburg in Germany and colleagues sent a group of bees down a corridor, at the end of which lay two chambers – one with a sugar water reward, the other with nothing. To test the bees' numeracy, the team marked each chamber with a "room number" consisting of 2 to 6 shapes. A similar sign at the beginning of the corridor indicated which room would contain the reward. Like Agrillo, the team accounted for geometric aspects that might have given the game away."

    Tagged with: animalintelligencemathevolutioncognitionscience

  2. Know Thyself: Tracking Every Facet of Life, from Sleep to Mood to Pain, 24/7/365

    "Self-trackers seem eager to contribute to our knowledge about human life. The world is full of potential experiments: people experiencing some change in their lives, going on or off a diet, kicking an old habit, making a vow or a promise, going on vacation, switching from incandescent to fluorescent lighting, getting into a fight. These are potential experiments, not real experiments, because typically no data is collected and no hypotheses are formed. But with the abundance of self-tracking tools now on offer, everyday changes can become the material of careful study."

    Tagged with: psychologyhealthstatisticstrackingquantitative-analysislifeloggingbiologgingresearchfuturism

  3. Brain could adapt well to cyborg enhancements

    "Farné says the same kind of brain "plasticity" might be involved in regaining control of a transplanted hand or a prosthetic limb when the original has been lost. The brain might also readily incorporate cyborg additions – a cyborg arm or other body part – into its body schema, says Farné, "and possibly new body parts differing in shape and/or number, for example four arms.""

    Tagged with: brainplasticitybody-mapcyborgprosthesismindhuman

  4. The ecstasy of influence: A plagiarism, By Jonathan Lethem

    "I was born with words in my mouth—“Band-Aid,” “Q-tip,” “Xerox”—object-names as fixed and eternal in my logosphere as “taxicab” and “toothbrush.” The world is a home littered with pop-culture products and their emblems. I also came of age swamped by parodies that stood for originals yet mysterious to me—I knew Monkees before Beatles, Belmondo before Bogart, and “remember” the movie Summer of '42 from a Mad magazine satire, though I've still never seen the film itself. I'm not alone in having been born backward into an incoherent realm of texts, products, and images, the commercial and cultural environment with which we've both supplemented and blotted out our natural world. I can no more claim it as “mine” than the sidewalks and forests of the world, yet I do dwell in it, and for me to stand a chance as either artist or citizen, I'd probably better be permitted to name it."

    Tagged with: writingliteratureculturemediacopyrightcreativityplagiarismopen-sourceJonathan-Lethem

  5. US Copyright Law, King Lear, and Jammie Thomas-Rasset

    "Count how many lawsuits there could have been just for King Lear alone […] At least a half dozen? I even see some methods and concepts claims, if we view it with modern copyright owner eyes. Remember J.K. Rowling's litigation over methods and concepts that Darl McBride and Chris Sontag cited? I suppose he could have raised a transformational fair use claim. But what if he accessed the prior works in digital format? Does fair use exist there? Or maybe they'd have been DRM'd. He'd maybe then never have read them. "

    Tagged with: copyrightcreativeownershiplawfilesharingRIAA

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