Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Atomic Tom...

... recently abducted from the Art Shaman's workshop. The best part? It's functional!

(Sorry, Bob, but I just had to have it!)

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Vision of the Apocalypse - Now!

Normally, this blog is not a news site, but I just caught this bit of breaking news a few minutes ago from the Guardian: Meteorite explosion over Chelyabinsk injures hundreds,
and this video is so riveting, I was compelled to post it.  More can be found in the article.

The number of people injured varies, from 500 to 1000, but, apparently the meteorite broke up above the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. Hopefully there were no fatalities. Pretty scary stuff. And, although explanations vary, this isn't the first time Russia was in the cosmic line of fire... see the Tunguska event.  Mac's posts about Tunguska can be found here.

Wired: Table Of Malcontents

"Post-Human Blues: Mac Tonnies is undeniably a bit of a weirdo. Perhaps that’s why I like him so much, though I agree with nearly nothing that he writes. His subject is largely the future of humanity: he enthusiastically imagines a future, sometimes hopefully, sometimes apocalyptically, where the transhuman is real."

- John Brownlee - via this post from the 2007 Wired blog: Table of Malcontents 

More Mac trivia... an excerpt of this quote is blurbed on the PHB side-bar, but Mac also posted about it here (with comments from Brownlee and himself).

Table of Malcontents seems to have been a fine blog, but, unfortunately, only lasted 9 months.

Note: this post replaces the 2011 video, Robots of Brixton by Kibwe Tavares and Factory Fifteen. It lost too much in a small format, but, if you haven't caught it in the past, it can be seen in its full glory here.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

From The Other Side

Jim Harold's Paranormal Plus Club

Brought to you from the Other Side (no, not that other side), Jim Harold's radio show... where Paul Kimball discusses his friend, Mac Tonnies, at some length. Topics include Post Human Blues; Volume I, the 2006 New Frontiers Symposium, and those enigmatic Crypto's. The Other Side is subscription-only listening, but Paul has graciously provided a direct link to the MP3. Thanks, Paul!

Note: Just in case you missed it, Paul chatted with George Noory on Coast to Coast AM last month...  notice (& link) can be found here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Moth & The Machine

"Lead author of the research, Dr Noriyasu Ando, said: "The simple and robust odour tracking behaviour of the silkmoth allows us to analyse its neural mechanisms from the level of a single neuron to the moth's overall behaviour. By creating an 'artificial brain' based on the knowledge of the silkmoth's individual neurons and tracking behaviour, we hope to implement it into a mobile robot that will be equal to the insect-controlled robot developed in this study...

The best way to elicit adaptive behaviours of insects is to put them into extraordinary situations. The turning bias in our study is analogous to a situation in which we try to ride unbalanced bicycles. We need training to ride such bicycles smoothly but the silkmoth overcomes the situation with only simple and fast sensory-motor feedbacks," said Dr Ando."

- Excerpt from a 2/5/13 article: Insect drives robot to track down smells 


Life imitating art again... specifically my art... blogged about previously here and finally, here. Whatdaya mean you can't make this sh*t up? ;-)

By the way, it took 14 silkmoths to complete this study. I say no more.

(Hat tip to Perceval at the Daily Grail.)

(Detail) Worm's Last Memory - Digital - 2009, Dia Sobin

Friday, February 1, 2013

Mind Meld: Science Fiction and Science Fact

Screen shot from the 2002 Sy-Fi miniseries Taken

"Turns out two heads really are better than one. Two people have successfully steered a virtual spacecraft by combining the power of their thoughts - and their efforts were far more accurate than one person acting alone. One day groups of people hooked up to brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) might work together to control complex robotic and telepresence systems, maybe even in space."

- Excerpt from a New Scientist article, Mind-meld brain power is best for steering spaceships by Paul Marks, February 1, 2013

From the life-imitates-art file: I was taking my daily stroll through Graham Hancock's news page today, when I came across the link to the (above) New Scientist article about brain-computer interfacing. I'd heard of instances where brain signals can now be used to control computer operated devices - such as prosthetic limbs - but the idea of more than one brain controlling complex systems "in space" immediately rang a bell.

And then I remembered why. If you ever saw that Sy-Fi miniseries Taken (from way back when in 2002) - directed by Stephen Spielberg, and one of my personal favorites - you probably have this scene embedded in your head: a pair of middle-aged psychic twins who unwittingly become (doomed) participants in a secret government experiment to test-fly a captured alien spacecraft using human "mind power". It was ultimately pretty horrifying... the twins suffering cerebral hemorrhages as they sat, completely unprotected - in the strange alien cockpit. (see screen-shot above).

The film's premise for the alien craft was that it was powered by the alien brains... although instead of two in a virtual spacecraft, as in the article, it took 5 brains for intergalactic space travel.

Below is a clip from Taken - the first 4 minutes describing the craft's power source. As for the fate of the psychic twins - that can be found 7 minutes into this clip.