28 February 2010

The Sand Pit | Sam O'Hare

"The Sandpit" is a video composed of 35,000 tilt-shift photographs taken in New York City. Director Sam O’Hare wrote about this project:

I have always loved time-lapse footage, and films like Koyaanisqatsi especially, which allow you to look at human spaces in different ways, and draw comparisons between patterns at differing scales. I also really liked the tilt-shift look of making large scenes feel small, and wanted to make a film using this technique with New York as its subject.

Bits and Pieces via Neatorama

Bisou And Edgar | Waiting For The Mail

23 February 2010

The Annoying Orange

I think the eyelashes are the most disturbing element ...

The Annoying Orange YouTube Channel

Via The Presurfer

Cultural Neuroscience

By now, it should come as no surprise when scientists discover yet another case of experience changing the brain. From the sensory information we absorb to the movements we make, our lives leave footprints on the bumps and fissures of our cortex, so much so that experiences can alter "hard-wired" brain structures. Through rehab, stroke patients can coax a region of the motor cortex on the opposite side of the damaged region to pinch-hit, restoring lost mobility; volunteers who are blindfolded for just five days can reprogram their visual cortex to process sound and touch.

Still, scientists have been surprised at how deeply culture—the language we speak, the values we absorb—shapes the brain, and are rethinking findings derived from studies of Westerners. To take one recent example, a region behind the forehead called the medial prefrontal cortex supposedly represents the self: it is active when we ("we" being the Americans in the study) think of our own identity and traits. But with Chinese volunteers, the results were strikingly different. The "me" circuit hummed not only when they thought whether a particular adjective described themselves, but also when they considered whether it described their mother. The Westerners showed no such overlap between self and mom. Depending whether one lives in a culture that views the self as autonomous and unique or as connected to and part of a larger whole, this neural circuit takes on quite different functions.

"Cultural neuroscience," as this new field is called, is about discovering such differences. Some of the findings, as with the "me/mom" circuit, buttress longstanding notions of cultural differences. For instance, it is a cultural cliché that Westerners focus on individual objects while East Asians pay attention to context and background (another manifestation of the individualism-collectivism split). Sure enough, when shown complex, busy scenes, Asian-Americans and non-Asian--Americans recruited different brain regions. The Asians showed more activity in areas that process figure-ground relations—holistic context—while the Americans showed more activity in regions that recognize objects.
Read more: Newsweek | 18 February 2010

Thanks, Marc

22 February 2010

Carrying Personal Firearms Now Legal In National Parks

A federal law taking effect Monday may alter the standard checklist for many Americans as they pack to visit their national parks: insect repellent, snacks, hiking boots . . . double-barreled shotgun.

Visitors now can pack heat in any national park from Gates of the Arctic to Everglades, provided they comply with the firearms laws of the park's home state, according to the new law that was passed as an amendment to credit-card legislation.

In some instances, they may carry concealed and loaded firearms, including at campsites in Yosemite Valley, along trails at Yellowstone and at the rim of the Grand Canyon.

Gun advocates welcomed the law as overdue, saying firearms are allowed in national forests and other federal lands, many of which are next to national parks.

But opponents say guns don't belong in the nation's highly protected parks, where it remains illegal to fire a weapon or kill an animal and where employees, including most rangers, are unarmed.

The presence of guns, they say, could increase the chance of deadly accidents and up the ante in confrontations between park visitors or between visitors and wildlife.

The law, passed by Congress in May, reverses 94 years of National Park Service policy that generally allowed visitors to transport unloaded, disassembled weapons in the trunks of their cars. It applies not only to national parks, but also to national wildlife refuges.

Weapons won't be allowed in buildings where federal employees work, such as the Statue of Liberty and park visitors centers. But restaurants, hotels and gift shops will be subject to the new gun law. Yosemite's historic Ahwahnee hotel, for example, must allow visitors who are legally entitled to carry weapons to bring them into the building.

Gun-rights advocates are planning to mark the occasion by holding weapon-toting cookouts at Gettysburg, Valley Forge and other parks.
Read the rest of the article at The Los Angeles Times

Via Gawker


An investigative and exploratory hands-on gloves-off study into the practice of putting things 'off''. Sometimes the only way to get something done is to do two dozen other things first. Story, animation, and direction by Johnny Kelly.
Vimeo | Mickey and Johnny

Meet Or Die | Where Lousy Meetings Live On Forever

Most meetings are boring time-wasters. Tell Goolah what industry you work in, the number of employees in your company, how long the meeting lasted, and who attended, and Goolah will tell you how much money you wasted.

Meet Or Die via The Presurfer

20 February 2010

Babies With Laser Eyes

You can find anything on the Internet. Send your baby's picture to Babies With Laser Eyes and The Frogman will "laserfy" it.

Via Urlesque

CodeOrgan Turns URLs Into (Bad) Music

The CodeOrgan analyzes the "body" content of any web page and translates that content into music using a complex algorithm to define the key, the synth style, and the drum pattern most appropriate to the page content. Read more about how the content is converted and try it out for yourself at
CodeOrgan. Listen to Lanny-yap's music here.

Via Neatorama

19 February 2010

Britain's Ministry Of Defense Releases Classified UFO Files


"The Ethical Dog"

Every dog owner knows a pooch can learn the house rules—and when she breaks one, her subsequent groveling is usually ingratiating enough to ensure quick forgiveness. But few people have stopped to ask why dogs have such a keen sense of right and wrong. Chimpanzees and other nonhuman primates regularly make the news when researchers, logically looking to our closest relatives for traits similar to our own, uncover evidence of their instinct for fairness. But our work has suggested that wild canine societies may be even better analogues for early hominid groups—and when we study dogs, wolves and coyotes, we discover behaviors that hint at the roots of human morality.

Morality, as we define it in our book Wild Justice, is a suite of interrelated other-regarding behaviors that cultivate and regulate social interactions. These behaviors, including altruism, tolerance, forgiveness, reciprocity and fairness, are readily evident in the egalitarian way wolves and coyotes play with one another. Canids (animals in the dog family) follow a strict code of conduct when they play, which teaches pups the rules of social engagement that allow their societies to succeed. Play also builds trusting relationships among pack members, which enables divisions of labor, dominance hierarchies and cooperation in hunting, raising young, and defending food and territory. Because this social organization closely resembles that of early humans (as anthropologists and other experts believe it existed), studying canid play may offer a glimpse of the moral code that allowed our ancestral societies to grow and flourish.
Read more from "The Ethical Dog" at Scientific American

Via Arts & Letters Daily

WTF | Utah State Senator Wants To Share MLK Day With Gunmaker

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

John Moses Browning

The NAACP has condemned a Utah lawmaker's bill that would add the name of a local gunmaker to Martin Luther King Day.

Under state Sen. Mark Madsen's proposed law, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., would share his holiday with John Moses Browning, an early 20th-century gunmaker behind such famous gun brands as Browning, Colt and Winchester.

The new holiday would be called "Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr./John M. Browning Day."
Read more at The Raw Story

Via The Daily What

"It's Not You, It's Me"

Despite being self-absorbed, arrogant, entitled and exploitative, narcissists are also fascinating.

And not just from a clinical perspective; the research finds that we are strangely drawn to their self-centred personalities, their dominance and their hostility, their sensitivity and their despair, at least for a while.

Psychologists are fascinated by narcissists, both why we like them despite on some level recognising their dysfunction, and because they embody so many paradoxes. Extreme narcissists inevitably reveal their true nature to those around them and are soon rejected. So why don't we (and the narcissists) learn?
Read more at PsyBlog

Via The Awl

18 February 2010

Cat Bath

This Sphinx cat really does seem to enjoy bathing. Whenever I tried to bathe my cats, the result was more like this:

Via Buzzfeed

17 February 2010

16 February 2010

Bisou @ Seven Months

Merry little Bisou was 28 weeks old on 11 February and weighs about six pounds. She has all her adult teeth and had her first bath last weekend. Her fancy new coat was a gift from her Auntie Nina, another lover of "little fuzzy white dogs."

Thanks, Nina!

14 February 2010

Sarah Palin's Life Through Google Searches

A parody of Google's "Parisian Love" Superbowl ad.

YouTube via The Christian Science Monitor

12 February 2010

11 February 2010

Snowpocalypse 3.0 | Aftermath

Icicles on Tim's and Jennifer's houses

Looking west on 29th Street from St. Paul Street

2900 block of St. Paul Street

Front yards

Have A Dynamic Valentine's Day

Savage Chickens via The Daily What

10 February 2010

Shiba Inu 5 @ 3.5 Weeks

People Who Like Monkeys Even More Than I Do

Awkward Family Photos

DSM-V Proposed Revisions

The American Psychiatric Association today released the proposed draft diagnostic criteria for the fifth edition of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The draft criteria represent content changes under consideration for DSM, which is the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health and other health professionals, and is used for diagnostic and research purposes.

“These draft criteria represent a decade of work by the APA in reviewing and revising DSM,” said APA President Alan Schatzberg, M.D. “But it is important to note that DSM-5 is still very much a work in progress – and these proposed revisions are by no means final.” The proposed diagnostic criteria will be available for public comment until April 20, and will be reviewed and refined over the next two years. During this time, the APA will conduct three phases of field trials to test some of the proposed diagnostic criteria in real-world clinical settings.

Proposed revisions

  • The recommendation of new categories for learning disorders and a single diagnostic category, “autism spectrum disorders” that will incorporate the current diagnoses of autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder (not otherwise specified). Work group members have also recommended that the diagnostic term “mental retardation” be changed to “intellectual disability,” bringing the DSM criteria into alignment with terminology used by other disciplines.

  • Eliminating the current categories substance abuse and dependence, replacing them with the new category “addiction and related disorders.” This will include substance use disorders, with each drug identified in its own category. Eliminating the category of dependence will better differentiate between the compulsive drug-seeking behavior of addiction and normal responses of tolerance and withdrawal that some patients experience when using prescribed medications that affect the central nervous system.

  • Creating a new category of “behavioral addictions,” in which gambling will be the sole disorder. Internet addiction was considered for this category, but work group members decided there was insufficient research data to do so, so they recommended it be included in the manual’s appendix instead, with a goal of encouraging additional study.

  • New suicide scales for adults and adolescents to help clinicians identify those individuals most at risk, with a goal of enhancing interventions across a broad range of mental disorders; the scales include research-based criteria such as impulsive behavior and heavy drinking in teens.

  • Consideration of a new “risk syndromes” category, with information to help clinicians identify earlier stages of some serious mental disorders, such as neurocognitive disorder (dementia) and psychosis.

  • A proposed new diagnostic category, temper dysregulation with dysphoria (TDD), within the Mood Disorders section of the manual. The new criteria are based on a decade of research on severe mood dysregulation, and may help clinicians better differentiate children with these symptoms from those with bipolar disorder or oppositional defiant disorder.

  • New recognition of binge eating disorder and improved criteria for anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, as well as recommended changes in the definitions of some eating disorders now described as beginning in infancy and childhood to emphasize that they may also develop in older individuals.

  • Other proposed changes include the addition of "dimensional assessments" to diagnostic evaluations and a consideration of how gender, race, and ethnicity can affect the diagnostic process. Read the American Psychiatric Association press release here.

    APA DSM-V Development

    Via The Awl

    Snowpocalypse 3.0 | Hour 20

    It's officially a blizzard. Another blizzard. In less than a week.

    Thank you, Unknown Snowblower Person, for clearing our front walk.

    08 February 2010

    "Let That Which Is Unsaid Be Said"

    The Bureau of Communication provides a selection of fill-in-the-blanks forms that you can send via email.

    For Midge

    Via 9gag

    Flavor Spoon

    This is a two part spoon, the pink part can hold garlic or other chunky spices, and when the white part is put over it, every bit you take will have some of the extra flavor you have inside. I've tried just eating hot water with it (while the had spoon garlic and peppers inside) and it actually worked.
    Matt Brown via Serious Eats and The Daily What

    07 February 2010

    Snowpocalypse 2.0 | It Could Get Ugly

    Sign on upended laundry basket says, "Please Don't Park Here."

    06 February 2010

    Snowpocalypse 2.0 | Here Comes The Sun

    Snowpocalypse 2.0 | Hour 24

    Everyone is starting to dig out. Still snowing, but we have food, drink, toilet paper, and electricity, and there's pea soup simmering on the stove. It's odd and wonderful to watch folks ski up Saint Paul Street.

    Snowpocalypse 2.0 | Hour 19


    05 February 2010

    Record Tripping | Bell Brothers' New Game

    Use your mouse's scroll wheel to navigate through a series of time-based rotational puzzles. Beautiful Flash animation and graphics.

    Bell Brothers' Record Tripping via Boing Boing

    Snowpocalypse 2.0 | Hour Five

    So far, very disappointing.


    No screen cap can do Yvette's Bridal and Formal Web site justice. Points for the enthusiastic use of MSPaint.

    Yvette's via Jezebel