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Old 06-25-2008, 09:44 AM   #126
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http://www.bookslut.com/features/2008_06_012943.php

Bookslut.com has a fascinating interview with Jeff Warren, author of The Head Trip: Adventures on the Wheel of Consciousness [The Head Trip] (Amazon US and UK). Warren's book is a personal exploration of the various modes of consciousness that we encounter, from day-to-day changes through to the more earth-shaking changes experienced in psychedelic trips and the like.

One of the more interesting parts of the interview (though there's certainly nothing 'less interesting' about the rest of it) is when Warren starts discussing the altered state of dreaming, and in particular, the self-awareness that occurs in lucid dreams:

[W]hen you’re self-consciously aware inside the dream you can then squeeze up real close to the walls with your little magnifying glass and look for suture marks. You can conduct experiments. You come to realize that there is a set of laws operating in the dream world that is every bit as real as the laws of physics in the waking world. What are these laws? And why aren’t there as many scientists down here with their slide rules and theories as there are out there? We spend our lives in two worlds and yet we only pay attention to one of them -- the other is seen as an embarrassing curiosity, a forum for banality-rehearsal and botched sex.

People protest: “but it’s not real, stop living in fantasy.” All experience is real. On the personal side, dreams reveal all kinds of junk about the self. On the scientific side, our dreams represent an unparalleled opportunity to examine the dynamics of consciousness. I mean think about it: without sensory input to dilute everything, you get consciousness in a pure culture. And it so happens that this pure culture -- The Dream -- runs like an underground creek beneath the waking world, muddying the ground in all kinds of interesting ways.

And that’s just the conventional science. Who knows what else we may discover digging around in the dream world. For those interested in the wooly world of mind-matter speculation, the epistemological rabbit hole goes very deep indeed.

This is going to sound hyperbolic but I really believe we’re at are at the dawn of a new age of scientific exploration. The external world is mapped; now the explorers are turning inward. The galleons have left port. They’re approaching a huge mysterious continent. They won’t be the first to arrive. There are paths already cut in the forest, where shamans and monks and others have set up outposts and launched their own expeditions into the interior.

Warren also has what are, in my opinion, some valid insights and worthy warnings about the use of psychedelics to explore modes of consciousness:

I’m interested in drug-induced alternations of consciousness, but my feeling is they’re the really obvious ****. Too many “investigators of consciousness” overlook the fine-grained shifting texture of day-to-day consciousness. It’s the difference between the big budget Hollywood blockbuster and the art house Henry James adaptation. Drug-induced alterations of consciousness have great CGI -- which is fine, I mean who doesn’t appreciate form constant explosions and DMT Machine Elves? -- the problem is, character development sucks, or rather, the characters -- and by characters I mean the objects of consciousness -- tend to be cartoons. They’re exaggerated, that’s what psychedelics do -- “non-specific amplifiers” Stanislav Grof calls them. They expand the whole topography of the mind. It’s possible more than this is going on but that’s another story.

This expansion can be valuable for understanding consciousness since it boosts the resolution of previously discreet mental dynamics. But cartoons, of course, are caricatures. If you watch only Jerry Bruckheimer movies you risk losing your ability to appreciate -- and even notice -- the subtleties and complexities of real life and consciousness, which, to circle back to my original metaphor, is more like a Henry James adaptation.

That’s a long way of saying to understand conscious experience, I think it helps to start from the more subtle naturally-occurring variations, and then work your way out.

Something else I’ve noticed about the hard-core psychonaut set: if you get too deep into the mind you can become convinced of anything. Certain psychedelics -- ayahuasca, ibogaine, DMT, LSD -- they’re like cannons, they can fire you so far that you can’t find your way back out again. People can become permanently disoriented, one basket filled with brilliant insights, one with grotesque delusions. It’s serious: the mind is both a reality-perceiving and an illusion-generating machine. So people confuse their metaphysics with their epistemology, to paraphrase the philosopher Jerry Fodor.

I could have quoted the entire thing, it's that interesting. Head on over to Bookslut.com and check out the interview in its entirety.
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Old 06-25-2008, 09:51 AM   #127
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http://www.hacknmod.com/displayMOD.php?hack=1514

DIY - Save a Wet Cell Phone using Rice

So, you dropped your phone in water. You are screwed, right? Nope, just order some Chinese Food, and you're good to go - Sort of. Actually, submerging your phone in dry rice or silica gel packets are a simple, effective way to resurrect your phone. Moisture absorbant silica gel packets can be purchased for a few bucks and effectively dry your phone. Dry rice has this same affect as well and helps to unbrick your phone. Read more about saving a wet cell phone.

For further reading, also see What to do if you spill liquid on your laptop.

"One final, perhaps surprising, note: If your phone gets soaked in salt water, you should probably flush the whole thing in fresh water before it dries. When salt water evaporates, it leaves crystals that can damage a phone's fragile components. Just be sure to remove the battery before flooding the device."
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Old 06-25-2008, 09:54 AM   #128
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http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200807/google

Is Google Making Us Stupid?
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Old 06-25-2008, 10:11 AM   #129
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http://www.customreceipt.com/index.php
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Old 06-25-2008, 10:15 AM   #130
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I have AT&T, and I just move my SIM chip into a new phone. As long as you save all your data onto the SIM memeory (as opposed to the phone memory), you're golden ....
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Old 06-25-2008, 10:15 AM   #131
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http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2008...waterfall.html

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Old 06-25-2008, 10:25 AM   #132
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http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008...oduct-designs/
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Old 06-25-2008, 10:52 AM   #133
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math pi piano solo

http://www.tomdukich.com/math%20pi%20piano%20solo.html
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Old 06-25-2008, 11:00 AM   #134
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http://www.wonderhowto.com/how-to/vi...an-egg-143178/
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Old 06-25-2008, 11:13 AM   #135
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHWuD8a3INs

THC Kills Glioma Cancer Cells - Medical Miracles from Europe (Video)
2008 06 25
Before speaking to the 5th Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics in Pacific Grove, CA, Deputy Director of NORML Paul Armentano talks about new science on Cannabis (marijuana) and the Endo-Cannabinoid system being done in Europe, while American cancer patients, many with tragic cases of Glioma brain tumors, seek any news of an alternative therapy. Paul references the work of Dr. Manuel ...
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Old 06-25-2008, 11:14 AM   #136
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http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0613163213.htm

Using Brainwaves To Chat And Stroll Through Second Life: World's First

ScienceDaily (June 16, 2008) — On 7th June 2008, Keio University succeeded in the world’s first demonstration experiment with the help of a disabled person to use brainwave to chat and stroll through the virtual world.
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Old 06-25-2008, 11:16 AM   #137
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Ion Microprobe Technology Reveals Earth was Habitable 4.3 Billion Years Ago

A team of scientists led by University of Wisconsin-Madison geologists Takayuki Ushikubo, Valley and Noriko Kita have completed an analysis of ancient minerals called zircons which shows liquid water existed at least 4.3 billion years ago and that heavy weathering by an acrid climate possibly destroyed the surface of the Earth's earliest continents when the planet was a mere 150 million years old.
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Old 06-25-2008, 11:19 AM   #138
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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencete...e-shyness.html

Scientists find childbirth wonder drug that can 'cure' shyness
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Old 06-26-2008, 08:28 AM   #139
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http://www.brainsturbator.com/site/c...new_cosmology/

Our Fractal Universe: A Sneak Peek at the New Cosmology

Our Fractal Universe: A Sneak Peek at the New Cosmology

Buddhabrot Mandelbrot VisualizationWe talk about the third dimension a lot, but most humans don’t live in it. Abbot’s Flatland was not so much a metaphor as an operational description of the sensory world most people inhabit: a continuous, unbroken plane that, despite surface variations and wrinkles, remains a flat stage for our two dimensional lives. This is inevitable, since humans cannot hover or fly without technology assistance, and few of us can jump higher than three feet off the ground.

And let’s be serious, here—what is a dimension? Have anyone ever even proved they existed? Sure, you can draw a Cartesian XYZ grid on paper, but you can also draw a unicorn vomiting angels. I’ve been digging through the concept of time for a month, and it’s a concept nobody can really define, despite the fact we all experience it. I’ve come to realize there’s very little humans can say for sure about space, either. The more we learn, the less we know. Everything you were taught in school is currently falling apart—so let’s take a look at a theory that will likely be replacing all this Big Bang horse****: the Universe is fractal and infinite at every level of scale.

Rethinking Occam’s Razor

“Each time we formulate a hypothesis, we take the simplest one possible. But what obligates the Universe to be simple?”

--James Peebles

I seriously question the assumption that the simplest explanation is usually the best. I find it truly bizarre that after the past century of scientific discovery, which has shown every single aspect of our Universe to be stranger and more complex than we ever thought possible, people still discuss the concept of Occam’s Razor with a straight face. Of course, most people having that discussion don’t even know Occam’s Razor, since the literal translation goes like this:

“...entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity.”

Before I dismiss the concept, I want to bring up one of the more interesting cognitive biases that humans are afflicted with: The Conjunction Fallacy. As puts it in his excellent paper, “Cognitive Biases Affecting Assessment of Global Risk”:

According to probability theory, adding additional detail onto a story must render the story less probable. Yet human psychology seems to follow the rule that adding an additional detail can make the story more plausible.

Of course, once you really dig into the field of cognitive bias, you’re left with the disturbing realization that our brain is just a hall of mirrors run by a monkey. It can be hard to get work done under those circumstances, so the less said about it, the better.

*That was from sept 21st - today i see this in the news:

http://space.newscientist.com/articl...-universe.html

Galaxy map hints at fractal universe

* 00:00 25 June 2008
* NewScientist.com news service
* Amanda Gefter


s the matter in the universe arranged in a fractal pattern? A new study of nearly a million galaxies suggests it is – though there are no well-accepted theories to explain why that would be so.

Cosmologists trying to reconstruct the entire history of the universe have precious few clues from which to work. One key clue is the distribution of matter throughout space, which has been sculpted for nearly 14 billion years by the competing forces of gravity and cosmic expansion. If there is a pattern in the sky, it encodes the secrets of the universe.

A lot is at stake, and the matter distribution has become a source of impassioned debate between those who say the distribution is smooth and homogeneous and those who say it is hierarchically structured and clumpy, like a fractal.

Nearly all physicists agree that on relatively small scales the distribution is fractal-like: hundreds of billions of stars group together to form galaxies, galaxies clump together to form clusters, and clusters amass into superclusters.

The point of contention, however, is what happens at even larger scales. According to most physicists, this Russian doll-style clustering comes to an end and the universe, on large scales, becomes homogeneous.

___


Both stories are cont'd on their sites - so check it out
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Old 06-26-2008, 08:47 AM   #140
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Not the biggest fan of the fractal articles... LOVE the dream state study article.
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Old 06-26-2008, 08:57 AM   #141
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheReverend View Post
Not the biggest fan of the fractal articles... LOVE the dream state study article.
I dig on the fractals for reasons i told you in rep. I dunno man, i just have a vast interest in EVERYTHING. Like i devour it all.
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Old 06-26-2008, 09:11 AM   #142
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The Midsummer Fires

How is it that the more technologically advanced this culture becomes, the more pagan it becomes? Or that some of the most enthusiastic pagans seem to be the ones most immersed in technology?

Untold millions of teenaged boys are receiving their daily tutorials in militaristic paganism every day in the immersive online game World Of Warcraft. Remember this is the exact same age group that spent their pre-teen years pretending to play Yu Gi Oh and watching Cardcaptors.

I wanted to do a post on the Saint John's Fires but couldn't find any good images, mainly because no one needs to call them that anymore. I found a couple good ones for the Midsummer Fires (still celebrated in the Celtic Fringe) but this image kept coming up. It turns out this is a week-long celebration of the Midsummer Fires.

On World of Warcraft.

Read this jaunty little blurb aloud in your best Ren-Fair English accent:

Ah, so you weren't chosen for Flamekeeper this year? Don't fret, my friend! The Midsummer Fire Festival isn't merely about that traditional honor; it's a time of merriment, a chance to celebrate the hottest season of the year by lighting great fires across the land and sharing in what the elemental spirits can offer. Come to our camps and join in the revelry!

So war it is, again, and magic. And technology. Quite a concoction. I wonder what the kids cutting their teeth on Wizards of Waverly Place will be into a few years from now.

I asked my son about the Midsummer Fire Festival and he was genuinely shocked- and a little outraged, I might add. How could a non-WoW initiate know about such a thing? Not realizing it's been around in the real world for thousands of years.

I guess this is sort of a virtual Burning Man. Which is fine.
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Old 06-26-2008, 09:28 AM   #143
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http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0624151827.htm

Oral Cannabis Ineffective In Treating Acute Pain, Study Finds

ScienceDaily (June 25, 2008) — A study published in the July issue of the Journal Anesthesiology discovered that oral cannabis (a form of medical marijuana) not only failed to alleviate certain types of pain in human volunteers but, surprisingly, it instead caused increased sensitivity to some forms of pain
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Old 06-26-2008, 09:51 AM   #144
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http://www.timboucher.com/journal/20...ese-death-van/

Makers of the death vans say the vehicles and injections are a civilized alternative to the firing squad, ending the life of the condemned more quickly, clinically and safely. The switch from gunshots to injections is a sign that China “promotes human rights now,” says Kang Zhongwen, who designed the Jinguan Automobile death van
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Old 06-26-2008, 09:56 AM   #145
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New “Intelligent” CCTV Cameras Can See and Hear

One camera for every 14 people in the UK.

Via: Telegraph:

Researchers hope the smart cameras will have a dramatic impact on crime detection and prevention by cutting response times and ensuring that more incidents are caught on tape.

A team at the University of Portsmouth has already developed software which enables cameras to spot visual clues to anything from violent crime to vandalism, by looking for tell-tale signs such as someone raising their arm suddenly or even a snapped car aerial.

Now the artificial intelligence software is being taught to recognise sounds which are associated with crimes, including breaking glass, shouted obscenities and car alarms going off. Cameras which ‘hear’ the sounds will automatically swivel to the direction they have come from, and will alert the person monitoring the system to a possible crime in progress.

Dr David Brown, who is leading the team at the university’s Institute of Industrial Research, said: “We have already developed visual recognition software, but the next stage is to develop audio recognition software to listen for particular sounds.

“We can teach the cameras to listen out for things like a swear word being shouted in an aggressive way, or for other words which might signify a crime taking place. The camera will be able to swivel to the direction of the sound at the same speed someone turns their head when they hear a scream, or about 300 milliseconds.

“People monitoring CCTV images have banks of screens in front of them, and this system helps them by alerting them to something the system has spotted. The person looking at the screen can then quickly identify if it is a crime taking place, or whether the camera has simply picked up on something innocent, like a child screaming, and act on it accordingly.”

Although the new system will inevitably raise concerns about the unstoppable march of the “surveillance state”, with one CCTV camera for every 14 people in the UK, Dr Brown said there were no plans for the system to record conversations.
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Old 06-26-2008, 09:59 AM   #146
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UK Will Allow Anonymous Witnesses in Some Court Cases

June 25th, 2008

Anonymous witnesses. Anonymous evidence. Double plus good.

Via: BBC:

The government has vowed to change the law to allow anonymous witnesses in some court cases after a key Law Lords ruling effectively halted the practice.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw said there was a real need for some witnesses to have their identities protected.

Mr Straw told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that the law will be changed “as quickly as possible”.

The ruling quashed the murder conviction of a man who was convicted with the aid of anonymous evidence.

Police have warned that serious criminals could walk free as a result.

“I am looking at this very urgently indeed,” Mr Straw said of the ruling, which applies to criminal cases in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

He said the reality of violence and intimidation in some criminal circles means accommodations must be made within the rules of evidence.

Mr Straw signalled that planned government legislation to enshrine the use of anonymous witnesses where intimidation is a risk would now become a priority.
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Old 06-26-2008, 10:00 AM   #147
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Supreme Court Cuts Exxon Punitive Damages for Valdez Oil Spill by 80%

Via: San Francisco Chronicle:

The Supreme Court, winding up a term of victories for businesses, cut punitive damages for Alaskans harmed by the Exxon Valdez oil spill by 80 percent today in a ruling that may signal new limits on damage awards for victims of corporate wrongdoing.

In a 5-3 decision, the justices reduced punitive damages from $2.5 billion to about $500 million for 32,000 commercial fishers, food processors and Alaskan natives whose livelihoods were damaged by the 1989 tanker spill, the worst in U.S. history. The court said Exxon’s conduct had not been motivated by malice or greed and noted that the jury had awarded the plaintiffs another $500 million as compensation for their losses.

Just as important for future cases, the court, which has imposed new restrictions on punitive damages for business misconduct in the last five years, suggested that the standard it used for Exxon - limiting punitive awards to an amount equal to the jury’s verdict on compensation - might apply to all class actions involving significant damages.
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Old 06-26-2008, 10:06 AM   #148
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http://www.scienceagogo.com/news/200...runc_sys.shtml

DNA Precursors In Meteorite Confirmed As Extraterrestrial
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Old 06-26-2008, 10:07 AM   #149
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The End of Theory: The Data Deluge Makes the Scientific Method Obsolete

So proclaimed statistician George Box 30 years ago, and he was right. But what choice did we have? Only models, from cosmological equations to theories of human behavior, seemed to be able to consistently, if imperfectly, explain the world around us. Until now. Today companies like Google, which have grown up in an era of massively abundant data, don't have to settle for wrong models. Indeed, they don't have to settle for models at all.

Sixty years ago, digital computers made information readable. Twenty years ago, the Internet made it reachable. Ten years ago, the first search engine crawlers made it a single database. Now Google and like-minded companies are sifting through the most measured age in history, treating this massive corpus as a laboratory of the human condition. They are the children of the Petabyte Age.

The Petabyte Age is different because more is different. Kilobytes were stored on floppy disks. Megabytes were stored on hard disks. Terabytes were stored in disk arrays. Petabytes are stored in the cloud. As we moved along that progression, we went from the folder analogy to the file cabinet analogy to the library analogy to — well, at petabytes we ran out of organizational analogies.

At the petabyte scale, information is not a matter of simple three- and four-dimensional taxonomy and order but of dimensionally agnostic statistics. It calls for an entirely different approach, one that requires us to lose the tether of data as something that can be visualized in its totality. It forces us to view data mathematically first and establish a context for it later. For instance, Google conquered the advertising world with nothing more than applied mathematics. It didn't pretend to know anything about the culture and conventions of advertising — it just assumed that better data, with better analytical tools, would win the day. And Google was right.
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Old 06-26-2008, 10:13 AM   #150
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Brain scientists discover why adventure feels good

LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists have identified a primitive area of the brain that makes us adventurous -- a finding which may help explain why people routinely fall for "new" products when shopping.

Using brain scans to measure blood flow, British researchers discovered that a brain region known as the ventral striatum was more active when subjects chose unusual objects in controlled tests.

The ventral striatum is involved in processing rewards in the brain through the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine.

Scientists believe the existence of this age-old reward mechanism indicates there is an evolutionary advantage in sampling the unknown.

"Seeking new and unfamiliar experiences is a fundamental behavioral tendency in humans and animals. It makes sense to try new options as they may prove advantageous in the long run," said Bianca Wittmann of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging at University College London.
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