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Eye of Newt:

Wednesday, October 20, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

Even severely sleep deprived people are still able to perform to some degree on a verbal learning test. This implies that some other area of the brain must become active to compensate for the loss of temporal lobe functioning. In fact, activity can be seen in the parietal lobe that is not present during verbal learning tests using rested subjects (5). Greater activity within this region corresponded to better performance by subjects in research studies (7). Still, sleep deprived people do not perform as well on these tests as do fully rested subjects (3), (4). One possible reason for the poorer performance after missing sleep, aside from unregenerated neurons, could be the fact that since the parietal lobe is not usually used to performing tasks such as these it is not as adept at carrying them out. Therefore, when control switches from the temporal lobe to the parietal lobe some speed and accuracy is naturally lost. Interestingly, sleep deprived subjects have been shown to have better short-term memory abilities than their well-rested counterparts (6). Since memory is associated with this region of the cerebral cortex the fact that it is already active in sleep deprived people could make it easier for new synapses to be created, thus forming new short-term memories more easily.

Word o' the day: "smargard". Remarkably little information online; see if you can find anything deeper than, say, "green".

Concept o' the day: "doing darshan". Seeing as a form of spiritual practice. The various meanings of "vision". Crowds lining up to look upon the guru, and/or to have the guru look upon them.

Doing darshan on a stone, a tree, a piece of string, a nose.

Subject: Find out if Jolene is a real man...

So I have floating in my mind this half-formed idea that "there's no such thing as a free lunch" is true only so long as you stay on the same indifference curve. And I don't think I actually mean "indifference curve". Something about levels of technology.

"Hey, if you make that ham and bread into a sandwich and eat it, rather than throwing it in to the canal every day, you won't have to buy lunch anymore!"

"Whoa, you're right! Who says there's no such thing as a free lunch?"

Long story mentions that Utah Phillips and Ani DiFranco have worked together. Which I think is pretty cool.

Subject: Windows XP w/ Office XP - $80. emptily millstones
Subject: Re: before that terrible autumn
Subject: assist your girlfriend in pain

All sorts of potential there.

From an intranet weblog that you probably couldn't see even if I were to link to it, an IBM Systems Journal issue that contains a real nuts-and-bolts paper on "Developing integrated antenna subsystems for laptop computers" (pdf). In case you ever want to read about how those particular atoms work.

From Ian who used to have a weblog, the very memorable iDebate explanation.

Some spam that started out very wonderfully:

From: Queen Luna <faberlivestock@delaware.co.jp>
Subject: marvelous doctrine

You help your dog chase its tail.

But it got boring after that.

Bill point us to some scary alternative history: "What if George W. Bush had been elected president?". And also to a joke set in that same dystopian world (also seen on the John Cleese):

How many Bush administration officials does it take to change a light bulb?

None. There's nothing wrong with that light bulb. There is no need to change anything. We made the right decision and nothing has happened to change our minds. People who criticize this light bulb now, just because it doesn’t work anymore, supported us when we first screwed it in, and when these flip-floppers insist on saying that it is burned out, they are merely giving aid and encouragement to the Forces of Darkness.

We also have this piece, which we're having a hard time fitting into our Grand Conspiracy view of the world:

The founder of the U.S. Christian Coalition said Tuesday he told President George W. Bush before the invasion of Iraq that he should prepare Americans for the likelihood of casualties, but the president told him, "We're not going to have any casualties."

And finally complex doings at the National Park Service (which we got to after googling for a slightly more objective source than Honest Chief dot com, interesting as the latter is).

The Teaching Company is offering a free lecture from a course ("The Terror of History: Mystics, Heretics, and Witches in the Western Tradition") that I've been tempted to buy from them. Nice to have a snippet of it free.

Subject: denigrate solicitation foamflower

Steve who used to have a weblog points out that (someone pointed out to him that) he and I and colleagues are mentioned in a footnote in one of the infamous DeCSS cases. Embarassingly, our work with analogies between computer viruses and biological viruses is cited to give some patina of credibility to the claim that (roughly) the State ought to mercilessly crush anyone who even hints at spreading around any DMCA-protected information, because otherwise it will spread around the world like an epidemic and destroy capitalism.


What's the Law of the Land at the moment about whether linking to a website that violates the DMCA violates the DMCA, anyway?


it's what's for dinner

I added such links to my own diary (which is now at the glorious vanity domain http://gerph.org/diary/) purely because it's a useful technology and because Opera 7 highlights them on the 'navigation' toolbar (which is actually pretty poor 'cos you can't tell whether there is an active link until you float over it). Anyhow, 'next' on mine goes in to the future, and 'prev' goes into the past, and that works for the year pages, too, Where applicale, I've included some of the other keywords, too - so you can go up to the parent, back to the home, search engine or 'about' pages. I never got around to doing a 'copyright' page, but that would be a nice idea. Of the many sites that helped in these decisions, [link] was handy for me - might be useful for you. Oh, and an orange.



Blackberries and bitter lemons...the end of the innocence. "I love you," she said "I wish we saw more of you around here."

Federal District Court declares Patriot netsnooping unconstitutional. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/30/national/30patriot.html

Duff beer for me, Duff beer for you. You'll have a Duff, I'll have one too!

Now some of those are actually about subcutaneous implants used to buy drinks in Barcelona, and the striking down of bits of the Patriot act and all, and not really quite exactly about fruit as such.

But that's okay.

Saturday, October 16, 2004  permanent URL for this entry

Finally wrote up some books from the "already read" pile. "Collision with the Infinite" (fascinating), "Jacob Atabet" (most interesting for its flaws, if that's what they are), "Dead Man's Knock" (a lousy John Dickson Carr novel that I actually wish I hadn't read), and "The Anubis Gates" (fun). Books longa, vita brevis.

From Thoughts, Arguments, and Rants, a great philosophical critique of "the rather odd claim that in 164 different TV shows, what we're seeing is not what is really happening in the fiction, but what happens in the mind of a small character from St. Elsewhere called Tommy Westphall". (See also the MeFi thread; isn't popular culture great?)

Subject: [freckle]

And speaking of philosophy, a nice apothegm (contrast "apothem") from pseudopodium:

But the point of studying philosophy isn't verifiable truth any more than the point of eating is chestnut soup with foie gras custard. The discipline's founded on dialogue. What we gain from it is the pleasure of the exercise and (possibly) some ability to handle multiple systems of abstraction more coherently, flexibly, and sincerely -- sincerity being what distinguishes the philosophy game from sophism.

A succinct summary of what it's all about (for suitable values of "it").

In website news, thanks to prodding from a reader the relative links in the rss and Atom feeds are now being automatically absolutized, pandering to buggy and/or lazy feed-readers that don't properly set their base URLs. Any problems observed in the feeds should of course be reported to the proper authorities.

Zillions of Microsoft security updates this month. I haven't mentioned Windows security holes for awhile, since they've become so routine, but we have an unusually lush crop this time around.

From Marginal Revolution, a really juicy paragraph from (and about) The Next Really Big Enormous Thing:

If a new growth transition were to be similar to the last few, in terms of the number of doublings and the increase in the growth rate, then the remarkable consistency in the previous transitions allows a remarkably precise prediction. A new growth mode should arise sometime within about the next seven industry mode doublings (i.e., the next seventy years) and give a new wealth doubling time of between seven and sixteen days.

"Oh Freddy, self-conjugating fractal diamond bio-lattices are so last Tuesday!"

Who is the boss of you?

It's acceptable for consumers to use software that edits out nudity or bad language from a DVD movie -- but they had better leave the commercials and promotional announcements in, according to legislation adopted by the House of Representatives this week.

Remember, there are to be no general-purpose computers!

We'll try to stop with the "Derrida is dead" jokes soon, but not before we point you at fafblog's:

"I don't get it," says me. "How could Derrida die? He was a social construct."

And while we're here, from bookslut, the Guardian's Deconstructing Jacques:

The controversial philosopher Jacques Derrida died last week. But does anyone actually understand him? Stephen Moss asked a few key thinkers.

From the referer log, to here (does anyone read that language? what did they say about me?), to the very amazing [pongamania plus!]: "Creatures made of Pongo [tm] and clay". Not a weblog so much as a peculiar-statuary log. What a good idea!

We've mentioned Wikipedia, of course, and Wiktionary. See also Wiki Quote! (Where's the WikiThesaurus?)

Also from Marginal Revolution, a link to a piece about "Blog Explosion", including a noteworthy (and mostly clueless) comment from the Blog Explosion people themselves. I think the basic indictment is correct:

Behold Blog Explosion, the first blog spam co-operative. With Blog Explosion, you can now sign up to generate worthless traffic to other weblogs, in return for their generating worthless traffic to you.

The Dynamist (from whom I originally wandered to Marginal Revolution) points out in passing that at the recent debate George W. Bush actually allowed that atheists are Americans also:

You're equally an American if you choose to worship an almighty and if you choose not to.

Contrast his father's statement: "I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots; this is one nation under God." Pretty radical guy, that Dubya.

Hm, so, well. I apologize for just sort of dumping the link-file on you here. I have nothing very profound floating at the top of my brain; hopefully the little Book Notes referenced above will constitute an acceptable contribution to the Great Conversation from me today. *8)

Happy Feast of 'Ilm!


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