February 7th, 2004

Illuminati

(no subject)

The reason for this poll was that laserboy became outraged because the newspapers only seemed to be interested in the latest ongoings on tacky reality tv-shows involving large-breasted 'celebrities' and not in political ongoings.

Leaving aside the fact that he's reading the wrong papers, I pointed out that in general people are far, far more interested in large-breasted celebrities than they are in politics.  The majority of the population of the country have, at best, a cursory interest in politics, but 50% of them have breasts and something near that number want to get their hands on some.

So, I asked the poll, which shows that even the readers of my journal (who are all, obviously, well-read, engaging people with an interest in the outside world) think about breasts far more than they think about the largest event in world politics at the current moment.

Don't blame the media for feeding you shit - if you're interested all the stories are out there, if people were interested they'd be reading them.
  • Current Music
    The Prodigy - Mindfields
Illuminati

Convention News

Mace Simplex (who played Marco) will be attending and talking about the new proposed animated prequel which leads into the new Paul Anderson movie which is bound to be good!

Peter Bowles (Commander Luxxiqwarnikekekekekekeka) will be doing a presentation on his life as a semi-aquatic bowl of nutrient gel which wants to take over the universe.

Number Six from Battlestar Galacticia will be explaining that she is a'homage' to 7 of 9 and The Prisoner and actually the victim of a particularly vicious meme.

James Marrrsters (Spunky) will be appearing with Dick Van Dyke & Mike Myers (Austin Powers, Halloween, Friday 13th) to give a masterclass in cockney nude  acting.

Colin Baker and Geri Halliwell have cancelled now that the confusion over Buffy / Buffet has been sorted out.

Dopey (Captain Archer) will look slightly pained and puzzled.

Liza Goddard is currently appearing in Run For Your Wife at the Hammersmith Playhouse. She is 57.
  • Current Music
    The Prodigy - Intro
kitty

Brains!

MRI scans have allowed us fascinating new insights into what goes on in brains and this Guardian article covers a few recent results.

"There's nothing else like human speech in nature. As well as the information carried by the words, you can tell someone's mood, their gender, their age and where they may come from. It's amazing," said Sophie Scott, an expert in speech neurobiology at University College London.

Among the big guns rolled out by researchers to crack the mystery of human language is the brain scanning technique, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Able to take snapshots of brain activity, fMRI gives an unprecedented insight into the inner workings of the brain.

Using fMRI Dr Scott has shown that the brain takes speech and separates it into words and "melody" - the varying intonation in speech that reveals mood, gender and so on. Her studies suggest words are then shunted over to the left temporal lobe for processing, while the melody is channelled to the right side of the brain, a region more stimulated by music.

Dr Johnsrude's team investigated by playing speech sounds and similar sounding non-speech sounds to people in an fMRI scanner and looked to see which part of the brain was kicked into action by speech. They found that speech was singled out for special treatment near the primary auditory cortex.

The Cambridge team is also investigating how our brains wrestle with a quirk of English - that about 80% of words have more than one meaning. Take, for example, the sentence: A shell was fired at the tank. Although the meaning is simple to grasp, the words shell, fired and tank are all ambiguous. Tests by Dr Johnsrude suggest that our brains find it far from simple to work out the meaning of such sentences, causing a flurry of activity in various parts of the brain that we take for granted.

For example, strokes often affect people's ability to speak or perceive language. But damage to different regions can have wildly different effects. Stroke damage to the right side of the brain could leave a person unable to pick up on the emotion conveyed in someone's voice, whereas damage to the left could leave them struggling to understand certain words.
  • Current Music
    The Prodigy - Speedway (Theme From Fastlane)
Illuminati

(no subject)

Some nice demos of cool future tech at the vodaphone site here.

If nothing else, the design of the site itself is pretty darn cool.
  • Current Music
    The Prodigy - Speedway (Theme From Fastlane)