vihu

~ ideal career: writer-musician-physician-scientist-entrepreneur

~ admires novelists who create believable worlds with science, history, and culture, and strong, complex characters

~ respects people who seek to balance the intransigence of morality and compassion for humanity

~ enjoys observing people and animals, in literature as well as real-life situations

~ tries to understand different perspectives, cultures, etc.

~ loves to learn, and appreciates things that make her think.

This erratic notepad is a perfectionist's exercise in spontaneity, and a collection of miscellaneous items of interest.

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unknowneditors:

Reuben Wu | http://reubenwu.com/ | Tumblr

Reuben Wu is a British musician and member of the electronic band Ladytron. He is also an accomplished photographer. The pics of this set belong to “Ultima Esperanza” on his website.

Be sure to check out Unknown Editors on Tumblr & Facebook.

A commonplace book is a central resource or depository for ideas, quotes, anecdotes, observations and information you come across during your life and didactic pursuits. The purpose of the book is to record and organization these gems for later use in your life, in your business, in your writing, speaking or whatever it is that you do.

Some of the greatest men and women in history have kept these books. Marcus Aurelius kept one — which more or less became the Meditations. Petrarch kept one. Montaigne, who invented the essay, kept a handwritten compilation of sayings, maxims and quotations from literature and history that he felt were important. His earliest essays were little more than compilations of these thoughts. Thomas Jefferson kept one. Napoleon kept one. HL Mencken, who did so much for the English language, as his biographer put it, “methodically filled notebooks with incidents, recording straps of dialog and slang” and favorite bits from newspaper columns he liked. Bill Gates keeps one.

[…]

A commonplace book is a way to keep our learning priorities in order. It motivates us to look for and keep only the things we can use. … This is a project for a lifetime.

Fantastic piece by Ryan Holiday (who knows a thing or two about moving minds) on why and how to keep a “commonplace book.” Pair with Virginia Woolf on the creative benefits of keeping a diary and Joan Didion on keeping a notebook.

Of course, one could argue that a thoughtfully curated Tumblr is a “commonplace book” in its own right - after all, isn’t Tolstoy’s Calendar of Wisdom, the ultimate commonplace book, essentially a primitive Tumblr?

(via explore-blog)

(via explore-blog)

I find myself trying ever more radical interpretations of traditional dishes, in an effort to somehow express the void I feel so acutely. Today I tried this recipe:

Tuna Casserole

Ingredients: 1 large casserole dish

Place the casserole dish in a cold oven. Place a chair facing the oven and sit in it forever. Think about how hungry you are. When night falls, do not turn on the light.

While a void is expressed in this recipe, I am struck by its inapplicability to the bourgeois lifestyle. How can the eater recognize that the food denied him is a tuna casserole and not some other dish? I am becoming more and more frustrated.

A parodic masterpiece circa 1987: The Jean-Paul Sartre Cookbook, the best thing since these parodic recipes and household tips by the great writers.

Pair with the very real, very delightful Artists’ & Writers’ Cookbook.

(via explore-blog)

A faith that is centered upon getting into heaven is the most selfish form of religion. I do not understand how someone could honestly believe that getting into heaven is all there is to Christianity because Jesus emphasizes that faith is about how we live our lives at this very moment.

explore-blog:

The Art of Thought Graham Wallas's timeless 1926 model for the four stages of creativity – Preparation, Incubation, Illumination, and Verification – and how to master them. 

In the daily stream of thought these four different stages constantly overlap each other as we explore different problems. An economist reading a Blue Book, a physiologist watching an experiment, or a business man going through his morning’s letters, may at the same time be “incubating” on a problem which he proposed to himself a few days ago, be accumulating knowledge in “preparation” for a second problem, and be “verifying” his conclusions on a third problem. Even in exploring the same problem, the mind may be unconsciously incubating on one aspect of it, while it is consciously employed in preparing for or verifying another aspect. And it must always be remembered that much very important thinking, done for instance by a poet exploring his own memories, or by a man trying to see clearly his emotional relation to his country or his party, resembles musical composition in that the stages leading to success are not very easily fitted into a “problem and solution” scheme. Yet, even when success in thought means the creation of something felt to be beautiful and true rather than the solution of a prescribed problem, the four stages of Preparation, Incubation, Illumination, and the Verification of the final result can generally be distinguished from each other.

Here is the stage-by-stage breakdown of his model.

unknowneditors:

Øystein Aspelund l http://oysteinaspelund.com/

Norwegian photographer Øystein Aspelund invites us to discover with this series “Adrift” the universe of black and white photographs illustrating different states of mind mixed with the use of water in various forms. 

Be sure to check out Unknown Editors on Tumblr & Facebook.

jtotheizzoe:

One Human Mind Controlling Another … Well, Sort Of:
University of Washington scientists have achieved what they call the first noninvasive human brain-to-brain interface, doing so without surgery or brain implants. We’ve seen similar things in rats, but this is the first time it’s been reported in humans. There’s a catch, though. There’s always a catch.
What they did: Two subjects, a sender and a receiver, sat in separate rooms wearing (silly-looking) EEG caps. The sender played a simple artillery-type video game, but instead of manually “pew-pew-ing” when he wanted to, he just thought about pulling the trigger.
The recipient had his finger on a trigger. He could not see the game screen and could not hear the sender. Between the two subjects was a pair of computers and brain-interpreting software. When the sender thought about firing, the recipient received a signal … and he pressed the trigger at precisely the right moment! BOOM!! Achievement unlocked!! You can watch a video of the experiment here.

What this means: Human brains can be connected, and information from one can be used to stimulate the other. Two of the most complex computers ever created are communicating through two considerably simpler computers, which is very cool.
So what’s the catch? It comes down to the word “specific”. I mean, there’s also the fact that this is coming from a press release and not a peer-reviewed research paper. That’s a big catch, but it only means that it’s preliminary, not wrong. The biggest thing is that this is certainly not the transmission of thoughts or specific brain signals between two human beings.
These researchers used a technique called EEG, those funny looking electrode caps we’re all familiar with. EEG is very good at sensing the brain’s electrical activity (like a motor signal that says “pull the trigger”) and recording it in real time (you see a blip as soon as the brain registers electrical activity). But EEG kind of sucks when it comes to spatial resolution. There’s better techniques for this kind of thing, but they are more complex.
Our brain is crowded with nearly a hundred billion neurons, and exponentially more connections between them. In the regions that control your movement, like pressing a video game trigger, they are packed in there like cellular sardines. but two neighboring neurons could be controlling very different actions. EEG can’t tell the difference, it doesn’t have the precision to read a signal and say “You meant to press the trigger” as opposed to “You meant to give the other researcher the bird”.
My guess is that the recipient did feel something, but there is so much unconscious activity going on in our brains that I have a hard time believing the command to “PUSH THE BUTTON” just fell out of the ether and he did it. He most likely got a very generalized brain buzz, and then just pushed the button.
The researchers claim this could one day be used to help someone land a plane if the pilot goes down, or communicate beyond language. Needless to say, I’m skeptical. Don’t put me on that plane.
But it’s still cool. This is another step in decoding the elaborate circuitry of the brain, and perhaps one day we will be able to recreate that information in meaningful ways, like hat-controlled prosthetic limbs, or automatic hunger-triggered pizza-ordering systems. But today is not that day (and the pizza lovers wept).

jtotheizzoe:

One Human Mind Controlling Another … Well, Sort Of:

University of Washington scientists have achieved what they call the first noninvasive human brain-to-brain interface, doing so without surgery or brain implants. We’ve seen similar things in rats, but this is the first time it’s been reported in humans. There’s a catch, though. There’s always a catch.

What they did: Two subjects, a sender and a receiver, sat in separate rooms wearing (silly-looking) EEG caps. The sender played a simple artillery-type video game, but instead of manually “pew-pew-ing” when he wanted to, he just thought about pulling the trigger.

The recipient had his finger on a trigger. He could not see the game screen and could not hear the sender. Between the two subjects was a pair of computers and brain-interpreting software. When the sender thought about firing, the recipient received a signal … and he pressed the trigger at precisely the right moment! BOOM!! Achievement unlocked!! You can watch a video of the experiment here.

What this means: Human brains can be connected, and information from one can be used to stimulate the other. Two of the most complex computers ever created are communicating through two considerably simpler computers, which is very cool.

So what’s the catch? It comes down to the word “specific”. I mean, there’s also the fact that this is coming from a press release and not a peer-reviewed research paper. That’s a big catch, but it only means that it’s preliminary, not wrong. The biggest thing is that this is certainly not the transmission of thoughts or specific brain signals between two human beings.

These researchers used a technique called EEG, those funny looking electrode caps we’re all familiar with. EEG is very good at sensing the brain’s electrical activity (like a motor signal that says “pull the trigger”) and recording it in real time (you see a blip as soon as the brain registers electrical activity). But EEG kind of sucks when it comes to spatial resolution. There’s better techniques for this kind of thing, but they are more complex.

Our brain is crowded with nearly a hundred billion neurons, and exponentially more connections between them. In the regions that control your movement, like pressing a video game trigger, they are packed in there like cellular sardines. but two neighboring neurons could be controlling very different actions. EEG can’t tell the difference, it doesn’t have the precision to read a signal and say “You meant to press the trigger” as opposed to “You meant to give the other researcher the bird”.

My guess is that the recipient did feel something, but there is so much unconscious activity going on in our brains that I have a hard time believing the command to “PUSH THE BUTTON” just fell out of the ether and he did it. He most likely got a very generalized brain buzz, and then just pushed the button.

The researchers claim this could one day be used to help someone land a plane if the pilot goes down, or communicate beyond language. Needless to say, I’m skeptical. Don’t put me on that plane.

But it’s still cool. This is another step in decoding the elaborate circuitry of the brain, and perhaps one day we will be able to recreate that information in meaningful ways, like hat-controlled prosthetic limbs, or automatic hunger-triggered pizza-ordering systems. But today is not that day (and the pizza lovers wept).