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Dec 7, 2021

Continuity. An evolutionary perspective on art — Denisa Lepădatu

Posted by in categories: evolution, media & arts, robotics/AI
The Garden of Earthly Delights, closed, H. Bosch

Right after the Big Bang, in the Planck epoch, the Universe occupied a space region with a radius of 1.4 × 10-13 cm – remarkably, equal to the fundamental length characterizing elementary particles. Analogue to the way nearly all cells contain the DNA information required to build the entire organism, every region the size of an elementary particle had then the energy necessary for the Universe’s creation.

As the Universe cooled down, electrons and quarks were the first to appear, the latter forming protons and neutrons, combining into nuclei in a mere matter of minutes. During its expansion, processes started happening slower and slower: it took 380,000 years for electrons to start orbiting around the nuclei, and 100 million years for hydrogen and helium to form the first stars. Even more, it wasn’t until 4.5 billion years ago that our young Earth was born, with its oceans emerging shortly after, and the first microbes to call them home for the first time. Life took over our planet in what seems, on the scale of the Universe, a sheer instant, and turned this world into its playground. There came butterflies and tricked the non-existence of natural blue pigment by creating Christmas tree-shaped nanometric structures in their wings to reflect blue’s wavelength only; fireflies and lanternfish which use the chemical reaction between oxygen and luciferin for bioluminescence; and it all goes all the way up to the butterfly effect leading to the unpredictability of the weather forecasts, commonly known as the reason why a pair of wings flapping in Brazil can lead to a typhoon in Texas. The world as we know it now developed slowly, and with the help of continuous evolution and natural selection, the first humans came to life.

Without any doubt, we are the earthly species never ceasing to surprise. We developed rationality, logic, strategic and critical thinking, yet human nature cannot be essentially defined without bringing into the equation our remarkable appetite for art and beauty. In the intricate puzzle human existence represents, this particular piece has given it valences no other known being possesses. Not all beauty is art, but many artworks both in the past, as well as today, embody some understanding of beauty.

To define is to limit, as Oscar Wilde stated, and even though we cannot establish clear definitions of art and beauty. Yet, great works of art manage to establish a strong thread between the creator and receptor. In contrast to this byproduct of human self-expression that encapsulates unique creative behaviour, beauty has existed long before our emergence as a species and isn’t bound to it in any way. It is omnipresent, a metaphorical Higgs field that can be observed by the ones who wish to open their eyes thoroughly. From the formation of Earth’s oceans and butterflies’ blue wings to Euler’s identity and rococo architecture, beauty is a subjective ubiquity. Though a question remains – why does it evoke such pleasure in our minds? What happens in our brains when we see something beautiful? The question is the subject of an entire field, named neuroaesthetics, which identified an intricate whole-brain response to artistic stimuli. As such, our puzzling reactions to art can be explained by these responses similar to “mind wandering”, involving “thoughts about the self, memory, and future”– in other words, art seems to evoke our past experiences, present conscious self, and imagination about the future. There needs to be noted that critics of the field draw attention to the superficiality and oversimplification that may characterize our attempts to view art through the lenses of neuroscience.

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Dec 6, 2021

Google releases Pixel Feature Drop for December with UWB, Quick Tap to Snap, and more

Posted by in categories: media & arts, mobile phones, robotics/AI, security

Following last week’s surprise update, Google is back again with the December Feature Drop for Pixel owners. This time around, Google is bringing some Pixel 6-exclusive features to Pixel 4a 5G “or newer” Pixel devices. https://youtu.be/FmznwhHlCP8 These include the all-new Quick Tap to Snap, making it possible for you to quickly access and send Snaps through Snapchat right from the Lock Screen. Going along with the Quick Tap to Snap functionality, Google has introduced an all-new Pixel-exclusive lens called “Pixel Face”. The company claims that “more Pixel-exclusive Lenses” will arrive in future Feature Drops. In addition to the Feature Drop, this update includes the December Android Security Patch, and includes the following versions for these devices: Pixel 3a (XL): SQ1A.211205.008 Pixel 4 (XL): SQ1A.211205.008 Pixel 4a: SQ1A.211205.008 Pixel 4a (5G): SQ1A.211205.008 Pixel 5: SQ1A.211205.008 Pixel 5a (5G): SQ1A.211205.008 Owners of the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro will begin receiving their December updates “next week”. With last week’s update, Google announced compatibility with the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro to enable a digital car key with select BMW models. After being set up, you can simply place your Pixel on the key reader and press the engine start button. But now, Google is activating the Ultra-Wideband chip found in the Pixel 6 Pro to improve functionality. Not only will this make it easier to use your Pixel 6 Pro as a digital car key, but Google also states this will offer improved Nearby Share compatibility. Another new feature arriving for Pixel devices comes via the Sound Amplifier app. With this Feature Drop, Google is adding a new “Conversation Mode” to Pixel devices. This uses on-device Machine Learning to “help anyone who has a hard time hearing in loud environments by tuning out competing noise.” It works by pointing your phone at the person you want to have a conversation with, pinning the person, and then being able to actually enjoy hearing what they have to say. Google states this is a “sneak peek” version of the feature, but we could end up seeing it arrive for more devices in the future. Now Playing is getting an updated experience, as you’ll not only be able to identify the song with your Pixel but there’s a new music note icon next to the track information. When tapping on the music note, you’ll be able to save it as a favorite, while being able to view and search your history, along with the list of favorite songs. Keeping with the music trend, Google is bringing enhanced bass-level controls to the Pixel Buds A-Series. After the update has arrived, you’ll be able to adjust the slider between-1 and +4, which is “twice the bass range you currently have”. As we’ve seen with previous events, Google is adding a few new wallpapers to celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. In celebration of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we collaborated with Dana Kearly, a disabled multidisciplinary artist from Vancouver B.C., to create three beautiful new wallpapers for the Curated Culture collection. Last, but certainly not least, Google is bringing car crash detection support to owners of the Pixel 3 or newer in Taiwan, Italy, and France. With this feature, your phone will check with you in the event that you are in a car accident. If you do not respond within the pre-determined amount of time, your Pixel will contact emergency responders and will provide your location.

Dec 5, 2021

The Snowflake Mystery

Posted by in category: media & arts

Dr Ken Libbrecht is the world expert on snowflakes, designer of custom snowflakes, snowflake consultant for the movie Frozen — his photos appear on postage stamps all over the world. This video is sponsored by Brilliant. The first 200 people to sign up via https://brilliant.org/veritasium get 20% off a yearly subscription.

Thanks to Dr Ken Libbrecht for showing us how to grow designer snowflakes. Obviously, this video would not have been possible without his help and his expertise. His website is full of information about snowflakes http://snowcrystals.com. His new book is also available to purchase from here — https://ve42.co/SnowCrystalsBook.

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Dec 5, 2021

Helen Caldicott — “Th” Thorium Documentary

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, existential risks, media & arts, military, nuclear energy

This is the same type of double double DOUBLE down on hyperbolic and aggressive anti expert BS that has pushed a not insignificant portion of the population of the US to throw a violent tantrum against covid19 vaccines and wearing a piece of cloth on their face to keep from DYING. Similarly, ultra environmentalists on the far left have ceased to try to protect the environment FOR future generations. Now they want to protect the environment FROM future generations. They’ve become ANTIHUMAN, often to a disturbingly horrific — if hilariously stupid — extent. LITERALLY. Unless you think we shouldn’t build anything on the sterile, irradiated and dead surface of the moon by polluting it — or any other moon, asteroid, or planet by stepping on it’s surface with our filthy monkey feet. Or throwing trash into the SUN because we’d be…

👉😏🙄POLLUTING IT!🙄🤪👈

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Nov 30, 2021

AI Studies the Emotions Aroused by Music, and Our Way of Perceiving Them

Posted by in categories: information science, media & arts, robotics/AI

Summary: A new AI algorithm recognizes the complex range of emotions invoked when people listen to pieces of music.

Source: UPF Barcelona.

Music has been of great importance throughout human history, and emotions have always been the ultimate reason for all musical creations. When writing a song a composer tries to express a particular feeling, causing concert-goers to perhaps laugh, cry or even shiver.

Nov 28, 2021

Space Renaissance 2021: Highlights and Perspectives, and a Special Invitation

Posted by in categories: alien life, media & arts

As we are progressing towards the end 2021, let’s summarize what we did and where we are for Space Renaissance International. It was a quite intense and fruitful year.

A first Key Performance Indicator is membership: we have grown more than 110% in membership since November 2020, but we need more registrations, and partnerships! We have a goal for 2021, we are not far from it, and we hope to exceed it within December 20!

**A special invitation for the last event of 2021, December 20th: the Xmas Special meeting with our president Prof. Bernard Foing!** That will be a very special event, where we hope we can celebrate the achievement of our membership goal for 2021! The Zoom meeting will be open to all the SRI Members and invited friends — just registered or going to register during the meeting. During the meeting all the participants will have the possibility to make questions to the SRI President, the Founder and the Board of Directors, about the 2022 program: criticisms and proposals will be welcome.

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Nov 27, 2021

8 Intelligences: Are You a Jack of All Trades or a Master of One? | Howard Gardner | Big Think

Posted by in categories: business, education, ethics, internet, mathematics, media & arts, policy

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What does it mean when someone calls you smart or intelligent? According to developmental psychologist Howard Gardner, it could mean one of eight things. In this video interview, Dr. Gardner addresses his eight classifications for intelligence: writing, mathematics, music, spatial, kinesthetic, interpersonal, and intrapersonal.

Continue reading “8 Intelligences: Are You a Jack of All Trades or a Master of One? | Howard Gardner | Big Think” »

Nov 27, 2021

Can AI Truly Give Us a Glimpse of Lost Masterpieces?

Posted by in categories: media & arts, robotics/AI

Recent projects used machine learning to resurrect paintings by Klimt and Rembrandt. They raise questions about what computers can understand about art.

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IN 1945, FIRE claimed three of Gustav Klimt’s most controversial paintings. Commissioned in 1,894 for the University of Vienna, “the Faculty Paintings”—as they became known—were unlike any of the Austrian symbolist’s previous work. As soon as he presented them, critics were in an uproar over their dramatic departure from the aesthetics of the time. Professors at the university rejected them immediately, and Klimt withdrew from the project. Soon thereafter, the works found their way into other collections. During World War II, they were placed in a castle north of Vienna for safekeeping, but the castle burned down, and the paintings presumably went with it. All that remains today are some black-and-white photographs and writings from the time. Yet I am staring right at them.

Continue reading “Can AI Truly Give Us a Glimpse of Lost Masterpieces?” »

Nov 26, 2021

Here is an emblematic late Ptolemaic ‘Lifeboat’ of a sort — the figure falling overboard has drunk too much wine, and the cryptic imagery warns against excessive consumption

Posted by in category: media & arts

Le Imagini con la sposizione dei dei de gli antichi (The Images of the Gods of the Ancients and their Explanations) was first published in Venice in 1556. Illustrations were added in subsequent editions. New engraving and translation into other languages continued for about 150 years. Although Vicenzio Cartari lived in Renaissance Italy in 1556. he was an antiquarian, and most of the imagos originate from the late Ptolemaic period. I was an antiquarian book dealer in London specialising in Emblem books, and have most of the different early Cartari editions.

The birth of Tarrochini in Italy predates Cartari. The “Four Orders of Virtue” game by Martiano da Tortona is first mentioned in 1425. Robert Place and Ross Caldwell have replicated the lost paintings of the da Tortona using written descriptions. My approach is to use “Images of the Ancient Gods” (Cartari’s imagos) as the source images for Apollo, Hercules and the others. These icons would have been familiar to da Tortona, and could formed the basis for his lost paintings. The Wheel of Fortune originally was the Wheel of Fortuna — Goddess — but Christianised “occult” tarot of the Victorians removed as many pagan traces as it could get away with, adding The Devil, Pope and a few purely Christian images. Eliphas Levi is partly to blame.

The most important engravings are by Bolognino Zaltieri, 1571. A later 1,614 edition has slightly different engravings by Paulus Hachenberg, and I have colourized both these series. Some imagos retain banners of names or slogans associated with particular emblemata. My names won’t be agreed by everyone and can be argued about, but the reasons for these names are given in my book with reference to Cartari and The fountaine of ancient fiction Wherein is liuely depictured the images and statues of the gods of the ancients, with their proper and perticular expositions. Done out of Italian into English, by Richard Linche Gent. London: Printed by Adam Islip, 1599. I will post these 176 plus versions together with meanings and extra information on these Patreon pages regularly.

Nov 24, 2021

We might not know half of what’s in our cells, new AI technique reveals

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, media & arts, robotics/AI

Most human diseases can be traced to malfunctioning parts of a cell—a tumor is able to grow because a gene wasn’t accurately translated into a particular protein or a metabolic disease arises because mitochondria aren’t firing properly, for example. But to understand what parts of a cell can go wrong in a disease, scientists first need to have a complete list of parts.

By combining microscopy, biochemistry techniques and , researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and collaborators have taken what they think may turn out to be a significant leap forward in the understanding of human cells.

The technique, known as Multi-Scale Integrated Cell (MuSIC), is described November 24, 2021 in Nature.

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