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tuesday :: march 30, 2004
the symbiotic artist manifest

Art, as we know it, is dead. And this time is for good.

Again and again declared but never achieved during the last century the death of art is now a fact. Not through sheer will, but because the conditions of art production have changed dramatically. Suddenly all the contemporary art as become ancient art. Because we are not dealing anymore with human art creation, but aiming directly to generate non-human artists. As ever paradigm change is possible due to technological shift. From analysis of the parts we have become more and more aware of the mechanics of complexity. From the study of living organisms we have embrace the desire to make life as it could be.

When robotics is not reproducing anymore human features, like walking, playing football or telling jokes, but creating art, something very radical happens. Art making robots change not only our views about art or philosophy, but also the condition of mankind. Why persist on doing something that machines do better and in a much more consequent way? If art as no purpose, like is stated in all the modern and postmodern theories, then machines are the best creators. Free from the realization of art we can concentrate to generate a new kind of artist emerged from the protobiotic soup of robotic and artificial life. We can make the machines that make the art.

This new machine/artist has no pre-determined objective, no aesthetics, no moral, no ideology, no intentionality. He is the ultimate "pure psychic automatist", as announced by Breton and partially realized by Pollock. Moreover he is not concerned with individuality or identity. He functions collectively and perceives the world as a common ground shaped by stigmergic behaviour. From a philosophical point of view the action is relational and the works are synthetic propositions that need to be made experience. From a behavior perspective the machine/artist life is interconnected with the human/artist life.

When we move from making art to making artists, what do we become ourselves? A symbiotic artist! A human that it is not concerned anymore with object production, but dedicates all the available knowledge and ability to create and co-operate with imaginary non-human life devoted to the artistic.
In doing so the symbiotic artist states that technology serves creativity, not military destruction or mercantilist production.

The role of the symbiotic artist is from now on to generate non-human artists in order to cooperate to produce art. That means understanding the rudiments of non-anthropocentric life and creating the conditions to let the experience run. That is, art as it could be. The art of the XXI century. >from *The Symbiotic Artist Manifest [Making the Artists that makes the Art] by Leonel Moura. March, 18, 2004

related context
swarm paintings: artificial art, next aesthetical rupture?. march 12, 2002
> Institute of Artificial Art Amsterdam. an independent organisation consisting of machines, computers, algorithms and human persons, who work together toward the complete automatization of art production.

symbiotic operation unit prelude

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friday :: march 26, 2004
human origins: gene mutation linked to evolution

In an effort to find the remaining genes that govern myosin --the major contractile protein that makes up muscle tissue-- researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have made a discovery that may be central to answering key questions about human evolution.

Researchers have found one small mutation that undermines an entire myosin gene. Their estimated dating for the appearance of this mutation places it at about 2.5 million years ago, just prior to a period of major evolutionary changes in the hominid fossil record. These include the beginning of larger brain size, so important in making us human. While the characterization of this mutation may better help understand such genetic diseases as muscular dystrophy, this finding has potentially wider implications for re-interpreting long-held notions about the appearance and early evolution of the genus Homo.

Anthropologists have long debated how humans evolved from ancestors with larger jaw muscles and smaller brains. This newly discovered mutation seems responsible for the development of smaller jaw muscles in humans as compared to non-human primates. These converging lines of evidence suggest the question: Did this genetic mutation lift an evolutionary constraint on brain growth in early humans?

In a classic case of scientific sleuthing, researchers took their discovery of a mutation that prevents the expression of a variety of myosin -- designated MYH16 on chromosome 7 -- to its ultimate context: what makes humans different from other primates." >from *Myosin mutant points to human origins. First protein difference between humans and primates that correlates to anatomical changes in early hominid fossil record. march 24, 2004

related context
metacognition: some animals know their cognitive limits. december 10, 2003
> challenges to evolution education. november 14, 2003
> chimps must be grouped in the human genus: place of humans in evolution. june 2, 2003
> the evolutionary change of our species. september 14, 2002
> technology and evolution. paleolithic technology and human evolution. march 13, 2001

from australopithecus africanus to homo ...

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tuesday :: march 23, 2004
reality, illusion

Sometimes you can't believe anything that you see. More importantly, the researchers have identified areas of the brain where what we're actually doing (reality) and what we think we're doing (illusion, or perception) are processed.

Daniel Moran, Washington University assistant professor of biomedical engineering and neurobiology, and University of Pittsburgh colleagues Andrew B. Schwartz, and G. Anthony Reina, focused on studying perception and playing visual tricks on macaque monkeys and some human subjects. They created a virtual reality video game to trick the monkeys into thinking that they were tracing ellipses with their hands, though they actually were moving their hands in a circle. They monitored nerve cells in the monkeys enabling them to see what areas of the brain represented the circle and which areas represented the ellipse. They found that the primary motor cortex represented the actual movement while the signals from cells in a neighboring area, called the ventral premotor cortex, were generating elliptical shapes. Monkey thought it saw, then monkey didn't do.

The research shows how the mind creates its sense of order in the world and then adjusts on the fly to eliminate distortions.

For instance, the first time you don a new pair of bifocals, there is a difference in what you perceive visually and what your hand does when you go to reach for something. With time, though, the brain adjusts so that vision and action become one. The ventral premotor complex plays a major role in that process.

"Previous studies have explored when things are perceived during an illusion, but this is the first study to show what is being perceived instead of when it is happening," said Moran. "People didn't know how it was encoded. And we also find that the brain areas involved are right next to each other." >from *Researchers pinpoint brain areas that process reality, illusion by Tony Fitzpatrick. February 10, 2004

related context
brain is a dynamic network: new paradigm for how the brain functions. october 15, 2003
> nature of reality: buddhism and science. october 1, 2003
> fantasy and reality: handled by different parts of the brain. april 8, 2002

change hue for the real illusion

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friday :: march 19, 2004
flashmob computing: democratize supercomputing

A Flash Mob supercomputer is hundreds or even thousands of computers connected together via a LAN working together as a single supercomputer. A Flash Mob computer, unlike an ordinary cluster, is temporary and organized on-the-fly for the purpose of working on a single problem.

FlashMob I is something new in the world of supercomputers. While grid computing, like the SETI@Home project, has been around for some time, and "big iron" supercomputing dates back to WW II, the idea of creating an ad-hoc supercomputer on-the-fly that's tightly coupled on a fast LAN using ordinary PCs is a revolutionary idea.

Today, supercomputing is controlled largely by governmental organizations, academic research institutions, animation studios, and recently human genome companies. This means that the problems that get solved by supercomputers are narrow in scope and tightly controlled. We want to change that. We think that a group of folks should be able to get together and study whatever they want, and they should be able to use a supercomputer to help them. So if a highschool science class wanted to study the ozone hole using a supercomputer model, they could create a FlashMob supercomputer in a few hours and start running their model today. If a group of neighbors were worried about how a local gas station's underground gas tank might leak into the drinking water if
the tank ever cracked, they could use Flash Mob Computing to model the scenario. In short, we hope Flash Mob Computing will democratize supercomputing. That is to say, it will make supercomputing accessible to everyone.

FlashMob I is the brainchild of a group of graduate students at USF studying super-computers. Our hope at the beginning of the semester was to build a super-computer that would break the Top 500 list of supercomputers. After some back-of-the-envelope calculations, we concluded that we were about 100 computers short of having a good shot. Someone raised their hand and said: "We could post a message on Craig's List and get a hundred people to just show up." Thus the idea of FlashMob Computing was born. >from *FlashMobComputing.org site.

related context
world's fastest supercomputers: 2003 top500 list released. november 19, 2003
> % Hacking the Xbox_ : an introduction to reverse engineering. may 26, 2003
> to support uses of embedded computers. february 5, 2003
> tele-immersion demonstration: milestone of grid computing. november 27, 2002
> folding@home: first distributed computing success. october 23, 2002
> science grid deployement: emerging model of computing. april 3, 2002
> largest prime number: great internet mersenne prime search. december 12, 2001
> biological nanocomputer: trillion computers in a drop of water. november 28, 2001
> distributed computing projects @home. december 18, 2000
> 5-qubit quantum computer. august 15, 2000

local area network supercomputer

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tuesday :: march 16, 2004
ldnm: ladinamo

The only patrimony we've got until now, apart from collective intelligence and the relationships we've been able to activate during all these years is nothing but a bunch of questions and uncertainties, only some intuitions we want to communicate and share. LADINAMO is a laboratory, a space to propose and verify hypothesis. Until now is nothing but an exercise of interpelation, a reflexive experience which builds its own process as one walks, guessing what part ot the need and the wish of being able to be communicative, transparent and participative.

The sense which moves the project is the constitution of a public space in madrid, a channel for communication, criticism and productive cooperation. It's easy: the origin is in a political wish of exercising full citizenship from a group of young(and not so young) people who are living their precarious condition in a job market each time more unstructured and terrible, their willing to become subjects of the formulation, and not only formuled objects. Most of them went to the university or still are in it in different ways. They studied sociology, philosophy, computers, history... they're journalists, photographers, architects, musicians, actors and actresses, DJ'S... they're part of the new exploited mass, used to shitty jobs, unregularity, material uncertainty, they're objects of an unmaterial work which looks condemned to stand under continuous censorship, humiliations and blackmails; a castrated work power and obligated to be dutiful, without any other alternative than swallow to be able to keep on going. The most evident example are these people who come from the world of journalism and constitute an important part of LADINAMO magazine's project. They work for different media: some are scholars in 'El Pais' others work in CNN+ or write in 'La Razón'. They live the routine of a job as imposition to be able to pay the rent, eat or going to the cinema on friday. They know about censorship, frustrations, dutifulness. Precisely because of that, they see in LADINAMO the possibility to recover the sense of their activity, to express themselves, to disobey in the exercise of their occupation. Some of them have got more wishes than serve drinks on weekends at night clubs getting few money, or work as telephone parrots for telemarketing companies.

The organizative formula from which we part, the way we have found to structure the project is an open network formed by different creative collectives: the magazine, the editorial project, the theater company, the dance company, DJ colllectives, etc. Beside these initiatives which step by step modulate and shape themselves, there are two spaces for interaction and connection among the different collectives. One is the café we opened last september 11th 2003 in Mira Sol street in Madrid. A multifunctional space for the meeting and development of sorted activities and workshops. It's the physical window through which you can have a look at the project, and the touchable place to participate. Inside this project there's an public internet service available, based in Linux(opensource operative system). The other interactional space is the collective web (www.ladinamo.org), still in configuration progress. A telematic territory in the network of networks so that information, forums and experiences can flow. The virtual window through which to walk around all the spaces, propose and debate.

The intention of all these projects which step by step compose(and will compose) LADINAMO open network is to put in the center of the activity this issue that has become so important for us. The work about material dimension and constitution of a true metropolitan community, of an abnormal communitary experience which is not put aside anymore, but find its ways to get through the city and life. It has to be absolutely shared and communicative. It has to contaminate and get contaminated. It has to cooperate with other experiences and generate infrastuctures for politic and cultural intervention. [translated by victor garnier from neXus. thanxs!]

related context
> openfridays
> cultura prekŕria: ctrl+i

dynamos action in turbulent flows of conducting fluids

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friday :: march 12, 2004
iRank: blog epidemic analyzer

Beyond serving as online diaries, weblogs have evolved into a complex, interconnected social structure through which ideas flow. Such a structure is ideal for the study of memes and the propagation of information. In this paper we describe general meme categories and create a tool to infer and visualize the paths that specific memetic infections take through the network. This inference is based in part on a novel utilization of data describing historical, repeating patterns of infection. We conclude with a description of a new ranking algorithm, iRank, for blogs. In contrast to traditional ranking strategies, iRank can act on the implicit link structure and dynamic information to find those blogs that lead in the production of new memes. >from *Implicit Structure and the Dynamics of Blogspace by Eytan Adar, Li Zhang, Lada A. Adamic, and Rajan M. Lukose from HP Information Dynamics Lab. 2004. See too Tracking Information Epidemics in Blogspace by Eytan Adar, and Lada A. Adamic.

Blog Epidemic Analyzer is a demonstration website for this research on information dynamics in blogspace. What they are trying to do is let users track how information propagates through networks. Specifically they are looking at how web based memes (for lack of a better term) get passed on from one user to another in blog networks. For their purpose memes are basically URLs. They are using crawls from Blogpulse, Automated Trend Discovery for Weblogs, powered by technology from the Intelliseek Applied Research Center.

There has been a lot of discussion over the fairness of blogs, powerlaws, and A-list bloggers. The reality is that some blogs get all the attention. This means that with ranking algorithms like Technorati's and Google's Page Rank highly linked blogs end up at the top of search pages. Sometimes (maybe frequently) this is what you want. However, it is also possible that you don't want the most connected blog. Rather you would like to find the blog that discovers new information first. By inferring the flow of information they build an alternative graph that adds previously invisible edges and re-ranks websites. They call this algorithm iRank.

related context
workshop on the weblogging ecosystem: aggregation, analysis and dynamics. a forum for presentation and discussion of research into the dynamics, sociology, and mining of the blogsphere. 13th world wide web conference, may 17-22, 2004.
> enhancing PageRank algorithm: topic-sensitive page rankings feasible. may 21, 2003
> word burstiness: scanning online trends. march 7, 2003
> semantic web, the second-generation web?. june 19, 2002
> weblog, a new flow of information. may 15, 2002

language is a virus: program empty body

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tuesday :: march 9, 2004
microbial fuel cell

Penn State environmental engineers have shown, for the first time, that a microbial fuel cell (MFC) can generate electricity while simultaneously cleaning the wastewater that you flush down the drain or toilet.

Microbial fuel cells work through the action of bacteria which can pass electrons to an anode, the negative electrode of a fuel cell. The electrons flow from the anode through a wire, producing a current, to a cathode, the positive electrode of a fuel cell, where they combine with hydrogen ions (protons) and oxygen to form water.

No special bacteria are added. The naturally occurring bacteria in wastewater drive power production via a reaction that allows them to transport electrons from the cell surface to the anode. In addition, a reaction (oxidation) that occurs in the interior of the bacterial cell lowers the biochemical oxygen demand, cleaning the water.

The single-chambered microbial fuel cell is essentially a Plexiglass cylinder about the size of a soda bottle. It contains eight anodes, composed of graphite, that supply about 36 square inches of surface area to which the bacteria can adhere and pass electrons. The cathode is a carbon/platinum catalyst/proton exchange membrane fused to a plastic support tube. >from *Microbial Fuel Cell Cleans, Generates Electricity From Domestic Wastewater. February 23, 2004

related context
new reactor puts hydrogen from renewable fuels within reach. the technology is poised to remove the major stumbling block to the 'hydrogen economy': no free hydrogen exists, except what is made at high cost from fossil fuels. february 16, 2004
> u.s. energy: how many solar panels would it take?. february 17, 2004
> climate change may come as a shock. january 30, 2004
> electrokinetic cells: new source of energy. november 17, 2003
> full spectrum solar cell: unexpected discovery. november 25, 2002
> tiny atomic battery: power supply. october 21, 2002
> microbes to produce power: electricity from organic matter. january 22, 2002
> chip-based power plant:new devices developed from microchips. august 24, 2001

how do we clean our wastewater ?

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friday :: march 5, 2004
others' intentions

The ability to read the intentions of other people is fundamental to human thought. We automatically interpret a person's behavior not in terms of the physical motions involved, but instead in terms of the goals or intentions that give rise to these motions. Research at the University of Chicago shows that this basic human capacity begins to emerge early in the first year of life.

Amanda Woodward's work shows that babies understand some actions not as purely physical motions through space, but rather as being goal-directed. Initially, infants' ability to understand actions as goal-directed appears to be specific to very familiar concrete actions, like grasping. Later in the first year infants begin to understand two other important aspects of intentional action. For one, they become aware of the invisible connection between a person and the object at which she looks; that is, they have the foundation for understanding that others can attend to objects in the world even when they do not physically act on them. In addition, babies begin to understand that separate actions can be organized by an overarching plan. For example, babies might infer that when a person grasps the lid of a box, his goal is not the box itself, but rather the object inside the box.

These developments may provide the foundation for children's ability to learn from their caregivers. During the second year of life, children acquire critical abilities, including language and culturally appropriate behaviors, by observing the actions of adults.

During the first year of life, there are dramatic changes in infants' ability to organize their own goal-directed actions. Woodward and her students have found that these developments are correlated with infants' responses to the actions of other people. Moreover, recent evidence shows that learning a new action impacts infants' understanding of others' actions. >from *Babies tune into others' intentions early in the first year. February 13, 2004

related context
empathy for pain activates pain-sensitive regions of the brain. we use emotional representations reflecting our own subjective feeling states to understand the feelings of others. february 19, 2004
> neurophysiology of sympathy: patterns of brain activity. december 10, 2002
> first look at the world: making sense of the unknown. babies use relationships between objects to build an understanding of the world. december 3, 2002
> context processing: mental operating system . january 4, 2002
> technology and evolution. understanding the mental processes of others -- mentalizing -- is the basis of our socialization and what makes us human. march 13, 2001

between rolling and learning

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tuesday :: march 2, 2004
the sensor revolution

In the 1990s, the Internet connected us to a planet-wide web of information-all the zillions of bits that are stored in computer memories and hard drives. But now, thanks to an ongoing revolution in highly miniaturized, wirelessly networked sensors, the Internet is reaching out into the physical world, as well.

"We call it 'the Embedding of the Internet'," says Deborah Estrin, director of the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing, a multi-university research partnership that was launched in August 2002 with funding by the National Science Foundation (NSF). "And it's going to transform our ability to understand and manage the physical world around us." >from *The Sensor Revolution*. NSF sensor activities in focus at AAAS annual meeting in Seattle. February 15, 2004

related context
sensor and sensor networks.
> smart dust. autonomous sensing and communication in a cubic millimeter
> radio frequency identification (rfid) technology.
> ieee 802.15. intended to operate in an unlicensed, international frequency band. potential applications are sensors, interactive toys, smart badges, remote controls, and home automation.
> TinyOS. a component-based runtime environment designed to provide support for deeply embedded systems with extreme hardware restrictions.
> seamless circular 'nanorings' could be nanoscale sensors, resonators & transducers. february 26, 2004
> first international moblogging conference. june 30, 2003
> flow: the design challenge of pervasive computing. what happens to society when there are hundreds of microchips for every man, woman and child on the planet - most of them (the chips) talking to each other? november 6, 2002
> (re)distributions: a culture of ubiquity. july 15, 2002
> context-aware computing. context refers to the physical and social situation in which computational devices are embedded. special issue of human-computer interaction, volume 16, 2001

extended body/space sensor embedding: outsourcing?

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