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friday :: march 25, 2005
ourmedia: do-it-yourself media

Ourmedia.org, a free global repository for grassroots media, allows anyone to upload, store and share digital works. The site will accept home movies, music videos, original music, audio interviews, photos, art, documentaries, grassroots political ads, animations, books, student films, software ó any work in digital form.

The site is open to amateurs, hobbyists and professionals alike. There is no charge for the service.

The site is open to all kinds of works but will focus on videoblogs, podcasts and other emerging types of media that are just beginning to catch the publicís attention. A videoblog is a homemade video about politics, culture or any subject that appears on a Web journal. A podcast is simply a voice recording, similar to a radio broadcast, that listeners can download and enjoy at their convenience. A digital story is a combination of images and video overlaid with a narratorís voice.

The effort has been largely accomplished as an open-source effort, with no income, no expenses and a central group of 50 volunteers working in a public wiki (or collaborative online work space) to build the site. Ourmedia, which will soon become a not-for-profit 501(c)(3), has partnered with the Internet Archive and Creative Commons, both non-profit outfits in San Francisco, and Bryght, an open-source content publishing company in Vancouver, Canada.

Ourmedia agrees to host such works as long as the authors or artists are willing to share their works with the global community. Podcasters and videobloggers like the service because they can upload their media without being hit by hundreds of dollars in bandwidth bills, as sometimes happens when a file they host becomes widely popular.

Ourmedia will also test the boundaries of fair use, permitting inventive or educational mash-ups or 'remix' works that contain small snippets of copyrighted work ó but drawing the line against infringement and illegal misappropriation of others' content.

The next step for Ourmedia is to expand beyond a single repository and allow other organizations to link together under a common open-standards registry.

Ourmedia will take advantage of the latest publishing technologies to offer RSS feeds that let anyone subscribe to a channel, such as music videos or animations; peer-to-peer technologies such as BitTorrent, which allows people to easily and legally share their own creations; and search tools that will allow anyone to legally remix or build upon others' works. >from *Ourmedia seeks to spur the citizens media revolution*. March 21, 2005

Leading the effort are J.D. Lasica and Marc Canter. This is purely an open-source, all-volunteer effort. Drupal, an open-source content management platform, has agreed to host the site for free. Other sites will also participate in this open registry, storing material on their servers. Most importantly, the Internet Archive has agreed to provide free storage space and free bandwidth for the media files published by our members ó forever.

related context
indymedia. the independent media center
> we the media. grassroots journalism by the people, for the people
> urballon: an urban media space. october 8, 2004
> think tools for revolution > reclaim the streams!. september 17, 2004
> HighNoon: wsis? we seize!. december 8, 2003
> [grid::brand]: instead of mass media, think cluster media!. december 5, 2003
> first international moblogging conference. june 30, 2003
> manifesto of urban televisions: open access television. april 23, 2003
> weblog, a new flow of information. may 15, 2002
> smart mobs: new uses of mobile media. october 3, 2002

media: make happen agents

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friday :: march 18, 2005
how animals coordinate their actions

A study led by Princeton biologists has revealed a remarkably simple mechanism that allows flocking birds, schooling fish or running herds to travel in unison without any recognized leaders or signaling system.

The finding helps settle age-old questions about how animals coordinate their actions. Previously, scientists had looked for subtle signals or other explicit systems that animals may use in disseminating information through groups. The new study showed that such complexity is not necessary: Large groups easily make accurate decisions about where to go even when no individuals are regarded as leaders and very few individuals have any pertinent information.

In addition to shedding light on the graceful coordination of animal groups, the results may be useful in understanding how humans behave in crowds and in designing robots that explore remote locations such as the ocean or other planets.

Using computer simulations, the researchers found that group coordination arises naturally from two basic instincts: the need to stay in a group; and the desire by some individuals to act on their own information about where to go.

"Say you had a group of robots exploring a planet or the ocean, and each individual robot was moving around collecting information locally," he said. "By returning to the group and following the type of algorithm we propose, they could select collectively the direction associated with the best quality information or select collectively the majority direction." >from *Flocking together: Study shows how animal groups find their way.*. Discovery could be used in design of robotic explorers. February 3, 2005

related context
insects, viruses could hold key for better human teamwork in disasters. "how bees and ants are able to effectively self-organize based on local information and how to spread critical information mimicking the epidemiological spread of viruses". march 17, 2005
> blog epidemic analyzer. march 12, 2004
> cooperation evolution. october 8, 2003
> ants community. may 7, 2003
> synchrony. april 9, 2003
> network-based movements. march 3, 2003
> the growing power of networks. 2001

beyond this point: repair your actions

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friday :: march 11, 2005
mirror neurons

One of the more intriguing recent discoveries in brain science is the existence of "mirror neurons," a set of neurons in the premotor area of the brain that are activated not only when performing an action oneself, but also while observing someone else perform that action. It is believed mirror neurons increase an individual's ability to understand the behaviors of others, an important skill in social species such as humans. A critical aspect of understanding the behavior of another person is recognizing the intent of his actions--is he coming to praise me or to bury me? In the premier open-access journal PLoS Biology, Marco Iacoboni and colleagues use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to show that the mirror neuron system tracks not only the actions, but also the intentions, of others. >from *Predicting the future: mirror neurons reflect the intentions of others*. PLoS Biol 3(3): e109. February 22, 2005

In a study that broadens our understanding of the neural basis of social interactions, researchers have shown that individuals with autism display abnormal patterns of activity in brain circuits that underlie the understanding of other people's behavior. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized in part by marked social deficits.

The basis of the study is a population of brain cells called mirror neurons, which are active both when we execute a specific action and when we see that action performed by another. It has been argued that mirror neurons are an essential part of recognizing actions performed by other individuals. As such, complex behaviors such as imitation, emotional processing, and language may depend on a simulation-like process whereby the observation of motor, sensory, or affective (e.g., emotional) states in others activates corresponding representations in the observer.

In the new work, researchers show that in some particular instances, brain areas that are normally active during the observation of hand movements are silent in individuals with autism. Using a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation, the researchers showed that when autistic subjects passively viewed meaningless finger movements, brain activity in the motor cortex was unchanged from baseline values, whereas this activity was markedly enhanced in non-autistic individuals. The work suggests that a faulty mirror-neuron system could represent the neural underpinnings of the social deficits characteristic of autism, alterations that ultimately lead to reduced reciprocal social abilities and perhaps prevent the normal development of empathy. >from *Abnormal brain activity during the observation of others' actions*. Clues to autism's neural basis. February 7, 2005

related context
new research questions basic tenet of neuron function. 'challenge one of the established views of how nerve cells communicate with one another.' february 17, 2005
> brain region learns to anticipate risk, provides early warnings. 'the anterior cingulate cortex, described by some scientists as part of the brain's 'oops' center, may actually function as an early warning system.' february 17, 2005
> brain synapse formation linked to proteins. 'critical connections that neurons form in the brain turn out to rely on glia. ninety percent of human brain cells are glia and it's completely a mystery what they do.' february 10, 2005
> others' intentions. march 5, 2004

mirror your neurons expressions

sonic flow
mirror neurons. march 11, 2005. [work in progress]
this context' capsule with antÚnia folguera voice and x-flow sonic background ("una atmosfera de desconeixenssa, un coixi sonor, sobre el qual es van succein una serie de senyals, que es van repetint i evolucionant espaialment, pero en alguns moments, aquestes senyals es perden com a repeticions per ser intents fallits")
mirror neurons [stream]
mirror neurons [download]

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friday :: march 4, 2005
linguistic research moving in new direction

Some linguistics researchers are applying larger scientific principles that describe natural forces to the study of language. This represents a major shift in linguistics research done over the last several decades.

A new strand of research uses the principle of 'self organization,' a concept used in studying all kinds of complex systems, from thunderstorms to the human immune system, and not just language. Self-organization, in a nutshell, is when a system evolves a large structure from repeated small-scale interactions between its smaller elements, says Andrew Wedel, an assistant professor of linguistics at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

"I think there is a big shift from the explanation from a single level, advocated by Noam Chomsky, that one grammar algorithm is coded in our genes, to a more layered set of explanations where structure gradually emerges in layers, over time through many cycles of talking and learning," he said. >from *Linguistic research moving in new direction*. February 21, 2005

The forces of variation and selection which shape human language have become issues of extensive research. Documentation of sounds and sound patterns, and their evolution over the past 7000-8000 years allows linguists to quantify the important role of human perception, articulation and imperfect learning as language is passed from one generation to the next. Juliette Blevins presents a new approach to the problem of how genetically unrelated languages across the world often show similar sound patterns, without invoking innate mechanisms specific to grammar. Languages as far apart as Native American, Australian Aboriginal, Austronesian and Indo-European show similar patterns of vowel and consonant inventory and distribution, but exceptions to sound patterns regarded as universal show that these similarities are best viewed as the result of convergent evolution.

By showing how universal tendencies in sound structure emerge from phonetically motivated sound change, Evolutionary Phonology undermines a central tenet of modern Chomskyan linguistics: that Universal Grammar, an innate human cognitive capacity, plays a dominant role in shaping grammars. Blevins argues that humans learn sound patterns on the basis of their exposure to hundreds of thousands of examples of them in the first years of life. Where universal tendencies exist, they are emergent properties of language as a self-organizing system. >from *Natural Selection As We Speak*. Shared properties of human languages are not the result of universal grammar but reflect self-organizing properties of language as an evolving system. February 18, 2005

related context
language development via the internet. february 18, 2005
> agrammatic but numerate by rosemary a. varley, nicolai j. c. klessinger, charles a. j. romanowski, and michael siegal. 'these results demonstrate for the first time the remarkable independence of mathematical calculations from language grammar in the mature cognitive system.' february 15, 2005
> number and language: how are they related? by rochel gelmana and brian butterworth. 'numerical concepts have an ontogenetic origin and a neural basis that are independent of language.' december 1, 2004
> synchrony: order is inevitable. april 9, 2003
> abstract thought on non-human animals. october 16, 2001

richer text reading
with hyperpopup engine from Liquid Information

i never learned grammar

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