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friday :: november 25, 2005

Scientific data sonification is a kind of application that can greatly benefit from the development of large distributed computing infrastructures like GRID. Data sonification is becoming one of the most promising analysis tools, since sounds can summarize significant amounts of information and can be characterized, stored and studied in a simpler and easier way with respect to other data representations (such as images, for example).

Even though the use of sonification is now clearly understood by the scientific community, its practical use has received limited attention so far because of the intensive computing usually required to produce sounds. With the development of computing GRIDS data sonification is now back to the public. >from *Beyond Einstein world wide webcast*.

To celebrate Einstein Year (World Year of Physics), some of the worlds leading physics laboratories are taking part in a 12 hour webcast to show public audiences the excitement of Einsteins life, science and legacy. The programme will be broadcast from locations including CERN, the European Particle Physics Laboratory and birthplace of the World Wide Web, on December 1st 2005.

related context
sentences sonification with grid. send a message to celebrate world year of physics 2005 and compose its soundscape!
> sounds of space. sonification of data previously collected from the sun.
> atmospherics/weather works: the sonification of meteorological data.
> sonification/listening up: research made audible. audio representations of sound waves embedded in the ionosphere. september, 2005
> iGrid 2005. september 26-30, 2005
> paleontological sonification: letting music bring fossils to your ears. may 1, 2005
> primordial sounds: big bang acoustics. august 27, 2004
> tele-immersion demonstration: milestone of grid computing. november 27, 2002
> science grid deployement: emerging model of computing. april 3, 2002
> bubble fusion: sound-induced nuclear fusion. march 13, 2002
> eon project: material poetry by shawn brixey. uses the mysterious phenomenon of sonoluminescence. march 13, 2002
> sonic flashlight: make human body translucent. december 11, 2001
> phonons measurement reveals internal structure of objects. november 14, 2001

sonic data magnification

sonic flow
sonification [stream]
sonification [download]

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friday :: november 18, 2005
female cycle and brain expansion

Researchers at Northwestern University and Columbia University have found that 'wiring' in female rat brain memory area expands and retracts in relation to the amount of estrogen present during the estrous/menstrual cycle.

Because this area of the brain, the hippocampus, has been shown to be critical to both humans and animals for memory processes, the group's finding lends support to a vast array of empirical and anecdotal evidence concerning variations in cognition and memory processes as a function of the time of the female cycle.

That this rewiring is due to estrogen was shown in experiments using hormone replacement therapy to compare females with low, moderate or high levels. Only when the high physiological level was reached similar to that seen during the peak of estrogen levels during the estrous cycle was the growth observed.

The investigators suggest the provocative hypothesis that the ability of the female brain network to modify itself in the presence of increased estrogen may facilitate processing of complex spatial environments to enhance reproductive success, for example, selecting a mate or, as a mother, finding food, water and shelter while avoiding predators.

"Beyond the findings relative to estrogen, and its regulation of female cognition, the results of the study suggest that the brain's capacity for growth is well beyond anything we considered in the past," said Routtenberg, who is director of The Cresap Neuroscience Laboratory and a researcher at the Northwestern University Institute for Neuroscience.

"This growth also occurs during learning, but it is a much slower process," Routtenberg said.

Earlier research has shown that learning encourages growth of mossy fibers, which are axons, or nerve fibers, in the hippocampus. Mossy fibers are unique because they have high concentrations of zinc and the cells that give rise to these axons, the granule cells, show neurogenesis, or birth of new nerve cells in adults. >from *Brain memory area modifies its 'wiring diagram' during the female cycle*. November 14, 2005

related context
biology of gender: defining male and female. may 6, 2005
> intelligence in men and women. february 4, 2005
> hippocampal neurogenesis: cell death promotes learning growth. december 17, 2003
> autumn triggers chickadee's brain expansion. october 3, 2003
> synaptic plasticity: how experiences rewire the brain. january 23, 2003
> neurogenesis: observed in human adult brain. march 6, 2002
> neurogenesis in the adult human hippocampus. november, 1998

what goes on in woman's brain
parallel to moon's cycle?

sonic flow
hormone replacement therapy [stream]
hormone replacement therapy [download]

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friday :: november 11, 2005
mathematics: the loss of certainty

Pure mathematics will remain more reliable than most other forms of knowledge, but its claim to a unique status will no longer be sustainable." So predicts Brian Davies, author of the article "Whither Mathematics?", which will appear in the December 2005 issue of Notices of the AMS (American Mathematical Society).

For centuries mathematics has been seen as the one area of human endeavor in which it is possible to discover irrefutable, timeless truths. Indeed, theorems proved by Euclid are just as true today as they were when first written down more than 2000 years ago. That the sun will rise tomorrow is less certain than that two plus two will remain equal to four.

However, the 20th century witnessed at least three crises that shook the foundations on which the certainty of mathematics seemed to rest. The first was the work of Kurt Goedel, who proved in the 1930s that any sufficiently rich axiom system is guaranteed to possess statements that cannot be proved or disproved within the system. The second crisis concerned the Four-Color Theorem, whose statement is so simple a child could grasp it but whose proof necessitated lengthy and intensive computer calculations. A conceptual proof that could be understood by a human without such computing power has never been found. Many other theorems of a similar type are now known, and more are being discovered every year.

The third crisis seems to show how the uncertainty foreshadowed in the two earlier crises is now having a real impact in mathematics. The Classification of Finite Simple Groups is a grand scheme for organizing and understanding basic objects called finite simple groups (although the objects themselves are finite, there are infinitely many of them). Knowing exactly what finite simple groups are is less important than knowing that they are absolutely fundamental across all of mathematics. They are something like the basic elements of matter, and their classification can be thought of as analogous to the periodic table of the elements. Indeed, the classification plays as fundamental a role in mathematics as the periodic table does in chemistry and physics. Many results in mathematics, particularly in the branch known as group theory, depend on the Classification of Finite Simple Groups.

And yet, to this day, no one knows for sure whether the classification is complete and correct. Mathematicians have come up with a general scheme, which can be summarized in a few sentences, for what the classification should look like. However, it has been an enormous challenge to try to prove rigorously that this scheme really captures every possible finite simple group. Scores of mathematicians have written hundreds of research papers, totaling thousands of pages, trying to prove various parts of the classification. No one knows for certain whether this body of work constitutes a complete and correct proof. What is more, so much time has now passed that the main players who really understand the structure of the classification are dying or retiring, leaving open the possibility that there will never be a definitive answer to the question of whether the classification is true. As Davies puts it:

We have thus arrived at the following situation. A problem that can be formulated in a few sentences has a solution more than ten thousand pages long. The proof has never been written down in its entirety, may never be written down, and as presently envisaged would not be comprehensible to any single individual. The result is important and has been used in a wide variety of other problems in group theory, but it might not be correct.

These three crises could be hinting that the currently dominant Platonic conception of mathematics is inadequate. As Davies remarks:

[These] crises may simply be the analogy of realizing that human beings will never be able to construct buildings a thousand kilometres high and that imagining what such buildings might "really" be like is simply indulging in fantasies.

We are witnessing a profound and irreversible change in mathematics, Davies argues, which will affect decisively its character:

[Mathematics] will be seen as the creation of finite human beings, liable to error in the same way as all other activities in which we indulge. Just as in engineering, mathematicians will have to declare their degree of confidence that certain results are reliable, rather than being able to declare flatly that the proofs are correct . >from *Mathematics: The loss of certainty* . November 7, 2005

related context
whither mathematics? by brian davies. december, 2005
> what don't we know? a survey of our scientific ignorance. july 8, 2005
> mapping the landscape of science. april 9, 2004
> nature of reality: buddhism and science. october 1, 2003
> a new kind of science by stephen wolfram. may 21, 2002
> were african women our first mathematicians?. march 8, 2002
> aesthetic computing. "how do we think about models for computing, and ultimately, representation in mathematics?" february 15, 2002
> the enigma of consciousness. symposium of science, technics and aesthetics. january 16, 2001
> mathematics: the loss of certainty by morris kline. 1980

omar khayyam's dream

sonic flow
certainty's theorem crisis [stream]
certainty's theorem crisis [download]

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friday :: november 4, 2005
how does your city affect you?

In Fall 2005, Art Interactive is conducting a nine-week-long experiment. We have invited artists affiliated with Glowlab, a network of psychogeographers, to use the Central Square neighborhood as the site of their research and fill the exhibition space with the results of their investigations. PSYCHOGEOGRAPHY, a term coined by the Situationist International in the 1950s and appropriated by contemporary artists, is used to describe projects that produce affect in relation to the geographic environment. Rather than making maps in the traditional geographic sense, these artists utilize maps and geography to conduct located experiments with (among other things) people, trash, bikes, clothes, the sky and the gallery space itself. Often making use of mobile technologies and existing in the hybrid spaces of the Internet and the physical world, their projects produce new understandings of location and identity as shifting, fluid, singular and irreducible.

Glowlab, a Brooklyn-based psychogeography network presents Open Lab at Art Interactive. During this festival and exhibition curated by Christina Ray, more than twenty artists will research the effects of the urban environment on emotion and behavior by leading a series of public events.

Each weekend of this unique festival and exhibition, several Glowlab artists will be "in-residence" at Art Interactive to lead interactive public events in the neighborhood. These include a wearable trash workshop, a laughing bike tour, a lesson in text-messaging the sky, and an informal conversation with a suitcase.

While artists lead projects in the neighborhood's public spaces, the gallery is transformed into a working lab complete with video and web-based works and project documentation in the form of maps, photos and other materials. >from *How does your city affect you? Glowlab: Open Lab* . An eight-week psychogeography festival and exhibition at Art Interactive . October 14, 2005 - December 11, 2005

related context
placelab: location-aware computing. october 14, 2005
> keitai internet: territory machines. february 18, 2005
> grafedia: hyperlinks for the urban landscape. february 18, 2005
> plan: pervasive and locative arts network. january 28, 2005
> walking as knowing as making: a peripatetic investigation of place. april 15, 2005
> neighbornodes: wireless extensible neighborhood network. november 12, 2004
> urballon: an urban media space. october 8, 2004
> fused space: new technology in/as public space. july 23, 2004
> fadaiat: a new kind of public space. june 18, 2004
> open source city. may 7, 2004
> pk: parkour. january 16, 2004
> civic tv: alternative visions of the urban experience. november 21, 2003
> psy-geo-conflux: the meaning of living in a city. may 14, 2003
> hackitecture and other data flow' architectures. march 28, 2003

walkaround and smell
the other side of the charles river

sonic flow
around in square [stream]
around in square [download]

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