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friday :: july 28, 2006
YouOS, web operating system

There is a glaring weakness to all traditional operating systems. They are, at the root, designed to run on one computer. Extensions like NFS and remote desktop alleviate this weakness to some extent, but they do nothing to enable collaboration on a larger scale between users on different computers. Imagine what you could do if every one in the world could work and play on the same "virtual computer".

Enter the web - what hasn't been said about the web's ability to allow people to share, connect, and collaborate? The web is already halfway there to the virtual computer idea.

YouOS strives to bring the web and traditional operating systems together to form a shared virtual computer. To you, it's one giant computer that you and your friends can work on. To us, it's all the servers, routers, software, bandwidth, and engineers to keep this grand experiment in collaborative computing running.

YouOS and its applications run entirely within a web browser, but have the look and feel of desktop applications. An application's code and data reside remotely but are executed and modified locally. This model allows for a great deal of freedom. You can edit a document at home in a text editor and then go to school or work and instantly access the same text editor and document.

It's a liberation. Software is no longer tied down to one computer.

In fact, you don't really even need to own a computer; you just need to borrow one on occasion. Working out of internet cafes or libraries? Your desktop, applications, and data travel with you from cafe to cafe, session to session. And tedious things like data backups and archiving? We'll take care of them for you.

Let's dwell on this concept of liberation. YouOS is a shared computer that houses your data and applications, but you are the owner of this data and applications. If you wish to export, backup, or completely erase your property, we will provide the means to do this. We do not ground you. You are free, as the old saying goes, to come and go as you please.

Application development should be easy. Tweaking an existing app to suit your needs should be trivial. Tinkering, experimenting, and learning should be central. At the same time, users should be able to develop the next great spreadsheet application. YouOS strives for the best of both worlds.

To this end, we've made app development and management central to YouOS. It's baked right into the system. Anyone can click on the "develop apps" button and start coding or tweaking away. Developing apps requires a knowledge of html and javascript, and that's it. If that's not good enough, we're looking into making even simpler languages users can work in.

Need to tweak an app slightly to fit your needs? Pick that app and clone it. You now have your very own copy to modify as you wish.

YouOS was born as a result of the following questions we asked ourselves:

* Wouldn't it be sweet if open source development was more like a multiplayer game, complete with rankings and all?
* What are the implications of being able to share windows through a buddy list when we're working?
* Is it even possible to build an OS that is built on sharing from the ground up? Like Kindergarten?
* What if the OS itself was the community? Discuss.

Started on the idea of collaboration, YouOS is an experiment to incorporate it from the ground up. Don't be scared off by the word "experiment", and know that we will keep your data safe. What we really mean is that YouOS is an evolving answer to these questions, and your answer is as good as ours. We're nowhere close to our grand vision yet, but day by day, user by user, we're getting there. >from *YouOS site*.

related context
democracy: the free and open source internet tv platform. march 17, 2006
> ourmedia: do-it-yourself media. march 25, 2005
> flashmob computing: democratize supercomputing. march 19, 2004
> skype: p2p telephony. october 29, 2003
> wiki wiki: communicating asynchronously across the net. july 9, 2002
> weblog, a new flow of information. may 15, 2002

a new born baby

sonic flow
operate and liberate [stream]
operate and liberate [download]

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friday :: july 21, 2006
zero point energy of the vacuum

The study aims to delve into a 'void' or empty space in which atoms move, which has a large intrinsic energy density known as zero-point energy. Recent investment by the University of Leicester in the Virtual Microscopy Centre and the Nanoscale Interfaces Centre has put the University in a key position to take a lead in Casimir force measurements in novel geometries.

The Casimir force is a mysterious interaction between objects that arises directly from the quantum properties of the so-called 'void'. Within classical Physics the void is a simple absence of all matter and energy while quantum theory tells us that in fact it is a seething mass of quantum particles that constantly appear into and disappear from our observable universe. This gives the void an unimaginably large energy density.

The programme, entitled Nanocase, will use the ultra-high vacuum Atomic Force Microscope to make very high precision Casimir force measurements in non-simple cavities and assess the utility of the force in providing a method for contactless transmission in nano-machines.

Chris Binns, Professor of Nanoscience at the University of Leicester explained: "The research will help to overcome a fundamental problem of all nano-machines, that is, machines whose individual components are the size of molecules, which is that at this size everything is 'sticky' and any components that come into contact stick together. If a method can be found to transmit force across a small gap without contact, then it may be possible to construct nano-machines that work freely without gumming up.

"Such machines are the stuff of science fiction at present and a long way off but possible uses include the ability to rebuild damaged human cells at the molecular level.

"In a sense the actual value of the zero-point energy is not important because everything we know about is on top of it. According to quantum field theory every particle is an excitation (a wave) of an underlying field (for example the electromagnetic field) in the void and it is only the energy of the wave itself that we can detect.

"A useful analogy is to consider our observable universe as a mass of waves on top of an ocean, whose depth is immaterial. Our senses and all our instruments can only directly detect the waves so it seems that trying to probe whatever lies beneath, the void itself, is hopeless. Not quite so. There are subtle effects of the zero-point energy that do lead to detectable phenomena in our observable universe.

"An example is a force, predicted in 1948 by the Dutch physicist, Hendrik Casimir, that arises from the zero-point energy. If you place two mirrors facing each other in empty space they produce a disturbance in the quantum fluctuations that results in a pressure pushing the mirrors together."

The new instrumentation at the University of Leicester will enable researchers to extend measurements to yet more complex shapes and, for the first time, to search for a way to reverse the Casimir force. This would be a ground-breaking discovery as the Casimir force is a fundamental property of the void and reversing it is akin to reversing gravity. Technologically this would only have relevance at very small distances but it would revolutionise the design of micro- and nano-machines. >from *Leicester Leads Leap Into ‘Inner Space’ Void*. Fantastic Voyage: University of Leicester leads international study with potential that is ‘stuff of science fiction’. June 30, 2006

related context
nanocase. 'an e.u funded project to study one of the most fundamental forces in the universe: the casimir force arises directly from the quantum zero point energy of the vacuum. the ultimate goal of the project is to use the casimir force to produce a contactless transmission in a nano-machine.'
> eti. 'a privately funded research organization dedicated to the exploration of new frontiers in physics. our activities primarily center around investigations into various aspects of the zero-point field.'
> quantum universe: the revolution in 21st-century physics. june 11, 2004

vacuum the void

sonic flow
zero point energy [stream]
zero point energy [download]

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friday :: july 14, 2006
how cooperation can evolve in a cheater’s world

It’s a truth borne out in biology and economics: Selfishness pays. Viruses can steal enzymes to reproduce. Tax evaders can take advantage of public services to survive and thrive. And, according to game theory, the cheats win out over the altruists every time.

Yet cooperation is a hallmark of human society, allowing for the creation of everything from the local grange to the United Nations. Cooperation can also be found in the animal world. Lions hunt in packs. Ants and bees create colonies. So how could cooperation evolve in a cheater’s world?

It’s a paradox called the 'tragedy of the commons,' a conflict between individual interests and the common good that has stumped scientists for generations. Now a trio of researchers has created a unique theoretical model that can explain the rise of cooperation. Under their model, altruists not only survive, they thrive and maintain their numbers over time.

“What’s exciting about our approach is that is so simple and so general – in principle it can be applied to explain cooperation at all levels of biological complexity, from bugs to humans,” said Thomas Flatt, a postdoctoral research associate in Brown’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. “It’s also exciting because cooperation is a critical notion in so many disciplines, from biology to sociology. Yet its existence and persistence doesn’t always make sense. Now we have a new mechanism that explains when cooperation can work.”

Timothy Killingback, a mathematician at the College of William & Mary, led work on the model. It’s based on public goods games, a staple of game theory and a simple model of social dilemmas. Under the new model, the team introduced population dynamics into the public goods game. After running the model through 100,000 generations, the results were striking. Cooperators not only survived, they thrived and maintained their numbers over time. The key is group size.

“In our model, you can get groups of different sizes – and cooperators seem to flourish in smaller groups,” Flatt said. “In these smaller groups, the high investments of cooperators begin to pay off. Cooperators have a higher level of fitness, so they reproduce at higher rates. This allows them to get a toehold within a group, then dominate it, then send their offspring to spread their altruism elsewhere.”

The model created by Killingback, Flatt, and Jonas Bieri, a Swiss population biologist and computer programmer, is unlike any other. It relies solely on population dynamics to explain the evolution of cooperation. Most other models assume more complicated mechanisms such as kin selection, punishment and reciprocity. Some of those mechanisms require cognition, so those models can only be applied to humans and higher-order animals. >from *How Cooperation Can Evolve in a Cheater’s World*. June 29, 2006

related context
the spatial scale of competition influences cooperative behavior. 'humans behave less cooperatively when they think they are in direct 'local' competition with each other, and more cooperatively under circumstances of 'global'-scale competition.' june 5, 2006
> evolution: cheats don't always prosper. 'cheaters produce energy rapidly by quickly taking in all the sugar they can and only partially converting it into energy. while this ensures swift energy production for the individual, it is a wasteful method that reduces resources available for the group as a whole.' may 26, 2006
> why we give. 'reciprocity is arguably the foundational basis of cooperation in humans. without some kind of payback, altruism can be a very costly endeavor in small-scale societies subsisting on wild foods.' december 30, 2005
> revenge: neural basis of altruistic punishment. september 10, 2004
> cooperation evolution. october 8, 2003
> social cooperation is intrinsically rewarding to the human brain. 'during the mutually cooperative social interactions, activation was noted in those areas of the brain that are linked to reward processing.' july 19, 2002

keep to the footpaths the tragicall trashing machine cheater

sonic flow
the swindling horde [stream]
the swindling horde [download]

plea for can ricart
nau21 plea
what's hapening with creative spaces in barcelona? by jeffrey swartz
creativity concept and ideology by matteo pasquinelli
wednesday, july 19, 2006. 20 h
straddle3. c/ riereta, 32 1-3

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friday :: july 7, 2006
detecting prejudice in the brain

Three Florida teenagers recently pleaded not guilty to the brutal beatings and in one case, death, of homeless men. One of the beatings was caught on surveillance video and in a most chilling way illustrates how people can degrade socially outcast individuals, enough to engage in mockery, physical abuse, and even murder. According to new research, the brain processes social outsiders as less than human; brain imaging provides accurate depictions of this prejudice at an unconscious level.

A new study by Princeton University psychology researchers Lasana Harris and Susan Fiske shows that when viewing photographs of social out-groups, people respond to them with disgust, not a feeling of fellow humanity. The findings are reported in the article "Dehumanizing the Lowest of the Low: Neuro-imaging responses to Extreme Outgroups" in a forthcoming issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science (previously the American Psychological Society).

Twenty four Princeton University undergraduates viewed a large number of color photographs of different social groups (including Olympic athletes, business professionals, elderly people, and drug addicts), and images of objects (including the Space Shuttle, a sports car, a cemetery, and an overflowing toilet) that elicited the emotions of pride, envy, pity, or disgust. The four emotions were derived from the Stereotype Content Model (SCM), which predicts differentiated prejudices based on warmth and competence. Warmth was determined by friendliness, competence by capability. The two emotional extremes were pride and disgust; pride elicited high warmth and high perception of competence, and disgust elicited low warmth and low perception of competence. Envy and pity were considered moderate prejudices; envy elicited low warmth and high perception of competence, and pity elicited high warmth and low perception of competence.

Medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) brain imaging determined if the students accurately chose the correct emotion illustrated by the picture (according to pretest results in which a different group of students determined the emotion that best fit each photograph). The MPFC is only activated when a person thinks about him- or her-self or another human. When viewing a picture representing disgust, however, no significant MPFC brain activity was recorded, showing that students did not perceive members of social out-groups as human. The area was only activated when viewing photographs that elicited pride, envy, and pity. (However, other brain regions -- the amygdala and insula -- were activated when viewing photographs of "disgusting" people and nonhuman objects.)

Emotions themselves were not responsible for generating this brain activity. Rather, it was the actual image viewed that produced a response. The MPFC only showed significant activity when a person saw or thought about a human being. The authors conclude that this lack of MPFC brain activity while viewing photographs of people proves that "members of some social groups seem to be dehumanized."

Social out-groups are perceived as unable to experience complex human emotions, share in-group beliefs, or act according to societal norms, moral rules, and values. The authors describe this as "extreme discrimination revealing the worst kind of prejudice: excluding out-groups from full humanity." Their study provides evidence that while individuals may consciously see members of social out-groups as people, the brain processes social out-groups as something less than human, whether we are aware of it or not. According to the authors, brain imaging provides a more accurate depiction of this prejudice than the verbal reporting usually used in research studies. >from *Detecting prejudice in the brain*. June 29, 2006.

related context
people more likely to help others they think are 'like them'. 'while all the people felt empathy for someone in distress, they only tended to assist if the needy person was viewed as a member of their own 'in-group.' july 7, 2006
> brain study yields insight into machinery of prejudice. 'prejudice may arise in part because perceivers assume that outgroup members' mental states do not correspond to their own and, accordingly, mentalize in a non-self-referential way about the minds of people from different groups. without a self-referential basis for mentalizing about outgroup members, perceivers may rely heavily on precomputed judgments--such as stereotypes--to make mental state inferences about very dissimilar others. this view suggests that a critical strategy for reducing prejudice may be to breach the arbitrary boundaries based on social group membership by focusing instead on the shared similarity between oneself and outgroup members.' may 17, 2006
>mirror neurons. '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.' march 11, 2005
>others' intentions. march 5, 2004
>interracial interactions are cognitively demanding. 'harboring racial bias in an increasingly diverse society may be bad for one's cognitive performance.' december 1, 2003
>rejection affects human brain in same way as physical pain. 'physical and social pain may be more similar than we realized. the pain of being rejected may have evolved because of the importance of social bonds for the survival.' november 10, 2003
>inverse amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex responses to surprised faces. september 2, 2003
>brain shows unconscious prejudices. 'to the extent that we can influence what we learn and believe, we can influence less conscious states of mind, we can determine who we are and who we wish to be.' july 17, 2003
>eye gaze direction: how the brain perceives emotion. 'the direction of another's gaze influences how your brain responds to fear and anger expressed by that person, specifically in your amygdala.' june 13, 2003

erase stereotypes and prejudices

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brainjudice [stream]
brainjudice [download]

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