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pareidolia
  • 31249.0000

  • 31240.0934

    Perhaps the greatest scholar you never knew, Charles Laughlin is at the vanguard where neuroscience meets anthropology; his major contribution is a theory of consciousness-phenomenology he posited called biogen structuralism. One of his key arguments is that semiotics is a backwoods plateau in philosophy, that it isn't aiming for completion nor can it become self-aware, and it cannot export accurate data and analysis for a collective since it is based purely in observation. In a way he considers semiotics fictional, and he has considerable arguments based in neural science, stemming from structural patterns that emerge after the stage of observation.

    Why is this important? Because it indicates we may have diverged from evolving thought and turned instead to a fashion of thought - semioticians and most current day philosophers may be no different than fashion designers, except their slender lines and curvy metaphors are set in text, the caress of opinions now institutionalized into an academic jet-set. All components and agencies for the semiotician's discussion, gender, class, skin color, ethnicity, are not considered biologically or even neurologically (which would make us examine their uses and misuses as tools) they are instead viewed as values, mostly through a cross-lateral of emotion and logic, data like cultural values which shift individually. Science under this lens should be viewing current-day philosophy as hopelessly medieval, as the pulses of egos merely vaunting for attention.

    Laughlin is one of the few crossover talents between myth and science since he explores storytelling, metaphor and memory as neural function. He can cogently describe formulas of thinking and memory and how they are structured by referencing neuroscience, he's a scientist's Oliver Sacks. In his emeritus stage, his two central collaborators no longer living, and with his central thesis book out of print, Laughlin continues to explore the possibility we may have overlooked central tenants to our evolution by ignoring the basic evidence of what our brains are showing us. His recent blogposts, though a year old, are critical, and deal with something he labels The Crisis. By dissolving semiosis as a shared tool, Laughlin alters the late 20th century's order, he forces us to look at thinking we may have missed: unconscious, or hidden structuralism rather than the conscious semiosis that was being taught and formalized into academic conditioning. In a way, conspiracy fantacists like Robert Anton Wilson, myth seekers like Carlos Casteneda, and novel historians like Michel Foucault were each operating with a glass ceiling, they were stylists scratching at the edges of science, where analogue and vast 'formulas' remained invisible in the dark, they themselves embodied key archetypes (the primary) as they perceived others (secondary). Wilson and Casteneda don't claim to know the rationale for their observations, it seems as if they've stumbled across their prose, even their subjects. Foucault on the other hand is a detective by choice. His semiosis is the least-knowing perhaps since he claims to comprehend it so well that he prepares for his own ridcule in preface to the Archeology of Knowledge by defying it in advance. Foucault's descendants, articulators like Zizek and Delueze, are probably getting more least by the day.

    Read on and break your chains.

    http://charleslaughlin.blogspot.com/

    http://www.biogeneticstructuralism.com/index2.htm

    This pivotal work is available on his site, An Ibis in the Tree, here previewed below, our underline.

    It is our view that the emergence of structuralism in a science is a mark of its maturity.  What do we mean by structuralism in that sense?  We mean that observables are explained by reference to non-observed principles, schemes, operators or structures, the activities of which produce, perhaps even cause, the observables (see Ackoff and Emery 1972 for the distinction between “cause” and “produce”).  Prior to the emergence of a structuralist theory base, a science tends to be pretty much a natural history of observables (see Brown 1963).  You collect all the butterflies you find, pin them to a wall, and then you try to order them in some way.  They all have blue wings, all red wings, or are all big butterflies, medium-sized or little butterflies, butterflies with a black thorax, brown thorax, and so on.  This was the state of biology before Darwin, the state of chemistry before the periodic table, and the state of physics before Newton’s Principia.  This was also the state of anthropology before structuralism.  Anthropological theory today has an unsettling, unsatisfying effect upon many of us unless it has some kind of structural underpinning to it, and this is a sure sign of the maturation of the discipline. 

                This means that in some sense the explanation of observables is by reference to unobserved operations.  For semiotic structuralists these unobservables are usually formulated by deduction from abstracted patterns of similarity in observables.  Similar patterns in observables lead to the deduction of the structures underlying them and that produce or cause them.  So Levi-Strauss likens the relationship between “mechanical models” (or principles of reason) and observables (like patterns of elements and relations in myths or symphonies) to the relationship between the camshaft in a machine that produces jigsaw puzzles and the puzzles themselves.  The analyst is no longer interested in the jigsaw puzzles once he has deduced the shape or configuration of the camshaft.  It is the task of science to get at the camshaft.  In the last volume of Mythologique (1971), he admits that the camshaft must have something to do with the human brain.  But a mere admission of relevance is insufficient from our point of view to preclude him being classed as a semiotic structuralist because he only gives lip service to the neurosciences.  His theory remains uninformed by the neurosciences and the methodology he uses, which is almost totally deductive from patterns in cultural texts, treats the matter of mind as though the brain itself was not also an observable.  In other words, he makes the mistake that Jean Piaget, Earl Count and others do not make, being trained as they were in biology. 

     

  • 31238.1642

  • 31232.1037

    Ancient temple found under Lake Titicaca, estimated 1000-1500 years old.

  • 31227.1939

    Is Lost a satire of television writing? The so-called finale disclaimer/cop-out:

    “Obviously not every question’s going to be answered,” Mr. Cuse said. “We felt if we tried to just answer questions, it would be very pedantic. Apart from that, we also really embrace this notion that there’s a fundamental sort of sense of mystery that we all have in our lives, and certainly that is a huge part of the lives of these characters.”

    “To sort of demystify that by trying to literally explain everything down to the last little sort of midi-chlorian of it all would be a mistake in our view,” he added. (In “Star Wars,” midi-chlorians were life forms existing inside all living things; that the “Lost” creators might explain the real-world implications of their fantasy world by referring to another fantasy world is perhaps part of the reason that the series has lost viewers.)

  • 31220.0659

    Frederick Wiseman tells a story to anybody with an ear about his only reserve print of the seminal Basic Training (it opened MOMA's retrospective). Sometime in the early eighties, Wiseman got a call from Stanley Kubrick and they chatted about everything under the sun and as the call wound down, Kubrick got around to asking him to borrow his print of Basic Training and twenty years later he still hasn't gotten it back. Kubrick indirectly labelled it the best film he's ever seen about the Marine's induction procedures (and gestures and rituals) by basically copying it, both its improv and verbatim elements, then setting it into his reverse and forward motions against his corporeal right-angled settings of relations, and finally the signature bathroom form as a terminus of many sorts. He extends an already adventurous Wiseman into nether regions.

    Wiseman is maybe a genre himself. His films don't seem like films, they inhabit a kind of realm even beyond documentary. Beginning with his most unnerving exploit, the filming of a talent show inside a New England sanitorium, Titicut Follies is more Lynch than Lynch, it reaches great edges while the moderately to totally insane presentors strain to stay ahold of 'reality' somewhere inside their minds. Us viewers can measure the veering from laughing to self-scolding in mere millisconds.  It is the rawest verite possible, the camera flinches only to keep the film running in the gate. You could call it straight-footage, it feels barely edited at times, like he paused between encounters at just the right moment, he showcases lengthy repeated gestures (it's the first time audiences get to see law enforcement and other officials reciting from manuals under tense conditions), he stays a measured fly on the wall under the most difficult and embarassing encounters, choosing subjects and situations that he follows for periods who then interact daily with unplanned subjects. His austerity is unusual and heavily intentional, he's the closest thing to a visual anthropologist we have and he unflinchingly swerves from the most difficult subject arenas (Near Death) to the most lighthearted (Comedie-Francaise) letting the interactions spool like recalibrating forms of dance, his shattering mid-ground films, like Basic Training and Domestic Violence are the clear masterpieces since he relaxes in his storytelling. The austerity of Wiseman's shot plans are always daunting, yet they are unbearably specific too, an establishig shot in Wiseman is chosen to capture all elements in single frames and takes. Take one establishing slice of Domestic Violence, he shows us a two way divided street somewhere in suburban explosion-land, across the street and as far as the eye can see is unending neon-commerce and parking, over here, where Wiseman is shooting from, are tightly packed three-room houses, gated and in decline as the sprawl across the divided street takes root. Yards seem neglected. Wiseman is coyly suggesting the exterior is hiding some real pain: Here begins our tale of a Domestic Violence unit. Like a subliminal horror film. Unlike his other era companions in non-fiction manufacturing, like Pennebaker and The Maysles etc., he avoids all dramatic counterpoint they would edit in as a rule, as a result he manages also to avoid any sentimentalism, Salesman is still much more Hollywood compared to the most uplifting of Wiseman's backstage dramas.  MOMA is hosting a lengthy retrospective of the master of document.

  • 31218.0713

    The challenge for Mayan scholarly studies is simple: what's left to study after thousands of years, continual looting, a gripping moisture the jungle provides and the wars of collapse and then conquests. Many of these polities of Central America were abandoned for centuries, or trafficked rarely. What's survived in written form from the Americas' (it is poorly yet logically claimed) only literate civilization?  Not much, few codices (books of recorded data) and mostly what has survived the jungle in these forms of glyphically rendered stone and baked clay - a predominance of dates and what appears at first simplified deity or lordship worship verses, hymnals. As in most dominant indigenous cultures carefully studied by the explosion of graduate studies in the last century, the language is recorded in somewhat complete dictionaries per 'dialect' through spoken word translation. Although narrative myths exist in spoken Maya, some scattered in ethnographies, only a few complete narratives were recorded at the Spanish conquest, none are in their original written or carved glyphic transmission, and unfortunately thousands upon thousands of Mayan books are lost, a few hundred even burned by a fearful Jesuit as retribution for locals continuing to practice their local religions while also attending mass. Now Dennis Tedlock has achieved what might have seemed impossible only decades ago, he's brought the first study of Mayan literature to a masterful book form.  Although a blight of evidence might have hindered research, it also may have been a proverbial blessing in disguise. Scholars have had to work with pottery and monumental stela, and both have coded, expressive manners of storytelling; since stela, lintels etc. were integrated into sky viewing structures, they offer more complete understandings of the language's use of time and math, even interrelations between phases, and even some unusual keys: differing perceptions in meaning but not gesture, violating, or perhaps liberating them from the closed structure of western languages.  Using available data, some of which he's translated himself (a crucial one - an expansive take on the Popol Vuh), Tedlock incorporates his knowledge by impersonating unconscious strategies of Mayan and pools a vast array of master thinkers like Coe, Marcus, Taube, Marcus, Schele, Stuart, Aveni, B. Tedlock, Rice, Houston, and Kerr and assembles, in piles almost - into their spheres of specialty, translations of key artifacts and styles of writing, utilizing leaps with data they've already hinted at, but Tedlock makes certain overarching leaps: he states naming conventions across boundaries (a use of 'hereafter' that results in several 'eureka's). He shows the Maya possesed powerful storytelling strategies that any culture would could and should explore, both in literate and non-literate ways, and he extols visual specifities exclusive of translation.  He takes an open risk visual evolutions he's spotting are values that travel along a logical route, thus building skeletons of ideas from orchestrated proof. He includes astronomical data to many entries and it boosts his arguments since these chosen stories' shapes clearly expand into the night sky, some are cleverly illustrated with sky views and gradient milky ways including discussions of decaying orbits, spans of sky appearance, the goals of which are astounding once the language's overarching methods seep in (a spoiler that shouldn't be ruined here). A chapter about Mayan graffiti is pivotal, you can sense the literacy of non-royals, non-astronomers, thus the Maya convincingly hint that their language was suffusive, beyond any ideas (or ideals!) of literacy we cling desperately to in the west. This slight chapter even questions Western visual literacy by comparison. Accompanying the juicy textual discoveries are some exquisite visual strategies possible only in book form - the venn between anthropology, archeology and linguistics - connective starscapes, visually-based translations of both layout and deciphered mirroring. Sometimes these illustrations are maybe a bit asutere, but the gravity of shapes and forms in play and the historical correlations are proven (look below for only a hint): and above too, the cover's bare-bones stela-ish design is a preview of things to come inside. And the number he chooses as a timeframe, 2000, shows how unsensual our millenial epochal stopwatches are, how constrictingly dull our calendrical bookends can seem. Tedlock's book should be read by all slightly interested in the past and future of languages, and he's carefully prepared it for anyone without knowledge of the Maya with a run-through introductory chapter of conventional practice in Mayan dating and grammar. Tedlock's book is a time-extended lingual guide and much, much more. A must read.

    2000 Years of Mayan Literature, Dennis Tedlock, University of California Press, 2010

  • 31214.1412

    Lesniak, DL, Wellnitz, SA, Gerling, GJ, and Lumpkin, EA, Statistical analysis and modeling of variance in the SA-I mechanoreceptor response to sustained indentation (accepted for IEEE EBMS Engineering in Medicine and Biology Conference, Minneapolis, MN September 6, 2009)

    Abstract: The slowly-adapting type I mechanoreceptor (SA-I) exhibits variability in its steady-state firing rate both within an afferent upon repeated stimulation and between afferents.  Additionally, inter-spike intervals of the SA-I are extremely variable during this steady-state firing.  While variability of the SA-I response has been noted previously, the work presented herein provides a finer analysis of the impact of force and fiber on the SA-I response.  Specifically, we test two hypothesis, that 1) fiber-to-fiber variation will significantly impact firing rate over the range of applied forces, and that 2) fiber-to-fiber variation will significantly impact the coefficient of variation (CV) of inter-spike intervals over the range of applied forces.  Utilizing an ex vivo skin nerve preparation in the mouse, experiments were conducted with six SA-I fibers from five mice, and with compressive stimuli with force magnitudes up to 9.59 mN.  We found fiber to significantly impact both firing rate and CV.  These findings motivated the construction of a generalized input (force) - output (firing rate) model composed of a baseline response profile and a multiplicative fiber sensitivity factor.  This work will inform future efforts to attribute variability to differences in skin, neuron, and receptor properties, and will contribute to the understanding of how much variability is acceptable in systems designed to provide tactile feedback to the nervous system.

  • 3124.1809

  • 3123.0830

    The fovea (the center of the eye's vision) suggests we have a limited range with which to encrypt ideas via an alphabetical, linear page-based horizon, but this is merely mezzanine-thinking. Videogames, movies and earlier glyphic-expansive storytelling of meso-america suggest peripheral vision can add discriminating levels of data to our simplified and lazy text-storytelling. Next stop?

    A new book by cog scientist Dehaene continues the debate between text innateness thinkers like Chomsky and his alternates.