Perceptual neuroscience — it’s all in the eye of beholder

I quite liked Beau Lotto’s article Look Here in May’s Wired UK. It’s not yet online, but googling it turned up a few other interesting tidbits on perception.

Beau Lotto has just published a book, Deviate: The Science of Seeing Differently, though reviewer Jonathan Rée hates it.

Michael Shemer’s TED talk, The pattern behind self-deception, explains how “the human tendency to believe strange things—from alien abductions to dowsing rod—boils down to two of the brain’s most basic, hard-wired survival skills. He explains what they are, and how they get us into trouble.”

Buzzfeed: 16 optical illusions even freakier than that damn dress.

Six TED talks about illusion that will make you doubt your own brain.

Ilya

  • Rutger Bregman: “We could cut the working week by a third”. Bregman’s book, Utopia for Realists, “could yet revitalise progressive thought around the globe. His solutions are quite simple and staunchly set against current trends: we should institute a universal basic income for everyone that covers minimum living expenses — say around £12,000 a year; the working week should be shortened to 15 hours; borders should be opened and migrants allowed to move wherever they choose.”
  • Digital “editions” pays off for The Times. “Users of the … paid-for mobile app are up 30 percent since this time last year, and people are viewing three times as many pages per visit as they were a year ago. Those rises all stem from a decision The Times took a year ago to push away from the trap of commoditized online news and focus on publishing three updates to the digital editions a day: at 9 a.m., 12 p.m. and 5 p.m.”

Homebrew, rbenv, ruby-build, openssl…

How to upgrade OpenSSL on Mac OS. Homebrew issues led me down a lovely garden path… and this guide helped.

Explicitly specifying the OpenSSL can work when installing a new version of Ruby with rbenv.

RUBY_CONFIGURE_OPTS=--with-openssl-dir=/usr/local/Cellar/openssl/1.0.2k rbenv install 2.3.1

Ilya

  • Google pitches AMP as a solution to bloated websites and poor user experiences. But, Andrew Betts asks: “could AMP actually be bad news for the web, bad news for news, and part of a trend of news distribution that is bad for society in general?”








  • The tools you use matter, even your CMS. Good tools are a joy to use, bad tools don’t protect you from your mistakes. A good example of this is Washington Post’s trouble adopting a new CMS.
    “The redesigned website is just the surface manifestation of a huge organ transplant,” Post ombudsman Patrick Pexton said, pointing out it took more than a year to complete. The most important remark was his description of how difficult the change had been. “Every newsroom employee is struggling with it, not just the tech people.”

  • YOLO real-time object detection is pretty amazing.


Varying contexts of sense and ability

This diagram listing varying degrees of ability in different situations, from Inclusive Design at Microsoft, is handy if you ever need to explain the need for accessibility and usability.

Ilya



  • Vanity Fair: The rise and rise of the spornosexual.
    “Vulgarity, like sex, is never ironic. Which is why hipsters, the anti-sexual wing of metrosexuality, hate spornosexuals. Which shades into the general, historical English (middle class) problem with bodies and pleasure. And the particular discomfort with the ‘open’, ‘passive’, neediness of today’s male’s desire to be desired.” —Mark Simpson, originator of the terms


Cockroaches live in a democracy

Cockroaches govern themselves in a very simple democracy where each insect has equal standing and group consultations precede decisions that affect the entire group, indicates a new study.

Halloy tested cockroach group behaviour by placing the insects in a dish that contained three shelters. The test was to see how the cockroaches would divide themselves into the shelters.

After much “consultation”, through antenna probing, touching and more, the cockroaches divided themselves up perfectly.

For example, if 50 insects were placed in a dish with three shelters, each with a capacity for 40 bugs, 25 roaches huddled together in the first shelter, 25 gathered in the second shelter, and the third was left vacant.

Ilya



  • Stephen Wolfram: Quick, How Might the Alien Spacecraft Work?A fascinating and long blog entry on Wolfram’s work consulting on physics and aliens for the movie Arrival. Physics, linguistics, xenoethnography, comparing developing software to making movies, oh my!
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