TECHSPLOITATION I had the urge to be low-tech, so I spent a day walking across Manhattan. If you believe that culture is the new nature, my trek was roughly equivalent to an amble through the forest. I bought a bagel and lox at Zabar's, stuck my earbuds in on the corner of Broadway and West 80th Street, and headed south. Surely a Neanderthal could have had this same experience munching on meat and humming to herself as she wandered through Europe 42,000 years ago.Read more »
TECHSPLOITATION A bunch of Belgian neuroscientists finally figured out a way to turn spring break into an article for Proceedings of the NationalAcademy of Sciences. In the current issue, they report on what happens to the human brain after playing a lot of Duke Nukem and experiencing total sleep deprivation. Read more »
TECHSPLOITATION We listened to 1930s music in the car, pretending we were on a country jaunt in our new automobile. But when we finally made it out to the country — or at least to Yolo County Fairgrounds — we had to go a lot further back than 70 years. Standing in the muddy parking lot, we shed our jeans and sweats and button-<\h>down shirts and put on the garb of medieval peasants. Read more »
One of the things I love about that place known fondly as "the Interwebs" is the way it allows researchers to graph things that should never be graphed. For example, have you ever wondered exactly how excited people really were about the release of the most recent Harry Potter book? Thanks to MoodGrapher, an application created by three Dutch information theorists, you'll discover that reported feelings of excitement were up 130 percent on the day millions of copies of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince flooded into stores. Read more »
"Wow," my hacker friend Mason breathed as he looked at my computer monitor. "That's really horrendously fucking evil."
He was responding to the sight of my account with Root Vaults (root.net), a Web service with hazy goals but an interesting tool: If you sign up and download a plug-in for Firefox, Root Vaults will record your entire clickstream. When I go anywhere or click on anything online, the plug-in records it and sends the data to my account at Root Vaults. Read more »
DO YOU LIKE to celebrate Christmas? Do television commercials fill you with desire for the products advertised? Do you wear gender-appropriate clothing and hairstyles? Do you think everyone should have a job, get married, and have children? Have you ever laughed at someone for acting "weird"? Read more »
APPARENTLY IT'S BIG news that the human brain is still evolving. A couple of US researchers announced recently that they'd isolated two genes connected with brain size that appeared to have evolved only over the past two dozen millennia. In other words, our brains changed in the past hundred generations. Why this would be surprising to anyone even glancingly familiar with evolutionary theory is beyond me. As long as we keep engaging in sexual reproduction, we're going to be evolving. Read more »