Still a favorite: Using space and time to encode vibrotactile information: toward an estimate of the skin’s achievable throughput

Since 2015 there’s a paper that has absolutely eaten me alive, neuron by neuron. It’s called “Using space and time to encode vibrotactile information: toward an estimate of the skin’s achievable throughput (Eagleman, Novich)” and causes my mind to be absolutely paralyzed by possibilities. Sensory substitution! What a thought, Eagleman!

Of course, Paul Bach-y-Rita was one of the original OG’s in this realm.

& now, Elon Musk continues to seek talent for up-&-coming Neuralink – which promises to offer high-bandwidth brain-to-computer interfaces. Hm. Not a bad idea, especially when you consider the therapeutic applications of existing brain-to-computer technologies.

To research or work on any of these technologies would be the opportunity of a lifetime, & I’d cancel pretty much everything in my life right now to pursue them if only I knew how. In the meantime the opportunity to sit back and learn is available & my cynical little mind is already shouting out some words of caution.

BRAIN-TO-COMPUTER-INTERFACES-ARE-NEVER-GONNA-HAPPEN!, says cynical brain

Well, nothing interesting that ever happened was ever-going-to-happen. New inventions are just crazy, that’s how it is! 

(this back-and-forth arguing continues). The primary concern is whether or not a high-bandwidth brain-to-machine interface for general-purpose use would be a good thing. Musk & others are right when they say that a keyboard isn’t enough to transmit a certain amount of information back-and-forth. But is that enough to support the overall claim that as it relates to human beings using and interfacing with information technology, quality of communication is proportional to the bandwidth of the information being passed along? Childish idealism runs rampant in my thoughts now – I’d like to go to coffee w a clever human like Elon & ask them, ‘will the problems you foresee with AI actually be solved by brain-machine interfaces or will they be worsened? Will the malicious capabilities of technology be diminished if humans are more closely linked w technology?’ It seems even a pen and paper (even morse code!) are often not enough for humans to communicate effectively, promptly, or sufficiently. It leads me to wonder if the tech-augmented hippocampus & cortex, adorned with messy glued-on silicon chips, might not be a devastatingly unhealthy Matrix-esque nightmare of limbic slop.

That coffee date won’t be happening anytime soon so in the meantime I’ll have to scroll from afar & hope these technologies work, & serve the common good.

Still a favorite: Empirical explorations of mindfulness (Conceptual and methodological conundrums)

& a must-read – especially for anyone hoping to be well-informed about health claims related to mindfulness, meditation, yoga, etc

http://aging.wisc.edu/pdfs/2506.pdf

Poetry challenge from RG: Vastness

Vastness

 

Most folks will say “look up! at that little twinkling star”,

& maybe rattle numbers off – “it’s really, REALLY far!”

suppose it’s true, cosmos are large, perhaps they’re kinda big

but look down at your bag of skin and let your daydreams dig

Seven billion people roam our “vast” tiny Earth

But seven billion billion billion atoms teem within one’s girth

They talk and play and scream and die as we all are right now

They love and hate and question fate and probably tip cows

All the while praying watching, wondering what they are

Colossal chemists peering in from microscopes afar

So don’t feel too small or look to stars to find some spacious wealth

The vastness of a universe is really in yourself

 

 

 

On today’s episode of crowtalker

16 dorks sitting in a tree across the street from CVS (across Fairview)

Saw them yelling up there from my spot on the Grandview Grille stoop. Came over here next to the NiceRide bikes to have a closer looked. We yelled at each other for a bit:

 

caw-caw-caw-caw-caw-caw: 6 caws, high-pitched, was came often

cawww-cawww-cawwww: 3 caws, longer/slower, deeper & more prounounced

3 or 4 of the screamers were really bouncing, & their torsos bobbing & bopping looked like they were heaving each caw with all their strength. Really neat to see. The eensy weensie ittie bittie branches atop the tree where they sat absolutely rocked as the screamers dedicated their entire abdomens towards crow-calling

After 10 minutes they all took off in unison, headed north/northwest. Fun stuff.

As I type this, I hear 3 more caws from a single crow. I look up – a pair of them have re-entered the eensy wensie ittie bittie branch zone

When I looked up just there, they left. For some reason I feel or expect that there should be more crows up there, lingering silently. Maybe there are but I can’t see them

 

crane violation

was droning today at @Shaw field and had two run-ins (fly-ins?) with cranes.

 

the first run-in (fly-in?): a large construction project is taking place on campus. amidst that building-site is a large crane that soars upwards with yellowish branches and breathes onto the shoulders of the janet wallace fine arts center. its arm can swing over jwall and neill hall so it is pretty imposing and you can feel it on the edges of your arms and the back of your head when you walk among or in those buildings. i flew the drone up and around the insides of the crane successfully a few times – that was intentional and was ok

the second run-in fly-in?): this one was not intentional and not ok. as i was droning up above shaw field a very very very very large bird flew past overhead – very far overhead. it had huge huge huge huge wings and long long long long legs dragging behind. Seemed like a crane even though (for no real reason) the word albatross kept shooting through my head. The drone was on its way up with this big fella came into view and though I wouldn’t call it a near-collision, I def invaded this bird’s airspace. It banked right with some pained, large, slow wing-flaps and my friend remarked that he could see the light through its wings, and that this bird seemed pretty large. I brought the drone down

 

So, to the metal crane – thanks for the giggles

to the flying crane – sorry 😦

 

[side note – videos were not filmed today]