Friday, 6 July 2007

Akiyoshi Kitaoka - New Illusion

Some more goodness gracious from Prof. Kitaoka. Ow. Owww.

The Cheapest Days to Buy Stuff - Kelli B Grant

Airplane Tickets
When to Buy: Wednesday morning.
Why: "Most airfare sales are thrown out there on the weekend," says travel expert Peter Greenberg, a.k.a. The Travel Detective. Other airlines then jump into the game, discounting their own fares and prompting further changes by the first airline. The fares reach their lowest prices late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

When to Buy: Thursday.
Why: Price compare between major chains Borders and Barnes & Noble. The former releases its weekly sales and coupons on every Thursday; the latter, every Tuesday.

When to Buy: Monday.
Why: "Car dealers live for the weekend, which is when they make most of their sales," says Phil Reed, consumer advice editor for "On Mondays, the low foot traffic makes it seem like the weekend will never come." That dealer desperation, paired with fewer consumers on the lot, give you more negotiating power.

When to Buy: Thursday evening.
Why: That's the day when stores stock their shelves for the weekend, and when many retailers — including Ann Taylor, Banana Republic and Express — start their weekend promotions, says Kathryn Finney, author of "How to Be a Budget Fashionista." You'll find great prices and the best selection. "It's an effort to get people to shop in the middle of the week," she says.

Department-Store Wares
When to Buy: Saturday evening.
Why: Department stores have a lot to mark down for their Sunday circulars, so they frequently start the process on Saturday evenings before store closing, says Finney. "They're preparing for the big rush," she says. Bonus: Even if the markdowns haven't been made, many employees will honor the sale price if you ask. Print out the circular preview from the store's web site, and bring it with you when you head to the mall.

Dinner Out
When to Buy: Tuesday.
Why: Most restaurants do not receive food deliveries over the weekend. "Sunday is the garbage-can day of the week," says Kate Krader, senior editor at Food & Wine magazine. "No doubt, they're cleaning out their fridges. Tuesdays, they're starting fresh." Dining out on that day offers the best odds you'll get a meal worth paying for, no matter your price point, she says.

When to Buy: Wednesday.
Why: Plenty of movie theaters, amusement parks and museums offer extra discounts to consumers who visit midweek. Six Flags theme parks offer a $12 discount to AAA members — three times its usual discount of $4. AMC Theatres offers members in its free AMC Movie Watcher reward program a free small popcorn on Wednesdays. (This summer, it's also the day select theaters offer free Summer Movie Camp screenings.)

When to Buy: Thursday, before 10 a.m.
Why: The price of oil isn't the only factor influencing costs at your local pump. Consumer usage plays a role, too — and weekend demand is high, says Jason Toews, co-founder of, a price-monitoring site. Prices usually swing upward on Thursdays as travelers fuel up to head out the following day. By hitting the pump before 10 a.m. (when many station owners change their prices), you'll beat the rush and the price jump.

When to Buy: Sunday — or Tuesday.
Why: Maximize savings by combining store sales, which run from Wednesday to Tuesday, with the latest round of coupons from your Sunday paper, says Mary Hunt, publisher of Debt-Proof Living, a money-saving newsletter. "It's a smart idea to wait until you have those in hand to match up with the week's sale items," she says.

To snag savings on items you don't need just yet, shop on Tuesday, advises Hunt. Chances are, the store will have run out of the sale items. "That means you can pick up rain checks, which allow you to buy those items later when you need them, and at the sale price," she says.

Hotel Rooms
When to Buy: Sunday.
Why: There are two kinds of hotel managers, and the kind that won't give you a discount on your room rate has Sundays off, says Greenberg. Call the hotel directly, and ask to speak with the manager on duty or the director of sales. These employees are open to negotiation, he says. They'd rather have a booked room at a discounted rate than an empty room. (The rest of the week, your call would get you a so-called revenue manager, who monitors profits — and is rarely willing to lower rates.)

via smart money

Bob Thurman Podcast

Here's a link to Bob Thurman's Podcasts on Buddhism. I think it was Daniel Goleman at Columbia who conducted the cognitive psychology experiment that showed simply being around calm people has a measurable effect on agitated brain states. So go ahead. Download and bliss out.

Bob Thurman - Neuroscience & Buddhism

The more we learn about how the mind works, the more it seems Eastern religion got there first.

Cognitive reseach has shown how our memories of events can morph and change over time, neuroscience has mapped several of the basic neural systems that interact to create our sense of self and the predictive model of the brain put forward by Jeff Hawkins at the Redwood Institue does support the Buddhist teaching of Samsara, or the idea that we live in a dream (albeit, one caused by the evolutionary functions of our neo-cortex).

I don't want to get mystical here, but I wonder how much more of this religion is going to be shown as a provable model for human conciousness. It's not a bad idea. I mean when was the last time you saw a Tibetan Buddhist Suicide Bomber?

This lecture is given by Tenzin Bob Thurman, who is the first American to be ordained by the Dalai Lama, and who became a Tibetan monk at age 24. He's now a professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist studies at Columbia University.

And yes, he is Uma Thurman's father.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Neuroscience Talks - Stanford University

Courtesy of Ario Hosseini, are a plethora of amazing Neuroscience talks from Stanford and Vanderbilt Universities, which I will be posting seperately, but for anyone who can't wait, here's the link to the stanford neuroscience talks. Keep em coming guys.

iTunes visualiser - Magnetoscope

Hoooo boy, this is cool. It's a visualiser for your iTunes. Makes the old one look like Tetris, 1984.

Colour Palette - Mona Lisa

Niku Banaie - Naked Communications.

Niku Banaie of Naked Communications offers Twenty-Five Signals for Change at the PSFK Conference London. I'm looking into making these files into iPod watchable files so you can watch then on the way home from work, but for now, you'll have to watch them from the site.

Timo Veikkola - Nokia Futurist

Lecture given at the PSK Conference. Begs the question that as design is the reflection of society, how can we envision the future through trends, observation and informed intuition. What values, attitudes and behaviours of today will shape our future?

Humble, good stuff - Helicopter Guy

You know those electrical wires that hang a thousand feet off the ground?
This is one of the guys that fixes them. Great music, great narrator and just a great piece of film. Enjoy

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Fundamentals of the Brain and Mind: A Short Course in Neuroscience

This is a lecture series from MIT that acts as an introduction to neuroscience. Absolutely enthralling stuff. Go get yourself some popcorn and settle in, these lectures are great. By the way, I've put the lectures in reverse order, but I really like Steven Pinker so he get's to go first.

Lecture 1:
Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language - Steven Pinker After fifteen years of studying words in history, in the laboratory, and in everyday speech, Steven Pinker has worked out the dynamic relationship – searching memory vs. following rules – that determines the forms our speech takes. In one of his final lectures at MIT Pinker gives the ultimate lecture on verbs, in a rich mixture of linguistics, cognitive neuroscience, and a surprising amount of humor.

Lecture 2:
Cognitive Control: Understanding the Brain's Executive - Prof. Earl K. Miller
We often take it for granted that we know the difference between a cat and a dog. Where and how do we store the visual information that categorizes “catness” in our minds, so that the next time we see a cat, we know that it is not a dog?

Lecture 3:
Neurobiology of Memory: How Do We Acquire, Consolidate and Recall Memory - Susumu Tonegawa
Tonegawa’s work involves manipulating genes to explore memory and learning from the most basic biochemical and cellular levels, up to the most complex behaviors. One of Tonegawa’s goals in designing defective mice is to simulate profound human disorders, like schizophrenia.

Lecture 4:
Architecture of the Brain - Elly Nedivi
In this lecture Elly Nedivi provides an overview on the basics of brain anatomy, working her way up the spinal column to the deepest recesses of the cerebral cortex

Lecture 5:
The Changing Brain - Mark Bear
How do our right and left eyes take in two separate streams of visual information and end up with a single view of the world? This question has come under intense scrutiny from neuroscientists for decades, and Mark Bear brings us up to date in his lecture (There are serious audio problems until around 4:15, at which time the audio is dramatically improved.Hang in there, it's worth it)

Lecture 6:
Vision: Challenges and Prospects - Pawan Sinha
In a fraction of a second, most of us can recognize a face in a crowd, or make out a face from a blurry image. Pawan Sinha focuses on our uncanny ability to recognize faces as a way of getting at one of the key problems of neuroscience: how our brains represent and then encode objects.

Lecture 7:
The Brain and Mind - Mriganka Sur

In his kickoff lecture for this series on neuroscience, Sur provides both a current overview of brain models and function, and a peek at his own research

Cal Tech - Unconcious processing

A video webcast of a California Institute of Technology lecture that gives a good undersatanding of unconcious processing and the enormous amount of unconcious proecessing going on in the brain. The title of the lectue is "The Zombie within".

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Dr Gregory Berns - Satisfaction

Dr Gregory Berns discusses his book, "Satisfaction", which deals with the neuroscience behind motivation and satisfaction in life. Berns argues the more complicated and challenging a life you pursue the more likely it is that you will be satisfied. Which is why I wrestle alligators. This is a loooooong lecture. A little thin, but also some scary dated schizophrenia treatments.

Nobel Laurete, Eric Kandel talks about the brain

Eric Kandel's work on understanding memory led to his Nobel prize. He is articulate and very entertaining. If you can wade through Charlie Roses endless interruptions, this is a very good talk.

Michael Gazzaniga speaks with Willian Safire

The father of neuroscience discusses the brain and how it learns. Michael Gazzaniga is always amazing to listen to and William Safire is always self deprecating and funny.

Brains, Rewards and Addiction

Another lecture from the grey matters series from UCSD. This time Prof. Terrence Sejnowski discuses how the the reward centre of the brain becomes hijacked by addicitve drugs. There's also a video that shows how manipulations in the the social behaviour of monkeys can arise simply by changing the balance of serotonin between the alpha male and those lower down.

You're looking at the shape of anger

In an interesting art/neuroscience project, participnats were hypnotised and asked to recall traumatic events and to emote primary emotions such as anger. Each participant was wired to EEG, and EKG sensors and monitored. The resulting ingormation was visualized as still images using Iris Explorer and visualized in realtime, interactive space using specialy develop data acuisition modules in EonReality.

Downloadable podcasts and videocasts update

I'm uploading some downloadable podcasts and videocasts over the next few days. I've had a butt load of links emailed to me from kind neuroscience students from around the place but if you have more, please, keep sending them.

Vittorio Gallese - Eye of the Beholder

Vittorio Gallese, the scientist who discovered mirror neurons, engages in a roundtable discussion with artists and art historians about how neuroscientific discoveries can influence our understanding of how we perceive art.

Decisions: How Do We Animals Decide What To Do?

What causes different people to make such different decisions each day and over the course of their lifetimes? Professor William Kristan of the University of San Diago gives a lecture based on the premise that since all animals make decisions, one way to gain some insight into this question is to begin by trying to understand the decision-making process in the brains of simpler animals.

The neuroscience of Rock, Paper Scissors.

In RPS circles a common mantra is “Rock is for Rookies” because males have a tendency to lead with Rock on their opening throw. If you're playing a ventren, it pays to play scissors on the first throw. This and a host of other good advice courtesy of the RPS Society as they prepare for the World RPS Championships this year in Toronto, Canada. See, it's not all nerd herding at Mind head. Sometimes we even photocopy our ties.

Martin Klimas - Smash Photography

Photographer Martin Klimas uses a kind of strobe lit photography to capture the moment of impact. Catch his exhibition at the Foley Gallery in New York, along with all the other great works from past exhibitions.

Billy Collins - Animated poetry

I knew if I looked hard enough, I'd find some good word stuff and here it is. Billy Collins. You just can't not like Billy Collins. It's impossible. His poetry makes you feel good and now some nifty genius has animated it. If all around you are worn out faces, go here. Life is good.

For my mum.

Monday, 2 July 2007

Dan Havel and Dean Ruck - Inversion

Artists Dan Havel and Dean Ruck of the Houston Art League created this amazing sculpture.

Seeqpod - wow

Oh, this is just all kinds of good. A podcrawler that searches for your music selection over the entire internet. It's like Napster on anabolic steroids.

Aniruddh Patel - Music and the brain

Ani Patel discusses what music can teach us about the brain, and what brain science, in turn, can reveal about music. Arni has a really impressive CV; he worked under E.O.Wilson at Harvard and after graduating went onto become the Esther J Bernham fellow at the Neurosciences institiue in San Diago. Watch it here.

Malcolm Gladwell - the mind knows not what the tongue wants.

You know what, this is awesome. Malcolm Gladwell uses Spaghetti sauce and focus groups as an inroad to talking about human behaviour.

All in the mind - Mindreading: Mental surveillance

Scientists are uncovering new ways to fish for your thoughts, and to decipher the brain's neural code behind your thinking. Download this audio befor it's taken offline

All in the mind - Mindreading: Neuroscience on the witness stand

Brain scans are becoming commonplace as evidence in US courts, in the bid to convict offenders or free them. But is the technology half-baked? Download this audio before it's taken offline.

Malcolm Gladwell - Elite Universities

The always entertaining Malcolm Gladwell talks about Harvard Univeristiy entrance standards and the general failing of intelligence testing and elite university attendance as a measure of future success. I really like Malcolm Gladwell. He's the venn diagram that connects Christopher Walken's face with Leo Sayer's hair. Ands he's very cool.