Wednesday, February 5, 2014

I light the candle for the ghosts in my home

DARPA--yes, that DARPA--has released an open-source catalog of software and research project notes. Why? Got me. But apparently the agency working to develop weaponry and battle armor for the US government wants input and coding help from...everyone who wants to help out.

Unpaid, of course, but they also say that since it's open-source, it can be used in coders' own projects, as well.

What this means in the larger political sense, I am purely not the one to ask. I'm just baffled.

Meanwhile--continuing in strange US news--there's now a sculpture of a nearly naked man...on the all-female Wellesley College campus. Why the sculpture there? Why is it a nearly naked man? The artist made a companion piece of a nearly naked woman; would that have been more or less disturbing as an installation on the campus lawn?

There's an entire page devoted to the rest of the installation set (including the female version of the Sleepwalker, and an alternate male version) on Tony Matelli's website; but does seeing the rest of the installation pieces invalidate the oddity of the lone somnabulist on campus? In my opinion, not really. (Also, a warning for that link--Matelli's artwork meanders from the clinical to the profoundly disturbing. View at your own risk.)

Moving to the field of neuroscience, Robert Provine, author of the new book Curious Behavior, posits that not only do tears serve a physical healing function (not the least of which is to lubricate irritated or injured eyes), but might also serve as a mood elevator--a compound called NGF, which stands for nerve growth factor, seems not only responsible for axonal branching (the thing that makes nerve fibers grow like tree limbs), but also potentially has an anti-depressive, anti-psychotic effect. If proven, this could have wide application in terms of recovery from mental illness (schizophrenia, depression, general dementia) as well as mental impairment (autism, Alzheimer's, possibly even the full range of anorexia and bulimia illnesses).

Further study is definitely needed, but it looks promising.

And Linden Lab has a new CEO. So far, he seems sane. Yay?

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