11 March 2012

i'm completely operational and all my circuits are functioning normally

  • Humans are unpredictable, so they say. I'll miss you, mon petit robot. The existential concerns raised upon termination of human-robot relationships.

  • Perhaps those scenarios in which one makes out with oneself will not be entirely limited to REM content. And lest we forget Billy Idol's oh-so-human anthem, this robotic torso ostensibly allows one to hug oneself.

  • Alone in a nursing home with no one but a robotic dog to snuggle. Sucks for you in regard to oxytocin, but at least you'll probably experience a decrease in cortisol.

  • If cremation isn't creepy, why is a corpse-eating robot? It should be noted that said robots were designed to refuel on any biomass, but perhaps there's a gruesome spin afoot.

  • Of course I'm going to include here the Radiolab episode Talking to Machines. Unwittingly falling for a chatbot, robot shrinks, and more!

  • Tintypes for every taste. Edward Bateman's Mechanical Brides of the Uncanny.

31 October 2010

you dig up my liver, addendum

20 Awesomely Untranslatable Words from Around the World.  I am particularly fond of l'appel du vide, which describes the instinctive urge to jump from high places. Maybe I'm up in the night, but who hasn't experienced that? Sometimes English is starkly inadequate.

12 March 2010

you dig up my liver

  • People everywhere tend to describe powerful emotions metaphorically in terms of a part of the body. But in which part of the body and with what sensations people's emotions manifest themselves rather depends upon which language they speak.

  • Botox causes impairment in the grokking of negative emotions? The source article is yet to be published in Psychological Science, but here's a masses-friendly scoop in (urp) Psychology Today.

  • Having experienced the usefulness of temporary Stoicism, while acknowledging that it has been a tool rather than a preferred state of affairs, I am nonetheless surprised at some of my own internal railing at Nussbaum's arguments. Nussbaum here counters an age-old view espoused by Stoics, Christians and Kantians alike: emotions are disruptive and subversive to reason, they arise from parochial needs and interests and therefore the life well lived is the life in which the things of this world are left behind for a higher sphere beyond accident, pain and desire. On the contrary, Nussbaum writes, human beings enter the world dependent on objects beyond their control, most notably their mothers, and emotional development is a response to this fact....In her ''neo-Stoicism,'' the pain and partiality of emotion are a value-laden mode of thinking that must be accepted if we are to create a just and compassionate world.

  • Babies: Cute little blobs of potential, or active participants in relationship?

06 January 2010

thanks, b.u.

29 December 2009

To live at all is miracle enough

We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here. Richard Dawkins
thanks, a.p.

27 December 2009

attachment theory, happiness, and larry david?

"Happiness" seems to be the topic du jour, and soon one will be able to watch Alanis Morissette, Larry David, and others discussing the finer points. PBS will premiere This Emotional Life, a three-part series, on the 4th of January. I am pleased to note that the first episode looks to be heavy on attachment theory. Also pleased that the so-called "negative" emotions will not be ignored. Pleased, simply, that an entire series (albeit a brief one) will be devoted to emotion. I concede that including celeb banter will, no doubt, make this complex topic friendlier to the masses. Finally, both pleased and apprehensive about the series' treatment of pop psych & self-help. I won't deny having high hopes & suppose I'll be weighing in as the episodes are aired.