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Science!: tree-ring music, vision restored, and emailing a wrench into space January 10, 2015

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
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“The longevity of many other philosophical thought experiments—Schrödinger’s cats, twin Earths, what it’s like to be a bat—relies on their impermeability, but, after the discovery in the early eighteenth century that a simple cataract surgery could lift the curtain of blindness for some, Molyneux’s thought experiment became, simply, an experiment.”

The results mostly suggest favorable psychological characteristics of BDSM practitioners compared with the control group.” Wismeijer, A. A.J. and van Assen, M. A.L.M. (2013), Psychological Characteristics of BDSM Practitioners. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 10: 1943–1952. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12192 (Makes sense. For one thing, the group of non-practitioners includes people who have kinks but are emotionally screwed-up about them.)

“You overly idealize the past. It happens today when we talk about technology. We say: ‘Oh, technology, making us isolated. We’re disengaged.’ Compared to what? You know, this kind of idealized notion of what community and social interactions were like.”

“Bruce Bridgeman lived with a flat view of the world, until a trip to the cinema unexpectedly rewired his brain to see the world in 3D.

“The researchers had hoped to observe their subjects over several weeks, but the trial was cut short because they became too distressed to carry on. Few lasted beyond two days, and none as long as a week.

“Bartholomäus Traubeck created equipment that would translate tree rings into music by playing them on a turntable. Rather than use a needle like a record, sensors gather information about the wood’s color and texture and use an algorithm that translates variations into piano notes.”

“Astronaut Barry Wilmore needed a socket wrench, but there was just one problem. Wilmore is currently on the ISS, over 200 miles above the nearest hardware store. So, what did NASA do? Easy, they emailed him one.”

“Maybe I’ll be able to — for once — be able to put change in a pop machine and get the pop out of it.” (A story of bionic arms.)

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