The Null Device
Here come the Brave Ones again? As East Timor approaches the finalisation of its status as an independent state, swearing in its first popularly-elected president, six Indonesian warships have entered East Timorese waters and refused requests to leave. Is it merely simple intimidation from the Indonesian military, or the vanguard of a new invasion?
Here comes the next big pharmaceutical thing: Melanotan, a.k.a. the "Barbie pill", a drug which promotes skin tanning and weight loss whilst enhancing sex drive.
Yesterday's drugs were about need; today's are about desire. The unlocked human genome opens even our innermost passions to scrutiny and tinkering, blazing the way to an entirely new class of pharmaceutical. A more conservative, more religious culture than ours might want "doubt blockers" or "gnostogenics" to empower their spiritual side. But for better or worse, Americans who pay for quick-fix drugs will want beauty, happiness, and the illusion of wealth.
The future will belong to the tanned, slim, buff and oversexed; the Shiny Happy People will inherit the earth.
Is consciousness (or, precisely, the integration of dispersed neurological phenomena into a central awareness) the product of the brain's electromagnetic field? Two researchers put forward an interesting argument for why this may be the case.
Anyone learning to drive a car will have experienced how the first (very conscious) fumblings are transformed through constant practice into automatic actions. The neural networks driving those first uncertain fumblings are precisely where we would expect to find nerves in the undecided state when a small nudge from the brain's em field can topple them towards or away from firing. The field will "fine tune" the neural pathway towards the desired goal. But neurons are connected so that when they fire together, they wire together, to form stronger connections. After practice, the influence of the field will become dispensable. The activity will be learnt and may thereafter be performed unconsciously.
Inquiry of the day: Why is it that you sometimes hear men talking about their feminine sides, but never hear women talking about their masculine sides?
Looks like Napster will live on (as a brand-name of media giant Bertelsmann, and possibly as some kind of pay-per-play music rental service). And, it goes without saying, it will undoubtedly suck, whatever form it takes.
Looks like Curve have a new album out, The Adventures of Curve, and this time they're self-publishing and self-distributing, after the recording company dropped the ball with their last release. That's what to get when you sign to a major label and you're not Limp Bizkit or Puddle of Mudd or some other fashionable yoof-metal outfit, I suppose.
Meanwhile, further down on the page, it appears that the new CD from Californian swirlygoth-turned-drum'n'bass outfit Love Spirals (formerly Downward) is out, and the description sounds somewhat interesting. I may have to give it a spin next time I'm near Heartland. (via Cos)