We had a great time at the Cal Shakes performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream this afternoon. Contrary to silly Merc "where are my fairies?" review, we felt that this cheeky reconstruction was better paced than a traditional rendering, and it brought out better the sharp edges of love that are sometimes gilded by fairy light. Doug Hara as a Puck bubbling with physical humor, Danny Scheie as a full-of-himself Bottom, and Lindsey Gates as a sharply snippy Helena were my favorites, but the whole cast did a great job in keeping the play moving and entangling humor, fear, and sexual tension.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Localization of emotion perception in the brain of fish: This is beautiful work, showing that certain areas in the brain of mature Atlantic Salmon 'light up' when the animal is asked to categorize the emotions expressed by a set of (human) faces:
More amazing still is the fact that the fish performed this task while dead. (Via Language Log).
Read the whole thing. Some great comments too, and links to related material. Don't laugh too hard at fMIR misinterpretations, we are all susceptible to wishful thinking and to reading too much into laboriously collected data, and all statistical analyses of complex data use simplifications that could get us in trouble.
Someone better at comedy than me might have a go at translating the Monty Python dead parrot pet shop sketch into a dead salmon sketch at a neuroimaging conference. At least "pining for the fjords" would be just right already.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
As I noted in a comment to the original posting, the work of Chris Fuchs and his collaborators gives intriguing ways out from the apparent contradiction between conditional probability and quantum mechanics. Fuchs's latest paper on the subject is Quantum-Bayesian Coherence.
Friday, September 11, 2009
on behalf of the British government, and all those who live freely thanks to Alan's work I am very proud to say: we're sorry, you deserved so much better.(Via Language Log)
If you read the whole Downing Street statement, you might feel a twinge of regret that Turing's other gigantic contributions to humanity beyond cracking Enigma were not mentioned, but the apology is nevertheless strong and poignant, and Gordon Brown deserves praise for saying clearly what had been unsaid for so long by those in power. Thank you.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
I spoke recently at a VLDB panel where I really wanted to come at the issues from this point of view, but I felt that it would sound way too abstract to a database audience. Maybe I shouldn't have chickened out, but you can't demolish a deeply vested set of assumptions in just seven minutes...