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april 2002

sampling new cultural context

 
 
tuesday :: april 30, 2002
 
 > hacking exposed
open_source_art_hack
:: new museum exploration

From May 2 to June 30, 2002, the New Museum in New York city presents the exhibition Open_Source_Art_Hack. Hacking practices, open source ethics, and cultural production are explored in Open_Source_Art_Hack.

"Hackers create the possibility of new things entering the world. Not always great things, or even good things, but new things. In art, in science, in philosophy and culture, in any process of knowledge where data can be gathered, where information can be extracted from it, and where in that information new possibilities for the world produced, there are hackers hacking the new out of the old." McKenzie Wark, Hacker Manifesto 2.0

In mainstream culture, hacking has many-mostly negative-connotations. Acts of hacking can range from relatively harmless pranks, to those that have economic consequences, to criminal actions. The activity itself elicits both fear and fascination, and its aura of anonymity and inscrutability makes it ripe for media exaggeration. Especially after September 11, 2001, the usual official response to any kind of hacking has been to indiscriminately codify it as 'cyber-terrorism,' diverting attention from its significant social implications.

In an age of increased surveillance, rampant commercialization, and privatization of everything from language, to biological entities, to supposedly personal information, hacking -as an extreme art practice- can be a vital countermeasure. Particularly when combined with the ethics of the 'open source' movement, hacking represents an important form of institutional critique. Originally devised as a process for the community creation and ownership of software code, open source offers abundant applications for artists -and the public- because of its transparency and communality. Open source allows artists to become providers of functional tools with which users can create new forms of information aesthetics, modes of activism, and content. Within this hybrid domain, they can intervene on- and off-line, operating in public and hacking the private, alternating or combining digital and analogue.

A group show of artists from the United States, Australia, Denmark, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom who openly undermine the programming of everyday software tools, Open_Source_Art_Hack features performances by the Surveillance Camera Players and Critical Art Ensemble <http://www.critical-art.net/>; an installation countering invasions of data privacy by Knowbotic Research and LAN; an anti-war game by Josh ON of Future Farmers <http://www.futurefarmers.com/josh/rca/>; omnivorous packet sniffing by RSG <http://www.usdept-arttech.net/release_04-24-02.html>; a streaming media workshop by Superflex <http://www.superflex.dk/>; a Radio Free Linux broadcast by radioqualia <http://www.radioqualia.net/>; and an 'ad-busting' project by Cue P. Doll/®TMark <http://www.rtmark.com/cuehack/>.

Organized by Steve Dietz, Curator of New Media, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and Jenny Marketou, artist, New York City, in collaboration with Anne Barlow. >from *New Museum site*.

realted context
>
hacker manifesto 2.0
> 01.01.01: art in technological times. 2001

 
 
monday :: april 29, 2002
 
 
save internet radio
:: dmca threatens internet radio

There are tens of thousands of webcasters, plus thousands of broadcast radio stations around the world that are streaming their programming ('simulcasting') on the internet. Tens of milions of americans have sampled internet radio and the number of loyal Internet radio listeners in the U.S., although not precisely known, is probably in the low millions (and growing at over 100% per year). The most-popular Interent radio formats are those that are unavailable on AM and FM radio, including classical, trance/electronica, world music, americana, and various forms of jazz.

As required by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the U.S. Copyright Office - which reports to the Librarian of Congress - is obligated to set a 'sound recordings performance royalty' rate for internet radio, through a Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP). The CARP arbitrators set a royalty rate far higher than the rate for composers' royalties; recommended a fixed price per song streamed per listener, rejecting an alternative 'percentage of gross revenues' royalty; and has proposed recordkeeping and reporting requirements (like detailed records of user information) that are wildly beyond the abilities of most webcasters to fulfill.

For an average popular independent webcaster, the CARP's proposed rate equates to a royalty rate closer to 200% to 300% of gross revenues! Worse, the royalties are retroactive to October 1998. The bill would be a retroactive royalty rate of 500% to 1000% of gross revenues to date. In conclusion, if the Librarian sets a royalty rate along the lines of the CARP recommendation (and sets the reporting requirements as proposed), Internet radio as an industry will be effectively dead by the end of May. >from *Save internet radio!*

related context
>
eff "intellectual property - dmca" archive
> copyright office threatens internet radio privacy. april 12, 2002
> dmca cases threaten encryption research. september 17, 2001

 > save i-radio
 
friday :: april 26, 2002
 
 > edge explorers
exploring edges
:: foresight institute gathering

The Spring 2001 Senior Associate Gathering 'Exploring the Edge' will be held April 26-28, 2001, in Palo Alto, Silicon Valley, the birthplace of disruptive new technologies. Foresight is a nonprofit educational organization formed to help prepare society for anticipated advanced technologies; primary focus is on molecular nanotechnology: the coming ability to build materials and products with atomic precision. Foresight bring together folks from the bleeding edge of change in widely dispersed fields. By combining enough informed perspectives, they have a chance of figuring out what's coming, how to adapt, and when to get in there and help push things in a different direction.

Huge revolutions in technology are expected to show up in the next 5-to-30 years -- what they are, how they'll change your life, and how to influence them (nanotechnology, encouraging open technologies, radical life extension, preventing abuse of technology, expanding biosphere into space, spreading tech benefits to "have nots," repairing environmental damage, reining in "intellectual property" law, openness vs. privacy, machine intelligence: could we be surprised?, speeding up change to reduce risk?). As a group (Eric Drexler, Doug Engelbart, John Gilmore, Ray Kurzweil, Marvin Minsky, Tim O'Reilly, Paul Saffo...until 200) they have technical skill, entrepreneurial drive, financial resources, experience in effecting change, and the sheer pigheaded determination to make a difference. >from *Foresight Senior Associate Gathering: Exploring the Edges*.

 
 
thursday :: april 25, 2002
 
 
global warming and life on earth
:: we can't take any species of the earth for granted

A comprehensive summary has revealed, for the first time, the dramatic extent of disruptions now being experienced by Earth's species as a result of global warming. The extensive report compiles the results of over 100 research studies on the effects that recent climate changes have had on animals and plants throughout the world.

The local-to-global focus of the study ranges from how climate changes are affecting individual animals and plants, such as in the timing of migration, breeding, or plant flowering; to local populations of the same species; to communities of species and their interactions within a single habitat; to major redistributions of assemblages of species within entire ecosystems.

"All the major biomes on Earth have been affected by a temperature increase of just a little more than half a degree Celsius--most of which has occurred during the last two decades," says Eric Post from the international team of researchers that made the study. "That such a small change has had such an extensive effect is alarming when you consider that even conservative estimates predict the climate will heat up at least two or three degrees more."

The scientists found that, partly because global climate change is highly variable throughout the world, it is affecting different species and different locations in different ways. The study also points out that climate change has an immediate effect on certain species but a delayed, and possibly stronger, effect on others.

This research was sponsored by the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, the U. S. National Science Foundation, the European Union Project POSITIVE, and the French National Center for Scientific Research. >from *Extensive research survey confirms life on Earth now being affected by global warming*, april 16, 2002.

related context
>
earth's warming trend is truly global. april 11, 2002.

 

 > ducks in global warming
 
wednesday :: april 24, 2002
 
 > ark design tools
architectural design
:: redefining content

With its theme, "Redefining content," the7th International Conference on Computer Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia focused on going back to the basics of content creation. Held at Malaysia's very own cutting-edge creative nexus - Cyberjaya, the intelligent city and the hub for the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC). The organiser is CAADRIA (Computer-Aided Architectural Design Research in Asia), an association of those who teach and conduct research in computer-aided architectural design in schools of architecture throughout Asia, established on 1996.

Technological changes have entered the design in general and particularly architectural design at a considerably slower pace when compared to the field of electronic game design and entertainment. Architects have only recently begun experimenting with digital media that reach beyond the purpose of presentation. Developers and designers can and should go beyond Computer-Aided Architectural Design, architecture and design technologies and consider the potential of new and emerging systems, particularly multimedia. Topics of interest include multimedia design, collaborative design, design creativity, digital design education, generative design, human-computer interaction, computer animation, precedence and prototypes, prediction and evaluation, shape studies, virtual architecture, virtual reality, and web-based design.

Some of papers presented in the conference: The role of advanced VR interfaces in knowledge management and their relevance to architecture, The impact of internet enabled Computer-Aided Design (iCAD) in construction industry, From urban landscape to information landscape - digital Tainan as an example, A context manager for multimedia presentation in an intelligent environment, Construction of digital city in physical city: cyber-spatial cognitive approach to the project of Hsin-Chu digital city in Taiwan, Interaction and social issues in context-aware intelligent environments, Some phenomena of spatial interaction in the networked spaces, From CAD to IAD: an evolutionary model of the internet-based engineering consulting in architecture, The virtual designer: the application of VRML to collaborative design, The limitations of architectural XML-powered databases, Performance-based simulation for the planning and design of hyper dense urban habitation.

Among the principal presenters were Peter Lawrence, Chairman and Founder of the *Corporate Design Foundation (CDF)*, and Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture of *Asymptote Architecture* . Corporate Design Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating corporate America in the value of good design. Asymptote Architecture work ranges from experimental installations and computer generated environments to building design and urban planning. >from *CAADRIA 2002*, ciberjaya, april 18-20, 2002.

related context
>
skyscrapers of the future to be more user friendly. april 20, 2002

 
 
tuesday :: april 23, 2002
 
 
chi 2002
:: changing the world, changing ourselves

Human-Computer Interaction is a young field that will celebrate its 20th 'birthday' at CHI 2002. In their welcome letter, conference co-chairs, Loren Terveen and Dennis Wixon, explains that "we live in a world continuously transformed by new technologies. CHI 2002 will examine lessons that can be learned from past interactive technologies that have changed the way we work, play, communicate, and think. We also will look forward, examining radical emerging technologies such as surgically implanted networked computing devices and nanotechnology. The CHI community should be involved with shaping their progress as early as possible, to guide their development in an ethical, user-centered manner."

This year's theme draws attention to the profound changes interactive technologies have made and will continue to make in the way we live. These areas of interest include: radical visions of computing in the future, from nanotechnology to spiritual computing; how such new visions will change the way we work, play, and think; how HCI as a body of knowledge and practice will change; retrospectives on how technology has transformed individuals and society in the past; reflection on how HCI research and practice have changed as new technologies have emerged and been adopted; case studies of design and usability in practice; new, integrative, or forward-looking perspectives on HCI; HCI and its social and economic implications; analysis, design, and evaluation methods; theoretical foundations of HCI; devices and display systems, tools, and interaction techniques; critical reviews of HCI work; guidelines and design heuristics.

As computer and communications technologies progress from portable to wearable to implantable - and as the power and speed of technology increases and the cost decreases - key HCI issues are raised. We will ask: What role should HCI professionals play in the development and deployment of such profoundly transformative devices and the socio-technical systems surrounding them? How can we ensure usability and a regard for personal privacy? What is the role of the legal and political system - can they 'keep up' with technology, or do sufficiently compelling technologies simply push them aside? >from *CHI 2002 site*, minneapolis, april 20-25, 2002.

 > implantable body
 
monday :: april 22, 2002
 
 > city network
cities in globalization
:: global urban analysis

The research project 'World City Network Formation in a Space of Flows' by Professor Peter Taylor, and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, is "the first global urban analysis." Shows an interconnected business world organised through cities with hierarchical, regional and sectoral variations. The work constitutes an invitation to look at our world in a new and different way. Here we use cities as our lenses to see the world as a globally connected network. This contrasts with the usual way of viewing the world 'internationally', highlighting countries and their boundaries. With globalization, cities need to be taken more seriously.

How cities connect to one another in terms of financial and business linkages goes to the heart of globalization. But until now, we have not had the data to begin to understand these linkages. Globalization is not a monolith: the pattern of financial and business services across the world varies by sector creating different globalizations. Which are the world's most connected cities in terms of financial and business services ­ accountancy, advertising, banking and finance, insurance, law and management consultancy? The top ten most globally connected cities (City / Score)= London - 1.00, New York - 0.98, Hong Kong - 0.71, Paris - 0.70, Tokyo - 0.69, Singapore - 0.65, Chicago - 0.62, Milan - 0.60, Los Angeles - 0.60, Toronto - 0.59. >from *Cities in globalization ­ which are the most 'connected'?*, april 18, 2002.

 
 
friday :: april 19, 2002
 
 
mw2002
:: museums and the web

Since the appearance of the first museum Web sites, hundreds of museums have established a presence on the World Wide Web. Museums have much to learn from each other, and from developers using the Web for other applications. To facilitate this exchange of information, Archives & Museum Informatics organises an international conference devoted exclusively to Museums and the Web. MW has been held every spring since 1997. The sixth annual Museums and the Web conference (April 17-20, 2002 in Boston) is the premier international venue to review the state of the Web in arts, culture, and heritage. The MW2002 program addresses Web-related issues for museums, archives, libraries and other cultural institutions.

The conference opened with a paper from William Mitchell, The Museum: A Building Type in Transition, "the museums that flourished in the nineteenth century focused on the accumulation, annotation, and arrangement of artifacts within special-purpose museum buildings. Today, digital technology is supporting new ways of putting together artifacts, physical space, and information. The artifacts may be digital rather than physical -- digital images rather than photographs on paper, for example. Annotations may be multimedia rather than textual, they may be much more extensive than in the past, and they can potentially do a much better job of contextualizing exhibits." Sessions include topics on Digital Curation, Evaluation Frameworks, Integrated Publishing, Learning in Theory and Practice, Standards in Action, Teachers and Museums, Touching the Virtual, Content Management, Evaluation Experience, My Web, My Way, World Cultures, World Strategies, The Enhanced Gallery or Designing The Accessible Museum.

Hacking Culture, a paper on digital curation, presented by Pia Vigh from CultureNet Denmark <http://n2art.nu>, "argues that museums do not have a natural role in the distribution of net art, that the conservation tradition and expertise of museums do not make them suited for creating historical collections of net art without undergoing major upgrading, and that older art institutions have shown a superficial understanding of net art. Other relevant institutions already have established themselves on the Internet."

In one mini-workshop, Eric Miller from World Wide Web Consortium explained how museums can take advantage of Resource Description Framework (RDF). The ARKive project <http://www.arkive.org> people presented the related paper Today's Authoring Tools for Tomorrow's Semantic Web. >from *Archives & Museum Informatics: Conferences*.

 > web museum unbuilding
 
thursday :: april 18, 2002
 
 > fluid trajectory dance
fluid trajectory
:: a dance-science collaboration

As part of the Artists&Cosmonauts season, The Arts Catalyst presents tomorrow in London 'A dancer in weightlessness'. Choreographer Kitsou Dubois made history by becoming the first 'dancer-astronaut', when she explored the choreographic potential of weightlessness and the possible benefits of dance training techniques in preparing for life in space during a series of 12 zero gravity flights with the French Space Agency in the early 1990s.

In this rare appearance, Dubois presents the premiere of her new film 'Fluid Trajectory' featuring spectacular dance work in weightlessness performed on a zero gravity flight in 2000 with the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre, Star City, Russia, organised by the Arts Catalyst with Projekt Atol. These 'zero gravity' flights use a specially adapted aircraft which performs a series of dramatic parabolic curves, each parabola providing about 30 seconds of weightlessness. They are used by a small number of space agencies around the world for scientific research and astronaut training.

Dubois discusses her pioneering work with biodynamics scientists from Imperial College in London with whom she is collaborating on a long-term dance-science investigation for the European Space Agency looking at the control of movement using insights from the dancers' experience of zero gravity. Last month, in March 2002, the team took part in a series of zero gravity flights with the European Space Agency. They present their work and discuss the benefits and difficulties of a dance-science collaboration. >from *Gravity Zero: A Dancer in Weightlessness*.

related context
>
artists and cosmonauts. art in zero gravity. february 28, 2002
> space-art event: projects in zero gravity. october 1, 2001
> gravity zero, dance project. october, 2000

 
 
wednesday :: april 17, 2002
 
 
pioneer award winners
:: eff annual awards

Today take place the ceremony for the Electronic Frontier Foundation's 11th Annual Pioneer Awards, in conjunction with the Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference in San Francisco.

The online civil liberties group chose to honor Dan Gillmor for his commitment to accurate and cutting edge reporting on cybertech issues; Beth Givens for her dedicated work in fighting for consumers privacy rights and in raising public awareness on privacy issues; and the DeCSS Writers, to be accepted by Jon Johansen, for their pioneering work on the pivotal program that enabled the development of a DVD player that runs on the Linux operating system.

Since 1991, the EFF Pioneer Awards have recognized individuals who have made significant and influential contributions to the development of computer-mediated communications or to the empowerment of individuals in using computers and the Internet. >from *EFF Pioneer Awards*

related context
>
computers, freedom and privacy conference
> dan gillmor
> beth givens
> jon johansen indicted. decss case. january 17, 2002

 > on 'telegraph + ezra cornell' as pioneers
 
tuesday :: april 16, 2002
 
 > rhizome breeder
rhizome commissions
:: net art awards

Rhizome.org announce that five artists/groups have been awarded commissions to assist them in creating original works of net art through their new Commissioning Program. Christopher Fahey (*Rhizomebot), the Institute for Applied Autonomy/Hactivist.com (*Maptivist 2.0), and John Klima (*Context Breeder) will receive awards of $5,000 each. Commissions of $2,500 will be awarded to Nungu (*Telematic surveillance) and Lisa Jevbratt (*Troika). Ten proposals have been awarded an Honorable Mention (Bubble Browser by Golan Levin & Jonathan Feinberg, Common Reference Point by Mark Daggett and Jonah Brucker-Cohen, Common Sense by Brian Gillette, Grayspace by multipoly, Groundnut as Butter by Keith & Mendi Obadike, PDPal by Marina Zurkow + Scott Paterson, Pick by Kurt Baumann, Relate by Lucas Kuzma and Sociotopic by Boris Mueller). A panel of five jurors --Steve Dietz of The Walker Art Center, Alex Galloway of Rhizome.org, Ken Goldberg of U.C. Berkeley, Christiane Paul of The Whitney Museum of American Art, and Mark Tribe of Rhizome.org-- selected the winners from a pool of 135 proposals.

Launched in November 2001, the Rhizome Commissioning Program makes financial support available to artists for the creation of innovative new media art work via panel-awarded commissions. To keep the program relevant and timely, requests for proposals will change from year to year to reflect new developments in technology and the current cultural environment. This program is made possible with funding from the Jerome Foundation, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Cultural Challenge Program, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Additional support was provided by the Rockefeller Foundation and by members of the Rhizome community.

This year artists were invited to submit proposals in one of two tracks: alt.interface or Tactical Response. The alt.interface track asked artists to propose 'alternative' user interfaces to access Rhizome.org's online archives of text and art. The Tactical Response track called for net art projects that address the present political situation around the globe, particularly events relating to the attacks of September 11. All awarded commissions will be presented on the Rhizome.org web site in October 2002, and launched with a public event in New York City. >from *Net Art Commissions*, april 15, 2002.

 
 
monday :: april 15, 2002
 
 
tucson 2002
:: conference on consciousness

The Toward a Science of Consciousness conferences are a landmark series of international, interdisciplinary events sponsored by the University of Arizona devoted entirely to unlocking the mysteries of consciousness. They explore the whole spectrum of approaches from philosophy of mind and dream research, to neuropsychology, pharmacology, and molecular dynamics, to neural networks, phenomenological accounts, and even the physics of reality. The aim is to lay a sound scientific foundation for future research while also reaching consensus on many scattered areas of inquiry. Can there be a scientific theory of consciousness? If so, what form should this theory take?

Some session topics were neural correlates of religious and meditative experience, crossmodal perception, downward causation, consciousness and decision-making, ontologies of consciousness, coma and consciousness, altered states of consciousness. There were workshops on neural bases of color perception, observing the mind, varieties of synesthetic perception, introduction to memetics <http://www.memes.org.uk>, quantum computational approaches to consciousness, lucid dreaming, parapsychology and consciousness, implicit and explicit processes in cognition.

Speakers included, among others, Paul Bach-y-Rita, Pat Fletcher, Peter Meijer <http://www.seeingwithsound.com/>, Mriganka Sur and Alva NoŽ on sensory substitution, V.S. Ramachandran and Semir Zeki on art and the brain, Alfred Kaszniak and Ralph Adolphs on emotion and consciousness, Rodney Brooks and Ray Kurzweil on machine consciousness. >from *Toward a Science of Consciousness. Tucson 2002*, april 8-12, 2002.

related context
>
red, blue, green and other sounds. april 12, 2002
> the enigma of consciousness. january 16, 2001

 > is this me?
 
friday :: april 12, 2002
 
 > baisakhi
baisakhi
:: hindu new year

Baisakhi is always on April 13th, though once in 36 years it occurs on April 14th. When the sun moves into the northern constellation the Hindu almanac marks the passage with Makar Sankranti. In north India this is the day prescribed for ritual bathing which is considered particularly auspicious.

Baisakhi or Vaisakhi is the first day of the month of Vaisakha - the beginning of the Hindu year, particularly in the northern part of India. In fact this day is celebrated all over the country as new year day under different names. In Assam, the festival is called Bohag Bihu, in Kerala, Baisakhi is called as "Vishu" and in Tamil Nadu, it is celebrated as "Puthandu." It is the time when the harvest is ready to cut and store or sell.

For the Sikhs in Punjab and all over the world, this day has a particular significance, as it was on this day in 1699 that the last Guru Gobind Singh organised the sikhs into Khalsa (the Sikh brotherhood) or the pure ones. By doing so, he eliminated the differences of high and low and established that all human beings were equal.

related context
> nouruz mobarak. iranian new year 1381. march 21, 2002
> guo nian. chinese new year 4700. february 12, 2002
> rosh hashanah. jewish new year 5762. september 18, 2001
> enkutatash. ethiopian new year 1994. september 11, 2001

 
 
thursday :: april 11, 2002
 
 
1950 DA
:: asteroid impact prediction

Applying unprecedented refinements to the analysis of celestial hazards, NASA astronomers have identified a potential close encounter with Earth more than eight centuries in the future by an asteroid one kilometer wide. What will most likely be a miss, even without preventive measures, will come on March 16, 2880, said Jon Giorgini, a senior engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Odds for a collision are at most one in 300, and probably even more remote, based on what is known about the asteroid so far. Still, that makes this space rock, named 1950 DA, a greater hazard than any other known asteroid. "This is not something to worry about," said Giorgini, leader of a team reporting about the asteroid. "We're showing that searches with optical telescopes and follow-up observations with radar telescopes can provide us centuries of advance notice about potential close encounters of asteroids with Earth. That's plenty of time to consider the options -- 35 generations, in fact."

"This report is a success story for our efforts to identify potential troublemakers," said JPL's Dr. Don Yeomans, manager of the NASA Near Earth Object Program. "Radar observations are helping us push predictions 5 to 10 times further into the future."

"How close 1950 DA will approach Earth turns out to depend on the asteroid's physical attributes - it's size, shape and mass, and how it spins, reflects light and radiates heat into space," Giorgini said. These things are unlikely to be known any time soon. The way the asteroid radiates energy absorbed from the Sun back into space has the biggest potential effect, he said. Releasing heat in one direction nudges the asteroid in the opposite direction. The resulting acceleration is tiny, but over the centuries acts like a weak rocket and could make the difference between a hit and a miss. If future generations' studies of 1950 DA indicate it ought to be diverted to prevent a collision, the subtle influences that its physical properties have on its motion might be manipulated to advantage. For example, Giorgini suggested, its surface could be dusted with chalk or charcoal to alter the way it reflects light, or a spacecraft propelled with a solar sail could collapse its reflective sail around the asteroid. In any event, determining asteroids' physical properties will be important for long-term calculations of impact hazards. >from *Radar Pushes Limits Of Asteroid Impact Prediction*, april 4, 2002.

related context
>
late permian mass extinction triggered by a collision with near earth object

 > close encounter prediction
 
wednesday :: april 10, 2002
 
 > pattern perception
brain's pattern perception in artificial world
:: rise to maladaptive superstitions

Duke University Medical Center researchers have discovered the brain region that automatically watches for patterns in sequences of events, even when the pattern emerges by random happenstance. Such compulsive pattern-perception evolved to enable humans in the natural world to escape danger. However, they said, in today's artificial world such pattern perception also gives rise to maladaptive superstitions. In an article posted online April 8, 2002, in Nature Neuroscience, researchers Scott Huettel, Beau Mack and Gregory McCarthy reported these experiments.

"These findings suggest that the prefrontal cortex is really actively and dynamically processing information about the environment," said Huettel. "It's preparing the organism to change its behavior in response to something that's happening, not just passively rehearsing." The scientists' findings reveal how brain functions that evolved to cope with the natural world might not be optimal in today's technological environment.

"Patterns in the modern world may be very different than those perhaps twenty thousand years ago," he said. "In a natural environment, almost all patterns are predictive, in that the world obeys physical laws. For example, when you hear a crash behind you, it's not something artificial; it means that a branch is falling, and you need to get out of the way. So, we evolved to look for these patterns, an ability that worked well in a natural environment, where these patterns mean something. But these causal relationships don't necessary hold in the technological world that can produce irregularities, and in which we look for patterns where none may exist," said Huettel. "A lot of superstitious behavior may arise from this expectation of patterns. Thus, brain processes that were perfectly adaptive in a natural environment become maladaptive in a technological environment." >from *Brain center searches for patterns*, april 7, 2002.

 
 
tuesday :: april 9, 2002
 
 
computer crime soar
:: 2001 survey findings

The Computer Security Institute (CSI) announced the results of its sixth annual "Computer Crime and Security Survey." The survey is conducted by CSI with the participation of the San Francisco Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Computer Intrusion Squad. The aim of this effort is to raise the level of security awareness, as well as help determine the scope of computer crime in the United States. The findings confirm that the threat from computer crime and other information security breaches continues unabated and that the financial toll is mounting.

Eighty-five percent of respondents (primarily large corporations and government agencies) detected computer security breaches within the last twelve months. Sixty-four percent acknowledged financial losses due to computer breaches. Thirty-five percent were willing and/or able to quantify their financial losses. These 186 respondents reported $377,828,700 in financial losses. The most serious financial losses occurred through theft of proprietary information and financial fraud.

More respondents (70%) cited their Internet connection as a frequent point of attack than cited their internal systems as a frequent point of attack (31%). Indeed, the rise in those citing their Internet connections as a frequent point of attack rose from 59% in 2000 to 70% in 2001.

Thirty-six percent of respondents reported the intrusions to law enforcement; a significant increase from 2000, when only 25% reported them. (In 1996, only 16% acknowledged reporting intrusions to law enforcement.)

Attacks and abuses on the rise: Forty percent of respondents detected system penetration from the outside (only 25% reported system penetration in 2000). Thirty-eight percent of respondents detected denial of service attacks (only 27% reported denial of service in 2000). Ninety-one percent detected employee abuse of Internet access privileges (for example, downloading pornography or pirated software, or inappropriate use of e-mail systems). Only 79% detected net abuse in 2000. Ninety-four percent detected computer viruses (only 85% detected them in 2000). >from *Financial losses due to Internet intrusions, trade secret theft and other cyber crimes soar*, april 7, 2002.

From January through December 2001, the CERT/CC received 118,907 email messages and more than 1,417 hotline calls reporting computer security incidents or requesting information. CERT/CC received 2,437 vulnerability reports and handled 52,658 computer security incidents during this period. The CERT Coordination Center was formed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in November 1988 in response to the needs identified during an Internet security incident.

related context
>
cert coordination center annual report 2001

 > computer crime territory
 
monday :: april 8, 2002
 
 > [ fantasy + reality ]: balance
fantasy and reality
:: handled by different parts of the brain

The ability to recognize objects in the real world is handled by different parts of the brain than those that allow us to imagine what the world is like. That is the result of a brain mapping experiment published in the March 28 issue of the journal Neuron.

The study focused on two cognitive tasks widely used by experimental psychologists. One is mental rotation (mentally rotating a complex object into a different position to compare it with a second similar shape) and object recognition (determining whether two complex objects are the same or different). "Mental rotation and object recognition are indistinguishable from a behavioral viewpoint: You can't tell them apart," says the paper's first author, Isabel Gauthier. Other co-authors are Michael J. Tarr, Steven Pinker, William G. Hayward, John C. Gore and their teams.

The scientists found that the areas of activated during the two tasks tended to lie on two different pathways in the visual system. These two pathways, called the ventral and dorsal, are sometimes called the "what" and "where" pathways. When asked questions about the identity of an object for example, is it the same shape as a second object? then the ventral pathway, which includes the temporal lobe, is activated. But when a person is asked where an object is located, the dorsal pathway, which lies in the parietal lobe, becomes active. "This is the first indication we have that the brain doesn't rely on the same processes to accomplish these two tasks, despite the fact that they appear to be so similar," says Gauthier.

During the course of evolution, it seems as if the same solutions have arisen more than once for similar problems in the way our brains work, adds Tarr. "They look very similar behaviorally, but it turns out they use completely different neural circuits and the brain doesn't know how to put them together." >from *Different parts of the brain handle fantasy and reality*, march 28, 2002.

 
 
friday :: april 5, 2002
 
 
gene(sis)
:: contemporary art explores human genomics

Starting April 5, a major traveling exhibition will be open at the Henry Art Gallery, that will engage visitors with an interplay of art, lectures and public forums considering the implications of recent developments in human genomics. It will then tour through 2004 to art museums at research universities throughout the United States. The exhibition showcases powerful new artwork created in direct response to recent developments in human genomics. This research is having an enormous impact on artistic practice, providing new tools, processes, materials, and issues for consideration. Gene(sis) seeks to bridge art and science by elucidating technical advances for a lay audience and examining ethical issues raised by genomic research. Recognizing the complexity that these new opportunities present, curator Robin Held developed the exhibition during three years of on-going dialogue with geneticists, artists, science historians, medical ethicists, and art historians. In the spirit of fostering dialogue across disciplines, an extensive array of public programming is slated at each tour venue in conjunction with the exhibition. Gene(sis) seeks to encourage public discourse and deeper understanding of genomics and its potential impact on our everyday lives.

Gene(sis) features more than 50 works by renowned and emerging artists (like Barbara Bloom, Catherine Chalmers, Joan Fontcuberta, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Gregor Mobius, Dario Robleto, Bill Scanga...). It includes three new works - by artists Jill Reynolds, Paul Vanouse and the collaborative team of Shawn Brixey and Richard Rinehart -commissioned for the exhibition. These works were created by artists in collaborations facilitated by the Henry with experts from the field of genetics. Also presented is the important transgenic installation Genesis (1999), Eduardo Kac's lucid demonstration of the ways in which our understanding of science, including recent genomic developments, is inextricably bound with our understanding of language and use of new technologies. Also on view is a mini-retrospective of work by the artists' collective Critical Art Ensemble. >from *Gene(sis): Contemporary Art Explores Human Genomics*.

related context
>
dna plus bacteria equals art. march 12, 2002
> information arts. january 15, 2002
> transgenic artwork gfp bunny. february, 2000
> genesis by eduardo kac. 1998/99

 > aprilis gene-sis
 
thursday :: april 4, 2002
 
> cyborg wrist
cyborg 2.0 experiment
:: kevin warwick plan to become one with his computer

On March 14th, 2002 an operation was carried out at the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, UK to implant a microelectrode array onto the median nerve of Professor Kevin Warwick. The operation, which lasted just over 2 hours, went very well and has been declared a success. This is the world's first operation of this type.

The array, which has been positioned in the wrist, contains 100 spikes with sensitive tips - each of these making direct connections with nerve fibres. Wires linked to the array have been tunneled up Kevin's arm, where they appear through a skin puncture, 15 cm away from the array. These wires are to be linked to a novel radio transmitter/receiver device which will be externally connected, its aim being to join Kevin's median nerve to a computer by means of a radio signal. It is hoped that the project will result in considerable medical benefits for a large number of people, in particular assisting in movement for the spinally injured. The team will now be involved in a wide variety of investigations in the weeks ahead, hopefully also looking into enhancing capabilities when a human and machine are joined - Cyborgs. >from *The Neural Connection*.

The next crucial stage would come when the radio/computer link will be established and the researchers would find what, if any, signals were being picked up. "I am hopeful because I am already getting tingling sensations in my index finger," said Warwick. There were 10,000 nerve fibers in the main nerve which controls most of the hand but only 100 sensors were implanted in the nerve. "Which pins are linked up with which nerve and whether we have got this finger or that finger remains to be seen," he said. "That will be one of the first things, mapping out the pins and how they link up. Which pins have got motor signals on them, which pins have got sensory signals on them. Until now there have only been theories."

Professor Kevin Warwick envisions a world in which humans communicate directly with computers, and network continually with computers. In their article *Cyborg 1.0* (Wired, February 2000), Warwick outlined his plan to become one with his computer.

related context
>
family wants data chips implanted. april 1, 2002
> new body art: chip implants. march 11, 2002
> digital angel, chip implant for humans. october 30, 2000
> a microchip inside the body. february 22, 1998

 
 
wednesday :: april 3, 2002
 
 
science grid deployement
:: emerging model of computing

IBM and the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) announced a collaboration to begin deploying the first systems on a nationwide computing Grid, which will empower researchers to tackle scientific challenges beyond the capability of existing computers.

Beginning with two IBM supercomputers and a massive IBM storage repository, the DOE Science Grid will ultimately grow into a system capable of processing more than five trillion calculations per second and storing information equivalent to 200 times the number of books in the Library of Congress. The collaboration will make the largest unclassified supercomputer and largest data storage system within DOE available via the Science Grid by December 2002 -- two years sooner than expected. The Grid will also give scientists around the country access to far-flung supercomputers and data storage in the same way that an electrical Grid provides consumers with access to widely dispersed power-generating resources. In the future, supercomputers, data storage and experimental facilities at Berkeley Lab, Argonne, Oak Ridge and Pacific Northwest national laboratories are all expected to be connected to the DOE Science Grid.

"Computing and data Grids will establish a uniform computing and data handling environment -- independent of location -- that can be integrated with scientists' work environment in much the same way that the Web provided a way to integrate on-line documents into the scientific work environment," said Horst Simon, director of the NERSC Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Grids allow geographically distributed organizations to share applications, data and computing resources. An emerging model of computing, Grids are built with clusters of servers joined together over the Internet, using protocols provided by the Globus open source community and other open technologies, including Linux. The Globus Project is a multi-institutional research and development effort creating fundamental technologies for computational grids. The Open Grid Services Architecture (OGSA) is a proposed evolution of the current Globus Toolkit towards a Grid system architecture based on an integration of Grid and Web services concepts and technologies. Since OGSA builds on Web services, it is likely to incorporate specifications defined within the W3C, IETF, OASIS, and other standards organizations. >from *IBM and Department of Energy Supercomputing Center to Make DOE Grid Computing a Reality*, march 22, 2002

related context
>
global grid forum
> globus project
> irving wladawsky-berger explains grid computing. march 2002

              >  grid intersections deployment
 
tuesday :: april 2, 2002
 

                        > interstellar messages
composing interstellar messages
:: interaction between art, science, and the humanities

A group of twenty artists, scientists and scholars from the humanities gathered in Paris (March 18) to understand better how we might communicate the human sense of beauty to any intelligent civilizations that could be circling other stars.

The Art and Science of Interstellar Message Composition workshop focused on aesthetic messages that could be transmitted by radio waves or laser pulses. These communication techniques reflect the methods used by current observational programs in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI).

"While the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence is a scientific endeavor with more than 40 years of experience, woefully little thought has gone into what we might say if we either make contact or find ourselves ready to send messages of our own," said chair of the workshop, Dr Douglas Vakoch. "Even less is understood about the interplay between technical methods and the aesthetic nature of the message."

Participants had backgrounds in a range of disciplines in the arts, humanities, and sciences. Artists at the workshop provide expertise in drawing, musical composition, new media, painting, sculpture, and space arts. Speakers from the humanities include scholars in history, law, literature, and philosophy. Scientific disciplines represented include astronomy, biology, computer science, engineering, mathematics, physics, and psychology. More information at http://publish.seti.org/art_science.

The workshop was sponsored by the SETI Institute; Leonardo/l'Observatoire Leonardo des Arts et des Techno-Sciences (OLATS); Leonardo/International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology (ISAST); the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) Permanent SETI Study Group; and the IAA SETI & Society Study Group. >from *Artists and scientists meet to plan messages to E.T.*.

 
 
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