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In the news today…digital hots and brain damaged arts.

1. From The Daily Galaxy

Binary “Hot or Not”: Scientists have Developed a Computer that can Appreciate Female Beauty


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Tel Aviv computer scientists have developed a computer that can appreciate female beauty. They don’t seem to be aware of the danger of this work, since giving an internet-enabled computer the ability to enjoy the female form will cripple it far worse than any virus.

This a very funny article but I feel this is a rather scary development: the forces of oppression and conformity have just taken the game to a whole new level.

2. In the New York Times

A Disease that Allowed Torrents of Creativity

Ravel and Dr. Adams were in the early stages of a rare disease called FTD, or frontotemporal dementia, when they were working, Ravel on “Bolero” and Dr. Adams on her painting of “Bolero,” Dr. Miller said. The disease apparently altered circuits in their brains, changing the connections between the front and back parts and resulting in a torrent of creativity.

“We used to think dementias hit the brain diffusely,” Dr. Miller said. “Nothing was anatomically specific. That is wrong. We now realize that when specific, dominant circuits are injured or disintegrate, they may release or disinhibit activity in other areas. In other words, if one part of the brain is compromised, another part can remodel and become stronger.”

Thus some patients with FTD develop artistic abilities when frontal brain areas decline and posterior regions take over, Dr. Miller said.

I’ve never believed the old saw about everyone being visually creative; my own dismal attempts at pottery and painting are my greatest evidence. Despite great and aesthetic intentions, I was perhaps the worst and most unintuitive potter in history. And it was not drummed out of me by growing older either. I’ve helped in preschool classes with kids during an art session and even then the artistic ability is clearly entirely absent in some. Its like any other ability; some have it and some don’t. So, this idea that a brain malfunction could bring it on kind of threatened my theory, and then, aha, vindication as I read on.

In the most common variant, patients undergo gradual personality changes. They grow apathetic, become slovenly and typically gain 20 pounds. They behave like 3-year-olds in public, asking embarrassing questions in a loud voice. All along, they deny anything is wrong.

Yeah, that’s a little more common.

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