Archive for November, 2013

Memory Distortions

Can we trust our own memories?




How Many of Your Memories Are Fake?


When people with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory—those who can remember what they ate for breakfast on a specific day 10 years ago—are tested for accuracy, researchers find what goes into false memories.


by Erika Hayasaki, The Atlantic



“One afternoon in February 2011, seven researchers at the University of California, Irvine sat around a long table facing Frank Healy, a bright-eyed 50-year-old visitor from South Jersey, taking turns quizzing him on his extraordinary memory.


Observing from outside of the circle, I tape-recorded the conversation as one researcher tossed out a date at random: December 17, 1999.


“Okay,” Healy replied, “Well, December 17, 1999, the jazz great, Grover Washington Jr., died while playing in a concert.”


“What did you eat that morning for breakfast?”


“Special K for breakfast. Liverwurst and cheese for lunch. And I remember the song ‘You’ve Got Personality’ was playing as on the radio as I pulled up for work,” said Healy, one of 50 confirmed people in the United States with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory, an uncanny ability to remember dates and events. “I remember walking in to work, and one of the clients was singing a parody to Jingle Bells, ‘Oh, what fun it is to ride in a beat up Chevrolet.’”


These are the kinds of specific details that writers of memoir, history, and journalism yearn for when combing through memories to tell true stories. But such work has always come with the caveat that human memory is fallible. Now, scientists have an idea of just how unreliable it actually can be. New research released this week has found that even people with phenomenal memory are susceptible to having “false memories,” suggesting that “memory distortions are basic and widespread in humans, and it may be unlikely that anyone is immune,” according to the authors of the study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS)…”


For the complete article click here.


Sometimes Love Transcends Death

A widow’s ancient lament is found…



These sandals were placed in the tomb with him, lovingly woven from hemp bark and his heartbroken wife’s own hair.


A Love Letter Was Found On This 500 Year Old Mummified Body. Nothing Could Prepare Me For What It Said.



“When we love another person, we are on a journey through life with them. However, sometimes death separates us from our partners before the journey is over. This love letter was written by a grieving pregnant widow to her dead lover, Eung-Tae Lee. It was was discovered in an ancient tomb in Andong City, South Korea. The 16th-century male was a member of the ancient Goseong Yi clan and died long before his beloved at the age of 30.


Even though Eung-Tae Lee is now mummified, his death can still break our hearts…”


For the rest, click here.


Leonardo Da Vinci’s “viola organista’’ Is Heard After 500 Years

When Da Vinci’s sketches are brought to life, magic happens…The music is like a time machine, or a ghost…



Leonardo Da Vinci’s wacky piano is heard for the first time, after 500 years



 Take a bow: The viola organista’s strings are played in the same way as a cello. Photo: Tomasz Wiech/AFP


“A bizarre instrument combining a piano and cello has finally been played to an audience more than 500 years after it was dreamt up Leonardo da Vinci.


Da Vinci, the Italian Renaissance genius who painted the Mona Lisa, invented the ‘‘viola organista’’ – which looks like a baby grand piano – but never built it, experts say.


The viola organista has now come to life, thanks to a Polish concert pianist with a flair for instrument-making and the patience and passion to interpret da Vinci’s plans.


Full of steel strings and spinning wheels, Slawomir Zubrzycki’s creation is a musical and mechanical work of art.


‘‘This instrument has the characteristics of three we know: the harpsichord, the organ and the viola da gamba,’’ Zubrzycki said as he debuted the instrument at the Academy of Music in the southern Polish city of Krakow…”


Read full article here. Listen to the beautiful sounds, below…


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