Archive for the 'Psychology & The Mind' Category

If you think your mind is safe, think again…

Is this research the stuff of nightmares, or the stuff of future ways to understand each other better?


“Although the technology still has some way to go, early work reveals that, in the not too distant future, we may be able to send pictures with our thoughts.”





Scientists Have Invented a Mind-Reading Machine That Visualises Your Thoughts


“If you think your mind is the only safe place left for all your secrets, think again, because scientists are making real steps towards reading your thoughts and putting them on a screen for everyone to see.


A team from the University of Oregon has built a system that can read people’s thoughts via brain scans, and reconstruct the faces they were visualising in their heads. As you’ll soon see, the results were pretty damn creepy.


“We can take someone’s memory – which is typically something internal and private – and we can pull it out from their brains,” one of the team, neuroscientist Brice Kuhl, told Brian Resnick at Vox.


Here’s how it works. The researchers selected 23 volunteers, and compiled a set of 1,000 colour photos of random people’s faces. The volunteers were shown these pictures while hooked up to an fMRI machine, which detects subtle changes in the blood flow of the brain to measure their neurological activity.


Also hooked up to the fMRI machine is an artificial intelligence program that reads the brain activity of the participants, while taking in a mathematical description of each face they were exposed to in real time. The researchers assigned 300 numbers to certain physical features on the faces to help the AI ‘see’ them as code.


Basically, this first phase was a training session for the AI – it needed to learn how certain bursts of neurological activity correlated to certain physical features on the faces…”


For the rest, click here.


Dolly, her murdered husband, and her lover: the “garret ghost”

“The story of how the three were intertwined is worthy of the era’s most lurid pulp novels.”




The Married Woman Who Kept Her Lover in the Attic
Dolly Oesterreich, her “Bat Man,” and one of the strangest sex scandals ever.
by Addison Nugent



Dolly Oesterreich, c. 1930. (Photo: Public Domain)


“In April 1930, the Los Angeles Times began publishing what would end up being months’ worth of eye-popping details from an exceedingly strange court case. It involved a “comely” woman named Dolly, her murdered husband, and her lover, a man known as the “garret ghost” who, at Dolly’s behest, lived a “bat-like life in hidden rooms.”


The story of how the three were intertwined is worthy of the era’s most lurid pulp novels.


Born in 1880, Walburga “Dolly” Korschel was a German immigrant who grew up on a poor Midwestern farm. In her early 20s she married Fred Oesterreich, the wealthy owner of a successful apron factory. The couple settled in Milwaukee but marital bliss was elusive—Fred drank too much and Dolly was sexually unsatisfied. “Her eyes and her appetites would bring a long line of men into her life—and send one to his death,” wrote the LA Times.


One uncharacteristically hot autumn day in 1913, Dolly asked Fred to send one of the factory’s repairmen to the house to fix her sewing machine. When 17-year-old Otto Sanhuber knocked on the Oesterreichs’ ornate double entry door, Dolly, then 33, answered wearing stockings, a silk robe, and nothing else. In the master bedroom the dusty old Singer machine remained untouched; the same could not be said for Mrs. Oesterreich. Their tryst that day marked the beginning of a multi-decade sexual relationship…”


For the rest, click here.


The Hellish Paradise of Libraries…


From The Atlantic, a deep piece on the human fear of knowing it all…




The Human Fear of Total Knowledge
Why infinite libraries are treated skeptically in the annals of science fiction and fantasy

by Adrienne LaFrance


“Libraries tend to occupy a sacred space in modern culture. People adore them. (Perhaps even more than that, people love the idea of them. A Pew survey last year found that while people report feeling strongly about the importance of public libraries, those same people are using libraries less and less.)


The grandest libraries, built like monstrous cathedrals, are particularly beloved. It ought to follow, then, that the ultimate library—an infinite library—would be revered as a utopia, especially in an age where data is seen as its own currency. But libraries have a dark side in the cultural imagination.


In The Book of Sand, Jorge Luis Borges tells the story of an unexpected visit from a Bible salesman, who has in his collection a most unusual object. “It can’t be, but it is,” the salesman says. “The number of pages in this book is no more or less than infinite. None is the first page, none is the last.”


The strange book is so engrossing as to be sinister. This is a theme that comes up repeatedly in Borges’s work. “Paradise is a library, not a garden,” he famously said. But libraries, he warned, can be hellish, too….”


For the rest, click here.




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