Philip K. Dick on Music

Music is normally a temporal process, but Beethoven, uniquely, uses it to enclose space, the most vast volume of space possible. Thus Beethoven literally expanded the hologram for anyone understanding his music, and he was part of a historic movement involving the abrupt evolution of the human being in terms of
so-to-speak relative size vis-à-vis his reality. This is the inner firmament of Bruno (or Paracelsus—whichever). Ah! The microcosm is transformed briefly into the macrocosm; and a slight but permanent expansion of the person, the microcosm, occurs: perhaps an altered relationship to the macrocosm, in terms of identity. Beethoven’s music as a means by which the alchemical Verklärung can take place: thus it is directly related to the Hermetics.

This is a radically different way of experiencing the self (microcosm) and reality (macrocosm). Memory and inner space. There is some relationship. Memory involves vastly augmented time which is then converted into space.

-Philip K. Dick, The Exegesis

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Light pulled out of empty space

You can get something from nothing – as long as you are moving close to the speed of light. The discovery confirms a 41-year-old prediction on how to pull energy from empty space and produce light.

The phenomenon relies on the long-established fact that empty space is not at all empty, but fizzing with particles that pop in and out of existence (see “Out of the ether: the changing face of the vacuum”). This is down to the laws of quantum mechanics, which say that even a vaccum cannot have exactly zero energy but must exhibit small fluctuations of energy. These fluctuations show themselves as pairs of short-lived particles.

The presence of these “virtual” particles, usually photons, has long been proved in experiments demonstrating the standard Casimir effect, in which two parallel mirrors set close together will feel a pull towards each other. This happens because the small space between the mirrors limits the number of virtual photons that can appear in this region. Since there are more photons outside this space, the radiation pressure on the mirrors from the outside is larger than the pressure between them, which pushes the mirrors together.

Now Chris Wilson at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, and his colleagues have gone a step further, pulling photons out of the void in a process called the dynamical Casimir effect. “It was a difficult technical experiment,” says Wilson. “We were very happy when it worked.”

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DIY Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Via Grinding

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Occult Genetic Code Table

Occult Genetics table

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How Music May Help Ward Off Hearing Loss As We Age

Older people often have difficulty understanding conversation in a crowd. Like everything else, our hearing deteriorates as we age.

There are physiological reasons for this decline: We lose tiny hair cells that pave the way for sound to reach our brains. We lose needed neurons and chemicals in the inner ear, reducing our capacity to hear.

So how can you help stave off that age-related hearing loss? Try embracing music early in life, research suggests.

“If you spend a lot of your life interacting with sound in an active manner, then your nervous system has made lots of sound-to-meaning connections” that can strengthen your auditory system, says Nina Kraus, director of the Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory at Northwestern University.

Musicians focus extraordinary attention on deciphering low notes from high notes and detecting different tonal qualities. Kraus has studied younger musicians and found that their hearing is far superior to that of their non-musician counterparts.

So Kraus wondered: Could that musical training also help fend off age-related hearing loss? To find out, she assembled a small group of middle-aged musicians and non musicians, aged 45-65. She put both groups through a series of tests measuring their ability to make out and repeat a variety of sentences spoken in noisy background environments.

Turns out, the musicians were 40 percent better than non-musicians at tuning out background noise and hearing the sentences, as Kraus reported in PloS ONE. The musicians were also better able to remember the sentences than the non-musicians — and that made it easier for them to follow a line of conversation. After all, Kraus says, in order to listen to a friend in a noisy restaurant, you need to be able to recall what was said a few seconds ago in order to make sense of what you’re hearing right now.

The take-home message: If you’re an older musician, don’t stop playing. And if you gave it up, it may be time to dust off the old violin.

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Optical cloaks hide objects in broad daylight

James Bond may have to up his game. Cloaking materials can now hide tiny microphones placed on a wall – and they will do the job at all visible wavelengths.

Optical cloaks can hide a free-floating object by bending light all the way around it, but only at specific wavelengths. They are usually made of synthetic metamaterials, which have a structure on a scale smaller than the wavelength of light they are meant to deflect.

Bumps or objects on a floor or wall are relatively easy to hide, since merely changing the angle at which light bounces off them can make the surface look flat. Previously, such “carpet cloaking”Movie Camera had only been achieved at infrared and microwave wavelengths.

Now two different cloak designs have managed to conceal bumps over the full visible spectrum. Chris Gladden and Majid Gharghi of the University of California, Berkeley, etched holes into a thin layer of silicon nitride deposited on porous glass. Varying the diameter of the holes between 20 and 65 nanometres – smaller than the wavelengths of visible light – changed the way the layer refracted light, allowing its interaction with the porous glass substrate to cloak a small bump.

Earlier this year, Baile Zhang and colleagues at the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology achieved a similar effect with polarised light, whose electric field is lined up in one direction. The team aligned calcite crystals, which have refractive properties that depend on the electric field’s direction, to hide a 2-millimetre-high bump.

Gladden and Gharghi also used polarised light in their test, “but it’s not required” for the design, says Gladden. He says the ability to use normal unpolarised visible light would allow their setup to be used for a wider variety of applications beyond cloaking. “We could use the same approach in solar energy devices to control sunlight and potentially increase efficiency,” says Gharghi. This could be done by focusing light to higher intensity or diverting light around obstructions such as current-collecting wires.

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Brain’s synaptic pruning continues into your 20’s

The synaptic pruning that helps sculpt the adolescent brain into its adult form continues to weed out weak neural connections throughout our 20s. The surprise finding could have implications for our understanding of schizophrenia, a psychological disorder which often appears in early adulthood.

As children, we overproduce the connections – synapses – between brain cells. During puberty the body carries out a kind of topiary, snipping away some synapses while allowing others to strengthen. Over a few years, the number of synapses roughly halves, and the adult brain emerges.

Or so we thought. Pasko Rakic at Yale University and colleagues at the University of Zagreb, Croatia, and the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, have now found that the brains of adults in their 20s are still subject to synaptic pruning.

Rakic’s team analysed post-mortem tissue from a brain region called the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in 32 people aged between 1 week old and 91 years. Specifically, they calculated the density of dendritic spines – the tiny projections that protrude from the neuron’s long dendrites, each of which facilitates communication with other neurons through a synapse.

As expected, Rakic’s team found that spine density increased rapidly during infancy, reaching a peak before the 9th birthday. It then began to fall away as pruning began. Intriguingly, though, spine density did not plateau after adolescence, as might have been expected, but continued to fall gradually until the late 20s.

Rakic says the result could be good news for those hoping to gain new skills in their third decade. The period of pruning is associated with a heightened ability to learn – whether that is in picking up language skills or understanding new concepts, he says. “You should not give up learning just because you’re in your 20s – it isn’t too late,” he says.

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Tool: Arc Attack’s Singing Tesla Coil Emulator

Arc Attack offers a Singing Tesla Coil Emulator on their website. It also promises the possibility of seeing a VST version of these pitched Arcs at somepoint.

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Device Lets You See With Your Ears

A new device that links spy glasses, a webcam and a smart phone could make it easier for blind people to “see” shapes by converting visual signals to auditory ones and sending them to another part of the brain.

Its developers also hope that the same device could be used to give a new twist to infrared vision for seeing at night or take sonar to a different level for navigating underwater.

Michael Proulx, a neuroscientist at Queen Mary’s College in London, will be demonstrating the device, know as “vOICe,” at the American Psychological Association meeting this week in Washington.

vOICe works by mapping visual images to sound and then providing blindfolded users with a sense of what an object is and where it is located.

“The most user- friendly way is to have a pair of spy glasses or sunglasses with a tiny webcam in the bridge of the nose to provide visual input,” Proulx told Discovery News. “Then I use a small pocket PC, which runs the software which takes input and provides auditory input through headphones.”

Differences in sound, including pitch and loudness provide clues to the map. For example, for vertical location, “up” is represented by high frequencies and “down” by low frequencies. Timed-stereo panning, which is much like panning with a video camera, keeps an object within a picture while giving a panoramic view. Horizontal location is indicated by the time it takes for a left-to-right scan of each image. Bright white is heard at maximum volume and dark is silent.

“The program takes visual input from the camera, then scans the image from left to right,” Proulx said. “Then you hear this soundscape where the changes in frequency and volume correspond to pixels in the image.”

The basic software and hardware to convert visual signals to audio ones has been around for more than 15 years, but advances in computer technology and communications now make it easier for people to actually use a more portable version in their daily lives. That’s according Dutch software engineer Peter Meijer, original developer of the vOICe.

One of the biggest challenges is that it takes people three months of training to use it. He also says that he’s had trouble getting a big enough demand to make it commercially viable, so he gives away the device software for free and developed an Android mobile application.

See also:Blind Soldier ‘Sees’ with His Tongue

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Dial-up modem sound slowed down.

I’m not a big fan of the slowed down sound trend but information is beautiful and hides art we often overlook within it’s patterns.

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