Headis (Header Table Tennis) is a hybrid game that combines table tennis with soccer. Players strike a 7-inch rubber ball with their head. Physically headis is more comparable to badminton than to table tennis, but the rules are closer to table tennis with a few exceptions. Volleys (striking the ball before it hits the player’s own side) are allowed, as well as touching the table with any part of the body. Each game is played to 11 points and up to 2 sets, although a player must be ahead by two points to win each set.
The sport was invented in 2006 by René Wegner, a Saarbrücken sports science student at the time, at the ‘Wesch,’ a swimming pool in Kaiserslautern, Germany. The soccer field was occupied, which was why he and a friend started heading the ball back and forth at the table tennis table. In 2008 headis became part of the sports program at the University of Saarbrücken.
Baker-Miller Pink is a tone of pink that was originally created by mixing one gallon of pure white indoor latex paint with one pint of red trim semi-gloss outdoor paint. It is named for the two US Navy officers who first experimented with its use in the Naval Correctional Facility in Seattle, Washington at the behest of researcher Alexander Schauss. The color is also known as Schauss pink, after Alexander Schauss’s extensive research into the effects of the color on emotions and hormones, as well as P-618 and ‘Drunk-Tank Pink’ (so named because jails cells are painted this color because it is believed to calm inmates).
Contemporary research has shown conflicting results on the effects of Baker-Miller pink. While the initial results at the Naval Correctional facility in Seattle were positive, calming those exposed, inmates at the Santa Clara county jail were trying to scratch the paint from the walls with their fingernails when exposed for more than fifteen minutes. At Johns Hopkins, appetite suppression was observed and studied.read more »
NeuroRacer is a video game designed by a team of researchers at the University of California, San Francisco led by cognitive neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley as a way to help with mental cognition.
It was designed as an intervention for ‘top-down modulation deficits in older adults.’ A study on 60-85 year olds showed that the multitasking nature of the game caused improvements in tasks outside of the game involving working memory and sustained attention.
‘The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True’ is a 2011 book by British biologist Richard Dawkins, with illustrations by Dave McKean. It is a science book aimed primarily at children and young adults. He addresses topics that range from his most familiar territory, evolutionary biology and speciation (how the tree of life creates new branches), to physical phenomena such as atomic theory, optics, planetary motion, gravitation, stellar evolution (the life cycle of stars), spectroscopy (the study of the interactions of matter and electromagnetic radiation), and plate tectonics, as well as speculation on exobiology (alien life).
Most chapters begin with quick retellings of historical creation myths that emerged as attempts to explain the origin of particular observed phenomena. These myths are chosen from all across the world including Babylonian, Judeo-Christian, Aztec, Maori, Ancient Egyptian, Australian Aboriginal, Nordic, Hellenic, Chinese, Japanese, and other traditions, including contemporary alien abduction mythology.read more »
Grim Fandango is a dark comedy neo-noir adventure game released by LucasArts in 1998 for Windows, with game designer Tim Schafer as project leader. It is the first adventure game by LucasArts to use 3D computer graphics overlaid on pre-rendered, static backgrounds. As with other LucasArts adventure games, the player must converse with other characters and examine, collect, and use objects correctly to solve puzzles in order to progress.
Grim Fandango ’s world combines elements of the Aztec belief of afterlife with style aspects of film noir, including ‘The Maltese Falcon,’ ‘On the Waterfront, ‘and ‘Casablanca,’ to create the Land of the Dead, through which recently departed souls, represented in the game as calaca-like figures, must travel before they reach their final destination, the Ninth Underworld. The story follows travel agent Manuel ‘Manny’ Calavera as he attempts to save Mercedes ‘Meche’ Colomar, a newly arrived but virtuous soul, during her long journey.read more »
‘The Mosquito’ or Mosquito alarm is an electronic device used to deter loitering by young people by emitting sound at high frequency that older people have lost the ability to hear. It has two frequency settings, one of approximately 17.4 kHz that can generally be heard only by young people, and another at 8 kHz that can be heard by most people. The maximum potential output sound pressure level is stated by the manufacturer to be 108 decibels. The range of the sound is 140 feet with the sound baffle, and 200 feet without.
The sound can typically only be heard by people below 25 years of age, as the ability to hear high frequencies deteriorates with age (a phenomenon known as presbycusis). Crafty teenagers turned the sounds into a mobile phone ringtone, which could not be heard by older teachers if the phone rang during a class. Mobile phone speakers are capable of producing frequencies above 20 kHz. This ringtone became informally known as ‘Teen Buzz’ or ‘the Mosquito ringtone’ and has since been sold commercially.read more »
Active traffic management (ATM, also known as, ‘smart lanes’ or ‘managed motorway’) is method of increasing peak capacity and smoothing traffic flows on busy major highways. Techniques include variable speed limits, hard-shoulder running (use of the shoulder as a travel lane during congested periods) and ramp-metering (traffic lights at entrance ramps regulating the flow of incoming traffic). Drivers are alerted to changing conditions by overhead, electronic signs.
It is currently in operation in Birmingham, England. The scheme had initially been criticized by some due to possible safety and environmental concerns, however a Highways Agency report into the first six months of the scheme showed a reduction in the number of accidents and the system was expanded to other highways in the UK. It is seen as a less expensive alternative to widening a road.read more »
Monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A), is an enzyme that in humans is encoded by the MAO-A gene, a version of which has been popularly referred to as the Warrior Gene. Several different versions of the gene are found in different individuals, although a functional gene is present in most humans (with the exception of a few individuals with Brunner syndrome, a rare genetic disorder). MAO aids in the breakdown of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine and are, therefore, capable of influencing the feelings, moods, and behaviors of individuals.
According to this, if there was a mutation to the gene that is involved in the process of promoting or inhibiting MAO enzymes, it could affect a person’s personality and could therefore make them more prone to aggression. A deficiency in the MAO-A gene has been linked to higher levels of aggression in males. In a 2009 criminal trial in the US, an argument based on a combination of ‘warrior gene’ and history of child abuse was successfully used to avoid a conviction of first-degree murder and the death penalty; however, the convicted murderer was sentenced to 32 years in prison.
‘Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers‘ is a 1994 (2nd ed. 1998, 3rd ed. 2004) book by Stanford University biologist Robert M. Sapolsky. The book proclaims itself as a ‘Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping’ on the front cover of its third and most recent edition. The title derives from Sapolsky’s idea that for animals such as zebras, stress is generally episodic (e.g., running away from a lion), while for humans, stress is often chronic (e.g., worrying about financial burdens). Therefore, many wild animals are less susceptible than humans to chronic stress-related disorders such asulcers, hypertension, decreased neurogenesis and increased hippocampal neuronal atrophy. However, chronic stress occurs in some social primates (Sapolsky studies baboons) for individuals on the lower side of the social dominance hierarchy.
Sapolsky focuses on the effects of glucocorticoids (a class of steroid hormones) on the human body, stating that they may be useful to animals in the wild escaping their predators during the fight-or-flight response, but the effects on humans, when secreted at high quantities or over long periods of time, are much less desirable. He relates the history of endocrinology, how the field reacted at times of discovery, and how it has changed through the years. While most of the book focuses on the biological machinery of the body, the last chapter of the book focuses on self-help. He also explains how social phenomena such as child abuse and the chronic stress of poverty affect biological stress, leading to increased risk of disease and disability.
Swarm Intelligence (SI) refers to numerous, simple units working in concert to solve complex problems. It is field in computer science and artificial intelligence based on examples from nature such as an ant colony, made of many animals that communicate with each other to achieve unified goals. In computer models the ‘animals,’ or individual units, are called ‘agents.’ Swarm intelligence emerges from decentralized, self-organizing systems, natural or artificial. The expression was introduced by electrical engineers Gerardo Beni and Jing Wang in 1989, in the context of cellular robotic systems. The application of swarm principles to robots is called ‘swarm robotics,’ while ‘swarm intelligence’ refers to the more general set of algorithms. ‘Swarm prediction’ has been used in the context of forecasting problems.
SI systems consist typically of a population of simple agents or ‘boids’ (named for a 1986 artificial life program that simulates the flocking behavior of birds) interacting locally with one another and with their environment. A number of natural systems have been used as models (e.g. animal herding, bacterial growth, fish schooling and microbial intelligence). The agents follow very simple rules, and although there is no centralized control structure dictating how each unit should behave, local, and to a certain degree random, interactions between such agents lead to the emergence of ‘intelligent’ global behavior, unknown to the individuals.read more »
L’arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat (‘The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station,’ known in the UK as ‘Train Pulling into a Station’) is an 1895 French short black-and-white silent documentary film directed and produced by filmmaking pioneers Auguste and Louis Lumière. Contrary to myth, it was not shown at the Lumières’ first public film screening on December 28th, 1895 in Paris (the first public showing took place in January 1896). The train moving directly towards the camera was said to have terrified spectators at the first screening, a claim that has been called an urban legend.
This 50-second silent film shows the entry of a train pulled by a steam locomotive into a train station in the French coastal town of La Ciotat. Like most of the early Lumière films it consists of a single, unedited view illustrating an aspect of everyday life. There is no apparent intentional camera movement, and the film consists of one continuous real-time shot. This 50-second movie was filmed by means of the Cinématographe, an all-in-one camera, which also serves as a printer and film projector. As with all early Lumière movies, this film was made in a 35 mm format with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1.read more »
Wim Delvoye (b. 1965 ) is a Belgian neo-conceptual artist known for his inventive and often shocking projects. Much of his work is focused on the body, and he is perhaps best known for his digestive machine, Cloaca, which he unveiled at the Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerp, after eight years of consultation with experts in fields ranging from plumbing to gastroenterology. In a comment on the Belgians’ love of fine dining, Cloaca is a large installation that turns food into feces, allowing Delvoye to explore the digestive process. The food begins at a long, transparent mouth, travels through a number of enzyme filled, machine-like assembly stations, and ends in hard matter which is separated from liquid through a cylinder. Delvoye collects and sells the realistically smelling output, suspended in small jars of resin at his Ghent studio.
When asked about his inspiration, Delvoye stated that everything in modern life is pointless. The most useless object he could create was a machine that serves no purpose at all, besides the reduction of food to waste. Previously, Delvoye claimed that he would never sell a Cloaca machine to a museum as he could never trust that the curator would maintain the installation properly. However after two years of discussion with David Walsh, Delvoye agreed to construct a custom Cloaca built specifically for the Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart, Tasmania. The new installation is suspended from the museum ceiling in a room custom-built for it.