Signs, Traces and Cues

Originally posted on Chemoton § Vitorino Ramos' research notebook:

Signal Traces - Sept. 2013 Vitorino RamosPhoto – Signal traces, September 2013, Vitorino Ramos.

[...] While pheromone reinforcement plays a role as system’s memory, evaporation allows the system to adapt and dynamically decide, without any type of centralized or hierarchical control [...], below.

“[...] whereas signals tends to be conspicuous, since natural selection has shaped signals to be strong and effective displays, information transfer via cues is often more subtle and based on incidental stimuli in an organism’s social environment [...]“, Seeley, T.D., “The Honey Bee Colony as a Super-Organism”, American Scientist, 77, pp.546-553, 1989.

[...] If an ant colony on his cyclic way from the nest to a food source (and back again), has only two possible branches around an obstacle, one bigger and the other smaller (the bridge experiment [7,52]), pheromone will accumulate – as times passes – on the shorter path, simple because any ant that sets out…

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Thoughts on Permadeath

Originally posted on A Mind for Madness:

I hate to return to this topic so soon, but it has been awhile since I’ve blogged and I’ve been reading a bit about it. Back here I blogged about why playing roguelike games can be a gratifying and important experience if you’ve never tried it before. I want to step back from the genre in general and focus in on just one feature.

Recall that permadeath (shorthand for “permanent death”) is a game mechanic where once you die you must start the whole game over again. Even within hardcore roguelike gamers and game developers there has been a lot of controversy surrounding this mechanic. Isn’t it unfair if someone puts in 12 hours of work, and then a random event outside of their control makes them start all over again? Right at the very end. It seems punishingly unfair.

Well, let’s consider a thought experiment which I think exemplifies…

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Beyond palliative care

Originally posted on synthetic_zero:

Not all that long ago the curators of this blog started talking about the possibility of the palliative care of the Earth. Recently dmf posted up a podcast dealing with the same topic. I haven’t listened to it yet so won’t be drawing on it in this post. I wanted to take a few minutes to experiment with the senses of the phrase “palliative care of the Earth”.

First of all, what is palliative care? Like all attempts at sense it is a contested battleground rife with bullet holes and no-man’s lands with various armies massed and pressing on it. One such army is the global institutional Roman legion that is the World Health Organisation. The WHO loves definitions. One could almost assume it employed nothing but glossophiliacs who spent their days and night writing endless variations on definitions who, in their frenzied madness, ended up trying to murder the words…

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The Art Of Wonderment

Originally posted on Uncle Tree's House:

passing the baton

Many humans ago,

a solid-state baton passed on

to the second generation of children.

Now, our children pass on a rolled up scroll

that houses nothing less than the emptiness of Soul.

It is chock-full of science, knowledge, reason, and logic,

but totally void of meaning and a common sense of direction.

~ Conceptualize the inconceivable thought ~

Marginalize our intangible blue dot?


Self-actualize, and teach what can’t be taught.

Don’t penalize us for believing – what is – is naught.

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Neurology and the New Emerging Diagram of Power and Control

Originally posted on Larval Subjects .:

I suspected this was on the way. Neurologists are now using brain scanning techniques to develop more effective forms of advertising. Advertising (and, more importantly, political discourse), use potent signs to activate various regions of the brain presiding over pleasure, fear, sexual desire, hatred, and so on, to form cognitive relations to things entirely unrelated to these affects. For example, a cleaning product might make a commercial with all sorts of romantic imagery so as to forge an unconscious association between detergent and romance, even though there’s no relation between the two. Of course, historically these techniques have been crude as advertisers and politicians don’t know what signs will activate these affects and what won’t. It’s been hit or miss. Theories of what signs will produce affects (not that signs produce affects) haven’t admitted much in the way of verification, but have been based on the individual theories of semioticians…

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