Why cartoons have animals

Why do adults and children like to see animals as characters in fictional stories and cartoons, especially when stories about animals are so confusing? Everyone knows that Micky Mouse (a mouse) lives in a house and has a pet Pluto (a dog) and a friend Goofy (a dog that talks). I recently caught up with…More

Panoptic man

Panoramic photography, of the kind now common on digital cameras and smart phones, allows you to sweep your camera from a fixed point around 360 degrees (or part thereof) to produce a composite image to present either as a flat plane or to be revisited as an immersive simulacrum. What happens when bodies get in…More

Circles and how to get out of them

“There are weeks when it can sound as if the European sovereign debt crisis is going around in circles,” according to a NYT article on problems with the Euro. Problems that can’t easily be solved lead you in circles, even a vicious circle. Resolving the Euro crisis is also like “trying to square the circle,” a reference to…More

Le Corbusier’s error

We all make mistakes. Take comfort though from the advice of cybernetician Ranulph Glanville: “error is, in itself, neither bad nor good, but endemic — it cannot be eliminated. . . . it is error that drives the system!” (p.1181)More

Kim Jong-Il orz

Amidst the grim images and doleful wails of the North Korean nation mourning the death of its leader Kim Jong-Ill we see grief-stricken citizens enacting the customary orz posture and gestures (YouTube).More

Accidental people

They show up everywhere. We’ve never met, and probably never will. These bodies don’t only appear in Google StreetView, but in my digital photo albums whether I want them there or not. They are most visible when I zoom in. They even get singled out by the “faces” feature of my photo browser, and I’m…More


Devices for Electroencephalography (EEG) to map the locus and strength of emotional responses in the brain are now available for a few hundred pounds, eg Emotiv EPOC neuroheadset. Sensors positioned over the wearer’s scalp pick up the minute wave patterns produced by brain activity. According to the advertising: “It uses a set of sensors to tune…More