Sunday, 31 December 2006
While most croaks are honest, some are not. Some small males lower their voices to make themselves sound bigger. Their big-bodied croaks intimidate frogs that would beat them in a fair fight.
Saturday, 30 December 2006
This fresco, painted sometime between 1304 and 1306, features an accurately represents a comet above the Nativity stable. The fresco's realistic potrayal strongly suggests that it was based on the artist's first-hand observation of the comet Halley during its appearance in the skies over Europe in Oct. 1301. Almost seven centuries later the spaceprobe "Giotto" from the European Space Agency, was designed to study Halley's Comet. On March, 13, 1986, Giotto approached at a 596 kilometer distance from Halley's nucleus and obtained our first direct images of a comet nucleus. Giotto's images showed the nucleus to be an irregular object, something like a potato, with dimensions 15 km long and up to 10 km wide (picture).
Monday, 25 December 2006
Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate or your joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and distroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar", every "supreme leader", every saint and sinner, in the history of our species lived here -on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of a corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
Our posturing, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits that this distant image or our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsability to deal more kindly with one another , and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot , the only home we've ever known.
Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, Random House, 1994
Provenance unknown, possibly Thebes, late Dynasty 18-early Dynasty 19 (1332-1292 BCE), greywacke.
The Rosetta Stone is a stone with writing on it in two languages (Egyptian and Greek), using three scripts (hieroglyphic, demotic and Greek).
Why is it in three different scripts?
The Rosetta Stone is written in three scripts because when it was written, there were three scripts being used in Egypt.
The first was hieroglyphic which was the script used for important or religious documents.
Detail of hieroglyphic and demotic script on the Rosetta Stone
The second was demotic which was the common script of Egypt.
The third was Greek which was the language of the rulers of Egypt at that time.
The Rosetta Stone was written in all three scripts so that the priests, government officials and rulers of Egypt could read what it said.
When was the Rosetta Stone made?
The Rosetta Stone was carved in 196 B.C..
When was the Rosetta Stone found?
The Rosetta Stone was found in 1799.
Who found the Rosetta Stone?
The Rosetta Stone was found by French soldiers who were rebuilding a fort in Egypt.
Where was the Rosetta Stone found?
The Rosetta Stone was found in a small village in the Delta called Rosetta (Rashid).
Why is it called the Rosetta Stone?
It is called the Rosetta Stone because it was discovered in a town called Rosetta (Rashid).
What does the Rosetta Stone say?
The Rosetta Stone is a text written by a group of priests in Egypt to honour the Egyptian pharaoh. It lists all of the things that the pharaoh has done that are good for the priests and the people of Egypt.
Who deciphered hieroglyphs? Many people worked on deciphering hieroglyphs over several hundred years. However, the structure of the script was very difficult to work out.
After many years of studying the Rosetta Stone and other examples of ancient Egyptian writing, Jean-François Champollion deciphered hieroglyphs in 1822.
How did Champollion decipher hieroglyphs?
Champollion could read both Greek and coptic.
He was able to figure out what the seven demotic signs in coptic were. By looking at how these signs were used in coptic he was able to work out what they stood for. Then he began tracing these demotic signs back to hieroglyphic signs.
By working out what some hieroglyphs stood for, he could make educated guesses about what the other hieroglyphs stood for.
Sunday, 24 December 2006
The colour in this image is due to it being a multitemporal composite, made up of three Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) images acquired on different dates, with separate colours assigned to each acquisition to highlight differences between them: Red for 16 March, Green for 12 Jan and blue for 14 October 2004. The view was acquired in ASAR Image Mode Precision, with pixel sampling of 12.5 metres.
The service is focused on the generation of various global estimates of aspects of terrestrial vegetation: the number, location and area of fire-affected land, known as Burnt Area Estimates (BAE), the area of green leaf exposed to incoming sunlight for photosynthesis, known as Leaf Area Index (LAI), the sunlight actually absorbed for photosynthesis, known as the Fraction of Absorbed Photosynthetically Active Radiation (fAPAR) and the Vegetation Growth Cycle (VGC).
Worldwide leaf area index (LAI)
Saturday, 23 December 2006
If I know that P, then I know that I am not a brain in a vat
I do not know that I am not a brain in a vat
Thus, I do not know that P.
The Brain in a Vat Argument is usually taken to be a modern version of René Descartes' argument (in the Meditations on First Philosophy) that centers on the possibility of an evil demon who systematically deceives us. The hypothesis has been the premise behind the movie The Matrix, in which the entire human race has been placed into giant vats and fed a virtual reality at the hands of malignant artificial intelligence (our own creations, of course).
One of the ways some modern philosophers have tried to refute global skepticism is by showing that the Brain in a Vat scenario is not possible. In his Reason, Truth and History (1981), Hilary Putnam first presented the argument that we cannot be brains in a vat, which has since given rise to a large discussion with repercussions for the realism debate and for central theses in the philosophy of language and mind. As we shall see, however, it remains far from clear how exactly Putnam’s argument should be taken and what it actually proves
Tuesday, 19 December 2006
Saturday, 16 December 2006
Please, compare to brain evolution.
Why is it important to learn how brains are constructed?
For a brain to perform all the functions that it must do, it must: 1. Detect and locate the great variety of stimulus types, sources, and happenings in the environment; 2. Make sense of all these sensory events; 3. Respond to all these features by expressing an elaborate behavioral repertoire; and 4. Make judgments, learn, and think about all these things.
Over the last 50 years, a great number of neuronal cell groups, circuits and connections have been identified and named in the several different regions of the brain. In addition, the functions of these different nuclei and circuits have been identified. Moreover, the neuroanatomical and neurochemical mechanisms by which these circuits operated to produce and enable them to function effectively have begun to be clarified. But much remains to be done, and in the next two decades, it is estimated that modern technology will provide ever greater insight as to how the circuits of the brain perform the functions that they do.
When the name and the ink colour are different, most people slow down.
When you try to say the ink colour, you cannot avoid reading the word. If the two bits of information conflict, your brain struggles to work out what the correct answer is, and it takes longer.
This test is very sensitive to subtle changes in brain function. Lack of sleep, fatigue, minor brain injury and high altitudes will all increase the time it takes to do the test. The test has even been used on Everest expeditions to see how altitudes are affecting different people.
This is called ‘The Stroop effect’ and was discovered in 1935 by John Ridley Stroop.
Now close your eyes and tilt your head back. A circle of light will slowly appear. Focus on it, and look into it. What do you see?
Try this again, but look at a white wall after 30 seconds.
Do you still see it?
Friday, 15 December 2006
Its beauty and excellent state of preservation would alone make this an important manuscript. But there is more besides. It also contains one of the oldest Christian maps of the world. The map presents a picture of the Mediterranean world virtually unchanged since the 8th century, which in turn reflected an even older world view inherited from Roman times.
The map was intended to show the routes taken by the Christian missions of the early saints. East is at the top of the map, rather than the right as in modern maps. Adam and Eve are portrayed against a dark green background representing the verdant Garden of Eden. Beyond the Red Sea is a hint of an undiscovered fourth continent that some ancient thinkers – among them, Pliny, the first-century Roman writer – had suggested must exist in order to balance the known land masses of Europe, Asia and Africa.
Thursday, 14 December 2006
Events in the life of Moses (Botticelli)
Handing over of the keys (Perugino)
Creation of the sun, moon and planets (Michelangelo)
Creation of Adam (Michelangelo)
Original Sin and the Banishment from the Garden of Eden (Michelangelo)
The Last Judgement (Michelangelo)
Disputation over the Most Holy Sacrament (Raphael)
School of Athens (Raphael)
Encounter of Leo the Great with Attila (Raphael)
Liberation of St Peter (Raphael)
Fire in the Borgo (Raphael)
Battle of Constantine against Maxentius (Raphael)
Stefaneschi triptych (Giotto di Bondone e aiuti)
An angel playing the lute (Melozzo da Forlì )
The Transfiguration (Raffaello Sanzio)
St Jerome (Leonardo da Vinci)
Deposition from the Cross (Caravaggio)
Gregorian Egyptian Museum
Mummy in its case
Statue of the priest Udja-Hor-res-ne
Colossal statue of queen Tuya
Gregorian Etruscan Museum
Mars of Todi
Attic black-figure amphora
Attic red-figure hydria
Ethnological Missionary Museum
Quetzalcóatl, Pre-Colombian Mexican divinity
Bundu helmet mask of the Sande female society
Tu, main divinity of the pantheon of Mangareva island
Wednesday, 13 December 2006
Geoffrey Chaucer (about 1342-1400), better known for his Canterbury Tales, also wrote a treatise on the astrolabe which was widely disseminated. The type of astrolabe he described matches the features of this instrument, with its distinctive Y-shaped rete, a dog's head as a star-pointer for Sirius (known as the dog-star), and other star-pointers in the shape of birds. The frame around the circumference has a dragon's head and tail respectively at the ends.
Three of the saints mentioned in the calendrical list on the back are of particular English significance, and one of the latitude plates is marked for Oxford, while the others are laid out for Jerusalem, 'Babilonie', Rome, Montpellier, and Paris.
See the genius's personal notebook!
England, AD 1866A design for Earthly Paradise. This drawing was one of the designs that Burne-Jones made for a vast project to illustrate William Morris's Earthly Paradise (six volumes of which were eventually published between 1868 and 1870). This daunting scheme, begun in 1865, was abandoned when Morris could not find a typeface that would do justice to the illustrations. Around fifty of the designs were cut as woodblocks by Morris, but it was not until he took over all aspects of book production with the Kelmscott Press that he was able to find satisfactory design solutions for such ambitious work.The deep, intense colour in this work is typical of Burne-Jones' heavily-worked watercolours, to which he added areas of thicker, more opaque bodycolour. The facial types are similar to those of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, but the soft-focus, generalised details are unique to Burne-Jones. He produced at least five versions of this subject and later a series of paintings telling the whole story of Cupid and Psyche for the earl of Carlisle (now Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery).Jealous of Psyche's beauty, Venus sent Cupid to destroy her, but he fell in love with the sleeping princess. Cupid, who could visit Psyche only under the cover of darkness, represents love, and Psyche represents the longing of the human soul.
Title of Work: Munjado/Character paintings
Title of Work: Holkham Bible Picture Book
Sunday, 10 December 2006
Saturday, 9 December 2006
This is a free website devoted to boost and expand your mind.
By frequently exploring this web you´ll be placed on different points of view to reflect on life and universe. "From reality to wisdom and back to reality" is our motto.
We strongly recommend to focus on some few items more than having a quick look at several topics.
To navigate the web choose a theme or a month in the archive from the home page menu.
The contents are classified by levels.
Level 1 (kids up to 6 years)
Level 2 (kids, 6 to 10 years)
Level 3 (kids, 10 to 14 years)
Level 4 (easy to understand)
Level 5 (some knowledge are needed to properly understand the content)
Level 6 (for people who are well up on the matter, specific knowledge is needed to properly understand the content)
Access to "The Seventh Layer" is available under registration only.
You can also subscribe to "Smash your brain" feed. When you subscribe to a feed, it is added to the Common Feed List. Updated information from the feed is automatically downloaded to your computer and can be viewed in Internet Explorer and other programs.
Terms & Conditions of use for "Smash your Brain"
Use of this Web Site is subject to these terms and conditions. By using this Web Site you agree to be bound by these terms and conditions which form a binding contract between you and The Brain Community. Certain parts of this Web Site may be subject to registration and additional terms and conditions which will be made available for you to read at the time of registration. Unless otherwise indicated, this Web Site and its contents are the property of The Brain Community. The copyright in the material contained on this Web Site belongs to its authors or its licensors. The trademarks appearing on this Web Site are protected by the laws of England and international trademark laws.
Save as expressly set out herein no license is granted in respect of any intellectual property rights vested in "Smash our brain" or other third parties."Smash your brain" reserves the right to suspend or terminate your access and use of this Web Site at any time without notice.
THIS WEB SITE AND ITS CONTENT IS PROVIDED FOR USE "AS IS". "SMASH YOUR BRAIN" MAKES NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES WITH RESPECT TO THIS WEB SITE OR ITS CONTENTS, ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, SATISFACTORY QUALITY AND FITNESS FOR PURPOSE RELATING TO THIS WEB SITE AND/OR ITS CONTENT AND/OR ANY WEB SITE TO WHICH IT IS LINKED ARE HEREBY TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW EXCLUDED. NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES ARE GIVEN AS TO THE ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OF THE INFORMATION PROVIDED ON THIS WEB SITE, OR ANY WEB SITE TO WHICH IT IS LINKED.
In no event shall The Brain Community or its employees, agents, suppliers, or contractors be liable for any damages of any nature, including without limitation any consequential loss, loss of income or profit, loss of or damage to property, claims of third parties, or any other loss, cost, claim or expense of any kind or character arising out of or in connection with the use of this Web Site, its content or any Web Site with which it is linked. This exclusion and limitation only applies to the extent permitted by law and does not apply to liability for death or personal injury caused by the negligence of The Brain Community, its employees, agents, suppliers or contractorsThe Brain Community reserves the right to change these terms and conditions by posting changes on this page of the Web Site and you will be deemed to have accepted such changes if you use this Web Site after "Smash your brain" has published the amended terms and conditions on this page of the Web Site.Certain parts of this Web Site may contain advertising. Fundación de Neurociencieas is not responsible for the content of any advertising material or any errors or inaccuracy in any advertising or sponsorship, which is the responsibility of the advertiser. These terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with European Laws.