Recommendation 1 – Andrew Mayne

Just a short post, Andrew Mayne has recently started uploading a new podcast audiobook on Itunes.
And this is my recommendation… GET IT and get it now. I haven’t had time to listen yet as it will be some good bedtime listening for me.

But everything Andrew Mayne does is golden, his magic is amzing, his podcasts are exciting and books are riveting. This post might as wel just say ANDREW MAYNE. He has the brains of a science wizard and the skills of a master magician.

Here is a link straight to the podcast.
http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/chronological-man-monster/id500639018

When the citizens of Boston begin to go missing in the fog in 1890,
it’s up to the mysterious Smith, inventor and adventurer, to figure out
what’s going on with the help of his assistant, April Malone. They’ll
have to face off against a secret society, corrupt policemen and a mad
psychologist hell-bent on dissecting Smith, in order to find out what’s
going on and to save the city from a graver threat.

This 4.5 hour science adventure novella is the first story about Smith, a mixture of Tony Stark, Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Who.

I might as well just plug the rest of his stuff here too while i’m here.

His own site for his magics – http://www.andrewmayne.com/

Weird things website and podcast for weird stories and strange news from around the world or mainly eastern europe in many cases – http://weirdthings.com/

He is also one of the mayne (see what i did there) guys behind a very good magic news and review site – http://itricks.com/news/

He seems to also be a regular guest on anther podcast too – http://nsfwshow.com/

Also he works with the JREF now and then to help promote skepticism and to help administer tests – http://www.randi.org/site/

I will start doing alot of recommendations on here, due to me reading, listening, watching and playing alot.

Cheers.

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Quirkology

So i got a new book for Christmas and it is awesome. Written by Richard Wiseman who is the Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology and a Magician. He is on wordpress too. Link! The book is an assorted collection of social and psychological experiments and may be one of the most interesting books i’ve read in quite a while.

The book covers jokes, luck, fake smiles, personal ads, charisma and how our personalities are shaped when we are born among loads of other interesting bits and bobs.
Go and buy the book now its cheap on Amazon Amazon linkage!

 

 

QUIRKOLOGY
The definitive quirky psychology, including the science of charisma, how to detect lies and how our personalities are shaped by when we are born.

If you are interested in psychology or social experiments, just get this book. From reading this book i now realise why people act in certain ways. Its interesting to put into use the things found in this book at work, it helps you realise how others think in different situations too.

Maybe i’ll get time to blog more soon seeing as though i have just over a weeks holiday.

Sorry about the way this is written, this isn’t the greatest post i’ve done. It seems my brain is fried.
Cheers.

Hitchens

So it seems Christopher Hitchens has died. Not good… The guy did some amazing work and wrote some very interesting books such as one called ‘God is not great’. The guy has inspired many people i’m sure.

I’m quite unsure what to write my mind has gone blank and i just feel awkwardly sad. So here is the article from Vanity Fair for which he worked for for quite a while.

By Gasper Tringale.

Christopher Hitchens—the incomparable critic, masterful rhetorician, fiery wit, and fearless bon vivant—died today at the age of 62. Hitchens was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in the spring of 2010, just after the publication of his memoir, Hitch-22, and began chemotherapy soon after. His matchless prose has appeared in Vanity Fair since 1992, when he was named contributing editor.

“Cancer victimhood contains a permanent temptation to be self-centered and even solipsistic,” Hitchens wrote nearly a year ago in Vanity Fair, but his own final labors were anything but: in the last 12 months, he produced for this magazine a piece on U.S.-Pakistani relations in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death, a portrait of Joan Didion, an essay on the Private Eye retrospective at the Victoria and Albert Museum, a prediction about the future of democracy in Egypt, a meditation on the legacy of progressivism in Wisconsin, and a series of frank, graceful, and exquisitely written essays in which he chronicled the physical and spiritual effects of his disease. At the end, Hitchens was more engaged, relentless, hilarious, observant, and intelligent than just about everyone else—just as he had been for the last four decades.

“My chief consolation in this year of living dyingly has been the presence of friends,” he wrote in the June 2011 issue. He died in their presence, too, at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. May his 62 years of living, well, so livingly console the many of us who will miss him dearly.

This article is from http://www.vanityfair.com/online/daily/2011/12/In-Memoriam-Christopher-Hitchens-19492011

Ali Cook Tonight

Tonight me and a few others are going to Nottingham to watch Ali Cook.
The name might ring a bell because he was one of the first guys on Penn & Tellers’ Itv show Fool us. Ya know the guy who swapped the head of a duck and chicken, which was awesome!
He also used to have a show on tv with Pete Firman called ‘Monkey Magic’.

The show tonight is only £4, so to miss this would be just foolish and it is at the Canalhouse. More people should come to this one, i’m looking forward to this. Its less than five minutes from a train station too.

Close Call Asteroid

Here be some kinda doom…

I may be pretty late at seeing this but i apologise i have been at work.

It seems there may have been certain doom tommorow (Monday) as there has been a giant asteroid spotted heading our way.
The space rock is going to just miss us but will reach within 11,000 miles of the surface. Apparently the telegraph states it as coming ’23 times closer than the moon’ to me that doesn’t make sense, but anyway the asteroid will reach within 11,000 miles of the surface which is close enough to be spotted by some telescopes.

Even if it did enter the atmospere an asteroid expert has said ‘We are certain that it will miss us, but if it did enter the atmosphere, an asteroid this size would mostly burn up in a brilliant fireball, possibly scattering a few meteorites.’ Which is good by me. This asteroid was only spotted wednesday in New Mexico and is only between 10 and 50 yards wide.

Another asteroid has been spotted to come by on November 8th and from what experts say it is 400 metres wide weighing 50 million tons and is expected to fly within the moons orbit, this will pass by at a distance of 201,000 miles thankfully. This one is the largest object to approach us so close that folks know about.

Phew…

Article read from Here!

To be honest though this original artice does make with the fear-mongering.

Memory Implant / Nanna

This kind of reminds me of the film Johnny Mnemonic. I think its just because of the stored memory information and recall thing. Awesome film, Dolph Lundgren and Keanu Reeves, a film with those guys has to be good right?

Anyway…

Scientists have designed a brain implant that restored lost memory function and strengthened recall of new information in laboratory rats — a crucial first step in the development of so-called neuroprosthetic devices to repair deficits from dementia, stroke and other brain injuries in humans.

I hope this gets developed for Humans as i believe there is a really high probability i will get dementia as most of my grandparents/great-grandparents etc have had it.

The Link to the whole article is here. That is if you want it from the source.

Though still a long way from being tested in humans, the implant demonstrates for the first time that a cognitive function can be improved with a device that mimics the firing patterns of neurons. In recent years neuroscientists have developed implants that allow paralyzed people to move prosthetic limbs or a computer cursor, using their thoughts to activate the machines. In the new work, being published Friday, researchers at Wake Forest University and the University of Southern California used some of the same techniques to read neural activity. But they translated those signals internally, to improve brain function rather than to activate outside appendages.

“It’s technically very impressive to pull something like this off, given our current level of technology,” said Daryl Kipke, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Michigan who was not involved in the experiment. “We are just scratching the surface when it comes to interacting with the brain, but this experiment shows what’s possible and the great potential of interacting with the brain in this way.”

In a series of experiments, scientists at Wake Forest led by Sam A. Deadwyler trained rats to remember which of two identical levers to press to receive water; the animals first saw one of the two levers appear and then (after being distracted) had to remember to press the other lever to be rewarded. Repeated training on this task teaches rats the general rule, but in each trial the animal has to remember which lever appeared first, to inform the later choice.

The rats were implanted with a tiny array of electrodes, which threaded from the top of the head down into two neighboring pieces of the hippocampus, a structure that is crucial for forming these new memories, in rats as in humans. The two slivers of tissue, called CA1 and CA3, communicate with each other as the brain learns and stores new information. The device transmits these exchanges to a computer.

To test the effect of the implant, the researchers used a drug to shut down the activity of CA1. Without CA1 online, the rats could not remember which lever to push to get water. They remembered the rule — push the opposite lever of the one that first appeared — but not which they had seen first.

The researchers, having recorded the appropriate signal from CA1, simply replayed it, like a melody on a player piano — and the animals remembered. The implant acted as if it were CA1, at least for this one task.

“Turn the switch on, the animal has the memory; turn it off and they don’t: that’s exactly how it worked,” said Theodore W. Berger, a professor of engineering at U.S.C. and the lead author of the study, being published in The Journal of Neural Engineering. His co-authors were Robert E. Hampson and Anushka Goonawardena, along with Dr. Deadwyler, of Wake Forest, and Dong Song and Vasilis Z. Marmarelis of U.S.C.

In rats that did not receive the drug, new memories faded by about 40 percent after a long distraction period. But if the researchers amplified the corresponding CA1 signals using the implant, the memories eroded only about 10 percent in that time.

The authors said that with wireless technology and computer chips, the system could be easily fitted for human use. But there are a number of technical and theoretical obstacles. For one, the implant must first record a memory trace before playing it back or amplifying it; in patients with significant memory problems, those signals may be too weak. In addition, human memory is a rich, diverse neural process that involves many other brain areas, not just CA3 and CA1; implants in this area will be limited.

Still, some restored memories — Where is the bathroom? Where are the pots and pans stored? — could make a big difference in the lives of someone with dementia. “If you’re caring for someone in the house, for example,” Dr. Berger said, “it might be enough to keep the person out of the nursing home.”

On a more personal note, my Nanna has really bad dementia and has suffered many strokes and is only about 80. She keeps suffering mini strokes and is in a really bad state and cannot do anything for herself anymore. She can hardly hold her arms up and cannot eat or drink on her own. I know this is partially due to age but i feel she would just have a more enjoyable life if it wasn’t for Dementia. My family aren’t even recognisable to her anymore and this to me is just heartbreaking. To me it would seem in her mind she would think no-one visits or cares about her, as she is in a dementia nursing home. Its not a fair thing, i guess life isn’t fair. I want her last moments knowing we are there for her and love her. But at times it seems futile because she doesn’t know anything anymore. Pity nothing can be done but have her without dignity and alone. I know its more fathers day then Grandma’s day but i would like her to know i’m there and miss and love her. I don’t like dementia or the idea that i or anyone else could get it, regardless of whether i know them or not. Its just a bad thing.

Sorry about the personalness i just felt i had to get it down and out of myself.

Thanks.

New Book By Penn Jillette

Buy me this…

I believe this book is that right buy for me. Firstly its by Penn Jillette. Secondly its about Atheism and religion.
Thirdly its by Penn Jillette. There is also an audio version.
Apparently it features Penn commandments which should be hilarious i’m sure.

For anyone interested in stuff like this go and follow Penn’s vblog thing on youtube. Penn Point

Also go and buy Sock which is also written by Penn.