"Dom DeLuise,the comedian, was implicated in the following unseemly acts in my mind’s eye: He hocked a fat globule of spittle on Albert Einstein’s thick white mane and delivered a devastating karate kick to the groin of Pope Benedict XVI. Michael Jackson engaged in behavior bizarre even for him. He defecated on a salmon burger and captured his flatulence in a balloon." How Joshua Foer trained his brain and became a world-class memory athlete. [more inside]
Check out this 60 Mminutes segment about people with superior autobiographical memory, who can remember virtually every day of their life. [more inside]
In December 1966, ABC 's Stage 67 broadcast a teleplay of Truman Capote's beloved short story, "A Christmas Memory." It won both an Emmy, and Peabody, and was narrated by the author himself. Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
Is Chillwave the Next Big Music Trend? - Wiki: Chillwave is a debated genre of music where artists are often characterized by their heavy use of effects processing, synthesizers, looping, sampling, and heavily filtered vocals with simple melodic lines. Its musical predecessors are diverse and include the synthpop of the 1980s, shoegaze, ambient, musique concrète and various types of music outside of the Western World. In this case, nostalgia of 80s synthpop is filtered through a distorted lens, re-envisioning the era in a more vague and lo-fi sense. Just don't call them that. You can always check in at the Hipster Runoff (the birthplace of the term) for news about the vaguely new subgenre. [more inside]
Statsis: A short film by Christian Swegal In the future, an Ex-Soldier is placed in virtual exercises to cure his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In the simulations, he sees glimpses of a mysterious girl, presumably someone from his past. When a Stranger appears in his facility offering answers, the Soldier finds himself once again asked to kill, this time for her... [more inside]
Dr. David Eagleman, a neuroscientist at Baylor College of Medicine, wanted to find out how the human brain processes time in a near death situation. [more inside]
Ten days ago, Slate Magazine conducted an experiment modeled on the Ministry of Truth in George Orwell's 1984: they asked readers to look at eight photographs of notable political moments from the past decade and share their memories about each. Over 5,000 people participated in the first three days, but what they didn’t know was that four of the pictures were significantly doctored, and one was totally fabricated. [more inside]
Ghost shift ghost chips. A tale about a Chumby hardware developer with a keen investigative eye noticing some oddities about microSD FLASH cards from supposedly reputable suppliers.
Memory is not what it used to be! Using a camera to record your daily activities so you will remember what life was like years later? Try SenseCam! Does keeping a Digital Diary screw with your mind and memory? [more inside]
Tip of My Tongue: Find that word you've been thinking about all day but just can't seem to remember.
Mark Richardson muses about memory, personal history and YouTube. Specifically, he uncovered a storied 1970 Steel Mill gig (with Bruce Springsteen on guitar, audio only) that his wife's uncle MC'ed. And then the 15-year old Boss' garage band, The Castiles. And verified dim memories of seeing Andy Warhol, Bianca Jagger and Steven Spielberg discuss radios in your teeth on TV, and John Cale on a TV game show. And an old Highland Appliances TV ad. That kind of thing.
AJ has come forward. Last year ericb told us about Hyperthymesia, a condition where the affected individual has a superior autobiographical memory. AJ is Jill Price, author of The Woman Who Can't Forget: The Extraordinary Story of Living with the Most Remarkable Memory Known to Science—A Memoir.
Brain Researchers Open Door to Editing Memory : spotless minds might be closer than we think.
Fatal Distraction. The lead story in this Sunday's Washington Post Magazine. "Forgetting a child in the back seat of a hot, parked car is a horrifying, inexcusable mistake. But is it a crime?". By Gene Weingarten. [more inside]
Computer data storage through the ages. From the punch card to the cassette drive to the Jaz, and much more.
Ecstasy's long-term effects revealed. "Enough time has finally elapsed to start asking if ecstasy damages health in the long term. According to the biggest review ever undertaken, it causes slight memory difficulties and mild depression, but these rarely translate into problems in the real world. While smaller studies show that some individuals have bigger problems, including weakened immunity and larger memory deficits, so far, for most people, ecstasy seems to be nowhere near as harmful over time as you may have been led to believe." [Via]
The Agrippa Files presents a fairly expansive overview of the original and very rare 1992 art book Agrippa (a book of the dead), a collaboration between artist Dennis Ashbaugh, author William Gibson, and award-winning journalist Kevin Begos, Jr. that presciently explored the ephemeral nature of and decay of memories and information. [more inside]
The recent passing of Studs Terkel sparked a renewed interest in his interview projects, like Working, Race, and Hard Times. But Studs was not just a broadcaster who liked people; he was a practitioner of oral history, a method of gathering information about the past through preserving individual recollections. It's a subfield of history, with its own ethics, techniques, professional literature, uses, and limitations. Learn how to collect and share oral histories yourself, from interviewing to recording and getting clearances to preserving and disseminating. Oral histories have been preserved as text transcripts for decades; now digital media isreinvigorating the form, bringing new ease to recording and wider opportunities for the public to see and hear the content. Explore oral history projects on the web with stories of veterans, suffragists, Tibetans, jazz cats, Nevada nuclear test site witnesses, Basque Americans, rodeo cowboys and cowgirls, musicians, Katrina survivors, ACT UP activists, Cambodians under the Khmer Rouge, Native Americans, women whose lives were affected by the Pill, survivors of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire,women in World War II, Hawai'ians, workers in Paterson, NJ....
Henry G. Molaison, known to psychology and neurology students worldwide as "H.M.", dies. Previously.
Dr. Joe Z. Tsien has previously created a strain of mice unable to form memories, one with much improved memory - "Doogie" mice - and can now erase single mouse memories. "Our work reveals a molecular mechanism of how that can be done quickly and without doing damage to brain cells." Remembering to forget....
So, you watched the movie Tron, and now you want to run your computerized guy off of the game grid and into the rest of the computer system? That's exactly what Daniel Wellman did on his Apple IIgs.
Memory remembered. Does writing seek out words the better to stir and un-numb us to life—or does writing provide surrogate pleasures the better to numb us to experience? [more inside]
levelHead is a spacial memory game by artist Julian Oliver, using a hand-held solid-plastic cube as its only interface. On-screen each face of the cube contains a little room, each of which are logically connected by doors through which you guide your character. Take a look at a demonstration or build your own levelHead setup.
Humorist and candidate for the US Senate for Minnesota Al Franken draws a map of the United States from memory.
You know the feeling that something is on the tip of your tongue? It offers deep insights into the nature of the mind. [Via The Frontal Cortex]
Exercising your brain makes you smarter, and there is no better gym for it than the MentatWiki. [more inside]
Modelling Human Memory. Or, really, predicting the point of forgetting.
51-year-old Brad Williams, a radio anchor in La Crosse, Wisconsin, can “recall the most trifling dates and details about his life….[n]ame a date from the last 40 years and, after a few moments, he can typically tell you what he did that day and what was in the news.” Brad has Hyperthymesia, a condition where the affected person has incredible recall of the most trivial events in his/her life. Neuroscientist James McGaugh and others at the University of California, Irvine, are studying Williams for clues as to his remarkable abilities [video]. Williams (aka 'Google Man' | video) vs. The Internet [video]. His brother, Eric, is working on a documentary about Brad – Unforgettable [trailer].
Voice Thread Now the online world can lend support in your family argument about what really happened on your fifth birthday.
Mapping Memory. "Turn the human brain upside down and all around to see how memories are saved (or lost)." National Geographic has a great interactive 3D map of the brain as part of an excellent feature on memory. [more inside]
The Abyss. Oliver Sacks writes about Clive Wearing (recently discussed here). [Via MindHacks.] [more inside]
Persistence of Myths Could Alter Public Policy Approach. "The conventional response to myths and urban legends is to counter bad information with accurate information. But the new psychological studies (PDFs) show that denials and clarifications, for all their intuitive appeal, can paradoxically contribute to the resiliency of popular myths." [Via Firedoglake, more at MindHacks.]
Researchers have found they can use drugs to wipe away single, specific memories while leaving other memories intact. By injecting an amnesia drug at the right time, when a subject was recalling a particular thought, neuro-scientists discovered they could disrupt the way the memory is stored and even make it disappear.
Useful Void: The Art of Forgetting in the Age of Ubiquitous Computing. Like they said in Strange Days, "Memories are meant to fade. They're designed that way for a reason." What happens when there's a record online of every site you've ever visited, every flippant comment you've ever made, every embarrassing question you've ever asked? Maybe computers, like people, should be designed to forget.
When a Brain Forgets Where Memory Is. Interesting article on dissociative fugue, the poorly understood memory disorder where people seem to forget who they are. [Via MindHacks.]
The Monumental is My Sickness: a newly translated 1979 interview with German sculptor Arno Breker. Extremely revealing about art, memory, Nazism, and the troubling life story of "Hitler's Favourite Sculptor". For context, read this critical review of a recent exhibition of Breker's work. More Arno Breker resources, including many photos: (in French); the museum of Arno Breker (in German); Wikipedia entry. via
"Every man for himself. I was irrationally convinced that if one particle of that sinister cloud managed to touch me I would die."
The Magical Number Seven Psychologist George A. Miller on the human limits for processing and remembering data. It is a little dramatic to watch a person memorize 40 binary digits in a row without error.