The dance of the hemispheres

The dance of the hemispheres

 

A common belief of the brain is that it is divided into two sites, hemispheres, and that they are entirely separate. Indeed, the “left / right” analogies offer a separation which suggests that people, and the world, are either A or B.

Psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist suggests that a co-existence between left and right occurs within all of us. The left hemisphere does not appreciate how much it depends on the right - although the right hemisphere appreciates that it needs the left. A right-hemisphere world would have room in it for the left hemisphere, and would be properly balanced, unlike a world of the left hemisphere. The concepts are explained in his latest book, The Master and his Emissary.

It argues that these two hemispheres are fundamental to human existence. They make possible the versions and interpretations of the world that otherwise would not exist. The differences between the two hemispheres are stark and are broadly accepted, although there is less known as to why they exist, and why they exist in the way that they do. The book argues that every type of function, whether emotional, linguistic, visual or anything else – is the product of both hemispheres, rather than the domain of one in essential isolation. McGilchrist admits to his surprise as to the correspondence that he has received on the back of the book's publication, suggesting that his thinking is untapping a need for an understanding of these hemispheres to be at least discussed, if not addressed. The RSA is planning a symposium for public and private organisations to debate these ideas, an activity that is perhaps symptomatic of a need to debate these ideas, in advance of perhaps a re-addressing of how we live out lives, and the implicit and explicit products that are made through them.

McGilchrist's forthcoming talk at Salon London will focus on only a few of these key points. "I always like talking to a new audience, and the whole subject of hemisphere difference is such a minefield, full of prejudice and misunderstanding. Yet it is of absolutely prime importance, because it casts light on why we think and behave in the way we do, and even helps to explain some of the more worrying features of the world we live in today."

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Lack of Facebook

"Attention, citizens of the world":

 

 

 

Anonymous is threatening to shut down Facebook on November 5, basing the threat on Facebook's much-documented - and often controversial - ways in which it deals with private data. The threat makes specific reference to an alleged passing on of private information to "authoritarian governments".

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Recovering from the riots

This is the Sony CD / DVD distribution centre in Enfleid, in flames.

 

 

It left a number of indie labels, whose stock was inside the building, basically without any stock... and struggling to survive. They are distributed by PIAS, with the Quietus offering those with good ears a chance to help the labels - and the artists - out, by buying some great music digitally.

 

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The Choice: Captain Cyborg

The Choice: Captain Cyborg

 

Kevin Warwick is on The Choice with Michael Buerk, BBC R4.

Link

Data wars

Data wars

 

Rob Myers reviews The Secret War Between Downloading & Uploading:

 

Peter Lunenfeld's book "The Secret War Between Downloading & Uploading: Tales Of The Computer As Culture Machine" (MIT Press 2011) presents a new way of looking at the cultural struggle for control of the Internet. Although the conflict between uploading and downloading may not seem secret since the Napster case a decade ago, and is indeed a common feature of net political debate, Lunenfeld is using the concepts of downloading and uploading to discuss not the copyfight but how human beings relate to each other culturally and socially through technology.

 

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Sex, drugs, and discoveries

Sex, drugs, and discoveries

 

Drug-taking. Open relationships. Ménages à trois. Seeing your mistress's daughter behind your mistress's back, who is in turn behind your wife's back.

Scientists, eh?

These are not the characteristics that one might associate with the profession. However, they have all happened, and to some of the most groundbreaking, most famous people associated with it. To many, science is something almost devoid of human emotions, however extreme: the rational over the irrational, the clinical over the trashy, the straight over the random.

Obviously, this is not necessarily the case. Don't be shocked by this, but scientists are human beings too. Dr. Michael Brooks would like to be at the front of the rope, pulling the reputation of science back from this endpoint of the geeky, the nerdy; a set of disciplines that are certainly revered, but are somewhat disconnected from the human condition.

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Burn, dork, burn

Burn, dork, burn

 

Back for its sixth year is DorkBot's summer getaway, BurningDork:

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, it's time to get excited! Yes, once again it is that special point in the year when we get to pack up our soldering irons and head to the woods!

If you don't want to be disappointed you are going to need to pull up your socks and get cracking.

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Two states

Two states

 

Still available to listen to from BBC R4 is The new two cultures:

Neuroscientist and arts enthusiast Dr Mark Lythgoe investigates the divide between scientists and artists lamented by C P Snow in a lecture nearly 50 years ago.

 

It's a two-parter, and well worth a listen. We love art and science stuff, having discussed it many times before (starting here).

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The smart generation

The smart generation

 

Would Napoleon in 2011 say that we are a nation of smartphone addicts?

Ofcom:

Over a quarter of adults (27 per cent) and almost half of teenagers (47 per cent) now own a smartphone.Most (59 per cent) have acquired their smartphone, which includes devices such as iPhones, Blackberrys (surely "Blackberries"?) and Android phones, over the past year.Users make significantly more calls and send more texts than regular mobile users (81 per cent of smartphone users make calls every day compared with 53 per cent of 'regular' users).Teenagers especially are ditching more traditional activities in favour of their smartphone, with 23 per cent claiming to watch less TV and 15 per cent admitting they read fewer books.And when asked about the use of these devices, 37 per cent of adults and 60 per cent of teens admit they are 'highly addicted'.

 

Key facts:

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Know your rights

Know your rights

Vince Cable and Jeremy Hunt announced wide-ranging changes to UK copyright law today which will apparently bolster the creative industries by £8bn, and substantially alter the legal framework for consumers.

The key points are:

Hargreaves review is fully endorsed by Government Ofcom kicks web-blocking into the long grass, basically owing to its technical complexitiesAppeals regarding copyright infringement ("detected instances of unlawful sharing of copyright material") are given a fixed fee of £20, refundable if wonCopying digital works across devices will be decriminalised

 

Coverage:

Orlowski on El Reg (although... 'freetards'... really?)Tim Bradshaw, FTCOI press release

Creative review

Creative review

As the belief goes, we are in a knowledge economy. Gone are the mills and factories of the Industrial Revolution, with office blocks of varying degrees of character in their place. Although the definition of "product" may have indeed changed, what has not changed is the perception of quality. The globalisation of industrial production may have shifted, even polarised, our views of what quality is. from cheap T-shirts to artisan baking. This has translated into a change of what creativity is and stands for, in the sense that while there are still "good ideas" and "bad ideas", interconnected networks make access to intellect much more accessible to all.

The impact on advertising should be for the quality to go up. After all, global get-togethers such as Cannes mean that countries have a benchmark to measure their own work against, and for commentators to compare the shift in capital production or consumption, with any perceived shift in where the most acclaimed ideas are coming from. Some have suggested that, rather like Eurovision, the shift in transnational focus away from the west means that the UK's command of awards – even the UK's potential of getting anywhere commanding anything – are over.

But Cannes is just one platform, and the real story is less to do with the UK being not as great as it used to be, but more to do with new players catching up. That's the view of Saatchi's ECD Kate Stanners, facing the challenges of the agency and of the sector head-on: what the talent pool looks like, how it creates great work, and how that work is useful to consumers. She feels that Cannes this year was rather more evenly-distributed in its prizegiving: emerging economies producing some interesting work alongside the stalwarts, and what we are seeing is a rebalancing of what creativity looks like across globalised markets, as well as trying to address how to keep executions locally relevant in way that consumers find culturally authentic. In fact, Stanners' views of the 2011 New Directors' Showcase, a Saatchi initiative which pulls visual talent from across a wide spectrum of disciplines, is that northern Europe remains very much the dominant force.

 

Movable feasts

As the daughter of Leo Burnett copywriter Bob Stanners, who with Norman Icke created some of the most memorable campaigns for McDonalds, Bradford & Bingley and Cadbury's Flake, Kate has advertising in her genes. Success at GGT led her to become one of the first hires at St. Lukes, an agency whose relentless focus on creative talent retained Stanners for a decade. She was then led once again to a start-up, Boymeetsgirl, before joining Saatchi & Saatchi at a well-documented, turbulent time, but offering considerable opportunities in within a global network, itself a young subsidiary within Publicis.

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Newsgater

Newsgater

 

Beyond Hackgate: Who Should We Trust Now? is a live discussion which took place on BBC R4 this morning. As iPlayer puts it, "Eddie Mair leads a discussion of the implications of the hacking scandal for the shape of power in Britain."

 

Given the continued revelations, whether this programme is a one-off or the first in a series, remains to be seen...

 

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Telegraphic transfer

Telegraphic transfer

 

Telegraph combines tiresome "geeks" and "Don Draper" metaphors in what is otherwise a good stab at where the industry is heading, profiling Albion's Jason Goodman on the way.

 

The advertising industry's next generation will look more like Bill Gates than Don Draper, the slick creative genius who leads the fictional ad agency in Mad Men. That's the view of Jason Goodman, co-founder of London agency Albion – and he's already fretting about how he's going to hire a new breed of creative geeks.

When Goodman heard Basem Nayfeh, an American technology and marketing entrepreneur, claim that "advertising is becoming an engineering discipline" it struck a chord. "The third person I ever hired was an advertising planner who had a double first in maths from Cambridge. Most ad guys are well presented, they know how to dress, they're a bit Don Draper-like. This guy was a mess. But he was in the business for four years and made an amazing contribution. Now I'm constantly look for people in his image."

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Immerse yourself

Immerse yourself

 

The Immersive Writing Lab looks to be a great event, featuring folks such as Julian McCrea and Marcus Brown:

It's an exciting time to be a writer. Not only are the audiences' attention changing around how you tell a story to them, you now have a much wider palette than ever before in which to draw them into the worlds you create; from new digital platforms (social networks, tablet computers) to reinventions of old forms (such as e-books).

This event is about helping you understand that wider palette to tell a story. They are two days of inspirational talks, demos which will help you develop stories that push the boundaries of what is possible for a protagonist, drama and audience involvement in the digital age. More importantly we hope it will help you connect with other writers and professionals who are also starting on this journey.

 

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Change: make

Change: make

 

BERG's Jack Schulze and Timo Arnall in Eye magazine, on how designers need to expand their horizons to meet new future challenges:

 

There have been some significant shifts in media, retail, advertising and technology, which have changed the way design works. Video design, graphics, software, typography and electronics are materials we use, rather than disciplines we are part of. We might feel at the centre of things, but we are not formally part of design.This domain is rough work, a hard choice, rife with arcane technical priesthoods and subject to the strategic and financial weather in global machines. We are not arguing for an end to traditional design craft, but for designers to have access to a broader palette of materials through literacy in business and software development.

(...)

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Million Robot March

 

 

We welcome our new robotic overlords. From Hizook:

 

Foxconn, a Taiwanese company with more than 1M Chinese laborers on the mainland, plans to deploy one million robots(!) over the next three years -- a 100-fold increase over current numbers. China already dominates in manufacturing; if they can capture the "new" flexible, light manufacturing space too, then the United States will be in dire straits (National Robotics Initiative or not). One commentor on HackerNews suggests that the robots will be ABB's Frida. Of course this needs more substantiation, but ABB isn't exactly a newcomer to industrial robotics; the Swiss company has been around for ages. Still, it would be mildly surprising if ABB wins out over all the competition (eg. Heartland Robotics) that are specifically trying to establish themselves as pioneers in "flexible, light manufacturing."

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Taking the first direct approach

Taking the first direct approach

 

Marketing Week:

 

First direct is to crowdsource future digital marketing innovations in a bid to offer customers a stake in the products and services they will use.

From today (1 August), the telephone and online bank will post developments on "first direct lab", an open forum that will allow customers to suggest changes to digital plans.

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Queensland, say YEAH!

Queensland, say YEAH!

 

Julian Assange talks to the festival-going masses at the Splendour in the Grass (That's the name?) festival in Queensland, Australia.

 

"This generation is burning the mass media to the ground," Assange said.

"We're reclaiming our rights to old history. We are reclaiming our rights to share ourselves and our time with each other."

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Have you ever jacked in?

An MTV piece about "a worldwide computer network called the Internet", featuring "truckstops called websites, and networked browser programs that make the whole thing idiot-proof and user-friendly."

 

 

 

Perhaps the one enduring prediction which has turned out to be correct is the first one, from Billy Corgan: something is wrong with music.

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How to turn invisible

Robert Hodgin, using Kinect and C++ framework Cinder:

 

 

More Kinect experiments at Robert's Vimeo channel.

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