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The Sunday Diigo Links Post (weekly)

  • Time perception depends…
    …people accurately judge whether a dot appears on the screen for shorter, longer or the same amount of time as another dot. However, when the dot increases in size so as to appear to be moving toward the individual — i.e. the dot is “looming” — something strange happens. People overestimate the time that the dot lasted on the screen. This overestimation does not happen when the dot seems to move away. Thus, the overestimation is not simply a function of motion. Van Wassenhove and colleagues conducted this experiment during functional magnetic resonance imaging, which enabled them to examine how the brain reacted differently to looming and receding.

    The brain imaging data revealed two main findings. [read on]

    tags: scientific_american time perception brain martin_p_paulus

  • Brilliant analysis of class in America today, using Paul Fussell’s 1980s work as springboard, and touching on Maslow, Bill Bishop, and Richard Florida along the way.
    It’s not just that Romantic Selfhood—Walter Pater’s notion of burning with a “hard, gemlike flame,” which is the true emotional underpinning of bohemia—has become commodified. Fairly harmless is the $4 venti soy latte purchased amid Starbucks’s track lighting, Nina Simone crooning, and a story about Costa Rican beans that have sailed around the world just to see YOU! It’s that Selfhood has its own berth now in the psychiatrist Abraham Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs,” a generational shift presaged by American sociologists who, as early as the 1970s, posited that, while hungry people are concerned about survival, those who grow up in abundance will hunger for self-expression. In the relatively affluent post–Cold War era, the search for self-expression has evolved into a desire to not have that self-expression challenged, which in turn necessitates living among people who think and feel just as you do. It’s why so many bohemians flee gritty Los Angeles for verdant Portland, where left-leaning citizens pride themselves on their uniform, monotonously progressive culture—the Zipcars, the organic gardens, the funky graphic-novel stores, and the thriving alternative-music scene. (In the meantime, I’ve also noticed that Portland is much whiter than Los Angeles, disconcertingly white.)

    tags: class_distinctions paul_fussell richard_florida bill_bishop sandra_tsing_loh atlantic_monthly lifestyle

  • Weird, or just common sense (to create pocket parks, etc.)?
    “Urban acupuncture is a surgical and selective intervention into the urban environment,” said Los Angeles architect and professor John Southern in an interview, “instead of large scale projects that involve not only thousands of acres, but investment and infrastructure that municipalities can no longer provide.”
    Compare this to other reports on Tokyo’s stalled development climate, where sites are turned into surface parking lots (awful, malignant) instead of parks.

    tags: psfk acupuncture cities urban_energy urban_amenities urban_design

  • Good for British Columbia and Gov2.0 initiatives.
    “BC’s open data license allows entrepreneurial use,” tweeted Bowen Moran (@bxmx) in response to a question about the open government initiative. Bowen works on the B.C. public engagement team. “Part of the story there is how it’s different from the UK license,” Moran continued in a series of tweets. “BC’s privacy protections are more robust than the UK’s, so the links to the Act are more clearly defined … the direct emphasis on combining it with other information or by including it in your own product or application is an explicit (and thus very open) invitation to entrepreneurs to build on what we have here. Open government is more than just data being available — it’s about an entirely open approach to working with citizens. That’s the license’s spirit.”

    tags: government british_columbia opendata gov2.0 public_participation public_policy transparency

  • Wouldn’t mind going to this…
    Creative problem-solvers and innovators will be gathering at the Design Thinking unConference (DTUC) on August 19-20 at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design on Granville Island.

    tags: ecuad design_thinking vancouver conference

  • Lots of good sense in this article. I can think of a few NIMBYs who’d benefit from its insights…
    When it comes to land use, local city councils can’t suspend the laws of economics any more than they can suspend the laws of physics. …opponents of density have acted as if the Seattle City Council might suddenly lose its mind and increase zoning from the square’s current squat 40-foot buildings to mile-high sky scrapers. Local land use politics being what they are, that’s not going to happen. But even if it did, the developers would only build what they thought they could sell. (…)
    But what the Seattle City Council can do is allow developers to act in the interest of profit. Private profit isn’t a bad thing, but our process often behaves as if it is. Listening to local elected officials talk with derision about “private property interests” ruining our city would be laughable if it wasn’t such a serious and almost deliberate misreading of basic economics. When private interests are profitable, jobs are created. That’s equally true for small companies stamping out widgets or developers who create housing. When developers create successful and profitable projects, people are put to work, new tax revenue is generated, and our plans to sustainably support growth can succeed.

    tags: crosscut roger_valdez seattle zoning land_use urban_development

  • Couldn’t agree more with Aaron Swartz and fellow activists:
    “We need to download scientific journals and upload them to file-sharing networks,” wrote Swartz.
    Maxwell says he released the papers for similar reasons. He says the papers come from the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society and were published before 1923, which means they’re in the public domain (his claim has not been independently verified). “This knowledge belongs to the public,” he argues. For the sake of scientific progress, Maxwell says, such databases shouldn’t keep research under lock and key at all, let alone beyond their copyright expiration, as is the current practice. “Progress comes from making connections between others’ discoveries, from extending them, and then from telling people,” he says.

    tags: mit_techreview commons creative_commons copyfight patents aaron_swartz harvard research

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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