neurosciencestuff:

(Image caption: This image shows the brain’s default mode network, where memory and sensory information are stored. Credit: Marcus Raichle, Washington University)
What happens to your brain when your mind is at rest?
For many years, the focus of brain mapping was to examine changes in the brain that occur when people are attentively engaged in an activity. No one spent much time thinking about what happens to the brain when people are doing very little.
But Marcus Raichle, a professor of radiology, neurology, neurobiology and biomedical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, has done just that. In the 1990s, he and his colleagues made a pivotal discovery by revealing how a specific area of the brain responds to down time.
"A great deal of meaningful activity is occurring in the brain when a person is sitting back and doing nothing at all," says Raichle, who has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences in the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences. "It turns out that when your mind is at rest, dispersed brain areas are chattering away to one another."
The results of these discoveries now are integral to studies of brain function in health and disease worldwide. In fact, Raichle and his colleagues have found that these areas of rest in the brain—the ones that ultimately became the focus of their work—often are among the first affected by Alzheimer’s disease, a finding that ultimately could help in early detection of this disorder and a much greater understanding of the nature of the disease itself.
For his pioneering research, Raichle this year was among those chosen to receive the prestigious Kavli Prize, awarded by The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. It consists of a cash award of $1 million, which he will share with two other Kavli recipients in the field of neuroscience.
His discovery was a near accident, actually what he calls “pure serendipity.” Raichle, like others in the field at the time, was involved in brain imaging, looking for increases in brain activity associated with different tasks, for example language response.
In order to conduct such tests, scientists first needed to establish a baseline for comparison purposes which typically complements the task under study by including all aspects of the task, other than just the one of interest.
"For example, a control task for reading words aloud might be simply viewing them passively," he says.
In the Raichle laboratory, they routinely required subjects to look at a blank screen. When comparing this simple baseline to the task state, Raichle noticed something.
"We didn’t specify that you clear your mind, we just asked subjects to rest quietly and don’t fall asleep," he recalls. "I don’t remember the day I bothered to look at what was happening in the brain when subjects moved from this simple resting state to engagement in an attention demanding task that might be more involved than simply increases in brain activity associated with the task.
"When I did so, I observed that while brain activity in some parts of the brain increased as expected, there were other areas that actually decreased their activity as if they had been more active in the ‘resting state,"’ he adds. "Because these decreases in brain activity were so dramatic and unexpected, I got into the habit of looking for them in all of our experiments. Their consistency both in terms of where they occurred and the frequency of their occurrence—that is, almost always—really got my attention. I wasn’t sure what was going on at first but it was just too consistent to not be real."
These observations ultimately produced ground-breaking work that led to the concept of a default mode of brain function, including the discovery of a unique fronto-parietal network in the brain. It has come to be known as the default mode network, whose regions are more active when the brain is not actively engaged in a novel, attention-demanding task.
"Basically we described a core system of the brain never seen before," he says. "This core system within the brain’s two great hemispheres increasingly appears to be playing a central role in how the brain organizes its ongoing activities"
The discovery of the brain’s default mode caused Raichle and his colleagues to reconsider the idea that the brain uses more energy when engaged in an attention-demanding task. Measurements of brain metabolism with PET (positron emission tomography) and data culled from the literature led them to conclude that the brain is a very expensive organ, accounting for about 20 percent of the body’s energy consumption in an adult human, yet accounting for only 2 percent of the body weight.
"The changes in activity associated with the performance of virtually any type of task add little to the overall cost of brain function," he continues. "This has initiated a paradigm shift in brain research that has moved increasingly to studies of the brain’s intrinsic activity, that is, its default mode of functioning."
Raichle, whose work on the role of this intrinsic brain activity on facets of consciousness was supported by NSF, is also known for his research in developing and using imaging techniques, such as positron emission tomography, to identify specific areas of the brain involved in seeing, hearing, reading, memory and emotion.
In addition, his team studied chemical receptors in the brain, the physiology of major depression and anxiety, and has evaluated patients at risk for stroke. Currently, he is completing research studying what happens to the brain under anesthesia.
"The brain is capable of so many things, even when you are not conscious," Raichle says. "If you are unconscious, the organization of the brain is maintained, but it is not the same as being awake."

neurosciencestuff:

(Image caption: This image shows the brain’s default mode network, where memory and sensory information are stored. Credit: Marcus Raichle, Washington University)

What happens to your brain when your mind is at rest?

For many years, the focus of brain mapping was to examine changes in the brain that occur when people are attentively engaged in an activity. No one spent much time thinking about what happens to the brain when people are doing very little.

But Marcus Raichle, a professor of radiology, neurology, neurobiology and biomedical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, has done just that. In the 1990s, he and his colleagues made a pivotal discovery by revealing how a specific area of the brain responds to down time.

"A great deal of meaningful activity is occurring in the brain when a person is sitting back and doing nothing at all," says Raichle, who has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences in the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences. "It turns out that when your mind is at rest, dispersed brain areas are chattering away to one another."

The results of these discoveries now are integral to studies of brain function in health and disease worldwide. In fact, Raichle and his colleagues have found that these areas of rest in the brain—the ones that ultimately became the focus of their work—often are among the first affected by Alzheimer’s disease, a finding that ultimately could help in early detection of this disorder and a much greater understanding of the nature of the disease itself.

For his pioneering research, Raichle this year was among those chosen to receive the prestigious Kavli Prize, awarded by The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. It consists of a cash award of $1 million, which he will share with two other Kavli recipients in the field of neuroscience.

His discovery was a near accident, actually what he calls “pure serendipity.” Raichle, like others in the field at the time, was involved in brain imaging, looking for increases in brain activity associated with different tasks, for example language response.

In order to conduct such tests, scientists first needed to establish a baseline for comparison purposes which typically complements the task under study by including all aspects of the task, other than just the one of interest.

"For example, a control task for reading words aloud might be simply viewing them passively," he says.

In the Raichle laboratory, they routinely required subjects to look at a blank screen. When comparing this simple baseline to the task state, Raichle noticed something.

"We didn’t specify that you clear your mind, we just asked subjects to rest quietly and don’t fall asleep," he recalls. "I don’t remember the day I bothered to look at what was happening in the brain when subjects moved from this simple resting state to engagement in an attention demanding task that might be more involved than simply increases in brain activity associated with the task.

"When I did so, I observed that while brain activity in some parts of the brain increased as expected, there were other areas that actually decreased their activity as if they had been more active in the ‘resting state,"’ he adds. "Because these decreases in brain activity were so dramatic and unexpected, I got into the habit of looking for them in all of our experiments. Their consistency both in terms of where they occurred and the frequency of their occurrence—that is, almost always—really got my attention. I wasn’t sure what was going on at first but it was just too consistent to not be real."

These observations ultimately produced ground-breaking work that led to the concept of a default mode of brain function, including the discovery of a unique fronto-parietal network in the brain. It has come to be known as the default mode network, whose regions are more active when the brain is not actively engaged in a novel, attention-demanding task.

"Basically we described a core system of the brain never seen before," he says. "This core system within the brain’s two great hemispheres increasingly appears to be playing a central role in how the brain organizes its ongoing activities"

The discovery of the brain’s default mode caused Raichle and his colleagues to reconsider the idea that the brain uses more energy when engaged in an attention-demanding task. Measurements of brain metabolism with PET (positron emission tomography) and data culled from the literature led them to conclude that the brain is a very expensive organ, accounting for about 20 percent of the body’s energy consumption in an adult human, yet accounting for only 2 percent of the body weight.

"The changes in activity associated with the performance of virtually any type of task add little to the overall cost of brain function," he continues. "This has initiated a paradigm shift in brain research that has moved increasingly to studies of the brain’s intrinsic activity, that is, its default mode of functioning."

Raichle, whose work on the role of this intrinsic brain activity on facets of consciousness was supported by NSF, is also known for his research in developing and using imaging techniques, such as positron emission tomography, to identify specific areas of the brain involved in seeing, hearing, reading, memory and emotion.

In addition, his team studied chemical receptors in the brain, the physiology of major depression and anxiety, and has evaluated patients at risk for stroke. Currently, he is completing research studying what happens to the brain under anesthesia.

"The brain is capable of so many things, even when you are not conscious," Raichle says. "If you are unconscious, the organization of the brain is maintained, but it is not the same as being awake."

Read between the dots

Goya, “Que viene el Coco” (“Here comes the bogeyman”) (c. 1797)
A brief compendium of the world’s notable bugaboos. 

Goya, “Que viene el Coco” (“Here comes the bogeyman”) (c. 1797)

A brief compendium of the world’s notable bugaboos

Reading room: US DOD 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap—Global warming as destabilizing security threat.  Kind of the ultimate disaster response plan.

Reading room: US DOD 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap—Global warming as destabilizing security threat.  Kind of the ultimate disaster response plan.

Argentine comics adaptation of J. G. Ballard’s Crash by Sanyú (1991), at Ballardian.  From Fierro, the Argentine answer to Metal Hurlant & Heavy Metal.

Argentine comics adaptation of J. G. Ballard’s Crash by Sanyú (1991), at Ballardian.  From Fierro, the Argentine answer to Metal Hurlant & Heavy Metal.

Paralelos?

bloombergphotos:

Saturday in Hong Kong                                      

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying set a Monday deadline for opening access to government offices barricaded this week by pro-democracy protesters, raising the possibility of further clashes. 

In an address aired on local television Saturday evening, Leung said the government and police had the “responsibility and determination to take any necessary action” to restore order. 

Student protesters seeking direct elections free from limits set by China’s central government have obstructed roads for more than a week, paralyzing much of central Hong Kong and forcing schools, stores and government offices to close. Attempts to disperse crowds on Sept. 28 with tear gas and pepper spray spurred support for the protesters, who saw their ranks swell to 200,000 by one student leader’s estimate. 

Talks agreed to by both sides on Oct. 2 were shelved by the students yesterday after protesters in Hong Kong’s Mong Kok district were attacked by hundreds of men opposing the demonstrations. Police arrested 20 people, including eight with suspected ties to the city’s triad gangs. 

Photographers: Tomohiro Ohsumi, Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg

© 2014 Bloomberg Finance LP

magictransistor:

Donald Buchla: Buchla Electronic Musical Instruments.

MARFA SECTOR

Surveilling border surveillance on Street View.

Tethered Aerostat Radar System.

Reading behind the headlines about Burger King inversions, Irish Apples, and Dutch Starbucks: the globalization of capital and the decoupling of finance from the material world leads to transnational jurisdiction-shopping tax optimization that seriously threatens the basic business model of the contemporary nation state.

NY Times:  Tax Tactics Threaten Public Funds
When the European Commission charged this week that Ireland’s sweetheart tax treatment of Apple amounted to an illegal corporate subsidy, the company said that it had done nothing wrong. Apple executives might have added that whatever they did, they were not alone.
Corporate tax strategies intended to minimize global taxes, by hook or by crook, are by now standard practice. Google and Facebook move money through Ireland to lower their taxes. Starbucks uses the Netherlands, a practice that is under review by Europe as well.
“The commission picked up a case which is quite common in terms of tax planning,” said Pascal Saint-Amans, who runs the Center for Tax Policy and Administration at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the policy advisory organization of the world’s advanced nations.
The question is whether this sort of strategy — as common to multinational companies as filing a tax return every year — can truly be stopped. What hangs in the balance is whether governments can continue to tax corporations beyond the barest minimum. Or whether globalization will make such taxation all but impossible.
“A combination of greater economic integration and more income accruing to intangibles like intellectual property, which by nature are hard to locate, does raise profound questions for the future of taxation,” said Lawrence H. Summers, Treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton and President Obama’s first chief economic policy adviser. “It is a significant problem for the revenue capacity of states and an immense problem for their capacity to maintain progressive taxation.”
If corporations can continue to evade taxation — using strategies like sham transactions between phantom subsidiaries to shift profits to the lowest tax jurisdictions and costs to where taxes are highest — the burden of public finance will land almost entirely on the shoulders of ordinary workers, the only link in the economic chain that can’t move…

Reading behind the headlines about Burger King inversions, Irish Apples, and Dutch Starbucks: the globalization of capital and the decoupling of finance from the material world leads to transnational jurisdiction-shopping tax optimization that seriously threatens the basic business model of the contemporary nation state.

NY Times:  Tax Tactics Threaten Public Funds

When the European Commission charged this week that Ireland’s sweetheart tax treatment of Apple amounted to an illegal corporate subsidy, the company said that it had done nothing wrong. Apple executives might have added that whatever they did, they were not alone.

Corporate tax strategies intended to minimize global taxes, by hook or by crook, are by now standard practice. Google and Facebook move money through Ireland to lower their taxes. Starbucks uses the Netherlands, a practice that is under review by Europe as well.

“The commission picked up a case which is quite common in terms of tax planning,” said Pascal Saint-Amans, who runs the Center for Tax Policy and Administration at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the policy advisory organization of the world’s advanced nations.

The question is whether this sort of strategy — as common to multinational companies as filing a tax return every year — can truly be stopped. What hangs in the balance is whether governments can continue to tax corporations beyond the barest minimum. Or whether globalization will make such taxation all but impossible.

“A combination of greater economic integration and more income accruing to intangibles like intellectual property, which by nature are hard to locate, does raise profound questions for the future of taxation,” said Lawrence H. Summers, Treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton and President Obama’s first chief economic policy adviser. “It is a significant problem for the revenue capacity of states and an immense problem for their capacity to maintain progressive taxation.”

If corporations can continue to evade taxation — using strategies like sham transactions between phantom subsidiaries to shift profits to the lowest tax jurisdictions and costs to where taxes are highest — the burden of public finance will land almost entirely on the shoulders of ordinary workers, the only link in the economic chain that can’t move…

sciencefictiongallery:

Alan Bean - The hammer and the feather, 1987.

sciencefictiongallery:

Alan Bean - The hammer and the feather, 1987.

5centsapound:

Subotzky’s book on Pointe City is finally being released tomorrow! I deeply respect and admire their careful, compassionate and deeply conscious relationship to the communities they work with, and their approach to photography as a whole. Hear Subotzky speak through poetry and empathy on his work at a TEDx talk here.

Mikhael Subotzky & Patrick Waterhouse: Pointe City, Johannesberg South Africa.

Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse spent much of the years 2008, 2009 and 2010 engaged in the quixotic task of taking a photograph out of every window, of every internal door, and of every television-set in Ponte City. This circular 54-story building has been the subject of their three-year investigation of its structure and its position as the crucible of Johannesburg´s urban mythology.

Pointe City Background (from Artist’s Website):

The fifty-four-storey Ponte City building dominates Johannesburg’s skyline, its huge blinking advertising crown visible from Soweto in the south to Sandton in the north. When it was built in 1976 – the year of the Soweto uprisings – the surrounding flatlands of Berea, Hillbrow and Yeoville were exclusively white, and home to young middle-class couples, students and Jewish grandmothers. Ponte City was separated by apartheid urban planning from the unforgettable events of that year. But as the city changed in anticipation and response to the arrival of democracy in 1994, many residents joined the exodus towards the supposed safety of the northern suburbs, the vacated areas becoming associated with crime, urban decay and, most of all, the influx of foreign nationals from neighbouring African countries.

Ponte’s iconic structure soon became a symbol of the downturn in central Johannesburg. The reality of the building and its many fictions have always integrated seamlessly into a patchwork of myths and projections that reveals as much about the psyche of the city as it does about the building itself. Tales of brazen crack and prostitution rings operating from its car parks, four storeys of trash accumulating in its open core, snakes, ghosts and frequent suicides have all added to the building’s legend. Some of these stories are actually true, and for quite some time most of the residents were indeed illegal immigrants. And yet, one is left with the feeling that even the building’s notoriety is somewhat exaggerated – that its decline is just as fictional as its initial utopian intentions were misplaced and unrealized. 

>continue reading overview

Also see Subotzky’sother projects here, and here

magictransistor:

Asa Smith. Celestial Illustrations from Smith’s Illustrated Astronomy. 1851.

Contd. from here