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January 31, 2005

Blind painter

David Pescovitz: Esref Armagan is a Turkish painter who has been blind since birth. His paintings are amazingly realistic, incorporating color, perspective, and great detail. To determine how this may be possible, Harvard neurologists Alvaro Pascual-Leone Amir Amedi are scanning Armagan's brain. From New Scientist:
 Gallery Armagan Images Room1 Esref1Ba Pascual-Leone and Amedi want to see what Armagan's brain can tell them about neural plasticity. Both scientists have evidence that in the absence of vision, the "visual" cortex - the part of the brain that makes sense of the information coming from our eyes - does not lie idle. Pascual-Leone has found that proficient Braille readers recruit this area for touch. Amedi, along with Ehud Zohary at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, found that the area is also activated in verbal memory tasks.

When Amedi analysed the results, however, he found that Armagan's visual cortex lit up during the drawing task, but hardly at all for the verbal recall. Amedi was startled by this. "To get such extraordinary plasticity for [drawing] and zero for verbal memory and language - it was such a strong result," he says. He suspects that, to a certain extent, how the unused visual areas are deployed depends on who you are and what you need from your brain.

Even more intriguing was the way in which drawing activated Armagan's visual cortex. It is now well established that when sighted people try to imagine things - faces, scenes, colours, items they've just looked at - they engage the same parts of their visual cortex that they use to see, only to a much lesser degree. Creating these mental images is a lot like seeing, only less powerful. When Armagan imagined items he had touched, parts of his visual cortex, too, were mildly activated. But when he drew, his visual cortex lit up as though he was seeing. In fact, says Pascual-Leone, a naive viewer of his scan might assume Armagan really could see.

Posted by zefrank at 11:56 PM | Comments (2)

January 28, 2005

HOTEL - an interactive tale by Han Hoogerbrugge

Posted by zefrank at 12:39 PM | Comments (2)

January 22, 2005

yup - its late

new year's resolutions list

Posted by zefrank at 1:11 PM | Comments (5)

January 12, 2005

got film?

Have you or has someone you know made an interesting, funny, or weird movie using Flash? Flashforward is extending the Flash Film Festival nomination deadline an additional two weeks. The new deadline is now Monday, January 24th @ 5pm PST. www.flashforwardconference.com/nomination click here to nominate

Posted by zefrank at 10:36 AM | Comments (1)

January 8, 2005

free running


wow. just saw a documentary on this. parkour, or "free running" is a new sport that's spreading quickly through europe. much like freestyle skateboarding without a skateboard, parkour is about moving through your surroundings creatively. using nothing but a pair of running shoes these kids are remixing the way that they interact with the street, jumping over trashcans, balancing on walls - its pretty amazing to see.

Posted by zefrank at 11:48 AM | Comments (11)