Oct 302012

By Wen Wu, Antonio M. Moreno,  Jason M. Tangen and Judith Reinhard (Journal of Comparative Physiology)  Honeybees (Apis mellifera) have remarkable visual learning and discrimination abilities that extend beyond learning simple colours, shapes or patterns. They can discriminate landscape scenes, types of flowers, and even human faces. This suggests that in spite of their small brain, honeybees have a highly developed capacity for processing complex visual information, comparable in many respects to vertebrates.

Here, we investigated whether this capacity extends to complex images that humans distinguish on the basis of artistic style: Impressionist paintings by Monet and Cubist paintings by Picasso. We show that honeybees learned to simultaneously discriminate between five different Monet and Picasso paintings, and that they do not rely on luminance, colour, or spatial frequency information for discrimination. When presented with novel paintings of the same style, the bees even demonstrated some ability to generalize.

This suggests that honeybees are able to discriminate Monet paintings from Picasso ones by extracting and learning the characteristic visual information inherent in each painting style. Our study further suggests that discrimination of artistic styles is not a higher cognitive function that is unique to humans, but simply due to the capacity of animals—from insects to humans—to extract and categorize the visual characteristics of complex images.

The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00359-012-0767-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

via Honeybees can discriminate between Monet and Picasso paintings.

 October 30, 2012  Posted by at 7:05 am Comments Off
Apr 042012

By Buzz Poole (Imprint) Between Page and Screen, a ground-breaking collaboration between poet and book artist Amaranth Borsuk and programmer Brad Bouse, is truly a first: a book that only can be read when simultaneously using a codex book and a computer’s webcam. When placed in front of a webcam, the black shapes printed on the pages, sans words, trigger animated text on the screen, revealing a correspondence between characters P and S.

As e-readers continue to gain market share within the publishing industry and the “future of the book” remains a much bandied about phrase amongst publishers, writers, agents, booksellers, and readers, Between Page and Screen has embraced the what-ifs and used them to achieve their true potential, an astoundingly realized book that shuns either/or designations. It champions both the book’s esteemed history by valuing ink printed on the page and also celebrates the potential of digital technologies that are resulting in all of us, no matter our preferences, having to change how we read.

via Between Page and Screen — Imprint-The Online Community for Graphic Designers.

 April 4, 2012  Posted by at 1:04 pm Comments Off
Nov 032011

BERLIN (AFP) – A cleaning woman at a German museum who mistook a sculpture for an unsightly mess has destroyed the valuable artwork beyond recognition, a spokeswoman for the western city of Dortmund said Thursday.

The cleaner at the city’s Ostwall Museum went to work on the Martin Kippenberger installation titled When It Starts Dripping From the Ceiling, which was valued by insurers at 800,000 euros ($1.1 million), she said.

The late contemporary master had created a tower of wooden slats under which a rubber trough was placed with a thin beige layer of paint representing dried rain water.

Taking it for an actual stain, the cleaner scrubbed the surface until it gleamed.

“It is now impossible to return it to its original state,” the spokeswoman said, adding that the damage had been discovered late last month and that the work had been on loan to the museum from a private collector.

via $1.1M German museum piece falls victim to cleaning lady.

 November 3, 2011  Posted by at 3:45 pm Comments Off
Apr 182011

(Wikipedia) Ruhnama (The Book of the Soul), is a book written by Saparmurat Niyazov, late President for Life of Turkmenistan, combining spiritual/moral guidance, autobiography and revisionist history, much of it of dubious or disputed factuality and accuracy. The text includes many stories and poems, including those by Sufi poet Magtymguly Pyragy. It was intended as the “spiritual guidance of the nation” and the basis of the nation’s arts and literature, by creating a positive image of the Turkmen people, a heroic interpretation of its history, the review of Turkmen customs and the definition of “moral, family, social and religious norms for modern Turkmens”.

The Ruhnama was introduced to Turkmen culture in a gradual but eventually pervasive way. Niyazov first placed copies in the nation’s schools and libraries but eventually went as far as to make an exam on its teachings an element of the driving test. It was mandatory to read Ruhnama in schools, universities and governmental organizations. New governmental employees were tested on the book at job interviews.

In March 2006, Niyazov was recorded as saying that he had interceded with God to ensure that any student who read the book three times would automatically get into heaven. After the death of Niyazov, it didn’t lose its popularity. In December 2009, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov still strongly recommended the government to use Ruhnama as an instrument of youth education.

Knowledge of the Ruhnama is compulsory, imposed on religious communities and society generally. The work is the main component of education from primary school to university. Knowledge of the text (up to the ability to recite passages from it exactly) is required for passing education exams, holding any state employment and to qualify for a driving license. Official ceremonies have featured hundreds of singing Turkmens holding and performing choreography with the book.

Public criticism of or even insufficient reverence to the text was seen as the equivalent to showing disrespect to the former President himself, and harshly punished by dispossession, imprisonment or torture of the offender or the offender’s whole family if the violation were grave enough. Since the passing of Niyazov, punishment for disrespect of the book is in a questionable status.

There is an enormous mechanical statue of the book in Ashgabat, the country’s capital. Each evening at 8:00 pm, the cover opens and a recording of a passage from the book is played with accompanying video.


The enormous talking book sculpture of the Ruhanama


via Enormous copy of the Ruhnama in Independence park | Ashgabat | Turkmenistan.

 April 18, 2011  Posted by at 11:35 am Comments Off