Random Thoughts


Big data is the current trendy phrase that covers many different areas.  Big data describes equally well having a huge volume of data generated in a short period of time (like molecular simulations of DNA), having a huge volume of data that needs to be indexed and archived (like PubMed or Web of Science), or wanting to analyze different types of data that wasn’t collected for a given purpose (the CI-BER project uses a variety of data types collected over the years to study a neighborhood in Asheville, NC).

When the members of a choir sing their heart beats are synchronized, according to a study from the Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg.

The pulse of performing choir members tend to increase and decrease in unison. 

In the research project "Kroppens Partitur" (The Body's Musical Score), researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy are studying how music, in purely biological terms, affects our body and our health. The object is to find new forms where music may be used for medical purposes, primarily within rehabilitation and preventive care and the research group says they were able to show how the musical structure influences the heart rate of choir members.

Speaking With a Forked Tongue

My regular readers will likely have noticed that I thoroughly enjoy chasing down the truth behind things which are commonly accepted as facts.  I am fortunate to have the gift of being able to spot cracks in arguments as well as glaciers.

I am currently heavily engaged in a legal matter concerning a witness in court who, shall we say,  seems to have been somewhat uninterested in assisting the court in its determination of the true facts.

There is a phrase about not telling the truth, not now so common as when I was a child, but still in frequent use: "he speaks with a forked tongue".
Party Like It's 1776

"These colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states"
"And why do we measure areas with square centimeters ?"

"Because it would be much harder to fit in there round centimeters, silly!"

(From a conversation with my daughter)
University of New Mexico professor Geoffrey Miller is a social/evolutionary psychologist so it's no surprise he is clueless about people - like what it takes to have the willpower to get a Ph.D, beyond his own subjective opinion. And it's even less of a surprise he made an unscientific conjecture. He may have been surprised anyone noticed. If social and evolutionary psychologists aren't finding racism in office clutter or in eating meat or telling us we evolved to like a car grill they don't get much attention. Unless it matches a confirmation bias, no one believes that surveys of psychology undergraduates are meaningful, much less scientific, after all.
Architectural Folly And Trumpery

In 1984 Prince Charles provoked controversy when he called a proposed extension to London's National Gallery a "monstrous carbuncle".

What is good and what is bad about architecture?  Science and engineering can tell us how strong a building is, but not how beautiful or ugly.  Psychology might help, but should we have regard to science when we design a building ?

...  there is one prize that the profession does its best to avoid winning. The Carbuncle Cup, for the ugliest building of the year, was launched by Building Design magazine in 2006, "for crimes against architecture".
My readers may wonder what I have been doing.   The answer is I have been working on my thesis is the area of astrophysics.  With much help from my advisor Dr. Anuj P. Sarma I am finally finishing.