Paco González | Logs & Bits of daily life
Researchers have found that distraction is the antagonist of attention, not its opposite. It’s an interesting distinction. Distraction is the devil in your ear — not always the result of an attention deficit, but borne of our own desires. We are distracted because we want to be.

— This altogether pause-giving New York Times piece about what actually happens when we text and drive offers a poignant reminder that “attention is an intentional, unapologetic discriminator [which] asks what is relevant right now, and gears us up to notice only that.”  (via explore-blog)

…it might have been our gut bacteria that spurred us, back in our caveman days, to learn to get along with others. Look at it from the bacteria’s perspective: The better their human hosts became at socializing, the more likely it would be that they would prosper and multiply. And the more humans there were, the more real estate there was for the gut bacteria.

“It’s better for humans to be in social groups, but also better for bacteria,…”

John Cryan, a neuroscience professor at Ireland’s University College Cork.

More: When Yogurt Affects the Brain - The Atlantic

Lo que mira Mateo #mateoishere #hyperlapse

No creo que se deba defender la universidad pública tal y como la conocíamos, sino que se ha de concebir como un lugar donde se pueda producir un conocimiento surgido del común y que revierta en éste los beneficios que genere. La forma en que se produzca y distribuya esa riqueza será una cuestión política clave, así como también lo es la transformación radical de las relaciones de poder que sustentan las universidades.
La universidad pública es un caso curioso en el que coexisten dos sistemas: el neoliberalismo, por la medición de la producción del conocimiento con parámetros economicistas y el feudal, por las relaciones de poder entre los miembros de esta comunidad.
Twitter May Adopt A Facebook-Like Algorithmic Feed →
[Algorithms and heuristics] are very important in cybernetics, for in dealing with unthinkable systems it is normally impossible to give a full specification of a goal, and therefore impossible to prescribe an algorithm. But it is not usually too difficult to prescribe a class of goals, so that moving in some general description will leave you better off (by some definite criterion) than you were before. To think in terms of heuristics rather than algorithms is at once a way of coping with proliferating variety. Instead of trying to organize it in full detail, you organize it only somewhat; you then ride on the dynamics of the system in the direction you want to go.

These two techniques for organizing control in a system of proliferating variety are really rather dissimilar. The strange thing is that we tend to live our lives by heuristics, and to try and control them by algorithms. Our general endeavor is to survive, yet we specify in detail (‘catch the 8:45 train’, ‘ask for a raise’) how to get to this unspecified and unspecifiable goal. We certainly need these algorithms, in order to live coherently; but we also need heuristics — and we are rarely conscious of them. This is because our education is planned around detailed analysis: we do not (we learn) really understand things unless we can specify their infrastructure. The point came up before in the discussion of transfer functions, and now it comes up again in connection with goals. […] Birds evolved from reptiles, it seems. Did a representative body of lizards pass a resolution to learn to fly? If so, by what means could the lizards have organized their genetic variety to grow wings? One has only to say such things to recognize them as ridiculous — but the birds are flying this evening outside my window. This is because heuristics work while we are still sucking the pencil which would like to prescribe an algorithm.

Stafford Beer, “Brain of the Firm,” 1972. 

1972, folks. “This is because heuristics work while we are still sucking the pencil which would like to prescribe an algorithm.”

(via slavin)