Do You See What I See (in this rock)?

Take a moment to look at this picture I took of a rock from this cliff face on the St. Croix River. When we gaze upon the natural beauty of our world, we often see more than is actually there. Concentrate your visual perception and focus on the image below. Allow your imagination to carve a path in new directions. I let my mind wander as it attended to this picture and discovered a number of fascinating images within this rock. I’ve listed a few of my findings in the polls below the picture. Cast your vote to see if other readers encountered the same pictures within the picture that you spy with (or without) your mind’s eye.

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The Pursuit of Self-Knowledge

He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.

These wise enlightened words come from the philosopher/author Lao Tzu (aka Laozi). I always strive to know myself, but I’m not sure if charging full steam ahead is the best path. Maybe it involves taking multiple paths, simultaneously, from different directions. I mean this figuratively, of course. As one moves through life, I believe a person should constantly consider perspectives from as many angles as possible. I assume that this awareness of the world, other than oneself, ties in directly with one’s self-knowledge and the ability of one’s senses to perceive. My experience as a being stems from my interaction with my environment, so understanding myself without considering these factors is impossible. Well, that’s how I see things from my perspective. In the pursuit of self-knowledge I face a dilemma: the truths which I experience can never fully be known to be true; thus, leaving me in a state of conditional cognition.

How do I know that what I know about myself is true?

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Rewinding, Resetting And Redefining Artificial Intelligence

A new MIT artificial intelligence project, the Mind Machine Project (MMP), recently began research that will “reconcile natural intelligence with machine intelligence, and in doing so develop and engineer a class of intelligent machines.” The researchers believe that many aspects of the foundations of AI have been rooted in mistakes made over the past generation of AI research. Therefore, they think that combining “current advances in each of these areas with insights from their roots, it will be possible to fulfill the early vision that lies at their intersection.” As part of the process they will reexamine assumptions about AI and attempt to unveil new answers to fundamental questions that fall within all aspects of AI study.

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Are Those Nipples? Oh, They’re Faces!

I overheard these words from a computer illiterate sexagenarian (someone 60-69 yrs old) as his daughter helped him sign up for a Facebook account and he viewed the homepage for the first time. Yep, you read that right.  He said, “Are those nipples? Oh, they’re faces!” I never ever considered that these little yellow icons could be nipples. Now, after hearing that question, I can never look at this page the same way. In addition to the ab-crunching, side-busting laughter I experienced, my mind underwent a perceptual scarring. Maybe I’ll forget about it some day, but I doubt it. How … Continue reading Are Those Nipples? Oh, They’re Faces!

Vote: What Do You See In These Optical Illusions?

We don’t always see the same thing, particularly when it comes to optical illusions. I’ve shared some classic illusions below and ask you to vote on what you saw first in each image. Honestly respond to the poll questions with your initial observation and then compare your results with other readers. Even if you’ve seen some of these on a prior occasion, just respond quickly without taking time to examine the pictures. See how your perceptions compare….

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Eat Kangaroo To Save The Planet?

Roo steaks, buck burgers, joey ribs, boomer brisket and jill flank…all in the interest of carbon credits? After the completion of a recent study, a new kangaroos-surprisedproposal from the Canberra consultancy Australian Wildlife Services suggests moving towards the consumption of kangaroos as opposed to the non-native cattle and sheep on the continent.

In the National Geographic story, the study’s lead author, George Wilson, explains that kangaroos emit much less methane than sheep and cattle, because of their unique gut microbes. This government study found that “each cow produces 1.84 metric tons of greenhouse gas equivalents a year, and each sheep gives off more than 300 pounds (140 kilograms). Kangaroos, meanwhile, emit less than seven pounds (three kilograms) of greenhouse gases.” Although this would save 16 million tons of greenhouse gases annually, it’s only 3 percent of Australia’s total emission. According to Wilson, this would be worth $650 million Australian ($570 US) based on the current European carbon prices.

The EPA found that ruminant livestock (e.g. cattle, sheep, buffalo and goats) produce 80 Million metric tons of methane per year, almost a third of global methane production related to human-based causes. Cattle account for 20% of US methane emission. So what’s EPA’s suggestion to address this potentially climate-changing methane: more efficient farming practices. Huh? How about eating less beef?

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