October 20, 2005

Does Everybody Like Trees by the Lake?

pixelfest.pngThe Man in Blue > Experiments > Pixelfest collaborative artwork (via Information Aesthetics) is a collaborative artwork where people change pixels one at a time in an image. Additions are made independently. Starting from a random state it has evolved into a recognizable picture with a sun, a tree and a lake not unlike a pre-school children's drawing.

It is interesting to compare this to Komar & Melamid's "The Most Wanted Paintings", where they used market research to find the most wanted elements of a picture. The similarity is striking - a lake landscape, a tree to the right. There is clearly some validity in their results, if PixelFest independently arrives at a similar picture. mostsm.jpg

While this could be explained through an evolutionary account for aesthetics (or the boring shared culture assumption) we seem to have surprisingly regular image themes. Jason Salavon has made pictures by averaging differently themed images. The results for weddings, little league, kids with santa and graduation pictures are telling, not to mention the fellatio pictures. The Playboy centerfolds are more varied.

A fun paper by Anjan Chatterjee Portrait Profiles and the Notion of Agency reviews how the tendency to draw the left or right side of the face is influenced by gender, social and personality characteristics, as well as historical period. He argues that right handed artists have a neuropsychological bias to view agents to the left of recipients of the actions. I was not fully convinced by the paper, but at least it explains why the sun (agent) is up to the left in the pixelfest image, and the tree to the right (recipient). Interpreting the fellatio image is trickier.

Posted by Anders3 at 03:41 PM | Comments (625)

October 12, 2005

CNE Health Blogs

I have forgotten to link to my regular CNE Health blogs for a while (not to mention blog at all).

Today's blog was about the risks of a flu pandemic. Mostly a push for the benefits of network analysis.

Mortality isnít What it Used to be deals with the rapid decreases in mortality and how that makes future demographics a bit more uncertain than most people think.

Magnetic Repulsion deals with the stupid implications of the new EU anti-EM radiation directive on MRI.

Cleaning Out Allergies discusses some recent support for the hygiene hypothesis of allergies.

The red thread is probably complexity: we cannot predict flu epidemics or future mortalities well, and both laws and being parasite-free have unintended consequences. The solution to meet all these problems is robust adaptiveness: no amount of brittle top-down central planning can handle them, but a diverse set of bottom-up solution and experimentation can.

Posted by Anders3 at 01:39 PM | Comments (605)