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29 Jan 2007

Today's Order of the Stick: awesome.

I went to the Cog Sci colloqium today, Marlene Berhmann; pretty interesting stuff on the putative face recognition module in the brain.  That had already come under suspicion due to some result that people expert in birds or cars also processed those in the same region, suggesting it was a fine-detail area.  But she takes a different tack: it's really about integrating configural cues, how features relate to each other, with faces as among the highest-configural stimuli we see.  Children apparently don't show such a region until around age 11.  She also showed that people with congenital, as opposed to acquired prosapagnosia (where the facial fusiform area is usually knocked out) still have that area.  So what's different?  There's a new scanning technique which looks at anisotropic diffusion of water to show white matter fibers and tracts -- and there's a long tract from the front to back of the brain which is diminished or gone in the congenitals.  And which also shrinks with age.

Puccini's gorgonzola sauce: not liked as much as the bolognese.  But the waitress gave me my leftovers in a tinfoil swan.

Monday swing dancing fun.

I sorted my mass market paperback bookshelf, finally; now I can find things again!  And I even got Brust, Bujold, Hodgell, and Pratchett in the front -- I've got books behind books, so half them are annoying to get at, but those authors are accessible.  Sunshine is hiding in the back, though. :-(  I also seem to have verified the absence of Interesting Times, which makes me sad.

New CD listened to: Danu, the Road Less Traveled.  Liked.

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Damien Sullivan
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