Das „chronische déjà vu Syndrom“

Aus der Abteilung „Das kenn ich doch von irgendwo…“

(The Reporter – University of Leeds Newsletter) Many of us have experienced déjà vu – the unsettling sensation of knowing that a situation could not have been experienced, combined with the feeling that it has. It is usually so fleeting that psychologists have until recently thought it impossible to study. But for some people, the feeling of having been there before is a persistent sensation, making every day a ‘Groundhog Day’. Psychologists from Leeds’ memory group are working with sufferers of chronic déjà vu on the world’s first study of the condition.
Dr Chris Moulin first encountered chronic déjà vu sufferers at a memory clinic. “We had a peculiar referral from a man who said there was no point visiting the clinic because he’d already been there, although this would have been impossible.” The patient not only genuinely believed he had met Dr Moulin before, he gave specific details about the times and places of these ‘remembered’ meetings.
Déjà vu has developed to such an extent that he had stopped watching TV – even the news – because it seemed to be a repeat, and even believed he could hear the same bird singing the same song in the same tree every time he went out. Chronic déjà vu sufferers are not only overwhelmed by a sense of familiarity for new experiences, they can provide plausible and complex justifications to support this. “When this particular patient’s wife asked what was going to happen next on a TV programme he’d claimed to have already seen, he said ‘how should I know? I have a memory problem!’” Dr Moulin said.

Moulin führt übrigens auch einen Blog.

Dein Mediaplayer kennt Deine Stimmung

Nachdem die Computer demnächst unsere Stimmung „erfühlen“ können sollen, erstaunt mich die Meldung bei Futurezone nicht mehr allzu sehr, dass Disney das Konzept eines portablen Media Players, der die Stimmung seiner Trägerin erkennen und die Playlist entsprechend gestalten können soll, zum Patent angemeldet hat. Aus dem Antrag:

5. The system of claim 4 wherein said profile synchronizing means includes mood sensing means associated with said player for sensing the mood of the user of said player and conveying said sensed mood to the provider of said content.

HAL weiss, wie’s Dir geht

(Fraunhofer) Many computers are already able to see and hear. However, they have no way of telling whether their users are happy or angry. At CeBIT 2006, researchers will be presenting techniques that could one day enable the digital servant to respond to the mood of its human master. Several recent studies have found that computer users not only love and cherish their machines, but very often maltreat them. Experts have identified aggression towards the PC as a genuine problem that deserves greater attention in the academic field. The kicks and blows of frustrated users cause computer damage that cannot be dismissed as negligible, neither in terms of personal property nor on a commercial and economic level. If only for this reason, it would be good for computers to assess their users’ emotions correctly and respond accordingly.

„Flüssiges“ Holz aus Lignin plus (u.a.) Hanf

(Fraunhofer) Engineers at ICT spin-off TECNARO in Eisenach, Thuringia, extract the lignin and mix it with natural fibers such as sisal, hemp or linen, along with certain additives and dyes, according to the customer’s requirements. The mixture is extruded to produce a granulate, in a plant with a monthly output capacity of between five and ten metric tons. Arboform® can be processed in an injection-molding machine like any normal thermoplastic, and used to manufacture aesthetically pleasing products such as nativity figures, loudspeaker units, car instrument panels, chessmen for board games, or the stock of hunting rifles. The company even has a golf tee in its product range.

(Tecnaro) Mischt man Lignin mit Naturfasern (Flachs, Hanf oder anderen Faserpflanzen), so erhält man einen unter Temperaturerhöhung verarbeitungsfähigen Faserverbundwerkstoff, der auf herkömmlichen Kunststoffverarbeitungsmaschinen wie ein synthetisch hergestellter Thermoplast zu Formteilen, Tafeln oder Platten verarbeitet werden kann. So sind z. B. Computer-, Fernseh- oder Handygehäuse aus „Holz“ möglich. Die aus Naturstoffen hergestellten Granulate tragen den Namen ARBOFORM (Arbor, lateinisch = der Baum).

New Orleans: Schwarze machen doppelt Zweite

Die schwarze Bevölkerung von New Orelans litt nicht nur stärker an den Folgen von Katrina, sie trifft auch der Entscheid härter, überflutete Gebiete nicht wieder aufzubauen.

(Brown University) The images were accurate: The Gulf Coast’s poor, black residents were hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina, according to findings by a Brown University sociologist. Professor John Logan’s new research is the first of its kind from the disaster zone and raises provocative questions about the future population of New Orleans. (…) Blacks were less likely to be homeowners and had average incomes 60 percent lower than whites. This means that it will be more difficult for them to reestablish their lives in New Orleans without assistance. In addition, damaged neighborhoods housed just half of the city’s whites but more than 80 percent of its African-American population. Decisions to prevent rebuilding in heavily flooded areas will disproportionately affect blacks simply because of where they lived. (…)


(University of Calgary) It’s rare to use the words ‘hip hop’ and ‘serious academic research’ in the same sentence, but a University of Calgary linguistics professor has relied on rap music as source material for a study of African American vernacular English. Dr. Darin Howe (right) recently contributed a book chapter that focuses on how black Americans use the negative in informal speech, citing examples from hip hop artists such as Phonte, Jay Z and Method Man. Howe is believed to be the only academic in Canada and one of the few in the world to take a scholarly look at the language of hip hop. (…) For example, the book chapter quotes Tupac Shakur as saying, “It’s like can’t nobody never get confused and think I’m like Mike Tyson…;” in other words, no one could confuse Tupac with Mike Tyson. In another example, black English commonly substitutes the word ‘ain’t’ for ‘didn’t.’ So ‘I didn’t see him’ could become, ‘I aint see him.’ “However, black English speakers know that you should only do this for about half the time,” Howe says. “White hip hop artists try to imitate black speech, and for the most part they do a decent job, but when they don’t have the rules down it becomes noticeable.” One of the intriguing conclusions that Howe draws is that there is an accelerating divergence in the speech dialects of whites and blacks, a subject that surfaced in the late 1990s with the debate on Ebonics.

Neue Seen entdeckt unter dem antarktischen Eis

Bereits sind über 70 Seen bekannt unter der Eisdecke der Antarktis. Jetzt sind zwei weitere hinzugekommen. Ihre Entdecker nenne Sie „90ºE“ und „Sovetskaya“. Die beiden sind von einer über drei Kilometer dicken Eisschicht bedeckt. Vielleicht ist in diesen Seen ein während 10 bis 35 Millionen Jahren ungestörtes, extrem spezialisiertes Oekosystem erhalten geblieben? Wie, wann und ob überhaupt die Wissenschaft sich direkt Zugang zu diesen Seen verschaffen soll, ist Gegenstand einer laufenden internationalen Debatte.
(The Earth Institute at Columbia University) (…) This, along with the tectonic origin of the lakes, supports the idea that despite climate changes on the surface over the last 10 million to 35 million years, the volume of the lakes have remained remarkably constant, providing a stable, if inhospitable, environment that may harbor an ancient and alien ecosystem adapted to life beneath the ice sheet. However, just how, when or even whether scientists will risk the possibility of contaminating the lakes to confirm their suspicions remains the subject of an ongoing international debate.

Impfstoff gegen Vogelgrippevirus H5N1 für Hühner und Mäuse

(eurekalert) University of Pittsburgh researchers announced they have genetically engineered an avian flu vaccine from the critical components of the deadly H5N1 virus that completely protected mice and chickens from infection. Avian flu has devastated bird populations in Southeast Asia and Europe and so far has killed more than 80 people. Because this vaccine contains a live virus, it may be more immune-activating than avian flu vaccines prepared by traditional methods, say the researchers. Furthermore, because it is grown in cells, it can be produced much more quickly than traditional vaccines, making it an extremely attractive candidate for preventing the spread of the virus in domestic livestock populations and, potentially, in humans, according to the study, published in the Feb 15 issue of the Journal of Virology and made available early online. (…) Interestingly, all of the chickens that were immunized subcutaneously survived exposure to H5N1, developed strong HA-specific antibody responses and showed no clinical signs of disease. In contrast, half of the chickens immunized intranasally died and half survived. All of the chickens immunized with the empty vector (intranasally and subcutaneously) died within two days of H5N1 exposure. The researchers are still not yet sure why the subcutaneous delivery is more effective than the intranasal delivery of the vaccine, but they suggested it may be because the adenovirus vector they used has limited infectivity via the nose and respiratory tract.

Windenergieparks vs. Adlerbrutplätze in Norwegen

smolawindfarm(Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) Wind turbines have caused the deaths of huge birds of prey on isolated islands off the Norwegian coast. The discovery of four dead white-tailed eagles, and the failure of almost 30 others to return to nesting sites within the wind farm area, has increased fears that wind farms in Britain could take a similar toll on native and migrating wild birds. The white-tailed eagle, Europe’s largest eagle species, is found in significant numbers on Smøla, a set of islands about six miles (ten kilometres) off the north-west Norwegian coast. The island is listed by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area because it has one of the highest breeding densities of the bird in the world. White-tailed eagles are also beginning to thrive in the Western Isles of Scotland as a direct result of a 30-year reintroduction project. Developers regard this area as ripe for wind farm construction too.