Friday Link Roundup 08April2022

The mushrooms are talking to each other!

“Mathematical analysis of the electrical signals fungi seemingly send to one another has identified patterns that bear a striking structural similarity to human speech.

“Previous research has suggested that fungi conduct electrical impulses through long, underground filamentous structures called hyphae – similar to how nerve cells transmit information in humans.

“It has even shown that the firing rate of these impulses increases when the hyphae of wood-digesting fungi come into contact with wooden blocks, raising the possibility that fungi use this electrical “language” to share information about food or injury with distant parts of themselves, or with hyphae-connected partners such as trees.”

Which reminds me, I need to pick up a copy of Finding the Mother Tree by Susan Simard. (“…forest ecologies are interdependent with fungal mycelium. She asserts that trees (and other plants) exchange sugars through their respective root systems and through interconnected fungal mycelial structures to share (and at times trade) micronutrients.”)

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Here’s a pretty cool project at UNC libraries – On the Books: Jim Crow and the Algorithms of Resistance.

“The same algorithm can be used for oppression or resistance. How we design and use algorithms, and how they impact those vulnerable to discriminatory policies, determines whether they enact oppression or resistance. The question remains, as Costanza-Chock writes, ‘What will it take for us to transform the ways that we design technologies (sociotechnical systems) of all kinds, including digital interfaces, applications, platforms, algorithms, hardware, and infrastructure, to help us advance toward liberation?'”

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Wonderful collection of Richard Powers SF cover art. I grew up haunting used book shops, and these covers definitely take me back to a time when I was filled with a wide-eyed sense of wonder.

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Here’s a for-real Abderite joke from The Laughter Lover. (“Philogelos (The Laughter Lover) is a collection of some 265 jokes, likely made in the fourth or fifth century CE.”)

An Abderite saw a eunuch talking with a woman and asked him if she was his wife. When he replied that eunuchs can’t have wives, the Abderite asked: “So is she your daughter?”

Haha, Abderites are dumb. Except for Democritus, the laughing philosopher.

“The reports indicate that Democritus was committed to a kind of enlightened hedonism, in which the good was held to be an internal state of mind rather than something external to it. The good is given many names, amongst them euthymia or cheerfulness, as well as privative terms, e.g. for the absence of fear. Some fragments suggest that moderation and mindfulness in one’s pursuit of pleasures is beneficial; others focus on the need to free oneself from dependence on fortune by moderating desire. Several passages focus on the human ability to act on nature by means of teaching and art, and on a notion of balance and moderation that suggests that ethics is conceived as an art of caring for the soul analogous to medicine’s care for the body (Vlastos 1975, pp. 386–94). Others discuss political community, suggesting that there is a natural tendency to form communities.”

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45 years ago today The Clash released their first album.

The Clash is the self-titled debut studio album by English punk rock band the Clash. It was released on 8 April 1977 through CBS Records. Written and recorded over three weeks in February 1977 for £4,000, it would go on to reach No. 12 on the UK charts, and has been included on many retrospective rankings as one of the greatest punk albums of all time.”

(100 Days of Blogging: Post 068 of 100)

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