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➕ Week 001: July 26, 2021

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“America Is a Myth”: A Conversation with Natalie Diaz

(Los Angeles Review of Books | Natasha Hakimi Zapata | July 2, 2021)

“Language for me is physical. It has a tangible energy that I was taught exists even when it leaves my body. However, I also feel it very much in my body — Mojaves, we talk with our hands; I’m an athlete still and I move around when I talk. There’s a way that poetry has never just been what arrives on the page or the page itself. Poetry for me has always been something about momentum, something that is very much out of time; basketball operates that way as well.”

Mystery Solved: How Plant Cells Know When to Stop Growing

(Wired | Katrina Miller | July 8, 2021)

“Identifying how cells assess their own size has been complicated, because most cellular proteins scale with the size of the cell itself. Sablowski compares the situation to trying to measure yourself with your own arm. ‘You can’t do it, because your arm grows in proportion to your body,’ he says. ‘You need an external reference to know how big you are.’ What doesn’t change as the cell grows, however, is its DNA. Scientists have long speculated that a cell could use its DNA as some kind of indicator to gauge its size, but Sablowski’s team is the first to show proof of this process.”

Scientists Observed a Brainless Blob Thinking and Making Decisions

(VICE | Becky Ferreira | July 15, 2021)

“‘[Physarum] doesn't have any neural systems inside of it; it's basically one gigantic cell that grows,’ said first author Nirosha Murugan, an assistant professor at Algoma University and a former member of the Allen Discovery Center, in a call. ‘People are using Physarum more in the world of cognition because you can read out its decision in its body,’ meaning that the organisms’ ‘thinking’ process is expressed by its body shape.”

The Computer Scientist Training AI to Think With Analogies

(Quanta Magazine | Gabriella Marks | July 14, 2021)

“You can show a deep neural network millions of pictures of bridges, for example, and it can probably recognize a new picture of a bridge over a river or something. But it can never abstract the notion of ‘bridge’ to, say, our concept of bridging the gender gap. These networks, it turns out, don’t learn how to abstract. There’s something missing. And people are only sort of grappling now with that.”