Technology & Web

Computer that can read your mind, scary


Using brain scans and specific words, boffins have trained a computer to read people’s minds: “F***… IT… Department!”

Tom Mitchell of the Machine Learning Department at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, who helped lead the study said that the work should help researchers discover how and where the brain stores information.

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Death in Tivoli Gardens

Photography by Peter Dean Rickards

The pictures don’t say enough, there is blood splattered on the walls, there are holes through the windows and marrow on the floor, they are gruesome, but they are not enough. It is the smell that lingers, that which struck us most upon entering that house, that smell, like meat left for weeks in an unplugged freezer, these were human remains, it is the unmistakable stench of death.

It is oddly quiet in the community, despite the bustling traffic on its exterior, unsupervised children play games on the concrete and I wonder for a moment if this is the right place, then we draw closer. There are easily more than one hundred tiny bullet holes in the tin window on the top floor, but from a distance, on the outside the house looks like any other on its scheme, a two-storey wedged in between other two-stories. Inside it is a slaughterhouse, like something out of a movie I had never wanted to see, and I feel the temperature fall as I step inside out of the stifling Tivoli heat. Complete and total disarray, like a storm had blown through.

Sunday dinner remains seasoned and uncooked on the kitchen sink, and the flies watch as their larvae wriggle to life. There are pictures strewn all over the upstairs floor not far from the front page of The Outlook; even the dresser, the bedroom closet, a Styrofoam box has bullet holes, life has been interrupted here. The bloody, bullet-holed pillow sitting on top of what I assume had once been used as a dining table screams that this was no small effort – had they stripped him here, the one whose blooded, tattered jeans remain?

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Music, Video & Entertainment

Thursday Night at the Fights!

Photography by Peter Dean Rickards

On a Thursday Night in the middle of the concrete jungle, the Lions come out to play. Already notorious for its garrison politics, this particular downtown community cements its reputation by adding brute sport to its list of attributes. Unyielding to outside authority, its proud residents are often misunderstood by outsiders who fear what they don’t understand. As a population detached and growing larger each week the anticipation is thick in the air as we witness an incredibly entertaining release.

The crowd that surrounds is jovial, boisterous and dense and since we’re late it takes great effort to penetrate this barrier. It’s a privilege to stand close; everybody wants to see what’s going on. It’s ‘Thursday Night at the Fights’- street brawling in its most organized form; a makeshift ring constructed of two ropes held in place by feeble pieces of wood, lodged not too securely in the ground and a couple of nearby lampposts.

There’s no pretense here. No one bothers about things as trivial as mouthguards or doctors or even a bell. Many are dressed in rags and bear a slight resemblance to guttersnipes. To others, these are the dregs of society. Anyone brave enough (or drunk enough) to step inside must be prepared to take a beating; the crowd doesn’t react well to boring fights. So when two boys calling themselves ‘Tall Man’ and ‘Tupac’, (neither looking a day over twelve) knock fists to start their fight, little Tupac stares up at the other with a lust for blood in his eyes.

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Literature & Stories

The Wayward Sister

wayward1.jpgIt was the wind that woke her, bringing a cloud of dirt and the revolting odour she now realised had come from her own putrid limbs. She had absolutely no recollection of who she had been before now. She felt nothing but the emptiness in her stomach and a sensation of having lost more than she could remember.

Years ago she had deluded herself into believing she had once been a woman of great stature, great worth; a side-effect of the struggle, a pretty veil for all that was currently visible to her…the remains of a body that biology had once doomed feminine, and a empty crack-pipe which reminded her that she now had work to do.

It is early yet. Just enough time to grab a quick wash in the gully down below. Funny, her filth never seemed to bother her clientele, themselves not much cleaner. She is optimistic afterward, the evening cool. She stretches her arms and inhales the smog, and it does not bother her, lungs already polluted by her habits. She lights a cigarette and searches for the spot she’ll claim her own tonight.

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