Filtered for minimal art and mind hacks

10.45, Thursday 27 Nov 2014


This technique of video magnification is stuck in my head a bit. Amplify colour to see heart beat. Amplify movement to see breathing or instability in a mechanical device.

I dunno, I dunno. I’m not sure why I keep thinking about this. What else can it be used for? My imagination goes to Ekman’s microexpressions, in 1969 he theorized that facial muscles that expressed seven human emotions also created ‘microexpressions’ that could reveal concealment, despite the fact that these microexpressions last just 0.04 second.

Most people pick these up intuitively. But could you pipe the video of people’s faces through facial recognition software, and magnify deviations from the norm in realtime, and use that to exagerate the face? Augmented reality glasses as a prosthetic for people with low EQ? Is insensitivity to the feelings of others a pathology? This opens a can of worms. The only proper vehicle to explore this is science fiction.


Look, if you’re not playing Crossy Road on your iPhone already, you should be. Infinite road-crossing tap-tap game.

When I was a kid, I used to love playing Frogger on whatever home computer I had at the time, I forget which.

One day my little sister took the joystick and just jammed it forwards. No hopping right or left, no pausing for a gap in the traffic or for the log to drift. Just FORWARDS. And of course her little frog went right through the traffic right across the river and right into its home at the top of the screen.

Which ruined Frogger for me. Because then I would start the game and jam the joystick forwards, to see if I could make my frog to do too. Which it wouldn’t, it was a fluke, it would die. But I would try, again and again and again.

Crossy Road is great, play Crossy Road. I’m genmon on Game Center.


I’ve been enjoying @rarabro on Instagram and her minimal photographs with vivid backgrounds. Beautiful colours!

In the comments of this seagull over a blue/purple gradient, @rarabro explains her method… which apps she uses and what she looks for. Interesting! Something to copy.


A quick shout out to the Mind Hacks blog… Mind Hacks was a book I wrote with Tom Stafford back in 2004. Since then, the blog has taken a life of its own.

Vaughan Bell was a lead contributor to the book, but has become the powerhouse of the blog. Between Vaughan and Tom, they’ve written 2.2 million words and just celebrated the blog’s 10th birthday. On its most popular day, the blog had 100,000 unique readers – two times the sales of the book ever, in a single day.

Last week, Vaughan and Tom received the British Pyschological Society’s Public Engagement and Media Award, the first time a blog has won this.

I’m in awe of what they’ve achieved.

Last week I went to Mind Hacks - Live! that the guys put together to celebrate the blog’s birthday. I think my highlight was Vaughan’s and Neuroskeptic’s live dramatic reading of the love scene from Susan Greenfield’s 2121 which is - as Vaughan described it - a dark future where there is too much internet.

You should follow Vaughan on Twitter.

More posts tagged: