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Monday, August 9 2010

Science of perception

I was listening to another fascinating interview of a scientist on the way home, this time about perception. It started with a quick discussion about senses but most of the interview was about time, how we all live in the past (because our brain has to wait for all the inputs to arrive before processing the stuff, all of 'em including what's coming from the toes) and whether time really does go at a slower pace in scary situations (which connects this with the previous interview ;). Turns out we only think we had a different experience of time when we really only have a different memory of it. See, in a scary situation, memory records many more bits and pieces of information. The brain doesn't process more, it's only that more of it is remembered. So after the fact, because you remember more details, it feels as if you were actually perceiving more and it feels like more time has passed than actually did.

Anyway, another very important part was when he talked about the importance of the integrity of your body (presumably especially but not only the brain) when it comes to your identity. They cite the famous case of Phineas Gage who lost a part of his brain in an accident and subsequently changed personality. Well, this reignited in me the question of where/what our consciousness really is. I'm inclined to believe (as Phineas Gage's example seems to confirm) that it exists strictly in our biology (maybe not just the brain,as is often assumed). But if it does, then it's born of chemical reactions or in other words is no much more than a glorified (and biological ;) machine. And that's where the trouble starts, as I also believe in free will. How to reconcile both? I know the question has been asked for ages and I'm not bringing anything new to the plate, but that's the point: it makes me feel like exploring this question a bit more. I have read GEB already but maybe you can recommend something else about this very topic?

Sorry if this post is not very clear, I had to write it quickly before forgetting about it but also before having enough time to do a good job of it.

If you'd like to listen to the interview (he's fortunately much more articulate than I am about his work), you can find it here: Dr. David Eagleman's interview.

Friday, July 30 2010


I've just seen advertised a photography workshop (25 days!) in Antarctica. And almost affordable (just a little bit more expensive than the 17 days workshop in Patagonia I've enrolled for). It's gonna be real tough resisting the urge...

Wednesday, July 28 2010

Science of pleasure

I was listening to a thought-provoking interview yesterday, about the science of pleasure. Why do we enjoy some things that at first don't look like they would be very enjoyable. According to the interviewee, we enjoy scary rides or movies and horrible, sometimes even a bit disgusting, stories because they're a way for us to practice what would be dangerous or traumatic experiences on a small scale in a safe environment. It would be a way for us to prepare for when these situations come true.

If you'd like to hear the whole interview, you can podcast it here : Science Friday - How Pleasure Works

Monday, July 26 2010


Those of you who know me, know I often prepare a lunchbox in a more-or-less Japanese style. Seems like you wonder what exactly I put in my bento box, so I've decided to try and document that a bit.

This first bento post will be a very simple and quickly put together one. I'll try and make better ones if there's any interest.

So, this is was tomorrow's lunch (I usually fill the box in the evening because I don't want to get up earlier to do it in the morning) looks like for me: 20100727.jpg

In the upper container is some rice with carrot leaves on the left and grated carrots and courgettes on the right. The lower container is filled with potato patties, sautée'd bell peppers, mushrooms and onions and finally a few cherry tomatoes (which should give you an idea of how big the box is, i.e. not very big).

That's it for today. Next time I'll give you a bit more info. Possibly some better pictures too.

Sunday, July 11 2010

Many fans

So many fans these days...

No, not fans of my work, I haven't got any of those, judging by the numerous emails and comments I don't get. The fans I'm talking about are the chinese-style folding kind one uses when the weather is hot. And while I do realise we're in the middle of another heat wave (how could I not realise it when I'm not comfortable when it's over 25C...), it's the first time I see so many people using those fans. Is it because I wasn't using the Parisian metro during past heat waves (I haven't spent so many summers here these past years)? Or maybe because I wasn't attentive enough? Or possibly I have simply forgotten... Or is it really a new trend this year? And if so, is that the sign of a new orientalist trend?

Could also be that the heat is messing up my mind...

Friday, June 18 2010


No news lately because I've been busy with work but I've just received my new toy: e-p1.jpg

And here are my first shots with it. Nothing fancy, I just wanted to test the ergonomics. And you know what, so far I'm pleased with it.

Wednesday, May 12 2010


33? Already? Apparently so, yes.

Monday, March 29 2010

Distributed work

Having been a member of the Free Software "world" for over ten years, I was very much aware of the possibility for people scattered all over the world to work together on a project. The Net being the great communication tool it is, a lot can be achieved by people who have never met in person. This works really well for software, which often doesn't require that people work together on something at the same time but it works in other fields too. I've heard of several such examples in the movie world, with amateurs making amazingly good productions, each working on a small piece of the project from the comfort of his or her own home. One could cite two shorts made using Blender, the 3d software package: Elephant's Dream and Big Buck Bunny. Or Star Wars: Revelations, a fan film whose special effects were made by artists from different countries. I had also heard of musicians working on a song, each recording his or her part separately in different locations (again, possibly even in different countries), the tracks being later mixed together to get a completed piece of music.

But this is the first time I've heard of choral music made this way. And the result ain't bad either. Sure, the Internet is not going to replace "real world" interactions and I'd much rather listen to a real choir performing live than this. But this sounds (bad pun intended) like a successful experiment to me. What do you think?

Thursday, March 25 2010

More vikings

A friend of mine, after he had seen my viking-inspired self-portrait, suggested I check the Minnesota Vikings team of American Football. As I was looking for pictures of supporters dressed up as vikings (didn't find many), I found out about their drum line, which they named Skol Line. One thing led to another and I stumbled upon this video of a drum line battle, some elements of which reminded me of one of my favourite bands: Kodo (a Japanese drum bands).

Once again, the Net has proven that everything is connected ;)

Sunday, March 14 2010


Welcome back to Japan. Today, we're gonna visit the Meiji shrine, a very large shrine in the middle of Tōkyō, dedicated to late emperor Meiji and his wife.


Continue reading...

Friday, March 12 2010

Round 1

If you know the French, you know how important politics are to us. Well, this week-end we'll have the first round of the regional elections and because I want to try and be a good citizen, yesterday evening I went through every platform. Here are a few interesting tidbits I've gathered from reading them.

Continue reading...

Wednesday, March 10 2010

Creative Commons

I've finally added a copyright notice (check out the footer), thereby making everything here available under the very liberal cc-by-sa (Attribution-Share Alike) license. It basically means you can do more or less whatever you like with the content here, as long as you mention my name (that's the "by"/"Attribution" part) and don't restrict others in their use of what you've made using my work (the "sa"/"Share Alike" part).

So, for example, you could create a composite picture using one (or several) of my photographs and a photograph of your own but if you distribute the result, it has to be under a license that will let others use it in a similar way.

Do note however that while it would be perfectly legal for you to use my photographs in a commercial work without asking for my permission first, you would probably need a signed model release to use any of my "people" shots. Do your homework before you get into trouble.

Oh and one last point: if you require higher resolution versions (and you probably do if you'd like to print them), I can provide them. But we'll have to talk about the licensing details for those.

Any question?

Edit: It goes without saying that while you're not required to inform me if you use my work, I would appreciate if you did.

Coming soon(ish)


Tuesday, March 9 2010

New photo album feature

I'm now trying a new photo album feature. I'm currently using it only on the latest photo post. You'll notice a new link ("see the gallery") is now displayed under the post on the main page and a few pictures from the album are visible inside the post itself. Clicking on any of those pictures will open the album and if you have not disabled javascript, you can look at them all in a slideshow-like window. I haven't activated the actual slideshow because I don't like automatic viewing, but if you'd like that, I can add it.

Anyway, please tell me how well it works for you.

Monday, March 8 2010


Next stop on our winter trip to Japan is Death Valley (Jigokudani) in the Nagano Prefecture. This set is without a doubt my most popular from that trip. You've already seen some of the best shots in an earlier post though.


Sunday, March 7 2010


Another day, another (much smaller) set of pictures from Japan. This time, it's a couple of night shots of the Yokohama International Passenger Terminal a.k.a. Ōsanbashi Pier.


Saturday, March 6 2010


You might remember I was in Japan around New Year 2009. Well, I've finally started to go through my shots from that trip and select and few keepers. Today, let me show you the Rainbow Bridge.


Saturday, February 20 2010


After Wednesday's shots from the Chinese New Year celebrations, here are some from the Carnival.


I tried and play with light a bit for these, using my external flash, but the results were not very convincing. Also, looking at the whole gallery it seems pretty obvious to me I should have taken tighter shots. I do know one of the most important things to do to improve photographs is to get closer, yet in the midst of all the animation, I seem to have forgotten that lesson. I'll try and do better next year.

Wednesday, February 17 2010

Chinese New Year

It was triple play last sunday in Paris, with Valentine's Day, Carnival and the Chinese New Year all celebrated on the same day. I haven't got anything to say or show about Valentine, but here are some pictures I managed to catch during the Chinese New Year celebrations in Belleville.

Chinese dragon

Thursday, February 11 2010

It sure ain't Apocalypse Snow, but that's a lot of white stuff nonetheless

We're not anywhere near the levels of snow they got on the East Coast of the US but it did snow over Paris once again this winter and it's the first time I see so much snow here. As usual, all that white called for a photography walk and this is what I saw in the nearby parc des Buttes Chaumont.

Snow in Parc des Buttes Chaumont

What does your neighbourhood look like?

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