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Bizzare & Odd

Artist’s Work Goes Viral After Censorship Of His Psychedelic Sex Art

By  Amanda Froelich Truth Theory

I am, you are, we are, one. That is a truth of the universe, and it becomes quite clear as one experiments with psychedelics — or, spends long amounts of time in silent meditation.

Everything from LSD to peyote to marijuana to Ayahuasca can be considered a psychedelic. As the Drug Policy Alliance explains, these substances have been used for thousands of years. Most often, they play a role in religious and therapeutic purposes.

The idea that certain plants and fungi can contribute to cohesion within the mind, body, and spirit and, as a result, produce healing effects is an unpopular one. This is because, the modern world takes a rigid stance against freedom of thought and, consequently, the use of mind-altering substances.

To be clear, there are risks to consuming psychedelic drugs. However, most are minute, which is why in recent years, scientists (specifically, with John Hopkins University) have begun to study the illegal substances. What they’ve found is phenomenal — and their research has just started.

In one study, the researchers concluded that a hallucinogenic drug found in “magic mushrooms” eases depression and anxiety in people with life-threatening cancer. Another study suggests the fungi could be a “promising” treatment for people with PTSD and anxiety. And, earlier this year, a study was published concluding that psilocybin is the safest psychedelic to experiment with recreationally.

Essentially, what we are learning  is that psychedelic substances are not as bad the mainstream media and federal government have made them out to be. While more research needs to be conducted on the safest ways to consume and use them, it seems clear the taboo that surrounds the use of mind-altering substances needs to lessen.

On that topic, an artist who hid his true identity for years, simply because the world wasn’t ready for his imaginative mind, recently went “viral.” It all started when Facebook banned the artist’s work which he had been uploading to social media networks under the alias Phazed. That artist, who has now revealed his identity, is Jean Francois Painchaud.

Up until a couple of weeks ago, Painchaud was working on the PBS kids show Wild Kratts during the day. In the evenings, he would create GIFS which explore the unification which occurs during conscious sex. He was having trouble sharing his artwork, however, because the topic of sex — and images of the naked human body — are censored.

Painchaud disclosed during an interview: “Soon after I started posting my art online, I found out that there are people out there who are very sensitive when it comes to the female body. No matter how much I censor my work, I still get reported. It’s ridiculous. So, whenever they take down my art or censor me, I make a big deal out of it, hoping that we might be able to change this culture of incessant censoring over time.” 

Fortunately, being banned turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened for his career. In just a few weeks, the artist has welcomed more than 45,000 new followers to his Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook accounts.

When asked how “magic mushrooms” affect his work, Painchaud responded: “Mushrooms didn’t only help my art develop; they changed my entire life. Using mushrooms helped me overcome my depression, my insecurities and my anxiety. Most of that anxiety came from negative experiences with my father and being bullied at school.”

The artist added: “Before I found shrooms, I was making art to improve my skills. It was as if I was trying to impress myself or show off. But what’s the point of sharpening your tools, if you’re never going to build something of your own?”

The exploration of sex — especially through art — might make some people uncomfortable, but Painchaud finds the combination of sex and psychedelics to be “very beautiful and inspiring.” He said, “I feel that both psychedelics and sex can help you transcend your ego and tap into a purer state of being – of living in the moment.”

At first glance, the GIFs do seem slightly pornographic. However, the colors are a contrast to traditional porn, which tends to objectify women — and, to an extent, men — through bland, pale colors and regurgitated scripts.

Painchaud’s artwork, on the other hand, has a central theme: connection. The “energy” which is conveyed through color flows through nearly every scene and connects those who have agreed to share their bodies and hearts. The unions which are portrayed are holy in their own, unique way, and the color, shapes, and vibrancy confirm this.

Learn more: Facebook / Tumblr

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Bizzare & Odd

What Do the Blind ‘See’ When They Take LSD?

The consciousness-altering drug LSD is best known for its bizarre visual effects: even a small dose of the drug can turn the flat walls of your living room into something out of Wonderland. Objects bend, colors blend and intricate patterns cast a shimmer on everything you see. But what would LSD feel like if you couldn’t see?

In an unusual case report published in the April issue of the journal Cognition and Consciousness, a blind 70-year-old former rock musician has some answers.

The man, who is referred to as “Mr. Blue Pentagon” after his favorite kind of LSD, gave researchers a detailed account of what he experienced when taking the drug during his music career in the 1970s. Mr. Pentagon was born blind. He did not perceive vision, with or without LSD. Instead, under the influence of psychedelics, he had strong auditory and tactile hallucinations, including an overlap of the two in a form of synesthesia, according to the report.

“I never had any visual images come to me. I can’t see or imagine what light or dark might look like,” Mr. Blue Pentagon told the researchers. But under the influence of LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide, also known as acid), sounds felt unique and listening to music felt like being immersed in a waterfall, he said. “The music of Bach’s third Brandenburg concerto brought on the waterfall effect. I could hear violins playing in my soul and found myself having a one hour long monologue using different tones of voices … LSD gave everything ‘height.’ The sounds coming from songs I would normally listen to became three dimensional, deep and delayed.”

Mr. Blue Pentagon’s account is a rare glimpse into how LSD may feel in the absence of vision. Beyond a few Q&A threads on Reddit, the only other resource is a 1963 study of 24 blind people, which was actually conducted by an ophthalmologist to test whether a functioning retina (the part of the eye that senses light) is enough for visual hallucinations (it’s not), and didn’t include the participants’ psychological experiences beyond vision.

Understanding Mr. Blue Pentagon’s experience with the drugmay give unique insights about how novel synesthetic experiences through multiple senses are concocted by the brain — especially a brain that is wired differently due to lack of vision, according to the researchers from the University of Bath in the U.K. who published the report. Synesthesia is a rare condition in which one sense is perceived in the form of another; for example, a person may “hear” colors or “taste” sounds. This overlap of senses may ocurr because of cross communication between brain networks processing each sense, scientists have proposed.

As numerous anecdotal reports suggest and a few studies have documented, LSD causes auditory-visual synesthesia, an experience in which sounds and sights influence each other. Mr. Blue Pentagon appeared to experience a similar phenomenon, but rather than mixing sound and sight, it involved the senses that were available to him: sound and touch, the researchers suggested.

Still, there’s only so much to be gleaned from a qualitative report based on a single person.

“It is next to impossible to gain ‘general’ insights from individual narratives,” said Ilsa Jerome, a clinical researcher for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) who was not involved with the report.

Jerome, who is visually impaired herself, said she is unconvinced that having a visual impairment provides any special insight on how LSD alters sensory processes. “But it might provide greater motivation or interest in the sensory impact of psychedelic compounds,” she told Live Science.

The brain in blindness

The details of what exactly LSD does in the brain are still unclear, but research suggests that the drug’s psychedelic effects occur because LSD alters neuronal communication in the brain. Specifically, LSD latches onto receptors for serotonin, one of the neurotranmitters neurons use to communicate. The visual hallucinations are likely a result of LSD stimulating these receptors in the visual cortex, the part of the brain that processes light, color and other visual information.

The first study to look at the brain effects of LSD using modern technology was published recently, in 2016, in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In that study, when people took LSD, the researchers observed that the visual cortex was unusually activeand showed greater synchronous activity with many areas of the brain. This connectivity was correlated with the complex visual hallucinations reported by the participants.

The visual cortex develops into a fully functioning system during early life in response to sensory information from the eyes. But in the absence of early visual experience, which is the case for people born blind, the visual cortex doesn’t develop normally. Instead, it rewires to process sound and touch.

This could explain the nature of Mr. Blue Pentagon’s experience with LSD.

“I expect that the cortical ‘real estate’ that would have housed vision does not do so in Mr. Pentagon’s case,” Jerome said. “So LSD may be doing the same thing with that area of cortex, but since that area is, for him, connected with other senses, those experiences — such as sound, touch or sense of self in space — are altered.”

Visual or other sensory hallucinations are only one part of LSD’s effects. The compound can cause profound changes in emotions and consciousness, all of which are reported by both blind and sighted people. The few studies that exist on the subject suggest LSD may be doing this by lowering the barriers between brain networks, allowing them to communicate in a more flexible way.

Original article on Live Science.

Bahar Gholipour
Live Science

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Bizzare & Odd

The hyper-realistic robot that is ‘indistinguishable from humans’

A ‘malfunctioning’ robot named Fred has terrified drinkers in a London pub by smashing a pint glass while talking about a ‘robot invasion’.

The hyper-realistic automaton, modeled to be an exact replica of London-based actor Tedroy Newell, sat down for a refreshing lager at The Prince Alfred pub in Maida Vale, in the west of the capital.

Unsuspecting customers were unprepared for what came next, with the humanoid berating locals before crushing the drinking vessel in his hands.

The robot, described as ‘indistinguishable from humans’, was created as part of a stunt to promote TV Series Westworld.

A ‘malfunctioning’ robot has terrified shocked drinkers in a London pub, by smashing a pint glass and talking about a ‘robot invasion’. The life like automaton (right), modelled to be an exact replica of actor Tedroy Newell, 55 (left)

Fred the Robot was built by five engineers from robotics company Engineered Arts, based in Penryn, Cornwall, over twelve weeks.

The team developed several hundred thousand lines of computer code and tens of thousands of components, including a sophisticated metal skeleton, silicone skin, real hair and solid acrylic eyes – all 3D-scanned from Tedroy to bring Fred to life.

To field test Fred, the London pub was rigged with hidden cameras and Fred was planted in the bar to see if he could beguile the public.

Relaxed in the bar, the android struck up conversations with members of the public.

Reactions ranged from startled confusion to fear and unease as they digested a series of weighty questions, including ‘what are your thoughts on the impending humanoid robot invasion?’

They were then witness to a scheduled ‘malfunction’, in which Fred began to glitch before dramatically shattering the pint glass.

Unsuspecting customers were unprepared for the Westworld stunt, with the humanoid berating locals before crushing the drinking vessel in his hands
Unsuspecting drinker were unprepared for what came next, with the hyper realistic humanoid berating locals before crushing a drinking vessel in his hands

Fred’s human-like interactions were controlled by Engineered Arts’ telepresence system, which uses inbuilt sensors, cameras and microphones to track how people interact with the machine.

The robot, who was created to engage in natural conversation in real-time as a human would, responded to their shock appropriately with emphasised gestures and punctuated speech, voiced by a remote operator.

Mr Newell, 55, who the robot was modelled on, said: ‘Seeing yourself in robot form is a very, very strange experience.

‘I’m honestly amazed at how realistic they were able to make it look – you can barely tell us apart.

‘Not many people have had the chance to meet their ‘robotic twin’ so it’s very cool to have been a part of this project.’

Reactions to Fred ranged from startled confusion to fear and unease as members of the public digested a series of weighty questions, including ‘what are your thoughts on the impending humanoid robot invasion?’

Fred was funded by streaming service Now TV to promote the return of dark science fiction show Westworld and was inspired by the show’s artificially intelligent ‘hosts’.

Emma Quartly, marketing director at NOW TV, said: ‘We are still a long way away from creating artificially intelligent hosts as sophisticated as those in Westworld, but to celebrate the show’s return we wanted to give the general public a little taste of what is possible.

‘Fred is the next generation in human-like robotics and so it seemed fitting to hand the show’s promotion over to him.

‘Needless to say, there were some stunned reactions, especially when in true Westworld style he started to glitch.’

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

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Bizzare & Odd

Robots are learning to conduct their OWN science experiments in an attempt to outdo humans

Robots are getting ever closer to outperforming humans in all aspects of life – even when it comes to learning about how the world works.

Researchers at Toyota are using artificial intelligence to speed up the discovery of the ideal chemical makeup for electric car batteries.

AI-powered robot arms engineered by the team place precise drops of chemical reagents in test tubes under the guise of human supervisors.

Over the next few months, the machine intelligence behind the system will take over the planning of experiments as well, according to Toyota.

Researchers said the ‘robot graduate student’ will decide how to modify the concentrations of the ingredients it’s testing without the need for human assistance.

AI-powered robot arms engineered by Toyota place precise drops of chemical reagents in test tubes under the guise of human supervisors. Over the next few months, the machine intelligence behind the system will take over the planning of experiments as well (stock image)

‘It’s automating not only the manual part of doing the experiment but also the planning part,’ Brian Storey, the Toyota Research Institute scientist leading the project, told Bloomberg.

Dr Barnabás Póczos, a machine learning researcher at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh who is also working on the project, added: ‘I can easily imagine cases in which AI would recommend experiments to try to synthesise a chemical molecule that you wouldn’t think possible, but the AI will be able to do it.’

Automakers have been investing heavily in developing new batteries and fuel cells to increase the range of electric vehicles.

Mr Storey said Toyota’s AI is helping to identify new materials for batteries and fuel and run computer tests to narrow down the field for simulation tests by researchers.

The research is in-part pursuing a replacement for platinum as a fuel-cell catalyst.

‘We don’t have a ton of platinum on this planet and it costs a lot money,’ he told Reuters in 2017.

‘Platinum is a great catalyst, but is there another compound out there that uses little platinum or no platinum at all?’

Toyota is investing around £25 million ($35 million) in its North American research arm, the Toyota Research Institute (TRI).

The Institute is collaborating with a number of US academic institutions including the University of Michigan and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and British material sciences company Ilika.

A number of other projects around the world are using artificial intelligence to drive research efforts, Bloomberg reports

AI designed to identify and categorise patterns has been deployed to identify wild dolphin calls from hydrophone recordings.

Similar software has been used by astronomers to detect the dull glow of planets in telescopic images of distant galaxies.

The discovery of the Higgs boson, the so-called God particle, in 2012 utilised an algorithm that searched through billions of particle tracks produced within Switzerland’s Large Hadron Collider.

According to Mr Storey, AI could one day help scientists boil down the fundamental principles of physics to reveal the secrets of the universe.

He told Bloomberg: ‘People have wondered if you could have the computer automatically figure out the principles underlying physics.

‘I don’t think we’re going that far out now.’

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

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