Monday, 31 August 2009

Do We Really Know Ourselves?

We all know that we have an unconscious side. But often we don't really know how it influences our decisions and therefore the way in which we act in our everyday lifes. We may have developed some unconscious reactions (due to whatever reason) to things without necessarily knowing it. Sometimes it is scary to admit. Do I really have an unconscious preference for white over black people? Do I really have a preference for straight relative to gay people? I may not admit it, but it could be that way...

Take an example: One can claim not to be a sexist. He may perfectly know that and act accordingly on his/her every day life. He/She may be far from believing that men should be those who go to work and women those staying at home cleaning, ironing and looking after children. Anyway there may be some unconsious associations in his/her mind. Like thinking that career related words (e.g.: ambition, success, CEO, etc...) are more men's stuff and home related words (e.g.: vacuum cleaner, washing-machine, diapers, etc...) are more women's stuff. Interesting, isnt'it?

As wonderfully explained in Malcolm Gladwell's book Blink (You have to read it), some researchers at Harvard are trying to better understand these kind of implicit associations, preferences and how they work. They're working on loads of topics, like gender-related topics, race, poilitcs, religion and so on.

Anyway I think that the best way to really appreciate what I am talking about is to go and visit their site. There you'll have the chance to test yourself and discover some of your implicit preferences and associations.

Click on the following link and then go in the Demonstration section. After that, you'll only have to choose a topic and start the test. Here's the link:


The IPhone as a Musical Instrument

If you knew me (maybe you do) you would also know how much I love my Ipod Touch. I just think it is a wonderful piece of machinery. I use it for loads of stuff and lately also as a musical instrument. In fact I've always been interested in music and lately I discovered that my passion for music can go hand in hand with my passion for the Ipod touch (or IPhone). Not bad!

There are several instruments you can try. Just go in the AppStore and look, for example, for the following apps: Bebot, or JR Hexatone, or Ellatron. They are all freakin' good musical instruments! Of course you hardly reach the expressivity of a "normal" musical instrument, but hey, this is a new world opening. People into electronic music are surely going to have fun.

Take for example the Hexatone. This app was created in collaboration with one of the world greatest keyboardists: Mr. Jordan Rudess. Already a quality guarantee! It is basically a drum machine. You can assign loads of samples to six different assignable pads and then you create you own beats. Once the beat is running you can also "play" it live by twisting and moving your device. Otherwise you can also play another instrument, like a keyboard or a guitar, and simply use your IPhone for the rythmic background. Be aware: at first it is not going to be easy at all. Then, once you start having some familiarity with the app things get better.

If you are interested checkout this video:

Welcome to the Lonely Donkey blog

Ok, I also have created my first blog. I dunno how far this is going to go. Maybe I'll just stop tomorrow. We'll see.

Today I realized that it is pretty difficult to find a name for a blog. It looks like they're all in use. I have tried almost every possible combination of words exisiting in the English language. I went over the titles of the almost 2000 songs on my IPod Touch (lovely widget) in order to find the inspiration, but it did not work. At the end, after a while, I just thought that "Lonely Donkey" was sounding nice enough for my first experiment.

In fact, this blog is ment to be an experiment. It is just going to be about whatever interests me in a certain period. It could be serious stuff, but also humorous. Something I read or something I see when I walk around the city or whatever.

Ohh.. One last thing. I was not sure whether to write this blog in English or Italian (my mother tongue). I then decided to write in English for a series of reasons. Please forgive me in case I abuse the language..