The Eye of The Beholder

“Since we cannot change reality,
let us change the eyes which see reality.”
Nikos Kazantzakis

When you look into someone’s eyes or an animals eyes, what do you see? We are now able to know if the eyes are from a flight or fight species.

A scientific study recently analyzed the eyes of 214 species of land animals. What they discovered is that pupil shapes are directly linked to an animal’s ecological niche.

For instance, animals with pupils that are vertically elongated, like domestic cats and gators, are more likely to be ambush predators – hunters active day and night who use stealth, not strength or speed, to overcome their prey.

Animals with horizontally elongated pupils, such as goats and sheep are herbivore prey animals, the researchers found. Circular pupils, found in humans and birds, provide good all-around vision and are linked to animals that chase down their prey.

Species that are active both night and day with slit pupils provide the range they need to help them see in dim light yet not get blinded by the midday sun.

In fact the sideways orientation which the horse has, is very important for his survival when he is grazing. When he drops his head to graze, its pupils rotate (in opposite directions) by up to 70 degrees to stay horizontal, the researchers found.

While prey animals need to be able to see all around them, predators need binocular vision to see how far away their prey is. Vertical-slit pupils maximize binocular disparity, and blur, in which objects at different distances are out of focus, the scientists found.

But not all predators have vertical pupils.

What is surprising is that the researches noticed from their study that the slit pupils were linked to predators that were close to the ground. Domestic cats have vertical slits, but bigger cats, like tigers and lions, don’t. Their pupils are round, like humans and dogs.

This amazing research teaches us how remarkable the eye and vision can be for us as well as all of nature. Who knows, maybe in the not too distant future we will be able to simulate and see through the eye of the beholder.

Shine On

People Are Awesome

“Don’t be afraid to be awesome. Sometimes
being weird and different is good. When you
think you’re working hard, there is always
someone else working harder, so always
be yourself and know your stuff.”
Jacqueline MacInnes Wood

My husband watches YouTube all day long. He always finds the most awesome videos and this one I had to share with all my awesome fellow bloggers:

Shine On

The Beginning of the End

“Every major player is working on this
technology of artificial intelligence.
As of now, it’s benign… but I would say
that the day is not far off when
artificial intelligence as applied to
cyber warfare becomes
a threat to everybody.”
Ted Bell

The Beginning of the End

Today it was announced that scientist at UC Berkeley have successfully programmed a robot to learn simple tasks through trial and error just like humans learn. This robot BRETT, (Berkeley Robot for the Elimination of Tedious Tasks) can use visual and sensory information about itself, its environment and the objects before it.

To the average person this may not seem like a big deal, but this is a major breakthrough in the area of artificial intelligence (AI). In the summer of 1956 the field of AI was just getting started. The founders of AI became the leaders in the research for decades. Many of these men predicted that a machine as intelligent as a human being would some day exist by the 1970s. Eventually it became obvious that they had grossly underestimated the difficulty of the project.

Here we are almost sixty years later and the technology these men worked on has arrived. The technology itself is fascinating but what is more interesting to me is how humans will use this information. Will AI be used for the betterment of man, or will it be the beginning of the end?

Shine On

My Memorial Day Poem

“A hero is someone who has given his or her life
to something bigger than oneself.”
Joseph Campbell
Memorial Day

For centuries soldiers die
In the name of freedom
From all around the World
Mothers, daughters, sons and fathers
Mourn from wars death toll

The greatest thing the human race
Must accomplish is right now
To end all wars and live in peace
In hopes that all the lives war took
Were not lives that died in vain

We celebrate on Memorial Day
To honor all the fallen
They made the ultimate sacrifice
For all of us still living
We dedicate this day to say
Don’t forget all the lives that have fallen

By:   J R

Shine On