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Featured Content

The Brain Constructing the World

Synesthesia and Perception is an exhibit resulting from a collaboration between Serendip and the Painted Bride Art Center in Philadelphia. The installation of the Synesthesia exhibit runs at the Painted Bride from April 3rd to May 16th 2009, and Serendip is delighted to host the virtual installation as a permanent exhibition. More than 20 artists with their work are profiled, and visitors to the Painted Bride (and to Serendip) are invited to post their comments. A new starting point for discussion on Serendip, Perception: From Five Senses Through Synesthesia and Beyond, describes the brain's role in what we think of as our "senses."

Exploring Disability: Images and Thoughts

David Alan Feingold is a doctoral student in disability studies at National-Louis University, "a school social worker by profession and an artist by necessity." The images on this page reflect as well David's experiences with closed head injury, bipolar disorder, and ADHD. They are made available on Serendip as contributions to further conversation about human diversity, brain and behavior, mental health, and disabilities and cultural evolution.

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Ways of Making Sense in the World:
From Primal Patterns to Deterministic and Non-Deterministic Emergence

Simple computer models describe, illustrate, and compare three general approaches to making sense of the world. One approach presumes that primal spatial patterns are the explanation for all organization, and that these patterns need to be uncovered by removing obscuring disorganization. A second approach, which we will call "deterministic emergence", treats both pattern and disorganization as the outcome of historical processes that follow simple and well-defined deterministic rules, and seeks to determine the starting conditions and rules which yield the current observations. A third approach, which we call "non-deterministic emergence", similarly adopts an historical perspective but identifies disorganization as largely the result of random (non-deterministic) processes that are a starting point as well as a continuing contributer to the historical process. From this third perspective, the task is to understand how random processes can yield varying degrees of organization.

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Making Sense of Understanding:
The Three Doors of Serendip

The Three Doors of Serendip is an exploration of an alternate way to try and make sense of "understanding", one which roots understanding not in a "truth out there" but rather in the ongoing process of finding ways to make sense of one's own experiences (and those of others), in "getting less wrong" rather than being "right".

The Three Doors of Serendip is based on a game known variously as "The Monty Hall Dilemma", "Let's Make a Deal", and "The Three Door Problem" (see Resources).

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Education: Between Two Cultures

by Paul Grobstein

An interesting conversation has broken out, at several different places on Serendip and beyond, among (so far) two scientists, three humanists, and several college students of whom at least one has yet to declare an identity. Among the things that make it interesting, to me at least, is that it isn't actually about the two cultures per se (see also Two Cultures or One?), but rather about experiences teaching and learning in different contexts - with the intriguing suggestion that humanists might have something to learn in this regard from scientists and vice versa.

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