Monday, August 21, 2006

Putting Things Together II -- The Roots

As I wrote, I consider Gnarls Barkley's 'crazy' tune one of the hottest tracks of this summer.
On one of the most original blogs on the web, the news section of the Okayplayer website, they mentioned this live recording of the Roots performing 'crazy' feat. Cee-Lo. Which brings me to the thing I wanted to mention in the first place: The Roots are about to drop their new album next Tuesday.
Their/Questlove's level of sophistication can be guessed by looking at the last three album titles, all inspired by intricate topics in science:
  1. Phrenology (2002): The idea in the 19th century that one can determine complex personality traits of a person by measuring the shape of his/her skull. The funny part about Phrenology is that although its stupidity has been recognized, recent neuroimaging techniques have induced a more modern version of Phrenology: During the 1990s many scientists prematurely ascribed brain functions to anatomical regions that showed red and yellow blobs of activity under certain experimental conditions (for aficionados: cf. Kosik KS (2003) Beyond phrenology, at last. NatureRevNeurosci).
  2. Tipping point (2004): The term from sociology that "refers to that dramatic moment when something unique becomes common", which -- at a high level of abstraction -- has been and can be applied in many other fields (e.g., economics, psychology)
  3. Game Theory (August 29, 2006): The scientific field in between mathematics and economics that tries to capture situations in which one or more players try to maximize their returns, often involving uncertainty ("whether I will like the new album?") and assuming rationality ("I will buy it anyways..."). Interestingly, game theoretical considerations have also been used in neuroscientific contexts.
Hence, it's up to you to interpret this sequence of titles, or to predict the next one for 2008. Is it going to be Paradigm Shift or Embodied Cognition? We'll see...

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