Behind us we could feel the heat in the deserted square; only a thin strip of blue shadows stood out along the facade of the building. Here, inside the courtyard, the darkness of the walls absorbed an ambiguous smell of subsoil from the cellars. On the calcareous heights of Las Navas de Tolosa at that time the cicadas were droning by the hundreds. In the blinding light we could barely make out, under the shelter of certain shrubs, with his back against a rock, the shepherd Juan Lopez, thirteen, guard- ing his flock. He had been there from the early morning, in perfect solitude: no encounter, no human voice.
Not even a breath of wind, from time to time a bleat. And like every other day at that hour, a guitar was heard from the shadow of a courtyard; and dreams came through the desolate plains. Juan Lopez had read books and he had learned many things from the village schoolteacher, of Moors and Christians, of Caliphs and iron Kings of Castile and Leon. Il tono grave di questa frase fu accentuato da alcuni accordi di chitarra che provennero o dal giardino o da qualche altro luogo remoto del palazzo.
Likewise, in the courtyard of the palace of Avalos I suffered the same effect of refraction produced by inanimate things: stones in particular, having lived infinitely longer than us, are like sound- ing lines that have probed the dizzying depths of time. The serious tone of this phrase was accen- tuated by a few guitar chords that came from either the garden or some other remote place in the building. In those days of summer we members of the gang were engaged in a double search: the way to the river and the Sebaldi crime.
And there was, albeit vague and confused, the feeling that the two things were related. His research mainly focuses on the history of evolution in modern Italy, and he has co-translated with Nicoletta Pireddu a collection of writings by Scipio Sighele, entitled The Criminal Crowd and other writings on Mass Society, University of Toronto Press, Non temo i tanti nemici che ho anche fra voi.
Comenius multilateral partnerships
Soffersi molto per le vostre ironie. La quiete che mi deriva da tali idee mi fa riconoscere volon- tieri che io vi diedi talvolta motivo a dubitare di me. Galli, an invincibly timid member who never took the floor, stood up and informed the assembly that when Dr. Menghi was on his deathbed, he begged Dr. Galli to read out his memoir about a new serum he had discovered. Galli blurted out. Read it! Yet I feel at ease that my words are true and based on facts that were controlled with upmost accuracy.
My memoir is not meant for the public, as its content could only be understood by a small circle of scientists. The solace I get from these thoughts makes me fain to recog- nize how I some times gave you reason to doubt me. Many years ago, with my youthful impetuousness, I declared the discovery of a serum meant to rapidly restore precocious youth to a withered organism. Though it was later proven that this youth I granted did not last long. One of my adversaries, against whom I hold no grudge, although he wounded me with his malice, asserted that this apparent youth was nothing but a wild race to old-age.
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But everyone understood that I had discovered an incomparably su- perior stimulant to what was being used. In my hubris I refused to boast: for all the effort made to suspend aging, the result was not efficient enough, and here was just another stimulant with limited applications, effective only for organisms endowed with full vitality. I bring this up because today I still adore that lovely discovery of mine, which abbreviated life but made it more intense.
E mi sarebbe bastato! Lo conquistai da un animale longevo per eccellenza. I wrote about the first discovery because it is directly related to the topic of this memoir. My specific is in an entirely different category than alcohol. Alcohol slows down the replacement of matter, while mine precipitates it; alcohol hinders the functioning of the heart to the point of exhaus- tion, while my specific facilitates it so much that the entire organ- ism succumbs to it. Take note: when the organ that is the source of life encounters no obstacles in an entirely vital organism, it defies the organism and kills it.
Clementi helped me to construct this theory, which eventually buried my discovery. Actually - I openly admit - all the words are his. And this theory, or rather these words, necessarily led me to the antidote for the Menghi Alcohol. I had hoped to achieve an economy of the vital forces so that life would be immeasurably prolonged. That would have been enough for me! Life is no longer brief, not even for you! I implore you to con- sider for a moment: if one of the inventors of those terrible, modern explosives had indeed hesitated to share this invention with our immature humanity, would you understand why?
For me, this concern was exacerbated by a promise I gave to the dearest person I know while on her deathbed. After reading this memoir, you will certainly understand the importance of my discovery and studies, but also the reason for my concerns. The specific - you must have already imagined - was a type of organotherapy. I extracted it from an animal know for its longevity par excellence. Do not think that it is a certain fresh-water fish whose life - as it has been verified in certain parks - lasts beyond three centuries. Non sanno prendere ma afferrano, non sanno lasciare ma gettano.
Hanno inoltre la veglia e il sonno intensi e brevi. La mia scoperta era fatta o, meglio, il mio lavoro era terminato. Trovo fra le mie carte il bollettino su cui registrai la mia scoperta. Porta la data del cinque Maggio. Yet again it was the Menghi Alcohol that provided me with the elements of these ascertained observations. The animals and humans who were injected with that abbreviator of life had rapid, nay violent movements. Furthermore, they were mostly awake with only bouts of brief, intense slumber. Their day lasts twelve hours or less, rather than twenty-four. The perennial animal I speak about has a day that lasts a year I know where your thoughts are headed, but they mislead you , its move- ments are slow, secure and intentional.
Even if you were to guess which animal this is, you would never discover the organ I used to extract the serum. In our organism there is a mitigator! When I conjured up the theory for the antidote to the Menghi Alcohol, I remembered having once observed a vivisection, the consequences of which I did not immediately com- prehend. Then I performed an experiment that luminously confirmed my idea. I deprived an animal of that organ and poisoned it with morphine. I concluded: The mitigating organ is blind like all of our other organs and its function - only beneficial as long as it is surrounded by vital organs - becomes an abbreviator of life when this vitality is about to cease.
Although weakened, it halts the impulse that would have just been barely sufficient. My discovery was complete or, better yet, my work was finished. The rest had to be left to the most hidden functions of nature. If my Annina I named my serum in honor of my mother performed like thyroxin or oxytocin, which both enter the blood-stream and act on the source without needing to pass through the organ whose insufficiency they compensate for, then my moderator would prob- ably no longer relieve, but impede the effort. Then, and only then, would there result the vital economy I sought.
Among my papers, I found the report on my discovery. The date was May 5th. Il ricordo del grande dalle sessanta pulsazioni normali mi diede una speranza che mi rese addirittura malato. Le prove mi costarono molto e il mio piccolo bilancio ne fu subito dissestato. Mia madre! Io non so se alcuno di voi abbia conosciuta mia madre. Scusate se vi parlo di mia madre, ma, come vedrete, essa ap- partiene al mio argomento. Mio padre tenne per lunghi anni a Venezia un negozio di droghe molto importante. The memory of that great man with sixty regular pulsations gave me so much hope that made even me sick.
What if more than the elongation of life I had actually achieved something else, something greater yet! The experiments required a great deal from me, and my tiny budget was suddenly unbalanced. These studies kept me from diligently dedicating myself to my practice, so my richest clients abandoned me after the failure of the Menghi Alcohol, which was presented by some of my colleagues as the rabbles of a madman. These difficulties led me to confide in my mother. My mother! This much I know: if one of you has ever seen her, if only for a brief moment, you will never forget her.
Tall, straight, very black eyes, sweet and imperious at the same time, a youthful complexion in contrast to a full head of white hair, but a pure white, like fresh snow. Pardon me if I speak to you about my mother but, as you can see, she is crucial to my discussion. For many years my father owned an important pharmacy in Venice.
At the age of thirty-five, after five years of marriage, he gave in to a wicked lifestyle. He had mistresses, he gambled and - I believe but am not certain - he succumbed to the vice of drinking. Fortunately, my mother was immediately aware of his transfor- mation. As long as he was alive, it was a daily struggle against him, first of all because he always wanted more money, and then it was a struggle against the impatient creditors who came from all over to claim their money, and against the lenders who no longer wanted to giv him credit.
Morto mio padre la bella figura si eresse di nuovo per curvarsi solo nel singhiozzo frequente. Ed essa parlava con- tinuamente del marito morto avendo dimenticato di lui i cinque o sei ultimi anni. Essa accumulo in commercio in breve tempo una piccola fortuna apprendendo da se tutti quei complicati particolari che costituiscono la scienza commerciale. Poi oltre agli affari ebbe sempre da attendere anche alla casa. Io che la conoscevo commerciante fino al midollo, calcolatrice come un banchiere, astuta e previdente, esitante e dubbiosa ad ogni decisione che potesse implicare la diminuzione di un utile oppure una piccola perdita, fui stupito e commosso di vederla accogliere immediatamente la mia proposta.
She claimed to be the unhappiest woman up until the last day of her pitiful existence. Now that my father was dead, this beautiful woman stood erect once again, succumbing only to occasional bouts of crying. And she constantly spoke of her dead husband, forgetting his last five or six years. In a short time, she accumulated a small fortune in the market, learning all of those complicated particulars of commercial science on her own. I do not believe it often happens that a woman, who is not of a certain culture, has such ease in understanding everything.
Then, she always had to do something for the business and in the house. She granted me help with astounding readiness. I, who knew her as a business-woman down to the marrow, a calculator like a banker, astute and provident, hesitant and dubious in every deci- sion that could implicate a decrease in profits or even a small loss, I was amazed and touched when she immediately welcomed my proposal. She quickly calculated: she could give me a monthly stipend of lire for three years, exactly the amount I required. Neither to me, nor to her was the probability of having to re- open a pharmacy seen as a severe threat.
Prima non aveva conosciuto che agita- zione e stanchezza; ora invece soffriva oltre che di agitazione e di stanchezza anche di noia. Erano molti anni che non si lavorava insieme. Questo metodo ebbe delle conseguenze non so se buone o cattive pel mio avvenire. Before she only knew agitation and fatigue, but now she suffered from boredom, in addition to agitation and fatigue.
Running a household and ordering a servant around was not enough for someone like my mother, who ran a business with two or three employees and various laborers. The household was very closely supervised and had but one defect: order was discussed too often. Whoever sold us the meat or the vegetables had to stay alert because everything that came into the house was weighed, examined, and sifted through, and mamma found a way to work in both the small casetta and the large business.
About my mother, I must still say that she was a big egoist with an egoism that only I understood. And when I was a boy, for my sake and with great effort, she tolerated someone being in our back room; however, her antipathy seeped out all too clearly, so that soon enough everyone abandoned me and I was left to enjoy the back room and afternoon snack alone. She reserved her smiles and courteous words for clients; I knew completely different smiles and words and I felt her insincerity. When she felt inclined to advise me to sacrifice my glory and the results from my studies in favor of the others whom she did not love, I had to obey because the reasons which induced her to such a request had to be rather strong.
From the day I asked for her assistance, she requested to work with me. We had not worked together for many years. She taught me to read in her study, and I remember how she was ready to help and teach me only then to abandon me, running off to her affairs. I think I derived from it a fever- ish yearning to put every one of my ideas into action, a yearning that can sometimes push me to premature communications, but which all at once forces me to specify synthetically my ideas while others lose time in error and illusion.
I understand that the idea is immediately realized in the laboratory, but in an imprecise form. I admit a semblance between the evolved animal and the unevolved one, but I do not admit likeness. My experiments with the Annina are enough to establish this difference. Nel primo caso si avrebbe una morte per esaurimento; nel secondo per abbru- ciamento. E avete osservato come il cervello funzioni egregiamente in individui il cui cuore abbia declinato?
Non avevo oramai che da dire una parola e mamma pensava il mio pensiero. Avevo bisogno di una tale collaborazione! I only had to produce a sufficient quantity of the Annina in order to proceed with subsequent experi- ments. The greater part of our time was dedicated to discussing and clarifying the theory. She understood easily and quickly, though I had to use the least scientific language possible to make her better understand.
Indeed, I resorted to a language which science refutes. Animal life is comparable to boiling a cauldron of water placed on a fire whose fuel is limited. This boiling can end because the fuel is entirely depleted or because the water evaporates. In the first case, one would have death by exhaustion; in the second, combus- tion. Now, it is evident that animal life is assured by an excess of heat- I mean to say that the equilibrium between the water and fire is not perfect and so the life could last longer if the boiling was diminished.
For example, it is evident that the heat released by our body is a loss. How much of this loss is necessary to protect our periphery? To be more precise: it is noted that usefully employing the force manifested and therefore lost by the heart in twenty- four hours could lift 4, kilograms one meter high.
Quite the excess! How much of this force is necessary to nourish our life and how much is lost or is harmful? The future of hygienic science lies in the solution to such a problem. Nevertheless, I know that this force is excessive and I know it, first of all, for the fact that many individuals whose manifest heat was inferior proved to be stronger than those with a fast-pulse and heat seeping from every pore.
The latent force is the only force. What we perceive with our senses or measure with our instruments is the loss of force. And have you observed how the brain functions egregiously in individuals with an abated heart? I have found lucid, nay acute, minds in people whose pulse was too weak and too slow to be measured.
I gave up everything for the pleasure of making my mother feel the greatness and originality of my idea. By then I only had to say one word and mamma could understand my thought. I needed such a collaboration! Usually when I work, I get lost in my rever- ies. I stop to contemplate the eventual consequences of my ideas, I caress them, I admire my future success and I forget the work necessary to realize them. This was not possible with my mother. She brought the systems which had greatly benefitted her in busi- ness to the laboratory.
Mi arresto a contemplare le ultime conseguenze delle mie idee, le accarezzo, ne ammiro il futuro suc- cesso e oblio il lavoro necessario per realizzarle. Essa portava seco in laboratorio i sistemi che tanto le avevano giovato negli affari. Con un decigrammo nel sangue si uccideva un cane giovine e forte in quaranta secondi. Dapprima mia madre non voleva credere si trattasse di una morte reale. La rassicurai dicendole che il caso era stato previsto.
Il siero di cui avevo a servirmi doveva essere ben altrimenti elaborato di questo. Essa rimase commossa e per lungo tempo dubbiosa. Preparai un coniglio con iniezioni seguite per varii giorni di dosi minime di Annina. Ne raccolsi il sangue che, steriliz- zato, considerai quale il siero voluto. Svegliai mia madre alla mattina per presentarle il frutto del mio lavoro. Mia madre guardava invece la povera bestiola aspettandosi di vederla morire. A decigram in the blood killed a young, strong dog in forty seconds. At first, my mother did not want to believe the death had happened.
She stroked the dog, trying to make it come back to life. The serum I wanted to use eventually had to be much more developed than this one. She was excited and, for a long time, dubious. That pushed me to work feverishly to remove any such doubt from her as soon as possible. I prepared a rabbit for successive injec- tions of minimum doses of Annina over several days. I drew some blood, which, when sterilized, I believed to be the right serum. I did all of this work gingerly in order to surprise my mother.
Thus commenced that memorable day of June 2nd with a triumph I have never had before in my life. I woke up my mother in the morning to show her the fruits of my labor. She got dressed in a flash and followed me to the labora- tory where the rabbit soon received the first-ever injection of An- nina. The fact that it actually lived made my mother flush with ad- miration. What was only the application of my serum to a process invented by others arose more wonder in her than my own original idea.
Only from this was her lack of scientific preparation apparent. The injected rabbit exhibited various phenomena. It ceased to eat for many hours, and when it did eat, after being placed among and confronted with the other rabbits, it appeared to be less vora- cious and slower in its movements. Except when it shook, it was evidently taken by a kind of stupor.
Il mio faceva un balzo formidabile quando era minacciato la prima volta; era invece incapace di farne un se- condo se minacciato immediatamente una seconda volta. Cadeva subito nel menzionato stato di stupefazione e si lasciava afferrare trasalendo inerte. Anche arrivando a constatare in essi quel mutamento di vita consono - se- condo le mie teorie - al loro mutamento fisico, non mi sarei trovato avanzato di molto. Solo la constatazione di un mutamento di tutta la funzione vitale - mutamento che in gran parte doveva sfuggire alla verifica mediante istrumenti - poteva giovarmi.
Non ebbi esitazioni! Quante volte non vengono lesi dal suono e dalla luce? Dei sentimenti poi non parlo. It suddenly fell into the aforementioned state of stupor and allowed itself to be caught, wincing inertly. In the dining room that evening, we continued to chat about the Annina. Where would those animal experiments lead me? Even if I managed to verify in them a change of life that was consonant with their physical change - according to my theories - I would not end up advancing a great deal.
Only observing a change of the entire vital functions - a change that largely escapes instrumental verification - could help me. I did not hesitate! That same evening I would inject the Annina into my own veins. The liveliest hope was reborn in me. There are not many examples in medicine of subjective obser- vation, but there are some and they are quite strange. The famous Napolitano doctor with nephritis was one of the first advocates of the milk cure.
From the beginning, he subjectively intuited its beneficial effect, and later he proved it by objectively verifying the decrease of albumin. Now, more than any other method, could sub- jective experimentation provide a conclusive outcome verifying an intensity of life which, in my opinion, must primarily demonstrate a decrease in the vivacity of the senses and sentiments. Because, if the Annina demonstrated the efficacy I hoped for, it would decrease what I call attrition. Now, what is our greatest attrition that squan- ders our strength without us realizing it? Our sense of perception is sometimes not enough - I recognize this - but it mainly errs for too much sensibility.
How often is it ruined by sound or light? Thus I do not speak about sentiments. The excessive joys and the excessive anxieties of the mind decimate humanity. In my head I anticipated the effect the Annina would have on me. I figured that the Annina must become the drug for intellectu- als, not for textbooks.
I have already said how I believe in the neces- sity of a manifestly strong heart for brain performance. Ne adoperai una dose molto maggiore di quella usata pel coniglio che non mi parve abbastanza anninizzato. Devo confes- sarlo: Mettendo il liquido nel tubetto mi tremava la mano e il cuore mi batteva. Ma non seppi at tendere. Presi un foglio di carta, lo posi sul tavolo da notte assieme ad una matita per fissare subito sulla carta le osservazioni fatte.
Una calma as- soluta e nel mio organismo. Mi sento agitato. Ore 10 e Ho paura di perdere i sensi. Not long after locking myself in my bedroom, I injected myself with the Annina. I used a much larger dose than what I used on the rabbit, which did not seem to be anninized enough. I must confess that while I pulled the liquid into the syringe, my hand was trembling and my heart was beating wildly. That courageous inventor who passed 2, volts through his heart in order to prove the harmlessness of alternating current, must have had similar feel- ings.
Perhaps I should have acted more prudently by postponing the experiment until the following day and noting my discovery in the meantime, because one of my colleagues would experiment later. I put a piece of paper and pencil on the bedside table so I could immediately record my observations. There is an abso- lute clam in my organism. My pulse is eighty-four and is clear. The injection point on my arm burns.
My temperature is I can count the heartbeats in my ear while resting on the pillow and I can determine that it is synchronized with the pulse. An actual circulatory perturbation is excluded. A storm has erupted in my organism and seems to be surging. It began with a deafening noise inside my ears, so much so that it appeared to be external.
At first, it was a burst, as if the air pressure outside exploded eight panes of glass in my bedroom with a single strike. And now it continues, deafening and threatening, as if something enormously intricate were approaching. Watching the gas-flame next to my bed reflect motionless in the mirror was enough for me to understand that all the noise was inside me, and not external.
I was terrified to remember the enormous dose of Annina I had injected. With a very lucid state of mind, I scolded myself. Professor Arrigoni was right to describe me as such a quantitative thinker who would quickly measure an abyss by throwing myself in. Ricordo con terrore la dose enorme di Annina che mi sono iniettata. Mi faccio dei rimproveri con mente lucidissima. Che avessi la febbre? Voglio provare. Non arrivai a provare il polso.
Ora am- monta a 66; 18 pulsazioni meno di iersera. Rileggo la descrizione fatta del malessere da cui fui colto iersera. Ma come completarla? Ricordo che prima mormorai: - Collasso! Non ricordo altro! Quando ritornai in me ero mutato del tutto. Polmone e cuore dovevano lavorare perfet- tamente. Sentivo ancora un certo peso alle gambe e mi parevano sempre lontane. Could I have a fever? I want to check. I reread the de- scription of the malaise that took over me last night.
How imperfect it is! But how to finish it? The terminology of medical science is too impoverished to be able to express my subjective impressions! My unease increased so much that I had to abandon the pencil; I stretched out on the bed and lost my senses. My lips no longer held back the saliva running down my cheeks, and I was suddenly aware that my respiration was short and precipitous. The bedroom seemed completely dark. Only a yellow plate reflected on my retina: the gas-flame, from which no light irradiated and at which I think I must have stared unceasingly, because even now the poor, miserable thing remained imprinted on me, like it was before, cold and small, my only point of contact with the external world.
I was dying! Down there, my legs seemed distant, well outside of the bed, and were enormously heavy. I remember nothing else! This morning I realized I must have gone through a delirious attack, because the blankets and pillow were violently strewn about. When I returned to consciousness, everything had changed. It seemed I had come out of a benign attack of pneumonia; the euphoria was absolute. The lungs and heart had to be working perfectly. I felt neither my breath nor my heartbeat. Yet I felt a certain weight in my legs and they always seemed distant.
That certainly meant a weakening of the senses. I must have smiled from the satisfaction of being so exactly right. Touching my bare feet with my hand took considerable effort. They were warm. But immediately I deduced that this act had done nothing but verify the difference in temperature between the two extremi- ties.
I searched for the thermometer. It had to be somewhere in the bed. Debbo aver sorriso dalla soddisfazione di aver pensato tanto esatta mente. Fu con isforzo che toccai con una mano i piedi nudi. E stetti immoto senza fare alcuno sforzo per liberare il mio letto dalle altre scheggie di vetro che dovevano trovarvisi. Mi baloccai per lungo tempo immobile con le mie idee.
Ero certo che avrei potuto balzare dal letto e correre a fare le mie annotazioni. Ma non mi mossi. Non lo guardai e mi limitai di consta- tare che la notte era alta. Esso sentiva debolmente i rumori che io pro ducevo movendomi nel letto. Passai ad analizzare la mia forza visiva.
Mentre al momento di svenire avevo visto la fiamma di gas quale un pezzetto di metallo lucido, ora scorgevo perfetta- mente che la fiamma era una fiamma ma pure mi parve non illu- minasse a sufficienza la stanza. Nello specchio la fiamma si rifletteva attenuata di poco. I was regretful. But if I had found it whole, would I have used it? Instead I stayed motionless without making any effort to clean the shards of glass from the bed, which had to be around somewhere.
For a while I frittered the time away, immobile, with only my ideas. My thought lingered on the annotations and I lingered on the thought of what I would write if I were to write it. For now, I would look at the clock to establish how much time I had spent unconscious. For me to raise my head just beyond the bedside table in order to see the clock would have been enough, but I did not make any such effort. I rested supine, blithe in the confirmation of one of my hopes for my Annina: I did not impetuously rush into action and I was proud about the idea that by now I was able to measure an abyss without throwing myself in.
Would I have measured it before? Thinking about the annotations pestered me, and without any intention to reach for the pencil and take it in hand, I analyzed my senses. My hearing certainly appeared weaker. It feebly sensed the noises I made from moving around in the bed. I then analyzed my vision. The reflected flame attenuated slightly in the mirror. Exhausted from the effort, I closed my eyes and relaxed.
The effort required to perceive an object was largely compensated for by the acuteness of vision. I could analyze the slightest hue of color. Until then a gas-flame was only yellow, with some red and blue reflection at the base-in short, foolishly yellow. Now I saw it was not so and in the flame I discovered more dispa- rate gradations of those various tones. The flame spoke! I hoisted my neck up a bit and stared into the darkness, attempting to see the wardrobe, which had to be next to the mirror. Fino ad allora una fiamma di gas era stata per me gialla con qualche riflesso rosso e azzurra alla base; stupidamente gialla insomma.
Quella fiamma par lava! Come tutti gli oggetti sono belli se visti con una forza che superi almeno quella di chi li guar da per moversi fra di loro! E lo rividi sempre fosco e oscuro quando abitava una stanza mai rischiarata nella nostra prima abi- tazione a Venezia; una sola finestra cui il sole non arrivava mai causa la stretta calle su cui guardava. Mastodontico armadio che ricettava allora serio, serio i miei primi vestitini corti.
Riposai di nuovo dello sforzo mentre il mio pensiero non cercava riposo. The wardrobe was an ancient chest, mas- sive, baroque, from a distasteful era, its luster faded, on the sides there were two pretentious mullions from whose gable-ends hung grape clusters.
I never saw it like that before and, being an object I had had since childhood, I was astonished to see it in such a sur- prisingly strange way. As all objects are beautiful when viewed with an effort that exceeds the basest attempt from those who wish simply to move among them! Although it was the first time I remembered looking at that wardrobe with such an eye, my vision of that mo- ment was compressed with all of the visions I had had of that wardrobe since childhood.
And I see it again, always grim and obscure, when it inhabited a room in our first home in Venice that was never cleared out. A single window where the sun never shined through because of the small alley over which it peered. That mam- moth wardrobe which dependably held my first baby clothes. Inside was a strong odor of lavender that mamma loved so much.
More than once I saw it outdoors on a barge looking shabbier than usual, various split grapes in its clusters. Those grapes were still missing, but compared to the rest of the wardrobe, the wounds of yellow wood now appeared as if they were bleeding. They had not healed, but even time had matched their colors. I rested again from the effort while my thoughts sought no such rest.
All that I had expected was coming true: diminished life could better concentrate in certain directions. The physiologists from a century ago said: half or more of the human body is dead. Perhaps I augmented the dead portion, but I intensified the life of the living portion. Even my legs were more alive, if I wanted. Directing my attention thus, my sensibility sud- denly increased and, without looking, only from sensation did I clearly feel the gentleness of the soft wool.
Dawn came in the meantime. Io forse aumentavo la parte morta ma intensificavo la vita della parte viva. Subiva ora una luce antipatica, cor- rotta dal giallo della fiamma a gas. Poi a me parve di non arrivare ad addormentarmi. Nello stesso tempo il pensiero a tanto lavoro che dovevo compiere mi faceva soffrire. Eppure dormivo. In undici ore constatai in me tre stadii. II primo di cui non so la durata era stato contrassegnato dalla perdita totale dei sensi. Soon it became the most important aspect in the room.
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How beautiful it was, waking up in this manner under the red curtains. Tired, I tried to rest. My last visual impression was once again the wardrobe, which had seen so many dawns without ever being so intensely observed. Now it suffered from an unpleasant light, corrupted by the yellow of the gas-flame. Then I was unable to fall asleep.
I conjured up future experiments to perform. First, I had to see if the Annina was compounded in our organism, and whether it were possible to undertake treatment with daily microdoses where the dosage would be measured sim- ply by personal observation. Then, I had to investigate whether one might develop a dependence on the Annina, and whether this dependence would eliminate the violent attack or maybe even all effects.
At the same time, I suffered from the thought of all the work I had to do. And yet, I slept. As soon as my thoughts animated me, I was completely awake; the transition was so short. Then I fell back into a torpor that was nothing but sleep, a long, long sleep, a half-vigil; the sleep of the animal who had provided the Annina. And I had known it, I felt the desire for the deepest, most restora- tive sleep, and it seemed that when I tried to approach something or someone, it only got further away.
Over eleven hours, I noted three distinct stages. In the second, I had a very lucid mind but slow and pitiful movements; actually, I shall characterize them in this way: no perception without desire. I conclude: to enjoy the rest the Annina provides, it should have never been invented. Then, even those truly imperfect annotations were interrupted.
Nella notte intera deve aver persistito in me un offuscamento di coscienza. Qui anche queste annotazioni tanto imperfette sono interrotte. Egli si scalda anzi si scalmana per tutto e per tutti.
E anche dopo egli diagnostica e studia e alma- nacca e assiste alle sezioni cadaveriche. Clementi walked in with a suspi- cious look, which indicated that he was in possession of terrible news. He was stressed and irate because, as I later learned, he had beckoned me for more than half an hour. I was always somewhat distracted but never enough not to hear Dr. Since I will be dead when the public learns of my memoir, one can assume that Dr. Clementi will be long forgotten by then.
His exuberance of life must make him go down the road much sooner than others who are endowed with more potent moderating organs. He gets heated up, no, he gets enraged about everything and everyone. I know him well because for two years I worked as his secondary at the hospital. Those two years seem to have happened under a railway bridge on which boundless trains furiously come and go. How noisy that man is! Anyway, for him, every one of his patients is his own strange adventure affecting only him, and he talks, and talks, and talks endlessly about it.
When he sees the patient on the first day, he immediately begins to diagnose, and he diagnoses the second day, the third day, and the fourth day until the patient either heals or dies. And, even after, he diagnoses and studies and daydreams and attends the autopsy. If his diagnosis was right, he talks about it so that it seems he was more surprised than everyone else.
One can say that he is not a braggart only because he is a scientist. The house doctor trembles when Dr. Clementi comes as a consultant. He certainly does not intend to do harm to anyone, but seeing as every patient of his has at least three diseases, it is unlikely that the house doctor had spoken about all three. Quando entra in una casa quale consulente, il medico di casa trema.
E pensai di raccontargli della mia scoperta e di pregarlo di fame una prova su lui. Contemporanea mente ebbi varie idee. Pareva tentasse di consolarmi prima di darmi una cattiva nuova. Aveva alzate le braccia e poggiate le mani sulle mie spalle per segnare un abbraccio che causa la differenza di statura non era possibile. Hai un sonno tu! Mia madre e il suo e il mio affetto erano dimenticati del tutto ed io non ricordavo altro che quel cuore colpito da esuberanza di vita. My first thought was: providence delivers me the person who needs the Annina more than anyone.
And I thought about informing him of my discovery and to beg him to try it himself. Coincidentally, I had various ideas. Among them, trying the An- nina on a fitful lunatic would be more conclusive proof than trying it on Dr. Clementi…but just barely. With an effort that must have expended a great deal, he suppressed his anger toward me for not having responded earlier. He assumed an air of commiseration that did not foretell anything positive. It appeared as if he were trying to console me before delivering the bad news. The small, nervous man almost leaned on me. He raised his arms and placed his hands on my shoulders to indicate a hug, which was not possible due to the difference in stature.
Quite the sleep you had! Clementi spoke about a passive aneurism and gave me hope he himself did not share, how was it that I still lingered on my creation? Half an hour later she had the attack. Clementi chimed in. Vedendomi impallidire aggiunse con una carezza paterna: - Non perdere il coraggio. Io piuttosto che fare una dia- gnosi ho sentito il pericolo -. Poi ricordo che oltre che suo cliente ero suo collega. Quando entrai da mia madre il mio piano scientifico era fatto; la cura doveva consistere in iniezioni a dose lievissima di Annina ripetute giornalmente.
Non piansi. Celai i miei aridi occhi con la mano e mi lasciai cadere ginocchioni accanto al letto. Il caso di mia madre era tipico. Un grido, un solo grido ed essa - se io non intervenivo - correva precipitosamente alla morte. Se anche avessi dubitato della diagnosi del dottor Clementi, mi sarebbe toccato di convincermi al solo vedere mia madre. Rather than making a diagnosis, I understood the danger. Due to my intimate coldness and the idea prevailing within me, my behavior was hesitant to the point that I was amazed she did not notice.
I did not cry. I concealed my arid eyes with my hand and I let myself fall, kneeling beside her bed. She raised her arm slowly and, staying supine, she gave me her hand, which I kissed. It appeared like sobbing, but I knew perfectly well that my breath was not hindered by anything but the hope to save a life with the Annina. A shout, a single shout, and - if I did not intervene - she would race precipitously to death.
Even if I doubted Dr. The Annina had been invented just in time. I knew how efficacious that block of ice placed on her chest could be. More was necessary to tame that heart! Before tearing, it had degenerated, but why had it degenerated? Before the strain tore it, she had evidently managed to degenerate it.
It was not a fatty degeneration. It was the first time I found myself more deluded than even Dr. I continued to cry! If I had had sincere pain at that moment, even hearing my mother crying and afraid of damaging her with an overly lively emotion, I could have pretended and calmed myself down. But instead I continued to cry until Dr. Do you wish to kill your mother?
Ci voleva altro per domare quel cuore! Sta bene! Era escluso che si trattasse di una degenerazione grassa. Singhiozzavo sempre! Volete dunque uccidere vostra madre? La mia vita ridotta dal potente moderatore non bastava che a tener lucido il mio cervello e a mala pena il sentimento di me e per me. Invece ora mi mancava il dolore persino assistendo alla rappresentazione di quello che, vicino o lontano, era pure il mio destino. La previsione della morte esisteva allora in me soltanto quale la conclusione di un sillogismo Ricordo che assursi a mio giudice.
Risposi schiettamente a me stesso che gli avrei dato del cane! I hugged my mother telling her, smiling, I was so moved to hear her declare that she was about to die. There was no doubt! The Annina obscured the emotions and pain in my organism. Was it not predicted that it would decrease attrition?
Being a sane individual, but not one of the strongest, I have always noted the trait of rapid combustion in my organism. Actually, I always had warm hands and an exuberance of emotions that made me suffer when I saw an animal suffer. Now, instead, I lacked pain even when present to the representation of what, near or far, was also my destiny. The prevision of death existed in me then only as the conclusion of a syllogism…perhaps even that was wrong.
And yet, this indifference was unmatched by a feeling of deca- dence not dissimilar from what a person must feel when they suc- cumb to a discouraging vice. I reminisced about my altruistic past as now an unattainable feat for me. Again: lucid brain and clouded emotion. As soon as I was alone with my mother, I immediately as- sailed her. I had to find a way to suggest the Annina cure without agitating her too much.
I began by telling her that I felt very well despite the fact that the previous evening I injected myself with the Annina. Then I told her all about my adventures through the night and she listened with great pleasure. It seemed that for a few moments she even forgot about her terrible state. I told her that her heart was likely to tear and that she must be careful not to get agitated or make any abrupt movements. The threat of aneurism only subsisted in her due to the excess of life. Poi le raccontai tutte le mie avventure della notte ed essa le ascolto con grande piacere.
Mi parve che per istanti dimenticasse persino la sua terribile posizione. In conclusione mi disse: - Tu sei un eroe, tu! Poi le parlai con cautela del suo male. Oggi io so con sicurezza quasi matematica che mia madre era condannata a morire in brevi ore. Ma io giuocai in modo indegno con la vita di mia madre. Forse essa ne sarebbe stata spaventata e avrebbe ri- fiutato il mio farmaco.
Do it! I thank the heavens that my illness offers you the occa- sion to perform a very decisive experiment! I have to stop writing occasionally to find relief in crying. I did not kill my mother, but I was saved from the crime only by chance. Today, I know with almost mathematical assurance that my mother was condemned to die very shortly. Clementi himself confirmed that he only spoke of the operation to provide a hopeful word.
My remorse is greater because of the fact that I had deceived her in order to convince her to try the Annina. Perhaps she would have been too afraid and would refuse my drug. With a steady hand, I injected it into her. That eye became so mild, it stared at Clementi and then at me, restless and supplicant. She immediately quieted down in an immobility that seemed to herald sleep. While she quieted down, I became more agitated. Although I had decreased the dosage, it could very well induce an attack.
If it were to assume violent forms, she would quickly die and my experiment would be finished. My heart beat wildly! But not yet for my mother. Now my exposition becomes even more inchoate than before. I was struck by the same symptoms: an agitation that took my breath away and, in my ear, outbursts which seemed like they were smashing my eardrum.
Afraid of losing my senses, I had to abandon my mother. I crept away on tip-toes. Before closing the door behind me, I checked to make sure mother was not aware I had left. Se questa avesse assunte delle forme violente, essa avrebbe preceduto di poco la morte e la mia esperienza sarebbe stata finita.
Mi batteva il cuore! Ma non ancora per mia madre. Dovetti ab- bandonare mia madre temendo di perdere i sensi. Uscii sulle punte dei piedi. Corsi al mio letto. Tanto ero intento a studiare la cosa importante che in me avveniva. Ma non perdetti i sensi. Subito dopo mi sentii pervaso da un dolce tepore e godetti di un benessere intenso, inaspettato. Ora lo capivo dal fatto che io entravo in una conva- lescenza rapida quasi violenta.
Mi fermai in seguito ad un vivo dolore al pollice della mano destra. Andai alla finestra per veder meglio e capire come una tale piccola ferita potesse dolere tanto intensamente. Osservai subito che per essere stata fatta la sera in- nanzi, la ferita era arrossata pochissimo. And if you add this up, you can see that this reduction is around half a standard deviation, which is pretty good.
We published the first working memory training study 12 years ago. Now there are more than a hundred studies that are published on different aspects of working memory training. We will know - we will continue to learn about how to do the working memory training, what's the most effective way to do this. But we already see that there is an effect, that it is useful in practice. And now, we have more than 50 thousand children that have benefited from working memory training in more than 20 different countries.
So the science tells us about the effects, but it's also interesting to hear from the children, and here are some comments. One says that, "Now I can remember what the teacher says. I could be looking for two days! Now I can find them at once", or, "I can sit and shut out the noise from around. When I read, I can focus; before, I couldn't do that. Thank you. Applause Translation - Italian Sono sicuro che molti di voi conoscono bene la situazione in cui entri in una stanza, poi rimani in piedi di fronte al muro, e pensi, "Che dovevo fare qui? E' un tipo di memoria molto utile. La usi non solo per ricordare pensieri e istruzioni ma anche per tenere a mente informazioni importanti quando risolvi dei problemi.
Ora ve lo dimostro testando la vostra memoria di lavoro. Ok, ora state memorizzando 4 posizioni attraverso la memoria di lavoro, in modo da poter fare qualcosa basato su quest'informazione, giusto? Piuttosto facile. Proviamo con un altro. Lo stesso compito: ricordate dove indica questa persona. Qualche volontario, nella prima fila? Se dovessi testarvi, vi ricordereste 7 elementi a malapena. Mi sono detto, "Abbiamo un problema, e penso di avere, almeno in parte, la soluzione. Per esempio, se osservi dei musicisti, dei violinisti, vedi le aree del cervello che controllano le dita, che cambiano con la pratica.
Mi sono unito ad alcuni programmatori di videogiochi per creare un programma, un videogame, dove i bambini potessero allenare la memoria di lavoro. E' quando sei vicino al tuo limite che puoi effettivamente cambiare. Era un'idea molto semplice. Questo era un ostacolo della neuroscienza nel campo della memoria di lavoro, trattare la memoria di lavoro come un muscolo, piuttosto che una sorta di magica scatola nera. Ma ha funzionato. Possiamo forzare i limiti. Possiamo osservare i cambiamenti che avvengono nel cervello.
E' importante per le persone che vivono ogni giorno? Qui vediamo 13 studi che lo hanno fatto. Prendono i sintomi di disattenzione nel gruppo di allenamento e come cambiano, e nel gruppo di verifica e come cambiano, e poi si paragonano. Se non ci fosse alcun effetto, vedresti un piccolo puntino verde esattamente su questa linea.
Abbiamo pubblicato il primo studio sulla memoria del lavoro 12 anni fa. Uno dice: "Ora posso ricordare cosa dice la maestra. Cercavo per 2 giorni! Ora posso trovarle subito", oppure: "Posso sedermi e ignorare il rumore intorno. Quando leggo, posso focalizzare; prima, non avrei potuto farlo". I'm 25 years old. I am the kind of speaker that speaks at a slow pace and deliberately. In November of , I found something on Wikipedia that changed my life. It was the words "selective mutism. It validated something I have been struggling with for years. More precisely, learning that I had this disorder motivated me to try to overcome it.
Like me and others who didn't know about this disorder, it also motivated me to spread awareness. Selective mutism had a huge impact on my life. I suffered with this condition from childhood to adolescence and into adulthood. Unlike most babies, I was a quiet one. I didn't make babbling noises, and I didn't cry for hunger.
My parents enrolled me in physical, occupational, and speech therapy, but nothing seemed to make a difference. I taught myself how to crawl.
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I had my favorite toy and blanket across the room, and it wasn't too much later that I learned to walk at a very slow pace. At age two, I still wasn't talking. If I wanted something, I would grunt and point. I didn't say a single word until I was about three or four years old. I also had a separation anxiety that left me clinging onto my mom. She even spoke for me.
By the time I was five, I was a chatterbox. Laughter I asked a lot of questions and wouldn't stop to listen to the answers. Laughter It was like I was starving for social interaction, because outside of home, such as school, I remained mute. My throat closed up, and my lips were sealed shut. A teacher would ask me a question, and I stared up at her, blinking, with watery eyes.
There was this silent awkwardness between us. There was a lot of pressure on me. I would look down at my desk until she told me she would come back to me later and moved on to the next kid. Only then did I feel like I could suddenly breathe. I never understood why I couldn't talk and others could. My parents and teacher didn't know the reason why either. The teacher assumed I might be autistic. My doctor evaluated me for autism, but he didn't think I was autistic. I went to play therapy, but there was the expectation that it didn't go so well. They thought I was choosing not to speak or listen, or pretending to act helpless.
I was labeled as "shy". My anxiety put me behind in my education. From kindergarten, all the way to 12th grade, I had an Individual Educational Plan, and in it, I was marked down as having a learning disability. I always thought, if it wasn't for the anxiety, I would've done well in school.
I knew that I was very smart. However, I had to go to special education to catch up with my peers. It hurt me, more than it helped me, because it affected how I felt or see myself. It lowered my self-esteem. After I heard from others how shy I was, I began to believe that shyness was part of my personality, and I couldn't change it.
The anxiety developed into other problems, such as a health anxiety, and perfectionism. I wouldn't raise my hand for fear of being wrong. I figured what I had was beyond shyness. I wondered what I had been struggling with. And I waited for somebody to help me, but nobody bothered.
So my anxiety and depression got worse, isolating myself from everyone else. I began to have panic attacks, and even worse, thoughts of death. A year ago, I recovered from my darkest days. I made a commitment to myself that I would not give up. Selective mutism wasn't a curse but a gift.
I joined Toastmasters. Laughter Applause It showed me the light and hope for the future. I stumbled a couple of times, but I refused to let it pull me back into the dark. Toastmasters built my strength and confidence.
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I became a counselor at the Youth Playhouse Theater. I enrolled in college. Since the first day of school, I've raised my hand nearly every day. Laughter Applause Right now, I am most proud of having this opportunity, standing here before you, giving a TEDx talk. There are new challenges to face, like becoming a librarian and a bestselling author. Laughter And I will cross those paths as they come.
What I am learning is that life goes at its own pace, at its own time, and in its own way. My life started out very slow, very unsure, very silent. What I didn't realize is that for me, my life was meant to happen in small increments, unhurried and unrushed. And in a world that's impatient to move and go, it's easy to get overlooked, because there's a lot of tedium and growing at a measured, steady pace. A flower doesn't flourish overnight. It doesn't go from bud to blossom in one gigantic burst. It takes patience, time, and a whole lot of precious tedium.
The real magic is in the waiting to unfurl, unfold, and fully bloom into something magnificently and beautifully wondrous. Nel novembre del , Ho trovato qualcosa su Wikipedia che ha cambiato la mia vita. Erano le parole "mutismo selettivo". Ha confermato qualcosa con cui ho combattuto per anni. Come me e altri che non sapevano di questo disturbo, mi ha motivato a diffonderne la consapevolezza. Il mutismo selettivo ha avuto un enorme impatto sulla mia vita. A differenza di molti bambini io ero una tranquilla.
Non facevo versi, e non piangevo per la fame. I miei genitori mi hanno fatto fare terapia fisica, occupazionale e del lunguaggio, ma niente sembrava che facesse differenza. Ho imparato da sola a gattonare. Avevo il mio giocattolo preferito e la coperta dall'altra parte della stanza e non molto tempo dopo ho imparato a camminare molto lentamente. A due anni ancora non parlavo.
Se volevo qualcosa, grugnivo e indicavo. Soffrivo anche l'ansia da separazione che mi faceva aggrappare a mia madre. Lei parlava persino al posto mio. Entro i 5 anni, ero diventata una chiaccherona. Risate Ho fatto moltissime domande e non smettevo di ascoltare le risposte. La mia gola si serrava, e le mie labbra erano sigillate. Un insegnante mi faceva una domanda, ed io stavo davanti a lei, guardandola con gli occhi lucidi.
C'era questo silenzio imbarazzante. E un sacco di pressione su di me. Solo allora potevo finalmente respirare. Nemmeno i miei genitori e l'insegnante sapevano il motivo. L'insegnante credeva fossi autistica. Pensavano che stessi scegliendo di non parlare o ascoltare, o fare finta di essere incapace. Ero etichettata come "timida". La mia ansia mi ha lasciato indietro nell'educazione. Dalla prima elementare, fino al liceo, ho avuto un programma di educazione personale, e in questo ero annotata per avere un disturbo di apprendimento.
Ho sempre pensato, se non fosse stato per l'ansia, Avrei fatto bene a scuola. Sapevo di essere molto intelligente. In ogni modo, dovevo avere un'educazione speciale per raggiungere i miei pari. Ha abbassato la mia autostima. L'ansia ha sviluppato altri problemi, come l'ansia della salute e il perfezionismo. Non alzavo la mia mano per paura di sbagliare. Come sono cresciuta, ho iniziato a soffrire di agorafobia, disturbi ossessivi compulsivi e depressione clinica. Ho pensato che quello che avevo andasse oltre la timidezza.
Mi sono domandata con che cosa stessi combattendo. E ho aspettato che qualcuno mi aiutasse, ma nessuno si disturbava a farlo. Ho iniziato ad avere attacchi di panico, e, ancora peggio, pensieri di morte. Un anno fa, mi sono ripresa da quei giorni bui. Ho fatto una promessa a me stessa che non mi sarei arresa. Il mutismo selettivo non era una maledizione, ma un regalo.
Ho partecipato a Toastmasters. Risate Applausi Toastmasters mi ha mostrato la luce e la speranza per il futuro. Ho esitato un paio di volte, ma mi sono rifiutata di farmi trascinare indietro nel buio. Toastmasters ha sviluppato la mia forza e confidenza. Sono diventata una consulente al Youth Playhouse Theater. Sono entrata al college. Fin dal primo giorno di scuola, ho alzato la mano quasi ogni giorno. Ci sono nuove sfide da affrontare, come diventare una bibliotecaria e un'autrice di bestseller. Un fiore non sboccia in una notte. Non diventa da bocciolo a fiore all'improvviso.
Ci vuole pazienza, tempo, e tantissima preziosa noia. Applausi English to Italian: Can a computer write poetry? This is a provocative question. You think about it for a minute, and you suddenly have a bunch of other questions like: What is a computer? What is poetry? What is creativity? But these are questions that people spend their entire lifetime trying to answer, not in a single TED Talk.
So we're going to have to try a different approach. So up here, we have two poems. One of them is written by a human, and the other one's written by a computer. I'm going to ask you to tell me which one's which. You're not going to have long to read because we haven't got long to do this speech. Have a go, start reading. Hands up if you think Poem 1 was written by a human. OK, most of you. Hands up if you think Poem 2 was written by a human. Very brave of you, because the first one was written by the human poet William Blake. The second one was written by an algorithm that took all the language from my Facebook feed on one day and then regenerated it algorithmically, according to methods that I'll describe a little bit later on.
But most of you got that right, it's probably a little bit easy. So let's try another test. Again, you haven't got ages to read this, so just trust your gut. Poem 1: A lion roars and a dog barks. Poem 2: Oh! So if you think the first poem was written by a human, put your hand up. And if you think the second poem was written by a human, put your hand up. It was much harder. The answer is, the first poem was generated by an algorithm called Racter, that was created back in the s, and the second poem was written by a guy called Frank O'Hara, who happens to be one of my favorite human poets.
Laughter So what we've just done now is a Turing test for poetry. The Turing test was first proposed by this guy, Alan Turing, in , in order to answer the question, can computers think? Alan Turing believed that if a computer was able to have a to have a text-based conversation with a human, with such proficiency such that the human couldn't tell whether they are talking to a computer or a human, then the computer can be said to have intelligence.
So in , my friend Benjamin Laird and I, we created a Turing test for poetry online. It's called bot or not, and you can go and play it for yourselves. But basically, it's the game we just played.
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You're presented with a poem, you don't know whether it was written by a human or a computer and you have to guess. So thousands and thousands of people have taken this test online, so we have results. And what are the results? Well, Turing said that if a computer could fool a human 30 percent of the time that it was a human, then it passes the Turing test for intelligence.
We have poems on the bot or not database that have fooled 65 percent of human readers into thinking it was written by a human. So, I think we have an answer to our question. According to the logic of the Turing test, can a computer write poetry? Well, yes, absolutely it can. But if you're feeling a little bit uncomfortable with this answer, that's OK. If you're having a bunch of gut reactions to it, that's also okay because this isn't the end of the story.
Let's play our third and final test. Again, you're going to have to read and tell me which you think is human. Poem 1: Red flags the reason for pretty flags. So hands up if you think Poem 1 was written by a human. Whoa, that's a lot more people. So you'd be surprised to find that Poem 1 was written by the very human poet Gertrude Stein.
Now before we go on, let me describe very quickly and simply, how RKCP works. So RKCP is an algorithm designed by Ray Kurzweil, who's a director of engineering at Google and a firm believer in artificial intelligence. So, you give RKCP a source text, it analyzes the source text in order to find out how it uses language, and then it regenerates language that emulates that first text.
So in the poem we just saw before, Poem 2, the one that you all thought was human, it was fed a bunch of poems by a poet called Emily Dickinson and looked at the way she used language, learned the model, and then it regenerated a model according to that same structure. But the important thing to know about RKCP is that it doesn't know the meaning of the words it's using. The language is just raw material, it could be Chinese, it could be in Swedish, it could be the collected language from your Facebook feed for one day.
It's just raw material. And nevertheless, it's able to create a poem that seems more human than Gertrude Stein's poem, and Gertrude Stein is a human. So what we've done here is, more or less, a reverse Turing test. So Gertrude Stein, who's a human, is able to write a poem that fools a majority of human judges into thinking that it was written by a computer. Therefore, according to the logic of the reverse Turing test, Gertrude Stein is a computer.
Laughter Feeling confused? I think that's fair enough. So far we've had humans that write like humans, we have computers that write like computers, we have computers that write like humans, but we also have, perhaps most confusingly, humans that write like computers. So what do we take from all of this?
Do we take that William Blake is somehow more of a human than Gertrude Stein? Or that Gertrude Stein is more of a computer than William Blake? Laughter These are questions I've been asking myself for around two years now, and I don't have any answers. But what I do have are a bunch of insights about our relationship with technology.
So my first insight is that, for some reason, we associate poetry with being human. So that when we ask, "Can a computer write poetry? How do we say who or what can be part of this category? I also believe that Alan Turing understood this, and that when he devised his test back in , he was doing it as a philosophical provocation. So my second insight is that, when we take the Turing test for poetry, we're not really testing the capacity of the computers because poetry-generating algorithms, they're pretty simple and have existed, more or less, since the s.
What we are doing with the Turing test for poetry, rather, is collecting opinions about what constitutes humanness. So, what I've figured out, we've seen this when earlier today, we saw that William Blake is more of a human than Gertrude Stein. Of course, this doesn't mean that William Blake was actually more human or that Gertrude Stein was more of a computer. It simply means that the category of the human is unstable. This has led me to understand that the human is not a cold, hard fact. Rather, it is something that's constructed with our opinions and something that changes over time.
That is to say, the category of the human is unstable. So my final insight is that the computer, more or less, works like a mirror that reflects any idea of a human that we show it. We show it Emily Dickinson, it gives Emily Dickinson back to us. We show it William Blake, that's what it reflects back to us. We show it Gertrude Stein, what we get back is Gertrude Stein.
More than any other bit of technology, the computer is a mirror that reflects any idea of the human we teach it. So I'm sure a lot of you have been hearing a lot about artificial intelligence recently. And much of the conversation is kind of, Can we build it? Can we build an intelligent computer? Can we build a creative computer? What we seem to be asking over and over is can we build a human-like computer?
But what we've seen just now is that the human is not a scientific fact, that it's an ever-shifting, concatenating idea and one that changes over time. So that when we begin to grapple with the ideas of artificial intelligence in the future, we shouldn't only be asking ourselves, "Can we build it? Ma queste sono domande alle quali le persone dedicano tutta la loro vita per rispondere, non un singolo TED Talk. Quindi dobbiamo provare in un altro modo. Qui sopra abbiamo due poesie. Dovrete dirmi quale appartiene all'uno e all'altro. Alzate le mani se pensate che la poesia 1 sia stata scritta da un essere umano.
Ok, la maggior parte di voi. Alzate le mani se pensate che la poesia 2 sia stata scritta da un umano. La maggior parte di voi ha indovinato, forse era troppo facile. Proviamo con un altro test. Poesia 2: Oh! Siete veramente belli! Se pensate che la prima poesia sia stata scritta da un essere umano, alzate la mano. Ok Se pensate che la seconda poesia sia stata scritta da un essere umano, alzate la mano.
Nel io e il mio amico Benjamin Laird abbiamo creato un Turing test on line per la poesia. Si chiama "bot o no", lo puoi vedere e fare per conto tuo. Ti viene mostrata una poesia, tu non sai se sia stata scritta da un essere umano o un computer e devi indovinare.
Centinaia e centinaia di persone hanno fatto questo test on line, di cui abbiamo i risultati. Quali sono i risultati? Quindi abbiamo una risposta alla nostra domanda. Facciamo il terzo e ultimo test. Di nuovo, dovrete leggere e dirmi quale ritenete essere umano. Poesia 1: Bandiere rosse la ragione di belle bandiere. Alzi la mano chi pensa che la poesia 1 sia stata scritta da un essere umano. Alzi la mano chi pensa che la poesia 2 sia stata scritta da un essere umano.
Prima che vada avanti, lasciate che vi descriva brevemente come funziona RKCP. Quindi, si sottopone a RKCP un testo, questo lo analizza per capire come viene usato il linguaggio, e poi ricrea un linguaggio che copia il precedente. La poesia che abbiamo visto prima, la poesia 2, che tutti pensavate fosse umana, ha preso un gruppo di poesie della poetessa Emily Dickinson, ha osservato il modo in cui ha usato il linguaggio, ha imparato il modello, e poi ha ricreato un modello secondo la stessa struttura.
E' solo materiale grezzo. Risate Siete confusi? Mi sembra giusto. Quindi cosa deduciamo da tutto questo? Risate Queste sono domande che mi sono fatto per quasi due anni ormai, e non ho ancora la risposta. Quello che ho sono parecchie idee sulla nostra relazione con la tecnologia. Come facciamo a dire chi o cosa fa parte di questa categoria? Credo anche che Alan Turing lo abbia capito, e quando aveva ideato il suo test nel , stava lanciando una provocazione filosofica. Noi gli mostriamo Emily Dickinson, lui ci restituisce Emily Dickinson.
Noi gli mostriamo William Blake, lui ce lo riflette. Sono sicuro che molti di voi hanno sentito parlare molto di intelligenza artificiale recentemente. E la maggior parte della questione era, Possiamo costruirla? Possiamo costruire un computer intelligente? Possiamo costruire un computer creativo? My name is Maria Sundin, and I'm an astrophysicist.
There are lots of connections between astrophysics and water, but today, I want to tell you about why the Earth has water at all, and that it's not so easy to find another planet if we should mess up this too badly. So I will talk about water on other planets in our Solar System, and the search for planets around other stars. Are there other terrestrial worlds out there? Are there other worlds like our planet? Well, the history of water is It started with the Big Bang. Hydrogen has been around for a long time. Hydrogen is one of the components of water. The other component is oxygen.
We breathe oxygen, and I don't know if you've thought so much about where the oxygen comes from, but oxygen is created in the interior of stars. And when the stars explode, this oxygen is spread into the Universe. On this picture you see an exploding star. Several stars had to explode before our Sun was created. When a star is created, like our Sun - this happened about five billion years ago - there's some extra debris gathering around the star that will form the planets.
Since a few stars had exploded, this debris around what was to become the Sun, had some oxygen in it, and lots of hydrogen, and these elements together are joined to form water. There's quite a lot of water in the Universe, mostly in the form of ice; liquid water is much more uncommon. In the early days of the Earth, the Earth was bombarded by comets. Comets are I believe I've heard that about ten times the amount of water in our oceans today was bombarded on the Earth very early in the history.
We have some bigger planets in our Solar System - Jupiter, Saturn - they are protecting us for the moment from lots of impacts. During the first half billion years of the Earth's existence, it was bombarded continuously with comets. So the water was brought to us by comets and by out-gassing of the material that the Earth was created from. So the water comes from space, and it has come from space in many ways, both in the material that the Earth was created from, but also, it was bombarded by comets.
So we have a very nice planet with liquid water, and that is because it's at the right distance from the Sun, so it's warm enough, and we have an atmosphere, we have air that keeps a nice pressure on the planet, so that we can have big oceans. That's not so easy to find. We also believe that the possibility of having life is very highly connected to having liquid water.
We don't know how life started on the Earth, but we know very much that life is very old. As soon as the planet "calmed down", life started to exist here. I can't tell you if there's other life out in the Universe. If I ever happen to tell anybody that I'm an astronomer, the first question I get is is there life out there? But what I hope we can do rather soon is to tell you something about are there other Earth-like planets out there, where the conditions are the same. Looking at our neighbor Mars, it is today a cold, dry, desert planet. It's smaller than the Earth.
But during the time that life arose on Earth, originated here, Mars was very different. It had a huge ocean on the northern hemisphere. It had an atmosphere. So conditions were rather similar on Mars and on the Earth. Perhaps life started on Mars as well. We don't know that as yet, but the conditions were very similar. If we talk about life in the Universe, people usually want the big spaceship landing right outside there, so we can, you know, try to communicate and stuff. But I would be almost just as intrigued if I'd found a dead bacteria or something very small life-like on Mars, because that could give us the key to the question of whether life originates if you have a place where the conditions are favorable.
The reason why Mars has changed too much is that it's smaller than the Earth. The lesser gravity means that Mars has been unable to keep its atmosphere. So, it's a very low pressure on the surface. If you were to pour out a glass of water on the surface of Mars, it would just evaporate instantly. But there has been lots of water there, and this picture shows an old river delta on Mars.
So just imagine this neighbor planet - it has had oceans, it has had rivers; it's been a very different world. So worlds can change. This means that Mars is not a very good candidate perhaps for life today, because there's no liquid water on the surface, and there's no protecting ozone layer there. Perhaps there could be some very simple life forms below the surface. We might find out, or perhaps they are not there.
But there's one place in our Solar System where liquid water might exist that's not the Earth. It's this small moon. The moon is called Europa. It's one of Jupiter's moons. If you look at Europa, it looks like a big ice ball. Why would you have liquid water out in the outer regions of the Solar System? Well, Jupiter has approximately 60 moons; we have one. If you combine the gravity working on Europa from the big Jupiter - Jupiter is so much bigger than the Earth - and the 60 other moons, you have different forces acting on Europa all the time, heating it.
There's one moon that's even closer to Jupiter that's called Io. It has constant volcanoes because there's so many forces acting on it. Europa is a little bit further from Jupiter, and it looks like a big ice ball with cracks in it. We have had a few probes out there, taking pictures of the surface of Europa. The people who are looking at the ice claim that the surface of Europa, it looks more like the Arctic than the Antarctic. The difference, of course, is that on the Arctic, at the North Pole, you have ice floating on water.
If you look at the Antarctic, you have ice lying on a continent. They say that Europa shows more features that look like ice floating on water. So perhaps, out on this small moon, could be a very… several kilometers thick crust of ice, but there may be a huge subsurface ocean there, and in that case, it's the only other place than the Earth in our Solar System where you have liquid water. The conditions are probably quite similar to the conditions very deep in our own oceans. You have some heat from the interior of the moon. It's dark, of course, but you have liquid water, you have carbon, all the other elements that life is formed from here on the Earth, and you have energy.
So, it's a very interesting place, and I hope that you will have the chance to learn more about it. Several expeditions to this moon are planned. The first thing is to try to find out is there an ocean there. And we'll see if somebody is swimming in it. If we are to leave our own Solar System - I hope we don't have to, actually - in about a billion years, the Sun is constantly increasing its luminosity, its output, its power, so actually, in about a billion years, the Earth will be too hot to have liquid water.
A billion years is a very long time. Human history is quite short, actually. Sometimes when you talk about astronomy, people think that, "Oh, we are so small and insignificant, just living on this very small planet, and having to repress things and not to think about it. But I believe we are quite remarkable. We have a very short history of science, of thinking like that, but we constantly keep asking ourselves those questions: where do we come from?
Why does everything look like it is and what can we do? What are those things shining up there? I don't say that we have all the answers as yet, but at least we know something about the And also, a little bit into the future. I hope that mankind's future will be very long; I sincerely hope so. So we have at least a billion years to solve our problems, but I think it's important to start today, but then we have to travel outwards, perhaps to Mars, perhaps to Europa.
But is there some place else to go to? In , we started to find the first planets around other stars. This is not a photo; this is a drawing by an artist. We can't take any pictures of these other planets as yet. So finding planets around other stars is a fairly new kind of science. About one year ago, we had discovered , which means that we can start to make some statistics.
The fun thing is that we found so many planets that nobody has ever said that there was going to be out there, and the question was really could there be another Earth or is this the only one? There are so many really strange things out there: super Earths, hot Jupiters, ice giants. We are trying to keep up with the nomenclature right now. With new telescopes, during , the number of discovered planets is now exceeding 2,, and we are finally getting some reports on perhaps Earth-sized planets at least.
There actually seems to be quite a good chance of finding ocean planets or water worlds out there, that is planets that have no continents; just very, very deep oceans. You have some variations of these. If you move them a little bit further from their star, you get big icy planets, ice giants. If you move them a little bit towards the stars, you get steam, some kind of sauna planets. I really want to impress upon you that Universe is always stranger than we can imagine, but it is a support of our thinking from a very long time: how common are we and our kind of planet?
I mean, you are students, most of you; you can try to find out this, what's out there. Some of them might be Earth-like also. The problem is that they are very small compared to a star, so they are hard to find. We have some different methods of trying to find them. So far, the Earth-like planets are very few, but I believe that in five years, we will know very much more about this. If we have to leave our home in a billion years, perhaps we will know where to go. Applause Translation - Italian Grazie. Mi chiamo Maria Sundin, e sono un'astrofisica.
Ci sono altri mondi come il nostro pianeta? Bene, la storia dell'acqua risale a E' iniziata col Big Bang. E quando le stelle esplodono, questo ossigeno si sparge nell'Universo. Nella foto vedete una stella esplosa. Parecchie stelle dovettero esplodere prima che fosse creato il nostro sole. Da quando un po' di stelle sono esplose, questi detriti intorno, che avrebbero formato il sole, avevano dell'ossigeno dentro, e molto idrogeno, e questi elementi insieme si sono uniti per formare l'acqua.
Nei primi tempi della terra, essa era bombardata da comete. Le comete sono Durante il primo mezzo miliardo di anni dell'esistenza della terra, era bombardata continuamente dalle comete. Ma durante il periodo in cui la vita nasceva sulla terra, Marte era molto diverso. Aveva un oceano enorme nell'emisfero nordico. Aveva un'atmosfera. Le condizioni su Marte erano simili a quelle sulla terra. Noi non lo sappiamo ancora, ma le condizioni erano molto simili. Se parliamo di vita nell'universo, le persone vorrebbero una grande astronave che atterri qui fuori per poter, sapete, comunicare e via dicendo.
Se dovessi versare un bicchiere d'acqua sulla superficie di Marte, questo evaporerebbe immediatamente. Quindi i pianeti possono cambiare. Forse potrebbero esserci alcune forme di vita sotto la superficie. E' questa piccola luna. La luna si chiama Europa. E' una delle lune di Giove. Se osservi Europa, sembra una grande palla di ghiaccio.
Bene, Giove ha circa 60 lune; noi ne abbiamo una. Abbiamo avuto delle prove di questo, con delle foto alla superficie di Europa. Se guardi l'Antartico, il ghiaccio si trova su un continente. Quindi forse, su questa piccola luna, potrebbe esserci Diverse spedizioni sono programmate verso questa luna. E vedremo se qualcuno ci sta nuotando dentro.
Ma io credo che siamo davvero eccezionali. Abbiamo una storia molto breve di scienza, di pensieri come questo, ma ci facciamo continuamente queste domande: da dove veniamo? Non dico che abbiamo tutte le risposte finora, ma almeno sappiamo qualcosa sui E anche, un po' di futuro.
Nel abbiamo iniziato a trovare i primi pianeti intorno ad altre stelle. Non possiamo ancora scattare foto di questi pianeti. Circa un anno fa ne abbiamo scoperti , che significa che possiamo iniziare a fare qualche statistica. Stiamo cercando di tenerci aggiornati con la terminologia ora. Con i nuovi telescopi, nel , il numero dei pianeti scoperti sta ora superando i , e stiamo finalmente avendo notizie sui pianeti della grandezza della terra. Possono esserci alcune variazioni. Se li sposti verso le stelle, hai del vapore, delle specie di "sauna" pianeti.
Alcuni di loro potrebbero anche essere come la terra. Abbiamo diversi metodi per scoprirli. Se dovessimo lasciare la terra tra un miliardo di anni, forse sapremo dove andare. Applausi English to Italian: Why do we share? Source text - English Good evening everyone; thank you so much, I'm very excited to be here.
Tonight I want to talk a little bit about some reflections that I've had in my three years at YouTube, about why people share online. I want to start by showing you a short video clip of the type of video that I watch every single day. Crashing sounds We're all here in California; the Bay area to be specific. We all know, as much as we may try and deny it, the geographic reality that this particular place on the globe is prone to earthquakes. So, quick poll, quick poll; I want to know how many people think that their first instinct would be to whip out their video camera if there were an earthquake right now?
Laughter Knock on wood, that's not going to happen; OK, a couple. Well, in Japan, on March 11th, hundreds of people shot video footage just like that. At the moment of truth, as the floor was shaking beneath them, the books were falling off the shelves, and waters from the tsunamis were actually rising in their homes, and in their businesses, they thought to themselves, "Let me hit the record button; I want to document this thing that is happening, and share it with the world. Before anything else, these people thought, "I want to share this; I want other people to see what it is that we just went through.
And to really try and find those raw eye-witness videos that everyday citizens, just like you and me, decided to capture. They happened to be in the right place at the right time, when this thing happened. Or the wrong place, depending on how you look at it. But I have to be honest, and say that I don't think I'm one of those people; I don't think that I would put myself in danger, at that type of moment, to capture this experience.
So it makes my job a little bit strange, because my job relies on people doing things that I would never do.
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Like, for example, running into a burning building, with a helmet-cam strapped to my head. There's a lot of firemen on YouTube who do this; you would be amazed. Or putting myself into a war-zone, this video's from Libya, with a flip-cam, to document police brutality, and upload that to YouTube. Or, run across the street as bullets are flying, to film a young woman dying on the sidewalk. This is the iconic "Neda" video from Iran.
The question is, "Why do these people do this? I try to understand, "What are the motivations? What is the psychology of somebody who's willing to risk their life to share an experience like this? I always assumed this was a positive development for media; you have citizen reporters out there, covering events that maybe otherwise wouldn't be covered. But it wasn't until I had a personal experience of my own that I really started to wonder whether this behavior I was promoting was actually unveiling a sort-of darker side of humanity, potentially, rather than a brighter side. I was walking home from work one day, and I saw a police car and police tape blocking off Valencia Street in the Mission, about half a block from where I live.
Immediately, I have this sense of panic that there's something in my apartment building, or something. I asked somebody standing there, "What's going on? My eyes gazed up, along with the rest of the crowd, and I saw a young man, standing at the edge of a ledge of a four-story building about to jump.
Immediately, I felt sick to my stomach. And yet I was filled with this adrenaline. After a couple of seconds of processing what was going on, I thought to myself, "This is the moment; this is when these citizen reporters that I work with would capture this on film and share it! And then I uploaded it to Facebook. He was OK; he didn't jump. I went home, and I just felt really unsettled. I went on Facebook, and I started getting some comments on the wall post, and I took it down. It really made me think, "What is it about me, and this culture, and this culture in which I exist, that inspired me to take that," and put it up and share it?
And I'm going to be the center of their attention for the 30 seconds that they're focused on my post in their news-feed. Then they're going to move on to one of the hundreds of others that have come in in the last two minutes. I want to share a couple of quick stats to show you how ubiquitous this behavior really is.
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Every single minute on YouTube, 35 hours worth of new content is uploaded to the site. In that same minute, years worth of YouTube videos are watched on Facebook. And in that same minute, more than tweets include a YouTube link. Now, in that minute on Facebook, you have almost 83, status updates posted. You have almost , photos. In a day, in , Foursquare had a million check-ins a day. And now, Twitter's latest numbers are million tweets per day. These numbers are astounding, right? I quickly want to walk through three different types of sharing, but I really want to focus on the last one.
The first one is the most obvious, right?