PT's Take on the Latest Mixed Media

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Virtual Mind Reading

Coming soon to a theater near you

If you think the Mona Lisa's roving gaze is disarming, brace yourself: Tom Cruise and Gwyneth Paltrow may soon be watching and winking at you from the walls of your local movie theater. Interactive movie posters on plasma screens will register how long moviegoers examine an image and how many people are intrigued by the display. The information will then be transmitted to Hollywood studios to aid in future marketing. The posters are the brainchild of Thinking Pictures, a New York-based company that specializes in convergent media.

Interactive signs in airports, taxis, street corners and public restrooms are turning the real world into an "Outernet." Some therapists believe that this digital blitzkrieg may ultimately contribute to a hotly contested disorder, "sensory defensiveness." For a review of a recent book about this disorder by Sharon Heller, Ph.D., turn to page 80.

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Television:

Closer to Truth: Science, Meaning and Future (PBS, beginning April 2003)

Only PBS could give us television like this, a sort of "Charlie Rose Show" for serious science buffs. Host Robert Lawrence Kuhn, Ph.D., brings together prominent scientists, authors and scholars-including PT's own Robert Epstein, Ph.D.-to delve deeply into the hottest topics of science, using the moon's surface as the studio backdrop. The series' 15 half-hour episodes tackle issues from the validity of science fiction to the role of alternative medicine. While some episodes can be sleep inducing, others, such as the one on autism, are riveting. Tito Mukhopadhyay, an autistic teen and published poet, joins a table of neuroscience experts. Although he doesn't speak, Tito reveals the fascinating workings of an autistic mind by writing on a pad of paper, which his mother reads aloud.

Music:

"Getting Through It"

Ilumine Records, $17.20

Time may heal all wounds, but sympathetic words are still welcomed by those suffering a loss. And as Joan Abrahamson discovered, such words grow increasingly powerful when paired with music. After losing her 2-year-old son to an undetected heart virus, Abrahamson joined forces with such artists as Taj Mahal and Eric Clapton to create a soothing collection of songs, scattering between them strong statements from the likes of Lao Tzu and Camus. A consoling album, it avoids being dark and solemn, and is instead contemplative and uplifting in tone.

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