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.
Closer to Truth: Science, Meaning and Future (PBS, beginning April
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.
"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.