Academic Digital

Nature and the Digital

In the latest Psychologies magazine, there an interesting reference:

Science backs up the positive effects of nature with environmental psychology studies showing a neural effect on the brain. One seminal study in 2008 by the University of Washington, reported in The Journal of Environmental Psychology, compared responses to real and digital images of nature, with the real think producing lower, more relaxed, heart rates.

So I went to look for it:


Download the full article (PDF).


“Inconvenient Truths”

Interesting article:

Modern technology is so powerful that it is tempting to think that “nature” no longer exists. Commentators talk of the “death of nature”: the world is so affected by human action that nature in the sense of the untouched natural world has disappeared. Yet, recent events have reminded us of Horace’s oft-quoted dictum: Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret – “You may drive nature out with a pitchfork, but she will return.” You may cover the Jersey shore in houses, casinos and amusement parks, but see what wind and water together can do to them. Whether Hurricane (or “Superstorm”) Sandy was a by-product of our greenhouse gas emissions, I don’t know – but she was an impressive reminder that human beings are here only with nature’s kind permission.

Read full article


David Attenborough: Life

Last night, at my friends, I actually watched some TV, and this “Creatures from the Deep” from David Attenborough’s Life series was absolutely fascinating (below, a ray eating a soft-shelled crab) – you can see this particular episode on BBC iPlayer for the next 19 days, or purchase the series from Amazon!

rayeatingcrab“‘Life’ will chronicle the extraordinary patterns of animal behaviour and the ends to which animals and plants go in order to survive.

For the first time on television, viewers will be able to see dolphins creating circles of mud to entrap fish, hunting cheetahs collaborating to bring down prey twice their size, killer whales who have learnt to stalk seals and Komodo dragons trailing buffalo.

The series, which took four years to make, will also include epic spectacles such as millions of fruit bats darkening the Zambian sky, dozens of polar bears feasting on a whale and a billion butterflies cloaking a forest in Mexico.

Produced by the BBC Natural History Unit using state of the art filming technology, the show includes strange creatures such as star-nosed moles and stalk-eyed flies “growing” their eyes.

Martha Holmes, the series producer, told The Daily Telegraph: “We have chosen 130 stories from the animal world and the series is incredibly dramatic, with stories that people will identify with.

“Each tale is told from the perspective of the animal. We aren’t just doing broadbrush nature, we are telling individual stories and new behaviour. This is cutting edge evolution. You think you know what cheetahs do – watch this.”

See Telegraph Article.