24 December 2005

“Hate”

Hate
Spoken word by Vancouver MC Kyprios of Sweatshop Union. Requires Windows Media Player. Worth watching…

22 December 2005

Fell’s Worthwhile Posts of 2005

According to the 80/20 rule, 80% of results will come out of 20% of what we do. Over the past months, there have been some worthwhile posts and thoughts. I generally use this as a log to record any ramblings I might have, to keep in order ideas or thoughts for later use. I use del.icio.us for the same reason. So out of past posts, here are the highlights. Seperating the figurative 20 from the 80.
  1. The Art of Seduction
    This was one of my first posts. The 24 steps in proper seduction. This is not about relationships; this is more like lions hunting gazelle. You wanna get laid, try this out. You want to find a nice someone to date, stop at about Step 9 and leave the rest to fate. These points preface each chapter in The Art of Seduction, by Robert Greene.

  2. Rites of Passage
    Rob Smith over at Gut Rumbles (fun site) wrote a good piece which I posted here about youth in North America and our rites of passage into adulthood. Not youth, like kid youth, but like us in our twenties and thirties. I've read that it's common to look at youth until the age of 30 now. Which makes me twenty-seventeen. It's true, I shouldn't be allowed out in public, really. Good ol' Tim Boucher followed up with some more commentary, which is also quoted in this post.

  3. Casting sigil magic to get laid
    I don't know whether to call the effects that occur after the casting of a sigil as consequential or subsequential. This is a forewarning for those that would cast sigila in an attempt to get laid. Nothing ever comes about as you'd expect. And it's good to know your true intention, not the one your ego tries to make sense of. Goddamned ego.

  4. Libertarianism & Transhumanism
    Good topics. People seem to host a healthy fear towards both, as both represent, as far as I'm concerned, the further liberation from today's restraints that we live with as not just a society, but as an epoch. Unbridled freedom. Which equals unbridled responsibility for oneself and one's actions.

  5. Today's e-mail from a student
    This was from an earlier talk I had with the Witchcraft & Occult Studies class at the University of Alberta. I edited out her name, but it's an interesting read over how the results of playing with magic can shock and awe. The mind makes a consistent effort to not believe, but when results are noticeable, people begin to freak right out. She was a good sport, though!

  6. The spiritual in design
    My first inklings and thoughts about the similarities of the fields of design and magic. I was doing a lot of contemplation on the meaning of the saying, We do not see the world as it is, we see the world as we are.

  7. Concerning the spiritual in art
    Further discussions with Tim Boucher of Pop Occulture aided in the development of ideas that I am still working with regarding occult principles and design practise. While much of it is being logged by me via del.icou.us, and in my head and scribbled in notebooks currently, it will definitely begin to come forth in the following years. I also began to re-enter the works of the Russian-born French painter, Wassily Kandinsky (1886–1944).

  8. The Philosophy of Photoshop
    Further thoughts inspired by great discussions on Pop Occulture, is my continued thoughts on Tim's original analogy comparing raster and vector graphic formats to Aristotle and Plato, respectively.

  9. Psychopathic paradox
    On the access of information and the burgeoning field of information architecture and design, in regards to the potential for further self-awareness through responsibility to oneself. As control over one's perspectives becomes more evolved and apparent in the individual, reality will begin to shutter into a shadow veil of its once (and current) prison-like hold it has on most civilisations. Dreamtime merges with meatspace via open source!

  10. Gender matters
    This raised some eyebrows on Technoccult when I was guest-editing. The little-known Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research program studies the affects of human consciousness over mechanical equipment. Their results show a difference between how male and female consciousness interacts, which I see mirrored in the numerous persons I've come across in the past who've been introduced to the magic and made personal attempts to get involved. Most end in successful early attempts, then fear, followed by their retreat from their subjective selves and back into the social streams from whence they came.

  11. The future of the market, the future of spirituality
    Inspired by Media Nugget and The Cluetrain Manifesto, taking a look at contemporary issues concerning spirituality and religion when look at through the lens of brand design and marketing. This is the essence of where I want to go with a particular venture of mine in the next decade.

  12. Chaos as a "brand in trouble"
    Following on the heels of the previous entry, my embrace of chaos has never been subtle. I live by its tenets, and have pursued them in life. In work, play, relationships, I can appreciate the order, but it's when the fit hits the shan that we are blessed with the opportunity to gauge how we're doing in the game, overall. Not to get into details, but the fact that I haven't pushed someone down the stairs this month is a testament to my ease of eschewing order in favour of change. In no way do I claim to be its master, but as I observe it I learn more about how to communicate its effects to others (better in time, I say).

  13. Photocopier fractals
    What begins as a look at a novelty photocopier trick digresses into an entry on paradigm management. Wow, I just came up with that. Paradigm management. This is why I like this blog, I never take time to think things through until it needs to go down. Paradigm management. These are two words that hold much power for me, as they define something I've been trying to wrap my head around a lot over the past years.

  14. Who peers back at us from beyond
    Like many, until recently I believed that many of what we refer to as occult intelligences or entities were aspects of the deep consciousness of man. That the observer-created universe would allow, through certain occult rites and knowledge, the evocation or invocation of these intelligences, these Deep Ones, as it were. This was a major turning point as I now begin to understand the abstractions of a Beyond. Hard to put into words, but a worthwhile accomplishment through my continued meditations, subjective explorations, and a continuous quest for knowledge — which allows a framework for me to explore my experiences. Knowledge + Experience = Wisdom.

  15. Waiting is another world
    A fun analogy between service industry culture and cults, and how traumatic situations or relationships can build stronger unions among individuals. Families, friends, and any social clique can benefit from overcoming trauma together.

  16. Design couture
    This post received a lot of hits. There is a hierarchy to wisdom and understanding. This is really what the occult is: a deeper and intimate knowledge of something (or nothing, which is the case when you become enlightened). Yves Saint Laurent said, "A designer who is not also a couturier, who hasn't learned the most refined mysteries of physically creating his models, is like a sculptor who gives his drawings to another man, an artisan, to accomplish." The same can be said of any aspect of one's life, no?

  17. Can products have soul?
    Another entry that received noticeable attention. From an interview between Michael Surtees, of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada, and Halifax-based artist Jennifer Romita. Everything is, of course, composed of spirit and we all belong to the Universe — G@d, the Demiurge, a cybernetic function embedded in the holographic structure, Flying Spaghetti Monster, whatever. But what does it mean to have a soul? In an inter-subjective universe, what I observe is just as important (or moot) as what you ascribe yourself. Unless, of course, you've escaped such mortal entrapments.

  18. A wee introduction to cymatics
    Cymatics is cooler than two girls making out. The very vibrational essence underpinning language, music, art… and crop circles? Hans Jenny pioneered this field and it's unfortunately not being pursued by enough people in today's world.

  19. Here be demons
    A look at how to possibly bridge a communications gap existing between the Beyond and the observer-created universe through vacuous, self-evolving virtual environments. If we can build a portal by which to communicate with those on the Other Side, this may be the viable abstraction necessary for its design. Especially if language-learning algorithms can be implemented, which I have posted about elsewhere.

  20. Concerning magical parfums
    A lot of people do not realise not only the importance of the olfactory senses in magical operations, let alone the power they have over us.

  21. Towards a pragmatic occultism
    The beginnings of something that will take a lot of work to fully realise on my part, and understand. William S. Burroughs said, "Nothing exists until or unless it is observed. An artist is making something exist by observing it. And his hope for other people is that they will also make it exist by observing it. I call it 'creative observation.' Creative viewing." Now apply what he said to branding a new service initiative crossing spirituality and the subjective monomyth…

  22. Interview: Tim Boucher of Pop Occulture
    I don't claim to be a good interviewer, but it was fun to do and I have a lot of respect for Tim and what he's accomplishing with his site, Pop Occulture. His dedication is admirable and this gives a more personal look into why and what he does. It's a little long — about a five-minute read — but worthwhile for any of his fans.

  23. John Maeda on experience as beauty
    A short entry by myself on something I read on designer John Maeda's blog. In his quest to study simplicity, there is an inherent poetic beauty akin to a master's wisdom that has come to the brink of beginning to understand Zen, or no-thingness.

  24. NIN's Gnostic "Right Where It Belongs"
    Pointing these lyrics out inspired a lot of people apprehensive about the recent Nine Inch Nails album to take another listen, and with positive results. It's often too easy to write off musicians, but there are definitely a few worth spending the time to look further into. In time I'd like to work on a collection and edit it with some DJ and engineer friends of mine, including the likes of k-os, Sweatshop Union, and Tool.

  25. Do you belong to a secret?
    By how do we define our tribal selves? Some elements, like Hollywood films, use such cultural touchstones so ubiquitously as to rend them trite. I remember when punk was fucking punk. Now every teenie-bopper suburban whore has piercings and coloured hair. The faux-hawk came and went, adorning the scalp of every under-educated Rohypnol-bearing date rape jock asshole this side of the hockey rink. Designers must take into account the symbolism and fashion of cultures and their subsequent subcultures. And is possible to engineer the birth of certain symbols and semiotics? A marketer's wet dream, surely. As it is that of a magician, too.

  26. A Metaphysics of Human Interface
    A little ditty I wrote for a design publication in the United States, which explains the theory behind sigila and their construction. And sorta why they work. Never published due to it being out to leftfield of the intended theme of the particular issue I wrote it for.

  27. The mirror as powerful tool
    I do not believe this entry is fully complete, but I brought to light some of the powerful techniques that individuals can learn. By utilising a mirror, one can explore extremely potent results for use in visualisation, paradigm shifting, and even access to the Dreamtime. I even find these exercises can be used to accomplish similar feats of mind as mantras are engineered for: occupying the surface thoughts, allowing one's lucid consciousness to drift beneath that cacophony into a subtler realm.

  28. "Romantic Death"
    This song from The Sun is not only catchy, but the video presents some awesome footage from the Beautiful Agony project of a number of person's faces over the course of self-stimulation and eventual orgasmic climax. I think it's an absolutely beautiful piece. Most people don't watch it just once. Score one point for sexual liberation in the West. Fuck you, Catholicism.

  29. An Introduction to the fascinating patterns of Visual Math
    The last entry worth perusing from 2005 is that of straight-up, pure beauty: that which nature Herself creates. Some of the included visualisations include Platonic geometry, iterative and natural fractals, minimal surfaces, the Golden Mean, the Mandelbrot set, and more. Look in awe, then lay down Her vengeance on your local non-Kyoto Protocol-abiding corporation by joining your local Earth Liberation Front (ELF) chapter.

Thanks to those that stop by and check out this blog and sites in the community such as listed in the Occult section of the blogroll, notably Alchemical Braindamage, Corpus Mmothra, Channel Null, kylark, dunneIV, Father Jordan Stratford+, Gnostic Friends Network, The Huge Entity, LVX23 and madghoul from Key 23, Mind Hacks, Tim Boucher, Technoccult, and everyone else! Together we'll continue to explore the occult online and look forward to its exciting evolution in the course of the Age of Information.

18 December 2005

Take a look at what you are

Scott Ginsberg began wearing a nametag every day in college as an experiment, to see if it would make people friendlier. Now, 1,863 days later, he has learned some important lessons on building a brand. He shared five tips to make your brand approachable:

Tip #1. Do something cool
"In my years of wearing a nametag, people say, 'Scott, that's the coolest thing I ever heard.' They tell other people about it," Scott says. "When you have a product or company that's 'cool,' people can't keep it to themselves. Try to understand the "cool" things that you like, then look for the commonalities between them to discover your own brand of cool."

Tip # 2. Be "That Guy"
In Scott's first six months wearing a nametag, he learned that people didn't just call him by first name. He was always "That Guy with the Nametag" and it has become part of who he is -- his own personal brand.

People enjoy dealing with "That Guy" because he's memorable. What guy are you? Consider this:
  • Every time I [blank], it makes people stop, listen, and say "WOW!"

  • People always remember me for [blank].

  • I'm probably the only person you'll ever meet who will [blank].

Tip #3. Fans, not customers
Fans stick with you even if you do something bad. They'll go to the ends of the earth to find your product. And they don't need to be sold to.

"A customer is someone who comes to a store to buy a lamp and never comes back," Scott explains. "Fans crave experiences unlike any others." Think about how to give them the experiences they crave.

Tip #4. Own a word
Scott recently got a call from an editor at Cosmopolitan magazine who was writing about approachability. After searching on Amazon, Scott was the only author she found. "I own the word 'approachability,'" he says.

To discover the word you own, consider this:
  • If you looked up [blank] in the dictionary, you'd see a picture of my company.

  • If I was about to give a speech to 10,000 people and one of the audience members came backstage and asked what my speech was about, I'd probably say, [blank].

Tip #5. Market yourself daily
By wearing a nametag, Scott is marketing himself every day. And it's working: "I ran into a guy I went to high school with, and he said he was just reading about me. Where? In Ripley's Believe It or Not."

Scott's career as speaker and author took off thanks to a conversation he had with a guy on a bus about the nametag thing. The guy was the boyfriend of a reporter … and the rest is history.

More about Scott:
Hello, My name is BLOG
Book
More about Scott's quiz in Cosmo
Bio

via the Word of Mouth Marketing Association

17 December 2005

Tessellations of Seth Fisher

Reading the December/January issue of Exclaim!, I came across Seth Fisher, who's noted as being one of the past year's most important comic artists. Checking Fisher's site, I came across his unique work and a page of tessellations he's done, link.

13 December 2005

Further tessellation and spidron info

For anyone out there that found the origami tessellations and spidrons interesting from my November post can check out the further explorations of pertinent links over on dataisnature. I am often too busy to really go into as much detail as I'd like.

And peruse dataisnature, it's one I keep my eye on weekly.

Evolution of the alphabet

Click to watch this animation of the evolution of the alphabet!

11 December 2005

Le parkour

Le parkour (also called Parkour, PK) is a physical discipline of French origin, in which participants attempt to pass obstacles in a smooth and rapid manner.

Parkour is said to be L'art du Deplacement, or the Art of Displacement, consisting of uninterrupted forward motion over, under, around and through obstacles (both man-made and natural) in one's environment. Such movement may come in the form of running, jumping, climbing and other more complicated techniques. The goal of the practice of parkour is to be able to adapt one's movement to any given situation so that any obstacle can be overcome with the human body's abilities.

According to founder David Belle, the "spirit" of parkour is guided in part by the notions of "escape" and "reach"; that is, the idea of using physical agility and quick thinking to get out of difficult situations, and to be able to go anywhere that one desires. However, fluidity and beauty are also important considerations; for example, Sébastien Foucan speaks of being "fluid like water," a frequently used metaphor for the smooth passage of barriers through the use of parkour. Similarly, experienced traceur Jerome Ben Aoues explains in the documentary Jump London that:
The most important thing really is the harmony between you and the obstacle; the movement has to be elegant. … If you manage to pass over the fence elegantly - that's beautiful, rather than saying ‘I jumped the lot.’ What's the point in that?
To some people (particularly non-practitioners), parkour is an extreme sport, to others a discipline more comparable to martial arts. Still others see it as an art form akin to dance: a way to encapsulate human movement in its most beautiful form. Parkour is often connected with the idea of freedom, in the form of the ability to overcome aspects of one's surroundings that tend to confine - for example, railings, staircases, or walls. The practice of parkour requires considerable physical and mental dedication, and many adherents describe it as a "way of life."

Check out this clip of David Belle from Luc Besson's Banlieue 13.

To continue reading the above entry, check out Wikipedia, or do a video search online.

10 December 2005

Upcoming new Peter J. Carroll book

From Specularium, his website on the physics of three-dimensional time. I am looking forward to this!
After a decade of research a fourth book, probably a final magnum opus, begins to reveal itself, provisionally titled:

The Apophenion, - chaos magic, sex and death.

Provisional overview of contents:

Part 1, Apophis. Nothing 'is' true. Death. Destruction. Logos. Unravelling the illusions of being and self.

Part 2, Apophenia. Everything 'is' permitted. Sex. Creation. Mythos. Creating more effective illusions. The unconscious-superconscious equivalence.

Part 3, Liber AAA. Chaos Magic. Apophusis, Apophasis, and Apoptosis in General Metadynanics. How magic exploits the hidden structure of the quantum microcosm and the cosmological macrocosm. Ouroborous.

Inspired in part by the Eight Weeks, I've found my Muse, and I'm pregnant, and its exhausting. Gestation time at least a year, maybe two, but its coming.

Pete.

I like how a lot of people bitch and whine about Nothing is true not making much sense, though who said it was supposed to. Here I think Carroll sums it up proper:

Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.

Just think on it for a bit.

06 December 2005

Do you hate consumer culture?

If we all hate consumerism, how come we can’t stop shopping?

Angry about all that packaging? Irritated by all those commercials? Worried about the quality of the “mental environment”? Well, join the club. Anti-consumerism has become one of the most important cultural forces in millennial North American life, across every social class and demographic.

This might seem at odds with the economic facts of the 1990s — a decade that gave us the “extreme shopping” channel, the dot-com bubble, and an absurd orgy of indulgence in ever more luxurious consumer goods. But look at the non-fiction bestseller lists. For years they’ve been dominated by books that are deeply critical of consumerism: No Logo, Culture Jam, Luxury Fever and Fast Food Nation. You can now buy Adbusters at your neighbourhood music or clothing store. Two of the most popular and critically successful films in recent memory were Fight Club and American Beauty, which offer almost identical indictments of modern consumer society.

What can we conclude from all this? For one thing, the market obviously does an extremely good job at responding to consumer demand for anti-consumerist products and literature. But isn’t that a contradiction? Doesn’t it suggest that we are in the grip of some massive, society-wide, bipolar disorder? How can we all denounce consumerism, and yet still find ourselves living in a consumer society?

The answer is simple. What we see in films like American Beauty and Fight Club is not actually a critique of consumerism; it’s merely a restatement of the “critique of mass society” that has been around since the 1950s. The two are not the same. In fact, the critique of mass society has been one of the most powerful forces driving consumerism for more than 40 years.

That last sentence is worth reading again. The idea is so foreign, so completely the opposite of what we are used to being told, that many people simply can’t get their head around it. It is a position that Thomas Frank, editor of The Baffler, has been trying to communicate for years. Strangely, all the authors of anti-consumerism books have read Frank — most even cite him approvingly — and yet not one of them seems to get the point. So here is Frank’s claim, simply put: books like No Logo, magazines like Adbusters, and movies like American Beauty do not undermine consumerism; they reinforce it.

This isn’t because the authors, directors or editors are hypocrites. It’s because they’ve failed to understand the true nature of consumer society.

Continue reading, via THIS Magazine.

Disappeared in America

via Information Aesthetics
Taking a cue from an election speech, this Disappeared in America animation outlines the regions where mass detentions were carried out after 9/11. This map is built off a database that viewers can update.

05 December 2005

Calendar featuring erotic scenes from the Bible

My buddy Geoff passed this along to me this afternoon:—

A German Protestant youth group has put together a 2006 calendar illustrated with erotic scenes from the Bible. The 12 re-enacted passages feature a bare-breasted Delilah cutting Samson's hair and a nude Eve offering an apple. The Nuremberg-based group said they wanted to represent the Bible in a way that would entice young people.

http://www.bibelkalender.de/ or the English article on the BBC

Video game unlocks orgasm secrets

via canada.com
Lapis, the blue-hued main character of a prototype video game by Montréal's Heather Kelley, a designer with Ubisoft, wants to help women take a "magical pet adventure" to their "happy place."

The prototype teaches how to reach orgasm by simulating the affect of pleasurable sensation on the cartoon. Players tickle, touch, tap, and stroke Lapis using the touch screen of the Nintendo DS, a hand-held video game device. They can also talk, sing and blow on the bunny's fur using the device's built-in microphone.

Download the demo here.

Plush Cthulhu Slippers

via Boing Boing à la Wonderland
Based on H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu stories. The Cthulhu Plush Slippers are made of quality fabric and your feet will never be warmer than when they're tucked cozily inside a cute pair of demons. Link

03 December 2005

Golden Dawn Practitioners game card

Originally from Channel Null, but it made me giggle again today so I needed to post it! Who are these bozos? And what's stopping me from pushing them down the stairs?

“A rose by any other name”

What’s in a name? That which we call a Rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.

Shakespeare’s Juliet asked, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.” It’s obvious that Juliet never worked in a large, complex, political organization!

We need to understand that names, labels, and titles really do matter. They provide structure and clarity in most companies, a common language for investors and industry analysts and a mental framework for customers. I’ve seen terminology limit roles and responsibilities and carve up budgets. So despite its simplicity, a very important question is “How does your organization and/or culture define __________?”

for later reference, adapted from here: link

An Introduction to the fascinating patterns of Visual Math

Masonic Mural at California Grand Lodge, based on the Golden Proportion
Many thanks to chressie for pointing this out to me. What I absolutely adore about mathematical visualisation is that, like any symbolism, you can apply it to one's life, society, whatever. This is what the occult does, it's a poetry by which we can ellicit new meaning and contexts by which to live and experience the story. But because these visualisations are rooted in nature, the very fabric of how the universe operates, when you apply them to other aspects of one's subjective view really natural and orderly comforts arise, for me at least.

Link to patterns of Visual Math

Too many people forget that their point of view is just that, theirs, and that if they could remember to, daily, spend just a moment looking at the world from another angle, they'd be a helluva lot better off. Math lets you glimpse through the eyes of nature. Practice is good, and the more you try to apply symbols, such as these, to history, sociology, your own psychology, commerce, whatever, the more you exercise that ability to look at the universe with subtle, occult eyes. I have the utmost respect for those that are learned in thinking in math.

And ultimately, you work towards being able to truly see and relate everything back to One. One point, one existence. Outside of time. Outside of language. Just One.

Only a very few ever get to see the world as Nothing, No Thing, Ain Soph, and whatever lies beyond.

Learn to experience the relativity of symbols to every aspect of life, and your mind will grow. Just don't go the path of the late Vancouver magician, Frater Achad, and lose your grounding in your own here and now, your own personal monomyth.

EDIT — Forgot I had this tagged from before: Sacred Geometry Home Page, with some really cool copy to peruse. :-)

02 December 2005

Best. Toy. Ever.

Mark, Carmen, and Jeremy got me some toy figurines for my birthday this past week, one of which was a My Little Pony, and I just found a picture of my favourite online. The packaging is all in Japanese, some toy line called TinyKid's Creation. I found some more on the Japanese version of Amazon and there are more at the store where they found it, but none that matches the unbridled awesomeness that is this figurine.

It's a manga girl with huge tits, shocked to find an octopus embracing her groin. Or fucking her. Like I said, Best. Toy. Ever.

Origami tessellations

Check this link out for more incredibly beautiful and what appear to be complex tessellations, these fractal-like patterns. There are also many more origami links from the following:

www.origamitessellations.com

And this one dealing with spidrons (pictured above), described as "a planar figure consisting of two alternating sequences of isosceles triangles which, once it is folded along the edges, exhibits extraordinary spatial properties." Check them out:

www.szinhaz.hu/edan/SpidroNew/

01 December 2005

Self-injury

Not to glamorise this, but I've always found it just fucking fascinating that people "injure" themselves. I suppose relatively speaking this is self-injury, but then again as I've known and dated quite a few persons to have cut and burned their own bodies (to some frightening degrees, mind you), the traits always seem to be associated with the characteristics of the so-called Outsider as purported in Colin Wilson's fantabulous text, The Outsider. Creative, isolated in perspective, and very often of a high intelligence (whatever that means, but they are smart folk).

Not only does self-injury — we just call them "cutters" — have its own domain, self-injury.net, but someone has begun cataloguing celebrity cutters. The list includes the dark creative geniuses of Hollywood, music, and abroad, such as:
  • Fiona Apple

  • Drew Barrymore

  • Brody Dalle, The Distillers

  • Johnny Depp

  • Richey Edwards, Manic Street Preachers

  • Colin Farrell

  • Angelina Jolie

  • Courtney Love

  • Marilyn Manson

  • Shirley Manson, Garbage

  • Princess Diana

  • Christina Ricci

  • Amy Studt

  • Sid Vicious

  • Elizabeth Wurtzel

Back in high school my English teacher gave me shit for having burned what I thought were markings into my face, around my eye in particular. I used a heated knife to do it. For no other reason than aesthetic. But with my friends and loved ones over time, from the burning of spirals and other glyphs unto the skin to the massive cutting and pools of blood that were left behind, depending on the friend, it always seemed to be more exploratory of the carnal host. That we hurt ourselves to know that we can feel, and I know I used to have extensive conversations about this stuff with one friend in particular who said she did it to release, to feel, something inside, a deep swelling of something that bore no relativity to our objective world(s).

Which reminds me of this quote from Varieties of Religious Experiences, by William James:
Recent psychology … speaks of the threshold of man’s consciousness in general to indicate the amount of noise, pressure, or other outer stimulus which it takes to arouse his attention at all. One with a high threshold will doze through an amount of racket by which one with a low threshold would be immediately waked. … And so we might speak of a ‘pain threshold,’ a ‘fear threshold,’ a ‘misery threshold,’ and find it quickly overpassed by the consciousness of some individuals, but lying too high in others to be often reached by their consciousness. The sanguine and healthy minded habitually live on the sunny side of their misery line; the depressed and melancholy live beyond it, in darkness and apprehension.

Does it not appear as if one who lived habitually on one side of the pain threshold might need a different sort of religion from one who habitually lived on the other?

This may be one of the reasons I turned to the occult when I was a youth. It was never for image, but to find something. I've been led my whole life to find answers to questions I've never been able to ask, and am only now beginning to be able to structure. That's saying a lot after countless — countless — hours, high and sober, talking and debating and sharing with people like Kirsten and Tara and Jason D. and Jason B. and Harley, and many others over the years. I obviously didn't find the right answers in time for some, though it's also not my responsibility, but I'd like to be able to bring forth as much as I can on this short journey I've been granted.

29 November 2005

A pray for today

The young Dublin partnership Bates Maher has created a series of of timber hermitages, known as poustiniae. Commissioned, at a budget of €500,000, by the architecturally enlightened Father Pierce of the Rosminian Order, to provide serene spaces for those not keen on the more communal experience available at the Order's main house, Glencomeragh, which is close by.

scanned article from Wallpaper*

Hauntings, design of non-visual architecture

Haunt is a project using humidity, temperatures and electromagnetic and sonic frequencies that parapsychologists have associated with haunted spaces, this project aims at building an environment that feels "haunted": a non-visual architecture. […]

The objective of the experiment was to determine whether infrasonic frequencies and magnetic field fluctuations similar to those found in supposedly "haunted" spaces can elicit physiological or psychological effects similar to those experienced in "hauntings". During participation galvanic skin response of the participants was measured and they were required to note down any unusual phenomena they experienced, marking where these occured on a map of the room, and at what time. Each session lasted approximately 50 minutes. Participants were randomly placed in one of 4 groups though they were not informed of their group until the end of the experiment: those subjected to infrasound, those subjected to magnetic fields, those subjected to both and those subjected to neither.

Responses from participants included a "sense of presence", "chills on the spine", "uneasiness in a particular part of the room", "dizziness", "glowing ball" hallucinations, seeing flies in the chamber, auditory hallucination of somebody coughing in various parts of the chamber and sensations of mist; though it is not clear yet what the causal relationship is since some of these sensations were reported in the chamber when neither the infrasonic nor the magnetic field equipment was switched on. Statistics are currently being carried out on the data and will not be fully known until the end of November 2005. As expected, it appears that belief plays an important role in eliciting "haunt" sensations.

continued

Scared Sacred

In a world teetering on the edge of self-destruction, award-winning filmmaker Velcrow Ripper sets out on a unique pilgrimage. Visiting the 'Ground Zeros' of the planet, he asks if it's possible to find hope in the darkest moments of human history.

Ripper travels to the minefields of Cambodia; war-torn Afghanistan; the toxic wasteland of Bhopal; post-9/11 New York; Bosnia; Hiroshima; Israel and Palestine. This powerful documentary captures his five-year odyssey to discover if humanity can transform the 'scared' into the 'sacred'.

Deep in the jungles of Cambodia, Ripper meets Aki Ra, a child soldier forced to lay landmines for the Khmer Rouge. Today Aki wanders his ravaged country with a simple wooden stick, decommissioning thousands of mines each year. In the shattered land of Afghanistan, Ripper searches for a Sufi musician who was banned from performing or even listening to music, by the reign of fundamentalism. The musician discovered a way out: he filled his house with songbirds. In each Ground Zero, he unearths unforgettable stories of survival, of ritual, resilience and recovery.

Scared Sacred deftly weaves together stunning footage with haunting memories, inspirational stories, and an evocative soundscape. Featuring an engaging, first-person narrative, this film is an exquisite portrait of a search for meaning in times of turmoil, a luminous gift to a world in shadows.

www.scaredsacred.org

For anyone living in Edmonton, there will be a screening at 19:00 this Friday, 2 December 2005, in the Centennial Room at the Stanley A. Milner Library. Call the National Film Board for more information, (780) 434-9236, or for purchasing information.

Please check here for screenings across Canada, as well as Reykjavík and New Orleans.

Aerial signposts point to Scientology’s sacred text storage facility

via Boing Boing
There are symbols in northern New Mexico that mark a Church of Scientology vault built in a mountainside. The facility contains founder L. Ron Hubbard's writings etched into stainless steel tablets that are stored in titanium capsules. The Church of Scientology apparently asked Albuquerque TV station KRQE not to air its report last week about the markings in the desert. From the Washington Post:
The church offered a tour of the underground facility if KRQE would kill the piece, the station said in its newscast. Scientology also called KRQE's owner, Emmis Communications, and "sought the help of a powerful New Mexican lawmaker" to lobby against airing the piece, the station reported on its Web site...

What do the markings mean? For starters, the interlocking circles and diamonds match the logo of the Church of Spiritual Technology, which had the vault constructed in a mesa in the late 1980s. The $2.5 million construction job was done by Denman and Associates of Santa Fe, but company Vice President Sally Butler said of the circles, "If there is anything like that out there, it had nothing to do with us."

Perhaps the signs are just a proud expression of the Scientology brand. But there are other, more intriguing theories.

Former Scientologists familiar with Hubbard's teachings on reincarnation say the symbol marks a "return point" so loyal staff members know where they can find the founder's works when they travel here in the future from other places in the universe.

Link to Washington Post article, Link to .wmv of a KRQE follow-up story

UPDATE — BB reader Tim Pozar points us to the Google Satellite Maps image of the symbols. Link

UPDATE — And from Matt Pierce, a link to an even more striking image from Terraserver. Link

The Family Circus meets Cthulhu

via Boing Boing
Joey Devilla found a trove of Family Circus cartoons mashed up with captions from HP Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos. Link

28 November 2005

America, Canada’s news gift to you

I figure it's the least we can do, since we get a some American people passing by this humble blog. Anyone coming here living abroad may interested to take a quick look at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's news show, The Hour, which broadcasts on CBC Newsworld. I know not everyone down in the U.S. watches that funny nut, Bill O'Reilly, but we're familiar enough with American media up here that I think it might be really refreshing for any Americans (or anywhere, for that matter) to take a look at news in a wholly different fashion.

The Hour's Video Archive

Please, take a few minutes and check out The Hour, which supports both QuickTime and Windows Media Player. From Chuck Palahniuk to assisted suicide to marijuana laws. We even take the wee occasional look at the United States.

A Shocking Look Inside Chinese Fur Farms

This has little to do with occultism or design, but I don't particularly keep the most stringent focus on this site.

The globalization of the fur trade has made it impossible to know where fur products come from. Skins move through international auction houses and are purchased and distributed to manufacturers around the world, and finished goods are often exported. China supplies more than half of the finished fur garments imported for sale in the United States. Even if a fur garment's label says it was made in a European country, the animals were likely raised and slaughtered elsewhere—possibly on an unregulated Chinese fur farm.

WARNING — This is to encourage people to learn and do something. It is not easy to read nor watch, but important because of such.

Watch the video
Hanging by the neck from a wire noose, water is poured down their throat through a hose until they drown. Many are skinned while still alive.

This is just one of the horrific scenes captured on video by investigators from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) as they infiltrated the cat and dog fur industry in China, Thailand and the Philippines. Cats and dogs that were once someone's pets, rounded up, transported in sacks and crates. Some are held in dingy, dark unheated buildings during the bitter winter of northern China, often without food or water.

The 18-month undercover investigation discovered that the trade in cat and dog fur is far bigger than was ever previously believed - the HSUS has revealed that more than 2 million of these domestic animals are abused and killed by the international fur trade each year. And this sick trade isn't just something that happens in far off lands - at least one company in Britain recently traded openly in the furs of these animals. […]

These animals end up as gloves, coats, hats or fur trim; their skins are used in the production of drums and other musical instruments. […]

In the US, fur products being sold for less than $150 are not required to be labelled, and conveniently for the fur trade, many items made with cat and dog fur are sold for less than $150 so are not labelled.

A Shocking Look Inside Chinese Fur Farms
Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade
PETA UK

25 November 2005

Number Spiral

via Information Aesthetics
Click for larger number spiralOut of the chaos comes a beautiful, sometimes undefinable order. Number Spiral is a website that documents and illustrates the concept of the same name: "A ribbon with non-negative integers placed along a ribbon which is rolled up with zero at its center. When all the prime numbers are highlighted, specific visual patterns (odd curves) seem to emerge."

I really wish I would have learned more math in my younger years. Though, it's never too late to learn. Anyon have any good introductory book suggestions?

Steven Pinker on Jews and genetics

via the TED Blog
What to make of recent research positing that 'selective breeding' over the last two milennia has resulted in superior intelligence (and rare genetic diseases) among Ashkenazi — or Eastern European — Jews? The unpublished study has been backed up, shot down and certainly hyped. If you're looking for insight — and you're in New York — you're in luck. Steven Pinker (who shies not from controversy) will give his take in a Dec. 1st lecture titled Jews, Genes and Intelligence. Another TED veteran, Noah Feldman, will moderate. And we'll report back.

24 November 2005

Brief typographic analysis of political campaign material

Pentagram's Paula Scher took a brief look at material put out by the Bush and Kerry campaigns and illustrates some of the points — from a design perspective — of how propaganda and communications can be affected by the use of type. I believe this was from a New York Times piece from last year.

Thank you, U of A

To the 180 or so students that listened to me ramble on between Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, I just wanted to say thank you for listening. I was most likely more coherent for the Wednesday evening lecture as I was feeling not as ill I've been. Please feel free to e-mail with any further questions or post any results from the experiments I gave you to try.

And many thanks to Joanne Wotypka, for every time I speak to one of her classes it allows me to further gauge what areas I need to focus on and which are applicable. I know my speaks are often a chaotic melange of references, from one thing to another, as my thoughts web out in my head. I've never been one to think straight. But this helps as I can further refine better ways to teach these subjects in quicker amounts of time, and hopefully find more media to make use of, too.

Peace.

21 November 2005

Eyeball technologies

Going over Future Feeder led me to three posts about technologies dealing with ye ol' eyeball:—

Alex Waibel’s “translations goggles” displays virtual subtitles.
Stan Jou’s translator captures electrical signals from facial muscles translating silent mouthing of one language to speech or writing in another.

via PittsburghLIVE | NS

The prosthetic telescope, by VisionCare, is permanently implanted into one eye in patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) to reduce the ‘blind spot’, drastically improving vision (in over 200 patients in the phase 1 study).

via Medgadget | Israel21c

The Sarnoff Corporation’s new Iris on the Move™ uses infrared LEDs and an algorithm that isolates one’s iris for biometric identification (2048-bit code) on moving subjects. The device, similar in shape to a metal detector, only requires subjects to look forward while walking to scan at speeds up to 20 IDs per minute.

via NS

R. Buckminster Fuller’s “Synergetics”

Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking, by R. Buckminster Fuller, has been transcribed in its entirety online.

Recovering thinker

This bit has been getting the rounds on the GDC listserv and seems to ring true with a lot of people, whether it's a designer or philosopher. Though, I'd like to note, I am ambivalent towards the NDP, as they usually receive my sympathy vote. The Tories still scare me and the Liberals are cunts, in public now even. Anyhow, here we are:
Hi, my name is Bob, and I am a recovering thinker…

It started out innocently enough: I began thinking at parties now and then to loosen up. Inevitably though, one thought led to another and soon I was more than just a social thinker. I began to think alone, "…to relax…" I told myself, but I knew it wasn't true.

Thinking became more and more important, and finally I was thinking all the time. I even thought on the job. I knew thinking and employment didn't mix, but I couldn't stop. I began avoiding friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau and Kafka. I returned to the office dizzied and confused, asking, "What exactly are we doing here?"

Things weren't great at home either. One evening I turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life — she spent the night at her mother's.

I soon had a reputation as a heavy thinker. One day the boss called me in and said, "Bob, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking is a real problem. If you don't stop thinking on the job, I'll have to let you go." This gave me a lot to think about.

I went home early after my conversation with the boss. "Honey," I confessed, "I've been thinking…" "I know you've been thinking," she said, "and I want a divorce." "But Honey, surely it's not that serious." "It is serious," she said, lower lip quivering. "You think as much as college professors, and college professors don't make any money, so if you keep on thinking we won't have any money!" "That's faulty syllogism," I said impatiently, and she began to cry. I'd had enough.

"I'm going to the library," I snarled and stomped out the door. I headed to the library in the mood for Nietzsche, roared into the parking lot, and ran up to the big glass doors… they didn't open. The library was closed. To this day I believe the Higher Power was looking out for me that night. As I sank to the ground clawing at the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye. The words "Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?" stood out in large letters. You may recognize the line: it comes from the standard issue "Thinkers Anonymous" poster.

Today, I am a recovering thinker. I never miss a TA meeting. At each meeting we watch a non-educational video — last week it was Porky's. Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting. I still have my job and things are a lot better at home. Life just got easier, somehow, once I stopped thinking.

Soon, I'll be able to vote NDP again.

18 November 2005

Unreality TV

via Boing Boing
The Independent reports on a new reality TV show — in top secret production since March — that will trick nine clueless victims into thinking they've travelled into space. It'll be filmed live starting in December.

Issues that will be explained to them include the fact they will not be weightless in near space and that, like Sir Richard Branson's space-tourist shuttles, their craft will take off horizontally rather than vertically. A Russian fitness trainer will also take them through their physical paces.

The shuttle itself has been built using a set from the film Space Cowboys, starring Clint Eastwood, which was made from a NASA blueprint. It consists of three sections — a cockpit, a mid-deck where they will they eat and sleep, and a laboratory, where the team will carry out experiments — some of them authentic, others slightly more wacky.

The cockpit has four windows, which are in reality giant digital screens using graphics three times the resolution of high definition television and better than the visual effects used in The Matrix, capable of recreating hurricanes over Mexico.

17 November 2005

“Romantic Death”


Not quite safe for work, if you work in North America.

Brandi and Danielle look like NIN sluts

Last night at the Nine Inch Nails concert (review, Edmonton Journal), I was drawn in by the stage presence of the band and the way they used light and smoke to create these dramatic effects around the band members. Not only were they one of the best bands I’ve had the fortune of seeing live, but they sounded better than any, too. Trent has reserved himself a place in rock n roll heaven, as far as I’m concerned. Too bad the sound was shit for Death from Above 1979, as they’re a fantastic band.

And then after the show, Trent Reznor’s “personal trainer,” Gino, picked up Brandi and Danielle and took them backstage. Though, if I were in a band, I’d take those two backstage, too. Not willing to sleep around however, they took off and hung out with Death from Above 1979 at the Black Dog, on Whyte.

Jeremy and I were just down the street admiring their tour buses outside of The Met. I want some dirty stories for your wedding, Brandi.

And as I ran into a load of persons I knew there and some that read this, so Hello to those of you that do, like Dana, Trina, Victoria, Jarvis, Dallas (saw you rocking out in your private box), and my dear Seana: you poor girl — I hope you heal from that, uhh… little spill you took (“one drink” my ass).

14 November 2005

Contract Law Contest! Win $200!

CONTRACT LAW CONTEST

Calling all barristers, solicitors and lawyers to be. Here's your chance to expand your resume and make your mark on the lululemon line of legal documents. We are looking for both contract and agreement submissions for all of the following items:
  1. Supplier contracts

  2. Employee agreements

  3. Liability contracts

  4. Litigation initiation

  5. Salary negotiation

  6. Vendor agreements

Each document should focus on the following:
  • Combining legalese with everyday yuppie language

  • Include our logo and name. This can be subtly ingrained in the documents' fine print

  • Justifying the 800% markup on our Olympic sponsored products for yoga, circus, tai chi, pilates and cross training to offset future lawsuits

  • For vendor agreements, focus on dismissing the validity of their profession by grouping amateurs and professionals together to maximize the balance of cost vs services — preferably to as close to zero as possible. (i.e. pit a professional against a grade school student and mine their ideas for free.)

Your work will be evaluated on the following criteria:
  1. Simplicity — is not overly difficult to steal and call our own

  2. The document has to be shown on an actual piece of paper so we can see placement and size of the paragraphs in relation to the paper (being lawyers, we felt it necessary to point this out)

  3. Use of verbage, new way of screwing people over, or a combination of techniques (conniving, swindling, professional hypocrisy, defrauding, scamming)

If we use your document you will receive a $200 cash reward in addition to having your work come to life on a lululemon contract.

All entries must be submitted by December 1, 2005 to Community Relations at the SSC, attention: Jaclyn Josephson.

Jaclyn Josephson
lululemon athletica
community relations coordinator
604.732.6124 ext. 244
www.lululemon.com




Now of course you're sitting there saying, WTF? This isn't real. Of course it's not. Christina Peressini wrote this in response to something equally baffling and it's being circulated on the GDC listserv currently, to much glee: Vancouver-based retailer, lululemon, put up a contest for whoo! $200, and hope to waste many people's time without any direct consultation with the client. And it's not the first time the GDC has made a stand about this. The Vancouver Olympic committe held something similar, link. (Here is one reply, from Madhouse Creative, although many designers did obviously enter the competition.)

The Olympics have since agreed to work with the president of the GDC, Peggy Cady; link:
The president of the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada says that the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee has agreed to a process that will let the GDC 'influence' the future course of Olympic design competitions.

Peggy Cady, speaking in Toronto where she is involved with the formation of Trade Team Canada, says that during her face-to-face and e-mail discussions with VANOC CEO John Furlong during the past week, he agreed to allow the GDC to "present formal guidelines" that, once approved by VANOC, will be included in the official Transfer of Knowledge Program of the International Olympic Committee. The guidelines, yet to be drafted, will make recommendations on how to conduct future logo-design competitions without raising the ire of international graphic design societies.

And here is lululemon's original request for "contest" entries:
GRAPHIC DESIGN CONTEST

Calling all designers and graphic designers to be. Here's your chance to expand your portfolio and make your mark on the lululemon line. We are looking for both design and graphic submissions on all of the following items:
  1. Men's t-shirt

  2. Men's long sleeve design for fall

  3. Women's t-shirt

  4. Fabric pattern for a women's tank top

  5. Fabric pattern for men's shorts

  6. Christmas gift box

Each design should focus on the following:
  • Combining art with athletics

  • Including our logo and name. This can be subtly ingrained in the artwork

  • Products for yoga, circus, tai chi, pilates and cross training for the Olympics

  • For men's wear, focus on the post metrosexual. (i.e. an athletic man who is in touch with his emotions.)

Your artwork will be evaluated on the following criteria:
  1. Simplicity — is not overly costly to produce

  2. The graphic has to be shown on an actual outlined garment so we can see placement and size of the graphic in relation to the garment

  3. Use of color, new techniques or a combination of techniques (embroidery, stitching, goop, screening, sewing)

If we use your design you will receive a $200.00 cash reward in addition to having your design come to life on a lululemon product.

All entries must be submitted by December 1, 2005 to Community Relations at the SSC, attention: Jaclyn Josephson.

Jaclyn Josephson
lululemon athletica
community relations coordinator
604.732.6124 ext. 244
www.lululemon.com

EDIT — Visit Michael Surtees's blog, design*notes, to check out some of lululemon's responses to e-mails they're receiving from Canada's design industry.

Suicide and religious demographics in the United States





EDIT — Many thanks to Scott, in Vancouver, for creating the following composite from the above images (take from them what you will):

13 November 2005

Ambigrams

I am sure many people are familiar with ambigrams, but to take a further look check out John Langdon. He did the ambigram work for Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown (of The Da Vinci Code fame).

There is also more information on ambigrams at Wikipedia, link. There is also mention of mathematician Douglas R. Hofstadter on that entry, of which his book Gödel, Escher, Bach featured a most wonderful three-dimensional ambigram on the cover. Hofstadter describes an ambigram as a "calligraphic design that manages to squeeze two different readings into the selfsame set of curves."

I have Hofstadter's Metamagical Themas sitting on my bookshelf next to me. It's a monster of a read, but piques my curiosity when I look at it every night before I go to bed. One day…

11 November 2005

Lest we forget

I'm the first to admit, I was an ass. As a child, we used to snicker and hate having to stand for those minutes of silence as we remembered our fallen to the World Wars. Albeit irreprehensible, we were naïve children in elemtentary school, it took Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan to truly open my eyes to the horrors of war. No other film has ever done such a phenomenal job of showing me what war is.
On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, Canadians are asked to pause and remember the thousands of men and women who sacrificed their lives fighting for freedom and democracy during the First World War, the Second World War, the Korean War and during peacekeeping missions.

This morning, as I drove to work, my thoughts stood still and I felt with a heavy heart. It may sound cheesy, but even playing Call of Duty 2 brings about semi-intense emotional reminders of the terror and panic of the War era that I experience now from thinking back.

To that, in my own way, I shall never neglect what I feel when I think back to all our forefathers that lost their lives, but rather I hold it close to me and maintain it in my memory so that it affects any decisions I may make and my opinions of war in general. Politics aside, they fought. For the freedom of others. For their loved ones. And because they had to. Lest we forget… Force is a weapon of the weak.

For more, please visit the CBC News Indepth: Remembrance Day or the coverage from Ottawa.
During the First World War, (1914-1918) more than 600,000 soldiers volunteered to go overseas. […] These soldiers fought in a series of costly and bloody battles and by the end of the war, more than 69,000 Canadian soldiers had died and 172,000 were wounded.

During the Second World War, (1939-45) more than one million men and women from Canada and Newfoundland served in combat in the army, air force and navy. More than 47,000 men and women did not come home from that battle.

In Korea, 516 Canadian soldiers died during the 1950-53 conflict, in which 26,791 Canadians served. The battles of Hill 355 and Hill 187, among others, saw Canadians fighting in swamps and rice fields, through torrential rain and snow, in the air and at sea.

In 2003, Canada marked the 50th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice by unveiling the Monument to Canadian Fallen at Confederation Park in Ottawa.

The words "WE WILL NEVER FORGET YOU BRAVE SONS OF CANADA" are inscribed at the base of the monument, which also contains the names of all 516 Canadians who lost their lives in Korean War service or subsequent Korean peacekeeping service.

In 2004, Canada also remembered the 60th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, where Canadian troops suffered 18,444 casualties. Among them, 5021 were killed. Of all the divisions which formed part of the 21 Army Group, none suffered more casualties than the 3rd and 2nd Canadian.

It was a huge sacrifice – and a huge factor in turning the tide of the war against Hitler's Germany.

The first Remembrance Day, held in 1919 throughout the Commonwealth, was originally called Armistice Day. The day commemorated the end of the First World War on Monday, November 11, 1918, at 11 a.m.: the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

The impending design of one's own Initiation

I adore Andrew Vande Moere's site, Information Aesthetics, as he is constantly scouring the world for posts on information visualisation. Here he has a few posts in the past few days that sort of tie together the idea of a world stress level displayed and reacted to in different ways. The most accessible here is Coca-Cola's Worldchill Radar, which allows you to input your "chill level" and check out the collective mood users around the world are doing in real-time.

Combine this with the eMoto mobile messaging service enhancement. According to Vande Moere:
enhancements of mobile phone text messages to convey emotional expressivity through 'cues of familarity'. the application extends on both the input & output channels when sending text messages between mobile phones. users use affective gestures to convey the emotional content of their messages which are then translated & communicated in colors, shapes & animations. the graphical expressions are non-symbolic & constructed from what is known about the effects of colors, shapes & animations.

And then, to top if off, there is this StressEraser, which is a "new wearable device that uses simple data visualization graphics to calm the mind and relax the body of its wearer. When the left index finger is placed in a sensor clip, the device decodes and then visualizes the influence of the 'stimulating & pacifying nerves.' … After learning this data mapping metaphor, users can adapt their breathing rhythm to stimulate specific nerves to quiet their mind and body."

Tie this in with the concept that Google may have a WebOS in the next decade, free WiFi may be as common as cellular coverage the world over, and and the whole Google ads thing wherever you go will have a database on the fly tailored to your every desire and need, this is an interesting start to a mapping of the social emotional welfare. Can these companies utilise the monster that is Google to create "emotional hotspots," beyond just the chill and stress levels of the Worldchill Radar? Imagine taking it a step further and allowing Jungian psychoanalysts to map out an archetypal journey akin to the Gnostic mythic structure of transcendental experience as spiritual journey. You could set up the paramaters of your own engineered Initiation.

A databse could be consistently updated in real-time of events, their level of intensity and emotional affect over the user, and how they correlate to past events that work themselves into a model akin to Campbell's Mythic Journey, a sort of database structuring humanity's monomyth. You could rate an event a 1 for ease, something you've grown accustom to doing, or a 10 for something that you would rather die than try. You may want an easy weekend, and follow the data fed to you via PDA or whatever, and not surpass the 3 for stress. This might prepare you for Monday where you know you'll be engineering for yourself a Call to Adventure that you'd normally avoid, and embark on a day involving stress levels of 6. Then into the Dark Night of the Soul, really pushing the chaos to a level of 9. Eventually you would restructure your perception of the world through these events and the rating system would be updated to reflect your growth, and new contexts and aventures would be available to you… say, next week, same time, same place? Or maybe you have a business trip to Montréal, try allowing a trip one evening to take you into a realm of stresses and contexts currently unaware to you but inherent in the Québécois culture. Who knows!

Sort of like how the chaos magicians of today engineer their own, I suppose?

10 November 2005

Standalone QuickTime Player

This is for all the annoyed users that want QuickTime without iTunes:
http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/standalone.html

09 November 2005

Audrey Kawasaki

Because those earlier quotes on the concept of love led me to the lush paintings of Audrey Kawasaki, dealing with one of the finer objects of my affection: women. Dreamy, curvacious, colourful women. Oils on wood, no less.

Sociolotron

I first heard of the viciously hedonistic massively-multiplayer online (MMO) video game, Sociolotron, from an old acquaintance of mine. He'd been playing it online when it was in beta and proclaimed that if there were any video game made specifically for me, it was this. Then I promptly forgot about it, as I'm wont to do.

Came across it again this evening, and it seems to continually be developing. This is a game that apparently "looks more like Dreamweaver than The Sims." But the thing that draws people back to Sociolotron in particular is "the dogged pursuit of removing any obstacle to character actions." Case in point:
The thing that will get most folks to play Sociolotron is the fact that the game is explicitly designed to be absolutely debaucherous. The skills range from the normal (blacksmith, sword, etc.) to the strange (prostitution, succubus). Sociolotron focuses on skill development, property acquisition, and social roleplaying to motivate the gameplay, and what it lacks in the graphics and polish department is made up for in the What the fuck?!? department.

Read a full review on GamesFirst.

On the topic of touching quotes

While perusing quotes from Terrence Malick's beautiful film, The Thin Red Line, adapted from the book by James Jones (of which I've not read), I came across this other line that has touched me every time I watch the film:
Are you righteous? Kind? Does your confidence lie in this? Are you loved by all? Know that I was, too. Do you imagine your suffering will be any less because you loved goodness and truth?

The Fountain, by Darren Aronofsky

Anyone who became hooked on Darren Aronofsky with his remarkable film dealing with numerology and the stock market, Pi, and then his adaptation of Hubert Selby Jr's Requiem for a Dream, will be pleased to know that he's finally gotten around to making the sci-fi that he's always wanted to do. Just goes to show what a little ingenuity can do…

"Spanning over one thousand years, and three parallel stories, The Fountain is a story of love, death, spirituality, and the fragility of our existence in this world."

Link to the official site. Link to the QuickTime trailer.

Funny enough, Aronofsky may be on his way to the Valhalla of filmmakers if he keeps up what he's been doing, and during the early stages of production Brad Pitt was slated to star but dropped out to star in Troy instead. Guess he deserve what he got with that piece of shit film. Pitt was later replaced by Hugh Jackman, currently starring alongside Rachel Weisz.

Here's to hoping Hollywood doesn't bugger it up. Wouldn't want Aronofsky to have to start suffering Alan Moore syndrome.

The Fountain's concept, the little I know of it, reminds me of a quote from The Thin Red Line that has stuck with me since I first saw it years ago. Sgt Walsh, speaking of love: "If I should never find you in this life, let me feel the lack. One glance from your eyes, and my life will be yours." I've always felt a bit alone, but comfortable in knowing that if I don't find it in this life, that I shall appreciate it that much more in time because of the appreciation of the lacking. I know many have touted self-discovery as the fulfilment that can replace the need to be needed, but Jung also pointed out, "Where love reigns there is no will to power; and where the will to power is paramount, love is lacking. The one is but the shadow of the other."

At this point, I say do not settle until you know.

08 November 2005

Gigantic apes co-existed with early humans

via Pop Occulture
Leave it to the always-intrepid Tim Boucher: this interesting piece via Yahoo! News, à la Harry and the Hendersons, proclaims some very exciting news: that humans may have lived alongside others that may be the ancient root of contemporary yeti and sasquatch myth. According to the article, "Jack Rink, a geochronologist at McMaster University in Ontario, has used a high-precision absolute-dating method to determine that this ape — the largest primate ever — roamed Southeast Asia for nearly a million years before the species died out 100,000 years ago during the Pleistocene period. By this time, humans had existed for a million years."

It's fucking teeth were an inch across. Check it out with the above link.

If I had to make a completely unfounded and imaginary theory, I would figure that they do not require clothing, live in the Hollow Earth somewhere, and are enlightened masters that occasionally knock around Icke's reptilian slave-drivers for fun. I wanted to make a joke about them flinging feces at the reptilians, but chances are they know what I'm thinking and would find such a comment uncouth.

Bernz, I keep thinking you'd like this post, so this one is for you. Damn you and your Vancouver weather. Though, I did speak with Sarah this morning, so damn Curaçao and the whole of the Dutch Antilles, too.

See through clothes and stuff

Well this is unexpected. Came across this via Michael Surtees: it's a method of viewing "through" objects uitilising infrared, as infrared waves tend to not be affected by materials the same way the visible spectrum of light is due to their "longer" waves. Kaya Optics has developed a way to use this to the great joy of voyeurs the world over. I want one.

Photos of the experiments
How it works

Capsula Mundi

via Sarah on Inhabitat
This takes the cake for the most profoundly spiritual redesign in recent memory. A pair of Italian designers have approached the boring and taboo realm of death and presented more pre-Christian look at burial rites: "Death is the return to the natural cycle of life. Death is part of living and therefore created, the Capsula Mundi, a biodegradable coffin, that allows the body to decay naturally. A tree will be planted as a remarker above each coffin at burial. And so the burial ground will grow into a sacred, memorial woodland."

To quote Inhabitat's Sarah:
The Capsula Mundi is an egg-shaped container made of bioplastic. The body of the deceased rests in a fetal position within this capsule, which gets planted in the earth like a bulb. A shallow circular depression is dug above the capsule to symbolize the presence of the body, in the center of which a tree is planted. Over time, the groups of burial sites become a sacred memorial grove.

Very beautiful, indeed.

07 November 2005

Typefaces for use in sigils

I Am FontShop is a realisation of something that many designers and typographers have yammered on, drunk, about at some point in their lives: Which typeface are you?

This is also interesting when one takes into account the construction of sigila in chaos magic. Read more about interfacing and casting sigila here, link.

Interestingly, if one wants to pursue a more emotional sphere around the construction of a sigil, this is an interesting site to check out. Whether it will do anything to aid in your intent will be up to your own capacity to construct the proper intent out of the cacophony that is one's thoughts.

http://www.fontshop.com/iam/

Worth taking a peek at to see how people associate colour, shape, and portrait with varying types.

Lost notes on alchemy by Isaac Newton found

This is obviously making the occult rounds, but for those of you with a more science-oriented background, the following is noteworthy:—
Notes by the 17th century UK mathematician, physicist and astronomer Sir Isaac Newton, which scientists thought had been lost, have been found.

The notes on alchemy were originally discovered after Newton's death in 1727 but were lost after they were sold at auction in July 1936 for £15.

They were found while researchers were cataloguing manuscripts at the Royal Society, the UK's academy of leading scientists.

"This is a hugely exciting find for Newton scholars and for historians of science in general," says Dr John Young, of London's Imperial College Newton Project.

Newton is famous for his work in many areas, including mathematics, optics, astronomy, gravity and the laws of motion.

But he, like other leading scientists at the time, also researched alchemy, the notion of transforming base metals like lead to precious metals like gold and silver.

Much of the text is about the French 17th century alchemist Pierre-Jean Fabre. But one page is on Newton's own thoughts on alchemy.

"It provides vital evidence about the alchemical authors Newton was reading, and the alchemical theories he was investigating in the last decades of the 17th century," Young adds.

Newton's recently unearthed notes reflect part of his life hidden from the public while he was alive. This was partly because making gold and silver was illegal, and had been since the 1400s.

The text was written in English in his own handwriting, but it is not easy to decipher.

At the time, alchemists tended to record their methods and theories in symbols and codes so others couldn't understand.

Newton's celebrated work Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (or Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy) is considered one of the most important works in the history of modern science.

In it he formulates the three laws of motion, which formed the basis of classical mechanics, and laws of universal gravitation.