29 March 2006

Icons, power, and vulgar acceptance

Remember before everyone "knew" that Desert Storm and affiliated military endeavours in the Middle East were "all about the oil." I remember talking about it and receiving accusatory looks, like I was a fucking hippie or conspiricy theorist or something. (In itself, it's too bad people are thought frauds if they're interested in conspiracies. Seriously, people have conspired for millennia. So why are those who study it apparently kooky? Anyone interested, read The Prince, by Niccolò Machiavelli.)

Anyhow, I came across this on RINF today: "CNN Fears 9/11 Truth"

This comes at an interesting time, as I just watched the 9/11 documentary, Loose Change: Second Edition, a couple months ago. Now, please, I urge everyone to rent, order, rip, or download the documentary torrent. The filmmakers urge you to do the same. This is not a venture for capital, it's an effort of those involved to get their truth out.

The gist of the RINF piece is that CNN was to broadcast a special dealing with the 9/11 cover-up:

Hicks, a published author on the 9/11 cover-up as well as a Green Party senatorial candidate in New York was slated to appear with Asner on the program to discuss 9/11. Infowars confirmed with sources at CNN the segment was cancelled because another guest who had agreed to appear as an opposition voice to Hicks and Asner refused to participate the interview at the last moment. The CNN source further indicated that the opposition guest was none other than a former member of the Keene 9/11 whitewash Commission.


I was unaware of it until I read this, but I guess Charlie Sheen made some comments about the 9/11 whitewash. This has spurred other celebrities:

Award winning actor, director, producer, and pioneering anti-Iraq War activist Ed Asner is scheduled to appear live on the CNN Headline News program Showbiz Tonight (6pm CST). Asner is reportedly going on to support Charlie Sheen’s bold and brave stance calling for a real investigation of the events on September 11th, 2001 as well as to raise his own questions.

Also on Showbiz Tonight on March 27, actress Sharon Stone defended Sheen and his First Amendment right to speak out saying that he is brave and that it is important to confront authority.

Asner and Sheen are just two more of many celebrities who have already come forward to question the official story of what happened on 9/11.

Actor James Woods began questioning the official fable in the first weeks right after 9/11. X-Files and Lone Gunmen star Dean Haglund has already gone public on the Alex Jones Show (December 18, 2004) questioning the official story. Actor Ed Begley, Jr. hosted a 9/11 Truth Symposium in New York City several months ago.

And we have recently confirmed that one of the world’s most popular and beloved musicians is awake to the truth about 9/11 and in the very near future may be going public.

Many more major stars who are considering going public have contacted us in recent days.


Delta Force Founder Eric Haney has spoken out in the press about the “War on Terrorism” being bogus and how there is no real threat to the United States.

So this is a further look at power. Control and sway of the census prerogative through popular opinion… or whatever. The icon, which is the celeb, represents a part of the individual that they are missing — some weird sort of puzzle piece, missing from their psyche. Or perhaps under-developed is a better term.

The icon makes a decision, and consequently the decision is made for thousands, nay millions, of others. This also happens very often within families, relationships, and groups of peers or at work.

Not altogether a bad thing, I suppose. It shows how much more similar we are to an ant hill than a society capable of free thought. (If we were capable of being responsible for our own thoughts, we'd all be chillaxing in a libertarian or anarchist society. But we don't. So stop dreaming.)

This is, simply, the basis behind celebrity endorsements. People pay to get their products onto the tables before the red carpet event at the Oscars where celebs can pick, for free, what crap they wanna carry with them in front of onlookers and paparazzi. It's intelligent from the point of view of the marketer, however, in that investing $12,000 to have one of your handbags or something appear in a photo with some celeb can instantly make for a smash sell-out hit.

That brings up another topic, whether the product was "worthy" of being a sell-out hit, or if it was just because it was seen being carried by someone who is admired by millions. I remember when Avril Lavigne appeared on SNL and she was wearing a Home Hardware shirt from some town in Ontario. The next day, that particular Home Hardware received hundreds of telephone calls from fans who wanted to buy that particular shirt. An employee's shirt from Home Hardware!

So what happens when one becomes celebrity in order to inspire change? I doubt Che Guevara intended to have his face spraypainted and turned into a product for North American youth (I once saw Che socks). But who has the chutzpah to really embolden themselves amongst the vulgar masses in order to make a change? For better? For worse?

This article is interesting in that the title sums it up:

Incompetent People Most Likely To Be Confident Study Shows

The hipster set, the popular crowds, often not the artists themselves, but their adoring fans and those at the swanky martini bars and trendy cafés, most seem unaware of their entanglement in their own ego. Don't get me wrong, ego can be fun, sure. But the ones out there brooding over the shallow vanities of the masses are only doing themselves a disservice. If we truly live among the monkeys, then why not set up shop and continue our occult studies while doing so?

In the end, I think what I might be interested in is just the ending of it all, me, them, It, et cetera. And I can't stop It until I understand It.

27 March 2006

IQ

Otherwise known as the intelligence quotient, it is not very popular these days (from what I know). Yet some scientists continue their research in the field. I found the last point here (from Maxim) particularly interesting:

  • Intelligence quotient


  • IQ test controversy


  • Religiosity and intelligence
    Several studies on Americans focus on the beliefs of high-IQ individuals. In one study, 90% of the general population surveyed professed a distinct belief in a personal god and afterlife, while only 40% of the scientists with a BS surveyed did so, and only 10% of those considered "eminent." Another study found that mathematicians were just over 40%, biologists just under 30%, and physicists were barely over 20% likely to believe in God.

    A survey of members of the United States National Academy of Sciences showed that 72% are outright atheists, 21% are agnostic and only 7% admit to belief in a personal God.

    The Pew Global Attitudes Project surveyed opinions by nation with the question "How important is religion in your life—very important, somewhat important, not too important, or not at all important?" The report finds that Americans are much more religious than people living in other wealthy nations. In the U.S., 59% of people reported religion was "very important", as compared to 30% in Canada. In this way, the views of Americans are more simliar to people in developing countries than those in developed countries. The study found a correlation between the percentage of people reporting that religion was "very important" and the national per-capita GDP. It can be further stated that the nations who scored as most religious tended to have low science scores according to TIMSS. Also an inverse correlation at Nationmaster can be found between mathematical literacy and church attendance. (Although labor regulation and police per capita were far stronger inverse correlations) No significant inverse correlation showed up for scientific literacy or reading literacy however.


  • IQ rankings of European countries


  • #62 of Maxim's 100 Things You Need to Know About Women
    A British study claims a woman’s chances of getting married drop by 40 percent for every 16-point rise in her IQ. The same increase in IQ for a man boosted his chances of getting married by 35 percent.

23 March 2006

Fashion is contemporary mask magic

This is something I've really wanted to touch on for a long time: that fashion is the contemporary equivalent of the mask magic used by aborigines and shamans from times past. The difference is that the shaman had the power of wisdom, thus allowing her or him to encroach situations both spiritual and sociological, utilising the masks to their advantage. Modern-day fashion wh0r3s and the vulgar masses are unaware of their own esteem, thus they lack the power inherent in themselves and rely on the costume, their façade, to supplant these necessary inner wisdoms of power. I know Grant Morrison briefly touches on similar concepts in The Invisibles, but unfortunately, I am at work, so I'll elaborate some other opportunity. In the meantime, check out the brief article:

The Sleek article, "Vanity of Vanities":
Ever since pirates first sailed under the skull and crossbones, it has been associated with death. Now, this morbid symbol flies again in the upcoming fashion season. The skull reminds us both of our impermanence on earth, and of the romantic transience of fashion trends. Should we be spending our hard-earned golden doubloons on the next must-have fashion items, or are there more important things in life? […]

Vivienne Westwood took the motif of skulls and bones a step further in the seventies, developing a lucrative relationship between fashion and the punk music scene. In her small London shop »Seditionaries«, Westwood used fashion to embody the fear and frustration of youth, which happily embraced different forms of tastelessness – the macabre (razor blades), the political (the swastika) and the sexual (used condoms or tampons); in order to rebel against convention.cont.

22 March 2006

Memes of Fours

This is interesting in that I could trace it back six persons, to one Wally Conger, of Central Coast, California — originating among Californian libertarians. It's interesting how fast memes travel via the internet, and the webs by which they weave us. I was ultimately tagged by the wonderful Kylark of Minneapolis, and this is far back as I can trace it:

out of step

Independent Country

Freedom Democrats

fantastic planet

dunneIV

Dodging Invisible Rays


And voilà, now moi (and Tim) are next—

Four jobs I’ve had:
  1. I wonder if thief counts? Those days have long since passed

  2. Waiter, casual & fine dining

  3. Guest-lecture on occultism, consult on brand and design theory

  4. Licentiate of the Graphic Designers of Canada

Four movies I can watch over and over:
  1. Baraka

  2. Hard Core Logo

  3. Jacob's Ladder

  4. The Rules of Attraction

Four places I’ve lived:
  • I've always been located in the Edmonton, Alberta region

Four TV Shows I Love:
  1. Arrested Development

  2. The Hour, CBC Newsworld

  3. Millennium

  4. Twin Peaks

Four highly regarded and recommended TV shows I haven’t seen (much of):
  • It's too bad these weren't inquiring about books

Four places I’ve vacationed:
  1. Vancouver Island, British Columbia

  2. Portland, Oregon

  3. Seattle, Washington

  4. Rocky Mountains, Alberta: Canmore, Banff, Jasper, etc

Four of my favorite dishes:
  1. Ukrainian varenyky, holubtsi, & nalysnyky

  2. Alberta beef tenderloin covered in blue cheese and chocolate sauce, on dirty mashed potatoes; served at Culina

  3. Vietnamese vermicielli with fish sauce, beef, spring rolls, etc; served at Hoàng Long

  4. Those weird little perogy-spring roll creations; served at Pub 1905

Four sites I visit daily:
  1. Digg

  2. Nerdshit

  3. RINF Alternative News

  4. we make money not art

Four places I’d rather be right now:
  1. Your dreams

  2. Thailand

  3. Napping

  4. Between her legs

Four new bloggers I’m tagging:
  1. Channel Null

  2. Paul at dataisnature.com

  3. Michael at madghoul.com/Key 23

  4. vade

20 March 2006

‘emosive’ prototype

This is synchronous to the post I made yesterday, Defining complexities for the masses. The emosive (formerly e:sense) project was developed by the design team of the “Designs Which Create Design” workshop, held at the University Institute of Architecture of Venice (IUAV) 2006. The workshop focused on design methodologies when designing dynamic media systems.

A mobile service for the emotionally triggered

emosive is a new service for mobile devices which allows capturing, storing and sharing of fleeting emotional experiences. Based on the Cognitive Priming theory, as we become more immersed in digital media through our mobile devices, our personal media inventories constantly act as memory aids, “priming” us to better recollect associative, personal (episodic) memories when facing an external stimulus. Being mobile and in a dynamic environment, these recollections are moving, both emotionally and quickly away from us. Counting on the fact that near-today’s personal media inventories will be accessed from mobile devices and shared with a close collective, emosive bundles text, sound and image animation to allow capturing these fleeting emotional experiences, then sharing and reliving them with cared others. Playfully stemming from the technical, thin jargon of the mobile world (SMS, MMS), emosive proposes a new, light format of instant messages, dubbed “IFM” – Instant Feeling Messages.

Click to go directly to an emosive demo


Wow: Ask and ye shall receive. After just finally putting down thoughts, and the internet — via we make money not art — barfs up an already-in-development concept that could see what I was previously writing about a reality. This isn't exactly what I had in mind, but it's a start.

Channel Null left some interesting thoughts in retrospect, which I may have to touch on at a later date.

Scott Adam’s God’s Debris free download

I don't know why I didn't post this here before. Better late than never.

http://www.andrewsmcmeel.com/godsdebris/
Imagine that you meet a very old man who—you eventually realize—knows literally everything. Imagine that he explains for you the great mysteries of life—quantum physics, evolution, God, gravity, light, psychic phenomenon, and probability—in a way so simple, so novel, and so compelling that it all fits together and makes perfect sense. What does it feel like to suddenly understand everything? God's Debris isn’t the final answer to the Big Questions. But it might be the most compelling vision of reality you will ever read. The thought experiment is this: Try to figure out what’s wrong with the old man’s explanation of reality. Share the book with your smart friends then discuss it later while enjoying a beverage.

What is DMT like?


I like trying to find art or animation that represent the way I experienced certain meditations or psychedelic experiences (past example). I expect most anyone reading this has already seen it, but in case you haven't, this is the end of the music video for "Parabola," by Tool. The piece is based on the artwork by and animated by Alex Grey, who also did the cover art for this particular album, Lateralus. Of course, nothing can prepare you for the actual experience of DMT, but since sight is our primary sense, this helps.

Though, as a note, my experience with DMT could be compared to the visualisations and points of focus presented here, but mine was reversed chronologically. I more or less started as a void, then awareness of a point become inherent. From there, I re-enacted the creation of the Universe by multiplying planes and adding vibration, form, and mass to colours and sensations. In the end, I fell back into my body. The most accurate description of this whole experience is almost same as the description put forth in the beginning of New Millennium Magic, by Donald Tyson. Except he wasn't explaining a DMT trip, he was describing the creation of the Universe through geometry, alchemy, and Qabalah. As such, I'd like to inform everyone that I am God. However, so are you…

Also, Joe Rogan's rant about his experience with DMT is more than amusing… definitely worth a listen.

Now if I could just find something to represent Salvia divinorum

19 March 2006

Defining complexities for the masses

This is going to be a post of miscellaneous concepts, which I've been pondering.

The concept of giving oneself to a cause: Batman Begins, Braveheart, The Matrix Trilogy, The Last Samurai, Syriana, V for Vendetta, Watchmen: that brought a tear to my eye (yes, literally) were of a nature generally left to the realm of philosophers and poets. In this, there is an inherent knowledge of one's worth, one's drive is towards a climax, one's death, an ending. Of course, there have been tomes written on subject, whether it's alchemical, psychological, artistic, or theological in nature.

However, one may inquire about the value of life after one has fulfilled their longing to have become. Take, for example, Logan's Run, where a master of one world escapes, only to discover he is nothing but a babe anew in the wilds of the outside world. Or, historically, Lawrence of Arabia. He was decorated, and upon his return to England, plunged into a depth of depression and loss of self-worth. What was he now, if not a soldier? Jeremy mentioned a good quote to me the other night, originally by Plato, that "only the dead have seen the end of war." For more on this, please read The Outsider, by Colin Wilson.

  1. As an entity, a human requires a story.


  2. The story follows the arch put forth by Jung and Campbell in their study of psyche and myth. No story, and the human is asleep to possibility. They are akin to the NPCs of a video game.


  3. Chaos governs Campbell's "Underworld." The soul is forged by the fires of chaos. With every passing through chaos, the soul is further refined.


  4. Develop a scale by which humans may easily and succinctly rate their own fears of chaos. i.e., I have no issues approaching a woman and flirting, thus out of 10, I would rank the depths of the Underworld through which I must traverse. I would rank this so-called depth, or difficulty, about a 2–3. However, many would rank speaking to the opposite sex — flirting, in particular — waywards of 7 or even higher.


  5. This scale can be structured and categorised through information architecture.


  6. The resultant hierarchy of cross-comparisons will result in a hierarchy of experiences. This is akin to secret societies, in that the passing from one degree to another is designed to inhabit a particular experience and perception, thus mastering a particular "realm" of understanding, a particular experiential skill set. Thus, all communication by members of the same degree will be rooted in a similar set of experience and understanding. Semiotics. Engineered wisdoms.


  7. There shall be the self-destructing archon: a control mechanism, a built-up order by which it counts itself down to reveal nothing. This not dissimilar to practises in Buddhism; Zen comes to mind.


  8. Teachers can be identified in their particular field of experience + knowledge = wisdom. I am better with flirting. You are skilled within the culinary arts. We exchange roles (as defined by Jung), in that we both exist and exchange within the parametre of student-teacher.


  9. Utilise resultant algorithms with future PDAs and Google's AdSense, by which to create a self-predicting experiential map. Anywhere, anytime, you may be led through areas where one may garner new experienecs and/or knowledge. This builds up the user's repertoire of wisdoms.


  10. With each new wisdom comes the conquering of two worlds of being, the prior and this new one. With each cross-comparison comes the cancellation of presumptions, stereotypes, and fears.


  11. The remaning structures that make up the new paradigm will be reduced in time, in accordance with gauged difficulty ratings (as to not destroy the human's psyche or body).


The rest is top secret right now.

Through my understanding of the process, labels and categorised experiences (the equivalent to secret society's degrees), bring an order to a readily chaotic Western civilisation. The users themselves, too, may adapt and define experiences, knowledge, and wisdoms as they see fit through a medium such as a wiki.

"The Thousandfold Thought," as put forth by R. Scott Bakker in his The Prince of Nothing series of books, purports that the power of belief can mould the outcome of events. By reducing the overall élitism of concepts prevalent among the intelligentsia, a structured tool/service may be developed for the vulgar masses in which they can take control of their own spiritual lives. A Cult of One. The Thousandfold Thought may take on more of a chaotic element, and reality may finally being to unravel itself through a shared inter-subjective embrace of paradox.

I just pwned that.

Canadian genocide of aboriginal peoples

And while I would like to continue the stereotype that Canadians are, for the most part, decent people, I am happy to report that these atrocities were committed by none other than the United Church of Canada, the largest Protestant body in the country. WWJD?

While the Canadian government is not taking much action until claims can be more fully substantiated, it's really just a stall on their part. I grew up just north of Edmonton and near the Poundmaker school, which used to be for aboriginal or "First Nation" children. And all we heard growing up were horror stories about what happened to the kids there.

I won't repost the excellent questions posited on RINF News, but check it out here:

http://www.rinf.com/columnists/news/genocide-in-canada

Highlights include:


3. How many aboriginal women and men were sexually sterilized at United Church hospitals, especially the R.W. Large Memorial Hospital in Bella Bella, BC, the Charles Camsell Hospital in Edmonton, and the Nanaimo Indian Hospital?

4. Why did the United Church provide aboriginal children from its residential schools as live test subjects in post-War drug-testing, radiation experiments and mind control programs, including in the CIA-operated Project Paperclip?

8. What information does the church have about a native pedophile ring, associated with The Vancouver Club, which involves United Church clergy and lawyers, judges, and church-affiliated native leaders?

15. Why has the United Church continually broken the law by violating the terms of its charitable status under The Income Tax Act, by channeling considerable revenue towards non-charitable purposes, such as legal fees, public relations expenses, and corporate investments?

16. Why has the United Church refused to accept its share of responsibility for the deaths of more than 50,000 native children in church-run residential schools across Canada, when its school Principals were the legal guardians of these children?

18. Now that the United Church of Canada and its officers have been found guilty in absentia of committing and concealing genocide against aboriginal peoples under the United Nation’s 1948 Convention on Genocide, which Canada ratified in 1952, what steps are being taken by the church to comply with international law, and surrender all guilty persons and evidence to the judgement of the International Criminal Court?


Also: HiddenFromHistory.org has a link to a CTV piece on the genocide of native peoples, and links to articles and their efforts to bring an international investigation to light.

I fully agree with them. As Canadians, we are too used to snubbing the First Nations peoples. Any Crime Against Humanity should not go un-heeded, and I am embarrassed by how long Canada has ignored its responsibility to own up to this. The Church I can understand, as it's been perverted for centuries now and continues in its function of poisoning White America by justifying its fears and isolation of ideas.

15 March 2006

The new film from Matthew Barney

Drawing Restraint 9
  • Link to the QuickTime trailer

  • Link to Japanese homepage (in English)

  • Link to a really good piece on the collaboration between Barney and Björk

  • Link to interview with Björk on the project

  • Link to the Wikipedia entry

13 March 2006

CLICK HERE TO ENJOY FAME!


This video of Ms_Lohan being harassed at some shopping mall is disturbing. I remember the frenzy over Brad & Angelina when they were in Edmonton last year, shooting some flic. It's fucking embarrassing. And interesting; definitely something I will be looking at more closely in the future.

I am currently reading The Thousandfold Thought, by the fantastic R. Scott Bakker. The Thousandfold Thought, as far as I can tell, is the phenomena by which one becomes bridled with a destiny cemented by the faith or belief of many other people. In the book's case, it is an assassin monk, named Anasûrimbor Kellhus, trained in the ways of reason, logic, and the manipulation of other's emotions. He comes to possess the spirits of many power of people within the book and, as a consequence, inspires the curiosity and admiration of those under the poeple near him. Through them, so on an so forth, others come to believe in this monk as a Warrior-Prophet.

Kellhus, raised to explore the Logos and the so-called "Shortest Path," comes into conflict trying to discern the power of destiny and how others' beliefs in him can affect him so.

Kellhus is also a fictional character representing the power of reason and order. Lindsay Lohan is an idiot. Here we have a create acting out the sick and lonely desires of thousands of idolaters. She is a puppet. And the more people suffer in not knowing themselves, the more these American idols will strive to fill that void, committing a sort of spiritual suicide in a sense. But not by choice, not akin to the Christ or other saints. They are a broken reflection of a broken people, corrupt from the beginning.

An interesting question is thus: In the paradox of the chicken or the egg, could an affect be submitted unto the vulgar masses affected by the machinations of American culture? If we could silence and remove these false idols, these broken teenage heartthrobs, slit their throats and vanish them from public eye. What then?

Of course, I know others would only-too-quickly fill their places, as it's a part of the American dream now. But what if there were only genuine talent to choose from as sources of inspiration, perhaps the likes of Darren Aronofsky, Joaquin Phoenix, Barry Pepper, Sarah Polley, Tool, and U2? The Princess Dianas of the world, rather than the bitches fighting for every minute of airtime they can get their generic, No Name™ brand faces on.

Fortunately for society, there are more vulgar throats out there than there are razor blades.

How to “stop time”

This reminds me of a case I read on some chaos magic site about some people down in California playing with a time servitor. Anyone have any comments or links to throw down? (Probably not, but never hurts to ask.)

It may appear to be an illusion, but really it is an interesting way for an observer to notice how the mind interacts with time. On their site there an animated clock to use in your attempt at this.

From the link:
Einstein demonstrated that time is relative.

But the rabbit-hole goes much deeper. Quantum physics discovered that consciousness is entangled in matter in some inexplicable ways; but other than the very fast, or very small, or very large, we tend to assume our “ordinary” reality conforms more to the laws of Newton. Simple cause and effect unfolding with clockwork constancy — well, it’s time to shatter this assumption. Let’s stop time.

Find a clock with a smooth sweeping second hand. The one on this page might work, but depending on how much is running on your computer, it may or may not be completely smooth. If it appears relatively smooth, it will still work, you’ll be able to factor out what you are controlling.

After watching the second hand for a bit, look off to the side of the clock, outside of the box, and about 15 to 20 minutes ahead of the second hand. You should still be able to see the second hand, but you won’t be looking directly at it. Now just relax and see if you can stop the second hand. If it starts catching up to the point you are looking at, jump ahead to another spot about 20 minutes ahead. With very little practice you are extremely likely to make a most remarkable discovery. You can stop time. Perhaps at first for only a second or two, but with practice, you’ll be able to freeze it for longer. If you can’t get it right away, try playing with your focus point, move it further away or closer to the frame of the clock. Or look at one of the hour markers on the clock about 20 to 30 minutes ahead. After you get it, try counting internally. The count you reach is the number of discrete thought processes you performed in zero clock time.

Once you’ve accomplished this amazing feat, what does it mean? Some people think it’s just a simple optical illusion, that they merely stopped seeing the second hand which was actually still moving (which gets entertaining with banishing incantations of blind spots, foveal vision, saccades and such.) But if they ask themselves why it started moving again from the point it stopped (and most won’t), their explanation doesn’t quite pan out. Some will just dismiss it as a curious blip that doesn’t really fit into their radar about “reality” and it won’t be cause for further concern. But a few of us will notice the crack between experience and beliefs and want to play. Does it stop sound at the same time? For some people, for others not, which is curiosier still.

Maybe consciousness can be more than a passive observer of this “constant” called time?



UPDATE — A new post on Grasshopper Enterprises, which is a worthy read (especially if you followed the above link and found that you, too, could alter your involvement with time):
Milton Erickson, the father of American medical hypnosis, performed a series of fascinating experiments in 1948-1954 documented in the book Time Distortion and Hypnosis. He used a metronome with subjects imagining themselves doing various tasks under hypnosis, at a normal pace, like counting beans or picking cotton (hey, this was the 40s and 50s :-) ) One subject counted 862 cotton bolls, taking her time, brushing the leaves aside to insure she hadn’t missed any, in a period of 3 seconds in external clock time. Others had similarly remarkable experiences.

Erickson also worked with author Aldous Huxley who could enter into a light trance and develop writing themes; Huxley could subjectively experience 6-7 hours in the period of a few minutes, an ability he explored and further refined with Erickson.

Ultimately the clock doesn’t “measure” time in any objective sense in the way a thermometer measures temperature, rather it creates something we can synchronize experience to. This synchronization is a learned, cultural and social conditioning that is largely unconscious.

[cont.]

12 March 2006

“Red rain” proof of extraterrestrial life?


From the link:
I am pretty convinced now that life exists outside the Earth. At the very least, there is an exotic type of life on earth of which we have been totally unware until now. The pictures of the "red rain" particles have convinced me. Scroll down to ogle them.

The best article so far on the the "red rain" phenomenon is in New Scientist. The Observer had a decent article too. An Indian scientist, Dr. Godfrey Louis, thinks the red particles found in the rain are the remnants of a meteorite that exploded. He further thinks that they might be extraterrestrial life forms.

The New Scientist article linked to his full-length paper that is to appear in the peer-reviewed journal Astrophysics and Space Science. Intrigued, I took a look at his paper. It is surprisingly readable considering it's meant for a journal.

The paper has lots of very interesting photos (New Scientist published one -- the only pic in the paper that was in color). I have cut-n-pasted the photos from the paper below. They are pretty amazing and deserve wide exposure.

I think the story is being under-reported. Massive investigations into this "red rain" will probably settle the question about whether extraterrestrial life exists, but I don't see much urgency on this.

Music based on Fibonacci sequence, stock market, algorithms

Emerald Suspension records experimental music compositions. Conceptual audio arrangements by Emerald Suspension are structured based on patterns created by the stock market, economic indicators, algorithms, and other data sources.

The most recent work by Emerald Suspension is titled Playing the Market. Playing the Market is a collection of experimental music based on the stock market and other economic data. More information on the project, including sound clips and CD information can be found here.

10 March 2006

I am anti-Semitic, but not “anti-Semitic”


My beautiful friend, Alix, of Victoria, B.C., sent me this comic by Mr Fish, which is currently displayed prominently on the front page of the Harper's website and published in the magazine Friday, 10 March 2006. I think it nicely sums up the power of language. I've often expressed my malcontent with Israel and Judaism in world politics, but more often than not anyone that expresses such an opinion is wont to be labeled "anti-Semitic."

Yes, I am, in a way, anti-Semitic. I have a distaste for the dualism purported by Semitic religions, namely Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. I see it as detrimental to the social myth and most every consequential development of the Western zeitgeist because of it. But do I sit down and just hate Jews? Fuck no. Jews tend to be very nice people. (Hi, Amos!)

It's the power of language, and I believe Judaism has used it much to their advantage since the War era.

It also reminds me of this article about how Microsoft tends to get a bad rap, while "designers" froth at the mouth over the fervour created around Apple. Are users really basing their decisions on their own knowledge and experience, or are they victims of smart marketing. In many cases, I believe the latter is accurate in describing many Apple whores out there. However, that is just my personal opinion, hehe!

Further thoughts on the subject of me

Just reading over some MySpace comments, then thinking back to some e-mails I've been sent. It's amazing: I tend to try to be the same in my own eyes — unwavering in my uninhibited interaction with my surroundings — and people's reactions consistently change towards me (with the exception of my roommates, and my wonderful mother). Of course, I can't accurately gauge how I am to others, but only the dynamics by which they react to me:

sometimes you make me so mad... i don't even know what to do with myself... erg

no xoxoxo for you today (and maybe even tomorrow)

you best be thanking your lucky stars i lack the attention span to hold a grudge... that is all i have to say...


I figured out why I was mad at you!! YAY! Finally, after 22 hours, I remembered.

You told me something along the lines of "you'd make a good mother." I, at first thought that you were undermining my intelligence. Then I realized that you have no access to that. But I still love you.


DON JUAN de HELLION... just kidding. Even when you try to be a hellion, you come out like an angel that'd just got it's wings. Stop being so goddamn smart, funny, cute, and witty (in no particular order) and maybe you will become that hellion i was speaking of
xoxoxoxoxo
And move to Vancouver already!


Two lovely looking ladies, a Glass of wine, a Fantastic looking shirt, picture perfect hair and a smile that screams "You wish you were me".

How does that not sum you up?

millions of people struggle to get that look, and it appears you come by it naturally.

you are but a role model for the future.


Oh, wow.

Last night in Religion, we had a Chaos magician come in to speak to us. He talked a little bit about himself, how he got into it, things like that, but a lot of it was... well, essentailly just rambling. But not because he wasn't saying anything. His thoughts were just... very chaotic, which I suppose is to be expected. A lot of what he said made sense. Quite a bit of it I had thought of myself. Why are we afraid of things, even if we know they can't hurt us? He talked about the occult, and used the analogy of an orgasm. You cannot know what the occult is, truly, unless you have experienced it. You can define it, categorize it, but you cannot know truly what it is. Like an orgasm. Trying to explain the occult to someone not immersed in it, is like trying to explain how an orgasm feels to someone who has not had one. It makes sense to me.

I cannot acurately describe to you how I felt after leaving the lecture hall. I felt like the light had gone one. Like there was finally something that I could delve deeper into, not just for interest's sake, but because it seemed right. Here is what I had been looking for! [cont.]


[~D~] Lucky girl says:
it's prolly not you that changes but the dynamic ...

[~D~] Lucky girl says:
yeh, I think you have a personality that's just more volatile towards the equilibrium of the dynamic

[~D~] Lucky girl says:
altho the inhibition is constant, by its nature it's more likely to cause change in a relationship

[~D~] Lucky girl says:
i find others might step up or down to keep up the image of what they believe to be their constant state, and they cause less waves/changes to the dynamic doing so, while you not so much??

[~D~] Lucky girl says:
i almost want to say it makes you harder to figure out than others b/c you don't know what you're gonna get at any particular moment. You'd think this would make it easier if you're truly seeing what you get, but it's as if people need that buffer of a front, illusion or not, for smoother interaction...otherwise you'll have the other person consistently adjusting THEMselves for the waverings of the other; becomes more natural to branch off when the adjustments aren't two-way

[de] Magneto was right says:
hehe

[~D~] Lucky girl says:
hence manners - predictable motions for smoother interactions

[de] Magneto was right says:
yeah it seems as that people are more content to interact with their ideal of what or who someone may be, not with the core of the person; like focusing on a spirit's periphery

[~D~] Lucky girl says:
it's that built-in interaction adjustment i find

[~D~] Lucky girl says:
and interesting how in one relationship you'll be moreso the one causing them or the one making them, but the best of them are when they're better matched


Wow... I appreciate you answer. Not many people would admit to thinking that way- it's refreshing.


Well first of all, i'd like to thank you for sharing this with me. Your emotions, your appreciation of me. I feel the same of you too because we are like family and this email really touched me.


You know after watching you with our students and listening to their feedback about the class that you facilitated for them, I think that you should seriously consider marketing yourself as a designer and marketing advisor to 20-40 years old entrepreneurs and business leaders. You speak very well to that demographic and you ideas, information and drive to express not only yourself but other people's ideas will be very helpful to others (as it has been awesome for [us]). I could see you doing very well with your own design business that is the marketing voice for younger more hip and dynamic business people. It seems like you give a big player voice to a small and sincere speaker through your work.


I will try to find a few more when I get home to post here, too.

I wish I had access to some of the more nasty things people say about me, but those generally seem to stay hidden from me.

Interestingly, I wouldn't mind knowing how others that don't know me personally interpret these things and, in turn, interpret me. It's not any different from the so-called accolade you see for a movie on its poster or box.

How would we get along? I don't know.

09 March 2006

A public service message from Invisible College II

“Language shapes the way we think,
and determines what we can think about.”

—Benjamin Lee Whorf (American Linguist noted for his hypotheses regarding the relation of language to thinking and cognition and for his studies of Hebrew and Hebrew ideas, 1897–1941)

“To have another language is to possess a second soul.”
—Charlemagne quotes

(Quotes via Invisible College II.)

I honestly wish I would've stayed in French classes as a child, but back then no one wanted to learn French. (As an odd twist, our French teacher in elementary school taught us Christmas carols in Ukrainian one year.)

However, just as I've mentioned before, the mastery over one's monomyth as put forth by the likes of Joseph Campbell allows the mastery of two realms analogous to "languages," as put forth above. Rather than thinking of them as just languages, think of them as subcultural perspectives. Each particular vernacular hosts a different perception, and consequently a different approach to social interaction, problem-solving, and ways to be creative and entertaining. Language is a means to communicate, involving so many different methods.

The very poetry of one's life can change by adopting the languages of others.

Breaching both the worlds without and within via… Google?

And by synchronicity, I watched this right after writing that last trainwreck of an entry. (All my posts are trainwrecks of thought, in my opinion.)

Anyone interested, watch this video:

EPIC 2015

A wonderful look at how technology may (will) be able to allow the human experience to manage both breaches unto the whole of society, as well as organising experiences by which we can navigate our own personal transformations.

It is the latter I want to focus on in the coming years…

EDIT — My friend Scott, in Vancouver, has sent me a reference to the above video, stating that "It's funny that Snow Crash called the idea of a paying info-exchange way back when." So for anyone interested check out that novel, by Neal Stephenson. I've heard nothing but good about it.


Also, I just came across this via Invisibile College II and it has to do with the previous post dealing with androids. I know it's been around the internet already, but for posterity's (and irony's) sake you can read about the robot modelled after Philip K. Dick that has recently gone missing, link.

08 March 2006

We are not for ever


Ooh-ahh! The android of last year's World Expo, in Aichi, Japan. It's really an amazing feat, and the photos I've seen of it are remarkable. We are on the exciting brink of the new era, one I believe has been somewhat accurately portrayed by the likes of Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell II: Innocence, and Jeff Noon's Vurt. (I am sure William Gibson and others fit in there somewhere, too, but I've not read much of his writing.)

However, in writing this, I had to consciously refer to her it as such, and not as a her or a she. I know many of us have quickly contemplated this at some point, in a movie or while reading a book or something. A closer approximation of the difficulty of describing such black and white terms are modern-day trannies, cross-gender voyeurs, and the rest. I've never been particularly fond of overly feminine women, nor do I care for manly men, so these terms waned with me growing up through high school and in years where I came to be comfortable with my own sexuality.

And now we sit on the cliff's edge, and again we're about to be wrought with new fears and difficulties à la The Animatrix:



And again it hits me in the face how people cling to their fragile concepts of who they are, as individuals. Grant Morrison, on the Disinformation DVDs, even screamed out that individuality is a farce, one of the great illusions of all known history. And I'm becoming more aware of how people cling to these preconceived notions of themselves — a springwell of pain and suffering when these façades are challenged and tested.

Recetly, I came across a test via Kylark's Dodging Invisible Rays in which you can query people for five or six positive advectives that describe oneself. In turn, I tried it out, and the results were predictably boring. However, upon further research, I came across it's antithesis, what the designers called a Nohari Window.

In a previous post, "Being me," you can see the current results. It asks people to pick more un-flattering words to describe me. The reactions were fairly common across the board, both in adjectives chosen… as well as in the persons' responses to having to choose the words about me. Many didn't want to do it, a few refused to, and the only person who joyfully cranked out her choices in under 30 seconds was my beautiful Seana, whom I adore for her lack of social complacency.

Now it's not as though the words you could pick from were that scathing. Most seem to think of me as vulgar, chaotic, insensitive, aloof, distant, and smug, among other things. Jeremy pointed out that "Ukrainian" was not a choice, so the test was sorely lacking in ways to point out my shortcomings.

My friend, Chris, caught on in that I could learn more about the dynamic between myself and the persons filling out the Nohari Window than I could learn about myself. Only by embracing different friends' opinions, and even those of the people that dislike me, can I see the qualities that are open to perception by referencing themselves in contrast. One of my friends even called me "simple," and I can see how it might reflect a more aristocratic upbringing, but even that is simply learned manners and prescribed attitudes (in my opinion). So my flirtations with racism, thievery (in the past), and straight-up vulgarity may contrast in such a way as to paint an awfully "simple" picture. However, the opposite is true — in a way, I suppose — in that I take great joy out of devising alternativ eways to solve problems, and delight in learning my life's lessons, regardless of whether they are fortunate or a bit more… shattering.

(As a side, that is an interesting concept from a design perspective. I desire only to find a simplicity akin to the Zen master in my thoughts, but realise it takes a cluster of confusing experiential fuck-ups to be able to render aspects of my ego moot.)

On a much grander scale, I use what I know of myself and my attempts to understand my dynamics with others as an analogy for how society continues to develop, for itself, new challenges. Even in advancing ourselves as a whole, we render aspects of our social personality moot (organised religion, and I predict we'll see the waning of the State over time now, along with such reliance on our own physiological and neurological limitations — hello libertarian transhumanism!).

Unfortunately, it's harder than it seems at first to completely extinguish certain antiquated characteristics that I've developed. For example, I am quick to judge pretty women. If a see an attractive girl belonging to any fashion tribe outside of punk or a more conservative librarian sort of aesthetic, I automatically presume she's going to be a) shallow, b) vain, c) an idiot, d) boring, or e) any of the above. Now, as stereotypes, like myths, tend to come from somewhere, quite often certain elements listed here are often predominant in many women that lead a life in which they rely on their looks to accomplish their objectives. There seems to be no end to the amount of men (and other women) who will do more for a pretty face than for others, and research has revealed this to be statistically accurate. Growing up in a suburb known for it's "white trash with cash," or, in other words, under-cultured and over-paid, my clique and I dealt with rich bitches as a constant while growing up in our formative years.

This is a stereotype I've had to work on for years, and in the course of my prejudice, I've come to pre-judge many, many beautiful women. Fortunately for me, most of the time my profile fits and I can often pick out many uncanny details that will allow me gauge self-esteem and other elements that make for an interesting female acquaintance. Also, it has proven to be an interesting way to meet some of my closest friends, such as Melanie and Tara. They turned out to be much more complex than I initially had the capacity to presume. Good thing for me, I have charisma to fall back on. Or their pity, one of the two.

On the other hand, it is a rare thing for me to come across a gem such as my friend Seana who is in no way afflicted with social mores. She has her own concepts of what is sexy, borrowing from numerous subcultures and fashion eras, and she upholds her own concept in favour of others.

I like to think that I'm moving beyond the programme I developed as a youth, and in turn am just critical of pretty girls now, rather than mean. I give everyone a chance, as I've learned the hard way you can't judge every book by its cover.

It's also interesting to note that we seem to be making these tools as a society. The development of A.I. and robotics — in obvious conjunction with cybernetics and the phenomenal arts and philosophies that have grown out of such fields in the past two decades — are an expression of something inside of us. Paradox or no, this new cybernetic era will be interesting. I see an enlightened disposition of good will and libertarianism among the so-called geeks at the forefront of this new age, and they've embraced the group over the individual. In the form of Web 2.0, wikis, blogs, and the open concepts of letting the user build their own interface, a personalised door to all the information of humanity is being built for each and every user. It further removes the concept of individual as we explore the social effect in hyper-time, where communities can rise and fall like the waves atop an ocean.

In the end, we're creating tools — cybernetics and androids — to replace us. And why not? Let the beautiful part of us build a better vessel for the Universe to experience itself in. Let's give up who we are to allow for a better way to emerge.

We are not for ever.

06 March 2006

Communication as a tool for self-awareness

All within ten minutes of perusing the RSS feeds I stream through via Netvibes, I had an interesting idea. The problem with interesting ideas — at least in my case — is that I often lack the vernacular by which to explain them. Then I forget them. No good.


First, I came across NEC's Kotohana Emotion Flower, via Information Aesthetics:
Each KOTOHANA set consists two flower-shaped terminals equipped with LEDs that change color according to the emotions of the person who owns the counterpart. Each flower contains a microphone that captures voice data for processing, the results of which are sent via wireless LAN to the other terminal, where it is expressed as LED light.

KOTOHANA’s Sensibility Technology (ST) emotion recognition engine, which was developed by SGI Japan with the cooperation of AGI, detects joy, sorrow, calmness and excitement in speech patterns. Happiness is expressed as yellow, sadness as blue, calmness as green, and excitement as red. Changing emotions are expressed through subtle color gradations and variations in light brightness.

Then, on Does Size Matter?, Niti Bhan finally "gets" Web 2.0, not as an aesthetic or business model, but as an openness, a release of control and the empowerment of the people. Peter Merholz sums it up thusly:
A blog or a podcast does not Web 2.0 make. Web 2.0 is fundamentally about relinquishing control, putting creative power in the hands of your users, and developing systems that benefit from such communal use. Such concepts are anathema to the thought, philosophy, and practice of "elite design agencies."

Designers as enablers versus designers as formgivers.
This doesn't make sense to me, because there's hardly a business on earth for whom their online strategy isn't a key component. Because, and this is the thing a lot of people still don't get, "Web 2.0" isn't about the web. The web is where it most obviously plays out, but web 2.0 is about relinquishing control, embracing openness and transparency, demonstrating actual authenticity, and empowering your customers to create, and leveraging that creativity to make better experiences for everyone. As the LEGO Mindstorms article in Wired discussed, this isn't simply about web sites — it's about introducing new paradigms to improve businesses' chance of success.

Further yet, an article on "Useful Distinctions in Social Software," by Dion Hinchcliffe, draws a pretty pictures. Literally:


For now, an examination of existing social software seems to derive the scale of the social community along the intensity of social interaction as the two most important. But I'd love to hear your feedback on this.

Thus, social interaction can range from being nothing more than a one-on-one experience, all the way up to a very large private social club. Or it can even be the entire world. Likewise, the temporal aspect of social interaction seems to be extremely important. It can be intense, real-time communication via instant messaging or MMOG interaction. Or it might be regularly periodic, like e-mail. Increasingly common, it can even be completely aperiodic or once ever, like referring to a social bookmark or social guide. The only thing this seems to miss is the increasingly multimedia social experience that involves audio, video, and more.

Lastly, I am trying to load WikiTree, which I came across via Digg. The servers were just crushed by all the Digg traffic, so I'll have to check it out later, but the concept is thus:
One of the main aims of the WikiTree Project is to provide a central place on the Internet for kin information about all people we know ever lived, automatically construct bloodline trees, and watch the gradual emergence of global family forest of humanity.

As many should know, I am not particularly fond of the ego and its trappings. I acknowledge that the ego is necessary in our everyday functioning and we require it for social interaction and to garner wisdoms that allow us to grow more complex wisdoms, the ego is a concept all should be aware of in order to know when to act within and without its constraints, depending on the situation and opportunity for spiritual development.

So let's say we all had Kotohana Flowers, displayed prominently for the world to see. A unfiltered understanding of whether a person in your social network was feeling glum, cheerful, or whatever else. (Emotional semantics aside for now.) Applying an open approach and allowing others to make you feel whichever way they choose, and they can accurately gauge the results of their actions. Would we learn more about the person we're affecting, or ourselves?

A few posts ago (link), I posted a chart linking to a "Nohari" test, which allows persons you know to select descriptive words about you. Except that all the descriptives are negative. I had people I know fill out one version with a bunch of positive words, but that was hardly anything new. What I found from the Nohari test was that people didn't want to isolate any negative traits about me — even refused to in some cases.

Currently, I am apparently well known for being vulgar, chaotic, insensitive, aloof, distant, and smug. I know, these words are hardly scathing. My friend Jeremy said the test was inaccurate because he couldn't choose "Ukrainian" as one of my negative traits, so of course it's going to be broad in its scope.

The neat thing is that I learn more about the person filling out the Nohari test about me than I learn about myself. 25% said I was blasé, and I may be in relation to their perspective of the world, but take someone like my ex, Sarah, for a minute and she's lived in Canada, the Dutch Antilles, the Netherlands, and travelled all over, as far as I'm concerned. So to me, she would be blasé. (Though I'd never use that word, as I know everyone has a weakness of perspective allowing for further, new growth.) In contrast, I believe it may have been Sarah that said I was "simple" via the Nohari, the only person to do so. Does that make me a simpleton, or does it reflect a part of our dynamic? Some people said I was "unethical," but to others I am rigid in my ways regarding honour and rights. Harsher, perhaps, so unethical to those with a broader bleeding heart sort of ethical standpoint, but I have a way to me, no question about it.

I suppose this also sort of reminds me of Choke, by Chuck Palahniuk, in which the protagonist suffers the whims of his acquaintances and strangers. In order to let them satiate a personal demon or aspect of themselves, he becomes a Christ-like in his constant sacrifice. (He also does it to get people to send him gifts and money after the fact, which is what makes it a wry Palahniuk tale.)

By issuing myself unto the mercy of those I know, I can elicit elements they're often personally unaware of. For example, in my case, I am quick to pre-judge attractive women. This has turned out to be both a bit of a boon and a bane.

An obvious boon in that the liberal social mores is that stereotyping is "bad," and I am often accused of any number of things because I believe all pretty women are idiots. Now, statistically, a majority of aesthetically appealing women tend to rely more on their looks to get ahead, but no one wants to hear that. On the other hand, I've come to learn that many very intelligent women are also very aware of how to handle their own personal aesthetic and beauty, but they are in the minority. They also tend to have issues of vanity and self-esteem issues just like the pretty dumb girls, and these issues can often manifest themselves even harsher in the smart ones — simply due to their intelligence and capacity to fully flesh-out the conundrum. In a way, the sexy dumb girl is almost getting off easier.

For an interesting look at profiling and "stereotyping," please read this article in the The New Yorker, by Malcolm Gladwell.

And just looking over we make money not art, I found a piece on a genetically altered plant that glows when it is thirsty. Further than communicating emotions relatively as the Kotohana Flowers do, this is cross-regnum communication, bridging kingdoms in biology.

Ooh. I just thought of links I could associate to all this with previous posts on teleology and Here Be Dragons, as well as the PEAR programme at Princeton.

We can learn more about ourselves by stretching the limits of our interactions with others. How I treat another person or animal — or even plant — is a reflection of my internal machinations and dispositions. I will continue this in a later post…

02 March 2006

Gardens-in-a-Petri, by Pruned



This was posted on Kottke this morning, linking to the Pruned blog. Link here for some really cool images of “petri gardens” which take on a certain beauty akin to fractals.