Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Placebo Singers

Placebos have medical benefits even when the patients know they are receiving nothing more than sugar pills. The placebo effect is no longer based on the physiologic effects of the mind.

This is not medicine or psychology, it is spellcasting. Everytime someone says the word "placebo" they are unknowingly chanting an ancient latin prayer of "I shall please." Like a penny tossed into a fountain, the pill shall satisfy the wisher's unspoken desire.

Placing intent on a physical substance imbues it with power.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cybergenic Omissions

Being photogenic is solely about physical appearance and how it is captured by the camera.

Being telegenic relies on how the video camera records our unique combination of alluring face, attractive voice, and confident body movements.

Being cybergenic results from self-mythologizing through selective ommission. Many of us have filled in dozens of online profiles like autobiographical MadLibs, and it is inevitable that we start to develop a simplified narrative of our lives. We prune the unsightly twigs until our online persona is a topiary sculpture of our own self-image.



(Artist Alexandre Oudin's Facebook profile. Image via TechCrunch)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Villainous Behavior

I once laughed nervously and coughed while telling a girlfriend that I did not make out with a friend of mine. Although my words had been truthful, I was behaving like a guilty person and was convicted accordingly. This is the worst kind of mistake one can make.


WikiLeaks isn't doing itself any favors by operating out of a lair fit for a Bond Villain.


We Are Merely Hypothetical

Looking out into space is looking backward in time. When you see a star twinkle, you are seeing a moment from millions of years ago, when that photon was sent out to you.

Studying the cosmic microwave background radiation, is looking all the way back. Scientists are now observing the instant of the big bang from the inside. Some see evidence of previous univeral expansions. Some see the bruises from collisions with other universes.





What I see is that we all live within the same moment. All there is is the spark at the beginning of the universe and we all play out our lives inside of it. Time is an imaginary dimension within the only event that ever was. From the outside, we have no state of being, only a state of as if.

Sometimes, when I catch myself taking things too seriously, I just look out to the beginning of the universe and repeat to myself, "I am merely hypothetical."

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Alternate Histories and Fine Craftsmanship



Isn't the primary appeal of Steampunk to have all of the technological comforts of today, but with objects finely crafted out of brass and leather instead of factory-molded in vinyl and aluminum? Yearning for realities with alternate histories betrays the areas of discontent within our own reality. One of our chief complaints seems to involve a loss of quality craftsmanship.

The ancient Greeks built an eclipse-predicting computer out of finely chiseled bronze and marble, and our modern impulse is to recreate it in LEGOs.



Our current thinking is so entwined with disposability that we have created a computer whose polymers will become brittle and crumble before it's next prediction will come to pass.

In half-assed defiance of our disposable aesthetic, Mobiado is now offering a cell phone made out of marble.


The failure in this particular design is that while the marble facade is built to last millenia, the technology within is outdated by the time it is installed. The permanence of this phone is an sad illusion.

But recognize for a moment that the inner workings of this cell phone can be chiseled in simple perfection from marble and bronze like the original Antikythera Mechanism. You can carry in your pocket a solid, lasting work of functional mathematical art that will last all your days until you pass it on to your son and his son after him. After hundreds of years this phone's call history will tell tales of your genealogy.

There is no good reason all of our tools can't be like this.

A fantastic world waits for us post-planned-obsolescence.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My (So-Called) _____.

Once a bustling metropolis, it is left now to the seedy pan-haldling of demons dressed in the avatars of damaged teens. All walls have been plastered with years of obscene JPG graffiti and layers of soulless inner city spambot concert posters. The virtual city is aware of what it has become and has taken a cue from the fall of Detroit before it.

My Space has razed the vacant and condemned half of it's logo before arsonists could get to it.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Good Plan



The Titanic will strap itself to the Hindenburg and float over icebergs.

Jekyll and Hyde

Exhibit A


(Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde augmented reality book by Martin Kovacovsky and Marius Hugli)

Exhibit B


(Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde represented as a word cloud with frequency of word usage represented in relative size. Via Brainwaves.org)

Language has worn a lab coat for far too long.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Never Underestimate the Power of Distraction

One friend recently referred to me as "an innocent evil genius".

Another friend told me that, working 40 hours a week"at a job you don't enjoy doing work that doesn't enhance your skills is an antidote to universal destruction through huge creative explosions that could be caused by your brain if it were given hours on end to play. Basically, humanity is protected because you are at a job you hate."

Basically, my friends give better compliments than yours, but consider this:

How many times have man-made disasters been averted by distraction? Whose lives were saved by those extra ten minutes they spent thumbing through the Sears catalog? Which political figures should we be distracting now to redirect our future? Are good Spam filters allowing the wrong people to stay focused on their nefarious goals?

Is it possible that the internet is both a catalyst and a retardant for the technological singularity?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Abnormality

If happy people are statistically abnormal and deserve their own psychiatric diagnosis code, what should we prescribe to alleviate this affliction?

The Occurence at Circle K

Secret metadata from our cell phones has already begun compiling a rich 4 dimensional model of every second of every inch of our world. Gradually the existence of this immersive database will leak to the people, just gradually enough to become accepted. Common knowledge will coincide with the extinction of the obsolete concept of privacy.

Google Time Machine will be launched. Recent history will become searchable in the removed, floating, smoothly rotating fashion of Streetview.

Without warning all of Earth's history dating back to the Cretaceous will become available. The explanation will be a pseudoscience involving reflected photons rebounding from particles/planets many light years away and reconstructed into an accurate model. The public will reluctantly buy the story.

Thanks to Augmented Reality, any time period can be overlaid as a skin onto your perception. With the turn of a dial, you can witness any terrestrial event.

Tenses become confused and meaningless. Simultanaeity is redefined.

Just like Google Earth circa 2010, certain sensitive areas are altered for national security purposes. The detonations at Hiroshima and Nagasaki can be relived in every gruesome detail, but JFK's assassination will be blacked out. The bombing of Pearl Harbor is pixellated as to remove specific details. The attacks of 9/11 are tampered with in obvious ways and this is exposed in a worldwide scandal.

The extent of the tampering is called into question. A group of zealots following Philip K. Dick's Exegesis as gospel gain in popularity, denounce all of reality as the "Black Iron Prison", gather in 1980's Orange County to draw wisdom from every twitch and murmer of the amphetamine addicted sci-fi author.

Dick gives subtle clues that he is aware of the crowds surrounding him invisibly, drawing more followers, until at last, Events are altered. Perhaps hacked. Something new happens in the past. The Prophet Dick addresses his followers in a convenience store parking lot, giving a perversion of the Sermon on the Mount annointing the first row with syrupy droplets from the curved spoon-end of his slurpee straw, and announces that all of History has been a lie. Even the world we knew before GTT was an altered overlay. The progression of time is a cruel joke imposed by that program. There is no Time. The world is still. Unchanging. It is/was/has always been the Roman Empire and we the people have always been/are/always will be powerless under their rule.

The sermon happens once, is written down by thousands, but is never searchable again. It continues as a myth. A miracle. A glitch. The last reliable acount of a singly occurring event.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Advice For Budding Superhumans


The strength of a Superhero lies not with ability, but with the iconic quality of his/her public identity. Incorporate this into your own life by developing an instantly recognizable style and expanding your own origin story to mythic proportions.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

EULA la

Step #1
Consider Brian Davis' EULA, an arrangement of a Sony/BMG End User License Agreement sung in Medieval Chorus.

Step #2
Note that you are not legally permitted to use iTunes to "develop, design, manufacture, or produce missiles, or nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons." But imagine what said weapons would sound like before and after lossy data compression.



Step #3
Recognize that the EULA has great potential as an art form that is legally binding and dictates the terms of it's own consumption.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Security Insecurities

Today is the busiest day for commercial air travel within the United States and there is talk of a boycott on the TSA's newly adopted backscanner x-ray machines, which use just enough radiation to take images of passengers' naked bodies.

Boycott the invasion of privacy if you must, but instead, I recommend you object to the naked photos on the grounds that they are not well lit or framed artistically.

Nevermind that the security agents are trained for neither apprehension of terrorists or maintanance of radiation-emitting medical equipment. Most are also ignorant of the basic elements of photographic composition.

If you must travel, you should at least come prepared and pass out classy nude shots of yourself to the officers. Tell them this is what you're aiming for.

Might I suggest an homage to Ingres' Grand Odalisque?


Personally, I will gladly submit to the scans in exchange for a .JPG of the file, so I can print it large and hang it in my hallway as a portrait. The look of the 21st century reflects the invasive paranoia of security Xrays and CCTV surveillance footage and I am reluctantly embracing this new aesthetic.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pompidou and Circumstance



The Pompidou Center is cool, but wouldn't you rather live in Versailles?

There Is No Prize For Being Misunderstood

The ultimate creative challenge is to make something with artistic merit that is also wildly popular. Being experimental is necessary to allow your work to grow and breathe, but the cutting edge can be a place to just visit and refuel. Don't lock yourself inside the ghetto of the avant-garde out of arrogance or fear of success. Bring the new and unfamiliar out to the greet the masses.

It is possible to embrace a wide audience without dumbing your work down, and if we all take this approach perhaps there could be far more intelligence in the mainstream.

There is no prize for being misunderstood.

Problems of Narrative

Almost all problems are problems of narrative.

Things only anger us within the context of a sequence and story.

If you feel like you are at the mercy of other's tales you should learn to become a storyteller. Collectively, you will make matters worse, but at least you will be the author of your own difficulties.

Upgrade

We were being romantic and self-centered when we named biological machines Life and placed it on a pedastal above other technologies. Biological evolution is just a subset of technological evolution, and technology will continue to grow and change long after biological life on our planet has completely dried up.

We need to stop pretending that we are the masters of technology. We are technology. Upgrade or become outdated. We must not continue to limit the functions of our biological hardware.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Our Ghosts

Good ghost stories are psychological reactions to specific physical surroundings.

Over time, the landscape and creaky carpentry of a local area wears matching grooves into the psyche of the inhabitants. Likewise, The folds of subconscious minds will shape rolling hills and warp aging floorboards into echoes of their geometry. This relationship takes on a will or shadowy form of it's own, which can outlive both the mortals and atmosphere from which it was born. After a creaky old house has been burned to the ground or tenant brutally murdered, the ties that bound those deceased elements can live on, disembodied and eternal.

There is no Headless Horseman without Sleepy Hollow. There is no Shining without the Overlook Hotel.

What ghosts are we giving birth to within the limitless dark corners of cyberspace?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

More is More

For great success play all videos below simultaneously 8 times every day.

The Theories of Everything

Anyone offering grandiose solutions in an aggressively confusing manner is probably trying to a pull a scam on you.



Monday, November 15, 2010

The Warp Whistler



As the thin wall between the real and virtual worlds continues to flake away bit by bit, cleverly hidden treasures will appear where you least suspect them. Like 1ups from invisible boxes or warp whistles behind bushes, little rewards are already being programmed onto the face of our earth.





For the seedier side of this phenomenon please refer to http://9eyes.tumblr.com/

Friday, November 12, 2010

Conversation as Vaccine

It turns out schizophrenia is triggered by a virus. To inoculate yourself you should go to the bus depot and start a conversation with the man wearing the most incoherent sandwich board. Bring the whole family. It will be like a chicken pox party for insanity. If all goes as planned, your mental immune system will be that much more resilient when you return home.




You may even learn a thing or two. Closely following illogical thought processes is like cerebral cardio for expanding neural connections and advanced yoga for limbering up creative thought.



Thursday, November 11, 2010

Faces of Evil

The following revelation is via Future Perfect:



"For the lady wishing to know more about this club host – expect to QR barcodes to be supplanted by facial recognition – still through the mobile phone of course.

The only question is when."



OMG. Those freaky christian end times pamphlets used to warn us never to allow the government to tattoo barcodes to our skin. That's how Satan would brand us as the damned. Well, it looks like our faces will soon be scan-able barcodes!

Suddenly, we recognize the Mark of the Beast and it has always been inseparable from our own human identities.

Checkmate. Devil wins again.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Boltzmann Brain

You are not reading this. Your memories are false. You have no mother or father outside of Chaos itself.


You are not human. You are a momentary fluctuation in entropy, an energy field behaving badly.


You are a Boltzmann brain.


You are completely alone in the universe, but don't let that get you down. Did you really believe there were billions of you? Ha! That's not only mathematically improbable, it's also intuitively false.


You've always known you were unique.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Richard+Penner+Time+Traveler

We live in a 4 dimensional world. If someone says to meet you at the corner of 3rd and Pine, you are off to a good start, but you still need to know which floor to go to and what time to be there. These 4 coordinates will define any event in spacetime.

I am no longer the # 1 Richard Penner on Google. Just type in my first and last names and I compete with the 47 other Richard Penners in North America. But if you search for Richard Penner Time Traveler you will be rewarded with an embarrassing cross section of my of my life on the web. Increasingly, the word of search engines is taken as an atlas of subjective reality.

I'm printing new business cards. No email address, no phone number. Just those four words



Using these 4 words as coordinates you will be able to locate me.

I Want To See Movies of My Dreams

Exhibit #1:

From "The Coney Island Amateur Psychoanalytic Society and It's Circle" at The Coney Island Museum. Curator and artist Zoe Beloff uncovered a collection of reels in which members of The Coney Island Amateur Psychoanalytic Society filmed reenactments of their dreams.




Exhibit #2:

From "Tell The Bees: Belief, Knowledge &Hypersymbolic Cognition" From The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City, California:


The procedure is that as soon as a member of the family has breathed his or her last a younger member of the household, often a child, is told to visit the hives. and rattling a chain of small keys taps on the hive and whispers three times:

Little Brownies, little brownies, your mistress is dead.
Little Brownies, little brownies, your mistress is dead.
Little Brownies, little brownies, your mistress is dead.

A piece of funeral crepe is then tied to the hive and after a period of time funeral sweets are brought to the hives for the bees to feed upon. The bees are then invariably invited to the funeral and have on a number of recorded occasions seen fit to attend.

There are a great many other practices that are observed concerning bees. Among those that know them well, bees are understood to be quiet and sober beings that disapprove of lying, cheating and menstruous women. Bees do not thrive in a quarrelsome family, dislike bad language and should never be bought or sold for money. Bees should be given without compensation but if such compensation is essential, barter or trade is greatly preferable so that no money changes hands.



Both Zoe Beloff and The Museum of Jurassic Technology's curator David Wilson attended film school (Columbia and CalArts, respectively). And, like the members of the Psychoanalytical Society, each seems to have turned their skills toward creating/uncovering meaningful elements of our world that lie in the boundaries between the real and imagined.

Both seem to understand that the essence of filmmaking has nothing to do with filmstock or lighting, casting or editing. Filmmakers do not to create narrative from whole cloth or represent Truth as it is observed. A good filmmaker opens a portal between actual and fantastic realities and accentuates the elements that ring true in both worlds.

An amazing filmmaker does this without a camera in their hand. They rummage through the junk at swap meets, or rifle through fogotten texts, and with their their dusty interdimensional fingers, extract readymade documents from a history that may have never existed.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Tea Trolleys

It has been proposed that the Y chromosome is an abnormal mutation and that, had evolution on Earth followed a more natural path, it would be a planet inhabited solely by females.

Be cautious, men. We could easily be replaced by tea trolleys










Perhaps we should be asking ourselves what it is we are really contributing, anyway.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Bookshelf







The purpose of a bookshelf is to keep you from reading every book you own simultaneously, lest your interests merge together into one formless, lifelong experience. A bookshelf separates and organizes a narrative out of your consumed narratives. Alphabetic instead of chronological, it is still a construct like time: an artificial framework on which we file an insane jumble of input into neat, logical order.

But there are many different ways to organize information, and the topology of your life need need not be linear.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cross-Dressing Time Traveler Attended Charlie Chaplin Premier

The following may be footage of a transgendered time traveler attending the 1928 premier of Charlie Chaplin's "The Circus". George Clark, the filmmaker who discovered this ten second bit of footage takes over 8 minutes to explain that he "can't explain it." My guess is that George is not a film editor or screenwriter. Perhaps he's a special effects man.

If she's on a cell phone, who do you think she is calling? How many other cell phone users could there have been in 1928, and how powerful does a cellular tower need to be to cast service 80 years into the past? AT&T had to have charged some serious roaming fees for that call.

Plan Ahead For Randomness

The treadmill toward a nonsensical tomorrow is accelerating exponentially. The only way to stay successful and sane is to become a futurist who embraces the absurd.


(image: Singularity Chess via Let the Finder Beware)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

We're Getting Better At Time

As a species of unrivaled ambition we will not rest until we have conquered forces we are only vaguely aware of.

Like the 2 dimensional creatures from Edwin Abbott's Flatland, who were taunted by the god-like beasts from our 3 Dimensional world, invisible someones are toying with us from the higher dimension outside of time. They push and pull the narratives of our lives into different arcs like sculptors, applying and taking away free will from us on a case by case basis as an aesthetic choice.



Our temporal overlords cast shadows in our subconscious, and we secretly aspire to displace them.

Thank you for your spacetime.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Happy 10th Birthday, Kid A! You're Almost in Middle School Now.

We've got heads on sticks. You've got ventriloquists.
We've got HandiSnacks. You've got Shark Bites.

I'm sure we can come to an arrangement.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Phantom Power

The following is a public service announcement in honor of Halloween.



Ghosts are zero footprint, but not zero carbon footprint. Ghosts are powered through the energy loss we call drag or friction. Wind resistence is actually matter moving through crowds of disembodied souls as they leach away inertia to fuel their ghoulish missions.

To save our environment I propose we kill all the ghosts.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

When Humans Ruled The Earth

The advent of internet dating is the point of speciation between humans and cyborgs.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Look Around You/ Look Straight Upward

Look around you.






Mistakes have the potential to occupy a good percentage of your thought in the aftermath. You can replay the events over and over again from slightly different angles looking for insight.

Maybe you should have told him/her the truth.
Maybe you should have asked better questions.
Maybe you should have left it alone.
Maybe you should have stretched beforehand.
Maybe you should have just stayed in bed that day.

But after looking at it from the point of view of every detail you can recall, the peripheral stuff just fades away and all you're left with is feeling the impact over and over until there is no more sensation and the wound is healed.

Look straight upward.



Thursday, September 23, 2010

Get Out Your Phones and Hold Hands in a Circle for the Augmented Reality Seance



Glen Toothman hopes to revolutionize your experience of mourning for the dead with his product, the Memory Medallion. He has begun selling attractive metallic buttons to be attached to grave markers, which house barcodes. When the barcode is scanned by a smartphone the visitor will gain access to a website with photographs, biography, a 1000 word story and a short video put together by family.

If his plan catches on in the deathcare business, the etched dash between birth and death dates will be replaced by snapshots of vacations and family reunions reanimated to the gentle beat of The Beatles' "In My Life".

This brings too much life into cemeteries. There is comfort and harsh truth within the lifelessness of tombstones. It's a place where we can remember someone who once was, but more importantly, it is a sanctuary for the process of letting go and accepting their absence.

If the memory medallion catches on, our cemeteries will be haunted by digital ghosts. Limited and unambiguous summaries of the person's character will be comprised of a dozen photos and a video montage. Our deceased loved ones will become immutable music videos and nothing more. Happy and hollow tributes void of nuance will disturb the silent tranquility of lawn, granite, and shedding magnolia and will possess our phones like demons wearing the false faces of our departed loved ones.

Tombstones should not be subject to outdated technology.

Tombstones should not project candy-coated obituaries.

Tombstones should be the fossilized remains of a memory of a memory.



(Note to my next of kin: That, being said, let's hack the shit out of that technology. Anyone walking by my grave should feel their phone vibrating in their pocket as they receive a beyond-the-grave collect call from an artificial intelligence replica of my voice complete with all my most unpleasant personality traits and opinions.)



((Real note to my next of kin: just kidding. You know I want to be cremated and blasted into space like James Doohan.))

Quoting Stephen Hawking Makes You Right

We continue to misinterpret Stephen Hawking's ideas to fuel our own agendas.


It's bad enough that he has had to sit quietly while his ideas have been turned into premises for unsciency sci-fi action movies...






...but now we have Christians praying for his soul and atheists waving his name around like a victory flag over the proclamations of headlines.


"Stephen Hawking: God didn't create universe" - CNN.com

"God did not create the universe, says Hawking" - Yahoo! News

"God Has No Role in Universe, Says Stephen Hawking" AOL News

"Somebody's Going To Hell! Stephen Hawking: "God Not Necessary" Geelkologie

Stephen Hawking: God did not create UFO Digest

Stephen Hawking U-turns on God's creation of Universe" Wired

"Stephen Hawking changes tune on God" USA Today

"Hawking: Religion will be defeated by science" cnet.com

"Stephen Hawking Settles the God Question Once and For All " Discover



My understanding is this: In his 1988 book, "A Brief History Of Time" he said that one's belief in human evolution and faith in a Christian God were not necessarily mutually exclusive. In 2010 he said that the physics of gravity allow for the Big Bang to happen spontaneously, and thus it does not necessitate a God to ignite the first spark.


Neither of these statements reveals anything about Hawking's alleged religious faith or lack thereof.



A super-genius cyborg made a statement regarding the Universe on an inhumanly enormous scale, and journalists turned it into a human interest piece.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Instantaneous Engineer

Consider the following excerpt from HG Well’s The Time Machine.

“You know of course that a mathematical line, a line of thickness nil, has no real existence…Neither has a mathematical plane. These are mere abstractions.”


“That’s all right,” said the Psychologist.


“Nor, having only length, breadth, and thickness, can a cube have a real existence.”


“There I object,” said Filby. “Of course a solid body may exist. All real things..."


“But wait a moment. Can an instantaneous cube exist?”


“Don’t follow you,” said Filby.


“Can a cube that does not last for any time at all, have a real existence?”


I am not a daydreamer. I am an Instantaneous Engineer. I plan and build intricate mechanisms, complete in their gears and function, existing in all 3 spatial dimensions fully formed and yet not materialized by duration. I invent and follow my inventions along their tangent timeline to their logical end and the change/ruin they bring onto society. Then I backtrack to the same moment of conception and pull my creation back out of the world, never to solidify.


My instantaneous creations are devastating so I spin them only onto paper, recount only the vaguest of hints at the destruction they wreak when they endure. I should let them dissolve completely, but in my vanity I doodle their caricatures in tight margins and bury their codex under my pillow to comfort me while I dream dreams I will never recall.



Tuesday, September 21, 2010

More Fun With The Crystallizing Universe!

Dear Scientists,


A few months ago I proposed a theory that what we experience as passing time is actually the crystallization of the universe. My friend Trilety was kind enough to let me know that I didn't think of that one. Actual scientists like yourselves, George F. R. Ellis of University of Capetown and Tony Rothman of Princeton University, beat me to this idea back in December of last year with their paper, Time and Spacetime: The Crystallizing Block Universe.

Apparently, I read this at the time it was published and it seemed so much like one of my fake ideas that that's where my brain filed it. Sorry.

But while I have your attention, maybe I can throw out some more related ideas and you can take them or leave them based on how well you think they fit your real science. Here we go:

We both agree that he present is the freezing point at which the past crystallizes out of the future, but what if it isn't instantaneous? What if it happens in a short but gradual duration like the dendritic growth process of solidifying crystals, reaching like angular limbs out of the liquid of infinite possibilities. Steadily the limbs grasp onto each other and grow, solidifying into a beautiful, unchangeable geometric patterns. No pattern can be determined until after the moment has ceased shifting into our consensus reality.


This makes me think about how confusing and amorphous the experience of the present is in moments of great change. For instance, during the events of 9/11 I felt like there were thousands of possibilities colliding at once, anyone or anything was responsible for the disaster simultaneously, until a Declaration of Reality was announced on the radio declaring a culprit and the unsteady plasma of undetermined reality cooled into President Bush's desired shape. History was written as such, and time moved on.

The question is this: Can we take a pickaxe to the past and crack it wide open again to reflect the future's absurdity onto the past? Can we destroy the solidity of the past leaving us afloat in the undetermined, where all possibilities and impossibilities co-exist?

To live in the future is to be many places at once.

To live in the past is to be frozen/catatonic/paralyzed.

To live in the present is to live blindly and infinitely.

I don't think we have to choose between these options. To be complete and well-balanced people we can switch tracks for differing Time Points Of View. We are able to jump back and forth like switching songs on a record for alternate perspectives on the events that surround us, but we must always remember to return to the present from time to time.

Why?

The present is the only instant in which we can enact change!

And how do we navigate time efficiently in a world where it all looks completely different as viewed from past, present or future.?

Picture this: a 4D computer model that maps every possible fissure in the amorphous future. We can now see every concievable outcome of every concieveable choice laid out face up before us like a gigantic deck of cards.

Now pick a card.

Choose wisely. Look carefully at them all and choose the one that looks like the future you want to live in. Now, in order to make that dream come true all you need to do is trace the path of choices backward to the present and concentrate on making your life match that path as best as you can.

Do we already have a program that is capable of such computation?

Yes. It's called your brain!




Navigating the desired path among infinite futures is exactly what our brain has evolved to do and it is the exact evolutionary purpose of imagination. So allocate your internal RAM to this application, readjust the settings as choose what shape you want the future of our world to crystallize into.


Got it? As scientists I am sure that you will be able to fold these explosions of concepts into a cohesive and testable hypothesis. I look forward to reading about your results on the web.


Sincerely,

Richard R. Penner

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mo Cap Romance

Lonely male researchers at Northumbria University in Britain recently launched an investigation into how they should dance in order to best attract women. The scientists took anonymous motion capture footage of men dancing in order to remove confusing variables such as social status, height, athletic physique, winning smile, perfect hair, or a competent grasp on contemporary fashion. With the digital avatars now on equal playing field with the scientists, the motion capture footage was shown to to women to be rated for sex appeal.


The researchers are now practicing gyrating with "a high degree of variability and amplitude of movements of the head and pelvis."

Next, they plan on studying the sex appeal of female dance by dressing women in spandex motion capture suits and having them dance in their lab while they film them; which is, in theory, a much better way for the scientists to meet women.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Night of the Living Word

The Florida preacher has cancelled his plans to burn copies of the quran on the 9th anniversary of the attacks on September 11th. President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates impressed upon the Rev. Terry Jones that this act would result in more violence and terrorism.

Burning books can ignite wars, but you can delete a hundred thousand bible.pdf's with no effect on the real world. Both printed books and e-books are easily duplicated, exist in millions of backup copies all over the world, and the information that defines each will not be permanently lost from the destruction of a few symbolic copies. What makes these acts different? What is it that imbues the physical object of the book and the act of incineration with such power?


If burning a book is like sacrificing a beloved but abundant animal, deleting a file is akin to recycling an empty can of beans. There are no emotional repercussions because a digital file is lifeless. Both contain the same information, but where exactly where does the life that is extinguished in a physical book's destruction reside? Does the living word reanimate the dessicated wood pulp within the page? Is the soul of language sleeping within the curves of the ink letters or born of the ritualistic actions that a pen or printing press must go through to conjure the symbols onto paper? The data spreadsheet resulting from the Human Genome Project is not the same as the first cry of a newborn human baby, and so perhaps we are similarly aware that ones and zeros only ever amount to a blue print, and that pixels are mere simulation.


Would we mourn for Wikipedia as we did for the Library of Alexandria?

Once we create a digital file worth crying or killing over we will know we have achieved Artificial Life.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Take 007 mg Twice Daily Or As Needed

James Bond's debonair, suave calm under the most deadly of situations is less impressive when you consider that a man in his line of work would be prescribed some serious beta blockers.

Take into account that he was on performance enhancing drugs for "cool".