Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Last Son of _______!

The only two fictional characters I truly identify with are Superman and Doctor Who.

I take this as a sign that I should live my life as if I am the last of a once magnificent alien race.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Such Experiments

Physics has been going through a messy divorce. Einstein's Spacetime and an uncertain Quantum Mechanics have gone their separate ways with irreconcilable differences.

Scientists from around the world have convened in a cave deep beneath Switzerland with 6 billion dollars worth of machinery to bring into being one subject that both Father Spacetime and Mother Quantum can agree on: the Higgs boson particle.

Proof of this theoretical form, playfully called "The God Particle", would be the ultimate parent trap and could unite the broken family of modern physics into a happy nuclear household once again. If it works, the rejoicing of scientists will be heard worldwide.

What will it sound like when these conflicting sciences reunite?

Something like this:

A group of physicists, computer engineers, artists and composers created this mathematical simulation of the sound that will be made when the God particle comes into being.

Just like the theory itself, it is too beautiful to he true. Very melodic.

I borrowed these wonderful sounds for a song I wrote called, "Such Experiments" It is about obsessive love and a suspicion that the Large Hadron Collider may be having unintended effects on human sexuality.

You can hear it here:

Such Experiments (Higgs Boson Mix) by Richyrd! Richird Richérd!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Doctor Doctor

Regardless of your ailment, one of the following physicians has what you need.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mr. Universe

To believe in God is to anthropomorphize everything in the universe that is not already human.

(image borrowed from

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Ergonomicon

(image taken from Wikipedia)

Forget about cubicles for a moment.

Ergonomics is the study of efficient interaction between people and the tools they use. The cavemen were practicing ergonomics as they improved their technique for chipping flint into knives. Every dent worn clear for a thumb made the world a more interactive place, and increased mankind's influence on Earth.

(Image taken from

In the late 17th century the Stradivaris reached the pinnacle of ergonomic science. The family layered thin laminates of spruce, willow and maple and treated them with minerals, borax, honey and egg white. In ways now forgotten, they crafted violins whose every lacquered tree cell reacted harmoniously with every contracting and stretching muscle and bone cell in the musician's fingers.

(painting Antonio Stradivari by Edgar Bundy via Wikipedia)

Our manipulation of objects is the only way that we interact with our world in a lasting way. Because of this, ergonomics is the basic medium for our experience of life and how we touch the lives of others. A race car driver that has learned to feel and compensate for the slip of gravel beneath traction understands something that a physicist doesn't. The captain of a sailboat knows wind in a way a meteorologist in a TV studio never will.

The most ubiquitous tool we relate to today is the computer. That most of modern life (and all of modern ergonomics) is tangled in a web of USB chords and locked behind cubicle walls is a tremendous loss. While digital devices are more versatile than any tool in the past, keyboards have no understanding of either subtlety or precision. Computer applications can be found or coded to do almost anything we can imagine, but the careful symphony of which our muscles are capable is lost.

The iPad's touch screen is one small step toward digital mechanisms that efficiently understand the nuances of movement. We and our tools will continue a parallel evolution toward total immersion. Eventually, we will reach a point of synchronization where the very environment we walk through, from architecture to houseplant, will be our interactive tools and we will play the fabric of our world like a theremin; leaving music and paperwork, literature and legal contracts in our footprints.

We will break free of our cubicles and be capable of dancing a spreadsheet that understands the vague shades that live between columns.

(image The Ergonomicon by Richard Penner)