29 November 2006

24-30 November 2006 links

NyT speaks up on illegal settlements (mWeiss w/link)
Lovelock: gWarming may kill 5B by 2100 (UkG via Sam)
'hair spoil' = bad haircut from barber (dTongue)
Printing presses, vernaculars, and nationalism (iSteve w/link)
Wax-Museum Fire Results In Hundreds Of New Danny DeVito Statues (new Onion)
'red-celling' = gaming cyberattack on self (dTongue)
NYT's 100 best books of year (1pg via dy)
It used to sparkle / with ice or mica (vDaily)
I am about to tell a lie whether you believe it or not (vDaily)
Another favorable Pynchon review (NyMag via wStair)
'corpse graffiti' = 2ndLife prank (blog via wE)
Spooky-looking space globule (Nasa via wE)
"Because lots of people went naked in history" (oDinny-vshort)
XML's messy schemas fixed via Relax (tBray w/link)
Water is the new oil (iGreed)
'chimping' = peeking immediately at digicam snap (dTongue) [more]
Iraq fubarred-er than ever (aAard-short w/links)
70 female teachers accused of sex w/male students (list w/pix via Fim)
Nutrition notes (oDinny)
New paradigm for genetic variation (Toronto via Sam)
Favorable NYT review of Pynchon (NyT via Steve)
MS Zune gets panned (Chgo via eAard) [crit]
'fogging' = bully-handling trick for kids (dTongue w/link)
Microsoft's development process is fubar (blog w/links via jm)
J.Surowiecki on the Wii (NYer)
Annotated "Stephen Hero" (GgG-multipage)
New K.Amis biography (UkTel via wStair)
Essene latrines spread disease (Seattle via wE)
Highlights of Jeffrey Blankfort interview on Israel-etc (Xym-loong w/link)
NYT pans PS3 (NYT via /.)
MIT adopts Scheme language (thread via mshook)
New NYRB incl Jeffery Sachs (toc)

The Tree of Life atop GoogleMaps

we need a web2.0 app
where you can easily input
all the places you've lived
and when you lived there

all the places you've visited
and when
and the routes you took

and that then generates
whatever view
at whatever scale
from whatever angle
you choose

along with comparative paths
for friends and family

map-menu letting you select
projection (dymaxion, mercator)

you should know your lifeline
like the back of your hand


Freud on the Tree of Life

any psychological or ethical theory
(if it isn't sheer b.s.)
should be visualisable
on the Tree of Life

let id be green
superego red
ego yellow

green infants
suffering increasing attacks of red

neurotics cycling red/green

psychoanalysis ideally resolving
red/green conflicts
to yellow


Blessing and cursing as modalities on the Tree of Life

for some variables

a standard 2D spreadsheet
doesn't suffice

especially when the variable describes
a relationship
between any two branches

necessitating a 3rd dimension:

for each branch,
for every other branch
light a star

or even a 4th

for each branch at every point in time
and for every other branch
at every point in time...

we may term these
problematic relationships

in that they posit
a sort of wormhole at every point
peeking into a parallel world
with trees and variable-values of their own


every human branch
at every point in time
carries a compressed image of the Tree of Life
past and also future

where every person and thing in that image
is cursed or blessed
by the owner of that image
to some greater or lesser degree

say, orange for cursing
green for blessing
yellow for mixed

including especially
their judgments of their own past
cursing their errors
blessing their virtuous acts

and as they think about this image
particular orange or green elements
will be foregrounded

thus establishing a dominant color
for their whole image
at that moment

(color the whole Tree
with these dominant colors
at every moment)


27 November 2006

What-ifs on the Tree of Life

uncompressed images
of the Tree of Life
can be modified
by 'what-if' counterfactuals

perhaps someday allowing a ranking
of crimes against humanity

eg charles kettering
parlaying a patent
on leaded gasoline
into a significant worldwide decline
in human IQs

or archer-daniels-midland
imposing corn sweetener
in place of sugar

or judith miller in the ny times
egging the christian gentiles
into a $400 billion quagmire
against the muslim gentiles
for the benefit of israel

or the anonymous pentagon bureaucrats
who approved depleted uranium
for use in conventional munitions


Quality time on the Tree of Life

zoom to
height = one day
width = one home

spouses arise together
from one bed

separately visit the bathroom

maybe wake the kids
maybe woken by them

maybe breakfast together
weavingdancing around
a small shared dining space

parts of the day
spent separately
parts together
(fave teevee shows
rent a movie)

work and play
inside and out
at home or away

converging for lunch and dinner

kids to bed
in order of age

parent make love

happy families all alike
sharing quality time

unhappy families fragmented
each in their own way

we might look (if we could)
into each family member's thoughts
for which ideapatterns are shared
and with whom
which are kept private

happy families more open
than unhappy

maria montessori praised
a form of private quality time
where a child becomeds deeply absorbed
in some activity

and healed
made wise
by that absorption


Celebrity on the Tree of Life

for every human branch
at every point of time
assign a brightness
proportional to their degree of celebrity

(warhol's future
evenly distributed
in 15-minute bands)

note the frequency
of children inheriting
part of their parents' celebrity
or surpassing it

note celebrity hang-outs (locales)

note quantum leaps
in individuals' brightness
(vs more-gradual decays
even for proverbial

contributing factors:
brains beauty talent
wealth power

(make unfavorable celebrity shine red
favorable green
mixed yellow)


24 November 2006

Family trees on the Tree of Life

let one vertical inch
equal 15 years
(conception to menarche)

ten inches for 150 years
allowing multiple generations
for a family tree

an average human life
five inches
split between
however many
home towns

represented by vertical lines
at their geographic longitudes

world travel
reduced to horizontal spikes

all family members
of interest
in a single town
sharing that longitude line

births and deaths
marked only by ticks


Windy f___ed Vere Utter

seattle 1926

home for christmas
from boarding school
14yo mary mccarthy
reluctantly gives up
after waiting an hour
for 26yo forrest crosby
whom she thinks she loves

who'd taken her virginity
with ambiguous consent
the month before


Google and metadata

if google implements a keyword "meta:"

with syntax (maybe) "meta:author:james_joyce"

where webpage publishers are free
to add any 'meta' categories they like
in their html page-headers

then conventions should quickly emerge
to meet people's real needs


Locales on the Tree of Life

for any sufficiently long time-segment
of any human branch

some regions of space
will be visited repeatedly

others only once

one's home
one's bed
one's desk
one's office
one's favorite restaurant

these locales will
characterise that segment

and should be inventoried
by biographers


Fork this page

suppose the IMDb
encouraged fans to create fanpages
for their favorite movies and stars

fanpages combining
existing imdb data/elements
with newly added content
and links

so instead of always-uniform formatting
you could choose to browse
enthusiasts' views

so instead of just
writing a review
when you're impressed by a movie
you compile a page
echoing the imdb facts
you judge worth echoing

and cross-referencing
with your own related pages

and ditto for books

each new webpage framed
with its pluripedia alternates

with browsers offering a
'fork this page' button
that registers each forked page
as another alternate

and encourages
of old and new page elements

and also maybe
a 'forkify these two tines' button
that declares two existing pages
to be virtually forked

turning wikipedia into pluripedia
requires that each article
accumulate links to all forks

most forks hosted
at pluripedia
but some perhaps not

so that wikipedia's current
policy of
trying to link
all related pages
would be explicitly abandoned


Why graph it

the paradox of 21st century science
is that common sense
is at once
common sensical
and impossible-to-formalise

so far
lacking a finite set
of fundamental concepts
in terms of which
all others can be defined

so the Tree of Life approach recognises
that most common sense concepts
at least
some relationships in 4D spacetime

and our shared spacetime
hosts definite organisms' worldlines
representing birth and death
and community

so we can build on this
as an abstract foundation/framework
upon which other variables
can be experimentally mapped
as patterns of color

gradually accumulating
(we hope)
a broad enough vocabulary of colorpatterns
to tame the greater welter


Reading on the Tree of Life

sort all words
in order of frequency

assign primary colors
to the commonest words

more subtle shades
to rarer words

and where a human branch
on the Tree of Life
thinks reads hears or speaks
a word
light a star of that word's color

at most 5 words per second
300,000 words per day

a given passage of text
becomes a pattern of colored stars

repeated wherever the passage is read

repeated with errors by poor readers
repeated with gaps by hasty readers
repeated in clumps by distracted readers

for a given piece of text
(book article poem quote)
light all the segments
of the Tree of Life
where it's being re/cited

(extreme case:
pedants debating the significance
of a single word)

light further
all future thoughts
on each given reader's branch
re/shaped by their memories
of that text

(did it add a word
to their active vocabulary?

toddlers gathering early vocabulary
mostly from speech

or are they reminded of a scene
whenever a similar scene arises?

does the influence quickly fade?

does it persist
while the source is forgotten?)

rank the most influential works
for a given reader

for all readers at a given time
(dr spock; harry potter)
for all readers ever (the bible)

rank the books with the most
separate influential patterns
(gravity's rainbow)

those whose influence
peaked quickly then faded
(nobody reads fulmerford anymore)

(how can we extend this visualisation to include
influential non-verbal works--
music, dance, painting?)


Mondrian on the Tree of Life

from a human-factors standpoint
when creating web graphics
it makes the best sense to fit them
to the average browser window

and similarly when visualising (eg)
the Tree of Life
it makes sense to scale the visualisation
down to the appropriate human scale

eg the whole worldmap
shrunk to the width of a notebook page

or the whole history of life
(3 billion years)
shrunk to the height
of a stack of books
(or a breadbox)

but more often
we'll need to zoom in
with both horizontal zoom
(for space)
and independently
vertical zoom (for time)

so we zoom in on our chosen time-span
until it fits the height of a breadbox
and on our chosen space-map
to fit the width of a notebook page

eg Leopold Bloom's wanderings
by foot, carriage, and tram
over the 16 hours of Ulysses
span two miles square

with most of the day spent standing
more-or-less still
(ie, a vertical line
on the Tree of Life)

and Bloom's walking speed
at this scale
by contrast
is quick enough to appear
almost horizontal

so here
and in general
human worldlines are normally
all right angles
lacking any obvious diagonals

(unless the topic
of the zoomed map
is the trip itself)


22 November 2006

Polti vocabularies on the Tree of Life

while every person's
compressed image
of the Tree of Life
is unique

their representation schemes
draw on a common pool

rooted in
the preprogrammed neural vocabulary
of human motivation
and action

which we might term
the polti vocabulary

after polti's 36 dramatic situations

being a vocabulary of elements
that can be arranged
to compose dramas

and while the maximum size
of a polti vocabulary
is still uncounted

we can at least
rank the indivdual elements
by how familiar they are
across all compression schemes

and we can assign colors to each
in order of familiarity
with red-yellow-blue primaries first
and subtler mixes following

so a dullard's Tree of Life
might be limited to colored stars
of the dozen most-primary hues

while a proust tolstoy joyce shakespeare's
has a million different shades

movies books newscasts
teevee-series networks
teachers schools
can be ranked by
their depth of shading

shallow polti vocabularies
may be
pollyanna shallow
or beavis and butthead shallow
or gw bush shallow
or isaac asimov shallow
or donald trump shallow
or paris hilton shallow

(all subtle vocabularies
are alike
but every shallow vocabulary
is shallow in its own way?)


21 November 2006

14-22 November 2006 links

Pynchon extract (UkG via tHow)
'that bendy thing' = yoga (oDoffice)
Keys vs darts (new NYer toon)
World Leaders in Dresses (pix via eAard)
'BLR' = beyond local repair (dTongue)
'bunhead' = classical ballet (vs modern) dancer (dTongue)
'pre-tox' = detoxing in advance (dTongue)
'get oil-spotted' = get left behind while traveling (dTongue)
Brazil as esoteric anomaly (RigInt)
More Cheech&Chong live (oDinny-vshort)
Settlers chant: "We killed Jesus, we'll kill you too!" (Xym w/link)
New Sy Hersh on Israel vs Iran (NYer-long)
Critique/review of Iraq body count(s) (long via dy)
Another longish Pynchon review (NYer-Menand)
Cheech&Chong live (oDinny-vfriv)
A modern muse (Sinfest-toon)
Contrarian peak-oil-theories graph (iGreed)
Too much wealth chasing too few means-of-production (sfBiz-short via iGreed)
New Michael Moore commentary (LaTms-short via rCellar)
Sam spits on Milton Freidman's grave (ProRev-short)
Sony loses $300 on every PS3 (iGreed w/link)
From the bellydancing treehouse (oDinny-vvshort)
Free JaneSiberry headshaving for Vancouverites (MySpace)
1st review of new Pynchon (NySun via Fim)
What Vietnamese people wonder about USA (Harpers)
Mustard icecream w/cabbage gazpacho (tHow-recipe)
Conrad Black getting his (Xym-short w/link)
"dude, where's my [not car or country]?" (ClicheWatch)
Surprising graph of online ad revenue (iGreed)
Yin Making Inroads On Yang (newish Onion)
Iraqis need ponies (aAard-short)
Airline oneliners (oDinny)
"the [not spy] who came in from the cold" (ClicheWatch)
Jane 'Issa' Siberry blogging again (MySpace w/rss)
Eyelash mites and radio goggles (RigInt)
Four miscellaneous new polls (MrPoll-longish) [view]
Miracle opiate found in human saliva (NewSci via dTng)

What reality is

"Reason, or the ratio of all we have already known, is not the same that it shall be when we know more." --William Blake

consensus reality
is like a fragile raft
of lashed-together coconuts
floating on a roiling sea
of unlashed coconuts

and innovation is like wrestling
a new unlashed coconut
out of that roiling sea
and lashing it firm
to every other coconut in the raft


ToE vs ToL

edward o wilson's
elegant autobiography

sketches an epochal
Shem/Shaun brotherbattle
in Harvard's biology department
of the 50s and 60s
between wilson
representing the classical tradition
of evolutionary macrobiology

and james 'double helix' watson
as the insufferable young turk
of molecular biology
dismissing wilson's classical tradition

until the introduction of mathematical models
for sociobiology
and island biogeography
rehabilitated that tradition

and i see a parallel
with the classical approach to the
unification of the sciences

versus the physicists' megalomaniacal
ten-dimensional Theories of Everything

rehabilitatable via
the Tree of Life


Biomes and the Tree of Life

stack four billion
dymaxion worldmaps

representing all of
earth's history

with the poles
as two separate vertical lines

an equator halfway between

ocean temperatures generally
increasing towards the equator

and slowly drifting continents
breaking up and merging
(maybe three such cycles
in the last 3 billion years?)

forming a system of
irregular columns
on our 3D (actually 4D) map

climate and terrain roughly divide
these irregular columns
into dozens of
standard biomes
supporting characteristic ecologies

each biome gradually drifting

each species
tending to track one biome
to fill one sub-biome

species that master
a second biome
tending to split
into a second species

(ancestral species rank-able
by the number of biomes
eventually colonised)

rarely merging biomes
forcing clashes-to-the-death
between more-or-less-distant

humans uniquely, continually
refining their toolkits
for colonising hostile biomes


Compressing images of the Tree of Life

every human branch
at every instant
possesses a unique
compressed image
of the whole Tree of Life

that has its origin
as the infant's image
of itself
and its local world

then its comparison
of self with others

its generalisation
of the 'usual' other

its cataloguing of
unusual others

experienced firsthand
or heard tell of
2nd- to Nth-hand

as the spatial boundaries
of the imagination
extend outward
to the ends of the earth
of the universe
to the ends of time

so that a query
about any particular
region of spacetime

generates a best guess
about that region's occupants

their similarities
to the local 'usual'

their degree and style
of un-usual difference

and much human conversation
spoken and also written
involves tweaking of these
'packed' general images

and instantiation of specific
branch biographies

named individuals
whose life histories

are 'usual' in most ways

but whose specific
un-usual differences
are itemised

conventionally in sequential order
but alternatively
in order of importance
or grouped by theme

less important differences
meriting less discussion

better documented differences
propagating more discussion

storytellers confabulating
you-are-there reconstructions

maybe prefacing the conventional
biographical sequence
with a vivid flashforward
that previews the un-usual significance
of the whole


19 November 2006


any moving car
down to a set of graphs

variables changing over time

left/right turn
smooth/bumpy ride
engine speed/roughness
fuel supply
exhaust temperature
buffeting from side winds
brakepad friction

instead of designing in
maximal silence

design in
acoustic expressiveness

so each of these graphs
contributes a harmonious
musical motif

implemented not digitally
but mechanically

bumpiness for drumming
(gas tank as drumhead?)

brakepads like strings

airspeed for woodwinds

acceleration piano

not so loudly
that it's obnoxious

just loud enough
to express
the car's personality


17 November 2006

The war against the hippies

if the sixties represented
the most radical cultural shift
in human history

(and i think they probably did)

then the still-ongoing
war against the hippies

is the blackest


The crying of lot googolplex

it's forever been a commonplace
of internet culture
that microsoft's unspoken motto was
be as evil as possible

so it's gratifying lately
in an almost pinch-me fashion
to watch bill gates scratching his head
dude, where's my monopoly?

finessed by google
flying the opposite flag

until one begins to visualise
the subsequent crumbling
of the republicans
the neocons
the capitalists

satan's earthly army

until sergey
turns in his chair

removes his mask


Hellfire and the Tree of Life

joyce revered dante's inferno
beyond all other art
for reasons i'm sorry to admit
i still can't entirely fathom

but dante at least invented
the genre of cruci-fiction
nailing his parochial enemies
to an eternity of earthly contempt

which surely appealed
to the youthful Stephen Dedalus
of silence-exile-and-cunning fame

but joyce also recognised from the first
that precision was a better revenge
than exaggeration

and by finnegans wake it seems
his ultimate target
has become himself
splayed and vivisected

incarnating all sins

in ulysses though
we face the test case
of gogarty/mulligan
still beloved of critics
for his exuberance

but likely doomed
like dante's nemeses
to cruci-fiction

once we resolve the riddle
of the midnight fistfight [notes]
and the morning rage [etext] [notes]

and i'm certain joyce
would have relished the prospect
of crucifying all the world's villains

on the Tree of Life


16 November 2006

The cop who came in from the cold

[this is an overview
of some more-or-less-recent thrillers
with special attention to
Michael Connelly
Colin Harrison
and Charles McCarry]

the very best novels
immediately establish themselves
as '10's
on a new scale
with no 9s or 8s in sight
and where even a 7
is cause for celebration

eg Pynchon's Lot 49
finds an unexpected 7 in
Alan Furst's silly "Paris Drop"

but Robert Stone's "Dog Soldiers"
arguably The Great American Novel
had barely found its first 6
(Lynn Kostoff's "Choice of Nightmares")
until Colin Harrison's "Afterburn"

Stone's special gift
is to sink his teeth, deep
into the heart of american darkness
so we desperately need
more like him

Harrison's first three works
are all admirable
but Afterburn is a quantum leap
out-Spiking Elmore Leonard

(Leonard has pwned
a scale of his own
in the shadow of
early George V Higgins

Ed McBain sometimes
hits an 8 there
despite generally disgraceful padding)

Harrison's plotting
has quickly caught up
to his always poetic prose

("Manhattan Nocturne"
was a perverse anti-noir
with less plot in the first 150 pages
than in Chandler's average chapter)

Harrison also has a weird obsession
with porn-star sexual athletics
where pounding your genitals raw
is supposed to equate to transcendence

this idiosyncracy is interestingly mirrored
in McCarry's extraordinary "Lucky Bastard"

effectively the backstory to Klein's "Primary Colors"
told from the point of view
of the Clintons' KGB handlers

the best part is a KGB school
called 'Swallows'
where agents are trained in
sex as a martial art

like Harrison
McCarry argues unconvincingly
that technique can always trump emotion

but his re-invention of Hillary
as deadly sex goddess
is priceless

if leCarre's "Smiley's People"
establishes the 10
McCarry never gets past 6
in the other works i've read
often bogging down
in gag-me-with-a-silver-spoon
aristocratic luxury-porn

the NYT blurb for Michael Connelly's
recent "The Closers"
claims he's reinvented the police procedural

and i'm inclined to agree

the dominant, exhausted cliche
has been the taunting genius serial killer
and more recently
the triple-twist ending
where the villain is revealed
as one of the investigative team
(Jeffery Deaver
i'm pointing at you)

Connelly has emerged from these traps
in his latest Harry Bosch episode
where this classic noir outsider cop
finally comes in from the cold

hammering us
from the first chapter
with the sort of
tenderness normally quarantined
in the next-to-last-chapter
then reburied
in the last

and instead of jumpstarting
tired emotions with exotic crimes
Connelly turns things inside out
building a tiny forgotten murder
into a cosmic ethical battleground

compacted into a single week
of minute-by-minute minutia
(Connelly is
master craftsman
for capturing character in the way
one holds a coffee cup)

there are enough spoilers
in each Bosch episode
that serious thriller-fans
should try to read them in order

but each stands fine alone

Connelly's recent "The Lincoln Lawyer"
is a non-Bosch legal procedural
full of topnotch tradecraft
but almost too realistic
in its anticlimactic ending

and i must't omit Michael Gruber
aka Robert K Tanenbaum
whose Butch Karp series
hits consistent literary highs

(my addams family post
unconsciously plagiarised his early
"Immoral Certainties")

15 November 2006

From wikipedia to pluripedia

suppose wikipedia
modified their software
so you could rank editors

for individual articles
easily comparing alternate edits

or more generally
extrapolating credibility
based on familiar examples

and inherit as well
those editors' rankings
of other editors

not a popularity contest

rather the focusing
of an optimal community
based on your individual values

not a universe
(said cs peirce)
a pluriverse

Money on the Tree of Life

wherever a human branch
spends money
light a white star

whose brightness is proportional
to the amount spent

(consumption spending
might need a different color
from investment spending)

note lives whose stars
vary widely in brightness

notice rich and poor neighborhoods

for each human branch

their total available credit
at each moment

and color blue the lowest
red the highest
with a spectrum inbetween

find frugal/misers
whose credit far surpasses
their spending

find catastrophes
where individuals' credit

where it soars

Work and play on the Tree of Life

on the Tree of Life
color red
every human branch
where it's sleeping

to post-dawn
in residential neighborhoods
in one's own bed

but some
sleeping in the day
in strange beds

(color orange insomnia
orange-red drugged sleep)

color yellow
any human branch
where it's working

normally post-dawn
to pre-dusk
in nonresidential neighborhoods

but some on night shifts
some whose work takes place
in residential neighborhoods

(color green when they're sick
color blue when they're in school)

color shades of purple
the various desires
for drink or drugs
(or sex or other escapes)

often beginning on awakening
continuing thru the workday
peaking after work

(note which employers
which neighborhoods
promote the worst stress)

place colored stars
on drink-or-drug-taking
events (or sex or other escapes)

rarely during workdays
(except caffeine)

commonly at
clubs and bars and parties
after dark

some partying alone

some individuals indulging
thruout whole days

junkies enslaved
to purple desires

binges sometimes ending
in death

color white
episodes of creativity
catharsis (eg dancing)
deep communication

that quell desire
without escapism

(unknown to many

characteristic of few

more likely when

work to multiply, wherever, whenever
such episodes of white

analyse (and fight)
social factors
that reduce them

13 November 2006

04-13 November 2006 links

and the crystals tinkle on a chandelier (Poems.com-vshort)
they swashed against her tongue, escapees / from the den of lip & gum (Poems.com)
the years that she was raising me / on Pop Rocks and Tang (Poems.com)
Happy pig (nDee-pic)
you merge onto a highway / where water spills (vDaily-short)
That racket’s a baby woodpecker, plump and soft as a gland (vDaily)
when Judge Russell played / his flute at night, his horses came and stood (vDaily)
Borat exploits gypsies too (iSteve)
Zionists still benefit from Dems' win (Xym)
Grand truths about human behavior (eT-thread)
Simple comparison of Java/PHP/Rails (tBray w/graph)
1998 perspective on Taliban threat (Sam-quote)
Neocons charged with warcrimes in Germany (Time via Sam)
New NYRB incl Sofia Coppola (toc)
Artsy new NYer toon (elixir of life) (cBank) [friv]
Robot jokes (McSwnys via Fim)
'karaoke democracy' = mouthing canned talkingpoints (dTongue)
Nice 1933 quote on USA's corporate foreign policy (iSteve w/link)
Speculation on mideast policy-shift (mWeiss)
'Korotkoff sound' = blood-made noise (dTongue)
K.Marx adapted to stage (UkG via dy)
America's Cowboys Suffering From Restless Heart Syndrome (new Onion)
Vark art (eAard w/pic)
'headache bar' = (if you hit this you're too tall) (dTongue)
Neocons casting lot with Democrats now? (Xym)
Borat as anti-Muslim bigot (Xym-short)
Top 20 Halliburton-et-al Iraq-outrages (Gov-list via rCellar)
Robot librarians throw DeweyDecimal to winds (rGossip w/pic)
Solar robot spots, pulls weeds (rGossip w/pic)
Talented $60 robot-dog (rGossip w/pix)
Cute comparson of fluids-that-cost-more-than-oil (Gz-graph via iGreed)
Riverbend on Saddam sentence (bBurn via eAard)
Backgrounder on fave jukepick Kid Koala (Can via dTngue)
'crate-digging' = v.eclectic sequenced sounds (dTongue)
'reset' = quick synopsis after break (dTongue)
'subzero' = anorectic who wears less-than-size-zero (dTongue)
Neocon rats cover asses (Barista-quotes)
Contra pie-charts (ET-thread)
Joni update (rStone via Waxy)

Extraterrestrial Trees of Life

zoom out
until the milky way
is centered on your map

with Earth a yellow dot
towards one edge

flatten the galaxy
down to two dimensions
and drop Earth's dot
extending backwards in time
as a corkscrewing yellow line
orbiting the sun

35 years back
allow some tiny yellow tendrils
to reach the Moon

100,000 years back
mark the transition
to intelligent life
by reverting the yellow corkscrew
to green (for unintelligent life)

add green tendrils
for any recent space shots
with hitchhiking microzoa

and don't rule out
hidden green life
arising independently
within the solar system

Earth's green line
has corkscrewed around the galactic center
some dozen times since life emerged
three billion years ago

the Earthless galaxy
continues back
another ten billion years
as do a near infinity
of other comparable galaxies

guaranteeing a near infinity
of corkscrewing green lines

with occasional yellow intelligences
with green and yellow space tendrils
some perhaps colonizing widely
in their own galaxy

an unknown number of yellow intelligences
existing now

a portrait gallery
of all yellow intelligences ever
outdoing the Star Wars cantina

08 November 2006

Conspiracy on the Tree of Life

extreme manichaeism
might posit a single connected
universal conspiracy of evil
traceable all the way back
to the root of the Tree of Life

but more typically
conspiracies have origins
characterised by initiations
and violent enforcement
of a limited penumbra of consciousness
among non-initiates

tentacles venturing outward
among the gentiles
emboldened by each success

Ego and injustice on the Tree of Life

let's say
ego is injustice

and ego-types
are characterised by
characteristic injustices

which might be assigned
characteristic colors
on the Tree of Life

and adolescence
transforms the childish ego
(oriented towards parents,
siblings and playmates)
into an adult ego
with more-or-less adult

childbranchcolor breaking up
adultbranchcolor breaking thru

and the emotional extremes
of adolescence
are due in part
(or mainly)
to western society's incompetence
in modeling justice

so that every teen has to improvise
their own justice
their own anger
in their own ego

i praised the movie 'clueless'
for breaking new ground
in modeling compassionate solutions
to stereotypic teen angsts

and i await a teen tolstoy
writing the great teen novel
(presumably as an adult)
unknotting western teen angst

its egos and injustices

for good

07 November 2006

Highsmith's persecuted liberals

Patricia Highsmith's
1972 'A Dog's Ransom'
opens with the dog's murder

her 1977 'Edith's Diary'
opens with an attempt
on a pet cat's life

both are peculiar meditations
on the uncomfortable status
of leftists in the USA

in the first case
a young cop
with a psych degree from Cornell

in the second
a Bryn Mawr alumna
who freelances for respectable
lefty magazines

the cop's story is a sort of
chemistry experiment
where a drop of something
with a mildly basic pH
is added to a mildly acidic solution
(ie, idealist among cynics)

and a gradual series
of individually innocuous missteps
each rubbing against the grain
escalate over a few short weeks
into major tragedy

in the other
over two decades
the leftist can't catch a break

isolated in a small town
with a bad-seed son
(the abovecited cat-smotherer)
and an ungrateful invalid in-law

her husband runs off
back to the city
with a younger woman

but instead of breaking out
she turns inward
stoically nurturing her ingrates
building a fantasy life in her diary
finding catharsis in competent sculpting

alienating her few lefty friends
with increasingly unconventional
political stances

until in the last 50 pages
based on clues we have to seek
between the lines

her friends all conclude
she's gone mad

and apparently she has

05 November 2006

Originality on the Tree of Life

words and phrases
on the inner orbits
of the yahoo zodiac
are more common

those in outer orbits
less common

color the common ones yellow
the rare ones red
with a full orange gradient

when a person posts
a rare phrase (or word)
to the web
put a red star
on the Tree of Life

(a common phrase

or if they speak
a rare or common phrase

or even think one

now step back

and look for patterns
of red vs yellow

people with large
active vocabularies
use redder words

poets and children and lovers
redder phrases

bad schools
enforce yellow conformity

communities are sometimes visited
by red topics

authors gather
red phrases
into notebooks

trying to turn
yellow pages

[color version]

Heraldic barcodes for video

say you're in the mood
to rent a video

and you make a list of adjectives
describing the ideal video
you're in the mood for

now collect thousands of such lists
from a broad sample of renters
and compile a master list
with the most popular adjectives first

the design challenge
with heraldic barcodes
is to associate each of these
most popular adjectives
with a distinctive graphic element

carefully chosen
so that all the adjective/elements
describing any given movie
can be composed into an icon
that permits quick visual scanning
(eg on a shelf of box-spines)

as with my flickr proposal
the most convenient grouping
must be foreground-background-frame

backgrounds could again be colored stripes
representing genres
so a little element of horror
might be a thin red stripe
while a lot of nudity
a wide pink stripe

mild horror or mild nudity
might use less saturated colors
(or is pink already
unsaturated red?)

clever choice of color-variants
and stripe arrangement
might map more complex

the frame
(maybe 4 pixels wide
around the whole icon)
should tell how long it is
how expensive/cheap it looks
how smart/dumb
how highly rated

the official rating
might be shown as a letter
located on a stripe
that indicates why it got that rating
(sex, nudity, language, violence)

perhaps the foreground
could be an 'auteur icon'
representing (eg)
a director (eg Tarantino)
a star (Jackie Chan)
a writer (Charlie Kaufman)
a franchise (James Bond)

shorter videos on (eg) youtube
need some custom modifications
to this scheme

frames: length, production values

pratfall, dancing
lipsynch, vlog, etc

and novels
and short stories
need something like this

SimLab radio goggles

or: I'm an idiot about
electromagnetic radiation

[this is a visualisation experiment
designed to discover gaps
in my own intuitions
about light, radio, etc

i hope to revise it
as these gaps are
gradually filled]

everyone's seen video
taken with night-vision goggles
of ghostly green GIs
firing into the dark

these work by detecting
the invisible infrared
radiated by any warm body
and somehow or other
translating it
into visible green light

so we could imagine
a future improvement
where the goggles have
a radio dial
and can be tuned to any frequency
(not just infrared)

displaying radiation of that frequency
as shades of greyscale

and rather than wait
until these 'radio goggles'
are practical/real
we could write a software simulation
that shows more-or-less
what we'd someday see

and by designing this sim
in our imaginations
we can refine our intuitions
without either actual
hardware or software

so one menu we'd want
is 'light sources'
(or radiation sources)
including incandescent bulbs
fluorescent bulbs
flames and other chemical reactions
fluorescing chemicals
nuclear reactions (incl the sun)
electric circuits
radio transmitters

and we could start by
choosing one source
and tuning the radio dial
to see how bright
that source shines
at every different frequency
(these graphs are readily available)

another menu would be 'materials'
that can be examined
at different frequencies
and different magnifications
under different light sources

and maybe also 'filters'
that could be inserted between
source and material

not neglecting polarising filters
which the display might indicate
with a different color for each
angle of polarisation
(white for unpolarised)

finally we'd like to include
a realworld mode
where any realworld scene
could be checked out
thru the goggles

toggling back and forth
between natural and 'source' light

with a teaching-menu
of 'textbook scenes'
for each frequency
that include examples to explore
of every interesting phenomenon
at that frequency

now starting with sources
my understanding is
that electromagnetic radiation
always originates from
accelerating or decelerating
electric charges
most often electrons

and that a continuous source
implies oscillating electrons
with the frequency of the oscillation
determining the 'color' of the 'light'

electrons normally bound into molecules
that don't radiate until they're excited
by heat or light or electricity
(while electrons in metals flow freely)

with the color of the radiation, then
depending on the structure of the molecule
probably polarised if
the molecules are aligned
and/or the excitation acts
in a particular direction

so i'd like an overview
of each lightsource in these terms
explaining why it emits
the particular frequencies it does

and special views for
broadcast radio frequencies
(AM and FM)
showing how transmitter-antennas radiate
and why reception is poor
under different conditions

and how 'noisy' electrical circuits
emit radiation unintentionally

and similarly for materials

why does a particular chemical
absorb rather than reflect
(or refract or transmit)
particular frequencies?
and how does it surface texture
influence this?

what happens to its
electron structure
as it absorbs photons?

and how selective absorption
can be used to make
detectors for given frequencies
(including radios and their antennas)

01 November 2006

Addams Family DSMV

would it be too too heretical
to argue that the 99th remake
of Superman or Batman
has at least as much artistic legitimacy
as a 99th remake of Hamlet?

because the icons of popular culture
resonate necessarily in new ways
as pop culture evolves

and remakes offer a perfect canvas
for deconstructing or rethinking
those icons and their evolution

take the addams family

when the cartoons were adapted
from Ross's prudish New Yorker
to network children's teevee

they lost all hint of menace
so it all became a pose
they'd never really hurt a fly

where the originals had a strain
of corpses-in-the-basement
more suitable to texas chainsaw masochists

but the remake i'd like to see
would follow more the lines
of twin peaks' dale cooper
investigating the black lodge

sociopaths with social standing
sacrificing cheerleaders by the moon

and it could be useful to explore
parallels to the current crop
of political sociopaths

richard perle as gomez
echoing leland palmer's psychotic songs-and-dances

ann coulter as morticia
loosing the dogs of war on the inferior races

dick cheney as fester
you really don't want to know
what he's up to in the basement

barbara bush as grandma
brewing potions in the rose garden

W (or rush limbaugh?) as pugsley
playing frog baseball with beavis and butthead

and i'm seeing wednesday
as a suicidal teen
a cutter (think fiona apple?)
whose redemption
could be the main storymover

and there's a little-noticed
psychological twist
in the observation that
among these sociopaths
uncle fester is unique in retaining
a slightly conflicted conscience

you can see it in his face

a distant memory
that all this is somehow wrong

so agent cooper (eg)
might at least
talk him into untying his bound hands...