Monday, December 31, 2007
I'm starting to think posting on youtube is a mistake. The videos garble the quality of the sound pretty badly. I also had a very hard time finding imagery to go with the music. I needed something menacing but playful, carnival but scary. I think I settled on the right tone.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
The Music of Jay Fuller
(the link under my portfolio now takes you here)
I kid you not. There I was, reading about the Flying Spaghetti monster, and I look to my left and see this:
Coincidence? I think not!
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Thursday, December 27, 2007
My uncle and his family joined me just as a small avalanche came sliding down the hill. My uncle told me to brace myself and reassured me that these avalanches were a frequent but minor annoyance. He said the best way to meet them was to tumble along with the snow. But I was pigheaded and decided to stand firm. The avalanche pushed me back a few feet and buried my ankles, but I remained standing. I was proud and my uncle seemed impressed. However, a second avalanche sent me tumbling.
By now, everyone was getting a bit worried, especially for the safety of my young cousin. My Aunt got the bright idea to climb up a precarious hill untouched by snow. My uncle and I followed as we steadied my young cousin. We finally made it to the top and found a warmer, greener area. A man threw a Frisbee to an excited weimaraner dog, which interested me greatly. Then, with a burst of awareness, I awoke from the scene.
UPDATE: Kinda creepy...Seattle, literacy...bookstore, Seattle...
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Actually, my design would entail suspending the glove and necessary motors in an opaque box. Gamers simply insert one hand devoted to tactile response and aim, while manipulating movement in 3d space with a joystick in the other hand, ala the Wii's nunchuck unit. I even had a snazzy name picked out for the device: "The Portal"
Imagine the immersion of reaching into a box and watching and feeling a virtual hand manipulate a virtual world. You could actually pick up a weapon, feel its weight, and fire! You could push buttons on a non-existent keyboard! Too cool.
Myth: We use only 10 percent of our brains.
Fact: Physicians and comedians alike, including run at full tilt., love to cite this one. It's sometimes erroneously credited to . But MRI scans, PET scans and other imaging studies show no dormant areas of the brain, and even viewing individual neurons or cells reveals no inactive areas, the new paper points out. Metabolic studies of how brain cells process chemicals show no nonfunctioning areas. The myth probably originated with self-improvement hucksters in the early 1900s who wanted to convince people that they had yet not reached their full potential, Carroll figures. It also doesn't jibe with the fact that our other organs
Myth: You should drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
Fact: "There is no medical evidence to suggest that you need that much water," said Dr. Rachel Vreeman, a pediatrics research fellow at the university and co-author of the journal article. Vreeman thinks this myth can be traced back to a 1945 recommendation from the Nutrition Council that a person consume the equivalent of 8 glasses (64 ounces) of fluid a day. Over the years, "fluid" turned to water. But fruits and vegetables, plus coffee and other liquids, count.
Myth: Fingernails and hair grow after death.
Fact: Most physicians queried on this one initially thought it was true. Upon further reflection, they realized it's impossible. Here's what happens: "As the body’s skin is drying out, soft tissue, especially skin, is retracting," Vreeman said. "The nails appear much more prominent as the skin dries out. The same is true, but less obvious, with hair. As the skin is shrinking back, the hair looks more prominent or sticks up a bit."
Myth: Shaved hair grows back faster, coarser and darker.
Fact: A 1928 clinical trial compared hair growth in shaved patches to growth in non-shaved patches. The hair which replaced the shaved hair was no darker or thicker, and did not grow in faster. More recent studies have confirmed that one. Here's the deal: When hair first comes in after being shaved, it grows with a blunt edge on top, Carroll and Vreeman explain. Over time, the blunt edge gets worn so it may seem thicker than it actually is. Hair that's just emerging can be darker too, because it hasn't been bleached by the sun.
Myth: Reading in dim light ruins your eyesight.
Fact: The researchers found no evidence that reading in dim light causes permanent eye damage. It can cause eye strain and temporarily decreased acuity, which subsides after rest.
Myth: Eating turkey makes you drowsy.
Fact: Even Carroll and Vreeman believed this one until they researched it. The thing is, a chemical in This myth is fueled by the fact that turkey is often eaten with a colossal holiday meal, often accompanied by alcohol — both things that will make you sleepy.called tryptophan is known to cause drowsiness. But turkey doesn't contain any more of it than does chicken or beef.
Myth: Mobile phones are dangerous in hospitals.
Fact: There are no known cases of death related to this one. Cases of less-serious interference with hospital devices seem to be largely anecdotal, the researchers found. In one real study, mobile phones were found to interfere with 4 percent of devices, but only when the phone was within 3 feet of the device. A more recent study, this year, found no interference in 300 tests in 75 treatment rooms. To the contrary, when doctors use mobile phones, the improved communication means they make fewer mistakes.
Friday, December 21, 2007
My brief response on the Indy Star forum:
The ignorance on display in this editorial is appalling. I'm serious, this is scary stuff. I'm reminded of the cult of anti-intellectualism that destroyed the middle east's reputation as the center for science and progressive thought and replaced it with pernicious notions like "mathematics is the work of the devil" Just look at the Dark Ages and the sad state of the middle east today to see where such mistrust in science can lead.
It seems the science of biology is too confusing for laymen, otherwise there would be no argument, so consider this historical approach that testifies to the truth of Evolution. Before Darwin, most biologists were intelligent design proponents. The idea that a supernatural creator designed every individual organism was accepted in the scientific community as a wholesale fact. But after Darwin and his literally tireless accumulation of evidence for his theory of Evolution by means of Natural Selection, along with the modern discovery of genetics and other lines of evidence, nearly all biologists have accepted Evolution as an established fact.
That's a tremendous feat! Darwin and subsequent discoveries have "converted" an entire field once populated by creationists! Doesn't that suggest, at the very least, the persuasiveness of the evidence?
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris discuss and debate their views in this 12 part video. The most interesting sections are when these guys disagree, which is usually spurred on by that snarky contrarian Hitchens. But the cordiality of discourse is exemplary.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
The Vatican is its own worst enemy. Aside from being a creepy, cultish fraternity of falsehoods, they've also seen it fit to extend their tendrils into the entertainment industry.
Well back off, man! This is my territory!
I saw the Golden Compass a couple weeks ago and never got around to a proper review. In brief, I'd say the film is a fun, benign experience conceived with spectacular imagination. At times, it seems a little heavy handed, and the pacing toward the end of the film is a bit swift --seems as if the filmmakers were working overtime to cram in the last story elements. But amongst 3 generations, myself, and my two younger brothers, there has not been a film in recent memory that has generated as much discussion and interest.
And that's exactly what the Catholic church fears most: discussion and interest. The Pope and his minions have just issued a statement slamming the film as "devoid of any particular emotion apart from a great chill."
The editorial continues:
"In Pullman's world, hope simply does not exist, because there is no salvation but only personal, individualistic capacity to control the situation and dominate events,"
Well, I cannot imagine more inaccurate criticisms. Devoid of particular emotion? What about excitement, fear, and joy? Something in the film did a good job of eliciting these responses. And last I checked, a little girl's ability to galvanize groups of people does not equate to hopelessness and strict individualism.
You know what gives me "a great chill?" Local and national movements to restrict children from this film's relatively benign storyline. My brother's friends have been subject to this abuse. What are they afraid of? Is their faith and the faith of their children so precarious that merely viewing a fiction could topple the whole deck of cards? Then let it topple, you hypocritical hucksters!
I've seen The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. I'm told these stories reek of Christian parable. You know what? If I did some digging, I could probably find it. But at the end of the day, Gandalf is not Christ, he's still Gandalf, and Aslan is still a lion. And knowing there are deeper allusions does little to affect the persuasiveness of the fiction.
So way to go, Vatican! Way to mirror more closely the Magisterium, that cartoonish satire of yourselves in The Golden Compass. You're not doing yourselves any favors and you're certainly doing a disservice to children and free-thinking people around the world.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
It seems to me, the political philosophies of "conservatism" and "liberalism" yield the following world views:
Conservatism: Our best days are behind us. We must work to conserve the status quo while fighting for a return to those better days.
As a result, many conservatives advocate the return of Christian prayer in schools, the rollback of public welfare programs, and a regression of civil rights.
Liberalism: Our best days are ahead of us. We are a privileged people, but there are many inequalities and injustices, so we must fight for change.
As a result, many liberals advocate progressive secularism, new public welfare programs, and extended civil rights.
I'm sure my bias is showing, but this dichotomy between conservatism and regression on the one side and liberalism and progression on the other side seems obvious. And the choice between the two philosophies seems just as obvious.
Friday, December 14, 2007
- yes! - the Wii remote's a Proton Pack. We've gone hands-on, and it's ace: move with the analogue stick, aim with the Wii pointer, then press Z and - bssszzhhmm! - 500,000Mhz of particle accelerator beam arcs across the room, frazzling ghosts and furniture. When the beam turns blue, you can slam a trapped Slimer against the walls, Eledees-style. And, yep, you do push the Nunchuk forward to slide a Ghost Trap under a spook before guiding him in with the Remote, 'tugging' him toward you a stubborn fish. It really is Ghostbusters.Oh why does it have to be a whole year away? I want it now!!! (article)
Thursday, December 13, 2007
After lunch, Lukas scanned the schoolyard in search of his older brother Jake. He spotted the new playground, which was surrounded by yellow tape and an orange, plastic fence. One piece of equipment stuck out like a sore thumb: a large pirate ship. Lukas moved close for a better look. He peered through the flimsy gate and marveled at the ship’s steering helm, a rope ladder that led to a crow’s nest, and a tubular slide that hung from the back like an over-sized rudder. The body of the ship was wooden and appeared to be handcrafted. The name, “H.M.S. ALBATROSS” was carved along the side. Lukas couldn’t discern if the ship was a new addition or a remnant from the old playground. But it certainly looked fun.***
1. The French Word For Butterfly
2. A Hero Rises in the East
3. A Crime in the Family
4. The Wrath of God - Dies Irae
5. Philip Glass Eats a Mysterious Loaf of Bread
6. All Hands on Deck!
7. The Stars at Night
8. Untitled Ancient Rome Project
9. Peaceful Cowboy
10. Shadows Theme I
11. Shadows Theme II
12. Shadows Theme III
13. Shadows Searching Cue
14. Shadows Action Cue
15. Shadows Suspense Cue
16. Dante's Inferno I - Entering the Woods
17. Dante's Inferno II - Descent into Hell
18. Dante's Inferno III - Dark King Revealed
19. Building a Mystery
20. The Final Battle
21. King Nefarious
22. A Little Town
23. Puzzle Time
24. When Woodwinds Share
25. The Queen's Lament
26. Doo Doo Dee
27. For Cali
28. The Cranemaker
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
... A God-child was born.
What's that strange sound?
It's Saint Nickolas! He flies overhead...
...and parachutes down.
"I've come to give thanks to the God-child Mithra!"
"I'm sorry," replied a wise man. "This child is the savior, Jesus."
Happy Mithra-Oden-Bacchus-Saint Nicholas-Christmas-yuletide!
Well, I've shifted. My vote is so far going to Obama. I mean come on, look at those chiseled good looks? But more importantly:
* He was right about the Iraq war
* He's been right about Iran
* He'd send a positive message to our allies and enemies
* Couldn't possibly be worse than GW
* He'd disrupt the Clinton-Bush monarchy
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Daniel Dennett likes to make a comparison between the Lancet fluke, which zombifies the nervous systems of ants so that they are readily eaten by cows, and religiously toxic ideas that propagate and cause their hosts to give up their lives.
Well that comparison is all very well and good, but ideas don't hold a candle to the real deal. I recently caught a special on rabies and it was terrifying, sad, and surreal.
This is true zombification in the human animal. This virus scrambles the brain and turns you into a violent, crazy zombie capable of spreading its madness with a frothy bite. The reality of this invading disease never hit me until I saw footage of rabies victims strapped to beds, dying. Truly sad and scary stuff.
I think it's significant that a disease exists that can get in our brains and change us profoundly. I think it's proof positive that our sense of self, our souls, are not whole units, but the result of cumulative processes that have no hope of surviving beyond their biology.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Inside my head, I just said "That's a good point" to...myself. Does anyone else think in this manner? I find that I sometimes split my inner monologue into a dialogue.
Actually, when I was younger, this was sort of a secret problem of mine. I almost had something of an anti-conscience. It was very much like the cartoon concept of an angel and devil on my shoulder. Come to think of it, I wouldn't be surprised if the development of my conscience was greatly influenced by Bugs Bunny and the like.
Anyway, when I was little, I had what I considered a troubling dichotomy. There was a sense of self in my mind that I considered the Real Me, which I also tied to my physical self, and then there was this Other Me that was purely of the mind. The troubling part was this Other Me generally laid out bad or stupid suggestions for behavior and ideas and was often in conflict with the Real Me.
Am I making sense? In other words, when I was young, I felt I had a sort of Jiminy Cricket whispering in my ear, but he whispered bad advice! What's interesting is that he still served a useful purpose --I just learned to do and think in opposition to that little guy.
But it's weird to look back on this. Aside from stories of temper tantrums when I was very, very young, I don't recall being a troubled child. So it seems this Mean Jiminy was never really persuasive. And with time, I'd say around the end of middle school (and the onset of puberty?) that part of myself disappeared.
So has anyone else ever found their minds divided in this way? How do you think?
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Somewhere along the way, I believe Dr. Dawkins admitted that he thought the fine-tuned universe argument was the most compelling theistic argument he had encountered. I don't know if that's Dawkins's catty way of saying theists have no good arguments, but I think the idea is rubbish.
From wiki: "The fine-tuned Universe is the idea that conditions that allow life in the Universe can only occur with the tightly restricted values of the universal physical constants," which therefore implies an intelligent fine-tuner (I've added this last bit here).
First off, I think it is abundantly clear that the Universe is not fine-tuned to allow life. How much life do you think there is out there in the vastness of space? Sure, there might be countless alien worlds teeming with life. Even so, consider their place in the vast, vast, inhospitable coldness of space. The Universe is not fine-tuned for life, it's "find-tuned" to be a vacuum filled with violent cataclysms and mostly lifeless arrangements of matter.
In trying to visualize life and Earth's physical scale in the cosmos, consider an analogy from the crank pseudo-science known as homeopathy. Practitioners of this new-age nonsense believe that a 1ml solution diluted in water or alcohol the size of a cube 106 lightyears by 106 lightyears by 106 lightyears has special healing powers. It doesn't have healing powers. In fact, the original solution is effectively non-existent after so much dilution.
And that's like us folks. It's kind of ego-deflating, I know, but suck it up. That's life's place in the Universe.
Furthermore, the notion that our "fine-tuned" situation implies an intelligent fine-tuner does not follow. I posit another analogy, this time from that wonderful game show the Price is Right. Now, when I was little, I really wanted --heck, I still really want to play the game Plinko.
In this game, contestants drop disks into a grid of prongs, which then, according to the laws of physics and probability, randomly bump around until they land in either the one winner box or one of several loser boxes. Consider the winning box the existence of life and consider the several losing boxes a non-life state.
Sometimes a disk falls in the winner box. If that disk could think, it might look back on the path it took and say "Gee, look how fine-tuned my existence is! There were so many other possibilities, but here I am. There must be a mind behind this." But that thinking disk is actually ignoring all the other possibility states, isn't he? Matter or energy emerge and self-organize all the time, but they rarely produce life. Life isn't special, it's just lucky. And I mean no offense to the contestant, but his or her involvement in this process does not equate to mindful, intelligent will. The contestant has no idea where that plinko disk is going to land after he or she releases it!
Life won the luck of the draw and that's it. improbability does not equate to impossibility. This Universe is not fine-tuned for life, and even if it was, even if life was everywhere, it would not imply an intelligent tuner.
Friday, December 7, 2007
I apologize for the sound quality. It's become quite garbled, which is unfortunate. The good news is I have tentative plans to make a demo CD of my latest music and I'd be glad to pass a copy along to any interested parties.
For the record, influences I'd cite for this song: James Horner, Aaron Copland, Canon in D, Super Mario Galaxy, Nights.
I helped my brother with his English homework last night and sketched this drawing of Mr. Jaggers from Great Expectations. Kind of looks like a mix between Oswald Cobblepot (the Penguin) and a fat Willy Wonka.
I figured it was a keeper.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Well, in considering my lack of direction, I decided to complete my Disney pitch of the HMS Albatross as an animated series.
If you're interested in reading the pitch and offering advice, suggestions, or praise : )
please email me and I'll send you the pitch, which covers about 1/3 of the material I've mentally prepared for the junior novel version.
I think it would be pretty awesome to wear a piece of jewelry with that kind of natural history.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
I really enjoyed this film. It was more than a little confusing at times, but I think I managed to make it to the end with both my feet on the ground. And I think that's impressive considering the surrealist storyline about journeying into people's dreams. The animation is really beautiful, although it was more restrained than I was expecting. And the film is undeniably influenced by Miyazaki, but that's never a bad thing.
It's worth a rental, but only if you've already seen Tokyo Godfathers, another, and I think better film made by the same creative team.
I was surprised to find I had more difficulty following this movie's storyline than Paprika's plot. There are a few good yucks here and there and the story wraps up nicely and with characteristic sentimentality. But in the end, it felt more like fan service and less like quality film. Pretty good, but not great. Then again, it took me a long time to warm up to the original series, so maybe my disappointment will change with time and repeated viewings.
UPDATE: Oh I can't resist! Here are the first 7 minutes of Tokyo Godfathers. Watch it, watch it, watch it!
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Kid loves Wii, Dog loves Kid
And it turns out trained Japanese research chimpanzees have better short term memory than trained college students. Seems the myth of the sacred human mind has received another blow!
Monday, December 3, 2007
You've just lost nearly all my respect accrued from your great game show days.
"Darwinists"? I think the word you're searching for is biologists. "Lightening striking mud created a Boeing 747" What an infantile strawman! Come on man! It's clear you've undertaken no serious investigation of biology. In fact, I'm reminded of this: