June 19th, 2011

soul killer

The material world is sometimes compared to an ocean, and the human body is compared to a solid boat designed especially to cross this ocean. The Vedic scriptures and the acaryas, or saintly teachers, are compared to expert boatmen, and the facilities of the human body are compared to favorable breezes that help the boat ply smoothly to its desired destination. If, with all these facilities, a human being does not fully utilize his life for self-realization, he must be considered atma-ha, a killer of the soul. Sri Isopanishad warns in clear terms that the killer of the soul is destined to enter into the darkest region of ignorance to suffer perpetually.

From the Śrī Īśopaniṣad, verse 3

I like the grandeur and poetry and sometimes the wisdom of religious texts even when I don’t subscribe to the religion in question.

June 19th, 2011

wooden mirror

via 3qd

Posted in Ha!, Video | No Comments »
June 16th, 2011

everyday poetry

I heard the expression “lower than a snake in a wagon track” on the Big Joe Williams rendition of “Rocks in my bed”, and I googled it. Which led me to this page of colourful expressions…

I grew up in the country, on Boggs Run, in Marshall County, West Virginia. My dad, Jack Cunningham, was born and raised there and he helped me with this project in the year preceding his death on May 7, 2000.

The following expressions were used in everyday conversation by my dad, uncles and grandfathers and were a part of our culture. While crude, vulgar and possibly offensive to some, I believe they should somehow be memorialized. I have heard variations of some these old sayings and I fear the originals are being lost…

While these “sayings” are said in all parts of the country, I believe they originated in the populations of the early pioneers…the country people. (Any other facts or theories regarding the origin will be appreciated!)

Some choice examples:

“Handy as a pocketful of paper assholes”
“As full of shit as a cat is frollicks”
“Workin harder than a funeral home fan in July”
“Ugly enough to scare buzzards off a gut wagon”

More here.

June 13th, 2011

every person creates his own mental fortress and apprehends the outside world through digital arrow-slits

Slate explores the potential brain-damper that is the ever more personalized internet. Is the internet becoming a place where we get just the things we are looking for, and are never confronted with things we didn’t expect to find or think about?

The first conversation I ever had about the Internet was in 1993 with Robert Wright, who was then a colleague at the New Republic. This “Net” thing was going to be a big deal, I remember Bob telling me, but it could create a few problems. One was that it was going to empower crazies, since geographically diffuse nut jobs of all sorts would be able to find each other online. Another was that it could hurt democratic culture by encouraging narrow-minded folk to burrow deeper into their holes. Wright spelled out those concerns in an article that stands as a model of prescience and a delightful time-capsule. (“People who ‘post’ on the Net’s many different bulletin boards—its ‘newsgroups’—know that their words can be seen from just about any chunk of inhabited turf on this planet.”)

Eighteen years later, our lingo has evolved, but the worries haven’t changed much. Wright’s first concern, about digital technology empowering terrorists and fanatics, has clearly been borne out. His second, about the Internet fostering mental rabbit warrens, remains an open issue. In his new book, The Filter Bubble, Eli Pariser, the former director of the liberal activist group Moveon.org, argues that an informational dystopia is finally arriving. Thanks to advances in personalization, we are all getting more of what we like and agree with, and less that challenges our beliefs. Pariser sees these tools undermining civic discourse. “The filter bubble pushes us in the opposite direction,” he writes. “It creates the impression that our narrow self-interest is all that exists.” The loss of an informational commons, he frets, is making us closed-minded, less intellectually adventurous, and more vulnerable to propaganda and manipulation. Pariser’s qualms echo those expressed by Nicholas Negroponte and Cass Sunstein,who have warned about the Web turning into everybody’s narcissistic “Daily Me” feed.

Read further at Slate.

June 13th, 2011

seeing red

Nearly all blood is removed from meat during slaughter, which is also why you don’t see blood in raw “white meat”; only an extremely small amount of blood remains within the muscle tissue when you get it from the store.

So what is that red liquid you are seeing in red meat? Red meats, such as beef, are composed of quite a bit of water. This water, mixed with a protein called myoglobin, ends up comprising most of that red liquid.

In fact, red meat is distinguished from white meat primarily based on the levels of myoglobin in the meat. The more myoglobin, the redder the meat. Thus most animals, such as mammals, with a high amount of myoglobin, are considered “red meat”, while animals with low levels of myoglobin, like most poultry, or no myoglobin, like some sea-life, are considered “white meat”.

Myoglobin is a protein, that stores oxygen in muscle cells, very similar to its cousin, hemoglobin, that stores oxygen in red blood cells. This is necessary for muscles which need immediate oxygen for energy during frequent, continual usage. Myoglobin is highly pigmented, specifically red; so the more myoglobin, the redder the meat will look and the darker it will get when you cook it.

misconceptionjuncton via 3qd

June 12th, 2011

ISS lamp

Wonderful idea!

June 8th, 2011

medieval dentistry

I like this medieval illustration of dentistry.

Miniature on a initial ‘D’ with a scene representing teeth (“dentes”). A dentist with silver forceps and a necklace of large teeth, extracting the tooth of a seated man.

From Wikipedia.

June 8th, 2011

an explosion a million kilometres wide


As you can see in these videos, not only is some of the surface ejected into space as a result of the explosion, some of it returns to crash back into the Sun. The videos are being provided through Helioviewer.org which is an open-source project, funded by ESA and NASA, for the visualization of solar and heliospheric data. It seems the video of the solar flare was so popular on Tuesday that some visitors to Helioviewer.org had long movie waits due to the increase in traffic.

More video, photo and background info at geek.com.

June 6th, 2011

imaginary translation (ii)

Previously I posted a video postcard of our first public ‘imaginary translation’ experiment, with no explanation. Now Giacomo Blume and I have created a longer, more explanatory video (above).

The video starts out silent and is best viewed full screen.

Imaginary Translation on vimeo

June 5th, 2011

eno was raised in flemish?

Aljazeera interview with Brian Eno covering his rise to fame.

June 5th, 2011

yes it was my camera, and there was very little they could do about it

Woody Allen taking the cake for smartassery in a 1971 interview.

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