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Sep. 5th, 2008


TMBGI'm surfacing briefly to share this link to They Might Be Giants performing at the 2007 TED conference. Didn't know this had happened, but I guess I'm really not surprised; seems fitting actually.

If you haven't explored TED yet, these are some of my favorites:

Jill Bolte Taylor: My stroke of insight

Aubrey de Grey: Why we age and how we can avoid it

Brian Cox: An inside tour of the world's biggest supercollider

Richard Dawkins: An atheist's call to arms

Ok, back to work for me.  See you in a few months...

Mar. 17th, 2008

oh and while I'm on the topic of Etsy...

There's also some fantastic work offered here and a blog here, which is original art and sculpture: paper theatres, drawings, etc.

... and one day when I have some spare cash, I do intend to be the proud owner of some of this collection, especially these.

Jodi, this is the one I was trying to find and couldn't when you were here  (hope you guys had a good trip home).

molecular jewelery

More fun with wearable science is brought to us by Molecular Muse, offering wearable molecules in the form of necklaces and bracelets on Etsy, like this one for caffeine:

and this one for capsaicin:

Although I am disappointed to find the offerings conspicuously lack hallucinogenic compounds.  Maybe they can be special-ordered.

Feb. 28th, 2008

Open Source Compressed Earth Block

Here's an application of open source to ecology I had not seen yet. The Open Source Compressed Earth Block.

They are making the design process and final plans part of the public domain. I'd be interested in hearing your take on this (especially Michael) regarding the process itself (versus cob) and the economic strategy / impact (the wiki entry link to "neocommercialization" is broken at the moment, so for now I have no clue what it means).

garfield minus garfield

It's 3:30 AM so my judgement might be a little skewed, but these are ingenious:

Garfield minus Garfield

Feb. 25th, 2008

cardstock art

Have a look at Jen Stark's artwork, some of which is amazing use of cardstock to make very cool 3-d sculpture.Point of Exposure
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Jan. 30th, 2008


J. Krishnamurti"No man from outside can make you free; nor can organised worship, nor the immolation of yourselves for a cause, make you free; nor can forming yourselves into an organisation, nor throwing yourselves into work, make you free. You use a typewriter to write letters, but you do not put it on an alter and worship it. But that is what you are doing when organisations become your chief concern.
But those who really desire to understand, who are looking to find that which is eternal, without a beginning and without an end, will walk together with greater intensity, will be a danger to everything that is unessential, to unrealities, to shadows. And they will concentrate, they will become the flame, because they understand. Such a body we must create, and that is my purpose. Because of that true friendship - which you do not seem to know - there will be real co-operation on the part of each one. And this not because of authority, not because of salvation, but because you really understand, and hence are capable of living in the eternal. This is a greater thing than all pleasure, than all sacrifice."

-J. Krishnamurti

Jan. 29th, 2008


If it hasn't already been explicit enough, the underlying theme of my recent posts has been an effort to unite people on some common ground about what we can agree to value, and to help people to recognize that discovery is a worthwhile value.  I believe that for all of human history, discovery has been the one of the most important approaches to understanding, yet it is attacked century after century.  Look at what goes on in the world today, and I think you'll find that discovery is still not safe from attack.

Jan. 25th, 2008

Discovery, Religion, Ethics, Ecology

As a follow up to my last post, here is an interesting quote from the Dalai Lama with regard to scientific discovery: "My confidence in venturing into science lies in my basic belief that as in science so in Buddhism, understanding the nature of reality is pursued by means of critical investigation: if scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims."  Could we want more?  If only others would follow suit.

Jan. 23rd, 2008

Conspiracy Theory for The Nature of Perception

Wavy SurfaceWatts suggested that cause and effect can be likened to watching a snake pass by a hole in a fence: you see the head, and the tail follows and tapers. Someone who has never seen a snake, except by the vantage point of a hole in a fence may conclude that the head causes the tail, and wouldn't be a lunatic for suggesting such. He suggests that cause and effect are a lot like this: that the movement of a snake when seen in its entirety wouldn't lead anyone to propose cause and effect (head and tail), and that the boundary between the two is arbitrary.

Another WaveI wonder how much of human perception is like watching a snake through that hole: limited perspective and temporal-spatial framing contributing to an illusion of a specific kind of view. For example, a cross-section of the image above passing through the center of the ripple on the z-axis (constant z), would yield a two dimensional graph whose formula might be completely encapsulated by a polynomial equation (sine maybe? if anyone knows, please help me out!). The point being that if my view is constrained to two dimensions, I completely "miss the point" of the thing I'm looking at being a ripple. It is a fact that our senses and our limited awareness in this reality puts us at a disadvantage to seeing the big picture of things around us. This, to me, is what is so fascinating about the job of the physicist: to speculate wildly about the larger multi-dimensional system playing out in our universe, to be able to think creatively about the possibilities, make a mathematically sound theory of the larger "shape", then to set out to demonstrate that it is so. It is a highly refined form of indulging conspiracy theories about the way the world might work.

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