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Topics - Brotep

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Or Kill Me / Nonversation
« on: May 02, 2010, 02:57:13 am »

Twiddling my thumbs is so much easier, weaving intricate spiral patterns of half-hearted, half-baked cabooses of thought, so much easier than answering you.

"Your question was valid and interesting, however unexpected," wrote my advisor. Then, nothing.

Modern living is the perpetual parade of disjointed stimuli. You can always turn the tv off, but can you answer the questions it does not ask?

She wanted to play the part convincingly. I only wanted information.

Where truth has become another form of art, there can be no refutation and no response.

The meeting leading up to that email was interminable: a late start and a late finish, both despite my best efforts. Hints dropped here and there.

There can be no conversation in a sea of monologue. Each sound bite is just another offering to the silence.

To respond is to revive, whether for praise or rebuke. I have learned my lesson: never interrupt someone in the middle of a monologue--if you can't duck out in the beginning, you might as well pull up a chair.

The foreground has become the place of questions, if there is room for them anywhere in the present age. Art does its real work underneath. Kneading the background is slow and deliberate like candle wax on your naked, blindfolded body.

Except when it bombards you with prepackaged emotion-laden cadences, with all the nuance of a teenage boy who has discovered the clitoris for the first time.

Aneristic Illusions / The Politics of Social Engineering
« on: May 02, 2010, 01:20:29 am »
Wasn't quite sure where to put this.

It's a little old, and you may have already seen it, but it's pretty awesome:

Or Kill Me / Signal-to-Noise
« on: April 15, 2010, 06:07:01 am »
I heard it once on NPR, or maybe it was one of those audiobooks I listen to on the bus. There are certain border disputes that Arthur Frommer will not warn you about, geographical boundaries not found in any atlas. These ambiguous lines of demarcation are figuratively drawn over the most prized territory of those who would think to divide it, or anything else for that matter.

Friend, let us call a lateral geniculate nucleus a lateral geniculate nucleus: it seems that if I name a given part of the brain, it might mean a smaller area to some neurologists, a larger area to others. The same area, yes--more or less--but the details may differ. This poses an obvious problem if I want to say what part of the brain does what. This is a problem in which the neurologists are not alone.

Arguing about nothing was never easier. Vastly different backgrounds, knowledge but a few keystrokes away and without preparation, no background provided. If Plato thought the written word would destroy us, imagine what he would have said about the Internet.

Think of it, as if it were difficult to have a perfect misunderstanding before this happened. If you have ever worked in food service then you know the value of expedient miscommunication, that when time is rationed out in seconds, you cannot afford to imprint your distinctions onto the customer but must settle for jamming the circular pegs of the menu into the square holes that are their different set of distinctions.

Perhaps you have heard of the Library of Babel. Seemingly infinite, it is filled with permutations of books real and unwritten. Somewhere on its shelves rests a complete and accurate map of your destiny. Cast alongside it, an infinitude of false accounts, to say nothing of the other books of the library. Even if you somehow found the right book, you would never know for sure. The mythical Crimson Hexagon could change all that, could let you know just what is what, and where, but Mother always told me not to trust strange hexagons.

To make a decision as to what is signal and what is noise, is to be practical and to overlook something.
Information overload is useless, but it is also freedom.

Literate Chaotic / Dynamical Systems
« on: January 28, 2010, 01:11:08 am »
Can anyone recommend a good introductory text on dynamical systems?

Apple Talk / Avatar = srs business?
« on: January 11, 2010, 07:28:26 pm »
Audiences experience 'Avatar' blues (may contain spoilers)

Watch out, PD.  Apparently this movie is so depressing it will not only cause you to contemplate suicide--it will make you start another thread about it.  Thank god we have CNN to warn us about these things.

Literate Chaotic / Affordances, Properties and the Knowability of Reality
« on: January 06, 2010, 10:57:41 pm »
The Epiphany of the Absurd thread got me thinking about some things, especially the discussion of Shrunkenheadspace's neuron-based argument for the incomprehensibility of the cosmos.

It might sound like I'm begging the question, but I'm just trying to describe this stuff.  Scout's honor.

A more convincing argument [for a hard-wired human inability to comprehend the universe] might be made by saying we perceive our surroundings in terms of what we can do with them.  It's not just the limitations of having five senses, but being human-shaped and human-sized.

Our perception of a chair will be far more focused on sitting than a rhinoceros' perception of the same chair.
We're not really wired to understand the universe, then--just what we can do with it.

This is pretty much the concept of affordances from ecological psychology, organism-proportioned properties of things in the environment.  And they pop out at us.

Ecological psychology says they're real, they're out in the world.  Which is weird, because that means "sittability" is an actual property of chairs.  What's more, sittability is as obvious to us as mate in one to a chess player.

At the time I was taught this, I wanted to object that affordances are relational (between organism and object) and therefore not out there in the world, but I realized chemical properties are relational, too.  "Water-soluble" doesn't mean a damn thing without water; if affordances are all in our heads, then chemical properties are all in our heads, too.

I guess properties are often a kind of bottled causation.  Action A with object Alpha yields result Aleph.  Macros in the fabric of reality, if you will.  (And I might.)

Anyway, our understanding of our environment is heavily biased toward the things we can do with it.  There are all these neglected ways of perceiving the environment--namely, the things we cannot possibly do with it.

Mind you, I believe "understanding the universe" is philosophically unintelligible to begin with.

Sure, you can be all pragmatic and say the only important way of understanding the universe is in relation to us.  Sounds like a pretty one-sided relationship if you ask me, but yeah, you can science the shit out of it.

Or Kill Me / Plastic Epiphany
« on: December 29, 2009, 07:40:27 am »
What does not protrude from nonexistence into the imagination, cannot be created, cannot be done.

Like good little puppets we learned our choreography--which is to say, surrender--to the rectally inserted hand of the Goetia.  The inexorable indigestible chittering of pop culture has defined the scope of human action for the individual and therefore the species.

Modernity came and shat mightily its torrential diarrhea upon our grinning hopeful faces.  We became disenchanted, and disenchantment became something noble because it was what we felt.  We looked to the past and tried to recast the spell that never was.

Movies were all about the return to the body from the mind, the return to the emotions from the thoughts.  Only one way out of the labyrinth was proposed: into the dirt, the freedom to not have to be anywhere else.  And that wasn't really out of the labyrinth at all.

The furious binary flip-flopping took and takes place because the map was and is not right for us.

Reason proved insufficient.  Blind emotion will not save us either.  Emotion and reason are divorced, and we are their poor opportunistic children, fleeing from one to the other when they displease us.

You can disagree with Kierkegaard, but as soon as you add something or take something away, it is no longer Kierkegaard.  Johannes de Silentio was a dream, and pop culture is a dream.  In dreams you can give some shape to things, but ultimately you must accept them or reject them.

In order to truly reject a dream you must dream something else.  Take the same strands and weave a different cloth, or weave the same cloth from different strands.  Hate and love are not opposed but complementary; indifference is their opposite.  So long as you are responding you are not calling.

You really dropped the ball on that one.  Given your history, you'll get so caught up in the rules that you'll forget you invented the game.  Again.

To be fair, it was quite a long time ago when you started this.  Or maybe it was just a moment ago.  Hard to say, really.

It's up to you now to dream better dreams.

Apple Talk / Chief Sealth
« on: December 16, 2009, 04:44:17 am »
The Chief Seattle Speech that Wasn't
Yes, there was a Chief Seattle. And, by all reports, he was a very fine fellow indeed. But, no,he did not say: "The earth is our mother."
    In fact, the earth-mother quote is just one of many ecological observations, widely attributed to Chief Seattle, that are pure, unadulterated myth - and relatively recent myth at that. Try these:
   * "We are a part of the earth and it is part of us." Chief Seattle might have believed this, but there is no evidence he ever said it.
   * "Contaminate your bed and you will one night suffocate in your own waste." Yuk! No Way.
   * "I have seen a thousand rotting buffaloes on the prairie, left by the white man who shot them from a passing train." Get serious. Chief Seattle never left Puget Sound, so he never saw a railroad, nor a buffalo - dead or alive.
   For at least a generation, local historians and Native Americans have been trying to correct these and other myths surrounding the native patriarch who gave Seattle its name. But myth dies hard. Especially a myth that serves the ends of a vibrant environmental movement.
   Here, according to Seattle’s Museum of Science and Industry, is what is known: In 1854, an aging Chief Seattle attended a reception for territorial Gov. Isaac Stevens, who was trying to buy Puget Sound lands from the Indians. The chief, who spoke no English, delivered a speech, which supposedly was translated by pioneer Dr. Henry A. Smith. And in 1887, Smith published the speech in a Seattle newspaper.
    "There was a time when our people covered the whole land as the waves of a wind-ruffled sea covers its shell-paved floor," Seattle was reported to have said in his native Duwamish language.     "But that time has long since passed away...I will not mourn over our untimely decay, nor reproach my paleface brothers for hastening it, for we too may have been somewhat to blame...
   "Our dead never forget the beautiful world that gave them being. They still love its winding rivers, its great mountains and its sequestered vales, and they ever yearn in tenderest affection over the lonely-hearted living, and often return to visit and comfort them...
   "Every part of this country is sacred to my people. Every hillside, every valley, every plain and grove has been hallowed by some fond memory."
   And so forth. Nice speech. But even that translation is questionable, at best. Smith claimed to speak Duwamish, but it’s a difficult language and he had only been in the Northwest for a year. So his fluency was dubious.

   Still, Smith's has been the authorized version, accepted by local historians from Clarence Bagley to Roger Sale.
   Then, some 20 years ago, comes the "green" version, with Chief Seattle waxing eloquent, and at great length, about the earth mother and the buffalo and contaminating one's bed. Sometimes it is a letter from the Great White Father, who happened to be Franklin Pierce. Sometimes it is a poem.

    In 1974, the speech droned from the mouth of a Chief Seattle statue at the Spokane World's Fair. It has been reprinted hundreds, perhaps thousands of times in books, films posters and brochures, published by groups ranging from Friends of the Earth to the Southern Baptists.
   Skeptics cried foul. In 1975, Janice Krenmayr wrote an article for The Seattle Times, warning that "Chief Seattle must be turning over in his grave." Bill Holm, curator at the Burke Museum, pleaded for environmentalists to step forward and admit they had made it up.
    But myth is more resilient than history. It persists. Where did it come from? It took a West German historian named Rudolph Kaiser to figure that out. A student of the American Indian, Kaiser tracked it down to an environmental film documentary that was aired on national television in 1971. The script had been written by Ted Perry, an East Coast scriptwriter who composed the new version, composed that soupy prose about rotting buffalo, and attributed it all to Chief Seattle.
   So what's the difference? The unauthorized version is a passionate call to ecological responsibility, a plea to halt the slaughter of an animal Chief Seattle had never seen. It reads like it was written by a card-carrying member of the Sierra Club - which it was.
   The original speech was something else again. Chief Seattle was a strong and well-respected leader who helped smooth the transition in Puget Sound from native control to Western control. Unfortunately, he did that by accepting promises of compensation – promises made by people who didn't keep promises very well.
   Chief Seattle valued the land not because it was inherently sacred, but because it was the dwelling place of his ancestors, MOHAI says. His speech was essentially a surrender to the advance of Western civilization, an invasion his people could no longer resist.

Techmology and Scientism / Suppose you gate-crash an IT Job Fair...
« on: September 15, 2009, 09:58:06 pm »
Now suppose that while there, you get a free thumb drive, but it's only 64 MB.


(inb4 ASCII porn)

Apple Talk / Fuck you all, I'm going on vacation...
« on: September 04, 2009, 06:32:57 am » Sealand!

I don't know what the list of Discordian pilgrimage sites is at this point (I do hope the Intelligent Design museum in Ohio and the animatronic creationist dinosaur theme park in Florida that got shut down are on the list), but I think I found some places to add to the list.

Or Kill Me / Goddamn I wish I had a TV-B-Gone
« on: August 24, 2009, 04:52:27 pm »
"Ellen" is on in the hotel lobby where I'm waiting for my ride.

With special guest Deepak Chopra.  Who proclaims with a straight face that money can't buy happiness while he plugs yet another stupid book.

Seriously, the man must be fucking loaded after all this time.  I mean, maybe not as rich as "Ramtha" but who is?

Bring and Brag / HARMONICAzations
« on: December 27, 2008, 06:30:46 am »
Here are some harmonica demos.  This isn't my usual recording setup, but I had to return part of said setup to its original owner.  So for now, a mic plugged straight into the computer.

Dicking Around, pt. 1
Dicking Around, pt. 2

Bring and Brag / Tuvan Throat Singing Thread
« on: December 27, 2008, 05:33:42 am »
By request, here is a Tuvan Throat Singing demo.

No assembly required.

Or Kill Me / Dear Weather,
« on: December 24, 2008, 12:00:18 am »
Fuck you with a rusty chainsaw.

<3 hugs and kisses,


Or Kill Me / On Being a Nobody
« on: December 17, 2008, 03:46:36 am »
saint aini's hoity toity thread reminding us n00bs that you're nobody till somebody loves you on the internets has inspired me.

Doubtless many of you have read the Hitchhiker's Guide series, and some may remember the Total Perspective Vortex, an ingenious torture device which completely annihilates a person's ego by showing them their place in the universe as a whole, from a god's-eye view.

I wonder, would that be such a terrible--or even painful--thing?

IMO being a nobody comes as a great relief--it makes the burden of things like productivity so much lighter, makes you free to create art.

The real tragedy of human life is not the transience of it, so much as the all too common inability to consider anything outside the confines of good days, bad days and assumptions.

Being no one means you are empowered to create meaning, because no one will read your whiny LiveJournal posts.


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