Thursday, September 29, 2011

Here & there...




For all you creatives - and I know you're out there, if you were, indeed, a friend of Mac's - there is now a free PDF file online, entitled "Demonic Creativity" by Matt Cardin. But, don't be mislead by the title, there is nothing sinister here. Cardin illuminates the Daemonic presence of the Muse, a subject dear to my own heart, and one that might be relevant to you and your own work.

(Link via this News page.)


***


"When De Santo opened the door that Saturday night, Michael was smiling.
"Nina, I can't stay long," he said, pausing in the doorway. "I just wanted to stop by and say thank you for everything."


They chatted a bit more before Michael left and De Santo went home. On Sunday she received a strange call from a salon employee. Michael's body had been found the previous morning -- at least nine hours before she talked to him at her shop. He had committed suicide."

The quote above is from a rare, paranormally-related article via CNN, Do loved ones bid farewell from beyond the grave?, by journalist, John Blake.

The topic explored is the "crisis apparition", described as "the spirit of a recently deceased person who visits someone they had a close emotional connection with, usually to say goodbye."

Surprisingly, the article is sans skeptical opinion and merely reports the eye-witnesses' experiences from an unbiased journalist's point of view..

(Link via this News page.)



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Human Fly







Time to get up and dance, cats and kitties! And, if you can't dance to The Cramps, a surf-punk band from the late 70's, then you are a dull android, aren't you?

This post was inspired by "Another Weird Music Show" at Radio Misterioso. Well, kind of. Actually, I was just in the mood!

But Greg, if you're aware of this post, don't overlook "Bikini Girls with Machine Guns"!

PS - Crank it up!!!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Suppertime Sonnets: The Paperback




Shakespeare did it.... Milton did it.  Browning, Shelly and Keats did it... even Yeats did it. But now the tradition of the sonnet (and, for a BBC broadcast on the topic, listen here.) moves closer to home.

Kate Sherrod, our favorite sonneteer, has been dutifully counting our days with her wise and witty couplets for the past few years on her blog, Suppertime Sonnets. However, there has recently been new cause for celebration - a collection is now available for your own personal library!


You go, Kate - Mac would be so proud!




Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pink Tentacle, where are you?



I've been keeping an eye on that great site - Pink Tentacle - a favorite of Mac's - and one that I've mentioned on this blog previously, and wondering why there's been no updates in some time. Today I noticed a number of comments on the last PT post, I hadn't looked at previously, and it brought back some unfortunate memories. The last post is dated April 13th of this year and I'm sure readers of this blog and PHB will find the comment section eerily familiar.

Hopefully not ultimately as tragic, however. No, thankfully, there is no "news" of that kind.

Pink Tentacle hails from Japan, and there has been a great deal too many catastrophes in that country this year... a magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami, a magnitude 6.6. earthquake recently, and, not to mention, Typhoon Talas, and now Roke.

One can only hope that Pink Tentacle's absence is due to continued power shortages and conservation efforts only, and that our favorite cephalapod resurfaces soon!

News Flash: In a related story: 60,000 People March against Nuclear Power in Tokyo via this news page.



Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pendulum Waves and Hidden Symmetries





David Peeples sent me a view of the video (above) today - thanks, David - featuring a ball pendulum, which takes on interesting patterns when viewed from the side. Technical aspects of this "wave" effect can be found on this Harvard page.

Interestingly, the symmetries we see above are not the same ones we see below - the same variety of experiment now viewed from the front (and above) of a similar pendulum.





Friday, September 16, 2011

Powder






The film "Powder" came out in 1995, but I didn't see it till last night (on DVD). The story is a sort of less ambitious version of "The Man Who Fell To Earth" with our resident alien archetype portrayed as a strange albino teenager (Sean Patrick Flanery) with special powers, who "lands" in the middle of a small Texas town with semi-predictable consequences. Unlike "TMWFTE", which weaves its story in a more sophisticated, but fairly remote way, "Powder" is more of a subdued passion play going straight to the heart of the matter; the "matter" being alienation. In other words, it's a tear jerker. And probably more than a little contrived in places, especially when the musical score gets a bit cloying. But, after all is said and done, I really loved this movie.

For those of you (like myself) who missed it the first time around, above are two clips of the film... but if you want to watch the whole thing, it can be found in segments - from 1-11 on this page.

(Spoiler alert!) Below is the film's finale.





Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mindfeed



"The subliminal undertow of the mindfeed felt like a layer of gelatin lubricating every conscious thought; factoids and assumptions rose to the surface of awareness unbidden only to dissolve once expressed. "Like gnats," he thought, leaning into his augmented exosuit. "Digital mayflies canvassing my synapses and quietly expiring." The notion weighed on his conscience. He imagined the husks of dead insects clinging to the warm, wet lining of his skull, impervious to decay."

- Mac Tonnies - story fragment via this 2005 PHB post


I didn't intend to post today, but during my daily cyber-surf I came upon 2 adjacent posts on Boing Boing, both of which related to Mac in an odd way.

The first was an article regarding an exhibit by photographer Charles Gatewood, which features the photograph of William Burroughs posted above. Burroughs was an important author to Mac; he reviewed all of Burrough's books on his website, found here.

The second Boing Boing post features an interview with author Vernor Vinge. I know Mac mentioned Vinge in the past and upon searching PHB, I came upon this mention of Vinge and the story fragment above. I sometimes overlook how involved Mac was with Transhumanism, though, in the end, it was probably his most compelling influence, evidenced by this page also found on his website.

(Thanks to David Pescovitz and Mark Frauenfelder for inspiring this interesting mash-up.)

UPDATE: Also, for those who may have missed it, a recent interview with author William Gibson by Frauenfelder can be found here, There is also a heads-up to the recent "Scientific American" Gibson interview in this post by Cory Doctorow.




Sunday, September 4, 2011

Haunted Mars


Sol 1891

Sol 1886

I don't know what it is I'm really seeing when I look at photographs of the Martian surface. Is it a haunted place or merely a lonely place, waiting patiently for new creatures to observe it?


Photo credits:
NASA/Caltech//JPL/Spirit rover



Friday, September 2, 2011

Eerie Mars









There was some news recently about the Mars rover "Opportunity" via this article on Space.com which got me curious as to what Opportunity has been up to these days. I never paid quite as much attention to it as I did to Spirit in the early days, but I was in an exploratory mood, so I headed over to NASA's Mars rover site.


The first 3 shots I found on the page devoted to Sol 2543. I'm assuming that wavy stuff is sand (?) but it's so oddly contrasted it almost looks as if someone painted it on.


The last shot - click the image for an enlargement - are actually 2 shots I found on the Sol 2612 page, which I noticed were of 2 sides of the same indentation in the ground and so I spliced them together using that dark rock in the foreground as my guide.


I find the most maddening thing about all the Mars photos is that you want to be there - you want to get up right close and investigate... but can't... ever.


UPDATE: For those interested in Opportunity and its travels, here's a great blog featuring loads of fantastic Martian photos (2D and 3D): The Road to Endeavour.