Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Future of Food: Yeast Vats

I've been recently posting a series concerning The Future of Food. This is of the utmost importance for human beings, if we are concerned about our continued existence.

It is the time of year when we in America celebrate Thanksgiving, which is completely based around the necessities of food & family. As humanity advances and situations change, who knows what kind of food-based innovations & customs will arise?

Legendary science fiction writer Isaac Asimov envisioned a possible future in his book, "Prelude to Foundation" At the Galactic Capital world in the story, food was for a time grown using microorganisms. The nutrients were created from vats of yeast & algae, then flavored.


Yeast is already grown & used as a food product with many nutritional properties. However, it cannot currently be used a singular source of nourishment.


In the future, perhaps people will be able to refine the production of this yeast, or other microorganisms, to yield more benefits.

Nutrition Stripped:

Self Nutrition Data:

Monday, November 23, 2015

"Black and the Blues" Band Reunion

This past summer, I went to a reunion jam for "Black and the Blues," the band that my Dad and his childhood friends formed in the 60's.
They were influenced by the mid-century icons of rock n' roll and, of course, the band that influenced the entire generation- The Beatles.

From the top: John, Chuck, Paul, & Charlie

Anyway, the get together was alot of fun. The guys were jamming on an impromptu set of songs, while our families filled the house listening, singing, and clapping along.

My brother Justin took video of the event, and he recently uploaded the songs to his YouTube page. Here is a link to the playlist:

 MicPros Videos:

They performed an original song that was published in 1966 that I posted about before- "I'm Sad"

The "Black and the Blues" band members:
• John Carnuccio
• Chuck Emma
• Paul J. Micarelli
• Charlie Pestritto

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Digital Expansion Into Space

I believe that one of the major factors in the survival of the human race is the migration of our species off-planet, into space.

One aspect of our expansion beyond Earth is the ability to communicate and access the information infrastructure that we call The Internet.

The interconnected electronic hive mind, made of signals and data storage, has become an integral part of the human experience. Space colonists or long-term travelers will need ways to stay connected to whatever digital information network humanity is using.

I saw this article about NASA's plans to create a laser broadband that can be used to transmit data in the immediate area of the solar system.


As for data storage moving into space, we are already beginning to send artifacts of humanity to the moon.

 New Scientist:

Any where humans go, we will also take physical objects with us, so it's good to think about how to create things that can withstand environmental extremes.

Ultimately, I think we will have to develop some form of communication similar to the "FTL (Faster Than Light) communication" in the game series Mass Effect. If not through the use of advanced space/time relays, than perhaps through quantum entanglement or some yet undiscovered technology...

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Primitive Technology

I'm not sure where, but I came across this website and YouTube channel about using ancient methods of tool & material use in the wild.



There are many things that are fascinating about re-learning primitive ways of living. For one, it is amazing that the human mind/body can adapt & use it's surroundings to alter reality for its needs.

Watching these videos shows how difficult it is to just survive without the support scaffolding of many thousands of years of human civilization.

It is also interesting that we are using modern technology, computers and the Internet, to spread this information about our ancient technological heritage.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Future of Food: Space Farming

This is part of a series of posts I'll be doing about a topic that's vital to the ongoing survival of mankind:

Ultimately, the future of food lies off-planet, because for long-term sustenance of humanity we need to eventually move into outer space.

NASA is already experimenting with growing produce in the International Space Station.

Not only will space travelers need to be able to grow food staples with the resources available in their isolated location, they will have to ensure regulated conditions to keep the process going indefinitely.

I thought this article gave a good overview of the challenges that space farmers and gardeners will face as they try to maintain plants in spaceships or on other worlds. It also gives some background on the development of plant life here on planet Earth.


Future farmers in space will have to deal with issues like atmospheric changes caused by the plants production of oxygen & humidity. The effects of any microorganisms present will also have to be understood. Recycling water supplies will also be very important for both plants & humans.

As the article states, it's possible that humans will not directly interact with the crops at all, and robots will actually do the growing & harvesting.

Here is a computer rendering of automated agriculture aboard a space craft, from one of the awesome projects at

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Futility Frog

I came across this crazy meme on Weird Wide Web.

"You have been visited by futility frog
'like' and nothing will happen
comments are meaningless
share if life is just yawning blankness
we will all die alone and be forgotten."

Holding two opposing views & contemplating paradoxes don't cause problems for me, personally.

On the one hand, I think Life and existence are miraculous phenomena- in which each & every manifestation of consciousness is an integral part to the whole of Reality, on all scales. Each life form, each cell, each molecule, each atom, is amazing & wondrous.

On the other hand, I also recognize my own mortality and relative insignificance to the incomprehensible vastness & complexity of the Universe.

So, I can also relate to "Futility Frog" in a Zen sort of way, but not really feel the despair that it may instill in most people because of attachment to their own ego & sense of being.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Science of Shamanism

Tempo © Alexandre Segr├ęgio -

 Shamanism is a general term that describes many approaches to traditional healing & spiritual guidance. All ancient cultures around the world have has a form of shamanic practice, where an individual in the community had the ability to go into altered states of consciousness through various means & perform sacred functions.

With the rise of Western medicine, indigenous shamanism has been seen simply as an antiquated mode of dealing with sickness, environmental problems, & social issues. The practice of shamans and medicine men & women was seen to be mostly suggestive ritual for show, to cause a placebo effect on the subject's mind.

Although Western medicine is good at dealing with the mechanical & chemical aspects of human physiology, it is very short-sighted in many areas. For instance, modern medicine has no real working approach to the energetic aspects of the body. It is a simple fact that there are interactions & imbalances of energy throughout the body. These are interconnected with the physical biology of a lifeform, but are also a set of systems unto themselves. This includes the mind and also the subtle energies that our bodies contain & transmit.

By getting past cultural & cognitive biases, Western researches are beginning to understand the efficacy of the shaman's practice.

Huffington Post:

For instance, pharmacology is benefiting from knowledge gained from shamans about plant medicines. Pharmaceutical companies usually look to take a plant with beneficial properties and break them down into compounds and chemicals that can be manufactured in pill form. The problem with this approach is that there could be interactions of many different compounds in a particular plant that interact to effect the patient. However, it is a positive development that modern medicine is recognizing the information that native cultures possess as useful.

When shamans or healers in the Amazon were asked how they figured out the effective plant combinations they use, they claim that the plants told the people, directly. Although information about the plants and animals of a particular location must be passed down from generation to generation, maybe it's also possible to gain the initial inspiration from consuming or interacting with plant life. This might sound absurd, but it leads to another characteristic of shamanism that is being investigated with more scrutiny- the experience of altered states.

As a professional artist and generally creative person, I have often found myself generating ideas or visions while in trance-like states. It's called being "in the zone" and it is a state of mind that many people engage in, whether they realize it or not. Even scientists have made great discoveries while in various degrees of altered consciousness. This can be done through meditation, fasting, enduring extreme conditions, mind-altering substances, rhythmic drumming, ecstatic dance, and any other technique that gets the brain out of its normal mode of operation.

As humanity progresses & continues to discover its roots, shamanism and other indigenous practices will continue to be rediscovered and integrated with our ever-expanding knowledge base. Perhaps one day soon, this ancient wisdom will be commonly used to heal body, mind, & spirit as a integrated whole. This is the essential purpose of the shaman, and it is vitally needed in our world.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Star Trekonomics

I have been a fan of Star Wars my entire life. Although I was never really as into the other major sci-fi franchise, Star Trek, I can appreciate the vision of a future that is more directly related to people of Earth & humanity's place in the galaxy.

There is going to be a new Star Trek series produced for TV. That news prompted me to post this article I read recently, after wondering how the fictional economy of the Federation worked.

It seems as if both the Star Trek & Star Wars civilizations use a medium called "Credits'. However, the economic systems appear to be much different, overall .

Star Wars seems more capitalist, in the sense that Credits act like currency, as we know it. Credits can be accumulated by corporate entities & individuals- while others without access to this wealth are poor, or even slaves. Although the Empire is a fascist dictatorship, with the Emperor directly in control of the military machine and the industries that feed it, regular individuals can still use Credits for goods and services like we use money.

The Star Trek Federation, on the other hand, has no currency, per creator Gene Roddenberry's rule. Federation Credits exist to facilitate an accounting of energy and resources in certain cases, but money is not needed for basic existence. There is also currency among the various alien races and other means of exchange of goods & services. However, there is no poverty among the Federation member planets, and society's main goal is the enrichment of all people- not accumulation of personal wealth. Thanks to technology, such as replicators, the need for physical "things" is easily fulfilled. The real goal becomes to create a better society, so all people benefit. The article above explores some of the technical possibilities behind this model of a galactic economy.

Star Trek Wikia Alpha:

What I like about these kind of fictional models, like the one used in Star Trek, is that they are an opportunity for human beings to dream a new reality into existence.  Collectively, we should constantly be re-thinking the way we do things.

People usually can't think beyond the existing possibilities- of Capitalism, Communism, Socialism, Fascism, etc. Perhaps there is a way to conduct society that is completely outside any of these traditional modes. Bitcoin is one system that is a step in breaking free of the bounds of familiar economic models.

The ideas of 'money', 'capitalism', or even 'economics', are not universal. One day, they will be replaced by new ways of interacting.

Practicality should not be as much of a concern for creating new paradigms, as much as simply imagining alternative possibilities. If humanity has a goal, we can most likely achieve it together. The details can be worked out through ingenuity & cooperative activity. If that goal is the eradication of poverty and de-emphasis on greed and wealth acquisition, then it can be realized.

Science fiction and visionary stories about our future gives us an outlet to manifest creative solutions to problems & situations that the human race may encounter.

No matter how much we try to envision these situations, though, the future will still manage to bring us outcomes that we currently cannot even imagine...

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Future of Food: Floating Farms

Earlier this year, I posted Future of Food: Urban Farming, about the creation of soil & aquaponic gardens in cities. This practice provides fresh produce to communities is major population centers.

I plan on having an ongoing theme,"Future of Food", which anticipates the ways humanity will deal with the basic necessity of nourishing itself.

In many ways, for us to create new ideas to move forward, we have to take inspiration from the past. One civilization that also used the idea of floating gardens were the Aztecs of Mexico. It was an aquaponic system, meaning farming was done in conjunction with a water system using fish & their waste as fertilizer.

I saw this modern concept for a massive floating garden on a barge-like vessel. They are called smart floating farms & are harvestable ecosystems unto themselves.


Undefined Ideas:

Friday, October 30, 2015

Tooth Zoom

I came across a mind-bending animation- which zooms into the surface of a tooth at increasing degrees of magnification, down to the atomic scale:

This virtual journey through scale demonstrates the fractal nature of reality.

The world is not a set of discreet levels- such as the cosmic, human, microscopic & atomic scales. Reality is a non-stop continuum of infinitely intricate detail.

I also found a video version of it on YouTube:

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Wim Hof Interview with Joe Rogan

A few months ago I posted about Wim Hof, after seeing the VICE documentary about him. He is a very interesting man, who has learned to control his mind & physiological processes through meditation, breathing exercises, and increased exposure to the cold.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

Wim has broken endurance records and offered himself up to intense scientific scrutiny. The most amazing thing about his achievements is his ability to control his autonomic and immunological physical responses.

He has been injected with endotoxins without eliciting a immune response. His biological system has been shown to possess superhuman traits. He can endure freezing temperatures and hold his breath for periods that other people would find impossible.

What makes Wim Hof so important is his eagerness to share his wisdom and abilities with the rest of the world. His motivation is literally to change the human race and to fight the perceptions of illness and mental limitation in all people.

I recently heard he was on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, so I listened & wasn't disappointed. The interview is about 2 1/2 hours long, but I highly recommend it. I would go as far to say it's a must-see.

If you can't hear the entire interview, it would be beneficial to at least listen to this excerpt, where he teaches Joe some of his breathing techniques. These techniques are drawn from ancient meditative practices such as Tummo, "The Inner Fire".

Wim Hof is definitely a man we can all learn a lot from. Here is an article that outlines his breathing & meditation techniques. Even if we can't implement all his teachings, even just learning to breath deeply & consciously will have great benefits.

High Existence:

Here is a summary:
• Breath in 30 times fully, then letting each breath go- but not fully breathing out.   
• Breathe in fully, then breath out fully and hold until gasp reflex    
• Inhale fully and hold for 10-15 seconds.    
• Repeat one or two times.     
• Take 5 minutes to relax and scan your body

Friday, October 23, 2015

Animating The Cellular World

On Visual News, I saw animations by Markos Kay that I thought were really cool. I am endlessly amazed by the study of Life, biology, & things on the microscopic level that we can't perceive with our ordinary senses. These animations simulate biological processes on a cellular level & look almost psychedelic.

The Flow from MRK - Markos Kay on Vimeo.

These videos show the "squishiness" of life on the cellular scale. Everything is vibrating and interacting. Life is much more full of "life" than we realize. I think these animations capture that vibrant & organic quality.

On a side note, I've been listening to alot of lectures by Dr. Bruce Lipton. He thinks that environment is much more influential than genetics for the organsm. DNA is just a blueprint, but he explains that the real "brain" of the cell is the membrane. This is where interactions take place that influence the response of the cell. It is where the cell body "learns".

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Trailer

A new servant of the Dark Side holds a precious relic,
 the destroyed helmet of Darth Vader. 

Last night, the movie trailer for "Star Wars:The Force Awakens" was released. I didn't catch it on TV, so I looked it up online. It had 700,000 views, but this morning it's already up to 7+ million.

The trailer definitely exudes the character of the Star Wars series. Everything I've seen about the movie so far looks & feels great. It's awesome to think that this timeless saga is going to get new chapters on the big screen, using a combination of new & existing characters.

What it is really making an impact on me is the use of familiar elements, but seeing them in a different way. For example the scene with Kylo Ren holding the long-dead Sith Lord Darth Vader's aged helmet, which is now mangled, burnt, and reminiscnent of a skull. It is a stark contrast to the fearsome. polished black armor that one represented Vader's temporal power.

Also symbolizing the old order of the Galactic Empire, the beginning of the trailer shows Rey (with a light on her face that may be seen as a symbol of searching & future illumination) rappelling through the husk of a crashed Star Destroyer, a gigantic mile-long warship that had the ability to conduct planetary assaults. It is now nothing but cavernous ruins, slowly disintegrating in the desert of Jakku. These are clear symbols showing that this is a new era, yet still connected to the past.

Along with the name itself, "The Force Awakens," the feel of the movie seems to be keeping in line with the original focus on the telling of The Hero's Journey. This is a journey of the soul exemplified by fictional characters, but experience by each one of us through the challenges that we face in life. By facing life with courage and purpose, while rising to each circumstance you encounter, you can also embody the hero's quest. This set of transformative experiences can lead to an awakening of one's mind & spirit.

It appears that the main characters, Rey and Finn, are both facing the traditional hero journey. There is speculation that Rey is really a Skywalker, and this would make sense to me, since the entire series is a telling of the family story. The absence of Luke Skywalker is fueling a lot of rumors, but it appears to me that he is the one touching R2-D2, with the mechanical hand that replaced the one sliced off by his father. Luke may eventually help the younger characters on their quest as Obi-Wan did for him. I'd like to think that he is either creating a new Jedi order or forced out of hermitage to help confront new manifestations of The Dark Side.

The calling to the hero's journey is usually unexpected. It looks like both of the main characters are suddenly thrown into their situation- much like the characters in the original movies were led into their journey by circumstances beyond their control.

The interplay of the opposite aspects of The Force also seem to play a big role. The heroes (especially Rey I would guess) will have to grapple with both sides, The Dark and The Light. It is interesting that the group of black-clad figures that appears to be The Knights of Ren do not follow the Sith rule of allowing only a master & apprentice. In fact, it looks like the "Knights" look like a fairly ragtag & motley group with mostly non-energy weapons, like staffs & clubs. Maybe they're a gang of wanna-be thugs or mercenaries, with Kylo trying to find relics to establish a connection to the Dark Side users of old.

I think the mix of old, familiar features with new looks really well done, so far.

I'm really looking forward to joining the rest of the human race in seeing "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" when it is in theaters at the end of the year.

I almost forgot... the official poster for "The Force Awakens" was also revealed a few days ago. It shows most of the major characters- including Rey, split between the blue & red sides. This was also the first glimpse at Starkiller Base, a weapon built right into a planet that can destroy an entire solar system:

Monday, October 19, 2015

Small World Photography 2015

The invention of the microscope opened up a new level of reality that was previously outside the realm of human perception.

Since then, we have been continuously expanding our boundaries of experience, using tools that help us to understand reality at different scales and in different modes. It's possible to see things that people in previous times not only were unable to see, but were unable to even imagine.

I've posted before about the Nikon Small World photography contest. It is a contest that combines science and art, with entries of photos which show fascinating images of mostly biological systems & phenomena in the microscopic realm.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

On Neatorama, I saw the winners of this years contest. The winner was this awesome closeup image of the compound eye of a honey bee, covered in particles of pollen.

To see the other images, check out the site for the contest:

Nikon's Small World

Friday, October 16, 2015

We Are Infinite Consciousness

This animated GIF speaks for itself.

"We are all infinite consciousness 
experiencing a human reality."

It seems that consciousness and the creative principle pervades the entire Universe, including the temporal collection of phenomena we call a "human being".

Our individual consciousness is a specific manifestation of the information processing that happens at the quantum level & pervading all existence.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

2016 Democratic Presidential Debate #1

Last night, I was able to watch the entire debate between the Democratic candidates for President. I wanted to post a few quick thoughts about it.

First of all, it was much more of an adult conversation than the perverse spectacle put on by the dozen Republican candidates in their debates. I would rather have any of the Democrats on the stage in the Oval Office before any single one of the Republicans. The GOP have knack for putting forth horrible candidates, and they are mostly only pandering to the lunatic right-wing fringe & big money donors that have come to dominate the party.

As far as the Democrats, I am sticking with my man- the Independent Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders. Bernie came out swinging in his opening remarks, blasting his top issue- economic inequality in this country.

Overall, I think Bernie was pretty strong. Someone who I was watching the debate with (who is fairly conservative) commented that he was the most forceful out of the group. He spoke clearly about the serious issues facing this country, and he explained where the U.S. is behind compared to other industrialized countries- wealth disparity, lack of universal health care for all citizens, absence of paid family leave, no tuition-free public education, etc.

He was also the only one with a realistic view of gun control in this country. He emphasized the importance of mental health in preventing gun violence. He was also correct to believe that we shouldn't be going after gun manufacturers with lawsuits if their products are used for evil purposes. It would be the same as suing a car manufacturer if someone uses a car to run people over. I'm not a big gun advocate, but the reality is that there are millions of people with guns in this country & that's not going to change. What we need to do is to make it more difficult for psychologically disturbed people to aquire guns & get these people the mental health care they need.

Hillary Clinton did very well in the debate. I'm not a big fan of her & definitely think we need someone other than a Clinton or a Bush in office. However, she came off as empathetic to the needs of the people in this country. She is undoubtedly a war hawk, but that's perhaps compensation to look like she'll be tough enough to handle a foreign policy crisis. She clearly has no love for the Republican party, who have demonized her relentlessly over the decades.

Martin O'Malley is someone who I was unfamiliar with, but he impressed me during the debate with insightful answers and a vision for how to lead the country, including the goal of clean energy independence.

Lincoln Chafee seems like a nice guy who made clear he is "scandal-free". I think he is well-intentioned but I'm not sure he has the mass appeal of the other candidates.

Jim Webb is a typical military guy who has serious experience & credentials, but he kept complaining about how he wasn't getting enough time to talk... which wasted a lot of time. It also made him look like he was whining.

Like I said, any one of the Dem candidates would be a better choice than a Republican. However, I'm sticking to my choice of Sen. Sanders while looking forward to more debates in the coming months.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Crash Landing

I saw this awesome image on fUSION Anomalog & had to post it, since it contains both apes & aliens.

An extraterrestrial baby is found in the forest by a gorilla, at the crash landing of a flying saucer spaceship. 

The high resolution original seems to be from the Google+ page of John Karnaras.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Brain in Our Belly

I have always had a deep interest in biology & anatomy. The more I learn about living systems, the more I am utterly amazed.

Recently, I have been particularly curious about our digestive system & the details of its workings on a microscopic level. I have been posting about the connection between the microorganisms in the gut and how they affect us, without us even being aware of its influence. The microbes in our digestive tract can affect our metabolism, food cravings, and even our mood or personality traits.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

I saw this informative post about another important aspect of our gut that we don't think a lot about, even though it is our "second brain". I'm referring to the complex array of 500 million nerve cells that line our digestive organs, called the enteric nervous system, or ENS.


This system of nerve cells in our gut are not only responsible for controlling digestion. It is also being found to have complex effects on our overall physical health & mental states.

The ENS is a part of our unimaginably complex feedback loop of physical & chemical stimuli that regulates body function. The chemical processes controlled by these neurons in our gut include the creation of hormones & neurotransmitters.

This is important because the creation of neurochemicals such as serotonin (the "feel good" molecule) & dopamine (the "pleasure & reward" molecule) by these cells could affect our physical sensations & perhaps even our personality or mood.

As we gain more knowledge about the intricately interconnected nature of all these subtle systems in the human body, we will also gain better insight into all aspects of the human being. Disease, mental disorders, physical ailments, and the keys to healthy & happy living will all be understood better.

This will lead to an ever-improving quality of life for people who are willing to take steps to improve their interaction with their own body. This can be done through better diet and healthier lifestyle, as a result of more conscious attention to the workings of our wonderfully complex biological systems.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Third Party Politics

In my last post, I expressed some of my thoughts about the 2016 Presidential Race.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

Although I tend to have progressive views & identify with priorities of Democrats more than Republicans (who, I feel, as a party have gone completely crazy), I am personally registered to vote as an Independent.

I refuse to align myself with any party or ideology, because I prefer to make my own conclusions about the issues facing our country & our world.  I'd encourage other people to stop identifying with a particular political party & think for themselves. This poster I saw on Tumblr sums up my thoughts pretty well on the subject of party politics:

American politics has been crippled by the two-party system, and any attempt to run as a third party candidate results in being a spoiler for one of the other parties. It's explained well in this video, using animals to illustrate the screwed-up dynamics of our election process:

If the day ever comes where people in the U.S. muster the collective will to force change upon our system of elections, we will need to overhaul the way we vote. This video, also by CGP Grey, describes how to change the process using the "Alternative Vote" so that we are no longer locked in to the D vs. R dichotomy:


Monday, October 05, 2015

2016 US Presidential Race- Capitalism vs. Socialism

 Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast
I had a dream last night that I was meeting with & advising Bernie Sanders, my personal choice out of the contenders for the 2016 election.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

Although he hasn't been getting as much air time so far from the corporate-controlled media as Donald Trump, Senator Sanders has an ever-growing tide of online & grassroots support. My dream was probably prompted in part by the story I read last night, about Sanders drawing another crowd of tens of thousands, this time in Massachusetts.

Although he has served about seven years in Congress as an Independent, Sanders is running as a Democrat. Siding with the Democrats wisely prevents him from being a third party candidate- who would draw votes away from any other Democratic nominee & result in a Republican president (which in recent history has usually resulted in disaster).

Although Hillary Clinton has been seen as the likely Democratic candidate, this conventional wisdom was proven wrong last time around. As time passes, it becomes more apparent that Hillary's flaws and lack of conviction on important issues are preventing her from gaining the enthusiastic, widespread support that Sanders is gaining on a daily basis.

After the Democratic debates, more people will be familiar with Bernie Sanders, his voting record, and his proposals. When people become familiar with Bernie, they tend to like what they see & hear. For decades, he has worked tirelessly for the majority of  people of this country.

Sen. Sanders has been constantly fighting for the benefit of the average person while exposing the true "welfare queens" of our society, the Wall Street mega-banks, multinational corporations, and the top 1% of the super-wealthy- who are all siphoning off & hoarding the nation's wealth, so they can have more money than could be used in dozens of lifetimes. Meanwhile, reform & investments in infrastructure, education, health care, and the general welfare of our country are neglected.

Robert Reich: 

I have no idea who could possibly emerge out of the current Republican circus to be their nominee. I think the most interesting matchup in the 2016 Presidential election would clearly be Bernie Sanders & Donald Trump.

The Daily Beast

The reason this would be so interesting is that it would be a clear-cut war of ideologies- Capitalism vs. Socialism. Trump is the epitome of American-style capitalism, in which wealth, power, & ego reign supreme. Sanders, on the other hand, is an open advocate for Democratic Socialism, in which pursuit of profit is not the only goal of a society. Instead, some of the nation's wealth should be pooled together to reach common goals that benefit everyone.

"Socialism" has become a somewhat dirty word in this country, thanks to unrelenting corporate propaganda from Fox News, right-wing radio, and other conservative media outlets. However, Socialism is basically the use of tax money to fund effective government & public programs. Anyone who doesn't like the idea of socialism should stop using public roads, the mail, the service of the police, or any other public service paid for by our tax dollars.

I agree that government can be horribly inefficient, but that means we should work to improve it. It does not mean we should continue to privatize public assets, making already-rich people even more money at the expense of the general population. The problem with the conservative approach to government is that they want to destroy it from within, not improve it. This helps no one, & degrades the state of our country as a whole.

Having Trump & Sanders debate the merits of their respective ideologies would give Americans the clearest choice yet of how we should collectively choose to lead this country into the future. I actually think both systems can co-exist, with different aspects of society using socialist or capitalistic means, depending on which achieves the most effective outcomes.

It would be a hell of a comparison, though, and perhaps it would also be the contrast that people need to properly set our priorities as a nation. I am supporting Bernie all the way, but I think there needs to be a substantial debate from both sides about creating a vision of how to run our society. We'll see if we get this debate in the coming year.

Friday, October 02, 2015

'Chimp Skull Extraction' by Paul Jackson

I saw a gallery of cool ink drawings, including this image of the nesting parts of a chimp's head- the face, skull, and brain.

The artist is Paul Jackson and the title is 'Chimp Skull Extraction'. Here's a straight-on view.

When looking up his website, I just realized that I've posted a piece of Paul Jackson's primate-related artwork before:

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

"Da Vinci's Challenge" App Concept

 As a graphic design student at Rowan University, in 2001, I created a strategy game for my senior project.

Rowan Today:

The game was based on an ancient symbol I had learned about, called "The Flower of Life". This pattern of interlocking circles has been used in art & architecture all over the world. It has been found on the walls of the Temple of Osiris in Egypt and was studied in depth by Leonardo da Vinci.

The classic game I designed came to be known as "Da Vinci's Challenge" and has won some of the top awards in the toy industry.

Monkey Buddha Archives:

I am now looking for a new publisher, and also for a way to get an electronic version of the game developed. I created the animation below to demonstrate the way I envision an app or video game to look & play. I know that experienced game developers would have many ways to make it look even better.

For more info, ideas, or licensing opportunities, please email (delete the spaces) or visit the official Facebook page. Thank you.

This animation shows concept art for a "Da Vinci's Challenge" app or video game.

"Da Vinci's Challenge" is an award-winning, classic strategy game, based on the ancient wisdom of sacred geometry. The game board is 'The Flower of Life' symbol, used in the art and architecture of many cultures around the world for thousands of years.

The game play is simple, yet full of strategy:
• Use the triangle & oval pieces of your color to form the 'Secret Symbols' on the score sheet.
• You can block a Symbol being made by your opponent to play defensively & prevent them from forming a pattern in their color.
• A player can strategically place a piece to form a 'combo pattern'- where two or more Secret Symbols are formed in a single move.
• The player who scores the most points by the end of the game- WINS!

Game Inventor & Graphic Designer:
Paul Micarelli
Patent #7114721
All material © 3 Amoebas, Inc.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Nihilisa Frank

In addition to my fondness for ridiculously crappy design, I also enjoy art that celebrates absurdity.

On several websites, I've seen links to this amusing Tumblr blog. It features images that combine the rainbow colors & cutesy animals seen on artwork by "rainbow-gulag" founder Lisa Frank- with nihilistic quotes that reflect despair, emptiness, and a sense of existential crisis. It's a great mashup of contrasting elements, on par with Nietzsche Family Circus.

Look upon these images, and feel the sense of a happy, bright brand of nihilism.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Horrible Knockoff Transfomer Toy Design

Despite being a graphic artist who takes pride in creating pleasing designs, I also have a great love for really, really bad design, which never stops amusing me.

I saw this abomination on The Chive, in a post about bad toy knockoffs. It looks like it's supposed to be a Transformer-style toy, but the colors and packaging are hilariously crappy.

The name says, in Mexican/Italian colors, "Knight Rider Becames Robert" instead of what I believe should be, "Knight Rider Becomes Robot". This, along with the crazy overall neon color scheme and primitive graphics, makes for a memorably bad example of graphic design.

After a little research and reading comments on other blog posts, it seems to be a ripoff of Super Gobots Zeemon.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Deciphering the Mayan Language

For many years, I have been fascinated with the art & culture of the ancient Maya people of Mexico.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

On The Daily Grail, I came across this informative history of the decipherment of the Mayan language & glyphs.

Ancient Explorers:

It is a very interesting look at all the brilliant minds & fortuitous events throughout the 20th century that led to the rediscovery of the Mayan language.

During the Spanish Conquest, much of the heritage of the Maya was systematically destroyed by the conquistadors like Cortes and friars like Diego de Landa. The combination of greed and religious fervor, along with a sense of ethnic superiority, led the Europeans to wipe out a culture rich with art and knowledge of nature, mathematics, and astronomy. Of course, the Maya were human and had many brutal aspects to their society, as well. However, the loss of knowledge and life was horrific and inexcusable.

It is amazing that certain geniuses from around the world were able to slowly reconstruct the lost language & ideas of these ancient people, centuries later. Of course, the pattern-detecting abilities of the human brain played a huge part in this, but I also wonder if there is a kind of all-pervasive information field on some level, that our minds can tap into to unlock or access information. Maybe once something is created or thought on a mass scale, it can be pulled back up within a certain time or under certain conditions.

Regardless of how this feat of archaeology has been performed, we are now the benefactors of all the research that has gone into the complex history of the Maya. There is a lot to learn from the limited information we have from them, and there will undoubtedly be more discoveries in the future.

On a related note, this summer at a flea market I came across this exquisite art book that replicates a Mayan codex-style book. It was about the Mayan calendar & their system of numbers. It's called Calendario Maya (1997) and came in a woven pouch. At first, I thought it was just a plaque because of the hard cover, until I opened it and saw the beautifully designed pages inside.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Wolf Spider Eating a Cricket

This is another post with more pictures added to my nature album... but these aren't as cute as the last ones.

by Paul Micarelli

I was coming home from work one day, and saw a large black critter run under the ledge of my front door.

It was dark, so I used the flashlight on my phone to look below the edge of the step. I saw that it was a very large spider holding & eating a big cricket.

I was like "Woah!" & obviously had to try to get some photos. I couldn't really see what I was doing because of the short ledge- which I put the phone right up against, so I could get as close to it as possible. I tried to tap the screen to focus, but it was too dark to see. I just took a bunch of pics with the flash to see what I got. Luckily, the spider was too busy eating the cricket it was holding to run away.

When I felt like I had some good images, I chased him into a small flower pot nearby and carried it to the woods. It kept jumping out, so I'd scoop it back in until I got it away from the house.

It was a pretty big spider, and afterward I confirmed my suspicion that it was a wolf spider. I got pretty close on it, so it looks even crazier in the photos.

Little Green Caterpillar

I've added a couple photos to my album of nature pics:

by Paul Micarelli

I saw this tiny green caterpillar with red spots & cool markings crawling on a leaf. I picked up the leaf and got in close with my iPhone to get some pics of it. 

My finger in the one photo to give an idea of its small size. It was about as long as my fingernail.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Mandelbrot Fast Zoom

"Illumination" by Paul Micarelli

Fractals have always been a subject of deep fascination for me. I've created fractal images & posted about the fractal-like qualities of reality here many times.

The Monkey Buddha Archive:

Fractals are mathematical formulas that result in infinitely complex images when plotted point by point. When calculated on a computer, it's possible to "zoom" in & out of the image to render the image at different resolutions. In fact, I like to think of fractals as being 2.5 dimensions, because there is a "virtual" dimension of depth when you zoom throughout the image.

The main feature of fractal geometry is the recursive nature of the visual elements. As you zoom into & out of the picture, there are self-similar features that continuously appear. I wouldn't go so far as to say the the Universe is a fractal, but it definitely contains fractal-like qualities & features.

On Awakening Our Truth, I saw this animation of a zoom into the Mandelbrot fractal, named after the discoverer of fractal geometry, Benoit Mandelbrot. It is 15 minute long & shows the endless continuum of features that a simple fractal formula can produce.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Ape Making Fire

On fUSION Anomalog, I saw a sequence of animated GIFs that show an ape using matches to light a fire & roast marshmallows.

This is one of the many examples that demonstrate tool use among animals, especially primates. The perceived gap between human beings and other creatures is not as wide as traditionally believed. Primates, in particular, have most of the same senses & perceptions that people do. It's just a matter of degree when it comes to our respective cognitive abilities.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

The bonobo's name is Kanzi, and here is more info about ape intelligence & communication.


Here is a video showing Kanzi lighting the campfire.

I recently read a book about baboon communication & social hierarchies that was interesting. It was another reminder how close we humans are to animal behavior in so many ways.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Star Wars- Visual Poetry

Being a lifelong Star Wars fan, I've posted a lot about the movies over the years.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

Like so many other people, I'm anticipating the next installment "Episode VII: The Force Awakens". It will be interesting to see how the series plays out after the events in "Return of the Jedi". From what I've seen so far, it looks like it could live up to the high expectations.

One of the reasons I think that the Star Wars saga is one of the greatest works of fiction of all time is the sheer artistic vision that went into them. The story & visuals draw from sources of history, myth, and art from around the world.

This video examines the visual poetry among the scenes. thematically linking the various movies together. There are many correlations that I've never noticed, even after seeing them so many times. It's really well done.

Youtube Link

Friday, September 11, 2015

Drawing in 3D Virtual Space

I saw this cool video last night, and it brought forth many thoughts on the future of virtual reality & how we will use this technology to create new mental experiences.

Master Disney animator Glen Keane uses VR tools to create and explore virtual spaces, that only exist as abstract data and as experiences in the brain of the individual.

The merging of consciousness with the luminous world of digital information is another step in the evolution of what we know as the mind. There is a strange interplay of inner thought and external stimuli going on here, that could be a transition to an entirely new mode of thought & perception.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Barn Spider

I added a couple more spider pics to my gallery of nature photos.

This large spider had built a massive web across the entrance to the barn behind my house.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Visualizing Magnetic Fields

 We have an invisible world around us. Energetic fields permeate our space, and humans have no biological way to detect these forces.  We are surrounded by magnetic fields, radiation, and the majority of the light spectrum that are hidden from our senses.

This video, called Magnetic Movie, explains magnetic fields and how they would "look" if we could see the lines of force they produce.