Tuesday, September 16, 2014

3D Printing for Stone Age Tools

In my last post, I talked about using the relatively new technology of 3D printing to create abstract, fractal objects.

The beauty of this emerging technology, though, is that it can be used to produce any form that the mind can imagine. In addition to new, cutting edge applications, it can also be used to harken back to the 'cutting edges' of our prehistoric past.

On Neatorama, I saw this interesting fusion of past & future, where designers have created implements to aid the use of ancient stone tools.

In creating these modern additions to ancient technologies, the artists were able to better understand the sophisticated techniques our ancestors used to create these stone tools & weapons.



Friday, September 12, 2014

3D Printed Fractal Sculptures



In my last post, I wrote about the profound effects digital technology has had on communication.

Art & design is another area where innovation in computers has led to the possibility of previously unimaginable creations.

I've always had a deep interest in fractals. I think they are fundamental in understanding the nature of reality.

Through iterative fractal software, it is possible to generate visual forms that would be impossible to render otherwise. With improvements in software & computing power, it's now also possible to create videos of these extraordinary fractal structures in motion.



The very recent phenomenon of 3D printing now allows us to bring these impossible objects into the physical domain.

Here are some "Fabergé Fractal Sculptures" created by artist Tom Beddard on his website subblue. Tom is also the creator of the awesome fractal app that I downloaded & explore frequently, called Frax.

These intricate sculptures are reminiscent of the kaleidoscopic, hyper-dimensional forms described by the late, great Terence McKenna.

Monkey Buddha Archives:



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Technology & Social Interaction

One topic that always seems to come up nowadays when I'm talking to people is the effect of technology, like cell phones & social media, on human interaction.

I see these things as a tool that can be abused or used for meaning purposes. What is really happening is a form of virtual telepathy- where people are silently transmitting thoughts & ideas to each other immediately, across the entire world. It's simply a different form of communication, like vocalizing noises through the air, or exchanging ideas through writing. 

However, there is no denying that the ability to mentally engage with cyberspace is changing the way people socialize in "meatspace," or what we understand to be the "real" world. I've definitely noticed the tendency for kids (& adults) to become fixated on their mobile devices, as soon as there is any lack of immediate stimulation.

However, I saw this funny comparison below, that suggests that maybe people have always been prone to distraction. Only now, it's easier with our gadgets to shift our awareness to something else.

Cheezburger.com:


I also came across this funny comic below from the Bizarro Blog!, that shows the dichotomy of people's fear & love of the ever more ubiquitous cameras- that are uploading all aspects of the human experience to the hive mind that we call The Internet.

Most people are still resistant to the idea of relinquishing their privacy, but as social creatures we feel the need to share our lives & experiences with the rest of the world.

 click to enlarge

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Spiritual Evolution of Man

 click to enlarge

I like this version of the traditional depiction of man's evolution. It shows our ascension from monkey to a spiritual being of conscious energy.

Perhaps the next stage of our evolution is becoming entities of pure light, either through technological or currently unimaginable means...

On a related note- I depicted the metaphorical ascent through the chakra energy centers, shown in the final image above of the spiritually evolved man, through this series I posted recently:

The Monkey Buddha Archives:
by Paul Micarelli

Friday, September 05, 2014

Mayan Pyramid of Kukulkan

In 2006, My family went on a vacation to the Riviera Maya in the Yucatan, Mexico.

While we were there, we visited the ancient Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and saw the amazing art & architecture that the Maya produced.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

I took some pictures of the main pyramid at the Chichen Itza ruins, the Temple of Kukulkan. This was the feather serpent god, who was known as Quetzalcoatl to the Aztecs.

During the Spring equinox, the shadow of the pyramid stairs creates the illusion of a serpent descending the temple.

Also, when you clap your hands in front of the stairs, the echo sounds like the chirps of the sacred quetzal bird. It is truly an awe-inspiring piece of monumental architecture.

I added one of the photos of this magnificent temple to my Cafepress shop, in the Photography section. You can order prints, posters & other items with this beautiful, mysterious building on it.

The Monkey Buddha Bazaar:
http://www.cafepress.com/monkeybuddha/11576535

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Evolvefest 2014


 On Saturday, I took my girlfriend to Evolvefest for her birthday. It is a festival of music & consciousness-raising activities, held in Pottstown, PA at Fellowship Farm.

It was a very interesting experience, & we both really enjoyed it. The atmosphere reminded me of a 60's hippie commune, with many unique artistic & spiritually-minded people there. It's definitely not for everyone, but we found it to be an enriching experience, overall.

There was a main stage with music playing throughout the day. At night, the stage set was lit up with projections.


We participated in several activities, such as group yoga classes & Native American medicine wheel ceremonies.

Much of the day was spent wandering around the grounds, checking out the various tents with vendors or services.

There were tents with healing services, natural therapies, and even the Tesla Science Foundation- promoting the legacy of the great genius of the 20th century, Nikola Tesla.



Much of the promotional material for the event, like the banner above, used The Flower of Life symbol in the design. This is the pattern of interlocking circles that symbolizes consciousness. I used this pattern for the game board in "Da Vinci's Challenge," the game I created.

Interestingly, I met a few people who were familiar with the game or had it themselves, including Adam Scott Miller, the artist who designed the promotional artwork for Evolvefest 2014. I purchased this signed poster from him, while I was visiting his booth of amazing visionary artwork:


Behind the main stage, there was a giant Seed of Life symbol, which is the basis for the larger Flower of Life pattern. It was lit up, & cycled through different colors.


It was a long, but very memorable day, & we are planning on going back next year to "evolve" a little bit more...



Friday, August 29, 2014

Monkey Buddha Chalk Art


Last week I was on my 2nd family vacation, at Slaughter Beach, Delaware.
My family is a bunch of beach bums & we had a great time relaxing, eating, spending time in the sun, having drinks & making fires at night, and just generally enjoying ourselves.

After we left the house on Saturday, my girlfriend & I went with my brother & his girlfriend to a few different places on the way home.

Our first stop was the Dogfish Head brewery, which was really cool. They offer free tasting of their excellent craft beers & a tour of their newly-upgraded facilities.



 After that we went to a place for lunch that the tour guide from the brewery recommended. She said their employees go to the Backyard restaurant for lunch, so we tried it out.


The food was awesome & they have a backyard with cornhole games & a chalkboard for people to use.

Of course, I had to use the chalkboard to put up a drawing of The Monkey Buddha. My brother drew a crazy devil character. 


Here's a pic of the whole board with other fun drawings.


The final place we went to was a winery. However, I didn't like their wine at all, so I'm not even going to recommend it.

It was an awesome day to end an awesome week, & I was wiped out by Sunday from having so much fun! Summer is almost over, but I feel like I've definitely made the most of it.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Life is Absurd

Whenever things seem serious & overwhelming, we should maintain our sense of humor with a deep realization of the absurdity of our situation.

This graphic I saw on FFFFOUND! states it very simply:


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Book Review: "War God" by Graham Hancock


 On vacation this year, my summer reading of choice was "War God: Nights of the Witch".

Author's Website:
"War God", by Graham Hancock

I've also read Graham Hancock's excellent book about lost civilizations, "Fingerprints of the Gods". That book was a non-fiction investigation of ancient history, but "War God" is a novel, set in Mexico during the Spanish conquest of the Americas.

I am very interested in Mesoamerica cultures, such as the Aztecs, Maya, and Inca, and have studied them for many years. Before starting "War God," I read a book about the writing system of the Maya and how it related to their rulers. "A Forest of Kings" by David Freidel & Linda Schele was a scholarly read that was very detailed with archaeological  & ethnographic information.

Despite all the knowledge you may gain about a given culture, nothing helps you understand the lives of the people of the time like a good narrative or story. A character-driven story puts you mentally into the experience of the culture, like a virtual trip into another time & place. I believe video games can do the same thing- more so than movies or TV, in which you are a passive observer. The Mel Gibson movie about the Mayan culture "Apocalypto," however, is an example of a movie that effectively puts you into the setting of a certain time period. "War God" would also lend itself to an awesome cinematic rendition of a historical culture.

Anyway, "War God" is definitely a good story, and is engaging from the first chapter. Although I took periodic breaks from reading it over the last month or two, I was always looking forward to picking it back up & continuing the trip back to the Spanish conquest of Mexico.

Although I was very familiar with the history of the Aztecs (or as they called themselves, the Mexica) and the conquistadors, Graham Hancock has presented their story in a way that kept me wondering what would happen next.

The book takes place from the perspective of many different characters, including major historical figures such as the Aztec emperor, Montezuma, and the Spanish Conquistador Hernán Cortés. These powerful personalities are joined by the experiences of more "common" characters- such as Tozi, a young girl who has magical powers, or Pepillo an innocent boy who joins the expedition as a page for a sadistic Inquisitor priest. Despite the number of characters, their various perspectives are integrated very well, and give a sense of an all-encompassing view of the story's events.

There are many deep questions Hancock addresses in this novel- including the opposing human characteristics of brutality & compassion, the influence of religious ideology on people's thinking, the dynamic between two clashing cultures, the nature of the visionary experience, and the effects of the individual upon human history.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading "War God" and found myself looking up much of the historical information presented in the book, to gain a better understanding of this era.


This is the first book of a trilogy, and I look forward to reading the sequel, "War God II: Return of the Plumed Serpent", a reference to the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, or Kukulkan to the Maya.

If you have any interest in Mesoamerican cultures (especially the Aztecs or Maya), American or world history, or just an enthralling narrative, I would highly recommend "War God" by Graham Hancock.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014

"Letter Clock™"

 

This is a funny idea I had awhile back... to make a clock using the 1st letter of each number's name (like "T," for "Twelve")

After extensive research online, I was astonished to discover that this idea hasn't already been created... so I did!!!


*It is now available in The Monkey Buddha Bazaar on Cafepress, in different styles:

"Letter Clock™"
by Paul Micarelli

http://www.cafepress.com/monkeybuddha/11504079

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Space Eye

After my last post about the fascinating space objects that are finally being beheld by the human eye, I came across this cool animated GIF.


Here's another one I found:


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Space Encounters

There have been some very interesting images released lately, showing encounters with bodies in outer space.

It is hard for the human mind to grasp the practically infinite expanse of space- which contains countless stars, planets, moons, comets, and trillions of other bodies slowly moving throughout the Universe, over endless eons of time.

The first photo is the space probe Rosetta's rendezvous with the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, which is 2.5 miles wide. Humanity now has its most detailed look ever at a comet up-close. The Rosetta probe is now orbiting the giant mass of ice & rock, but is scheduled to actually land on its surface soon!

European Space Agency:
Rosetta Arrives at Comet Destination




The lack of visual context in the photo above makes it look like a giant boulder, and I really didn't realize the size of the comet nucleus until I saw the photo below. It shows the comet in comparison to the city of Raleigh, NC.


Another amazing image of quiet, breathtaking beauty is this one of Saturn's moons, Rhea & Epimetheus, transiting the planet with the rings visible in the background:


The final image is not as clear or detailed as the previous ones, but it is still mind-boggling in its technical achievement. The New Horizons spacecraft has taken video imagery of Pluto being orbited by its largest moon, Charon.

Daily Mail:

The spacecraft got this imagery while 262 million miles from the planetoid. The fact that we can process light into discernible photos from that far away is pretty astonishing. The scale of the Universe is truly incomprehensible...



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Was the Buddha a Shaman?


 I came across this article that contemplates whether Siddartha Guatama, "the Buddha," was a shamanic figure.


In the sense that he supposedly achieved altered psychic states & then brought back a message or wisdom for other people, he could probably be considered a shaman.

Besides exploring this specific connection, the article gives fairly detailed historical information about shamanism, Buddhism, and the use of psychoactive techniques in these traditions.

In an earlier post, I talked about the connection between the figure of the Buddha to that of Jesus Christ:

Monkey Buddha Archives:

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Emerging Technology

I saw this video on Neatorama that outlines some of the major technological breakthroughs that are now in progress:


As I write this, in the year 2014, the human race is experiencing an unprecedented acceleration of accumulated knowledge.

The traditional branches of science are continually branching off, into countless specializations of research and application.

New scientific fields and discoveries are snowballing into a dizzying amount of information that any single human brain cannot completely absorb.

Luckily there are now sources that can distill all this info for the generalist, like myself, to quickly appreciate the latest science news. One of my favorites is the weekly graphic summaries posted to Reddit/futurology:



As the brilliant Arthur C. Clarke stated, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." The emerging technologies of the near future would have been considered fantastic impossibilities, even in the very recent past.

If the human mind can conceive of an idea, there is a good chance that the idea can be manifested into reality. Of course, there are constraints- such as the resources, time, & effort that are able to be devoted to its realization.

The one major technological trend that people seem to be most afraid of is the merging of human biology and consciousness with machines & their digital interfaces. When our minds and bodies are eventually transformed by the synthesis with "artificial" systems, there will undoubtedly be many positive and negative aspects that will have to be considered.

However, I think it's inevitable that there will be continued use of technology to augment our senses, physical abilities, and mind. Exactly what kind of paths this direction will lead us on is the fascinating question that we will just have to wait to experience, as time flows on...

"Apple iThink"
Concept by Paul Micarelli



Monday, August 11, 2014

Deadly Facts About Water

Water is the essential fluid for life.

As a Pisces (water sign), I feel a deep affinity towards water- in addition to enjoying it as my primary drink and a medium to swim & bathe in.

I found this graphic to be extremely funny. It shows how even something benign, like water, can be twisted into a danger that is hazardous to human health.

(click for larger size)

FACT!
100 PERCENT OF ALL PEOPLE 
EXPOSED TO WATER WILL DIE!

Friday, August 08, 2014

Tool-Using Monkeys

I saw this animated GIF on Cheezburger.com that shows two monkeys using a heavy stick to crack open a nut.



The use of tools has been one of the characteristics that have been traditionally used to distinguish human superiority to the rest of the animal kingdom. 

As we discover that other living creatures also share "human" qualities- such as tool use, language, aesthetic judgement, empathy, and self-awareness- it becomes apparent that there is not a clear line dividing us from the rest of the animal kingdom.

We are animals, despite any religious or philisophical argument that claims otherwise. The human race is nothing more than a group of monkeys that have figured out more sophisticated technologies.

Not that this is a trivial thing at all, but there is definitely not as much of a gap between us and the "beasts" as we think...

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

"Meta Morphosis"



"Meta Morphosis"
by Paul Micarelli 

I've had this little crystal skull & a bunch of rocks of various shades that I've been wanting to use for this artistic side project, that I envisioned awhile ago.

The circle of changing stones represents the continual transformation that one experiences in a lifetime, while incarnate in the world of matter. 


I decided to overlay stars over the spiral design for a background. This gives the impression of the galaxy we are within, & also the dynamic "Ying-Yang" energy of creation.

This design is available on products, in my Cafepress shop. Please check out the other designs I have there, as well:

 The Monkey Buddha Bazaar:
 http://www.cafepress.com/monkeybuddha/11460991 

Friday, August 01, 2014

"Chakra Ascension" Series- Animated

(click for larger size)

Recently, I posted a series of images that I made back in 2003.

The images show a solitary, meditating figure in different environments. Each setting corresponds to the ancient metaphysical energy system within the body, known as "chakras".

I am not a chakra meditation practitioner, so I approached this as a metaphorical work of art. I finally decided to post the "Chakra Ascension" series, for other people to contemplate.

Now that I've posted all the individual entries, you can see the recap of the entire series at this link:

by Paul Micarelli 

In addition to a free e-book, in PDF format (that can be downloaded at the link above), I also made the animated GIF at the top of this post.

The animation cycles through the series, in order, which gives a better impression of the "ascension" through the different chakra levels.

Please check out the link above for the hi-res images & their descriptions. I put the images, without the descriptions, into a folder & used them as a cycling wallpaper on my computer.

I also uploaded the animated GIF to my Cheezburger account, if you'd like to give it an upvote or share it.

Cheezburger:
"Chakra Ascension"

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Poconos 2014: Family Photo

This month, I went on vacation with my family, to a lakefront rental in the Poconos, PA

We all look forward to our vacations together each summer. We've become real pros at relaxing & enjoying our time off. We have great stories and memories from our many vacations over the years.

I've been posting some of the photos I took during the week, mostly nature scenery & crazy things I saw in our travels.

Picasa Web Album:

Usually, I don't post stuff about my family on this blog, but I wanted to include the official family vacation photo with everyone in my immediate family. 

These are the most important people on this planet to me, & I'd like to think I'm preserving their memory on the Google servers, for posterity.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

Perhaps our memories will continue on into the far future, even as the Internet inevitably continues to develop into new forms. As humanity & our global information network one day moves beyond Earth into space, hopefully at least the digital remnants of our lives will survive into the future & among the stars.


The Micarelli & Sawyer families 2014: Joseph Micarelli, Sylvia Wong, Justin Micarelli, Johanna Hadik, Greg Sawyer. Gregory Sawyer III, Susanna Sawyer, Mandi Sawyer, Karen Micarelli, David Sawyer, Paul J. Micarelli, Paul M. Micarelli, Loretta De Stefano

Friday, July 25, 2014

Poconos 2014: Hawk Falls


Last week I went on vacation with my family, to a lakefront rental in the Poconos, PA. This year we stayed at a new house. It turned out great, & my whole family had an awesome week.

We didn't really do too much other than eat, drink, hang out by the lake, & go out on the boats. In the beginning of the week, we went to a huge flea market. There, we had our traditional contest to see who could purchase the best 'prize find' for under $5.

The only other day trip some of us took was to the scenic Hawk Falls trail, which is near Hickory Run State Park. It is a short hike of about a mile that ends up at a beautiful waterfall. It's an easy enough hike that we can take my nephews when we go. I go almost every year & it's picturesque location never gets old.

I added some pics from the hike & the waterfall to my photo album.

Picasa Web Album:




Here's a pic of The Monkey Buddha (aka Paul Micarelli), in the wild:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Poconos 2014: Nature Photos


Last week I went on vacation with my family, to a lakefront rental in the Poconos, PA. This year we stayed at a new house. It turned out great, & my whole family had an awesome week.

I've added photos to my Poconos 2014 album of the beautiful scenery that I observed & enjoyed on the lake that we stayed at. It was truly refreshing to be in a natural setting, cut off from technology & social media. I love the outdoors, and spent my time kayaking, fishing & just relaxing by the lake.

Picasa Web Album: