Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Preserving Our Minds

"Digital Self-Portrait" by Paul Micarelli

Like most people, I often wonder how long I'll be remembered after I die.


Part of me wants to save some aspect of myself & the life I've led. That's why I do things that might preserve my identity.

I create art, save photos, engage on social media, and write on this blog- all to leave some kind of lasting imprint of my physical presence. Who knows how long websites such as Facebook or Google will last, but perhaps by leaving these digital artifacts, they will be archived in whatever format the Internet takes in the future.

There are now websites, like Networked Mortality, that help us to prioritize the information and aspects of our life that we want to continue on, after we depart this physical world.


One day, I'd also like to have children, to continue the legacy of genetic information that has been passed on to me since the very beginning of Life on this planet.

On the other hand, my contemplations on the philosophies of Buddhism, Taoism, & the Greek philosopher Heraclitus have made me aware of the folly of such endeavors. Impermanence & change are inevitable, and I've tried to cultivate non-attachment to the things of this world.

I think ahead 10,000, or 100,000, or a million+ years into the future, and it's hard to conceive that any remnant of my existence will survive. It's even questionable whether any trace of the human race itself will remain. However, it is in our nature to survive, and that means we are compelled to try to preserve some part of ourselves for as long as possible.

As technology advances and we find ways to model the human brain more accurately, it is possible we may eventually be able to preserve the individual mind. Will such a back-up system be simply a recorded copy of our brain's mental accumulations, or would it be a complete & aware consciousness that's embedded in a new medium?

Consciousness is complex & malleable. Right now, being "conscious" includes not only our mental activity, but also our physical sensations & emotional states. As our consciousness becomes augmented by electronic devices & digital media, there's no limit to the states of mind that could be experienced. Perhaps we could even gain extra senses or enhanced perceptions, such as people who've embedded magnets in their skin and can detect electromagnetic fields.

This is the excellent article that got me thinking about this post, and brings up many thought-provoking points about humanity's efforts to preserve the mind in some way:


I try not to be too concerned with what will happen when I die, or if there's some way to cheat death through artificial means. I simply live my life to the fullest each day.

When it's time for my body and mind to transmute back into the infinity of the Universe, I will hopefully feel satisfied that I made the most of it, while I was here.

One of Jason Silva's brief, but brilliant, "Shots of Awe" videos.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Future Old People

No matter how advanced technology become, I think people of older generations will always feel nostalgia for the culture & tech of their youth.

This comic I saw on fUSION Anomalog captures the idea perfectly, as old people watching kids use brain-interfacing devices reminisce about "simpler times," with e-books, touchscreens, & wi-fi.

It look like the kids are using a device similar to my idea for an Apple-branded brain interface, the "iThink":

(click to enlarge)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Star Wars Paintings by Vanderstelt Studio

I have been a lifelong fan of the Star Wars saga.

I'm eagerly anticipating Episode VII being released this year. We'll see whether Disney rejecting George Lucas's involvement turns out to be a good move, but considering their handling of Marvel properties, it looks promising.

Despite the hate for the prequels, the existing 6 movies are timeless works of art that are an inescapable part of our cultural legacy.

I recently discovered amazing paintings of the Star Wars characters by Vanderstelt Studio.

Vanderstelt Studio:

I'd recommend checking out the whole page, but here a couple of my favorites:

"Knight of Passage"
Luke Skywalker uses his Force powers 
to create a new lightsaber with green blade.

The centuries-old Jedi master quietly contemplates the Force
in the Dagobah swamp.

Darth Vader burns with the memories of his love for Padme Amidala
and the physical scars from his immolation on Mustafar.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Photorealistic Evolution GIF

Recently I posted an animated GIF that illustrated the process of morphological transformation over time:

I came across another image-in-motion that shows the same process in a more photorealistic way, from the point of view of the animals changing over the eons.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Game Review: Crysis 3

I played Crysis 2 about a year ago, but now realize that I never wrote a game review for it. Having finished Crysis 3 recently, I feel that this review can apply to either game.

Crysis is a first-person shooter (FPS), in which you are in control of a piece of wearable futuristic technology called a nanosuit.

The nanosuit enables the player to have innate abilites, such as heads-up display, super strength & greater jumping ability. The suit also has two enhanced functions that you can activate at any time - 'Cloak' & 'Armor'. You can either turn invisible for stealth tactics using Cloak, or fortify your nanosuit in the heat of battle with Armor. These are powerful features that seem vital once you get used to using them throughout the game. Unfortunately, my biggest pet peeve with the Crysis games is the synthetic voice that says "Cloak Engaged!" or "Maximum Armor!" every damn time you activate these functions. I don't know why it annoys me so bad, but it does, and actually took away from my enjoyment of the game.

Anyway, the game, overall, is fun to play. It takes place in a ruined New York City, after an alien invasion by a species called the Ceph. These creatures operate using a hive mind connection. They are controlled through a main intelligence, called the Alpha Ceph. They have millions of years of communal intelligence among them & have developed technologies that humans cannot even comprehend. It turns out that the Ceph invasion from Crysis 2 was just an advance force for an incursion from a much larger alien army. The massive Ceph swarm is preparing to come from the other side of the galaxy through an Einstein-Rosen bridge- a dimensional portal allowing instantaneous interstellar travel.

NYC is the epicenter of this larger invasion, but has already been destroyed from the events of the previous game. The city's ruins have become partially wilderness, covered in trees, plants, & water, which makes for an interesting setting. There are some stages that take place inside buildings or underground as you seek out the Alpha Ceph, but I felt that the literal urban jungle environments were the most fun to play through.

The controls & game mechanics are pretty straightforward for an FPS. There are a decent variety of guns & weapons, but I found myself mostly sticking to the same ones. The nanosuit powers, such as cloaking & armor, still make the combat more interesting, but I don't feel like Crysis 3 offered any substantial improvement from the second game. There wasn't too much in this one that really "WOW!-ed" me from a gameplay standpoint. Even the final battle against the Alpha Ceph felt like a fairly standard boss battle, even though it was an intense encounter.

The story is a good one, with the dual themes of man merging with technology & the possible consequences of encountering a hostile alien race. These two themes are integrated when it's discovered that alien technology used to make the nanosuit is allowing your character, Prophet, to become directly connected to the Ceph.

Despite the strong story elements, I never really felt immersed within the game, like I have with titles such as the Assassin's Creed series. I'm playing AC: Black Flag now & it's much more engaging on all levels than the Crysis games. For some reason, I find myself liking 3rd-person games, where you can see the character. Even Far Cry 3, though, (another FPS game) was much more immersive than Crysis. Maybe it'll be more fun if ever I go back and play some levels on a harder difficulty, but it's rare for me to go back & play games I've finished. My gaming time is limited, so I feel like I usually want to get right to the next title in the lineup.

All-in-all, Crysis 3 is not a bad game. I just don't think it was as engaging as it could have been. I can't pinpoint exactly why I felt a disconnect with the gameplay, but it definitely did not feel like it lived up to its potential. I'd recommend it if you like FPS-style games, just don't expect to be blown away by the experience.

• Official Monkey Buddha Rating: 7.5

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Generic and Overused Logos

As a graphic artist, one of the most difficult challenges is coming up with original designs.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

The phrase "There's nothing new under the sun" sometimes feels all too true. You may think you have an original approach to a design, but with some research you may also find that something very similar has already been done.

On the other hand, graphic design is often a synthesis of existing concepts & elements, so it's good to be familiar with common approaches & conventions to dealing with design problems.

I saw this page on the Internet Archive that demonstrates some common looks and treatments of logos in corporate branding.

This is a guide on what to avoid when designing a logo, but it could also help with using elements that could be applied to more unique approaches.

For example, I'm posting the groups of logos using trees (above) & a 3D spherical element (below), but there are many more sets of similar logos shown at the linked page:

Internet Archive:

Thursday, January 08, 2015

"THE" Word Find Puzzle

This is a funny example of a wordfind puzzle that I saw on fUSION Anomalog.

It's an absurd word search game that nobody would want to bother with, unless you want to drive yourself crazy.

Find the word "THE"!:

"The" is one of those words that we use all the time, but looks weirder the more you stare at it.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Your Life in Weeks

Continuing with posts about time, this is one that should make us re-evaluate our time spent in this life.

I saw this chart on Visual News that outlines the span of the modern human life in weeks, represented by single blocks. The major milestones and time periods are also highlighted.

Seeing the limited nature of our mortal existence helps wake us up to the importance of treasuring each moment that we get to experience. This is not a practice run- we only get one chance to live this life.

Our seconds, days, weeks, and years are counting down, right now... how are we going to make the most of it?

Wait but Why:

(click to enlarge)

Saturday, January 03, 2015

600 Million Years of Evolution, Animated

It's the beginning of a New Year, and I'm going to continue the theme of time.

I've explained previously why I think "evolution" is a loaded term that makes people believe the metamorphosis of living forms over time follows an orderly, linear progression.

Despite my unease with the term "evolution", it is an undeniable fact that Life is not a static phenomenon and that living systems change. As the Greek thinker Heraclitus stated, "Nothing is permanent, except change."

Changes are always happening on an individual level, down to the cellular & molecular scales. Noticeable species-wide changes may happen at different rates, though, depending on the situation.

One of the intellectual benefits of digital media is the ability to visualize processes that were previously unimaginable. On Reddit, I came across this animated GIF of biological metamorphosis over the past 600 million years, which starts at cellular life and continues through up to modern humans.

It is available as a flip book, called EVO, from Evoboek.nl

Originally, the order was reversed for some reason, but after some searching I found a version going forward through time.

Here it is on Gfycat, allowing you to go frame-by-frame or reverse the order.

Finally, here is a Youtube video of the animation:

While I was searching Google images for this evolution GIF, I saw this cool animation that I posted before:

Monday, December 29, 2014

Taking Apart a Watch

As we approach the arbitrary chronological designation referred to as "New Year's Day,"  I thought it would be fitting to share this video I saw on Gizmodo.

Tony Williams, a professional watchmaker, takes apart the hundred or more pieces in a Rolex Submariner watch. He then proceeds to put it all back together, piece-by-piece, in a time-lapse video.

The intricacy of timepieces such as this one are astounding. Complex devices such as this are a testament to the creativity, technical ability, and mechanical genius of human beings.

Even more wondrous is our desire and ability to measure time- an abstract, ethereal aspect of experience that we have tried to constrain into discrete segments.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

For a more humorous approach to timekeeping, I created "The Letter Clock™" which can be ordered at the link below:

"Letter Clock™"
by Paul Micarelli


Monday, December 22, 2014

'Control Toys' by Super Nanny

(click to enlarge)

 Just in time for the holidays!!!

I came across this crazy line of parody products & thought this would be a good time to post them. I've posted about bad product & packaging design before, but thankfully these aren't meant to be serious. (However, the "Funny Cage" seems pretty close to a regular play pen that's used to keep babies contained.)

"Control Toys" were made up by the TV show Super Nanny. It was actually a viral campaign, in which mock-ups of these disturbing toy packages were placed on store shelves. When the customer picked up one of the boxes, the back read “There are better ways to discipline your child."

Here is the video featuring Control Toys:

 "Funny Cage"

"Happy Heavy Ball"
"Lovely Strait Jacket"

Friday, December 19, 2014

Goodbye, Colbert Report

 Last night, I watched the final episode of "The Colbert Report". It was a great end to one of my all-time favorite shows:

I've been watching The Colbert Report since the very first episode. Having already been a fan of the Daily Show, I was was eager to see what kind of humor Stephen Colbert would bring on a nightly basis.

In many ways, Colbert surpassed Jon Stewart & his former gig at the Daily Show. The brilliance of his performance cannot be understated. Night after night, he has exposed the absurdities in our culture, politics, entertainment, & all aspects of our lives.

Even though I didn't get to see actually see him there, one of the most interesting events of my life was "The Rally to Restore Sanity" that he and Stewart organized in Washington DC. The crowd was, by far, the biggest mass of human beings that I've ever encountered. My brother and I went with our friends and had a truly memorable time.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:


Our Lord & Savior, St. Stephen
This is one of the "protest" signs I made for the rally

Stephen Colbert is simply the greatest satirical mind of our generation. His spot-on parody of a self-absorbed, corporate boot-licking, blindly patriotic ignoramus was pure genius. His persona allowed him to openly mock the viewpoints of idiotic, right-wing blowhards who are so wrong about everything in the world- like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly & America's stupidest pundit, Sean Hannity.

What I give both Stewart & Colbert the most credit for is providing sanity through humor, amidst the madness and chaos of the world we live in.

This was especially true during the Dark Ages of the Bush/Cheney presidency. All these conservatives who now think life under Obama is so terrible... they completely forget the constant horror the world faced while Dubya & his Dungeon Master caused havoc in America and around the globe.

In this light, I believe Stephen Colbert's most historic contribution to comedy was his speech at the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner. It was the ultimate example of speaking truth to power, and took giant balls of red, white, & blue steel.  It was especially satisfying for those of us who deeply disagreed with Bush's policies at the time, yet risked being called 'anti-American' or 'terrorist sympathizers' for daring to speak out against the War Monkey and the morons who unquestioningly supported his regressive agenda.

Thank you Stephen Colbert, for providing nightly laughs and comic relief to your Nation for almost a decade.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Solar System In Motion

One of my favorite subjects to post about is outer space.

These are a couple of hypnotic animated GIFs I saw on FFFFOUND! showing the solar system in motion.

This one shows the motions of the planets & moons in relation to each other, as they orbit the Sun.

I'm not sure how accurate the relative motion of this animation is, but it's a more hyperdimensional view of the paths of the planets around the sun.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Retro Console Video Games

I'm continuing my theme of video game posts, going back into the history of gaming.

The Internet Archive has made available games from retro video game consoles, such as Atari 2600, Sega Master System, and Magnavox Odyssey- the first home console system.

You can click on one of the consoles to see the games that have been emulated for playing in most browsers:

I actually hate playing retro games, I find them to be tedious and not fun at all. However, I think it's great that the software is being emulated & preserved for historical purposes.

My first video game system was the Atari 2600. Even when I was a child, I knew that this was primitive technology and was slightly frustrated by its limitations.

 Atari 2600 Console & Pac-Man

Friday, December 12, 2014

History of Video Game Graphics

Since I've been posting about video games lately,  I wanted to share a cool series of videos that I saw on BoingBoing.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

These informative & nostalgic videos trace the history of one of my favorite aspects of video games- the graphics.

Here is a link to a video playlist of the whole series:

YouTube Playlist

Although the game play & story are extremely important in making a quality video game, being a graphic artist makes me especially interested in the visual aspects of games.

I was born in 1978, and my first game console was Atari 2600. Through the years my brothers & I had the Atari, Commodore 64, Nintendo NES, Sega Genesis, and the Sony Playstations.

I've personally watched the evolution of gaming progress from using monochrome, blocky pixels to the photorealistic, immersive 3D graphics we see today. In fact, I feel like my life has progressed in parallel to the development of video game technology.

 Pitfall, 1982

Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception, 2007

As new systems (including virtual reality interfaces like Oculus Rift) are developed, we will be opening new possibilities of what the human mind can experience.

The distinction between the "real" world and digital worlds will continue to be merged. People will keep exploring new ways for our nervous system to interface with the infinite possibilities that arise from the realms of our imagination.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Ralph H. Baer, Father of Video Games RIP

Since my last post was about a video game that I played, it seems appropriate to pay respects to one of the people who made it possible for myself & the entire world.

Tech Times:

Ralph H. Baer was the inventor of the Magnavox Odyssey, the first home video game system.

Before Baer's conception of an electronic "game box", video games were confined to public arcades.

Thanks to his inventions & efforts, we have the sophisticated game systems today that are high definition virtual realities. These detailed, immersive digital creations evolved from the simple 2D pixel representations used in these first game consoles.

Here's a short video from PBS about Ralph Baer:


Thursday, December 04, 2014

Game Review: Mass Effect 3

I just finished Mass Effect 3, the final installment in what has become my one of my favorite video game series.

Here is my review for the first Mass Effect-

The Monkey Buddha Archives

I've also played Mass Effect 2, but didn't write a review for it. Most of the good things I had to say about the first game apply to the whole series. However, I've been so blown away by the Mass Effect games that I wanted to write my thoughts after finishing the trilogy.

This is a work of fiction that is on par with Star Wars, Star Trek, or any other great work of sci-fi. The virtual galaxy you can explore is full of unique planets, alien creatures, and ponderous questions which our entire species must face. I'll repeat them again, because I think they are so vital to consider:

• Is there other Life in the universe, sentient or otherwise?

• What happens when interplanetary species begin to contact each other?

• What is humanity's place in the cosmic order? What role does the individual play in this order?

Is it possible for ANY form of intelligence, or even information, to survive the incomprehensibly vast cycles of cosmological time, on the scale of billions of years?

Mass Effect takes place in the future, after 2147 CE, when humanity has found alien devices & "Element Zero" in our solar system. These artifacts allow us to develop FTL (Faster Than Light) Travel. The subsequent discovery that Pluto's moon, Charon, is actually a "Mass Effect" Relay allows humanity to instantaneously travel to other Relays throughout the galaxy. A vibrant galactic civilization already exists, with a 45km-long space station, called The Citadel, acting as its capital. All advanced alien races are represented here, and after the events of the first two games, humanity has become a major force in galactic affairs.

Your character is Commander Shepard, and you can carry over your character's traits from previous games' save information. Humanity's high standing in the galaxy is, in part, due to the earlier actions of Shepard- most notably fending off an attack on The Citadel by a Reaper.

The Reapers are central to the Mass Effect series. Tens of thousands of these gigantic, conscious machine creatures come out of deep space every 50,000 years to "harvest" sentient organic life, for their genetic information. It is a mysterious cycle that has gone on for at least a billion years and was initiated by an "Intelligence" that's even older than the Reapers.

It turns out this seemingly destructive cycle is actually meant to preserve life, since any advanced biological species will eventually create synthetic Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) that inevitably wipes out all organic beings. The "Intelligence" sees this cyclical harvesting as a way to maintain order and allow new species to evolve. It is revealed that the Mass Effect Relays and the Citadel itself are actually part of an elaborate trap, developed by the Reapers to accelerate the harvesting process of sentient beings and make it more efficient.

In this game, the merciless Reapers have arrived, landing on the home planets of the advance species throughout the galaxy, including Earth. The game starts with an awesome sequence in Vancouver, Canada, where imposing Reapers, taller than skyscrapers, are completely annihilating the city. This is the threat you face from the very beginning, and gives a sense of enormity that such an existential threat would pose to us. In addition to the numerous & varied enemies throughout the game, you actually get to face down a few Reapers in different situations.

It is a rich story, that touches on many deep issues that the human race may one day have to consider. As literally out-of-this-world as this game is, I feel that it is a visionary & realistic depiction of what humanity may one day experience when we are able to travel among the stars...

The planets and alien races are fantastic, yet convincing. The number and uniqueness of the locations throughout the galaxy made it endlessly visually interesting. Although you can no longer land on & explore planets as side missions, I'm glad that the act of scanning planets for resources was made much less tedious than in ME2.

As far as the actual gameplay, there's a perfect balance of customization, role-playing elements, and intense combat. The RPG aspects of the game include dialog options, morality choices, and engaging characters. The combat is excellent, with the ability to use five weapons and a half-dozen powers. The weapon variety and the ability to freeze the action to switch weapons on the fly don't interfere with the intensity of the battles. 

I chose to be in an Adept class, so my character had biotic powers that were effective and fun to use, such as- • the ability to project a destructive warp field • launching a shockwave that throws enemies in the air • creating a mini black hole, a singularity, that holds enemies. The ability to also coordinate your teammates' powers with your own attacks makes the combat much more strategic.

Overall, I was engaged the whole time and couldn't wait to see what the next mission or story sequence would bring. Games like this are such monumental creations, and why I still play critically acclaimed titles such as this one. Even though I've played video games my whole life, I am still awestruck by the technical achievement as much as the game play. It's pretty common for me to just wander around an area, observing visual details and marveling at the artistry behind the level design.

One of the very few reasons I can't give it a 10 is because the game's ending left me unimpressed. I picked the ending where Shepard can take control of The Reapers, using technology developed by an ancient race. I thought there should have been a more cinematic finale, with more impact for the end of such an action-packed story.

Despite my slight disappointment with the ending, the rest of the game was so superb & awe-inspiring that it didn't diminish my overall view of a great game and a undeniably epic series.

• The Monkey Buddha's official rating: 9.75

Tuesday, December 02, 2014


 Recently, I have been dwelling on the topics of the cosmos and space travel. Perhaps it's because I'm currently playing Mass Effect 3, a video game that explores mankind's place in the galaxy. Even so, I've always been interested in the Universe and the future of humanity among the stars.

I saw this short film by Erik Wernquist (narrated by the late Carl Sagan), that is a inspiring depiction of human beings as we venture out into the solar system & beyond. From low gravity base jumping, to asteroid mining, to space station colonies, there is a lot of visionary material in this video that illustrates the possibilities for our migration through outer space.

I'd recommend clicking the link & watching it full screen.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Networks and Connectivity

I've seen this diagram by Paul Baran on FFFFOUND! & it always catches my eye.

by Paul Baran

I think that connectivity is a key element of the Universe. The spiritual idea that "everything is connected" is literally true.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

Digital technology, especially the Internet, have greatly increased our ability to connect on a global scale.

Television, both broadcast & cable, can be seen as a centralized medium. There is a central television station or cable provider that controls all the content.

The Internet, on the other hand, is decentralized. Each computer is a node that can connect to other nodes through ISPs (Internet Service Providers).

The future of digital media & the Internet is in distributed networks. Each device or node in the network will be independent, and capable of directly connecting to any & all of the nodes in the network.

We have see distributed networking emerging already, in situations where the government or some other authority tries to shut down Internet connections. One recent example of decentralized, but vulnerable, Internet connectivity being replaced by distributive networking is the protests that have take place in Hong Kong.

I don't think anyone can predict the full implications of an Internet that consists of distributive networking. It will greatly diminish the power of centralized power structures, such as media conglomerates and nation-state governments. Perhaps it will lead to truly democratic societies, in which everyone is an independent, but crucial, element in a fully interconnected network.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Star Wars: Episode VII- Teaser Trailer

 Recently, I've been posting a lot about the cosmos & space travel. The Star Wars movies have been a major creative inspiration throughout my entire life, and one of the reasons why I'm so interested in space.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

Today, the teaser trailer was released for "Star Wars: Episode VII- The Force Awakens". 

The short trailer has alot of iconic elements- the Millenium Falcon, X-wings flying in formation over water, the unforgettable sound of TIE fighters, personable droids, & mysterious Sith with a unique red lightsaber. It re-ignited the feeling of excitement & nostalgia I've had for the Star Wars saga since I was a child. 

I'm sure I'll be able to pick apart the upcoming movies & find plenty of flaws in them. However, the idea of new movies, that includes the original cast as older versions of their characters, is undeniably awesome for any Star Wars fan. 

The millions of hits that the trailer is getting in a single day proves that the Star Wars saga is as relevant as ever. Hopefully, the first movie of the new trilogy can live up to the hype & anticipation.

I'll be anxiously awaiting Episode VII when it's released in 2015.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Space Art by Ron Miller

by Ron Miller

I recently came across the fantastic 3D artwork of Ron Miller. His work was featured by LIFE magazine.


His creations are computer rendered depictions of other worlds & scenes throughout the Universe. He has included all the major bodies of the solar system, but also hypothetical space environments on extra-solar planets.

I have made many 3D space scenes myself, that I'll have to post soon.

Here are a couple more images, but definitely go to the website to see more of this amazing work:

Monday, November 24, 2014

Friday, November 21, 2014

Life in Thermal Vision

This is a cool video I saw on Neatorama, showing various everyday activities, as seen through "thermal vision" similar to the alien in The Predator movies.

The camera picks up energy in the infrared wavelength. This energy isn't in our range of visible light (which is a tiny slice of the overall electromagnetic spectrum), but we perceive it as heat.

There is some NSFW material in the video, but it's an interesting look at the energetic information all around us, that we cannot perceive. Using technology, we will be able to experience more of these aspects of reality that are currently hidden from us.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

RIP, Creator of "Choose Your Own Adventure"

I recently found out that the R.A. Montgomery, creator of the interactive book series, "Choose Your Own Adventure" passed away.

Hearing this news brought back memories of my years in elementary school, when I used to love reading any of these books I could get in our school library.

The "Choose Your Own Adventure" series was a novel approach to the medium of printed books. At frequent points throughout the story, you could choose different paths by turning to different pages for various decisions regarding the plot.

I would often 'cheat' while reading a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book, by skimming ahead through the thread of pages for a certain choice, to see what the eventual outcome would be. However, I still enjoyed reading through the story to see where my decisions would lead me.

These books were innovative & inspired a generation of young readers. It was a truly memorable series with imaginative themes. "Choose Your Own Adventure" helped shaped my young mind with a sense of creativity & awareness of the importance of choice.

Hopefully this isn't in bad taste, but the news of the creator's death also reminded me of this humorous, but accurate, parody cover-  

Monday, November 17, 2014

Translating Client-Speak

I saw this funny graphic on Lifehacker that attempts to clarify the vague instructions that graphic artists (like myself) sometimes get from clients.

One of the little-known requirements of any graphic arts career is that of being a mind-reader! You have to intuitively be able to understand what your clients are trying to convey to you. Sometimes this is actually the most difficult part of the job, since you cannot progress on a project without figuring out what the client really wants...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Rosetta Probe Lands on Comet

click to enlarge

For the first time, the human race has landed a space probe... on a comet!

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

The mission was actually launched 10 years ago & the lander finally touched down today.
Thanks to brilliant scientists & engineers, we have made contact with a 3-mile wide comet, 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, that orbits our sun. 

This event will open the door to deep-space mining & other technologies that will eventually allow us to travel to other planets & stars.
The animation below shows the circuitous route the Rosetta probe had to take to get to the comet. It used planetary gravity to save energy & went into hibernation for a couple years as it approached it's target. The planning & understanding of orbital mechanics that went into this is mind-blowing.