Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Molecular Visualizations of DNA


Recently I posted about a documentary I watched, called The Hidden Life of the Cell. 3D computer animation was used to show the inner mechanisms of human cells.  

I came across another video, that shifts the perspective from the cellular level to the molecular level. This animation shows the intricate processes of the molecules that form & replicate DNA.

No matter how many times I watch these little molecular machines and chemical interactions carrying out the basic functions of biological life, it never stops being fascinating.

It is a constant source of amazement that so many things are happening, trillions of times over... in every square millimeter of our bodies... in each of the trillions of lifeforms on this planet.

This reminded me of the graphic below, that I just posted to my Facebook page:

"It may look like I'm doing nothing,
but at the cellular level I'm really quite busy."

Monday, November 28, 2016

Movie Review: "Dr. Strange"

Last week, I went to see the latest movie in the Marvel franchise- "Dr. Strange".

It was an excellent movie that was a departure from the typical "superhero" genre. It opened up the mystical dimension of Marvel cinematic universe, and was a compelling story in its own right.

It is the story of the transformation experienced by Dr. Stephen Strange, a brilliant surgeon who is egotistical and materialistic. His life is turned upside-down after being injured in a car crash, destroying the nerves in his hands. This accident results in his inability to perform surgery, and presents an existential crisis for the successful doctor. He decides to leave his comfortable life behind, in search of a way to heal that Western medicine can't provide.

Dr. Strange travels to the Himalaya mountains in Asia, and finds a mysterious school run by The Ancient One. Although rejected at first due to his skeptical attitude, Strange is ultimately accepted and begins learning the mystic arts from The Ancient One.

Because of the mystical tone, this movie dealt with themes that aren't very common in superhero movies- or any other movies, for that matter. Such esoteric concepts as chakras, magick, astral bodies, and multi-dimensional reality are discovered by Dr. Strange on his journey to become The Sorcerer Supreme.

The Dr. Strange comic book was created by Steve Ditko in the 1960's, and was illustrated with the psychedelic flair common at the time.

This movie successfully translated that aesthetic into mind-bending visual graphics that were absolutely amazing to watch in 3D. There were awesome sequences throughout the movie- such as New York City seen through the kaleidoscopic effect of an alternate dimension, and Strange's visitation of The Dark Dimension that brought the trippy artwork of the 60's to life.

The special effects used in these scenes, and for the magical powers portrayed throughout the movie, were spectacular. They were enhanced by the strength of the story and its message- that Western science and medicine are limited in our understanding of the true nature of reality.

I've always had interest in the mystical aspects of our world, and this movie was an exciting exploration of the possibilities that such a perspective presents.

"Dr. Strange" was a very enjoyable film that was visually & thematically in a league of its own. It's rare that a mainstream movie can be called enlightening, but this one is able to open your mind and make you think about the world in a completely different way.

I'd highly recommend Dr. Strange, and it might be my favorite Marvel movie yet!

Official Monkey Buddha Rating: 9.5

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Dying into the Light

I saw this animation on Dimensão7- showing the soul transitioning from the dying body into the infinite expanse of The Clear Light.

I am currently reading an e-book I downloaded, The Present (with Religion) by Michael Smith.

The section I am on now deals with the reality of death, and how very few people are ready for it when it happens. This is because people are so caught up in their day-to-day lives, that the matters of the spirit are either put off or ignored. The most important thing in life is to cultivate is the deep awareness of the present moment. Once you have a fundamental, immediate connection to your ground of being, you will be ready for any experience your soul encounters.

Hopefully when the body expires, the energy of our spirit will merge back into the infinite luminosity of the light known as God, Heaven, Tao, The Zero Point Field, Vacuum Energy, etc. - the nameless, fractal, interconnected web of vibration that gives rise to all things.

The animated GIF is derived from the painting "Dying" by one of my favorite artists, the visionary master Alex Grey.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Chimp in Virtual Reality

On BoingBoing, I saw this video of a chimpanzee being immersed in a virtual reality (VR) program.

The chimp is obviously experiencing everything that a human would, when presented with the same stimuli. This proves that living things with similar sense organs are going to have perceptions that are similar in nature. The only difference is that non-human creatures don't have the inner dialogue of language that accompanies human thought.

The brain of any "higher" animal is an extremely adaptable organ, capable of adjusting to new sensory inputs or modes. Placing a VR headset on a primate like a chimpanzee proves that they are just as capable of navigating an imaginary, virtual space as humans.

Here's another video, where it appears the chimp is already familiar with the VR hardware. It grabs for the controller with the headset already on, and goes right to popping virtual balloons.

See also:

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Hidden Life of the Cell

This past weekend, I watched a BBC documentary that I had been wanting to see, Our Secret Universe: The Hidden Life of the Cell.

It explained the biological processes that take place in a human cell at the microscopic scale. Specifically, the show followed the journey of an adenovirus as it tries to propagate & infect the body by taking over our cells.

I love science, anatomy, & biology- especially what is going on at the level below the threshold of our senses. The idea that there are all these organized processes and synchronous activity going on trilions of times at the cellular level, throughout any individual's body, is too much to wrap one's head around.

To me, being able to visualize these scenarios is key to understanding them. That is where modern methods of computer animation become so important. Being able to accurately render these microscopic phenomenon using 3D graphics allows us to appreciate the wondrous reality of our own bodies at such a small scale.

It reminded me of another video I've posted that similarly showed the workings of our cellular biology:

Friday, November 11, 2016

Ouroboros of Scale

On Weird Wide Web, I saw this illustration of the mythical Ouroboros, the snake eating its own tail. It represents the cyclic patterns of destruction & creation.

However, this particular image shows the various scales of reality- from the microcosm > to the human > to the macrocosm... and back around.

This seems to imply a never-ending, continuous loop of spacial repetition that fractally repeats ad infinitum.

It reminded me of this loop of an opening animation from the Simpsons:

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Election 2016- TRUMP

Well, it happened.

The President of the United States is going to be casino magnate, shitty businessman, con-artist, and reality TV host, Donald Trump. It's so ridiculous. I love surrealism and absurdity, but this is mind-boggling.

Trump was able to win because of the miscalculation by the Democrats that America would rather have a compromised, establishment politician like Hillary Clinton instead of an independent politician with real convictions like Bernie Sanders. I truly wish we could have seen a true outsider, populist match-up between Bernie & Trump. The difference is that Bernie actually works for the average citizen, while Trump works hard at screwing them over.

When I made the graphic below, back in 2011, it seemed inconceivable that such a wacked-out scenario could actually happen. I wish my Nostradamus-like visionary powers weren't so strong. It's a blessing and a curse.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

Now we are not only faced with 4 years of President A$$hole, but an emboldened Republican Congress that will push regressive policy affecting millions of people.

I'm trying to have an attitude of 'fuck it'. The optimist in me wants to that think maybe the conservative majority can listen to the will of the people and implement meaningful change. However, the realist in me thinks this is laughable. I think it's more likely that things are going to get bad with the short-sighted ideologues who make up the majority of the GOP running society.

As President Obama has said, the sun will rise tomorrow. Relatively speaking, this is a flicker of light off a wave's crest in the dance of an endless ocean. However, for those of us participating in this lightshow of maya, this seems like a truly odd and almost unbelievable phenomenon. I'm old & jaded enough to not be truly surprised by anything. I woke up this morning and saw the results on my phone, and could just shake my head & look out the window.

People will still keep fighting for what they believe in, and the endlessly complex interplay of human beings will continue on. However, the idea that we have to put up with this jackass being arguably the most powerful person in the world is just mind-blowing. I'm strapping myself in & getting ready for the ride!

I'm sure the first order of business will be renovating the White House, it will be tremendous:

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Election Day 2016

Well, today is the day where The United States of America chooses its representatives in local & federal elections.

The citizens have a choice for President between two flawed, but distinct candidates. On the one hand, there's a career politician- the former First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State, and possibly the first female in the Oval Office if she's elected. On the other hand, there's an obnoxious, narcissistic man child- a shitty con artist of a businessman and reality TV star, who wasn't even allowed to stay in control of his own Twitter account because he was so goddamn stupid & reckless.

I started out rooting for Bernie Sanders, one of the few politicians who identifies as an Independent and has real integrity. I have never been a fan of Hillary Clinton, but for me and many others, this is a matter of keeping an unbelievably ignorant & downright dangerous Donald Trump from leading us back down into the ditch that modern Republican presidents inevitably drive us into.

I wish we had better choices on both sides. Unfortunately, with our winner-takes-all system, a vote for a third party is a complete waste. It really has been a complete shitshow of an election, especially with The Donald's antics throughout the process. As I've said before, I wanted him to win the Republican primary just so he could keep wreaking havoc on the political establishment & tear apart the decaying Republican party. Now, I just want him to go the hell away.

Statistically, it looks like Clinton is likely to win, but it ain't over till it's over. I'd like to see her crush Trump, just so he has less ground to stand on when he inevitably refuses to concede and claims everything is rigged. The guy is utterly delusional & I don't expect him to start accepting reality now.

So, today we'll see what we're stuck with for the next four years. I think Hillary Clinton, despite all her problems, is at least smart, competent, and knows how government works. The same cannot be said for Trump, who seems to lack even a basic understanding of our most fundamental governmental & social institutions. It's been a truly crazy ride- an election season that is unlike anything most people have seen in their lifetimes. Hopefully, it turns out to be an anomaly and doesn't prove to be the new norm.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Yoda Shrine

One of my favorite characters in the Star Wars saga is the 900 year old Jedi Grand Master, Yoda. Some of the best scenes in the movies were Yoda expounding his mystical teachings about The Force.

I came across this evocative image of other members of Yoda's unknown species, in front of a buddha-like idol in their own image. It appears to be in a shrine or temple, with one of them (Yoda himself?) levitating and holding a Force-channeling staff.

I saw it on the wiki page for Yoda's species, but I was curious where it originally came from. I did a search & found out that it's from a 1994 Star Wars Galaxy card series. I collected these as a kid & loved the variety of visions inspired by the rich Star Wars universe.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Medicine Man

On Reddit I saw this awesome illustration, "Medicine Man" by Infinity Life.

As an artist, lover of nature, & a mystical spirit, I've personally felt a kindred relationship to the many shamanic traditions of cultures around the world.

I think this image visually sums up the meaning of a medicine man/woman in a tribe or society. It is the role of the shamanic personality to commune with the energies & plants of the natural world, transcend normal consciousness, and bring wisdom to the people for their benefit.