Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Introducing the "iThink"

I love Apple computers.

Besides providing modern necessities such as internet & email, the computer is pretty much my sole source of creative output. I started using Macs in my college design classes & was glad to be rid of Windows from my life after growing up with DOS & Windows 3.0.

As a senior, one of my semester projects was to design a computer of the future & relevant promo materials. Mine was basically a powerful handheld device with a wireless keyboard and an eye piece for a screen.

Since then, there's been alot of talk about what will happen when the creeping advance of digital technology begins to directly permeate our consciousness. We already have bionic body parts, brain implants, mind-interaction software, primitive AI, and all kinds of other that are signs of the continuing fusion between man and machine.

This also got me thinking about the inevitable augmentation of human experience through computers that will link directly to our conscious thoughts. This web is already being interwoven, so to speak, and there is speculation that some sort of super-consciousness could result. This idea has been given labels such as the Hive Mind, The Singularity, The End of Novelty, etc.

My Dad always jokes that one day, people are just going to be white blobs hooked up to all kinds of computers & electronics. I'd been thinking about the possibility of microchips being implanted that were essentially computers connecting to our brains. I wondered how my favorite brand, Apple, would exist in such circumstances.

That's when I thought up the "iThink":

"The most revolutionary computer in history,
iThink allows you to interact with
unlimited information, virtual imagery & sound,
and even immersive environments,
all within your mind!"

click for larger image (1900x1200)

It's taken me awhile to actually finish these graphics due to procrastination & the interference of life in general. I've been running it around in my head for awhile, though. Anyway, this was just a fun project for me. This all might seem incredibly geeky, but I think it's a pretty intriguing concept that illustrates real possibilities.

We have to ask ourselves what a human being's mental experience will be like when we get to this point. Will we be able to close our eyes and create an environment like a holodeck inside our own headspace? How will we control the data streams and imagery that will be flooding our perceptions? Will any outside source be able to hack into our brains? Will there be different classes of people according to whether they are 'natural' or 'cyber'?

There are millions of questions that only time will answer. For now, we can only imagine how a product like the "iThink" would affect mankind.

In addition to the poster above, I also created a spec sheet to resemble those used for Apple's existing products. Scroll down for text of the tech details...

click for larger image (1900x1200)

iThink Technical Specifications

• Size:

1.5 x 1.5 x .5 inches

• Symbiosis™ Neural Interface:
Direct brain-computer link means your mind and computer are one!

• Intel Fusion™ Quantum Processing:
Uses the power of the atom to instantly compute at the speed of thought.

• Holographic Data Storage:
The iThink’s tiny internal holochip has a staggering individual capacity of over 666 Yottabytes (1000^8), for seemingly infinite augmented memory

• Intra-neural Communication:
Mentally allow or block any kind of signal you want to send or recieve instantly over the wireless iThink global network

• Perceptual Immersion:
Images, sound, & other data are projected virtually into your sensory fields by directly connecting into your brain’s activity

• Integrated GPS and Google Earth:
Receive directions and location information anywhere on the planet, and the ability to be located in case of an emergency

Monkey Classic Rock

...and now back to our regularly scheduled madness.

I saw this nutty video on Choose Your Overlord, a cool blog I bookmarked awhile back that concerns 2 of my favorite subjects: monkeys & robots.

The video is from an old show called Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp that would probably be shut down by animal rights activists if it were on the air today.

What could be funnier than a band of hippie chimps called "Evolution Revolution"?

Since I'm on the subject of rockin' chimps, I'll mention this monkey game I saw called Rock N' Roll Space Monkey. The game itself kind of sucks, but the idea is funny.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Larsen Lake Ice House

My previous post about "The Legend of Larsen Lake" was a little lengthy, so I decided to create a separate post about the mystery of the abandoned Ice House on the lake.

All we knew about the old building was that it was used to store ice harvested from the frozen lake. Huge ice blocks were stored all year to load onto trains that passed on the nearby tracks. This ice was then transported up & down the East Coast states for various uses in the days before mechanical refrigeration.

The only other thing I found out about the building is that it is haunted by local cursed souls that are trapped inside, including The Kid in the Red Shirt.

I tried to search the words that were inscribed on the marble block inlaid in the brick wall:

S.G.& W. Co.
W.W. Scranton Prest.

The only reference I found was here:
Erie: Haines Junction

I have some of the photos I took of this neat spot below the links.

Poconos 2008: The Legend of Larsen Lake

I got back from the Poconos last weekend & meant to write something about this.

My family has been going to the Poconos on and off since me & my siblings were young. We usually take a week in the summer to get a place by a lake. The last few years we've tried different places, but this year my Dad picked out a killer house by Big Bass Lake in the Poconos. Even though most of us are moved out, my family sees each other often. Last week, though, 8 of us stayed together & had a great time: me, my parents, my brothers, one of their girlfriends, my sister, and her husband.

We had a rowboat and a canoe, so most of the time someone was out on the lake, fishing or otherwise. The fishing started out really good, with almost everyone catching smaller bass the first couple days.

My brother-in-law went with me in the canoe to explore a spooky old ice house that was by railroad tracks along the lake. I took a bunch of pictures of it & we walked toward the railroad tracks nearby. We looked to our left and, to our surprise, saw a young kid in a red shirt squatting over the tracks doing something with a knife. Not wanting to startle him & also creeped out by this kid in the middle of nowhere, we backed away toward the ice house.

Later on, one of my brothers was in the canoe by himself. He snuck up & scared the same boy in a red shirt that we saw. The kid was catching minnows by an old iron rail bridge we called "The Tressle Tracks". My family is a bunch of creative, & funny people, so we often embellish reality for the sake of our own amusement. Here is where the entire week became a chance to create a crazy story.

After scaring the the boy, whom we named "The Kid in the Red Shirt", my brother was talking to him about fishing spots & stuff. He gave my brother a red Yamamoto worm lure. Although my bro-in-law & I both saw Justin from our rowboat in middle of the lake, we joked that we didn't see the kid that he was talking to - so he must have been a ghost!

After a few days of fishing & getting absolutely no more bites or anything, we had come up with a story. The Kid in the Red Shirt was obviously a evil ghost from the abandoned Ice House. He had given my brother a cursed lure that was spoiling everyone's fishing!

By Thursday, I told my brother that there was only one thing we could do. We had to take the evil lure to the Ice House and burn it to destroy the curse. He agreed, so we went out in the canoe to meet my dad, sister, & her husband in the rowboat to get the Cursed Lure from the tacklebox.

For some reason, my Dad tossed the worm & it hit the side of our canoe. We could only watch in horror as it immediately sank into the seaweed. Seeing the look of distress on our faces, my Dad told us he'd by a new pack. Only half-joking, I exclaimed "Dad, don't you understand anything?!? How are we going to get rid of the curse?" My brother actually almost considered jumping in the muck to try to retrieve it.

So we paddled away in the canoe, slightly bewildered. To make matters worse, sirens in the town suddenly starting blaring over the lake. We thought my Dad might have inadvertently ushered in the Lake Apocalypse.

That night however, my father proved that he was definitely not an agent of evil. The curse was broken, because I caught a decent size bass that same night & the next day Dad caught a little bit bigger one.
We cooked the fish up and they were delicious. Of course, I thanked the fish's spirit for nourishing my family. I mean, it's not like I'm some kind of barbarian or something! : D

I looked thrilled, as usual.

As long as Big Paul's happy,
everyone's happy

Monday, July 21, 2008

We Are The Web & Net Neutrality

I saw this wacky picture of 3 internet celebrities: Tron Guy, Leslie Hall, & Peter Pan.

The picture is for a website wearetheweb.org that advocates for Net Neutrality. I would highly recommend clicking on "Celebrities" & watching the Tron Guy.

It's weird how the internet & other mass media is giving rise to so many 'personalities' that become fairly well-known. Andy Warhol's quote "In the future, everyone will be famous for five minutes" looks more & more visionary since the rise of the web.

South Park had a typically awesome episode with a bunch of internet celebrities fighting each other. Speaking of which, the director's cut of the classic Imagination Land episode will be on Sunday.

Jedi Gym

My old roomie Andy sent me this video on Myspace while I was on vacation. They could have shaved the last minute off, but up to that point it's great. Star Wars is one of those things that'll always be an inspiration for parody.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Crazy Wisdom of Terence McKenna

I first heard about Terence McKenna while I was in college. My friend Phil had his spoken word CD called "Alien Dreamtime" w/ music & sound design by Spacetime Continuum. Despite already having an imaginative mind, listening to this visionary crazy wisdom master burst my head open into a space that was infinitely more vast than the previous infinity I thought existed. It was simply the craziest thing I ever heard, which is saying quite alot.

Terence McKenna passed away in 2000 & didn't get to experience the novel horrors that have resulted from 8 years of George W. Bush being the most powerful figurehead in the world. He was definitely a one-of-a-kind character who combined science, metaphysics, humor, and culture through language that was as colorful and wacky as it was cerebral.

Anyway, this particular visual effects-enhanced lecture came to my attention through Posthuman Blues.

It took me a few sittings, but I've listened to the whole video & watched most of it. I wanted to make it through the entire thing before posting about it. This video is definitely not geared to unimaginative or the cultural conformist. Watching this in one viewing will most likely either make your brain melt or explode into individual atoms.

Echo Park Time Travel Mart

It's always impressive when people put alot of effort & thought into being creative for the sake of humor.

Someone put together a fictional (?) store called the Echo Park Time Travel Mart.

As a collection of design, it is really amusing in a heady way. I would have a blast coming up for products in a wacky scenario like this.

Daily Monster:

Some of my favorite "products" are meant to help time-traveling customers defeat advanced and malevolent robots. To defeat the inevitable swarm of future military machines, mankind needs to stock up on these essential commodities:

Photo Gallery

Friday, July 04, 2008

Amaruca: Land of the Plumed Serpent

I don't have time to really comment on this, but this is an interesting take on the pre-conquest origins of "America".

It's an angle I've heard before & read about in "The Return of the Serpents of Wisdom", a crazy & fascinating book.

Special Announcement

People who know me probably think that, in this election season, I would prefer Barack Obama.

This would be a fair assumption based on my disagreement with the Republican Party's perpetual willingness to be brokers for the oil interests, multinationals, and war profiteers that can be called 'Bush, Inc.', or just 'Evil'. John McCain is simply a component of that dreadful machine.

However, the 'Demon-crats' despite their more pragmatic concerns, have barely stood up to the mafia that's running the executive branch. Obama has shown more intelligence, leadership, and willingness to battle than most of his fellow "left-wing" party. Lately, though, his supporters and critics have been noticing some political compromises that might not make him the progressive messiah that exists in the minds of many.

Many people are fed up with the 2-party system and its negative effects on our government. That is why I waited until the historic day of July 4th to reveal a special announcement. I'll let this news report speak for itself and myself.

Now, it's time to go prepare for this huge responsibility -
with beer, grilled meat, and horseshoes!

How to Nap

If there is one activity that I definitely do not need instructions for, it's how to take a nap.

This cool chart I saw from Boston.com is an tip sheet for a pastime that is automatic for humans.
Sometimes, though, learning about what is the most familiar to us can be the most amazing, also. Thinking about ordinary things in new ways is definitely key to keeping an interesting existence.

Hopefully I find time to practice the tips on this chart between the inevitable shenanigans of my 3 day Independence Weekend. Thank you America, the greatest abstract concept in the whole damn world!