Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sense & Nonsense

There's so much craziness in political news that it's hard to pick things out to comment on.

Obama, (like all US Presidents) has the most insanely difficult job in the world. Though I disagree with how his administration has handled certain things, Obama is no Marxist revolutionary. The notion is ridiculous, & I'm as big a skeptic as anyone. The Beck/Hannity/Gingrich crowd, who claim we are being overrun by Socialism, cannot be total idiots... so are likely being cynically disingenuous for the sake of ratings & $.

This segment of Glenn Beck's Conspiracy Lecture is almost laughable. Unfortunately, it seems to be taken seriously by people who are somehow persuaded by the wacky 'college professor meets serial stalker' persona.

The Pasty Pundit is implying that The President of the United States & the American citizens who support his agenda want to destroy the country. What a jackass. I thought Bush & Cheney were ruining the country- but not on purpose! Their corporate-centered policies were demonstrably destructive to the economy, but none of their critics ever accused them of actually hating & trying to destroy America. That's just silly!

Anyway to offset the loony ramblings of Beck's shtick above, you can read this RS interview that gives a serious look into the issues Obama is facing.

Rolling Stone:
"Obama in Command"

He seems to be aware of the many challenges & the accompanying criticisms. What I can appreciate is the cool, calculated approach to these serious situations- a stark contrast to the irrational hysteria that would have undoubtedly characterized a White House with John "Bomb, Bomb Iran" McCain & Sarah "Death Panels" Palin... aka McPain. I don't care what anyone says, there is no way those two knee-jerk reactionaries could have improved the country's situation.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fictional Business Cards

This is a cool set of business card designs meant for fictional characters, superheroes, & cartoons. I saw them on but they were made by Fro Design Co.

The execution of the layouts & styles are pretty convincing!

The answers to who each card belongs to is in the comments on the product page-

Fro Design:
"Day Jobs"

Monday, September 27, 2010

Vertigo-Inducing Tower Climb

I saw this video posted on a few different websites & it's not for the acrophobic.

Just watching this made my palms sweat & my heart rate go up! Let's just say I wouldn't volunteer to be 1000's of feet in the air w/ no stable surface beneath me.

This kind of work is a modern equivalent of the construction workers on the girders in old photographs.

Toward the end when he says "This is the tricky part," @ 6:45 is definitely an understatement.

"Postcards From the Pledge"

The Democratic Party in D.C. may seem to be spineless as a caucus, and completely lacking in party message & discipline. The GOP in Congress, however, have few practical policy solutions that would affect the majority of the country in a positive way. Their usual mantras like "cut spending" & "smaller government" aren't followed up with actual plans, because the things they want to cut are popular.

The fact that the Republican party is even a threat in the upcoming Congressional elections so shortly after their ouster is a testament to the Democrat's ineptitude in mass communication.

Jon Stewart predictably offered a satirical look at the recent Republican "Pledge to America" & it's perpetually recycled talking points. As usual, Boehner & Co. offer no tangible steps toward their ideological goals. They simply get in line, take off their suits, roll up their sleeves, and expect America to buy the "common man" shtick yet again. Politics is one of the many crazy aspects of life. Luckily there are ways to laugh about it, because it's often a crappy situation.

Daily Show:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

"Sex Robot" on Discovery

The other night I was hanging out having a couple beers with some friends & watching TV. As I was flipping through the TV guide a show called "Sex Robots" caught the eye of one of my friends.

Out of amused curiosity I turned it on, & it was like a horrible train wreck that I had to keep watching. I could NOT believe what I was seeing. Basically these people, who I began calling "Robo-pervs," (*see below for update) actually prefer the companionship of robots that look like women to the real thing.

As any biologically-inclined human could probably guess, it was pretty unsettling.

The documentary was about people who are dreaming of the day when fully interactive & lifelike robots are made for the sole purpose of simulated intercourse. It's amazing that the instinctual sex drive in humans is so controlling that it can override our biological imperative to make some people pursue a path like this.

Proving there is a niche for everyone in this crazy world, the program showed people trying build a sex robot, and also followed guys who wanted to own these Fembots. They gave feedback to the builders on how to improve the appearance and performance of the robots. To me, all the robots looked creepy and almost frightening, and their jerky movements & lifeless interactions only enhanced the creepiness factor.

Here is one of the robots & its creator, w/ an appropriately ridiculous headline:

At one point in the documentary two humanoid robots were shown "humping" each other, & they were basically just banging their plastic heads together. I started laughing hysterically at the sheer absurdity of it.

There was another guy who was on the computer looking at pictures of female robots with their face & chest removed, exposing circuitry underneath. This was the guy's idea of porn & it makes absolutely no sense at all. The closest I can find to the photos that he was oogling over was this:

Another robot fetishist actually had a girlfriend (who was also kind of dorky, but not hideously ugly or anything). She agreed to go along with being hypnotized into becoming a robot to make her boyfriend happy. He was asking her to repeat "Prime Directives" & she responded about "being obedient & pleasing" her boyfriend, who was visibly encouraged by this. It was definitely creepy to me.

Some of these souls seem to have serious issues with control, which makes them desire a life-like being that obeys their whims.

I was watching this show almost the entire time with my jaw dropped open or wincing at the awkwardness of some of the situations. My brain simply could not process the madness I was seeing. However, to each his own... right?

*Update 9/27:
Someone commented on this post appropriately mocking me for being an insensitive jerk in my tone. They have a point in the sense that I wasn't practicing kind speech. I really don't wish ill on anyone & think people should be able to do whatever the hell they want, without fear of persecution. As long as you're not hurting anyone, go nuts!

Truth be told- I think 'alternative' lifestyle choices like robots, virtual experiences, & other things we aren't able to imagine yet will only become more commonplace as technology becomes more sophisticated. However, to me personally it's still a mind-boggling phenomenon, as are other things - like people being willing to swim with Great White sharks. Neither seems like sensible behavior to me, but I'm not going to tell people they can't do it.

So sorry if it seems harsh, but as a human being I'm trying to avoid the Robot Sexpocalypse™ that could wipe out our species forever if this behavior continues.

I am only human, after all.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"Living" with Dr. Steve Brule

A few weeks ago I posted about living happier. Personally, keeping my life simple & having time for reflection are important for keeping my mind right.

Little did I know that Dr. Steve Brule (aka John C. Reilly) could add so much more to my appreciation of life as a single person...

This is a clip from the Cartoon Network's showcase of weirdness,

If you like absurd comedy & all-out insanity, then I highly recommend watching them.

Bearded comedian Zach Galifianakis has some totally ridiculous segments, like "Tairy Greene's Acting Seminar For Children" & "The Snuggler".

Another great clip from the show is this one "Cocktail Party Chatter", that hints at the truly subjective nature of the monkey-grunts we call language:

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ungodly Defense Aquisition Chart

While I'm on the topic of crazy infographics, I also recently saw this migrane-inducing chart on BoingBoing that I have to mention. It outlines The Pentagon's processes of acquiring tech & equipment in excruciating detail.

This is on a level of graphic insanity comparable to the Afganistan" Stability" Graphic I posted about awhile back.

For me, having the responsibility of making this chart would be a task comparable to eternal torment in Tartarus, the abysmal realm that's below even the underworld Hades in Greek mythology.

I'm sure it's very useful to people in the military-industrial complex who rely on it. Personally, however, I don't ever want to see it again.

"Pentagon’s Craziest PowerPoint Slide Revealed"

(click to enlarge, if you dare)

Rap Names Infographic

This is a funny chart I just saw on BoingBoing that graphs the names of rappers & groups. It's a little crazy to look at, but it's still an interesting breakdown of the rap world.

I recognize most of these artists, & I also love a crazy infographic... so it's pretty amusing to me.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Rally to Restore Sanity!!!

No sooner did I finish writing about the craziness of the extreme right-wing ideologues & Tea Party candidates dominating the national political discourse... than I turned on The Daily Show to see the big announcement.

Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert have been hinting at some kind of event, a la Glenn Beck. Tonight, Jon Stewart revealed the planned "Rally to Restore Sanity" which is probably going to make Beck's facetious 'Rally to Restore Honor' look like a little picnic.

This is so great. I am absolutely going if it's humanly possible. The Daily Show's political humor & reverence for The Absurd helped me smile through the years of incompetence/malfeasance of the Bush Administration. I've been watching The Colbert Report since the first episode and now both shows are required viewing for me.

Despite the satirical nature of the event, my fellow Daily Show viewers are actually the most accurately informed news consumers. You have to know the people, facts, & context of current events to understand all the jokes on the shows. It's hard to follow the humor if you're an ignoramus.

Anyway, I'm psyched, & if it goes according to plan it should be an awesome day.

Tea Party Madness

The big primary night news this week was college-hussy-turned-Puritan Christine O'Donnell beating long-time incumbent Mike Castle in the Delaware Republican primary. The Republican Party seems it's being split by the Tea Party ideologues which may or may not cost them in the general elections.

It's pretty bad when George W.'s boys like Karl Rove & former speechwriter David Frum are talking smack on these know-nothing, reactionary Teabagger candidates. The far-right wingers have no truly practical policy positions, only that the government is bad & they have to "take our country back!".... back to the Dark Ages I presume (or at least the 18th century).

Mr. Frum, a Bush Republican, laments:

"Republicans have done insufficient serious policy work over the past half dozen years. The legacy of this inactivity is a party on the brink of power, lacking an intellectual framework for the use of that power."

Why would he say that- about his own party? Because a few of these Teabagger candidates say & believe pure craziness bordering on complete ignorance.

For instance:

CHRISTINE O'DONNELL: "Well, creationism, in essence, is believing that the world began as the Bible in Genesis says, that God created the Earth in six days, six 24-hour periods. And there is just as much, if not more, evidence supporting that."

I try to respect people's heartfelt religious beliefs, & find alot of wisdom in the Bible. However, this kind of thinking about the Universe is Sarah Palin-level retarded.

How can you say 24 hour periods exist- before the Sun & Earth were formed!?!?!

The arbitrary measurement of the 'hour' was created by man based on the periodic solar orbit of the Earth. The idea that God delineated Creation into "24-hour days" is so damn stupid it's scary. Yet, Delaware Republicans voted for her over an experienced, moderate 9-term Congressmen....

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Mandlebox Trip

I came across another mind-bending animation of a virtual 3D fractal fly-through.

It's similar to the "Mandlebox" I posted about recently, watching a video like this is like exploring an alien landscape that exists in a dream or another dimension.

Digitally rendering this madness would have been impossible just a few years ago, so I have to wonder what kind of visual eye candy will be created in the years to come....

Monday, September 13, 2010

Your Beautiful Eyes

I saw this awesome link on BoingBoing a while ago featuring macro close-up photography of human eyes.

My previous post about sacred geometry reminded me of these super-detailed photos, which show the ordered chaos that somehow forms Life. The Mystery of the circle and nature's formation of such patterns are phenomena that a person can investigate and ponder for a lifetime.

Those macro eye photos are at a detail that is ironically beyond the normal perception of our own eyes. I guess that's why they almost look surreal, like they are made of sand or yarn. After looking at these crazy images, I had to go look in the mirror and study my own irises but there's no way to see details that fine without extra technology.

As a professional designer, my eyes are my life & livelihood. I definitely don't take my vision for granted. Actually, I'm always amazed by the wonders of eyesight and perception. It's hard to understand how these small gelatinous orbs could create the rich mental images of the world around us.

Speaking of optical illusions, here's one I made after seeing a similar technique used for an album cover. You need to click for the larger image- then squint or stand back from the monitor.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Sacred Geometry Videos

The idea of "sacred" geometry is one that I first became aware of as a design student in college.

It is a combination of both technical and contemplative traditions- the correlation of conceptual geometric principles with the perceived patterns of energy, matter, & life.

Science and art equally interest me, so this way of looking at the world in a creative, yet logical way appeals greatly to me. Like anything else, it is ultimately a creation of the human mind & can be taken to wacky metaphorical levels. However, there is alot of wisdom to be found within the fundamental concepts and their applications.

When I first really started trying to understand these seemingly universal principles, it was like seeing the world with new eyes. My fascination with sacred geometry as well as ancient cultures led me to create the Da Vinci's Challenge game that is based on the symbol known as the "Flower of Life".

Here are some videos I've recently come across showing the basic elements, the line and the curve:

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Favorite Musicians

I have the TV on in the other room playing
VH1's 100 Greatest Artists Countdown.

I'm a sucker for any showcase of random good music.

Picking my favorite music artists is a tough task because I like pretty much all genres of music, except country. It's probably easier to pick my top 3 than my top 10 because there is so much music that I love.... rock, electronic, hip-hop, jazz, ambient, pop, whatever....

Although legends like Michael Jackson & Elvis are undeniably great top artists, they aren't my personal favorites. At this particular moment, I'll rank my top 10 like this:

1. The Beatles
2. The Doors
3. Bob Marley & The Wailers
4. Jimi Hendrix
5. Guns N' Roses
6. Notorious BIG
7. Pink Floyd
8. Rolling Stones
9. Sade
10. U2

Anyone who denies that The Beatles are the greatest band ever is an ignoramus. Beyond that, it's all subjective.

One artist who was on the Top 5 that I can't stand is Bob Dylan. Personally, I just don't enjoy listening to his music at all. It's like fingernails on a chalkboard.

Other than that, the Top 20 final picks were pretty good.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Thru Religion

Continuing on the topic of hyper-dimensional art, I recently saw a video of this brilliant application of 3D printing that I talked about in my last post.

Basically it's an array of elements in a seemingly random sculpture that can produce different shadow images when light is directed from various angles.

The result of this particular sculpture is the appearance of symbols from the major religions. I thought this concept is amazing on both a technical & philosophical level. Like all great art it can speak for itself...

Here is the website for the creators, with an explanation of the process: