Ouroboros Baby

December 17, 2009

The Snake is a standing wave with chaotic interference making it warble.

We Made
We Made Us

At some point in our future we wanted to see once and for all whether or not life was Created or evolved spontaneously. The only suitable way was to make a universe in the laboratory, and see what happened. But then, someone had to _observe_ the results, didn’t they?

In the process of observation, the observer changed the state of the newly born cosmos and


There we were. Again.

We Made
We Made Us

We are the snake that eats its tail, desperately hoping that the cycle might be broken, not knowing how to do so, and forgetting each time that a circle is merely a slice of something with greater dimension.

And in greater dimensions, knots can be undone with nary a cut at all.

Happy Birthday, Neil Gaiman!

November 10, 2009

Happy Birthday to Neil Gaiman, one of my favorite writers.

I finished The Graveyard Book back in October, and it was fantastic.

To celebrate both, here’s some an awesome rendition of Saint-Saëns’ Danse Macabre, courtesy basspig:

Nanowrimo Strategemyzing

November 2, 2009

This year I’m approaching hitting the required word count through a slightly different strategy, basically using a numbered  list  to keep track of sentence number.

Using ten words as an approximate average word count for a sentence, a completely arbitrary approximation, btw, I figure I need 2oo bullets on that list by the end of the day to reach the goal satisfactorily.

So far, it seems to be working fine.  I’m over 4k.  I’m still having fun with it.  Interesting twists do pop up when you’re just cranking out words like the thousand monkeys on a typewriter shtick.  I am keeping the strategy of not talking about the story itself, though.  There’s something to keeping it in your head until you’re ready to put into a medium, and that medium could very well be words in the air that die out thermodynamically if nothing is around to capture it.

I’ll put out the title though, just because it seems to be sticking:

1306:  Liftoff!  The Autobiography of Mattias Levi, 2005-2013,

and All the Trouble It Caused Me

The wall is yet to hit, which really is the scariest part of the whole endeavor.  Not so much the hitting as the wondering if you’ve got the resolve to get past it.  Self-doubt is a terrible thing.  It’s important to remember that it’s a conquerable thing, though.

So, on we go.  Excelsior to all participants.  Bring it for day 3!

Nanowrimo 2009 Starts Now

November 1, 2009

And they’re off!  Maybe the sidebar widget will start working.  Someday.

Fifteen Points of Nuthin’ Doin’.

October 29, 2009
  1. Rezoning of Texas to include the National Solar Energy Grid Supply.
  2. Nationalization of all industries that have profits over one billion (US).
  3. Moving Wal-Mart to Afghanistan.
  4. McDonald’s to the Iraq.
  5. Open Cuba, nix Gitmo.
  6. Elimination of national borders.
  7. Elimination of No Child Left Behind.
  8. Moderate restructuring of the income tax, including a ‘negative’ income tax for wage earner’s below the poverty line.
  9. Rescheduling of certain pharmacological.
  10. No war or ‘police action’ without public referendum, and everyone who vote’s ‘yes’ gets to go to the front.
  11. Repeal of PATRIOT act sunset items that. just. keep. coming. back.
  12. Introduction of initialized legislature:  you must put your signature on each part of the bill you’re about to pass…
  13. Redefine the roles of the CIA/FBI/et al. that is under the DHS as, in their stead, the National Bureau of Information, which would broker data out to all citizens and have limited powers of arrest/search/seizure.
  14. Ocean thermal energy conversion plants in Hawai’i, Haiti, and Puerto Rico.
  15. A certain amount of restructuring NASA.

Did I miss anything?

Alrighty then.  Given that our moderate President is right now having a hell of a time getting health care reform through, I’m feeling dour enough to believe that none of these would even make it to the House, let alone Senate.  It does, however, give me fifteen points to bedevil my congress peoples abouts.  That’ll teach ’em.


Johnson and Johnson Solids.

October 27, 2009

In my early post concerning pseudodesics,  it was found that to have a structural frame work that provides omni-triangulation, but with a minimum of different parts, would be very desirable from an economy standpoint. Fuller’s Fly’s Eye is a great example of economy, but the fabrication of precision fiberglass hyperbolic saddles is a little daunting for anyone with out access to a well ventilated area.

It would be even more advantageous if those economical parts could be manufactured in a small space to begin with, as not everyone has access to a machine shop.  Surely there must exist a solution (or two or …infinity).

Fortunately for us, there are shapes provided by dear old Nature that are cataloged as Johnson solids.  All edge-lengths are the same.  My.  Goodness.  They’re even ready-equipped with truncations!  It’s a rather happy stroke of luck.  I think I am particularly impressed with the diminished rhombicosidodecahedron.   Look at all those square faces, perfect for windows!  The pentagons could easily be developed further into pentagonal pyramids, for increased structural strength if so desired.

Yes, I think we’re on to something here.

If we were to go the full Fly’s Eye treatment here, we need not use the diminished from of the rhombicosidodecahedron, but the full version, skinny legs and all.

Yearly checkup time

October 26, 2009

There are pluses and minuses working for the company I do, and one of them is the yearly health benefits fair that they sponsor for the employees.  They bring in some staff from Lawrence Memorial to draw blood, take blood pressure, collect surveys, the works.  And it’s nice because you’re still getting paid for going through this.

This year they’ve added a little something into the mix in that they’ve told us off the bat that there will be incremental increases to our health insurance, but! if you sign a waiver saying you’re not a smoker, or if you’re a smoker and promise to quit, (on pain of..death?  or something), quit/and/or get counseling for the smoking, they’ll waive the incremental increases to your health benefits cost.

So, yeah.  They’re gunning for eliminating smoke breaks.  I’m not a smoker, so it’s not a big deal for me, but the dood in the cube next to me is, and he’s pissed as hell.  I don’t want him pissed.  His favorite conversation for two weeks straight was talking about the fine pair of Colt .45’s his dad willed to him.  I don’t want this guy to have a nic fit, in other words.  My cube wall isn’t made of kevlar, though I like to pretend it is.

Bye, Mac Tonnies

October 23, 2009

You’ll be missed.

Obit:  http://www.ufomystic.com/2009/10/22/mac-tonnies-gone/

His bloggo:  http://posthumanblues.blogspot.com/


October 22, 2009

I want money, and the pursuit of it, and the love of it, and the problems inherent with it to become obsolete.  Meaning that it becomes so cumbersome that when the opportunity arises, people will slough it off like dead skin.  And hopefully not Goldmember it.

Today’s economics is an accretion wrought over time and is still evolving with each boom and bust.  But at it’s heart, it’s still and abstraction of bean counting, and we allow this abstraction to have weight in our lives, partially because we are born into it and have no exposure to other systems, and partially because of the convenience of having an entire subset of humanity that loves to love this abstraction and do ‘work’ with it.

Money is only as real as we want it to be.  I think most everybody understands this to a certain extent, but feels powerless to do anything about it.  So,  in taking a queue from good ol’ Bucky Fuller, if we want to get rid of the system, the best way to do so is to make it obsolete.

Easier said than done, of course.  Most proposals I’ve seen either want to go back to bartering, which probably works fine in a very small scale, or want to tweak the existing monetary system itself, such as the Douglas Social Credit.  In my heart of hearts, I’ll always be in love with Robert Anton Wilson’s RICH Economy idear, though I stopped holding my breath for that one after the Challenger disaster.

All of the systems above still use abstractions to represent intrinsic value.  I want to get away from that, get to something that’s real, or as real as this universe allows.  Enter the Kwid.

Kwid is a mangling of ‘kilowatt-hours per day’, which is a unit of power usually abbreviated kwh/d.  To my mind, it easily becomes ‘kwid’, which makes for a handy bad joke.

The idea of the kwid came to me after reading David MacKay’s Without the Hot Air piece.  It’s wonderful.  It needs to be integrated into every political leader on the planet’s frontal lobes.  ANYway.  It was his discussion of the need for better distribution of energy that clued me in to how such an arrangement might work.  The kilowatt-hr is as real as you’re going to get in terms of saying, ok, what does it take to do/make/go something/place?  It’s surprising how little somethings use up energy and how much some other things do.  Check out Doc MacKay’s work for all the details, if you dare.

So, great.  Every physical thing you can do can be represented as taking x amount of kwid to do so.  I contend that with a high enough and smart enough distribution of power storage,  such exchanges could take place easily.  Your account number is on your electric bill already.

How does one add to one’s account?

Make energy!  Feed the grid.  There’s a bajillion ways to do this.  Low-income folk might just ride a stationary bike for an hour.

There will be lightning harvests.

On the other end of the spectrum, my friend MCvDub pointed out that it was far more likely for The Powers That Be to simply switch everyone over to using their credit score as a vicious form of whuffie that you’re locked into at the time of inception, and your offspring are, too.  Evil never dies, afterall, and there are a lotta folk that simply love class distinction.  That’s a dystopian plot waiting to happen, if we aren’t already in the midst of it…

XML, A Love Story

October 21, 2009

What does XML mean to you?

Chances are that if you’re querying it at all, you already know what it is in general, and are looking for some specific solution to a problem you’re facing at work.  If not, well, bear with me and maybe you’ll find something a little intriguing.  I thought I knew what XML was, until I actually started working with it for a paycheck.  Turns out it means a lot of different things to different people, different situations.  Talk about naïveté.

So, what we have here is eXtensible Markup Language.   Nifty.  So what?  You’ve prolly heard of HTML, you know web pages,  so why would anyone want more markup languages?

In a word, archiving.

People like to be able to find their stuff.  There’s a lot of stuff on the web.  If part of your job involves getting yourself published in some format, to have your name and work cited, then it’s nice to be able to have a way to keep track of data that’s consistent and easy to implement.  And that’s where XML comes in.  It’s very flexible and a quick sproogle search will lead you to a plethora of tutorials.   What won’t be immediately apparent, however, is the importance of working under a specific tag suite, a specific Document Type Definition, or DTD.

A DTD is what XML uses as it’s rule book.  And there are lots of them.  Depending on the industry you’re working in, you might be using,  say, for scientific, medical, and technical publications, the Journal DTD suite of the National Library of Medicine.  Or, if you’re just doing a generic web page design, you might just use one of several generic DTDs.  It’s important to note, I think, that most web tutorials are going to assume you’ll be using a generic DTD.  And that’s fine for getting the hang of the markup language.  However, based on the experiences of this author’s slightly less dubious alter-ego working here, I would highly advise getting to know other DTD’s if you’re looking to branch out in your career.  If only so you can sound like you know what you’re doing a little bit more at that job interview.  It might just save you some heavy future water-treading, so to speak.