men with power are sharks

December 31, 2010 § Leave a comment

in connection with the previous post, found this text from the bible (samuel 8:10-18) that implies almost the same idea. it is very interesting how people (and god?) believe in the corruption of the established authority and power and there has been nothing done about it.

samuel told all the words of the lord to the people who were asking him for a king. he said, “this is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: he will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. he will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. he will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. he will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. he will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. when that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the lord will not answer you in that day.”

if sharks were men

December 30, 2010 § 1 Comment

a nice piece of writing by bertolt brecht. using a very smart analogy, he questions the human civilization; established values, manners, arts, religions, and education. in short he criticizes the establishment, authority and corporatocracy.

enjoy…

“if sharks were men,” mr. k. was asked by his landlady’s little girl, “would they be nicer to the little fishes? “certainly,” he said. “if sharks were men, they would build enormous boxes in the ocean for the little fish, with all kinds of food inside, both vegetable and animal. they would take care that the boxes always had fresh water, and in general they would make all kinds of sanitary arrangements. if, for example, a little fish were to injure a fin, it would immediately be bandaged, so that it would not die and be lost to the sharks before its time. so that the little fish would not become melancholy, there would be big water festivals from time to time; because cheerful fish taste better than melancholy ones.”

“there would, of course, also be schools in the big boxes. in these schools the little fish would learn how to swim into the sharks’ jaws. they would need to know geography, for example, so that they could find the big sharks, who lie idly around somewhere. the principal subject would, of course, be the moral education of the little fish. they would be taught that it would be the best and most beautiful thing in the world if a little fish sacrificed itself cheerfully and that they all had to believe the sharks, especially when the latter said they were providing for a beautiful future. the little fish would be taught that this future is assured only if they learned obedience. the little fish had to beware of all base, materialist, egotistical and marxist inclinations, and if one of their number betrayed such inclinations they had to report it to the sharks immediately.”

“if sharks were men, they would, of course, also wage wars against one another, in order to conquer other fish boxes and other little fish. the wars would be waged by their own little fish. they would teach their little fish that there was an enormous difference between themselves and the little fish belonging to the other sharks. little fish, they would announce, are well known to be mute, but they are silent in quite different languages and hence find it impossible to understand one another. each little fish that, in a war, killed a couple of other little fish, enemy ones, silent in their own language, would have a little order made of seaweed pinned to it and be awarded the title of hero.”

“if sharks were men, there would, of course, also be art. there would be beautiful pictures, in which the sharks’ teeth would be portrayed in magnificent colors and their jaws as pure pleasure gardens, in which one could romp about splendidly. the theaters at the bottom of the sea would show heroic little fish swimming enthusiastically into the jaws of sharks, and the music would be so beautiful that to the accompaniment of its sounds, the orchestra leading the way, the little fish would stream dreamily into the sharks’ jaws, lulled by the most agreeable thoughts.”

“there would also be a religion, if sharks were men. it would preach that little fish only really begin to live properly in the sharks’ stomachs. furthermore, if sharks were men there would be an end to all little fish being equal, as is the case now. some would be given important offices and be placed above the others. those who were a little bigger would even be allowed to eat up the smaller ones. that would be altogether agreeable for the sharks, since they themselves would more often get bigger bites to eat. and the bigger little fish, occupying their posts, would ensure order among the little fish, become teachers, officers, engineers in box construction, etc.

“in short, if sharks were men, they would for the first time bring culture to the ocean.”

vvvv

December 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

vvvv is a toolbox to simulate and prototype the models and ideas in a very short time, effectively. the tool is very easy to use due to the graphical interface, and drag and drop functionalities. in less than couple of hours from downloading it i designed an audio to visual conversion utility (something like a media players’ visualizations) using fast fourier transform (basically that was why i downloaded it in the first place.) it has a lot of different mathematical/graphical functionalities like a small, portable, easy to use and also free matlab. it also has the capability of running on multiple computers to facilitate the heavier tasks. it also utilizes the direct-x capabilities on windows.

below is snapshots of the visualization.

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a very real fairy tale

December 26, 2010 § Leave a comment

black swansaw black swan by darren aronofsky. the movie was filled with gory, graphic and sexual scenes. the atmosphere was dark, as i can say that the whole movie could be inside someone’s dream, or happened inside a person. the scenes were all exaggerated and to the extreme. an overprotecting underachieved mom, an opportunistic co-dancer, a drastically abusive ballet director, dungeon like corridors and spaces for ballet practice, and nonetheless an exceedingly perfectionist ballet dancer. and surprisingly at the end, all these felt real, they all made sense. i could relate to each and every happenings, all the harsh scenes, the mother, the director, the co-dancer/friend, the bi-polar type of dreams. the movie put me into the mind of every persona and let me think in his/her shoes, doing the same thing they did in the movie. to find out at the end that the movie could be based on a true story with true characters without any exaggeration. a dark fairy tale that happened in the real world, a much realistic but negative big fish, an authentic the fall from a grown ups point of view. the fairy tale felt so real, felt so “in this world” that you believe in each and every part of the movie. you fell in love with the story as it is a dream like (more nightmarish) incident, and at the same time, can happen to you, yourself the next day.

i can say darren is the master of making movies that talk to you, talk to your insides. requiem for a dream was his other masterpiece, although a little bit darker (seriously it is), and with more despair and frustrations, you still think that you know people around you that are capable of turning into those characters.

also another plus for the movie was that it ran very smooth, the heartbeat was always almost at the same pace (close to the top of your lungs), that you never had a “how much of the movie has remained?” moment.

needless to mention, natalie portman’s act was breathtaking. you would never question a single mimic or a single movement in her act. her expressions were very real, you could not doubt the act.

highly recommended, you have to have guts for the scenes though.

science borders

December 19, 2010 § 1 Comment

blink by malcolm gladwell

blink by malcolm gladwell

i started reading blink by malcolm gladwell. the book indeed has something to say. it talks about how the first impression works, the power of subconscious mind. it uses different examples of various scenarios to show how our subconscious parallel-process a vast amount of data and information gathered from our senses to get to a conclusion which our conscious, organized brain may reach after a very long time, if it ever gets to it.

i only read the first chapter of the book and left it, because i think the power of the first impression will only last as long as it resides in our subconscious mind. i believe by analyzing and categorizing this ability in your conscious mind, you start losing the power. every time you see something, your start analyzing it in your conscious way, the end to this power comes when you also start analyzing your first impression results using your conscious mind. i mean it is good to know that we have such powers, but we don’t want to grant a lot of privilege to our conscious mind to give away the abilities of our subconscious mind. anyway…

i saw a very powerful and amazing speech  by dr jill bolte taylor, a harvard-trained and published neuroanatomist, in ted in a similar context (at least in my opinion they are of the same nature). she talked about how left and right brain work and what the differences are between them. she has a stroke in her left brain and her right brain started to take over, and she described her stream of thoughts at the moment. first impression, according to its specifications, very well fits into the right brain way of functioning.

i found that the right brain vs. left brain functioning is very similar to introspective vs. extrospective religious beliefs. when you meditate you let your right brain takes over, when shamans talks about turning off the internal dialog, they talk about shutting down your left brain. when you pray or chant and you’re supposed to give all your attention and concentration to god, you are quieting down your left brain. when you whirl for hours as sufis do, you dismantle the left brain’s concentration gears. there are a lot of similar examples in different beliefs and you can map almost all of them in the same way. and it makes sense, because they are all about human beings as the same species all over the world.

now the question is, is it all physical? is there any spiritual aspect behind it? is there any unknown? why do the right brain and left brain differ in their functionality? this is the boundary between the spiritual and secular beliefs, where your knowledge stops. your left brain’s limit.

the beast of fear

December 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

eagle's gift

finished the eagle’s gift by carlos castaneda. carlos’s books are very engaging, now that the book is finished i somehow miss it, i feel somewhat connected to his group, and i feel i know and like a few of them.

the book starts very mysteriously; unknown happenings, magical figures and spirits of the dead warriors connected with the chichen itzas and other power places. then it continues by unraveling these mysteries and connecting them back to the memories of carlos. and of course, throughout the book you are provided by different techniques and practices of warriors.

below are few quotes that i like from the book:

you can lead people to truth, but you can’t make them understand it

i am already given to the power that rules my fate,

and i cling to nothing, so i will have nothing to defend,

i have no thoughts,  so i will see,

i fear nothing, so i will remember myself,

detached and at ease, i will dart past the eagle to be free

a warrior knows that he is waiting, and knows also what he is waiting for, and while he waits he feasts his eyes on the world

solar dynamics observatory

December 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

found the sdo site of nasa which has up to date images from the sun in different frequency ranges and colours. you can watch sun as it changes (it is like every half an hour or so). beside all the serious stuffs in the site there are also fun links, for example, the site has a pick of the week photo which makes a very nice background for your computer (choose here from different colours). the solar flares and solar corona makes an unreal and unbelievable image of the sun, which is very different from the image that most of us have in mind. it also gives us another different mental image, a sense of how changeable the sun is.

pick of the week

pick of the week courtesy of nasa

another fun to read part of the site is the facts section, which blows your mind away, read this one for example: it takes 200,000 years for light to make it from the core to the surface of the sun but then only 8 minutes to reach the earth!

ok now the serious stuffs,which i excerpt from the sdo guide on the site!

the sdo mission is to study and observe the solar activities and their effects on the earth climate. the data is gathered from the sun’s interior, its magnetic field, the hot plasma of the solar corona and the radiations. beside influence on the weather, the solar flares and coronal mass ejections can also cause the disabling of the satellites and cut off communications. the sdo instruments are taking photos from sun continuously.

the sdo spacecraft has three main instrments; atmospheric imaging assembly (aia) which consists of four telescopes that photograph the sun on 10 different frequency ranges and colours, extreme ultraviolet variability experiment (eve) which measures the ultraviolet radiation of the sun that affects the upper layers of the earth’s atmosphere, and helioseismic and magnetic imager (hmi) which maps the magnetic field beneath the sun’s surface.

sdo spacecraft

sdo spacecraft courtesy nasa

sdo was launched on february 11, 2010 at 10:23 am est. it is part of a nasa’s living with a star program (lws) that is to provide the scientific understanding needed for the united states to effectively address those aspects of heliophysics science that may affect life and society.

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