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Folkert Gorter
Los Angeles, California
Immortal since Jan 16, 2007
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Photography
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exploring the infinity of abstract possibility
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    Polytopia
    The human species is rapidly and indisputably moving towards the technological singularity. The cadence of the flow of information and innovation in...

    The Total Library
    Text that redefines...

    The great enhancement debate
    What will happen when for the first time in ages different human species will inhabit the earth at the same time? The day may be upon us when people...
    Now playing SpaceCollective
    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.
    As described by Terence McKenna in Ordinary Language, Visible Language and Virtual Reality:

    The starships of the future that will explore the high frontier of the unknown will be syntactical. The engineers of the future will be poets.

    This is what virtual reality holds out to us—the possibility of walking in to the constructs of the imagination. In a way culture is that. I mean our cities, bridges, highways, airliners and art galleries are condensations out of the imagination, but at tremendous cost because we must make them out of matter. Once we can make them out of light, out of electrons, then we won't build skyscrapers a hundred and twenty stories high, we'll build them as high as we want.

    Roof height will no longer be a factor ruled by cost effectiveness and gravity, it will be a parameter ruled by the imagination as well all other parameters and then we will discover what man truly is—when we are able to erect, stabilize, share and explore our dreams in a kind of virtual hyperspace that, carefully analyzed, is seen to be linguistic.
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    Bolivian Deforestation

    "Once a vast carpet of healthy vegetation and virgin forest, the Amazon rain forest is changing rapidly. This image of Bolivia shows dramatic deforestation in the Amazon Basin. Loggers have cut long paths into the forest, while ranchers have cleared large blocks for their herds. Fanning out from these clear-cut areas are settlements built in radial arrangements of fields and farms. Healthy vegetation appears bright red in this image."

    Looking pretty consistently predictable to me, these humans.

    Check out the other (printable, hi-res) photos. Amazing website.
    Site maintained by GSFC Laboratory for Terrestrial Physics, responsible NASA Official: Darrel Williams.
    Tue, Oct 23, 2007  Permanent link
    Categories: aerial photography, humans
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    From The New Yorker: Eric Sanderson is a landscape ecologist who is trying to determine exactly how Manhattan—or Mannahatta, “land of many hills,” as some scholars have translated the name used by the Lenape people who inhabited it—looked before the arrival of Europeans.



    Lower Manhattan, juxtaposed with the outline of the island today.




    Manhattan as it might have looked in 1609. The island has been expanded by landfill over the course of four centuries.

    Link to article and more images

    Manhattan today:

    Sun, Oct 7, 2007  Permanent link
    Categories: Manhattan, human occupation
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    Example 01
    A numerical value is assigned to every letter of the alphabet. Adding the values of all letters, one gets a number that represents the overall word. Using this system, an entire poem is arranged on a circular path. The diameter of the circle is based on the length of the poem.





    Data visualizations are methods for creating images, diagrams, or animations to communicate specific messages—representational or absctract. These visualizations provide us with a way to understand a specific part of reality better, or at least see it in a different way.

    Essentially, you could see all of visible reality as a data visualization, which is the point of this post. If you come across an example of a nature-made or man-made data visualization like the ones below, please use the image uploader in the comments to share your visuals.



    Example 02
    Saliva-soaked soil particles as hard as concrete are accumulated by the collective activities of termites. Some of these mound-building technologies are being copied by humans for use in their own architecture, as in the case of the Eastgate Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe.

    Termite cathedral mounds in the Northern Territory of Australia




    Example 03
    The Earth is presented as a colored sphere where the landmasses are divided in a collection of tubes the height of which is determined by an algorithm using a data source feeding it information about the birthrate (or any other data) specific to that region to determine its size.




    Example 04
    Large urban agglomerations of human settlement: economical, political and cultural activity are made visual by way of a city's tall buildings and structures. The skyline is a direct visualization of the type of human occupation.

    Skyline of Hong Kong




    Example 05
    Like a skyline is a visualization of human activity, this type of data visualization, just like the termite mounds represents specific activity in time and (virtual) space.

    Social network analysis





    Other examples of human-made data visualizations include:



    "Global supply chain simulation" at eye-sys.com. Via VisualComplexity


    Visualization of personal music listening history by Lee Byron




    And some of nature's largest visualizations have striking similarities:

    Frozen crystals suspended in the atmosphere (clouds) are visibly arranged so that the entire cloud mass visualizes the atmospheric activity in a specific region, in this case a hurricane:



    A massive, gravitationally bound system of of gas, dust and dark matter is a visualization of the countless forces at work within galaxies.







    Tue, Oct 2, 2007  Permanent link
    Categories: nature, Data visualization
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    Though rudimentary, the texts quoted below pin things in a place where I like them as a metaphor for what appears to be one of the more successful ways of comparing our current emerging reality with an abstract model of whatever part of this fits within our comprehension, tiny though that may be.


    Definition from the mothernode:
    The noosphere can be seen as the "sphere of human thought" being derived from the Greek νους ("nous") meaning "mind" in the style of "atmosphere" and "biosphere". In the original theory of Vernadsky, the noosphere is the third in a succession of phases of development of the Earth, after the geosphere (inanimate matter) and the biosphere (biological life). Just as the emergence of life fundamentally transformed the geosphere, the emergence of human cognition fundamentally transforms the biosphere. In contrast to the conceptions of the Gaia theorists, or the promoters of cyberspace, Vernadsky's noosphere emerges at the point where humankind, through the mastery of nuclear processes, begins to create resources through the transmutation of elements.


    Deoxy's page on the Noosphere:

    "This phenomena is emerging all around us becoming more evident in ways such as the Internet which is everywhere all at once, or at least soon to be. This emergence is transforming everything it comes into interaction with hence in this sence the idea of some field from which this is all emerging very rapidly. The noosphere can be thought of as a layer of the collective, the connective mind if you will. Connective intelligence, collective intelligence, and corrective intelligence all through interaction in this field."

    Continue reading
    Fri, Jul 20, 2007  Permanent link
    Categories: noosphere
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    "I wonder whether fractal images are not touching the very structure of our brains. Is there a clue in the infinitely regressing character of such images that illuminates our perception of art? Could it be that a fractal image is of such extraordinary richness, that it is bound to resonate with our neuronal circuits and stimulate the pleasure I infer we all feel?" (P. W. Atkins)

    Above: fractal fern, computed using an Iterated function system. Trees and ferns are fractal in nature and can be modeled on a computer by using a recursive algorithm. A branch from a tree or a frond from a fern is a miniature replica of the whole: not identical, but similar in nature.
    Sat, Jul 14, 2007  Permanent link

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    Al, other people agree with your communication model. This one is from Goethe:

    We talk far too much. We should talk less and draw more. I personally should like to renounce speech altogether and, like organic Nature, communicate everything I have to say in sketches. That fig tree, this little snake, the cocoon on my window sill quietly awaiting its future – all these are momentous signatures.

    A person able to decipher their meaning properly would soon be able to dispense with the written or the spoken word altogether. The more I think of it, there is something futile, mediocre, even (I am tempted to say) foppish about speech. By contrast, how the gravity of Nature and he silence startle you, when you stand face to face with her, undistracted, before a barren ridge or in the desolation of ancient hills.
    Sat, Jul 14, 2007  Permanent link

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    7 minutes of Mckenna improv. Required listening!


    ...it's not outer space, it's not some kind of managed Orwellian collectivist paradise, it's something more profound than that. We are perhaps going to download ourselves into a gold ytterbium cube that we will super-cool and bury a thousand feet beneath Copernicus and there all walk on the virtual beaches barefoot and alive
    Sat, Jul 14, 2007  Permanent link
    Categories: terence mckenna, future, forward escape
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    Is language is a purely cultural phenomenon or not? Obviously it's the most successful communication device we've come up with so far, but it seems dangerous to ignore its huge shortcomings and limitations as we use it to describe reality. Friend Burroughs offers up one situation:

    The word is now a virus. The flu virus may once have been a healthy lung cell. It is now a parasitic organism that invades and damages the lungs. The word may once have been a healthy neural cell. It is now a parasitic organism that invades and damages the central nervous system. Modern man has lost the option of silence. Try halting your sub-vocal speech. Try to achieve even ten seconds of inner silence. You will encounter a resisting organism that forces you to talk. That organism is the word.
    William S Burroughs
    Sat, Jul 14, 2007  Permanent link
    Categories: language, Burroughs
    Sent to project: The Total Library
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    Is the mind simply an epiphenomenon created by the firing of a lot of neurons in our meat-brain? I do think that what we call the experience of self-awareness, consciousness, sentience or mind is a direct result of (unrelated) neuro-activity in the brain, but that doesn't mean that the phenomenon isn't actually real, or that it necessarily needs the meat it is currently inhabiting in order to arise. I think it's simply a direct and gorgeous result of insanely complex and beautiful emerging complexity, like everything else.

    The behaviour of a flock of birds has nothing to do with the activity of the individual bird itself, which is the whole theory of emergence—the process of complex pattern formation from simpler rules.
    An emergent behaviour or emergent property can appear when a number of simple entities (agents) operate in an environment, forming more complex behaviours as a collective. (Wikipedia)

    Funny thing is that I can only "think" this because of the phenomenon itself...crazy times.
    Via the Huge Entity:
    Human consciousness... can be best understood as the operation of a... virtual machine implemented in the parallel architecture of a brain that was not designed for any such activities. The powers of this virtual machine vastly enhance the underlying powers of the organic hardware on which is runs.
    Daniel Dennett—Consciousness Explained


    Video: A Glorious Piece of Meat—An Overture on Consciousness


    Sat, Jul 14, 2007  Permanent link
    Categories: consciousness, brain, emergence
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