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What happened to nature?
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Immortal since Dec 9, 2008
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Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
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    What happened to nature?
    How to stay in touch with our biological origins in a world devoid of nature? The majestic nature that once inspired poets, painters and...
    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.

    The Diagonally Woven Single Joined Thread Klein Bottle is constructed with a diagonally woven thread of copper wire that meets beginning to end after negotiating a repeated motif that completes the construction. The Motif has been called a double circuit as it is a motion that circumscribes the Klein bottle configuration twice, the second circuit being a completely mirrored representation of the first circuit. It is a single sided four dimensional modality which means that locally a differentiation of sides is discernable, but globally the surface is continuum. There is a singularity located where the neck passes through the body of the bottle which is the reason it has been considered an impossible construction to make, as the singularity signifies an absolute zero point.

    "My first contribution was to show that organisms are essentially rhythmic systems accounting for the universality of biological clocks. But I was interested in the spectrum of frequencies showing that control systems oscillate, they have rhythms, the whole organism is an integrated dynamic system that works on many different frequencies. This results in the notion of homeodynamics instead of homeostasis. Instead of having physiological variables that are constant, you have variables that are rhythmic: your temperature, concentrations of substances in the blood, your heartbeat, your respiration, circadian rhythms, menstrual cycles - what is now known as chronobiology. I didn't invent the term, but I gave a strong impetus to the dynamic view of organisms as rhythmically organized entities."

    Brian Goodwin, biologist

    "You say, Hey, Musgrave's far out. I'm not far out — that's the common sense way to think. It wasn't til the 1930's we acknowledged any other galaxy. Why? Because we have this anthropocentric error that we have made historically. It's always... there is only one intelligent being, and that's us. We are the center of the universe. If you look at the historical error science has made, it's making the same error today in thinking there's only one universe or in thinking that something began in some discreet thing.... Hey, big bang may be an oscillatory state. It wasn't the beginning. It was a singularity. And I think there's much more common sense in that kind of thinking. But... we need to put a beginning on things, because WE had a beginning."

    Story Musgrave, astronaut

    Read more about the cyclic universe in Wikipedia, ActionBioScience and Popular Mechanics
    Mon, Feb 22, 2010  Permanent link
    Categories: oroborus, cyclic, universe, theory
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    there's a trend today of searching for hidden messages in ancient texts and works of art, and there are in fact a lot of then from the european medieval period, what's not really a surprise, since an unconventional idea could make you the star of the burning-man festival of the dark ages (as poor Giordano Bruno felt literally in the flesh).

    apologies if that is not news for most of you, but here is a very interesting Michelangelo hidden tip, from his most famous Sistine Chapel panel, depicting Adam and the mighty FSM...

    more information at Wikipedia, but the humor zine Cracked says it best:

    While some might dismiss this as a coincidence, experts suggest that it would be harder to explain that this was not Michelangelo's intention. Even complex components within the brain, such as the cerebellum, optic chiasm and pituitary gland can all be found in the picture. As for that sassy green sash running down the pons/spinal column/dude-holding-God-up, it follows the path of the vertebral artery perfectly.

    Along with drawing, painting, sculpting, St. Peter's Basilica building and generally being among the universe's top bananas, Michelangelo counted cadaver dissecting as a favorite way to pass the time. He was so mad about corpse-cutting, in fact, that a friend once presented him with a perfectly formed dead Moor as a gift.

    So why would this immensely talented genius stick the actual shape of the human brain in the middle of what he had to know was a pretty major work? Was he cleverly suggesting that God was bestowing Adam with divine knowledge? Or was Michelangelo literally saying God was created inside the human brain? It would have been a pretty ballsy message to send while painting the Pope's house for him. Although, since body dismemberment wasn't a hugely popular hobby at the time, he probably knew this one would stay quiet for a while...

    funny thing is that while some hidden messages exist, in first place, because of religion (mostly christian) persecution, there are many religion fanatics (mostly christian) eager to find evil and satanic messages hidden in so-called "secular" art.

    yesterday I was "glad" to find that now I rank among Disney pictures and many RockStars, as some crackpot christian-teenagers had the trouble to create a blog with the sole goal of unveiling the evil messages [sic] of SpaceKids, the educative game / social-network I created.

    Hope for Mankind, Minus
    Mon, Jan 25, 2010  Permanent link

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    According to Wikipedia, Crank is a pejorative term used for a person who unshakably holds a belief that most of his or her contemporaries consider to be false. A "cranky" belief is so wildly at variance with commonly accepted truth as to be ludicrous. Cranks characteristically dismiss all evidence or arguments which contradict their own unconventional beliefs, making rational debate an often futile task.

    Immanuel Velikovsky, the craziest Jew that ever lived

    I really like crank theories, as some of you may had already noticed. I love reading about them, as much as I love reading the "praise" it invariably receive from experts, and even the crank counter-arguments! for some reason, I always stumble upon these ideas... sometimes I smell the bullshit from miles away – Jose Arguelles comes to mind – and other I can't say if I'm on the crazy-bandwagon or not – most of Terrence McKenna theories are probably considered Crank by mainstream science, and I definitively agree with him in many points.

    So, I was amused by this list of universal crank characteristics...

    1. Cranks overestimate their own knowledge and ability, and underestimate that of acknowledged experts.
    2. Cranks insist that their alleged discoveries are urgently important.
    3. Cranks rarely if ever acknowledge any error, no matter how trivial.
    4. Cranks love to talk about their own beliefs, often in inappropriate social situations, but they tend to be bad listeners, and often appear to be uninterested in anyone else's experience or opinions.

    Some cranks exhibit a lack of academic achievement, in which case they typically assert that academic training in the subject of their crank belief is not only unnecessary for discovering "the truth", but actively harmful because they believe it "poisons" the minds by teaching falsehoods. Others greatly exaggerate their personal achievements, and may insist that some alleged achievement in some entirely unrelated area of human endeavor implies that their cranky opinion should be taken seriously.

    Some cranks claim vast knowledge of any relevant literature, while others claim that familiarity with previous work is entirely unnecessary; regardless, cranks inevitably reveal that whether or not they believe themselves to be knowledgeable concerning relevant matters of fact, mainstream opinion, or previous work, they are not in fact well-informed concerning the topic of their belief.

    In addition, many cranks

    1. seriously misunderstand the mainstream opinion to which they believe that they are objecting,
    2. stress that they have been working out their ideas for many decades, and claim that this fact alone entails that their belief cannot be dismissed as resting upon some simple error,
    3. compare themselves with Galileo or Copernicus, implying that the mere unpopularity of some belief is in itself evidence of plausibility,
    4. claim that their ideas are being suppressed, typically by secret intelligence organizations, mainstream science, powerful business interests, or other groups which, they allege, are terrified by the possibility of their allegedly revolutionary insights becoming widely known,
    5. appear to regard themselves as persons of unique historical importance.

    Cranks who contradict some mainstream opinion in some highly technical field, such as mathematics or physics, almost always

    1. exhibit a marked lack of technical ability,
    2. misunderstand or fail to use standard notation and terminology,
    3. ignore fine distinctions which are essential to correctly understanding mainstream belief.

    Other interesting list on the subject is John Baez's Crackpot Index, a simple method for rating potentially revolutionary contributions to physics. Very funny : )
    Tue, Jan 5, 2010  Permanent link

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    Mon, Dec 7, 2009  Permanent link

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    The Expanding Earth Theory is a geological theory that exists for a long time, but has always been criticized and rejected by mainstream geology. But there is hard to deny evidence presented on an Expanding or Growing Earth. For example by geologist James Maxlow, who published the book Terra Non Firma Earth, a convincing document in favor of an expanding earth.

    The most convincing argument is the perfect fitting of the continents on a smaller earth. Maxlow: "A Pangaean reconstruction on a globe representing between 55% to 60% of the present Earth radius can produce a tight, coherent fit of continents".

    Alfredo Gamarra also proposed a different model of our earth, in which earth made significant changes during it's history. He said that earth originally came from the sun, and underwent a process of expansion, going through different stages, from one orbit till the other. During this process earth increased in mass. As a consequence, the force of gravity also increased. All other planets underwent the same process.

    Then there is Neal Adams, who discovered that the planets and moons in our solar system grow. As the planets grow, their outer skin cracks and spreads and new surface is exposed and hardens. He shows animations of different planets and moons on his website, making them smaller and making older plates (without the cracks) fit again, and it fits perfectly! Check the videos on his website, it's really worth :
    Sat, Dec 5, 2009  Permanent link

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    Solar rework from flight404 on Vimeo.

    great processing animation made by flight404 - maybe some of you are familiar with his work.
    the audio is a snippet from the radiolab episode entitled “Musical Language” which features a beautiful soundscape created by Jonah Lehrer. In the episode, Jonah and Robert Krulwich are analyzing the notion that sound is “touch, at a distance”.

    Fri, Nov 13, 2009  Permanent link
    Categories: sound, video, animation
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    Before Columbus, Dobyns calculated, the Western Hemisphere held ninety to 112 million people. Another way of saying this is that in 1491 more people lived in the Americas than in Europe.

    New evidence of both the extent of the population and its agricultural advancement leads to a remarkable conjecture: the Amazon rain forest may be largely a human artifact

    This great essay by Charles C. Mann question the current notions about what America was like before the European conquest - how large were the native population, how advanced was their agriculture, and how much they modified the environment. I highlighted several passages from this paper, that can be found here.


    Environmental Engineering?

    Erickson and Balée belong to a cohort of scholars that has radically challenged conventional notions of what the Western Hemisphere was like before Columbus. [...] in their opinion this picture of Indian life is wrong in almost every aspect. Indians were here far longer than previously thought, these researchers believe, and in much greater numbers. And they were so successful at imposing their will on the landscape that in 1492 Columbus set foot in a hemisphere thoroughly dominated by humankind.[...]

    The Beni is a case in point. In addition to building up the Beni mounds for houses and gardens, Erickson says, the Indians trapped fish in the seasonally flooded grassland. Indeed, he says, they fashioned dense zigzagging networks of earthen fish weirs between the causeways. To keep the habitat clear of unwanted trees and undergrowth, they regularly set huge areas on fire. Over the centuries the burning created an intricate ecosystem of fire-adapted plant species dependent on native pyrophilia. [...]

    The Indians in Peru had faced plagues from the day the conquistadors showed up. [...] Smallpox claimed the Inca ruler Huayna Capac and much of his family, setting off a calamitous war of succession. So complete was the chaos that Francisco Pizarro was able to seize an empire the size of Spain and Italy combined with a force of 168 men. [...]

    Dobyns estimated that in the first 130 years of contact about 95 percent of the people in the Americas died—the worst demographic calamity in recorded history.

    In 1539, Hernando de Soto landed his private army near Tampa Bay, in Florida. Soto, as he was called, was a novel figure: half warrior, half venture capitalist. He had grown very rich very young by becoming a market leader in the nascent trade for Indian slaves. [...] He came to Florida with 200 horses, 600 soldiers, and 300 pigs.

    From today's perspective, it is difficult to imagine the ethical system that would justify Soto's actions. For four years his force, looking for gold, wandered through what is now Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Texas, wrecking almost everything it touched. The inhabitants often fought back vigorously, but they had never before encountered an army with horses and guns. Soto died of fever with his expedition in ruins; along the way his men had managed to rape, torture, enslave, and kill countless Indians. [...]

    The worst thing the Spaniards did, some researchers say, was entirely without malice—bring the pigs

    Soto's force itself was too small to be an effective biological weapon. Sicknesses like measles and smallpox would have burned through his 600 soldiers long before they reached the Mississippi. But the same would not have held true for the pigs, which multiplied rapidly and were able to transmit their diseases to wildlife in the surrounding forest. When human beings and domesticated animals live close together, they trade microbes with abandon. Over time mutation spawns new diseases: avian influenza becomes human influenza, bovine rinderpest becomes measles. [...] The fact is that what scientists call zoonotic disease was little known in the Americas. Swine alone can disseminate anthrax, brucellosis, leptospirosis, taeniasis, trichinosis, and tuberculosis. Pigs breed exuberantly and can transmit diseases to deer and turkeys. Only a few of Soto's pigs would have had to wander off to infect the forest. [...]

    One reason is that Indians were fresh territory for many plagues, not just one. Smallpox, typhoid, bubonic plague, influenza, mumps, measles, whooping cough—all rained down on the Americas in the century after Columbus. (Cholera, malaria, and scarlet fever came later.) Having little experience with epidemic diseases, Indians had no knowledge of how to combat them. In contrast, Europeans were well versed in the brutal logic of quarantine. They boarded up houses in which plague appeared and fled to the countryside. In Indian New England, Neal Salisbury, a historian at Smith College, wrote in Manitou and Providence (1982), family and friends gathered with the shaman at the sufferer's bedside to wait out the illness—a practice that "could only have served to spread the disease more rapidly." [...]

    To Elizabeth Fenn, the smallpox historian, the squabble over numbers obscures a central fact. Whether one million or 10 million or 100 million died, she believes, the pall of sorrow that engulfed the hemisphere was immeasurable. Languages, prayers, hopes, habits, and dreams—entire ways of life hissed away like steam. The Spanish and the Portuguese lacked the germ theory of disease and could not explain what was happening (let alone stop it). Nor can we explain it; the ruin was too long ago and too all-encompassing. In the long run, Fenn says, the consequential finding is not that many people died but that many people once lived. The Americas were filled with a stunningly diverse assortment of peoples who had knocked about the continents for millennia. [...]

    The Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán dazzled Hernán Cortés in 1519; it was bigger than Paris, Europe's greatest metropolis. The Spaniards gawped like hayseeds at the wide streets, ornately carved buildings, and markets bright with goods from hundreds of miles away. They had never before seen a city with botanical gardens, for the excellent reason that none existed in Europe. The same novelty attended the force of a thousand men that kept the crowded streets immaculate. (Streets that weren't ankle-deep in sewage! The conquistadors had never heard of such a thing.) Central America was not the only locus of prosperity. Thousands of miles north, John Smith, of Pocahontas fame, visited Massachusetts in 1614, before it was emptied by disease, and declared that the land was "so planted with Gardens and Corne fields, and so well inhabited with a goodly, strong and well proportioned people ... [that] I would rather live here than any where." [...]

    The Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán was bigger than Paris, Europe's greatest metropolis.

    I asked seven anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians if they would rather have been a typical Indian or a typical European in 1491. None was delighted by the question, because it required judging the past by the standards of today—a fallacy disparaged as "presentism" by social scientists. But every one chose to be an Indian. [...]

    When scholars first began increasing their estimates of the ecological impact of Indian civilization, they met with considerable resistance from anthropologists and archaeologists. Over time the consensus in the human sciences changed. Under Denevan's direction, Oxford University Press has just issued the third volume of a huge catalogue of the "cultivated landscapes" of the Americas. This sort of phrase still provokes vehement objection—but the main dissenters are now ecologists and environmentalists. The disagreement is encapsulated by Amazonia, which has become the emblem of vanishing wilderness—an admonitory image of untouched Nature. Yet recently a growing number of researchers have come to believe that Indian societies had an enormous environmental impact on the jungle. Indeed, some anthropologists have called the Amazon forest itself a cultural artifact—that is, an artificial object. [...]

    Planting their orchards, the first Amazonians transformed large swaths of the river basin into something more pleasing to human beings. [...] William Balée, the Tulane anthropologist, cautiously estimated that about 12 percent of the nonflooded Amazon forest was of anthropogenic origin—directly or indirectly created by human beings. In some circles this is now seen as a conservative position. "I basically think it's all human-created," Clement told me in Brazil. He argues that Indians changed the assortment and density of species throughout the region. So does Clark Erickson, the University of Pennsylvania archaeologist, who told me in Bolivia that the lowland tropical forests of South America are among the finest works of art on the planet. "Some of my colleagues would say that's pretty radical," he said, smiling mischievously. According to Peter Stahl, an anthropologist at the State University of New York at Binghamton, "lots" of botanists believe that "what the eco-imagery would like to picture as a pristine, untouched primeval world in fact has been managed by people for millennia." The phrase "built environment," Erickson says, "applies to most, if not all, Neotropical landscapes." [...]

    Ecotourist brochures evoke the immensity of Amazonia but rarely dwell on its extreme flatness. In the river's first 2,900 miles the vertical drop is only 500 feet. The river oozes like a huge runnel of dirty metal through a landscape utterly devoid of the romantic crags, arroyos, and heights that signify wildness and natural spectacle to most North Americans. Even the animals are invisible, although sometimes one can hear the bellow of monkey choruses. To the untutored eye—mine, for instance—the forest seems to stretch out in a monstrous green tangle as flat and incomprehensible as a printed circuit board. [...]

    The intriguing technology of Terra Preta

    Terra preta, Woods guesses, covers at least 10 percent of Amazonia, an area the size of France. It has amazing properties, he says. Tropical rain doesn't leach nutrients from terra preta fields; instead the soil, so to speak, fights back. Not far from Painted Rock Cave is a 300-acre area with a two-foot layer of terra preta quarried by locals for potting soil. The bottom third of the layer is never removed, workers there explain, because over time it will re-create the original soil layer in its initial thickness. The reason, scientists suspect, is that terra preta is generated by a special suite of microorganisms that resists depletion. "Apparently," Woods and the Wisconsin geographer Joseph M. McCann argued in a presentation last summer, "at some threshold level ... dark earth attains the capacity to perpetuate—even regenerate itself—thus behaving more like a living 'super'-organism than an inert material."

    In as yet unpublished research the archaeologists Eduardo Neves, of the University of São Paulo; Michael Heckenberger, of the University of Florida; and their colleagues examined terra preta in the upper Xingu, a huge southern tributary of the Amazon. Not all Xingu cultures left behind this living earth, they discovered. But the ones that did generated it rapidly—suggesting to Woods that terra preta was created deliberately. In a process reminiscent of dropping microorganism-rich starter into plain dough to create sourdough bread, Amazonian peoples, he believes, inoculated bad soil with a transforming bacterial charge. Not every group of Indians there did this, but quite a few did, and over an extended period of time. [...]

    Faced with an ecological problem, I was thinking, the Indians fixed it. They were in the process of terraforming the Amazon when Columbus showed up and ruined everything. [...]
    Mon, Nov 9, 2009  Permanent link

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    this image from the ingenious cartoonist Angeli says it all...
    here in Brazil there's a lot of talk about the preservation of the Amazon forest, but what are we really doing about it? our demand for fuel, meat and industrialized products grows everyday, and the country is always ready to sell it's natural treasures for cheap dollars... : (
    Fri, Sep 18, 2009  Permanent link

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    Project Nomad is a mechanical vehicle concept by designer Jason Battersby.
    The vehicle -designed like a horse- can climb steep grades and even navigate rocks and boulders. Best part, it finds its own fuel. Using a built-in GPS system, the horse seeks out vegetation which it then consumes and converts to fuel.

    That's really a fantastic design -fantastic in the good and the bad way- and even if I had low expectations on riding a horse like that before I die, I wonder what's going to pop-up in the field of individual transportation, in a near future, as we walk toward this oil-crisis...
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    When dimensions are understood as mere components of the grid system, rather than physical attributes of space, it is easier to understand the alternate dimensional views as being simply the result of coordinate transformations

    Mon, Mar 23, 2009  Permanent link
    Categories: Dimensions
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