Thursday, July 31, 2008

Robert Anton Wilson talks about pessimists vs. optimists

A short, one minute video of Robert Anton Wilson.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

And now George Orwell has a blog too

‘When one reads any strongly individual piece of writing, one has the impression of seeing a face somewhere behind the page’, wrote George Orwell, in his 1939 essay on Charles Dickens.

From 9th August 2008, you will be able to gather your own impression of Orwell’s face from reading his most strongly individual piece of writing: his diaries. The Orwell Prize is delighted to announce that, to mark the 70th anniversary of the diaries, each diary entry will be published on this blog exactly seventy years after it was written, allowing you to follow Orwell’s recuperation in Morocco, his return to the UK, and his opinions on the descent of Europe into war in real time. The diaries end in 1942, three years into the conflict.

This is from Orwell's blog. The Orwell prize is publishing George Orwell's diaries on beginning on 9th August 2008.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

W. Trailer

W. is Oliver Stone's latest movie. It is about George W. Bush, the present president of the U.S. I am really eager to see the movie. I hope to write more about Oliver Stone later on. Here is the trailer.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Body art

This is one of the 16 photos on linkinn, The Amazing Body Art. I am not really sure if those photos are photoshopped but they look nice. Unfortunately there is no link or no credits to the original source. I hate this, I am sensitive towards intellectual property but anyway, this is the web de-facto. I wish to see more people paying attention to giving proper credits and citations.

Religious intolerance in Canada

This is something happening in Toronto, Canada in the year 2008. Not a hundred years or a thousand years ago. To see religious intolerance in this age is interesting. This also means that humanity does not show progress in civilization just because time is passing.

Organizers of the Miss Toronto Tourism pageant for 2008 invited Stephanie Conover, 23, (Miss Canada Plus 2007) to be one of their judges. In an unusual show of religious bigotry, they later decided that she was unfit to serve as a judge because of her hobbies. Director of the Miss Toronto Tourism pageant notes that hers is a private organization, receives no government funds and thus can discriminate on any grounds that they wish. Public reaction to their decision was intensely negative.

Ms Conover is the first known beauty queen who is openly Neopagan.

Read more here: Religious intolerance in Canada

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Koko the gorilla

I have heard of Koko a couple of years ago. Koko is a female gorilla born on July 4, 1971, in San Francisco, California. She has a website.

Koko uses sign language and understands spoken English. According to information on her website, she participated The Gorilla Language Project and became very successful:

During the course of the study, Koko has advanced further with language than any other non-human. Koko has a working vocabulary of over 1000 signs. Koko understands approximately 2,000 words of spoken English. Koko initiates the majority of conversations with her human companions and typically constructs statements averaging three to six words. Koko has a tested IQ of between 70 and 95 on a human scale, where 100 is considered "normal." Michael, the male silverback gorilla who grew up with Koko, had a working vocabulary of over 600 signs.

I feel the urge to remind you that any average American person today uses just about 250 to 500 words to communicate in everyday language.

Koko has a photo blog where you can see many images of her.

Koko is working with Dr. Penny Patterson:

Her teacher, Dr. Penny Patterson, began working with Koko as a Ph.D. project at Stanford, thinking it would only be a 4-year study.

Thirty-some years later, Penny and Koko continue to work together at the Gorilla Foundation in one of the longest interspecies communication studies ever conducted, the only one with gorillas. Koko now has a vocabulary of over 1000 signs, and understands even more spoken English.

When I had a look at Koko over Wikipedia, I came across with funny news:

Koko has been involved in several sexual harassment lawsuits. At least three female former employees have claimed that they were pressured into showing their breasts to Koko. They alleged that Patterson encouraged the behavior, often interpreted Koko's signs as requests for nipple display, and let them know that their job would be in danger if they "did not indulge Koko's nipple fetish." Koko has been known to playfully grab both male and female nipples without warning or provocation. Patterson claims that Koko uses the word "nipple" to refer to humans.

All claims of harassment have been permanently dropped as of November 21, 2005 after the foundation and the parties involved reached a settlement.

Jody Weiner, Koko's lawyer, writes about Koko and sexual harassment in the book Kinship With Animals.

Nevertheless, it is interesting to see an intelligent gorilla. Koko, without doubt, is more intelligent than many people in this world.

The art of Carly Monardo

This is Carly Monardo. She is doing illustrations, portraits and character drawings. She is also blogging.

Here is two selections from her work. You can see the rest of her work on her website.

Forensic Psychology Dictionary

Here is a short, hands-on, online dictionary for the psychology enthusiast:

The Online Forensic Psychology Dictionary

Gene Partner

I have recently came across Gene Partner, a website with the tag line "Love is no coincidence". To me, it looks like a scene from a science-fiction movie but it is there and is real. I haven't tested it though.

Here is how they define themselves:

GenePartner is a formula to match men and women by analyzing specific genes in their DNA.

At GenePartner we are dedicated to help you find your ideal life partner. Our formula is based on research on hundreds of couples and analyzes the pattern of genetic combinations found in successful relationships. Using this formula we will determine the probability for a satisfying and long-lasting romantic relationship between two people.

This probability is highest when two people are genetically compatible.

Social violence harms people deeper than physical violence

I recently read a post from Rebellious Arab Girl about traditions and close mindedness.

Her post reminded me of the deep difficulty that stems from social violence. Social violence is not recognized as much as physical violence. There is even no article about it on Wikipedia.

When you are confronted with physical violence, it is very obvious that the other party is misbehaving. You have physical evidence for that. In social violence however, you have no physical evidence of the harm you get.

For instance, Stockholm Syndrome, in my opinion, is mostly caused by social violence. This is a phenomena of the human mind.

I wrote several times that I see no difference between the physical and the metaphysical. Here, I would like to remind you the same non-sense distinction that we make between when someone is yelling you and someone is hitting you. When someone beats you, we find this more serious in comparison to shouting, yelling (that is social violence, in the sense of opposite of the physical), etc.

In fact, both are types of violence and both are equally serious in results. Social violence maybe more harmful because it is simply not visible.

photo credits: voltio

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Keith Barry on TED

I've heard about Keith Barry a couple of times but I really haven't paid attention to what he does. Here in this video, he is doing some magic and really surprises the audience.

From TED's website:

About this talk

First, Keith Barry shows us how our brains can fool our bodies -- in a trick that works via podcast too. Then he involves the audience in some jaw-dropping (and even a bit dangerous) feats of brain magic.

About Keith Barry

Think of Keith Barry as a hacker of the human brain -- writing routines that exploit its bugs and loopholes, and offering a revealing look at the software between our ears.

Camille Allen's babies

Camille Allen is making babies out of professional sculpture's clay. Here she tells how she does that (read more on her website).

I use various kinds of professional doll sculptors' clay to make the babies. The babies have soft English mohair to imitate fine baby hair and are blushed with paints for realism to enhance their tiny wrinkles and creases.

Starting from detailed photographs and a lump of clay, sculpting a lifesize or miniature baby begins. It takes many, many hours of patient concentration to form a realistic baby and finish with fine details - including wrinkles and fingernails.

She also makes babies in natural, life size. They are also for sale. You can see more of her work on her online gallery.

Illustrations of Matthew Woodson

Here is a piece of Matthew Woodson's Illustrations. You can see more of them at his gallery.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Magritte's Clairvoyance and positive thinking

I have always loved Magritte and his work. I find his work provocative. Here is one of his paintings named Clairvoyance.

I wonder how many people would imagine this when they look to an egg. I don't mean the creativity here, I mean the psychological aspect of it. Suppose that everybody is as creative as Magritte to see an outcome of an egg but what would they think of when they see it?

What do you expect from an egg, if you try free association?

Monday, July 21, 2008

The work of Beth Cavener Stichter

Beth Cavener Stichter makes very interesting sculptures. See the gallery.

This man is working on eggs

See more for yourself.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Nathan Sawaya's lego art

I was interested in lego when I was a child. It was a big turn on when the construction kits of lego were being introduced in 80's. Then I lost my interest in them. Today, people do many things with lego. It is no more limited with being a toy for children. Above is a picture of one of Nathan Sawaya's works with lego.

You can see more photos at

Daniel Rozin's interactive mirrors

Daniel Rozin is an interactive artist, dealing mostly with interactive, creative mirrors. I think he has a great imagination. Here is some information on him and on his mirrors that I have taken from his website.

Mechanical Mirrors:
The mechanical mirrors are made of various materials but share the same behavior and interaction; any person standing in front of one of these pieces is instantly reflected on its surface. The mechanical mirrors all have video cameras, motors and computers on board and produce a soothing sound as the viewer interacts with them.

From his bio:

Daniel Rozin is an artist, educator and developer, working in the area of interactive digital art. As an interactive artist Rozin creates installations and sculptures that have the unique ability to change and respond to the presence and point of view of the viewer. In many cases the viewer becomes the contents of the piece and in others the viewer is invited to take an active role in the creation of the piece. Even though computers are often used in Rozin's work, they are seldom visible.

Choose anger over anxiety

Fear, anxiety and anger are relatives. In my mind, they look like brothers. I don't know which one is the older brother and which one is the younger but I am sure they are related and so is psychology.

When you get anxious (it is not fear but something similar to fear, information for those of you aliens out there who haven't had an experience of anxiety), there are sure reasons. Those reasons are most probably the ones that would make you angry. Somehow, anger gets opressed and turns into fear or anxiety.

Anxiety can be so strong - like it is in panic attacks - that you cannot keep your mind together at the moment and can't think logically. If you could, I am sure you would find out that you are angry towards something or somebody.

Anger is better than anxiety because anger serves a purpose, it is functional. If not excessive, it will lead you to proper behavior and make you out of the situation that gives you anger. However, anxiety's only function may be considered as a warning to you. Other functions of anxiety is making you sick all over.

We live in a society somehow. We are not alone. We have roommates, neighbors, colleagues etc. that we have to get along with. Now, in this community type of life, conflicts emerge. At this time, you have to be assertive to explain your arguments. A certain amount of anger will help you to be assertive enough. Anxiety will do the opposite. Moreover, anxiety will lead you to depression if it becomes persistent.

So, work on yourself, study yourself and find your fears and aggressions. Then control them. This may be a long process. If it takes to long to no availability, consider consulting talk therapy. It would help you understand yourself faster.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Atheism and the paranormal

I would like to talk about how atheism is not related with not-believing in paranormal things. According to Wikipedia:

Atheism, as an explicit position, can be either the affirmation of the nonexistence of gods, or the rejection of theism. It is also defined more broadly as synonymous with any form of nontheism, including the simple absence of belief in deities.

Now, once I was brainstorming with myself about dark magic and whether dark magic's existence should be an indicator that god exists. I thought so because dark magic in many major religions is performed through entities that are defined and described in holy books, for instance jinn (genie) in Koran. That was back in a time where I was unaware of the quantum phenomena and my religious culture was not as rich as it is now.

Recently, I don't think that the existence of dark magic entails the existance of god (or any other unique, lonely creator whatsoever). Here, I am not putting any argument towards the existence of god. Neither pro nor contra. This is not the question I am trying to answer at that moment in this post.

I am talking about something else, I am emphasizing a distinction, an analytic approach. There may be demons, fairies, genie regardless of the existence of an organized religion and any god that can be associated to it.

I am telling all these because of the fact that many people tend to hold many irrelevant bits and pieces of occult information together.

I see somebody talking about the law of attraction and then move to some other paranormal topic like UFOs, life after death, telepathy or telekinesis etc. just after two paragraphs. This sounds non-sense. People approach to those topics like as if they are being sold together in a market. You have to buy all of them, you can't just be interested in life after death, you also have to be interested in UFOs.

So, this is a huge non-sense. And when an atheist does reject some paranormal phenomena just because he rejects the existence of god, then this is a logical fallacy. This is not a pack of thought that you have to choose. We don't have to choose what we will believe in among packages of predetermined, prepared thought.

Thus, you can be an atheist and a mystic person at the same time. This is crystal clear to me, two irrelevant notions are really irrelevant.

Just to provide an analytic approach to how we think.

Sally Collison, a yachting photographer

Have a look at the nice work of Sally Collison.

Art out of trash

This is an interesting exhibition. Maybe I should say a new technique in sculpture. Or pop art. Or anyway. Here it is. This sculptures can be seen only when their shades are reflected on a wall.

See more

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ben Franklin effect

Now that's interesting. Although I like to approach such ideas with suspicion, I still would like to share:

When we do a person a favor, we tend to like them more as a result. This is because we justify our actions to ourselves that we did them a favor because we liked them.

Benjamin Franklin himself said, "He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged."

The reverse effect is also true, and we come to hate our victims, which helps to explain wartime atrocities. We de-humanize the enemy, which decrease the dissonance of killing and other things in which we would never normally indulge.


Wikipedia also has this effect covered.

Peter Callesen's beautiful paperwork

Above is one of them. It is easy to say that he is very skilled on manipulating paper. What you see above is ordinary A4 paper. He has also work done on water, snow and ice as well as drawings.

Here is his website where you can see his selected work: