Friday, November 9, 2007

H.P. Lovecraft's Necronomicon

"The Necronomicon is a fictional book from the stories of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft. It was first mentioned in Lovecraft's 1924 short story "The Hound", written in 1922, though its purported author, the "Mad Arab" Abdul Alhazred, had been quoted a year earlier in Lovecraft's "The Nameless City".[1] Among other things, the work contains an account of the Old Ones, their history, and the means for summoning them.


Thursday, November 8, 2007

NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts closed

"USRA has operated NIAC for NASA, since its establishment in February 1998, through its closing on August 31, 2007. During this period, NIAC has inspired an atmosphere for innovation that stretched the imagination of the technical community and encouraged revolutionary creativity. As a legacy to this work, USRA has archived the NIAC website to continue to make these data available to the research community.



(ALERT: extreme HTML)

Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research lab closed

"Engineering and Consciousness

The Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) program, which flourished for nearly three decades under the aegis of Princeton University's School of Engineering and Applied Science, has completed its experimental agenda of studying the interaction of human consciousness with sensitive physical devices, systems, and processes, and developing complementary theoretical models to enable better understanding of the role of consciousness in the establishment of physical reality. It has now incorporated its present and future operations into the broader venue of the International Consciousness Research Laboratories (ICRL), a 501(c)(3) organization chartered in the State of New Jersey. In this new locus and era, PEAR plans to expand its archiving, outreach, education, and entrepreneurial activities into broader technical and cultural context, maintaining its heritage of commitment to intellectual rigor and integrity, pragmatic and beneficial relevance of its techniques and insights, and sophistication of its spiritual implications. As described more fully on the ICRL website, PEAR also will continue to provide the scholarly pedestal from which all other ICRL activities will radiate.


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Diamond Signs

Donald Kunth (legendary CS professor at Stanford) tracks diamond shaped street signs with photos and GPS

What If the Singularity Does NOT Happen

"Just for the record

Given the title of my talk, I should define and briefly discuss what I mean by the Technological Singularity:

It seems plausible that with technology we can, in the fairly near future, create (or become) creatures who surpass humans in every intellectual and creative dimension. Events beyond this event -- call it the Technological Singularity -- are as unimaginable to us as opera is to a flatworm.

The preceding sentence, almost by definition, makes long-term thinking an impractical thing in a Singularity future.

However, maybe the Singularity won't happen, in which case planning beyond the next fifty years could have great practical importance. In any case, a good science-fiction writer (or a good scenario planner) should always be considering alternative outcomes.


Animated gifs with slightly staggered perspective, simulating 3-D

(Click through or download pics for effect)

How Big is the Library of Babel?

"One of my favorite short-story authors is the Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges. Many of his stories deal with mind-expanding themes, including "Blue Tigers", about a handful of stones that do not obey the rules of mathematics, "The Book of Sand", about a book with an infinite number of pages, and "The Aleph", a point in space that allows one to observe all other points simultaneously.



"Apophenia is the experience of seeing patterns or connections in random or meaningless data. The term was coined in 1958 by Klaus Conrad, who defined it as the "unmotivated seeing of connections" accompanied by a "specific experience of an abnormal meaningfulness.


John 21:25

"And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen."

The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race (Jared Diamond)

"To science we owe dramatic changes in our smug self-image. Astronomy taught us that our earth isn't the center of the universe but merely one of billions of heavenly bodies. From biology we learned that weweren't specially created by God but evolved along with millions of other species. Now archaeology is demolishing another sacred belief: that human history over the past million years has been a long tale of progress. In particular, recent discoveries suggest that the adoption of agriculture, supposedly our most decisive step toward a better life, was in many ways a catastrophe from which we have never recovered. With agriculture came the gross social and sexual inequality, the disease and despotism, that curse our existence.