Sunday, September 24, 2017

Hollywoodland: Before Motion Pictures

Visual storytelling of one kind or another has been around since cavemen were drawing on the walls. - Frank Darabont

Visual perception differs from the other senses in some key ways. First of all, it is the most highly developed with 25% of the brain fully devoted to it and up to 65% playing some role in it. The vast majority prefer visual over written material and, since visual are easier for people to place visual contextually, they retain these images longer. Visuals also are more quickly processed than text and produce stronger emotions in people.

Source: Shift - Studies Confirm the Power of Visuals in eLearning

Moving pictures are one of the most powerful mediums ever developed. Due to the technological complexity of recording and displaying them, the means to produce them have only been around for a little over a hundred years. Moving pictures were built on the back of earlier developments. Film Site Org offers a great timeline of some of them:

filmsite.org - Early Cinematic Origins and the Infancy of Film

1650 Magic Lantern




1824 Thaumatrope 

In 1824, British Physician, Peter Mark Roget first described the optical phenomena of persistence of vision. It is an optical illusion where things do not instantly dissappear from human sight due to a 1/10 of a second vision to brain processing delay. It is this optical illusion that allows for motion pictures.



1826 First Photograph



1831 Electomagnetic Induction





1832 Fantascope




1834 Daedelum




1839 Daguerreotype




1841 Calotype




1861 Kinematoscope





Thursday, September 21, 2017

Unmasked

Stunning piece by Daniel Greenfield in Front Page Magazine about the Obama administration's surveillance of Trump campaign officials during and after the election:

www.frontpagemag.com - WHY OBAMA REALLY SPIED ON TRUMP

In it, he speaks about the administrations criminal conspiracy to get around surveillance restrictions against  US citizens by invoking the FISA act. As evidence of a conspiracy, Greenfield points out that:

  • The type of people caught up in this effort were key campaign officials like Bannon, Flynn and Kushner. These were exactly the people that you would surveil if you were after political intelligence on ones political opponent.
  • The Obama administration reopened surveillance on Bannon during the campaign despite the original investigation from 2014 being closed due to lack of evidence.
  • The loosening by the Obama Administration of restrictions limiting the redaction of US citizens names gathered in foreign intelligence operations during the presidential campaign. This led to:
    • Widespread redaction of requests by numerous parties across the Obama Administration.
    • Widespread redaction of US citizen's names, specifically Trump campaign officials.
    • Illegal leaking of information gathered in the surveillance used to undermine Trump administration.
  • These efforts to loosen restrictions and ramp up surveillance closely tracked Trump's rising success during the campaign.
This scandal has recently gained new traction last week after CNN reported that Susan Rice's secret testimony to congress in July showed that she lied about the surveillance during an April MSNBC interview.

MSNBC - April 2017, Susan Rice Lies to MSNBC



Secret Testimony 7/21/2017

yyyy

CNN 9/14/2017

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Word of the Day: Lateral Thinking

Logic will never change emotion or perception. - Edward De Bono

lat·er·al think·ing
noun
  1. the solving of problems by an indirect and creative approach, typically through viewing the problem in a new and unusual light.



Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono

THE classic work about improving creativity from world-renowned writer and philosopher Edward de Bono. In schools we are taught to meet problems head-on: what Edward de Bono calls 'vertical thinking'. This works well in simple situations - but we are at a loss when this approach fails. What then? Lateral thinking is all about freeing up your imagination. Through a series of special techniques, in groups or working alone, Edward de Bono shows how to stimulate the mind in new and exciting ways. Soon you will be looking at problems from a variety of angles and offering up solutions that are as ingenious as they are effective. You will become much more productive and a formidable thinker in your own right.

Our Brain, the Schematic Thinker

Our brain is more of a schematic thinker not a computer driven by straight logic.

Schema, A Cognitive Psychology Definition....

In psychology and cognitive science, a schema (plural schemata or schemas) describes a pattern of thought or behavior that organizes categories of information and the relationships among them.[1] It can also be described as a mental structure of preconceived ideas, a framework representing some aspect of the world, or a system of organizing and perceiving new information



Stuck in a Rut

Once certain patterns become fixed in our minds, they are often quite resistant to radical change even if the pattern is demonstrated to be false. In fact, most people unconsciously block out things that they cannot fit into their existing worldview. When their minds are unable to ignore, they often come up with some irrational reason to explain it away, something known as cognitive dissonance.



Vertical Thinking - The Conventional way of Thinking.

ver·ti·cal think·ing
noun
  1. the solving of problems using conventional logical processes.

Vertical thinking is the conventional everyday means of thinking used in the West. In general, it relies fitting something slightly different and grouping it in with a pattern that we already understand. It may require a slight restructuring of an existing schema. This is a good means for solving common, everyday problems but, often, does not work to resolve more complex or unique issue requiring us to think several steps ahead or in new ways.

Lateral Thinking - Creativity without the Mystique

Lateral thinking requires certain techniques that allows us to break the mindset of trying to fit things into an existing pattern. It allows one to see the world with a more open mind and create new patterns and/or radically alter existing ones.

Methods to Creative Madness

Perhaps, the biggest difference between creative types and more mundane thinkers is the willingness to fail. When trying new things or new ways of thinking, there is often a large failure rate. Creative types understand that they do not need to win by having a thousand new ideas that all solve a unique problem. What they do need is for one of those thousand to work. Many people avoid risk since failure is associated with shame.

Creative types seem crazy because they are have a much higher tolerance for failure than most. There are also a lot of pseudo creative types that give it a bad name by believing that just "thinking different" for its own sake is creative.

Here David Bowie explains the "Cut Up" technique that has been used by many artists from the writer William Burroughs to the song writer Curt Cobain to great success:

Word of the Day: NeoPhobia

Today's word of the day is:

ne·o·pho·bi·a
ˌnēōˈfōbēə/
noun
  1. extreme or irrational fear or dislike of anything new, novel, or unfamiliar.

It is sponsored by our modern agricultural industrial complex.

In this post, JohnQ posits that the processed food industry uses a common fear in children to condition them into eating highly processed foods and rejecting more nutritious options into adulthood. I noticed this with my children, who when they were living in Japan, ate a surprisingly wide variety of fruits, vegetables and seafood. When they started going to American schools and participating in the school lunch program their tastes radically narrowed to just a small spectrum of high sodium, low nutrition, highly processed, bland options.

School lunch the American way...


The American public school system often hires large corporations to highly process low grade government surplus food that is then reheated by low wages slaves.

www.nytimes.com - How the Food Industry Eats Your Kid's Lunch



School lunch, Japanese style...


Some of the key differences with the Japanese lunch is that it is effectively homemade with a ton of local/fresh/top quality ingredients. It is homemade because mothers from the neighborhood are hired by the school to work with the school children themselves to make it with ingredients purchased from local farms.

In Japan, the students themselves are the ones mainly responsible for cooking and cleaning at the schools under supervision of local moms and teachers.

washingtonpost.com - On Japan’s school lunch menu: A healthy meal, made from scratch

Japan does struggle with childhood and adolescent eating disorders. Schools in Japan give their students the sort of food they’d get at home — not at a stadium, as in the United States. The meals are often made from scratch. They’re balanced but hearty, heavy on rice and vegetables, fish and soups, and they haven’t changed much in four decades. Here’s a look at a day in the lunch-break of third-graders at Tokyo’s Umejima Elementary School.

Fear Sells

One major truth of modern life is that we live in a hive with an associated hive mind. We are not independent but rely on complex networks to provide us with our needs and luxuries. The collective unconscious mindset operates at a primitive level, one where love, rage and fear dominate. In their quest for power, the elites battle for market share by exploiting this knowledge in order to get us to click the buy button.

Alternet.org - Fear Sells, and We're All Buying: How Marketers Channel Dark Forces to Rake in Billions

In this case, they are playing on a primal fear of young children regarding food in order to condition them into favoring unhealthy processed foods into adulthood.  Kids are herded into institutional cafeterias and hand them dingy food trays with reheated low grade junk food. Further playing on their fears, students have no hand in preparing the food and the people who do prepare it are often (frankly) creepy. There is some truth to the lunch lady jokes.

Neophobia, Processed Food Connection

Kid's in general are programmed to be somewhat cautious of new foods. It is natures way of preventing them from poisoning themselves. What American schools do is ramp up this fear to meteoric levels which racks up their conditioning towards junk food:


Neophobia was associated with lower consumption of fruit and vegetables, protein foods and total calories, but there was no association with intake of starch or snack foods.

Primal Fear of Food 

Neophobia is associated with fear of novel foods. Children normally develop this fear starting in their twos, up through their late teenage years. Evolution-wise this is thought to be a beneficial trait as it kept foraging youngsters trying poisonous foods. 

mal·a·dap·tive
ˌmaləˈdaptiv/
adjective
technical
  1. not providing adequate or appropriate adjustment to the environment or situation.

In modern societies this trait is thought to be maladaptive since people are not out foraging for food in the wild and food bought in the supermarket is generally safe.




Friday, September 15, 2017

Word of the Day: Divagate

di·va·gate
ˈdīvəˌɡāt/
verb
literary
  1. stray; digress.

    "Yeats divagated into Virgil's territory only once"

DeJa Vu 

It is a popular notion that deja vu is proof that we live in a glitch filled matrix, a computer simulation. Recent scientific experiments point to a different conclusion:

www.digitaltrends.com - NEUROSCIENTISTS JUST FIGURED OUT WHAT CAUSES DÉJÀ VU (AND IT’S NOT A GLITCH IN THE MATRIX)

“What we found was that it wasn’t memory-linked regions that are driving déjà vu,” he said. “Traditionally, researchers thought déjà vu was being driven by false memories. What it actually is is that the cognitive control, error-monitoring conflict-checking frontal brain regions are the ones which show greater activity in people reporting the experience.”




Hot/Cold Therapy

It is too bad that in America baths and saunas have become synonymous with perverts. In most civilized societies, they are spots where one can rejuvenate in a family friendly atmosphere.

In Japan, several of my places did not have built in bathing facilities so I had the pleasure of being a regular bath goer.

Steam Baths...

Steam baths are my favorite but, sadly, they seem to be the most scarce. Here are just some of the benefits of a taking a steam bath:

www.bodybuilding.com - Full STEAM Ahead: The Benefits Of A Steam Bath

Steam bath deeply cleanse and reset ones mind and body via two main systems our skin (which many consider our largest organ) and our respiratory tract. Steam supercharges our skin to excrete toxins while the also helping to either moisturize dry sinuses or clear out the bio film (snot) from clogged ones.  The humid heat also boost your circulation and resets the immune system bring relief from immune related disorders like asthma, allergies and arthritis.

Saunas...

Saunas have also been shown to be excellent for ones health as well:

www.medicalnewstoday.com - Potential health benefits of using a sauna

\When a person sits in a sauna, their heart rate increases and blood vessels widen. This increases circulation.
The effects on the body from sauna use may have some potential health benefits. Increased circulation may help reduce muscle soreness, improve joint movement, and ease arthritis pain. The heat in a sauna may also promote relaxation, which can improve feelings of well-being.
A potential health benefit from sauna use may be a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease. One study conducted in Finland followed 2,315 men ages 42 to 60 over the course of 20 years
Cold Therapy...

Cold therapy is something that is proving to have some amazing mental and physical benefits too..




Hot tubs...

I am lucky enough to own a hot tub and it has become a part of my nightly wind down in preparation for deep, restful sleep so lacking in modern society. Here are just some of the benefits of a hot tub:

www.swimuniversity.com - 7 Health Benefits of Soaking in a Hot Tub

  • Improves sleep. ...
  • Reduces stress and anxiety. ...
  • Reduces arthritic and chronic pain. ...
  • Lowers blood sugar. ...
  • Lowers blood pressure. ...
  • Promotes Healthier, Younger Looking Skin. ...
  • Decreases Frequency of Migraines and Tension Headaches.

bug·bear
ˈbəɡˌber/
noun
  1. a cause of obsessive fear, irritation, or loathing.
    synonyms:pet peevehatebête noireanathemaaversionbugaboo

mu·ta·ble
ˈmyo͞odəb(ə)l/
adjective
  1. liable to change.

    "the mutable nature of fashion"

    synonyms:changeablevariable, varying, fluctuating, shiftinginconsistentunpredictableinconstantfickleunevenunstableprotean;
    literaryfluctuant
    "the mutable nature of fashion"

cat·a·to·ni·a
ˌkadəˈtōnēə/
noun
PSYCHIATRY
  1. abnormality of movement and behavior arising from a disturbed mental state (typically schizophrenia). It may involve repetitive or purposeless overactivity, or catalepsy, resistance to passive movement, and negativism.
    • informal
      a state of immobility and stupor.

cant1
kant/
noun
  1. 1.
    hypocritical and sanctimonious talk, typically of a moral, religious, or political nature.

    "the liberal case against all censorship is often cant"

    synonyms:hypocrisy, sanctimoniousness, sanctimony, pietism
    "political cant"
  2. 2.
    denoting a phrase or catchword temporarily current or in fashion.

    "they are misrepresented as, in the cant word of our day, uncaring"
verb
dated
  1. 1.
    talk hypocritically and sanctimoniously about something.

    "if they'd stop canting about “honest work,” they might get some.


Situationists and the Society of the Spectacle

“The more powerful the class, the more it claims not to exist.” - ― Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle

Reading more of Chaos Monkey today and the author made some deep points about his experience working at Facebook where, post IPO, the company become split between the haves and have nots. Those that became fabulously rich and colleagues often working right next to them that did not share in the fortunes.

Caution: Marxist alert. Guy Debord is a Marxist. While he makes some good points, JohnQ does not think that Marxism is a good solution to the problem.

Here is a good guide to Guy Debord's main work, The Society of the Spectacle:

hyperallergic.com - An Illustrated Guide to Guy Debord’s ‘The Society of the Spectacle’

It was one of the main inspirations for the Situationist Movement in Paris during the 60's:



lap·i·dar·y
ˈlapəˌderē/
adjective
  1. 1.
    relating to stone and gems and the work involved in engraving, cutting, or polishing.
noun
  1. 1.
    a person who cuts, polishes, or engraves gems.

Will Power and the Quest to be Part of Something Big

The author of Chaos Monkeys also does a good job reviewing how a democratic society and a marxist society often face many of the same issues, a rat race.

In many cases they will be working under a revolutionary founder who had the will to seize power and hypnotize people into following them. The followers main impulse is to be part of something bigger than themselves.

Caution: Marxist alert. The author raises some valid points but Marxism has shown to be a poor answer to addressing the issues raised.

The Marxist theory is that the property owners most benefiting from this situation are able to get their managerial lackeys to enforce this system over others who including themselves who are disproportionately less rewarded by it.

When Prophecy Fails

The Author of Chaos Monkey also refers to the book, When Prophecy Fails, by Leon Festinger and Stanley Schachter

It speaks about a cult that failed to accurately predict the end of the world and coped with the failure via cognitive dissonance.

goodreads.com - When Prophecy Fails: A Social and Psychological Study of a Modern Group that Predicted the Destruction of the World

"We've all experienced the futility of trying to change a strong conviction, especially if the convinced person has some investment in his belief. We're familiar with the variety of ingenious defenses with which people protect their convictions, managing to keep them unscathed thru the most devastating attacks. But human resourcefulness goes beyond simply protecting a belief. Suppose an individual believes something with a whole heart; suppose further a commitment to this belief, suppose irrevocable actions have been taken because of it; finally, suppose evidence, unequivocal & undeniable evidence, that the belief is wrong: what will happen? The individual will frequently emerge, not only unshaken, but even more convinced of the truth of such beliefs than ever before. Indeed, s/he may even show a new fervor about convincing & converting others to this view. 


mis·an·thrope
ˈmis(ə)nˌTHrōp,ˈmiz(ə)nˌTHrōp/
noun
  1. a person who dislikes humankind and avoids human society.
    synonyms:hater of mankind, hatercynic