31
Oct
07

Kurt Wenner’s Street Art

Following up the post on Julian Beaver, here is another master in anamorphic drawings: Kurt Wenner. His themes are more religion/mythology bound, as you can see from the painings below:

 Black Hole

The Giant

 

Fall of Icarus

 

Dies Irae

 

 Tower of Babel

 

 

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25
Feb
07

Another Test

Outcast Genius
78 % Nerd, 78% Geek, 65% Dork
For The Record:A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.You scored better than half in all three, earning you the title of: Outcast Genius.Outcast geniuses usually are bright enough to understand what society wants of them, and they just don’t care! They are highly intelligent and passionate about the things they know are *truly* important in the world. Typically, this does not include sports, cars or make-up, but it can on occassion (and if it does then they know more than all of their friends combined in that subject).Outcast geniuses can be very lonely, due to their being outcast from most normal groups and too smart for the room among many other types of dorks and geeks, but they can also be the types to eventually rule the world, ala Bill Gates, the prototypical Outcast Genius.Congratulations!

Also, you might want to check out some of my other tests if you’re interested in any of the following:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Professional Wrestling

Love & Sexuality

America/Politics

Thanks Again! — THE NERD? GEEK? OR DORK? TEST

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

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You scored higher than 99% on nerdiness
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You scored higher than 99% on geekosity
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You scored higher than 99% on dork points

Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test
21
Feb
07

Of Brain and Mental Disorders

These days I was sprawled on the couch, flipping through channels in the hope to find the History Channel – TV system at my house just turned digital and wreaked havoc on the remote control – and ended up on TV5, the French channel. First I thought it was some kind of quiz show, since a man was asked to calculate the 13th root of a string that had 30 numbers in less than a minute. He answered it in 10 sec. When the host asked him how he managed to calculate it, he simply answered: “I did not calculate anything. I just memorised all the possible results up to three numbers to the 20th power”, or something to that effect. Then appeared the ‘real hosts’ (in fact, they were those virtual reality models) on spaceships that flew among the guests, talking about the wonders the brain can do. Eventually the subject drifted to the marriage of the brain and the machine, cyborgs and the whole Borg thing and it ended up with ‘Ghost in the Shell’ opening scene. I thought, “What kind of serious TV documentary shows things like this?!?”, and bookmarked the channel.

Talking about the brain, I was listening to an interview about how ‘Autism is not a disease, just like being gay is not’. What they meant by this ‘unfortunate’ comparison was that Autism should not be treated as a mental disorder, just like a different way of perception, since people with have got high sensory sensitivity and hence try to avoid certain situations. Therefore, they wanted to take Autism out of the DSM. You can listen to it here: Interview on Autism. Personally, I believe they were talking about highly functional Autism, what some call ‘afflicted with Asperger’s Syndrome’. Of course, there are those who claim this syndrome does not exist.

Following links related to what should and what should not be in the infamous DSM, I came across… caffeine. Please read the article below:

CAFFEINE WITHDRAWAL RECOGNIZED AS A DISORDER

If you missed your morning coffee and now you have a headache and difficulty concentrating, you might be able to blame it on caffeine withdrawal. In general, the more caffeine consumed, the more severe withdrawal symptoms are likely to be, but as little as one standard cup of coffee a day can produce caffeine addiction, according to a Johns Hopkins study that reviewed over 170 years of caffeine withdrawal research.

Results of the Johns Hopkins study should result in caffeine withdrawal being included in the next edition of the DSM or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, considered the bible of mental disorders, and the diagnosis should be updated in the World Health Organization’s ICD, or The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems.

“Caffeine is the world’s most commonly used stimulant, and it’s cheap and readily available so people can maintain their use of caffeine quite easily,” says Roland Griffiths, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins. “The latest research demonstrates, however, that when people don’t get their usual dose they can suffer a range of withdrawal symptoms, including headache, fatigue, difficulty concentrating. They may even feel like they have the flu with nausea and muscle pain.”

(…)

The researchers identified five clusters of common withdrawal symptoms: headache; fatigue or drowsiness; dysphoric mood including depression and irritability; difficulty concentrating; and flu-like symptoms of nausea, vomiting and muscle pain or stiffness. In experimental studies, 50 percent of people experienced headache and 13 percent had clinically significant distress or functional impairment — for example, severe headache and other symptoms incompatible with working. Typically, onset of symptoms occurred 12 to 24 hours after stopping caffeine, with peak intensity between one and two days, and for a duration of two to nine days. In general, the incidence or severity of symptoms increased with increases in daily dose, but abstinence from doses as low as 100 milligrams per day, or about one small cup of coffee, also produced symptoms.

The research also showed that avoidance of caffeine withdrawal symptoms motivates regular use of caffeine. For example, the satisfying feelings and perceived benefits that many coffee users experience from their morning coffee appear to be a simple reversal of the negative effects of caffeine withdrawal after overnight abstinence.

(…)

According to the report, caffeine is the most widely used behaviorally active drug in the world. In North America, 80 percent to 90 percent of adults report regular use of caffeine. Average daily intake of caffeine among caffeine consumers in the United States is about 280 milligrams, or about one to two mugs of coffee or three to five bottles of soft drink, with higher intakes estimated in some European countries. In the United States, coffee and soft drinks are the most common sources of caffeine, with almost half of caffeine consumers ingesting caffeine from multiple sources, including tea.

However, take a look of the benefits of caffeine concerning ADD.

Can caffeine be used as a natural alternative to ADHD medication?

The active part of caffeine is methylxanthine is a mild stimulant that activates noradrenaline neurons and seems to affect the local release of dopamine, a key neurotransmitter. Dopamine plays a part in motor control and a low dopamine level is believed to be the cause of Parkinson’s disease which effect patients ability to control their movement. Another notable effect of caffeine is that it reduces the blood flow in the brain. This is similar to the effect of ADHD medications, such as Ritalin, that are stimulants, effect dopamine levels and cerebral blood flow. The cognitive effects of caffeine are also similar to ADD / ADHD medication. It makes users better a rapidly processing information and paying attention.

Studies on non-ADHD school children and caffeine are mixed. A 1987 study on Kindergarden children found no noticeable effect where as a 1994 on prepubertal children found that it did improve attention and manual dexterity. On children with ADD / ADHD the results are bit more promising. A 1973 pilot study used two cups of coffee a day as an alternative for medications and the results were promising. In 1981 caffeine was used as an alternative and as a supplement to medication. It found that caffeine in low dosage had the same effect as 10 mg of methylphenidate.

So coffee withdrawal is a mental disorder and yet its intake can help in another mental disorder.

CONCLUSION: NEVER STOP DRINKING COFFEE!

18
Feb
07

Geekish Song for the Believers

ETERNAL FLAME

I was taught assembler
in my second year of school.
It’s kinda like construction work —
with a toothpick for a tool.
So when I made my senior year,
I threw my code away,
And learned the way to program
that I still prefer today.

Now, some folks on the Internet
put their faith in C++.
They swear that it’s so powerful,
it’s what God used for us.
And maybe it lets mortals dredge
their objects from the C.
But I think that explains
why only God can make a tree.

For God wrote in Lisp code
When he filled the leaves with green.
The fractal flowers and recursive roots:
The most lovely hack I’ve seen.
And when I ponder snowflakes,
never finding two the same,
I know God likes a language
with its own four-letter name.

Now, I’ve used a SUN under Unix,
so I’ve seen what C can hold.
I’ve surfed for Perls, found what Fortran’s for,
Got that Java stuff down cold.
Though the chance that I’d write COBOL code
is a SNOBOL’s chance in Hell.
And I basically hate hieroglyphs,
so I won’t use APL.

Now, God must know all these languages,
and a few I haven’t named.
But the Lord made sure, when each sparrow falls,
that its flesh will be reclaimed.
And the Lord could not count grains of sand
with a 32-bit word.
Who knows where we would go to
if Lisp weren’t what he preferred?

And God wrote in Lisp code
Every creature great and small.
Don’t search the disk drive for man.c,
When the listing’s on the wall.
And when I watch the lightning burn
Unbelievers to a crisp,
I know God had six days to work,
So he wrote it all in Lisp.

Yes, God had a deadline.
So he wrote it all in Lisp.

Listen to it at Prometheus Music.

17
Feb
07

Interesting Stuff

How Pilot Scuttled Hijack Attempt

17.02.2007 – The Nigerian Tribune

A fast-thinking pilot, with the help of passengers, fooled a gunman who had hijacked a jetliner flying from Africa to the Canary Islands, braking hard upon landing then quickly accelerating to knock the man down so travellers could pounce on him, Spanish officials said Friday.

A lone gunman brandishing two pistols hijacked the Air Mauritania Boeing 737, carrying 71 passengers and a crew of eight, Thursday evening shortly after it took off from the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott for Gran Canaria, one of Spain’s Canary Islands, with a planned stopover in Nouadhibou in northern Mauritania.

Speaking to the gunman during the hijacking, the pilot realized the man did not speak French. So he used the plane’s public address system to warn the passengers in French of the ploy he was going to try: brake hard upon landing, then speed up abruptly. The idea was to catch the hijacker off balance, and have crew members and men sitting in the front rows of the plane jump on him, the Spanish official said.

The pilot also warned women and children to move to the back of the plane in preparation for the subterfuge, the official said.

It worked. The man was standing in the middle aisle when the pilot carried out his maneuver, and he fell to the floor, dropping one of his two 7mm pistols. Flight attendants then threw boiling water from a coffee machine in his face and at his chest, and some 10 people jumped on the man and beat him, the Spanish official said.

The advantages of being a polyglot… And they say that knowing many languages is of no practical use at all!

Another interesting thing, this time from VirtuSphere:

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

VirtuSphere advantages:

Users can move in any direction; walk, jump, roll, crawl, run over virtually unlimited distances.

Exactly what people need for stress relief: human-sized hamster balls!

16
Feb
07

Small Talk

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

I know the feeling…

Comic strip taken from xkcd

15
Feb
07

Another Test

Factor   low score high score
Gregariousness 18% quiet, reclusive engaging, socially bold
Sociability 14% withdrawn, hidden warm, open, inviting
Assertiveness 46% timid, gunshy controlling, aggressive
Poise 30% uneasy around others socially comfortable
Leadership 46% stays in background prefers to lead
Provocativeness 66% modest, plays it safe bold, uninhibited, cocky
Self-Disclosure 30% private, contained very open and revealing
Talkativeness 30% quiet, stealthy, invisible motor mouth, loud
Group Attachment 26% loves solitude prefers to be with others
Understanding 18% insensitive, schizoid respectful, sympathetic
Warmth 14% disinterested in others supportive, helpful
Morality 62% break/ignore the rules play by the rules
Pleasantness 26% aloof or disagreeable gets along with others
Empathy 50% out of tune w/ others in tune with others
Cooperation 34% competitive, warlike agreeable, peaceful
Sympathy 14% socially inconsiderate socially conscious
Tenderness 10% cold hearted, selfish warm hearted, selfless
Nurturance 10% self pleasing, me first people pleasing, me last
Conscientiousness 70% reckless, unscheduled careful, planner
Efficiency 30% unreliable, lazy finisher, follows through
Dutifulness 46% leisurely, derelict strict, rule abiding
Purposefulness 46% inattentive, undisciplined prepared, focused
Organization 86% relaxed, oblivious detail oriented, anal
Cautiousness 50% impulsive, spendthrift restrained, cautious
Rationality 62% irrational, random direct, logical
Perfectionism 82% careless, error prone detail obsessed
Planning 38% disorganized, random scheduled, clean
Stability 34% easily frustrated calm, cool, unphased
Happiness 50% unhappy, dissatisfied self content, positive
Calmness 14% touchy, volatile even tempered, tolerant
Moderation 50% needs instant gratification easily delays gratification
Toughness 58% hypersensitive, moody thick skinned
Impulse Control 54% lacks self control maintains composure
Imperturbability 74% highly emotional emotionally contained
Cool-headedness 38% demanding, controlling accommodating
Tranquility 38% emotionally volatile emotionally neutral
Intellect 90% instinctive, non-analytical intellectual, analytical
Ingenuity 86% lacks new ideas innovative, novel
Reflection 78% unreflective, coarse art and beauty lover
Competence 86% slow to understand/think intellectual, brainy
Quickness 86% intellectually dependent intellectually independent
Introspection 90% not self reflective self searching
Creativity 90% dull headed synthesizer, iconoclast
Imagination 78% practical, realistic dreamer, unrealistic
Depth 86% lacks curiosity mental explorer

Take Free Advanced Big 45 Personality Test
personality tests by similarminds.com




Random

The year's at the spring,
And day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearled;
The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in his Heaven -
All's right with the world!