Saturday, August 14, 2010


I can win an argument on any topic, against any opponent. People know this, and steer clear of me at parties. Often, as a sign of their great respect, they don't even invite me.
-- Dave Barry

A bit busy

I may be "git bloggin' less than usual this weekend, I have a lot of boring admin work I have to finish.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Origami collection

It's funny, I keep running into art made from paper, I don't know why. I have not even posted all of them.
Here's a page which has apparently real origami, meaning the sheet has been folded, but not cut.


When I step into this library, I cannot understand why I ever step out of it.
           -- Marie de Sevigne

After Amazon appeared, I always have more than I can read, but back in the day, man, I used libraries so much. It's like a big, free gold mine for the mind.

TTL said:
Public library is a socialist concept. Like all public sector programs, public libraries are funded by force, using the threat of violence.
I don't like violence.
What we should have instead are book crossing centers. Places where people can leave books they own but no longer need, and where others can pick them up without an obligation to return.
In fact, there is a mini version of this inside a shopping center near where I live. It works marvelously well. So far, I have dropped maybe 100 books there, all of which have found a new owner on the same day. I plan to donate much more.

Yes, that's an excellent idea.

Last time I got rid of a lot of books, I put them in a box in the stair well with a sign that they were free, and they were all gone after a few days.

Earlier, sometimes I have given them to charity shops.
But I'd love to have a book crossing center.

How to prolong lithium-based batteries

[Thanks to Bruce]
How to prolong lithium-based batteries, article.

I've been promoting occasional full discharges to keep the "elasticity" of your gadget's battery. But it seems the advice is different when we're talking about a lithium-based battery, which are becoming common. They prefer partial discharges rather than full ones.
But still:
Although lithium-ion is memory-free in terms of performance deterioration, batteries with fuel gauges exhibit what engineers refer to as "digital memory". Here is the reason: Short discharges with subsequent recharges do not provide the periodic calibration needed to synchronize the fuel gauge with the battery's state-of-charge. A deliberate full discharge and recharge every 30 charges corrects this problem.

"Going West" paper animation

Joe found this impressive animation.

I think it's a promotion for books in general, for some reason.

Birdman Shows Off His $2.1 Million Bugatti

Birdman Shows Off His $2.1 Million Bugatti, article and video.

The car is pretty but a tad over-powered:
Top Gear estimate the Bugatti would run out of fuel in about 12 minutes at its top speed. Not that you'd want to keep going past 12 minutes, anyway -- Top Gear also says the Bugatti's specialty tires would begin to disintegrate after about 15 minutes.

It seems that when Bryan "Birdman" Williams talks, about every third word is a swear word. And when being filmed demoing his Bugatti, the world's most expensive road car, he walks around in a Adidas track suit with the pants hanging way down on his behind. I wonder if big money and good taste ever went together?

By the way, I am told from a usually reliable source that a common problem for young urban men is hip-displacement due to the way they have to walk to keep their pants from sliding all the way down. That is either weird, or funny, or sad, I'm not sure.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Faux vintage ads

This is just wonderful, so funny and yet authentic.
More here.

Friction or momentum

I would not waste my life in friction when it could be turned into momentum.
           -- Frances Willard

This relates nicely to a thought in a P Graham article I linked to recently. About how most conflicts are not just unpleasant and unnecessary, but also occupies your thoughts to an unhealthy degree, robbing you of productive thoughts.
Conflict is seductive, it draws you in. But with time and discipline, one can go beyond it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

You are beautiful

I actually at one point considered making such cards to give to honeys, although the "pass it on" bit didn't occur to me.

I found the card on YouAreBeautiful.

Doesn't the word "beautiful" have an awful spelling, though? I always stumble over it.

Doing Nothing to Enhance Creativity

Doing Nothing to Enhance Creativity, article. Another one from S. Shapiro.

I've noticed this in myself to a high degree in recent years. I have a hyper-active mind which I find nigh impossible to quiet down, sometimes irritatingly. One of the exceptions is when I am really, really relaxing, in the dark or at least darkened room, on or in my bed.
And not the least of it happens, as the article talks about, when I am halfway between awake and asleep. I've had many amazing mental experiences and developments in this state.

Action is counter-productive to deep thought, and deep thought is counter-productive to action. I think it's a good thing to make time, separate times, for both in life.

Update: here's another vote for relaxing, it seems that an afternoon nap markedly boosts the brain's learning capacity. 


"Some people find oil, some don't."
- John Paul Getty, explaining success

Well, that is witty. But as I get older, I'm getting more convinced that it's also an important truth. I think we have far less control over our lives that we like to believe. (Or perhaps far more, from a Higher Self viewpoint.)

As a younger man, I was very goal-oriented. To the degree that when I first heard the phrase "goal-oriented", I thought: "What do you mean? Is there any other way to live?" Seriously.

But as some point out, goals, even when reached, seldom succeed in making us happier. I think there's a reason so many top-list actors and sportspeople have a drug problem. They are not happy despite having reached the top, and now they are stressed as well, trying to remain there.

When I see a huge mansion in a film, I think "wow, that's cool". Sure it is. But is getting one, and paying the enormous taxes and upkeep, really worth all the heart-ache of struggling to get rich enough? I no longer think so. (Of course if you're already a billionaire, knock yourself out.)

And I think a major components of many goals is akin to domination. By becoming the Number One Whatever in the world, you show everybody that you are better than them. It can be a rush, but I think it gets old.

I found the video via Stephen Shapiro's blog.  I found Stephen a few years ago when I was working out some of these goal issues for myself, and I wanted to register "", but I found that he had already registered it! I had written a little funny "thing" about it then.

L'Ours (1988) - the cougar scene

L'Ours (1988) - the cougar scene, film clip.
Tommy found it. I can't answer him though, as to how the heck they filmed it. It's difficult enough to make a durned dog do what you want in a movie.

PC vs Mac

Microsoft has made a new mini-site which compares PCs with Macs.
Did you know for example that you can get PC boxes in all kinds of colors and not just white or silver? And did you know that a PC can connect to a Sony Memory Stick? Did you know that PCs are king of simplicity? "They just work".
There is some (a bit partisan and quite sarcastic) commentary (audio) here.

iPhone users have more sex

iPhone users have more sex, post.

I'm not surprised. I did notice that since getting the iPhone 4, my first iPhone, my life has been a constant maelstrom of steamy sexual encounters, and I've wondered why. I thought it was my new aftershave.

Canon 7D vs. Barbie Video Girl

[Thanks to Michael]
Canon 7D vs. Barbie Video Girl, video.
The latter is actually a Barbie doll with a built-in video camera. No joke. And the battery fits in her inner thigh. No joke.
The video is very nicely produced, and humorous.

It refers to this comparison between Canon 7D video and that from an iPhone 4, which is remarkable in how little quality difference there is, even when seen full screen on a very large monitor. I mean, it's a phone, the video module is the size of a small hazel nut!

Snuggle friends

Track-laying train

[Thanks to Kirk]
A train made for the automatic laying of train tracks. Real kewl.
... Look at the number of tasks these machines do. Thats a real engineering accomplishment.

Once in the middle of the night I saw a train which sucked up the fist-sized rocks which are between the train tracks, and spit down clean ones! The noise it made was absolutely fantastic, it was like an industrial art happening, I loved it. I lived then just fifty meters from the tracks, and this train was only a couple of meters behind a fence.
As to why those rocks would need replacing, beats me. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Panasonic G1 good deal

Panasonic has introduced the Lumix G2 model, and while it's getting good reviews, it's clear that the only really significant upgrade is that it now does video. So, if you don't need video, right now you can get, in the US at least, the Lumix G1 at a very affordable price. I still use mine as my go-to all-round camera. It's more compact than a DSLR camera (like Canon Rebel), and offers similar image quality and handling. The exception is that the low-light capabilities are limited, compared to bigger cameras. But at this price it's warmly recommended.

The G1's brother, the GF-1 (not yet in a 2.0 version) fits in a large pocket if fit with the excellent compact 20mm 1.7 lens. The G1 does not. But I would say that the G1 is about as compact and light as you'll get, and still get the good handling and flexibility of a full sized, semi-professional camera. It's about the perfect walk-around and vacation camera for the serious amateur.

Blogs and web on Kindle

Blogs are now available on Kindle in the UK too. And nicely, they do come with pictures, although they are B/W of course (and a bit dark, at least on the Kindle 1 and 2).
Also new: the links to web now work, and the Kindle browser is not at all bad. For a long while there, you couldn't web browse on the Kindle outside the US. But actually in some ways the browser on the Kindle is superior, surprisingly giving the technology, to the one in the iPad, because, while on the iPad you can make a text column fill the width of the screen, you can't (in Safari at least) change the text size, and it's often too small for comfortable reading. The Kindle browser on the other hand, reformats the main text to fill the screen in a comfortable reading size, and you can change it too, if need be.
(I believe at least one of the alternative browsers on the iPad has changeable font size. But I don't know of a way to make another browser your default for links from other apps.)
As a tip for article reading, let me once again mention the excellent Instapaper app. It reformats article for easy reading, and saves them for later reading, even on other devices (Kindle,  iPhone, iPad). 

Sculptures of Native American scenes made out of paper

Sculptures of Native American scenes made out of paper, article/gallery.

New technique, I think. I wonder how they keep (they are going for premium prices). All that feathery stuff must be nigh-impossible to clean without ruining it, if it gets very dusty. So I guess a glass box is in order. They are pretty large.

Taking Photos In Public Places Is Not A Crime

Taking Photos In Public Places Is Not A Crime, article.
(And another one.)
Tommy found these, although oddly, his comment disappeared, as did the repost of it that I did.)

Tianmen Mountains and cable cars

Tianmen Mountains (not to be confused with the Tiananmen Square and events) has some of the most spectacular views in the world, in the Hunan province of China (pretty centrally in the huge country).
Video of stunt flights through the opening, which was formed in 263AD. (There are tougher stunts in the world, the opening is not tiny.)

TCGirl found this video from the cable cars. 

A glossy ad

For the first time, I'm buying a big ad in a glossy magazine, for Domai. This is what is probably the biggest glossy for lesbians, Bound. (I inquired, and it seems it's named for the famous movie with the Susie Bright choreographed sex scene.) It'll appear in the decorating special issue in mid September. It's Australian, but it's in news stands world wide. (It's available on the iPad too, by the way.)
I've been sent a copy, and it's a really handsome and very professional mag. It'll be fun to see how the add does.

Now, for some reason I don't happen to have any close gay friends, male or female, or none I'm aware of*. It may be that some of my lady correspondents who found me via Domai are, but I don't ask.
So, I was just thinking about whether lesbians tend to be attracted to the same women as men? I think, probably so. For sure the girls on The L-Word are dang hot. So.
Except maybe they don't have the same fixation on big boobs as many men? Does anybody know anything about this?

*It's not unlikely that I'm just dense about it. I'm reminded of once in a cafe I used to hang out in all the time. I was a happy member of the Regulars, and we often chatted pleasantly. One of them was a very amiable slightly rotund middle-aged chap named Paul. One he revealed via an anecdote that he was gay. I asked something or other, and he said "Ah, you didn't know?" he held out his hand and said "hi, I'm Paul, I'm gay, pleased to meetcha". I got a bit flustered, but only by the suddenness of it, I don't have any special feelings pro or con this or indeed most sexual orientations. (Was it Twain who said something like 'I don't care, so long as they don't do it in the street and scare the horses'. A very sound slant on it.)

Me, I'm a lesbian trapped a man's body.
I don't think sexuality is quite important enough to define one's life. But when  I do think about it, I sometimes wish I was a lesbian. I'm a little bit envious. For instance, just take lesbian cruises or getaways. Where can you find anything similar as a man? (If you like women, I mean.) Also, if I'm looking for erotica, I much prefer stuff without men in it.

A li'll Cadillac joke

A man and his wife were driving from New York to California.

Looking at his fuel gauge, the man decided he'd better fill up. Exiting the highway and passing through a small southern town, he pulled into the local service station.

"What can I do for y'all?" the attendant asked.

"Fill it up with supreme," the man instructed.

While the attendant was filling the tank, he looked the car up, down and sideways. "What kind of car is this here?" he asked. "I never seen one like it before."

"It's a Cadillac. It's brand new," the driver said proudly. "It has power steering, power seats, power sun roof, power mirrors, AM/FM radio with a CD player, an 8-speaker stereo, rack and pinion steering, disk brakes, leather interior, digital instruments, and a DVD player in the back seat."

"Wow," said the attendant. "That there's the fanciest car I ever did see!"

When the attendant finished, the driver asked him, "How much do I owe you?"

"That'll be $30.25," the attendant replied.

The driver pulled out his money clip, peeled off a $20 and a $10, handed them to the attendant, then went into his pocket and pulled out a handful of change. Mixed in with the change were a few golf tees.

"What're them little things there?" asked the attendant.

"Those are to put my balls on when I'm driving," said the man.

"Wow!" the attendant replied, "Them Cadillac people think of everything!"

Monday, August 09, 2010

Black 'n White and Red All Over

Here's a cool blog with high-rez scans of BW art, including some full issues of some of the great Eerie comics from the fifties. (I was a big fan of those as a kid. The art was often fantastic. I miss comic art like that.)

Bosom paintings

I think an artist has to find something the public is *already* interested in, and connect with that. Reader Norm N found a good example: to have an ample bosom, and paint with it. Too funny, but she gets her attention, and sells her paintings! On her ebay page, she makes the point that her breasts are real...

It's not entirely new, in Denmark 30 years ago, a young female artist applied the paint to her whole body, and rolled on the canvas. A reviewer was impressed that one could see impressions of her pubic hair.
(I guess the next step would be paintings made only with pubic and vulva impressions.)

University students address children photography conundrum

University students address children photography conundrum, article.
It's out of hand in the UK. I expect any moment a law suggested that all children must wear burkas when in public. I mean, seriously, if a pedo actually manages to photograph kids while they play football and such, so  what? It's not that hard to come at photos of fully dressed kids. At least not yet! 

Otter Box Defender

I you want to use your iPhone or iPad in rough terrain while under fire, this seems to be the case you want.

(larger versions)

Undocumented Imam's Refusal to Perform Interracial Gay Handicapped Wedding Leads to Charges of Racism

[Thanks to Grant]
Undocumented Imam's Refusal to Perform Interracial Gay Handicapped Wedding Leads to Charges of Racism, article.
"a tense 5-hour standoff prompted by the mosque's refusal to host a wedding between a lesbian African-American woman and her blind white transgendered partner...
"the only serious injuries reported was a hernia suffered by a legal aide distributing plaintiff's briefs. The incident resulted in one arrest, a 7-year old girl who was seen operating a lemonade stand without a permit."

Well, they say New York is a melting pot. And I guess some can't take the heat.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Night Stand clock app

The Night Stand clock app, orginally made for iPhone, has a lovely version for iPad. It has several interfaces to choose from which I like, and I finally got the big clear clock I wanted in my living room.      :-)
The different faces are just beautiful. Amazing design.
It's an alarm clock too, although this seems to be less polished than the visual interface.

Also, in my occasional efforts to "exercise" the 'pad's battery by running it flat so it does not die, the iPad has been running the clock, screen on, unplugged, for 12 hours now, and there's still 30% battery left! (Of course this does not tax the processor much, and that's an influence. Still.)
Update: it ran for over sixteen hours all told!

Blogs on Kindle

I made a Kindle subscription to The New Yorker. To my disappointment (which Amazon UK has polite noted), I can only read blogs, magazines, and newspapers on the Kindle device itself. Unlike books, I can't read them on other devices running the Kindle app.

I wonder why this is so. They don't have a problem with all the books being on other devices, you can merrily download the same book to as many compatible machines as you have.

Can anybody confirm if it's the same in the US?

On guns (updated)

Twice recently I've been sent picture series featuring pretty and nude girls posing with military hardware, like jeeps and machine guns.

I never felt right about it, though, I feel a gun is a very disturbing object. After all, it has but one purpose, to wound or kill another warm-blooded creature.

But then, many good people seem very fond of guns.
There was an interesting line in The West Wing: a conservative woman commented to a liberal character that the main reason they fought for gun laws was that they simply "don't like people who like guns".

For me, that's a bit on the sweeping side. I dunno, what do you think?

Joe sent:
 Doctors vs. Gun Owners

 (A) The number of physicians in the U.S. is  700,000.
 (B) Accidental deaths caused by Physicians per year are 120,000.
 (C) Accidental deaths per physician is 0.171.

 Statistics courtesy of U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services.

 Now think about this:
 (A) The number of gun owners in the U.S. is 80,000,000.  (Yes, that's 80 million)
 (B) The number of accidental gun deaths  per year, all age groups, is 1,500.
 (C) The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is .000188.

 Statistics courtesy of FBI

 So, statistically, doctors are approximately  9,000 times more dangerous than gun owners.

It's for real. Per the doctors' own statistics, when there is a doctors' strike anywhere in the world, death stats fall. The amazing thing is that there is no uproar over this. Compare it to intense global uproar over a mere 3,000 in WTC. Doctors kill forty times more every year. And that's not the people they couldn't save, that's death by sloppiness and mistakes.
Although there is a modifying perspective on this. Basically, "doctors see and heal a lot more people".
OK. But what about "first, do no harm".

Dave said:
I've owned guns during my life for two reasons: fantasy fulfillment and fun.

The fantasy fulfillment had to do with imagining myself in the role of a television character. Rat Patrol and The Untouchables were very big, and both those featured Thompson submachine guns. So I filled out the paperwork, paid the $200 fee, and bought a full-auto Thompson. It was a beautiful piece of machinery. I owned it for 8 years, never fired it, and sold it when we moved to a state where full-auto was banned. The itch had been scratched.

As my children became teenagers, I realized that there was a good chance that they would encounter firearms in their lives, and they were not prepared at all to be safe around them. My daughter and son and I enrolled in a Hunter's Ed program, and we all learned what to do when a gun is present:
1. Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
2. Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.
3. Keep the gun unloaded until ready for use.

As a result of this class, both children wanted to learn how to shoot. So I bought a couple of target .22s and a gun safe, and we all went out to the range. My daughter "bought" the scoped lever-action rifle by successfully shooting it 1500 times, all into paper targets at a supervised range. She has her own gun safe now.

My son saw a Cowboy Action Shooting match, and got very excited when a participant let him shoot a couple of shots from an old-fashioned revolver at a metal target. $3,000 later, we had each been outfitted with full cowboy gear: two 6-shooters, a lever action rifle, a shotgun, and all the leather to hold them. He and I shot weekly and had a good time together, until his interest waned. His interest in gun safety never wavered, and he is now an NRA-certified Range Safety Officer -- with a gun safe of his own.

None of us has ever shot at anything alive. None of us has ever carried a concealed pistol -- the legal consequences of misuse are huge.

Jacques said:
For those of you in previous comments who think that guns are used in self defense very rarely, and do more harm than good, I challange you to visit You can find a PDF file that has real statistics and facts.

You can 'feel' any way you like, but knowing the facts can only be a good thing.


Guns prevent an estimated 2.5 million crimes a year, or 6,849 every day.65 Often the gun is never fired and no blood (including the criminal’s) is shed.

“Targeting Guns”, Dr. Gary Kleck, Criminologist, Florida State University, 1997

Art viability discussion

This is a barely-edited email discussion between me and a couple of friends, which I thought brought up some good points which deserved a wider audience.


I'm starting to look at art differently.

For example, comic books don't sell good art or good writing. They sell Batman or Superman, or hot girls. Sales seldom vary much depending on the talent doing it, Superman with a bad writer usually sells the same.

And I think that those who make it big in the Fine Art world, do so mainly because most fine arts customers are willing to pay big prices because they are told and believe that fine art can be a good investment (and often is).

There *are* people who really appreciate good art and are willing and able to pay well for it, but simply spoken, they are just too few for the economics to work. Maybe they are one in a thousand, and that's optimistic. As a lifelong artistic hopeful myself I'm sorry to say it. But at the same time it always is good to get a clearer picture.


For a long time, I've believed that artists produce things that are beautiful -- to them. If they appeal to others, hey, cool. The true artist is process-driven, not product-driven. Once the process is done, the artist moves on.

Content providers produce things that appeal to others, and sometimes, to them. Content providers are product-driven, with the goal of pleasing others. And that is addictive -- they want to do it over and over, to get the continuing rush of approval.

Content providers are outer-affirmed, artists inner-affirmed, regardless of the content or product's inherent value.

Elfquest books were art: Wendy did them through love. Superman comics are simple stories, simple art, with reassurance that in times of trouble, someone special will bail everyone out. (Sound a lot like religion? It appeals to the same mindset.)

Artists who create things that appeal to them will usually attract a loyal following of people who can see the beauty created. Successful content providers must satisfy external appetites, and will always attract a larger following than artists.


Making a living at an artist in my opinion is easier than ever because of the global reach of the internet.
Take a look at this article which theorizes all you really need is 1000 true fans.

A comic book does not need to be the next superman. A band does not need to be as big as the Rolling Stones A writer does not need to create Harry Potter...
All you need is to be good enough that 1000 people out of 7 billion think that what you do is so amazing they will always support it. With the internet and the ease of publishing your work for the world to see without needing a middle man, a producer, an agent, or a publicist.. It is possible for anyone with great talent to make a living that supports their work.


As a young man fresh out of college and pursuing a career as an artist in New York City, I worked for a trucking company based in Greenwich Village. We picked up art from artists to deliver to galleries, and also delivered art from the galleries to the buyers. It was an unusual way to get a perspective on the "art world" as New Yorkers referred to it at the time.

Despite all the lofty pretense about the art, it was obvious to me that it was an investment commodity no different than stocks to many of the people who bought it on speculation that it would become more valuable. To them it was a just a thing, and I think many of the artists thought of their work in that way. I picked up and delivered a lot of Warhols then, and he was fairly up front about that fact that he was simply creating a commodity that people would pay outrageous sums for.

There were art trends, propelled by artists, galleries and buyers all betting on what was the path to profit, and had very little to do with "art" as I was pursuing it as an idealist. As a result, I became more practical in my approach and met with considerable success, but didn't want to feel guilty of "selling out".

I think that one of life's lessons is that, except for the very few fortunate or talented, most of us have to sell out at some point in order to make a living. The challenge as an artist is to bring something more to the task, an extra effort that is beyond what is necessary to just make money, in order to be true to one's self and the vision that brought you to the dance.


It seems to me that what you say has a great deal of truth to it. There is a rule of marketing that I had to learn several years ago: McDonald's hamburgers will always outsell the world's premium hamburgers. That's because McDonald's hamburgers match the tastes and expectations of many more people than do the premium hamburgers. And what you can say about hamburgers, you can say about anything -- cars, fine art, movies, clothing, housing, etc. It's not the top of the line that has the biggest market and sells the most, it's the middle of the line that has the biggest market and sells the most.

It's a bell curve. Seventy or eighty percent of consumers fall into the middle ranges of the market. The tiny remainder of consumers are split between the very top and the very bottom of the market. Hence, there are many more consumers for middle of the road products than there are for top of the line products.


People buy LOTS of art, but there is little rhyme or reason for it other than it is being sold to them.

When my Dad retired completely and gave all of his framed photos to the local library for their book sale, I found that any prints I wanted (and I have the original slides) were cheaper there and are still available several years later, than having new ones printed, much less matted.

NOTHING seems to sell by itself, a fact which I have bemoaned for decades now.

Every estate, yard , garage, rummage sale is full of wall art--most of which goes for the price of the frame...the market for used low value art is minimal at best.

But even technical solutions have to be sold. I spent 20 years consulting, and every single solution, however obvious and perfect for the problem needed to be sold to someone. (I asked a client once why they had chosen to implement a data structure in the manner they did (which was causing us to rework the entire multi-million line system,) to be told that the solution had been 'voted on, and that one lost.' That vote cost them millions.)

Most art is a bad investment. Many years ago, shortly after I got back froma feild trip to Alaska, I found a small soapstone Inuit carving at a garage sale. I'd not purchased any due to my budget while up North, but I'd priced them, and they were ~$100 or more each, selling for 2-3x that in Chicago, 100 miles away.

This seal was marked '25' which I thought was very cheap, and I picked it up to buy for my mother's birthday. It was 25 CENTS.

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, most have little ability to tell what is formally beautiful from crap.

As a photographer, I, like most, have had my share of telephone poles and other junk sticking out of my subjects head. Most people don't even seem to notice such stuff.

The artists I've known in school have difficulty telling the difference between a "finished" work and a work ready for sale.

All famous artists either were good self-promoters or were taken under the wing of one, and a great many rich art patrons seem to buy only on the recommendation of experts, but even they seldom buy pieces which appreciate a lot.

Oddly enough, some of the worlds most talented artists have been art forgers--capable of imitating dozens of different styles.

Most profitable artists are craftspeople who sell thousands or millions of copies, and the art itself could be any level of quality.

The average time spent looking at a piece in a museum is on the close order of 4 seconds.

The average person is as happy or happier with a poster of their favorite sports hero as with a poster of the Mona Lisa, or any other reproduction of any 'great' work.

Photography as an art has taken over a hundred years to obtain the probationary status of 'art.'

Much of this was the impression that a photo 'only captures what was already there,' which, of course, is all in the camera not the photographer.

'The camera never lies.' Is widely believed even today, but anyone who photographs seriously knows that the reverse is true--the camera ALWAYS lies.

For millennia, art was a method of conveying religious stories--mnemonics. All art stems from religion, and religion stems from brain chemistry and the feeling of helplessness in the face of the Universe.

The brain stimulation activated by religious experience and art are related, and people can be trained to appreciate just about anything to achieve that effect.

Decades ago there was a 6 year old in London who was drawing pictures that could easily have been attributed to Picasso. She was a savant, and to cure her inability to deal with the world, they disconnected her brain hemispheres--immediately she was 'normal'--and without the artistic ability.

While most people appreciate scenic beauty, the standard human reaction is to ooh and ahh, then dump our shit, literally or figuratively.

This is why the money lies in pandering to the lowest common denominator. People on the high end of intelligence an education expect depth in their art, things which enable them to look at the same piece over and over finding new things of interest each time.

Does this mean we should abandon Art?

No, it just means that it is something people have to know about to appreciate. For a piece to become valuable requires that there are people who appreciate it enough to pay much more than average for a piece--which requires training. (I don't count art 'investors' who actually can't always see anything except money when looking at a piece.)

But average people do come up with beautiful art, though much of it is merely a copy of something they've seen. Look at the colored rice images created in Japan by the farmers, typical of Japanese art, they are mostly historically important images with long histories. New images are seldom created.


I think art is art... and business is business. Many good artists has been lost, simply because they were poor businessmen.
That's why a rockband needs a manager, usually they are artists, but not salesmen.
Van Gogh died poor, but became famous when his pictures became a business, and if Bill Gates had been a good programmer, and a poor businessman, computers would probably have been very different today.

Charles added the below, a bit tangetial, but interesting:

Yeah, as an inventor, I foolishly believed the old "invent a better mousetrap..." crap.

With the last UK climate report, which split the possible geoengineering fixes for the climate into 2 groups--increase the albedo of the planet or remove the CO2 & other gases from the atmosphere, completely ignores the possible solution I found, which is to change the ocean circulation back to what it was before our climate went irregular.

Everyone talks about thinking outside the box, but they seldom actually want to consider any idea outside the box, and nearly the first thing that is done is to draw the box if one doesn't exist.

By nature, organisms are resistant to change--in Nature, few changes are for the better, most change disrupts the current status quo, and that is nearly always a bad thing historically.

Autistic spectrum disorders show this dislike to a huge degree--ANY change in environment or routine distresses a highly autistic person.

All the rage in industry is "innovation," which effectively means "minor change."  This is because:

1) It's usually easier to implement a minor change than a new method of doing something.
2) It's always cheaper to come up with innovation rather than invention.
3) Innovation, being a slight change to the staus quo, is much, much easier to sell.

In politics, change is discussed a lot, but much of the change that happens is designed to keep things as they are today.

Note that traffic circles, common in Europe for decades, are just now popping up all over the US to replace 4 way stops.

Religion & courts exist to act as a brake on progress--to preserve the status quo. Religious fundamentalism of all sorts acts as a brake on the already slow progress of change within religion (though the Roman Catholic Church made an increadible flip-flop in 990-1010. Went from peaceful "paradise on Earth" to "kill an infidel for the Lord.")

Me again:

I think an artist has to find something the public is *already* interested in, and connect with that. Norm found one such way: to have an ample bosom, and paint with your titties!

Forty billionaires, continued

I just found out an extra datum which seems to me to explain a lot about how Bill Gates and Warren Buffet could find as many as forty billionaires willing to pledge over half of their fortune to charity. According to Sunday Times, they have not pledged to give anything anytime soon, they have mere pledged to give it "sometime during their life or relatively soon after their death"... Heck, that's an easy promise to make, especially if you don't have any heirs you think would be much better off by becoming sudden billionaires (and who would?). And even if you do, how many billions do they need?

The extrovert Scandinavian

As discussed in various connections, I'm very introvert. This is not common in some countries, like USA or Italy, but it's quite common in others, like Japan or the Scandinavian countries.
Nicola told me this one:

How do you spot an extrovert Scandinavian?

He's the one looking at your shoes when he's talking to you instead of his own.


How to disagree

How to disagree, article.
An interesting classification of types of counter-arguments.

So Amazing, But Nobody is Happy

So Amazing, But Nobody is Happy, Louis CK video.

I may have posted this before, but it's worth a second look.