Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Fallacy of The Unbounded Middle

In the pineapple episode of The Tick (animated series), the monkey Yank talked about "the fallacy of the unbounded middle". He was talking to a mad dictator who wanted to conquer more and more countries.  It seems to be not a common term, but I found this interesting bit:

Paul Fritsch said:
While I do not subscribe to the “The Grapes Were Sour” philosophy, it strikes me that the idea that immortality must be a good thing is an example of “The Fallacy of the Unbounded Middle” to use the monkey's terminology . That is, a little is good. More is better. Thus an unlimited amount is great. This turns out to be rarely the case. There is usually a point that is reached where more is no longer better, but worse. The first 100 million is good, but after that is just a burden. All billionaires have fulltime security and can never do the things we take for granted. Think “World of Tiers”. After a few thousand years, it all could get boring.

Pascal said:

I'm considering writing novels on that theme: Bruce Almighty, serious version. If you were to become even moree all-powerful than Superman, I mean REALLY, capable of doing almost anything you can IMAGINE... what would you do?
For the sake of convenience, we'll skip the whole part "becoming Absolute Overlord of the Earth and reveling in luxury and the terricfied worship of the masses".
You're all-powerful. Oh, and of course also as everlasting as you can beart to think. Time, means... it's all yours. Think you can do a good job at making the Universe a place you like more than now?

That is indeed an excellent question, which is asked surprisingly rarely. 

As a child I dreamed about being Superman. As an adult... in the real world, what could he *do* really? How often do you just happen to come across airplanes dropping helplessly from the sky? 

Censor Bar Art by Southern Fried Records

[Thanks to Pascal]

Censor Bar Art by Southern Fried Records. Big visual fun is had with black sensor bars on bare beauties.

Sound of sex could alert internet porn filter

Sound of sex could alert internet porn filter, New Scientist article.
struggle to distinguish between indecent imagery and more innocuous pictures with large flesh-coloured regions, such as a person in swimwear or a close-up face. Analysing the audio for a "sexual scream or moan" could solve the problem, say electrical engineers MyungJong Kim

I swear this world is getting weirder and funnier every day.

Oddities in web articles

There are some odd things going on in the less groomed areas of the vast garden of web articles. See for example this article, ultra-generically named "Information on e-Book Readers" by a pretty much unidentified writer. Here's a bit:

Usually, these people can never get enough of sites which offer free ebooks at a relatively low price because when book-lovers are replacing a book they already own, they are not after raking up a large tab. Sites such as the ebook library are even catering to the newest form of eBook Readers in the iPod Touch and the iPad. 
With these two devices, ebooks become even more impressive because the screens big enough to fit plenty of pictures or words and allow you to do so much more thanks to their touch screen functionality. They also allow you to do a lot more thanks to the functionality provided by the touch screen. Once the fees are paid, any book, enewspaper or magazine in the site's library can be downloaded for free and it is completely legal.

This is odd writing. Apart from the touch screen functionality being mentioned twice in a row, what is this "ebook Library", where I can apparently find huge amounts of books and newspapers for pennies? And why is it remarkable that it should "cater to" iPod Touch and iPad? (the former of which can hardly be called an ebook reader.) And apart from missing verbs and such, saying that the iPod Touch has a screen "big enough to fit plenty of pictures or words" is pushing the truth to the breaking point.

It gets weirder yet, this article was apparently found good enough by somebody to warrant blatant plagiarizing. He writes exactly the same, only with slightly different words, the most amusing instance is that he calls the iPod Touch "the iPod Bit", I wonder where that came from?
The two latest entries in the digital reading field, the Apple iPod Bit and iPad create ebook reading even more convenient and enjoyable as a result of of their massive screens that are easy on the eyes and the flexibility of the bit screen technology. One new trend that appears to be stoning up ever additional thanks in massive part to shoppers who are wanting to avoid wasting a buck is services that permit you to download an infinite provide of ebooks, eNewspapers and eComics just by paying a monthly, yearly or lifetime fee. 

(Again, I would really like to know where I can find this library.)
"appears to be stoning up ever additional thanks in massive part to shoppers" Uhm, what?

The latter article hails from, which has the, to me, dubious idea of convincing writers to give away their articles widely in the hope of getting recognition. Any site can then use any article from ArticlesBase for free. The reason it seems dubious is that so far every article I've read from that site has been clear hackwork. And of course it does invite it: what gets your name out there the most: one thoughtful article, or 100 quick-and-dirty articles on popular topics?

Oh, by the way, here's an extra fun bit: the first article has an odd link at the end which links to itself for no clear reason. And the way I found that article is that the second article neglected to remove that link when they plagiarized the first article! Oh my goodness!      :-)

F-stop Creek

[Thanks to Tommy]

Friday, May 20, 2011

Photos and drawings

This is a really cute idea. Art by Ben Heine.

Tips and tricks

David Pogue has a good bunch of basic tips and tricks. Hardly anybody at all know them all.
This one for instance will help me daily:
In Microsoft Word, when you paste in text from another document—say, a Web site — you may not want all the boldface, colors, fonts and other formatting from the original source. Instead of using the regular Paste command, in that case, open the Edit menu and click Paste Special. Click Unformatted Text. You’ll get just the text, without the fanciness.

This also works works when I paste text from a web site into a blog post. I select Edit/Paste and match style. Previously I had to change back and forth between "compose" mode and HTML mode in the blog posts. Otherwise I'd get a big mess of formatting in the middle of the post. (Not sure why that is default.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Protect yourself from Phishing

This article in on a Mac site, but it applies equally well to other platforms. It's about "phishing", which is when people send bogus emails to trick you into giving them important information, like a letter from "your bank" telling you to click a link and go confirm your details.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What is "tension" in art?

To me it's obvious that part of the reason I like the picture above is that it has "tension" in the composition. But I was just challenged to define that, and I'm struggling a bit with it.

Can anybody help? What makes for a composition which has good Tension?

... It has something to do with the different elements of the frame, and the play between harmony or disharmony between them. Perhaps the play between connection and disconnection between them.

All harmony and connection is pleasant, but boring and probably not important. All disharmony and disconnection is discordant and unpleasant, and unproductive. There has to be a play between them, I think.
(This goes for music and writing too, surely.)

"New York Times Editor Is a Horrible Troll Who Doesn't Understand the Modern World"

My goodness, the myopic idea that modern communication media make us stupid is still kicking around. Well, at least here's a good rebuttal.

Jes said:
Well, here's my side of the story. Back when I was in high school, before I had internet access, I was painfully shy. And believe me, painful is the only way to describe it. I was basically incapable of communicating with people. When I did get internet access, I very slowly, steadily started talking to people online. It helped me get some experience with interacting with people. And I also came into contact with certain ideas that helped me conquer my insecurities. These are things that I never would've been exposed to without the internet.

These days, I have a pretty decent social life. Sure, a lot of it's still online, but I hang out with my friends in real life, I talk to girls everyday, go on dates, and I'm working on getting a band together. I probably spend less than five minutes a day on facebook, and I've never used twitter. People say that modern technology deteriorates a person's social skills, but it drastically improved mine.

Still, I'm not going to pretend it's all great. There's obviously something addictive about modern communication. And I do think it cripples a person's social skills if they rely on it too much. Ya know, like how that anonymous guy that hangs around here seems to think the way he communicates is normal. It's usually pretty obvious to me when a person's spent too much time on the internet.

But for me, it's been a great thing for the most part. I'd just hate to think where my life would be right now if I never had the internet. I imagine I'd be in a very, very dark place.

Morgan Webb

WebbAlert is sadly no more, but how about that Morgan Webb? OMG, brains and such beauty. A classic face.

Massive Six-Foot-Long Homemade Large Format Camera

Massive Six-Foot-Long Homemade Large Format Camera, article.
Photographer Darren Samuelson spent seven months building a massive homemade large-format camera that’s about six-feet-long when fully extended. He shoots with 14×36-inch x-ray film that’s about 1/12th the cost of ordinary photographic film but much harder to develop.

Some people love to buck trends, in this case the trend towards more portable and more automatic (and more digital) cameras.

Tangled Up [NOT DISNEY] [DVD]

Tangled Up [NOT DISNEY] [DVD].

Apparently some kind of plagiarism rip-off. A solid *one* star over 43 reviews!! You don't see that often.


I've finally signed up for Instagram, the free and fun photo-sharing service for iPhone. So if you're on it too, search for Eolake and get my feed. And tell me about yours.

I decided today because I found Screenstagram, a Mac screensavers which takes photos from Instagram and fills your screen with them.

Axe table

Talking about The Shining...

(Design: Chris Duffy.)

The cat in the hat

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ol’ Mark Pincus Had a Farm

Ol’ Mark Pincus Had a Farm, long article.

The CEO of the company making FarmVille is a billionaire! (Though it may be the poker division which is the bigger cash cow.)

Gaming, huh? That's one addiction I could never get into. I've tried many times, then I lose interest after half an hour at best. I think the only exception was a couple of weeks the summer when I was 13, I played Space Invaders every day at the beach burger bar.

I think that I'm too much addicted to thinking. When watching a movie or reading, you can still think. But most games, if you slow down to think, you lose. And it's just not interesting to me whether I win or lose in some completely artificial construct. Whereas many people take it very seriously indeed, for many of them they play every game, whether football or Backgammon, like it's life or death, and it clearly feels that way to them often. My dad played chess with a neighbor many moons ago, and when the guy lost, he didn't say anything, but he took his empty beer bottle and threw it across the living room, across the kitchen and into the sink, where it exploded in a million pieces. His wife just continued her knitting, didn't bat an eyebrow. I must say, nice throwing arm though.

Who Stan Kubrick is interested in

A lady is interviewed

I just saw a TV ad for an upcoming interview with pop singer Lady Gaga. The ad said, in the now-standard breathless in-your-face style, words to this effect: "in this interview, nothing is out of bounds, every subject is touched, from her fame, over her iconic style, to her coming world tour".
Wow, that's hard-hitting journalism there. Not afraid to ask those unusual and sensitive questions! What's next, her favorite color?

Photopic Sky Survey

[Thanks to Ray]

The Photopic Sky Survey is a 5,000 megapixel photograph of the entire night sky stitched together from 37,440 exposures.

I woulda thunk Nasa woulda done this, or somebody.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tap Mag

I like Tap Magazine. They put some thought into it, unlike mags like T3 for instance, which is all hype.
This month they posted one of my drawings! Zippidy. I always get a kick out of that.
I've lost count of the letters, drawings, and photos I've had published in magazines since I was a child. It's no big deal, but it's a validation, it's fun, and it encourages you to go on.

Tap is a UK paper magazine, though I read it on the iPad, via Zinio. I quite like that app, I subscribe to maybe a dozen magazines on it. 

Silent World by Michael Kenna

Silent World by Michael Kenna, photo compositions.

35 Inspiring Color Palettes from Master Painters

35 Inspiring Color Palettes from Master Painters, article, graphics.
These could be good inspiration for designers or artists or decorators.

Careful what you wish for

"Careful what you wish for" is one of the most under-rated truisms in the world.
This example may be a bit extreme, but there's a lot to it.