Category Archives: Creativity

Violins and hot chicks

I reported about the violinist Vanessa Mae in the past and just have to revisit the subject now that another Youtube sensation has crossed my 32 inch monitor (yes, I am using a HD TV as my day to day monitor instead of investing in some reading glasses).

If you haven’t clicked through to the other link yet, here is what I mean when I say Vanessa Mae…

And then we have the bubbly Lindsey Stirling who combines violin play with a very unique type of dancing. I am just blown away how you can hop around so wildly and then play the violin without missing a beat…

She seems to be a real member of the new youtuber crowd, offering something really worth spending your time on and maintaining a light and fluffy communication with the fans. I like it when an artist understands that this friendly contact is way better than being aloof.

Experiments in QR

Before there was NFC (near field communication), now built into the Nexus S, to read tags embedded in physical objects via electromagnetic radiation, there was another method of doing the same thing with light (just another electromagnetic wave length), which did not catch on as much as I wished it had – because I think, it’s darn cool and it’s so much cheaper to print a QR code on something instead of buying these NFC chips. Sure, communication is one-way but when comparing the cost of printing a little square on a sticker with the current cost of NFC stickers (about a dollar) the choice for the occasional user seems to be clear.

But if we look at Google for guidance, it appears the QR code might be dead. They had started to promote QR codes heavily a while back with Google Local stickers (with a QR code) sent to local businesses, but that is now all over and Android appears to be heading – again heavily – into support for NFC.

Oh well, but you can nicely play with QR codes and the error correction even allows to mess with the codes to a degree.

I did just that and came up with this custom QR code. It is pointless for this article because you are already on the site this code points to, but I had fun playing with it (the original code was generated by Raco Industries.) And then I went wild with photoshop and made my very own vanity QR code.

Take a look, get out your phone and see if it really works…

Living Under Water

A very early exposure to the idea of living under water came through a German science fiction series “Space Patrol” in the 60s, just a tad before the original StarTrek. Mankind had settled on the floor of the ocean and space ships took off from underwater bases through water funnels.

And after an adventure in space the crew met in the Starlight Casino for a drink and a round of futuristic dancing. Commander McLane’s apartment was obviously also located at the underwater city.

Something a bit more tangible was then envisioned in 2006 with the Hydropolis Underwater Hotel and Resort, but at this time it seems as if this project is at least on ice if not completely scrapped.

In other words, currently we still have to live with just the imagination of living under water. These imaginations are made a bit easeer through the pictures of Elena Kalis.

(from her Google+ Album)

Magnificent Photos

And another collection of magnificent photos came my way – thank you, Beverly!

See…

I got these photos in the form of a powerpoint presentation. The best way to do this is to open the ppt in PowerPoint and export it as a web page (not a single one). This will create, beside the main HTML, a directory filled with all the images you might need, as well as sound files (if there is a soundtrack in the ppt.) With the last two PowerPoint presentations, I had the hardest time to even find where the sound files were imported in the presentation, far from finding a way to actually export them. That, and all the image exporting is now easy after I found the ‘export as a web page.’

I want to be like everybody else

Today I started reading the book “The Art of Non-Conformity” and right there on the first page. Not that I wanted to stand out! – No Way!

But reading book on how to do things are often a good source of ‘How to do the opposite.’

And right there on the first few pages I find invaluable information, that I just had to share.

11 Ways to be Unremarkably Average

  1. Accept what people toll you at face value.
  2. Don’t question authority.
  3. Go to college because you’re supposed to, not because you wont to learn something.
  4. Go overseas once or twice In your life, to somewhere safe like England.
  5. Don’t try to learn another language; everyone else will eventually learn English.
  6. Think about starting your own business, but never do it.
  7. Think about writing a book, but never do it.
  8. Get the largest mortgage you qualify for and spend 30 years paying for it.
  9. Sit at a desk 40 hours a week for an average of 10 hours of productive work.
  10. Don’t stand out or draw attention to yourself.
  11. Jump through hoops, Check off boxes.

There you have it!

JD Flora on the RPF

Flemming’s Facebook wall post about Mr. Hubbard prompted me to dig through the Logs of JD Flora to find that one log that I enjoyed most as it so succinctly describes life on the lowest rungs of the group with the lofty goal to clear the planet. I particularly liked the character Marty – why? – because that is yours truly!

Log #81 – Rehabilitating the Rehabilitating

East Hollywood, July 25th, 1984, 11 pm

Marty claims that he never really was on the RPF’s RPF.

Really, he says, he never was on the RPF in the first place. He simply rejected the RPF assignment from the beginning, wrote an appeal to RTC, and assumed a waiting position.
This created a considerable problem for the RPF leadership. To them, there are just two possible choices once you have been assigned to the RPF: “Bow or Blow”.

When I saw the ethics officer or the Bosun talking to him about the redeeming values of the RPF and how great it would be to do the FPRD, their eyes and gestures expressed yet a different message:

“You got a car outside in the parking lot, more money than the entire staff of the Complex together – so why don’t you just blow the joint. We’re all looking in a different direction, nobody will try to hold you back. Just leave us alone !”

But no, Marty appeared at every muster in bright clothes, a sharp contrast to the dark blue, greasy outfit of the rest of the bunch.

What an embarrassment to the Bosun!

What if some staff watched the muster and discovered this disgrace to the entire RPF? Worse, what if some exec would report her to the RPF I/C ?

It was not that Marty would have tried to interfere with anything that happened on the RPF, nor that he would have spent his time elsewhere (although he was driving around in his huge Ford station wagon and went to the movies every once a while). He was just present, watching the show, often expressing utter amazement.

For example, when I together with some other not-so-tall guys went under the galley. This was a three feet high gallery underneath the galley for the purpose of routing excess water (and other stuff which I don’t want to mention here) into the public water disposal system.
Every once a while, things were getting clogged, and someone, usually from the RPF’s RPF, had to crawl in there through a tiny window in the wall of the floor underneath it. Equipped with rakes, the water and other things were getting moved into the drain openings.

At that occasion, I happened to witness some of the largest cockroaches on this planet. And I overcame the claustrophobia that I had after a while, too. The very special smell that one was taking on after such a mission made people turn around in shock more than a hundred yards away.

It took easily three days with lots of showers to get rid of the worst. Still, many weeks after this, when I was back at my parent’s home, my mother complained about a very strange and peculiar smell on me, and she couldn’t quite figure out what to make of it.

Back to the RPF. It’s time for ‘success stories’:

Paul waves his hands. He had been in Ethics for three straight weeks because he refused to own up to his own overts as witnessed by his aggravation after getting slapped by DM.
The Bosun points to Paul. “Your turn tonight, Paul!”. She smiles, knowing that his little speech will be an impressive testimony for the effectiveness and righteousness of the RPF, herself, the Church, the Founder, in short all decent people. Screw everybody else, they’re criminal minds anyway.

Paul: “Well, you all know that I’m here on the RPF for what seems a very long time. But one thing I realized after the great sessions I got from my twin Pete and after the excellent ethics handling I received for nearly a month. Actually, I realized so many things, eh, just too many to list.

“Eh. Really, I was so unethical for so many millions of years that it is a true miracle that everything, I mean EVERYTHING, could be cleaned up in just a couple of weeks in Ethics on the RPF!

“I finally as-ised the source of my constant out-ethics completely and I’m ready to go back on post again. It is absolutely amazing how effectively the RPF rehabilitates even the worst out-ethics! I want to thank the Bosun, of course. Without her my rehabilitation would not have been possible. I’m so grateful, I don’t find the words for it really…”

Paul sits down again and all people clap their hands.

The Bosun is flattered and tries to hide it.

“Great success story, Paul. Thanks for sharing! Who else wants to share a success tonight?”

Marty turns around on the chair to pick something up from the table behind him. The Bosun freezes. It looked like Marty would have raised his arm.

In panic, she whirls around and starts staring at the huge blackboard behind her. After being immobilized for a moment, she is shouting: “That’s it. Let’s give the Commodore a hand.” A standing ovation follows. Three hipp-hipp-hurrays. More applause. All for and to a picture at the wall.

Only Marty remains seated reading in a book.

I hear a soft, deep voice behind me. I look around but there is only an empty cabinet.
Something feels strange around and about me. It seems as if time would run slower and then faster again. Like impinged upon by a ripple in the fabric of space and time, my perceptions warped.

Then I heard the voice again.
“How would YOU go about it?”

– End of Log #81 –

In case that awakened your appetite, all three volumes are now for sale on Amazon and I am proud to tell you that I had the honor of editing and applying last touches to volumes II and III.

    

Inner Versus Outer Motivation

Many, many – – many – years ago I had a little friend, three actually. When I met the three nephews/nieces if my best buddy they were three/four/five years old. Harald, the middle one came out to the garden where my buddy and I were drinking beer to check out that new dude. One of the first test he conducted was “how does he react to pinching?” My reaction – “pinching back” – must have been the correct one because we became really good friends and grew up together until I finally had to leave the country (but that is a whole different story.)

One of the stories with Harald I remember was that he came up with the idea of washing my car. It was another beer-drinking session in the garden, a few grown-ups doing all the work and several kids playing in the garden as well – not drinking beer!

This is when Harald had the idea “Can I wash your car?” Generous as I was – and knowing that the car could really use that treatment – I said “Sure!” There was quite some commotion about finding a hose, sponges and other things that I did not know you needed to wash a car and an hour later my car was clean(er), and Harald was very proud about his job well done.

Several of the beer-drinking, session-attending adults now suggested that I should pay Harald something for his work. But even at that young age I was too smart for my own good and realized that this would not be a good thing. So, I politely declined to follow those recommendations and instead demonstrated Harald how much I appreciated his deed by becoming an even better friend.

Sometimes it takes the universe a long time to acknowledge the correctness of ones actions, and for this event I finally found the acknowledgment after so many years in form of a TED talk that I just have to share here.

Here we go – enjoy!

Hell – is it exothermic or endothermic?

This is the story of a special bonus question during a college chemistry test which most of the students answered with a varying degree of humor and fantasy. The story is just that – a story. I have no means of deciding of it was an actual professor with a sense of humor or just a creative writer – but whatever it is, it’s a good story.

Here is the question and the answer of the student who got an A+.

Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?

Answer: First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving, which is unlikely. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, let’s look at the different religions that exist in the world today.

Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle’s Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.

This gives two possibilities:

1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.

2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

So which is it?

If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman year that, ‘It will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you,’ and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number two must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over. The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct…..

…leaving only Heaven, thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting ‘Oh my God.’