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Tuesday, December 31, 2002
achronic

SOC is a dynamic first studied in regard to digitally simulated sand piles[5]. It is a dynamic that causes the systems in which it operates to spontaneously move towards a fractal description, i.e. that is, a scale-invariant description at which all scales of events are permissible. For example, in the case of the sand pile being formed by the steady dropping of sand grains, the pile eventually assumes, after experiencing avalanches of increasing size as the slope of the sand pile increases, what is termed a critical slope at which avalanches of all sizes are experienced as well as long periods of static behavior or stasis. Such scale invariance of avalanches, it should be noted, implies that the grains of sand are effectively behaving in a "cooperative" manner: a single grain may suffice to "persuade" others to cooperate. Generalizing, we can say that "in the critical self-organized state, two events are equally likely to act together, whether or not they occur close to each other in space and irrespective of how much time has elapsed between their individual occurrence."

[:: comment! :]

Monday, December 30, 2002
improbable coincidences

Synchronicity was defined by Jung as an "acausal connecting principle," an essentially mysterious connection between the personal psyche and the material world, based on the fact that at bottom they are only different forms of energy.

[:: comment! :]

Sunday, December 29, 2002
slavor

Behind the scenes was the reality. The small troop of GWAR Slaves kept the performance running at its fevered pitch. They spent the show readying the latex masks and body suits for the myriad costume changes. They pumped the various fluids out of large, belching canisters of CO2. They readied grotesque marionettes for use on stage. When GWAR Slaves trundled out onto stage to partake in the action, they affected the subservient posture of a mindless servant. As they came off, they took on the morose expressions of individuals involved in back-breaking labor. They grimaced and grunted as they battled the sweat-stained costumes. One could imagine how the task could became torture when performed nightly over the course of several years. In short, there was no joy in it. A weird concept when compared with the unabashed exaltation of the audience.

The disparity between the theatrical hell taking place onstage and the mindless zeal of that crowd that enjoyed it was a little surreal. Here was a band working phenomenally hard to create an empty absurdist experience for a crowd that could only accept it on its most base level. It seemed tragic. And when coupled with the fact that the band payed each member only twenty dollars a day for their toil, the gap between reality and perception widened.

[:: comment! :]

Saturday, December 28, 2002
ICP juggalos

On the concert floor, shirtless, face-painted fans chanted ICP lyrics and sprayed various flavors of Faygo on each other until the area in front of the stage became a soda swamp. ICP manager Alex Abbiss took the stage and chided fans for violating Juggalo etiquette — fans aren't supposed to destroy the stage until the final song, he reminded them. Abbiss begged Juggalos not to tear up the city of Toledo on their way out.

[:: comment! :]

Friday, December 27, 2002
dickheed

If there ever was a cult, in 1984 I managed to sign up as its lieutenant. All through my high-school years I'd planned to visit California and plant myself at the feet of my hero, but before I'd managed it, he died. So I clipped obituaries and went to college instead. When one of the clippings announced the formation of a "Philip K. Dick Society" dedicated to propagating his works and furthering his posthumous career, my flame of pilgrimage was relit. I dropped out and hitchhiked west, and in Berkeley I looked up Paul Williams, not the short blond songwriter, but the Crawdaddy!-founding rock critic who had interviewed Dick for Rolling Stone in 1974 and become the estate's literary executor. He was wearing a Meat Puppets T-shirt the day I found him. Paul made immediate good use of me, mostly for licking stamps. I hosted the PKD Society's envelope-stuffing parties in my Berkeley apartment, two blocks from the tiny woodframe house where Dick had lived during the writing of his first ten or so novels. And, a great thrill, I later sold the Dick estate a few dozen of the hundreds of spare copies of paperbacks I'd assembled—my book hunting had become obsessive, and by then I owned three, four, and even five copies of most of the more than three dozen out-of-print titles. The estate didn't. In order to "further his posthumous career," Paul needed copies of the rarest books to send to prospective publishers. Vulcan's Hammer, in other words, is sort of my fault.

[:: comment! :]

Thursday, December 26, 2002
complex city

These MRSEC experiments and others like them are the building blocks for simulations created by Rosner's and Kadanoff's groups. "Simulators," Rosner notes, "solve equations. We must ask, first, Are we solving the right equations, and second, Are the equations correctly solved? Experimentalists tell us whether we're solving the right equations. Can our calculations produce what the experimentalists can measure in the lab? The next question is, Can we solve problems that are produced in nature? Somewhat. But that answer will change in the coming decade." (He estimates that in three years turbulence simulations will be cracked.)

btw, site redesign brought to you by "helium on the surface of a neutron star [which] can burn so vigorously that a detonation wave—a shock wave followed closely by a burning region—forms, moving across the star's surface at 1⁄30 the speed of light" (and then "[a]fter 150 microseconds the helium converts to nickel" :) also, "a full, multiphysics calculation of a nuclear detonation within an exploding star." courtesy of the flash center!

[:: comment! :]

Wednesday, December 25, 2002
axiocratic

In fact, there was a far greater problem with Euclid's axioms than his inclusion of the Parallel Postulate. His axiom system omitted many basic assumptions that he, and generations of subsequent scholars, unconsciously used in deriving the theorems that supposedly followed from the axioms. It was left to the German mathematician David Hilbert to set the record straight in the late 19th century, by writing down those crucial missing axioms.

[:: comment! :]

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