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    The Feynman Series

    Once again, Reid Gower presents a wonderful compilation of music and footage accompanying
    the wise words of a modern scientific sage.  Last time is was Carl Sagan, this time Gower
    features the “Great Explainer,” physicist Richard P. Feynman.  Feeling blue?  Hit play.


    The Sagan Series

    A young Canadian lad named Reid Gower has put together a wonderful compliation of Carl Sagan's narratives on huamnity and space, coupled with beautiful and haunting shots of humans, the planet, and space (the images are extracted from documentaries such as Planet Earth, Home, Microcosms, Baraka, and the like).

    But to preface this series, here's what Carl Sagan had to sad to say about using cannabis:

    The cannabis experience has greatly improved my appreciation for art, a subject which I had never much appreciated before. The understanding of the intent of the artist which I can achieve when high sometimes carries over to when I'm down. This is one of many human frontiers which cannabis has helped me traverse. There also have been some art-related insights - I don't know whether they are true or false, but they were fun to formulate. For example, I have spent some time high looking at the work of the Belgian surrealist Yves Tanguey. Some years later, I emerged from a long swim in the Caribbean and sank exhausted onto a beach formed from the erosion of a nearby coral reef. In idly examining the arcuate pastel-colored coral fragments which made up the beach, I saw before me a vast Tanguey painting. Perhaps Tanguey visited such a beach in his childhood.

    A very similar improvement in my appreciation of music has occurred with cannabis. For the first time I have been able to hear the separate parts of a three-part harmony and the richness of the counterpoint. I have since discovered that professional musicians can quite easily keep many separate parts going simultaneously in their heads, but this was the first time for me. Again, the learning experience when high has at least to some extent carried over when I'm down. The enjoyment of food is amplified; tastes and aromas emerge that for some reason we ordinarily seem to be too busy to notice. I am able to give my full attention to the sensation. A potato will have a texture, a body, and taste like that of other potatoes, but much more so. Cannabis also enhances the enjoyment of sex - on the one hand it gives an exquisite sensitivity, but on the other hand it postpones orgasm: in part by distracting me with the profusion of image passing before my eyes. The actual duration of orgasm seems to lengthen greatly, but this may be the usual experience of time expansion which comes with cannabis smoking.

    The Sagan Series:


    Video Mapping, Earth From Above, and Urban Parks 

    Searching for an Opium Den, I stumbled across the "Flight:Light NYC" street festival this past Saturday night.  Here's some footage I took of the video mapping projection illuminated against the facade of St. Patrick’s Cathedral:

    Did you like that?  Do you like rhetorical questions?  Regardless, check this out: Video Mapping in Prague:

    In addition to the displays of electromagnetic artwork and the interactive digital pandemonium, a series of presentations were given in an auditorium where $3 pints of beer were being sold.  I drank several beers and watched a handful of the presentations.  The themes I remember range from critical assessments of the development of monstrous "eco-cities" and industrial parks, including the artificial islands in Dubai:

    Apparently, the Arabic scripture constructed around one of the Palm Islands is a line from a poem which reads, “it takes a man of vision to write on water.”  Though a testament to the ingenuity of human engineering and our species ability to thrive in extreme climates, the existence of resource guzzling superstructures and elite mega-resorts in one of hottest places on Earth reminds me of a different quote that I just made up: “there are no absolutes fool, only absolute fools.” 

    Dubai was addressed in a discussion regarding the habit of people to build designs (known as geoglyphs) on land that are only visible from the sky; often built when they could not be viewed in full by the people who built them.  The Nazca lines in Peru and the Marree Man in Australia are two examples.
    Nazca George W. Bush

    On the topic of aerial photography, the man presenting showed the audience this picture:,_1903.jpg/449px-Dr_Julius_Neubronner_patented_a_miniature_pigeon_camera_activated_by_a_timing_mechanism,_1903.jpg
    German cyborg pigeon

    The pigeon is among the first to have a miniature camera attached to it.  It, and others like it, flew around pre-WWI Germany taking pictures of the city and landscape.

    This reminds me of when Team Black Sheep recently dared to dream.  They attached a camera to a remote controlled plane and flew it around New York City.  Awesome:

    The documentary Home features a primarily birds-eye view of the natural world and human activities.  Though visually stunning, the narration is melodramatic and the information sometimes contradicts itself (if you can’t watch the whole thing, check out the footage of Dubai starting around the 35 minute point).  I could only embed the trailer:

    Other presentations in the auditorium examined Urban Parks.  I got to see Hass and Hahn present on their work in Brazil, where they’ve been painting the favelas with the locals.  Here’s one picture I took of their work, but they’ve got plenty of crisp examples on their website.  Pretty inspiring stuff:

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