Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lost and hard nosed mysticism

A lot of my more techie (rather than fuzzy friends, using Stanford parlance) have been complaining about the Lost Finale. Lamenting that the hard-nosed sci-fi aspect was lost, in favor of less-grounded topics like mysticism.

Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives (Vintage)But I believe mysticism can be grounded. I really liked Sum, a recent book written by a neuro-scientist with 40 vignettes about the afterlife, such as reliving your life with all your activities summed up (months of sleeping followed by weeks of joy, followed by months of despair, followed by days of brushing your teeth, etc.) or discovering that God is the god of amoebas, and just does not comprehend you, any more than we comprehend galaxies, or the idea that after you die, you live on in the consciousness of everyone who knows you, which makes a lot of sense, given that probably the best definition of somebody is just the information patterns in their brain, and that lives on as mental models that neuro science tells us our brains build of those around us.

AnathemAlso, Stephenson's last few novels like Anathem have tried to reconcile mysticism with science, and his Baroque Cycle books which describe how Newton and Leibniz essentially invented science (and modern economics) out of alchemy and mysticism, and that reason and mysticism are actually not so different.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cat And Girl comic: Maladaptive

ComicKind of cool, combined my ambivalence of liking NPR music (because of the weird combination of identity signaling and counter-signaling that I've thought a lot about) and the theory of organizational ecology, a sociological organizational behavior theory that was pretty dominant back at Stanford but I haven't thought about much since grad school.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tell me a Story

One thing I remember from when I was around 10 years old (the setting was usually the car ride by the Quik Chek in Morristown) was my mom always asking me to talk about my day, and making me start over if I didn't tell it right. In the end, I think that was a useful exercise. Apparently she was not the only one who thought so.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Web-comics as harbinger for New Media

It is interesting reading about how web comic artists make money, since it could be a harbinger for the business model of all future content whether it is music, to tv, to movies, to news. Where the content is given away for free, as a way to sell ancillary products and services like concerts for bands or consulting services for software. The main webcomics I read, xkcd and order of the stick, seem to follow exclusively, use the comics to sell books and t-shirts model.