Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I think we've probably all seen that illusion with the lines that are supposed to look like different lenghths, and the one with he horseshoe with three pegs, and the necker cube, and M.C. Escher's drawings. Well it turns out there are musical illusions too. Check it out:

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Idea #3 (for real this time.)

So what we need to do is get rid of maps. Not all maps, I guess. Maps of interstates and urban areas I guess could be kept on file somewhere, in one of those giant library books that you can't take home. But let's destroy all the rest. and for some areas that are still wild, like the Brooks Range, lets get rid of maps entirely. Then everyone can be Bob Marshall, and not just people who were fortunate enough to be born in a time when there were still parts of the world that we had no idea existed.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Idea #3

They're just coming to me now! All of these ideas! Thank goodness I have the blog as an outlet or else I might end up murdering someone or composing a symphony or something.

Anyway, I got this one when I was reading about Bob Marshall, who was a forester from New York. He once looked at a map of the Brooks Range of Alaska and noticed that most of it wasn't mapped. He decided to go there for that reason.

His own account of the experience talks about how appealing uncharted territories are, and how much he loved treading over unmapped territory. And so what did he do?

That jerk mapped every single place he went in the Brooks Range! Agh! I mean, Come on, Bob. Did you even read your own words? What a hypocrite. I'm too angry to talk about Idea #3 now. I'll talk about it some other time.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Idea #2

Well I am very pleased with Idea #1 and thought it was time for another Idea.

So this one is a bit more abstract. I had a professor who I have talked quite a bit about on this blog. He has been very influential in how I view the world and relate to people. (You can thank him for my post about dreams a couple of months ago.) Anyway he once pointed out that your two eyes each send slightly different images to your brain. In other words, they disagree, and it is through the disagreement that you get a more accurate picture of the world. He likened that to scientific theories, which become stronger the more they are synthesized together with conflicting theories, and hinted that something similar takes place in other fields of knowledge and epistemology.

Wait! Stay with me here! Here's a picture:

Anyway, if having a couple of eyes spaced by three inches improves our mental representation of the world so much, imagine if they were spaced by three feet. Or three miles. Or 3,000 miles. We could have eyes all over the world, all feeding directly into our brains. Ears too! And maybe even a finger or a taste bud here or there. Imagine it! History would not be written just by the victors. The president couldn't lie nearly as easily. Someone would say "remember when..." and then some part of us would probably have been there to experience that event.

Stop. Wait. Idea #2 is getting cancerous due to premature application to too many phases of life, and we all know what happens when we do that. We get CFCs or worse: T-rexes tearing through our beautiful Jurassic Park.

So here is the new, refined Idea #2 (or what we'll start with, anyway): You each get one extra eye. You can place it anywhere in the world and, for simplicity's sake, assume that it is about as durable as a nalgene bottle. I mean, you can drop it and stuff, but don't back your car over it. The eyeball CANNOT locomote; it just stares, and gives you wireless information directly into your lateral geniculate nucleus (the thingy that interprets visual information) without having to watch it like a surveilance camera.

Because there you are at boarding school, learning all of this stuff that makes sense in boarding school, and then you go home and it all goes out the window. If you learned it while part of you was still at home, it would slip into your life seamlessly while you dust off Mr. Bear and call all of your old friends.

But maybe if you leave part of yourself at home, you would have never really learned that thing in boarding school after all. We'll have to do some pilot testing. Any volunteers?