Monthly Archives: February 2011

Take 100 pictures each day, throw 99 away each night

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We dream 100 dreams every night, but in the morning remember at most one.

Take 100 pictures each day, throw 99 away each night.

I mean this both as a metaphor for experiencing life and ideas, and as a specific, mundane practice tactic I might try for accelerated learning of photography. Imagine taking 100 digital photos each day, as best you can, not sloppy just to achieve a numerical target, but then choosing exactly one to keep and deleting the rest forever. To remind yourself that you should be panning for gold, and that the days of your life are as ephemeral as those bits on your hard drive.

See also “Stealing from a dream“.

According to Wikipedia

The alba (“sunrise”) is a subgenre of Occitan lyric poetry. It describes the longing of lovers who, having passed a night together, must separate for fear of being discovered by their respective spouses.

According to Wikipedia, Australians

believe that every person essentially exists eternally in the Dreaming. This eternal part existed before the life of the individual begins, and continues to exist when the life of the individual ends. Both before and after life, it is believed that this spirit-child exists in the Dreaming and is only initiated into life by being born through a mother.

Aside: Imagine this movie nightmare/hallucination effect. Picture a manic artist in a garret, “Genius on a hot plate. Genius for a midnight snack.” But then genius and spiders. Spiders are suddenly crawling on his arms, then more and more, and quickly his entire body and head down to its core is transformed into a writhing mass of spiders (not just covered with spiders), as he runs around screaming as if on fire.

A hostage situation

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The longer you stay hostage to your fears, the more you identify with them.

According to Wikipedia

In psychology, Stockholm syndrome is a term used to describe a paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein hostages express adulation and have positive feelings towards their captors that appear irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, essentially mistaking a lack of abuse from their captors as an act of kindness.

The longer you cower in the corner, the more comfortable the box.

Cowering in the corner

Who would top an honest Forbes richest list?

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According to Rick Newman

There are no Mubaraks on the Forbes list of the world’s richest people, but there sure ought to be.

Maybe Mubarak isn’t actually richer than Bill Gates, but are we to seriously believe that he shouldn’t be somewhere on the richest list? I presume there’s some quiet, fine print in Forbes’ rules that justifies excluding shadow fortunes.

Mubarak, unlike penny-ante operator Fidel Castro, wasn’t even mentioned on Forbes “Fortunes Of Kings, Queens And Dictators“.

I wonder who would top an honest list of the world’s richest men? Probably somebody we’ve never even heard of. There are known to be tens of trillions hidden away from the tax man, but that’s only a fraction of the annual $60 trillion GDP, so probably also just the tip of the accumulated iceberg of theft. Who can even estimate the amount of bearer bonds floating around, the wealth looted by generations of empires and hidden behind networks of holding companies, and so on?

Yet, it’s always time for austerity measures. What fools we are. Letting the super-rich gang rape Mother Earth towards no real purpose, just bigshots keeping score.

Monopolists kill job growth and innovation

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According to Barry C. Lynn and Phillip Longman

But while the mystery of what killed the great American jobs machine has yielded no shortage of debatable answers, one of the more compelling potential explanations has been conspicuously absent from the national conversation: monopolization. The word itself feels anachronistic, a relic from the age of the Rockefellers and Carnegies. But the fact that the term has faded from our daily discourse doesn’t mean the thing itself has vanished—in fact, the opposite is true. In nearly every sector of our economy, far fewer firms control far greater shares of their markets than they did a generation ago.

and

Antitrust enforcers weren’t content simply to prevent giant firms from closing off markets. In dozens of cases between 1945 and 1981, antitrust officials forced large companies like AT&T, RCA, IBM, GE, and Xerox to make available, for free, the technologies they had developed in-house or gathered through acquisition. Over the thirty-seven years this policy was in place, American entrepreneurs gained access to tens of thousands of ideas—some patented, some not—including the technologies at the heart of the semiconductor. The effect was transformative. In Inventing the Electronic Century, the industrial historian Alfred D. Chandler Jr. argued that the explosive growth of Silicon Valley in subsequent decades was largely set in motion by these policies and the “middle-level bureaucrats” in the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division who enforced them in the field.

Goodbye, Amazon rainforest

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According to Simon Lewis

Having two events of this magnitude in such close succession is extremely unusual, but is unfortunately consistent with those climate models that project a grim future for Amazonia.

and

Two unusual and extreme droughts occurring within a decade may largely offset the carbon absorbed by intact Amazon forests during that time. If events like this happen more often, the Amazon rainforest would reach a point where it shifts from being a valuable carbon sink slowing climate change, to a major source of greenhouse gasses that could speed it up.

Considerable uncertainty remains surrounding the impacts of climate change on the Amazon. This new research adds to a body of evidence suggesting that severe droughts will become more frequent leading to important consequences for Amazonian forests.

If greenhouse gas emissions contribute to Amazon droughts that in turn cause forests to release carbon, this feedback loop would be extremely concerning. Put more starkly, current emissions pathways risk playing Russian roulette with the world’s largest rainforest.

Opulent waste at the Brunei car tomb

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According to Paul Craig Roberts

Easily more than one billion dollars of Brunei’s oil revenues had found their way into the finance minister’s car collection.

Sheehan reports that the cars were stored in about 12 buildings “surrounded by a high wall topped with razor wire and with a bomb-proof front gate” and patrolled by “armed Gurkhas with very serious German shepherds.” The security was for naught, because “the air conditioning was off, but the tropical sun was not.” Years of heat and humidity had destroyed the cars. The storage facilities had become a car tomb.

Sheehan concluded that most of the cars were in such a state of ruin that only a few of the cars had sufficiently high inherent values to support commercially viable restorations. The best use of the rest, Sheehan decided, would be to turn them into an artificial ocean reef.

The careless waste is shocking and even more so to car buffs who consider many of the ruined cars to be artistic masterpieces.