Thursday, 26 November 2015

Today, while read­ing Tom Vanderbilt’s The Pleasure and Pain of Speed from Nautilus’ Issue 9, I learned about the sac­cade. This is the term for the rapid move­ment of eyes be­tween fix­a­tion on dif­fer­ent ob­jects. Our vi­sual per­cep­tion is ba­si­cally turned off dur­ing this time — which, ap­par­ently, makes up about 60 — 90 min­utes of our day.

This ties in nicely to an an­thro­po­log­i­cal the­ory I have that I wrote about over a decade ago: The Space Between Thoughts. I think we have an in­stinc­tual aware­ness that our per­cep­tions are in­com­plete — and then we come up with all kinds of sto­ries and the­o­ries for what hap­pens in those gaps, and where our per­cep­tion fails. What hap­pens dur­ing a sac­cade. The sac­cade is where the coin reap­pears — where the magic hap­pens.

It’s nice to fi­nally have a word for it.

Historical Footnotes

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

I posit that the event hori­zon of “his­tor­i­cally im­por­tant” as a qual­ity of in­for­ma­tion is the point at which the dataset dis­ap­pears from liv­ing mem­ory. The mag­ni­tude of cer­tain events en­sures that they will be recorded for pos­ter­ity, but even then, the rea­sons be­hind that record­ing fade as the peo­ple who ex­pe­ri­enced it die. I might be us­ing the wrong terms here. Maybe it’s not his­tory I’m talk­ing about, but an­thro­pol­ogy. History is “these are the things that hap­pened”; an­thro­pol­ogy is “these are the ways peo­ple acted.”

Living as I do, in a so­ci­ety where many peo­ple are ar­guably ob­sessed with record­ing and archiv­ing every de­tail of their lives, I won­der what meth­ods fu­ture historians/​anthropologists will use to sift wheat from chaff — es­pe­cially when, as this post is ev­i­dence for, so much of what is shared and saved is chaff.

That’s long-term his­toric­ity. If his­tory is still be­ing recorded 5,000 years from now, this whole epoch will likely be re­duced to a one-liner: “An age of tech­no­log­i­cal growth so rapid it’s ef­fects threat­ened to de­stroy civ­i­liza­tion.”

Specific to this is the rise of the au­to­mated au­to­bi­og­ra­phy. People have been post­ing things on­line so long now that there are ser­vices to show us and let us share what we were do­ing to the day, 1, 3, 5, or 10 years ago. Is there a broader de­sire to con­sume these mini-his­to­ries, or do they just ex­ist to serve our need to feel more im­por­tant than we are? It doesn’t have to be either/​or. My bet is that it’s an ad­mix­ture of onanism, ex­hi­bi­tion­ism, and voyeurism.

Signal to noise de­pends on your ears.

Trash is trea­sure.


Wednesday, 30 April 2003

so… i’m — aahh — i had a poem in the stu­dent lit­er­ary mag­a­zine, The Juggler. does that make me a pub­lished poet? or does it have to count else­where? can i call my­self a poet now or is that still pre­ma­ture?

i was also in­ducted into the lambda al­pha beta chap­ter of the Anthropology Honor Society. I got a groovy card and a cer­tifi­cate. I don’t re­ally know what it means to be what­ever I am now. In fact, I think it is just a thing to say that you are and has no real mean­ing or im­pact. Kinda like Shriners. Or maybe not, cuz Shriners get to drive around in go-carts at pa­rades and they get to wear fezzes (sp? fezi?). More like a mem­ber of Congress. Yeah, def­i­nitely con­gress.

Applied Philosophy

Saturday, 25 May 2002


i know why i like an­thro­pol­ogy so much. i think i have fi­nally un­der­stood the holism of an­thro­pol­ogy. an­thro­pol­ogy is ap­plied phi­los­o­phy. i’ve read so many things that de­scribe types of be­hav­ior and dis­cus­sions of what de­fines re­al­ity, etc that seem to­tally un­aware that an­thro­pol­o­gists deal with these con­cepts as a mat­ter of course, not only meta­phys­i­cal, but doc­u­mented and ob­served in a va­ri­ety of cul­tures. i was dis­cussing with Hani the other day about con­cep­tions of re­al­ity and this man named Rorty says every­one has their own re­al­ity, some­thing sim­i­lar is posited in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. i heard/​read these things and thought…of course! the re­al­ity i know is struc­tured from the so­ci­ety and mythos i am sur­rounded by. my re­la­tion­ship as sub­ject to ob­ject, “Quality” in the book, is de­ter­mined by the as­so­ci­a­tions learned and ex­pe­ri­enced by ex­is­tence. those who are ter­med ‘in­sane’ are those whose learn­ing and ex­pe­ri­ence have formed ana­logues that are sig­nif­i­cantly dif­fer­ent from the so­ci­etal norm. their re­al­ity is not invalid…just dif­fer­ent. the con­flict arises be­cause the re­al­i­ties can­not co­ex­ist and re­main in har­mony.

af­ter that di­gres­sion i will at­tempt to be suc­cinct.

i think when­ever a new philo­soph­i­cal ar­gu­ment arises, the per­son who comes up with it should head to their lo­cal an­thro­pol­o­gist to find out if there is doc­u­men­ta­tion of the be­lief sys­tem in the re­ally real world.

chances are there is.

the more i shuf­fle my an­thro­po­log­i­cal knowl­edge and sup­ple­ment it with other forms, the more i un­der­stand what the hell hu­mans are.

Goat Roast 2002

Monday, 22 April 2002

to­day was the an­nual Anthropology Department Goat Roast. At nine in the morn­ing some an­thro ma­jors and the profs, us­ing stone tools pro­duced in the Lithic Technologies class, butchered a goat and a sheep. keep in mind that prop­erly pro­duced ob­sid­ian stone knives are some­thing like 5times sharper than a surgeon’s scalpel. so the ac­tual cut­ting part was pretty easy. then they were mari­naded, ke­babed and grilled to per­fec­tion. not to men­tion the other great foods that ac­com­pa­nied it: goat curry, chili, salad, noodles, potato dishes, and won­der­ful peanut butter/​ choco­late bars. when an­thro peo­ple get to­gether the par­ties are great. es­pe­cially since most of the side dishes were recipes from around the world. i’m go­ing to buy the new an­thro club tshirt too its pretty nice. i got to do some flint knap­ping my­self, but since i have never taken the class, i’m not too good at it. how­ever, i did get a nice sharp flake that i cut my thumb with. i would have died very early if i had been cro-magnon. cleanup sucked mostly be­cause we were all numb with cold but hey if that is the price you pay to be an an­thro nerd with all the other an­thro nerds (profs in­cluded) so be it. hot damn i had fun!

ND to Fargo

Friday, 29 March 2002

dis­tance from ND to Fargo…734.2 miles…estimated hours of trav­el­ing time 12hrs, 27mins. thank god for in­stant mes­sen­ger. too bad you can’t ac­tu­ally look at or touch the per­son you are talk­ing to. i’m gonna write a pa­per on the re­flex­iv­ity of an­thro­po­log­i­cal film­mak­ing now.