Off Into The Infinite Universe...

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Geometry of Circles on Sesame Street

One of my favorite composers of all time, is a man by the name of Philip Glass. He's written some of the most beautiful pieces of music that I've ever heard. He has a five part piano solo labeled Metamorphosis that still sends shudders down my spine. Upon searching for more of his music on Youtube, I came upon something very familiar. Does anyone remember this from watching Sesame Street back in the day?

I'm only 23, so this skit aired originally well before my time, but they must have played it later on, cause I know I've seen this before. The animation is a geometrical feast for the eyes, and with Philip's music, a feast for the ears too. Apparently he wrote this song specifically for this animation. Very haunting and almost somber. Maybe its the nostalgia effecting me. But I figured a video of this nature would be appreciated by the likes of this blog. I haven't watched Sesame Street in years, but I'm pretty certain they don't have skits like these anymore.
Like I said, I'd definitely suggest looking into Philip Glass, some people don't like his style, his songs are very loopy, and repetitive. Its called "minimalism". He takes a short melody, and repeats it for the entire song changing only a few notes around it. To me, I couldn't ask for anything more, his songs usually end how they begin, created a nice closed loop feeling. Hit youtube up and listen to this Metamorphosis theme, and the song "Mad Rush".

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Karn Evil 9: Load Your Program, I Am Yourself

I was driving home today (bought Scott Pilgrim vs. The World! Finally out on Blueray!) and I had the classic rock station blasting. Now I have no love of the radio let me tell you. I can't describe how infuriating it is to have to listen to the same recycled crap. I mean, don't get me wrong. The songs they play on the radio are popular for a reason, they're good, but there's just a lot of music that they don't play that's not 'main stream'. But that's business I suppose. Any who, in a rare act of divine good will, the station I'm listening to decides to play the entire Karn Evil 9 song! The entire 30 minute epic! I was thrilled beyond belief. Not only does this song never get played, its near impossible to hear it in its entirety! The song by the bombastic and often pompous band "Emerson, Lake and Palmer" or ELP. The song is my favorite prog rock song and perhaps one of my favorite songs of all time period. The 30 minute suite is split up into 3 parts or "impressions". With the first impression being further split up into 2 parts. The 2nd part of the first impression, is probably most familiar with you, if that. The reason why I'm even talking about this, is because of what the song is about. If you haven't heard of this song, (I can assume most of you have) go check it out, its really wild piece of work.
Anyway the song Karn Evil 9, is a dark, sinister, and dystopian view of the future. Greg Lake who wrote the lyrics for this, really hits the nail on the head with some of this. Basically the human race, in this twisted future, is turned into a side show. At least all of our more human aspects. Nature, free will, religion, all abandoned to side show acts. Even human emotions, like anger and misery are something to be gawked at.

"If you follow me there's a speciality
Some tears for you to see
Misery, misery"

One of my favorite lines from the song, very eerie.

"Right before your eyes, we pull laughter from the skies
And he laughs until he cries, then he dies, then he dies"

The 1st impression has a very carnivalesque sound to it, to give that impression of a bizarre world filled with vaudeville shows about what used to be humanity. And here's something that I've been thinking about with this song. When I first heard this song, in its entirety, I always assumed that it was the humans giving the "side show". That somehow human nature had just become very cold, and non emotional,and everyone was very distant from each other. But now that I hear it again, I'm wondering if its some sort of computer sentient life that's looking at humanity in a side show. If you listen to the 3rd part of this song, this analogy makes a lot more sense. It just seems more fitting if it were a new type of beings, that were created by humans, but superior to us now, that would be looking back on all these things, like a "Real blade of grass", and "A Bomb inside a car".

The 2nd impression is a piano solo that's not exactly my favorite part of the song. I will admit, the middle of the solo, which is much darker, and more somber is very pretty, I wish the entire song would have been like that. But, it doesn't last long before the speed picks up again, and is back to a jazzy upbeat tempo. If they wanted to do an instrumental solo, I wish they would have chosen another instrument, something more fitting. The light carefree piano playing doesn't really fit the mood.

The 3rd impression is the crux of the entire song. It describes a vast battle for humanity, in the far future, determining the fate of the human race. Its the Computers and Machines versus Humanity. In a terminator esque battle, the creators and the created clash. I've listened to this part many times and its hard to determine who's the over all victor. I suppose its written by Lake like that on purpose. But the very last paragraph leads me to believe that it is indeed the machines who dominate over humanity:

Humans: But I gave you life
Humans: To do what was right
Computers: I'M PERFECT! ARE YOU?

I was elated hearing the whole piece on the radio. So much so, I arrived back at my house in the middle of it, but sat in my car until the whole thing played through.
The last impression ends in a bit of binary code sounding piece. This song to me seems like it's an almost eerie foreshadowing of the future. The carnival side show image gets me every time, thinking about human traits, being reduced to mere attractions! To wrap it all up, the album that this song is on "Brain Salad Surgery" is in side a piece of artwork from H.R Giger. He's my favorite artist, and you all should be obliged to look at his work. the album cover features a skull that opens up featuring a woman's face underneath. Thats on the vinyl at least. H.R Giger's paintings are superb. They feature, biomechanical, and very grotesque creatures. Much of his work is mixed with sexual, themes, and machinary, and distorted gaunt twisted but yet utterly beautiful creatures. Definitely look into him, and the album Splendid, original piece, if you haven't heard it, check it out guys. You're thoughts? or Similar suggested songs?

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Hey everyone. This weekend I had to clean out a lot of the crap in my room, so I came across my relatively small stack of anime. I flipped through some of it... Samurai Champloo, Serial Experiments: Lain (look for my full review of this cyberpunk and philosophical anime in the near future)... And I also came across my two movies, ghost in the shell and it's sequel, Innocence. So it was late but I figured I'm have a mini movie night and watch both. I haven't seen them in a while. I watched the first and really got back into it. Now while watching the sequel, the topic of sex robots, or sexiods as they're referee to by Dr. Harrowway, in the movie, came up. As an aside note, the character of Dr. Harroway is one of the more interesting characters in the series. One of my favorites. I wish they would have explored her a little more. Apparently in the future, cybernetics has gotten to the point where companies can create synthetic human skin and reproductive organs that would in essence simulate a human's.
Now for those of you who haven't seen the movie, Ghost in the Shell 2,the movie deals with a series of attacks on humans by 'gynoids'. Basically everyone in the Ghost in the Shell series has atleast some sort of cybernetic can range from just subtle brain enhancements to full scale body overhauls, like artificial hearts, arms, limbs.. Even exoskeletons can be cybernetic. But technology has progressed to such a point that humans can create synthetic humans. Completely Robotic and programmable these 'gynoids' are created for specific tasks. One such gynoid is programmed and designed exclusively for sex and oral pleasure. If you haven't seen the movie, I don't want to spoil it for you, so consider this a spoiler warning... In the movie said 'sexoid' robots begin to malfunction and intentional 'kill' themselves. This is as much as I'll say without giving too much away. The moral implications are pretty obvious. Now after I watched this i was curious and that usually leads to trouble... I began googling terms 'sex with robots' and 'human robot sex' etc... I stepped into a pretty bizarre realm of fetish that i didn't really know existed. Apparently "robophillia" is a very real fetish. Guys (and maybe women?) enjoy thinking about having sexual relations with robots, or rather people simulating robotic qualities. A lot of then apparently just simply like the submissiveness of what would be a robot girl, but for many and maybe the majority really do get excited about the idea of a robo-girl. So I'd love to know in the future when Apple has taken over the world, and they release the igirl, would anyone be willing to buy one? A totally mobile, walking, talking 'human' being, just for sex? Now as it stands currently we can't sell or buy other humans. So would robotic humans who could have the power of talking and reasoning be given the same rights? Of course I wouldn't be the first to pose this question, it's almost at the heart of all cyberpunk. I just think that with these 'love dolls' on the market now, that it would be the next step to improve these 'real dolls' so they could move, talk and increase the 'awareness' of the sex doll. Of course these idea's are many years away. So any of you out there, closet or open robophilliac's? In the digital age now, such cyber fetishes seem less and less bizarre. We may all have stepford wives type sex robots in the future. Silently and obediently cleaning up after us, very little emotional needs.
Now, the moral implications of such human / robot relationship interest me. Could one need to marry one of these robots? Would it be recognized in the eyes of the church? Would they be looked at as human? What if it were totally conscious? But just made instead of born? Better yet, and here's one to think about... Hans Moravec said that in the future we'd be able to download our memories, thoughts and consciousness into chips like RAM. Now if one of these robots were given human memory, thought and consciousness, would it be human? This brings up the question, what's more 'human', the body, or the mind? And does consciousness need be in an organic body? I'd contest that if you strip the body down to its simpliest functions, they would resemble a machine like process. Anyway guys if you haven't watched any of the Ghost in the Shell movies, I'd highly recommend both. Though, admittedly I wasn't a big fan of the 2nd . I don't like mixing cgi with drawn art. But let me know what you think, your thoughts on the matter, and if you are a robophiliac, please share your thoughts!

As always,a recommendation:
There's an essay written by Daniel C. Dennet, called: Consciousness in Human Mind and Robot Minds. Its pretty interesting

Also if your in Barnes and Noble, or Borders, check out the book "Science Fiction and Philosophy" Its a thicker book, but its composed of a whole bunch of short essays and mirco stories all about, A.I, consciousness, time travel, the matrix etc... Its a really good read, trust me.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Limewire is Shut Down

Well last week saw the final nail in the coffin for the popular file sharing program called Limewire. For years now the feds have been on the case of Limewire, and they finally won. The peer 2 peer sharing program has been a stronghold for file sharing since the collapse of Napster. Now with Limewire gone the world of file sharing has grown dimmer. Mega sites like Piratebay, demonoid, and others, are still available, but for how long? While I do respect that philosophy that information should be shared, and the idea of peer 2 peer sharing is enticing, obviously developers, record companies, and software designers are losing massive amounts of money to these file sharing programs. Just last week a friend of mine downloaded the entire cracked version of Photoshop CS3. What do you guys think? Should people be able to share and swap programs for free? Do you think that inevitably thats what the internet will ultimately turn into? What I'm seeing here is that its the Software companies, and record labels that are going to have to adjust to this. I do believe that with all the Web 2.0 additions, and the growing mainstay of user based media, I think the government will be hard pressed, to be able to stop them all. When Napster fell, it was big news, and it sparked massive retaliation. File sharing programs were popping up all over the place. Many still exist today. I honestly don't think there's enough man power to put down such a wide spread issue. They'll have to conform, not the people.