Thursday, November 30, 2006

How to love a green bunny? The use of genetics in art.

"The human direct influence on dog´s evolution goes back at least 15.000 years and after centuries of natural selective breeding, a turning point in human breeding of dogs took place in 1859, when the first exhibition of dogs prompted appreciation for their unique visual appearance. The search for visual consistency and for new breeds led to the concept of pure breed and to the formation of different groups of founding dogs. The practice is with us today and is responsible for many of the dogs we see in homes everywhere. The results of indirect genetic control of dogs by breeders are proudly expressed on the pages of the canine trade press. A quick look at the marketplace reveals ads for bulldogs "engineered for protection," mastiffs with a "careful genetic breeding program," dogos with an "exclusive bloodline," and Dobermans with a "unique genetic blueprint." Breeders aren't writing the genetic code of their dogs yet, but they are certainly reading and recording it. The American Kennel Club, for example, offers a DNA Certification Program to settle questions of purebred identification and parentage.

"If the creation of dogs has long historical roots, more recent but equally integrated into our daily experience is our use of hybrid living organisms. Domestic ornamental plants and pets thus invented are already so common that one rarely realizes that a loved animal or a flower offered as a sign of affection are the practical results of concerted scientific effort by humans. Hybrid Teas, for example are the typical roses found at the Florist Shop -- the classic image of the rose. The first Hybrid Tea was 'La France', raised by Giullot in 1867. A cherished companion such as the Catalina macaw, with its fiery orange breast and green-and-blue wings, does not exist in nature. Aviculturists mate blue-and-gold macaws with scarlet macaws to create this beautiful hybrid animal.

"This is not at all surprising, considering that cross-species hybrid creatures have been part of our imaginary for millennia. In Greek mythology, for example, the Chimera was a fire-breathing creature represented as a composite of a lion, goat, and serpent. Sculptures and paintings of chimeras, from ancient Greece to the Middle Ages and on to modern avant-garde movements, inhabit museums worldwide. Chimeras, however, are no longer imaginary; today, nearly 20 years after the first transgenic animal, they are being routinely created in laboratories and are slowly becoming part of the larger genescape. Some recent scientific examples are pigs that produce human proteins, plants that produce plastic, and goats with spider genes designed to produce a strong and biodegradable fabric. While in ordinary discourse the word "chimera" refers to any imaginary life form made of disparate parts, in biology "chimera" is a technical term that means actual organisms with cells from two or more distinct genomes. A profound cultural transformation takes place when chimeras leap from legend to life, from representation to reality.

"The result of transgenic art processes must be healthy creatures capable of as regular a development as any other creatures from related species. Ethical and responsible interspecies creation will yield the generation of beautiful chimeras and fantastic new living systems, such as plantimals (plants with animal genetic material, or animals with plant genetic material) and animans (animals with human genetic material, or humans with animal genetic material).

"The patenting of new animals created in the lab and of genes of foreign peoples are particularly complex topics - a situation often aggravated, in the human case, by the lack of consent, equal benefit, or even understanding of the processes of appropriation, patent, and profit on the part of the donor. Since 1980 the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) granted several transgenic animal patents, including patents for transgenic mice and rabbits. Recently the debate over animal patents has broadened to encompass patents on genetically engineered human cell lines and synthetic constructs (e.g., "plasmids") incorporating human genes.

"Every living organism has a genetic code that can be manipulated, and the recombinant DNA can be passed on to the next generations. The artist literally becomes a genetic programmer who can create life forms by writing or altering this code. With the creation and procreation of bioluminescent mammals and other creatures in the future, dialogical interspecies communication will change profoundly what we currently understand as interactive art. These animals are to be loved and nurtured just like any other animal.

"The use of genetics in art offers a reflection on these new developments from a social and ethical point of view. It foregrounds related relevant issues such as the domestic and social integration of transgenic animals, arbitrary delineation of the concept of "normalcy" through genetic testing, enhancement and therapy, health insurance discrimination based on results of genetic testing, and the serious dangers of eugenics.

"This is where art can also be of great social value. Since the domain of art is symbolic even when intervening directly in a given context, art can contribute to reveal the cultural implications of the revolution underway and offer different ways of thinking about and with biotechnology. Transgenic art is a mode of genetic inscription that is at once inside and outside of the operational realm of molecular biology, negotiating the terrain between science and culture. Transgenic art can help science to recognize the role of relational and communicational issues in the development of organisms. It can help culture by unmasking the popular belief that DNA is the "master molecule" through an emphasis on the whole organism and the environment (the context). At last, transgenic art can contribute to the field of aesthetics by opening up the new symbolic and pragmatic dimension of art as the literal creation of and responsibility for life.

""Alba", the green fluorescent bunny, is an albino rabbit. This means that, since she has no skin pigment, under ordinary environmental conditions she is completely white with pink eyes. Alba is not green all the time. She only glows when illuminated with the correct light. When (and only when) illuminated with blue light (maximum excitation at 488 nm), she glows with a bright green light (maximum emission at 509 nm). She was created with EGFP, an enhanced version (i.e., a synthetic mutation) of the original wild-type green fluorescent gene found in the jellyfish Aequorea Victoria. EGFP gives about two orders of magnitude greater fluorescence in mammalian cells (including human cells) than the original jellyfish gene.

"The first phase of the "GFP Bunny" (Green Fluorescent Protein ) project was completed in February 2000 with the birth of "Alba" in Jouy-en-Josas, France. Alba's name was chosen by consensus between my wife Ruth, my daughter Miriam, and myself. The second phase is the ongoing debate, which started with the first public announcement of Alba's birth, in the context of the Planet Work conference, in San Francisco, on May 14, 2000. The third phase will take place when the bunny comes home to Chicago, becoming part of my family and living with us from this point on.

"As a transgenic artist, I am not interested in the creation of genetic objects, but on the invention of transgenic social subjects. In other words, what is important is the completely integrated process of creating the bunny, bringing her to society at large, and providing her with a loving, caring, and nurturing environment in which she can grow safe and healthy.

"This integrated process is important because it places genetic engineering in a social context in which the relationship between the private and the public spheres are negotiated. In other words, biotechnology, the private realm of family life, and the social domain of public opinion are discussed in relation to one another. Transgenic art is not about the crafting of genetic objets d'art, either inert or imbued with vitality. Such an approach would suggest a conflation of the operational sphere of life sciences with a traditional aesthetics that privileges formal concerns, material stability, and hermeneutical isolation. Integrating the lessons of dialogical philosophy and cognitive ethology, transgenic art must promote awareness of and respect for the spiritual (mental) life of the transgenic animal.

"The word "aesthetics" in the context of transgenic art must be understood to mean that creation, socialization, and domestic integration are a single process. The question is not to make the bunny meet specific requirements or whims, but to enjoy her company as an individual (all bunnies are different), appreciated for her own intrinsic virtues, in dialogical interaction.

"One very important aspect of "GFP Bunny" is that Alba, like any other rabbit, is sociable and in need of interaction through communication signals, voice, and physical contact. As I see it, there is no reason to believe that the interactive art of the future will look and feel like anything we knew in the twentieth century.

"Throughout the twentieth century art progressively moved away from pictorial representation, object crafting, and visual contemplation. Artists searching for new directions that could more directly respond to social transformations gave emphasis to process, concept, action, interaction, new media, environments, and critical discourse. Transgenic art acknowledges these changes and at the same time offers a radical departure from them, placing the question of actual creation of life at the center of the debate. Undoubtedly, transgenic art also develops in a larger context of profound shifts in other fields. Throughout the twentieth century physics acknowledged uncertainty and relativity, anthropology shattered ethnocentricity, philosophy denounced truth, literary criticism broke away from hermeneutics, astronomy discovered new planets, biology found "extremophile" microbes living in conditions previously believed not capable of supporting life, molecular biology made cloning a reality.

"Transgenic art acknowledges the human role in rabbit evolution as a natural element, as a chapter in the natural history of both humans and rabbits, for domestication is always a bidirectional experience. As humans domesticate rabbits, so do rabbits domesticate their humans. If teleonomy is the apparent purpose in the organization of living systems, then transgenic art suggests a non-utilitarian and more subtle approach to the debate. Moving beyond the metaphor of the artwork as a living organism into a complex embodiment of the trope, transgenic art opens a nonteleonomic domain for the life sciences. In other words, in the context of transgenic art humans exert influence in the organization of living systems, but this influence does not have a pragmatic purpose. Transgenic art does not attempt to moderate, undermine, or arbitrate the public discussion. It seeks to offer a new perspective that offers ambiguity and subtlety where we usually only find affirmative ("in favor") and negative ("against") polarity. "GFP Bunny" highlights the fact that transgenic animals are regular creatures that are as much part of social life as any other life form, and thus are deserving of as much love and care as any other animal.

The present is a selection and montage of some texts of the brazilian transgenic-artist Eduardo Kac, wich can be fully read at his site . Eduardo is Professor of Art and Technology (School of the Art Institute of Chicago).

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Homage to Alexander Calder

Homage to Alexander Calder

Homage to Alexander Calder (1999)

To an engineer, good enough means perfect. With an artist, there's no such thing as perfect.
--Alexander Calder

From the National Gallery of Art:

Alexander Calder revolutionized the art of sculpture by making movement one of its main components. Yet his invention of the "mobile" -- a word coined in 1931 by artist Marcel Duchamp to designate Calder's moving sculpture -- was only one of Calder's achievements. In his early wire figures and in his "stabiles," static sculptures in sheet metal, Calder created innovative works by exploring the aesthetic possibilities of untraditional materials. As a major contribution to the development of abstract art, Calder's stabiles and mobiles challenged the prevailing notion of sculpture as a composition of masses and volumes by proposing a new definition based on the ideas of open space and transparency. With the giant stabiles of the latter part of his career, Calder launched a new type of public sculpture -- one which proved so successful that many of these works have become landmarks in cities around the globe.

And from the Joslyn Art Museum:

Alexander Calder, America's first abstract artist of international renown, is forever associated with his invention of the mobile. Born into a Philadelphia family of sculptors, he studied first as a mechanical engineer and then as a painter in the style of the Ashcan School. In 1926, Calder left for Paris, then Europe's cultural capital. There he attracted the attention of the avant-garde with his amusing performances with a partly-mechanized miniature circus of wire and cloth figures. By 1930 he had developed freely moving sculptures of arcs and spheres. Calder's mobiles were squarely within the spirit of the times, from their engagement with machine technology to their use of abstraction as a universal language of creative truth. Linked to Dada and Surrealism by playfulness and chance arrangement, his sculpture responded to Constructivism by energizing art's elements in the viewer's space.

Calder, fascinated by the mechanical possibilities of his materials, successfully merged engineering and art. His innovative, abstract work is industrial-tinged and aggressively modern. He saw sculpture as dynamic -- as filled with the motion of life as electrons gyrating around a nucleus.

Art School Confidential (Movie)

Yep, another movie review, no fractals in this one (unsurprisingly) but it does address art. I think this movie is worth watching. Actually, I've watched it twice, quite a compliment from me these days when I can barely get through most films once. Overall, it's a comedy, and where it works best is with non-verbal "sight gags" that lampoon art but are hard to say just why. You just start snickering and guffawing (That!). The verbal gags are mostly cynical and vulgar, with overmuch profanity (some would say, obscenity), which personally I could have done without. There is some, what is the phrase?, "brief nudity", though I've heard it said that the more nudity, the more art there is. So this movie would probably not be for people who are easily offended. The protagonist is well cast, and they had the sense to make the role naive and innocent, in contrast to the antics of those around him. The rest of the cast didn't stand out to me, with the exception of "grandpa", who only had a brief part but whose tone of voice, just bordering on gasped disbelief, upon being shown the art film he'd funded for his grandson, hit just the right harmonics. I say "overall" it's a comedy, because one part of the story involves a dark crime theme that is no laughing matter and of course the film does not present it as such. I just mention it in case anyone is expecting 100 percent laughs, there is some brutality in there.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Homage to Niels Bohr

Homage to Niels Bohr

Homage to Niels Bohr (2004)


In the autumn of 1911 [Bohr] made a stay at Cambridge, where he profited by following the experimental work going on in the Cavendish Laboratory under Sir J.J. Thomson's guidance, at the same time as he pursued own theoretical studies. In the spring of 1912 he was at work in Professor Rutherford's laboratory in Manchester, where just in those years such an intensive scientific life and activity prevailed as a consequence of that investigator's fundamental inquiries into the radioactive phenomena. Having there carried out a theoretical piece of work on the absorption of alpha rays which was published in the Philosophical Magazine, 1913, he passed on to a study of the structure of atoms on the basis of Rutherford's discovery of the atomic nucleus. By introducing conceptions borrowed from the Quantum Theory as established by Planck, which had gradually come to occupy a prominent position in the science of theoretical physics, he succeeded in working out and presenting a picture of atomic structure that, with later improvements (mainly as a result of Heisenberg's ideas in 1925), still fitly serves as an elucidation of the physical and chemical properties of the elements.


Bohr also contributed to the clarification of the problems encountered in quantum physics, in particular by developing the concept of complementarily. Hereby he could show how deeply the changes in the field of physics have affected fundamental features of our scientific outlook and how the consequences of this change of attitude reach far beyond the scope of atomic physics and touch upon all domains of human knowledge. These views are discussed in a number of essays, written during the years 1933-1962. They are available in English, collected in two volumes with the title Atomic Physics and Human Knowledge and Essays 1958-1962 on Atomic Physics and Human Knowledge, edited by John Wiley and Sons, New York and London, in 1958 and 1963, respectively.


During the Nazi occupation of Denmark in World War II, Bohr escaped to Sweden and spent the last two years of the war in England and America, where he became associated with the Atomic Energy Project. In his later years, he devoted his work to the peaceful application of atomic physics and to political problems arising from the development of atomic weapons. In particular, he advocated a development towards full openness between nations. His views are especially set forth in his Open Letter to the United Nations, June 9, 1950.

As a Danish Jew, Bohr barely escaped being arrested by the Nazis. Later, when he came to Los Alamos to work on the atomic bomb, he hoped that the weapon would prevent future atrocities by other would-be Hitlers. He also hoped the terrifying nature of atomic weapons would destroy not nations but the very possibility of war itself.

From Richard Rhodes' The Making of the Atomic Bomb:

The weapon devised as an instrument of major war would end major war. It was hardly a weapon at all, the memorandum Bohr was writing in sweltering Washington emphasized; it was "a far deeper interference with the natural course of events than anything ever before attempted" and it would "completely change all future conditions of warfare." When nuclear weapons spread to other countries, as they certainly would, no one would be able any longer to win. A spasm of mutual destruction would be possible. But not war (532).

Paging Dick Cheney. Please carefully re-read that last paragraph.

Oppenheimer had a different view -- especially as he watched the Trinity Test. The atomic bomb would not eradicate war; instead, it was "the destroyer of worlds."


On the lighter side, I remember an episode of The Simpsons where Bart is drawing a comic book based on Homer's funny antics when he becomes angry. In one bit, Homer is watching television and flies into a rage when he learns that a show he enjoys, When Dinosaurs Get Drunk, is being replaced with one called The Boring World of Niels Bohr.


The image was originally rendered in Sterling-ware and post-processed with mad abandon until its physical structure was first decimated, then reconstituted.

I stepped off on Saturn

You know, post-processing can really mangle a decent, law-abiding fractal image and make it an almost unrecognizable, but strangely delightful, wreck. Some will never walk straight again.

But when you start with an image that is almost entirely a product of the program's filtering effect, and not quite a "fractal" image to start with, the results strain the already stretched categories of visual taxonomy, sowing the seeds of an impending visual collision, or shall we say, "Collisual" - intriguing arrangement of debris.

These were all originally made in Tierazon 2.7. Here's a clean one that hasn't had anything done to it. In fact it's the original image the above one was made from.

Download parameter file "shift06.zar"

Same one - Antialiased 4:1

They're alive. I should explain that.

This is rather Twilight-zonish, although I'm sure there's a scientific explanation: The images keep changing.

When you see something interesting and zoom in on it, it's gone when you get there. I think it's because the image is created by a moire effect and the resolution of the image changes the resulting pattern of circles.

In fact, I wanted to call this series of images, "Monsieur Moire and the hypno-dots from the Atom Ray", but it just didn't have the same zip as stepping off on Saturn.

Well, that's just the beginning. The really freaky thing is when you antialias one of these things (as you can see above). The resulting algorithmicolated picture transforms into something quite different; the dots are in different places and the colors have changed too.

In an image viewer, when looking at the thumbnail, you see yet another variation of the image. What you see in fact, is a new image and you can't go by the thumbnail to find what you're looking for. In a strange and maybe existential way, the thumbnail is not the image and doesn't even pretend to be.

I've never seen anything like it. That's why I say they're alive, growing, changing, mutating, plotting, scheming...

Perhaps they are "fractal" after all, as far as self similarity and endless resolution goes. What you see depends on how close you are to it and at what size you make it. Or maybe that has nothing to do with fractals.

They started off in Tierazon. Then they met me. And my machine. But their fractal identity can still be traced through their dental records.

Maybe all this is in my head.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Postcards from Shangri-La

Would you expect this from someone named "Ilyich the Toad"?

Once again, I've dug up a new and amazing Photoshop filter and I want to share the wonder...

But it's got a dirty name.

I tried renaming it, but you can't do that with Photoshop filters. Or at least I don't know how. But everytime I go to use it, which is like 200 times a day, I click on Ilyich's favorite nic name for this filter.

At first it seemed evil. The Toad connection didn't help either. Now I'm just curious to know why he gave it such a name.

It's one of those chop-up/multi-lens distortion effects. It doesn't alter the color and has only two sliders, but it can be extremely creative.

After using it for a couple hours, you will have trouble readjusting to the non-chopped, real world. Unless you're a house fly. I think this is what the world looks like to a house fly.

The Missiles of Shangri-La

That's what I thought of the moment I made this... Can I still call it a fractal? Maybe I've gone too far. I'm the first to admit it.

"Kurtz got off the boat. He quit the whole scene."

Maybe I'll just refer to it as "Crystal.8bf". Couldn't he have called it "Betty's Crystal"?

While I'm on the topic of unique labelling for menus and parameters, I ought to mention another interesting set of filters I've found by someone called "Kangaroo". One filter has four sliders for adjustment, labelled: "does something" "not sure" "can't say" and "I forgot". Another has three sliders named: "don't know" "don't care" and "leave me alone".

Sometimes when it's late and I've been on the computer too long, I start to give senseless names to images when I'm saving them, like "Fuludoo" or "Fugunoofoo". So maybe Ilyich and Kangaroo just ran out of names.

Using the sliders allows one to fragment and repeat the image in interesting ways. Instead of creating a single distorted image, you can create a series of images that are clear but have a distorted arrangement.

Go ahead, pet the fractal, he won't bite

Honey, where are the kids? Didn't you tell them they could go swimming?

"His mind is rational, but his soul is insane"

What started off as a cheap and gimmicky effect began to become a powerful artistic tool once I began to see what it did best and began to combine it with the India Ink filter by Flaming Pear. On its own, the crystal filter looks too fake like a cheap digital trick. But treated with the patterns of India Ink, it jumps into a whole new category of creative effects.

I think that's one of the secrets to digital creativity: synergy -digital recombination -frankensteining. Or to put it another way: harmonizing -taking hydrogen and oxygen and making water.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Squaresville versus Swingtown

Should be easy to figure out...

which one is which.

Was at an art exhibit a few years back, showing sketches from various artists down the ages. They were particularly proud to have snagged a Rembrandt. I went along having no idea what it looked like, merrily oohing and ahhing down the aisles, oh this is a this, that's a that, when I saw something that seemed to be... alive. gotta be the Rembrandt... yep, sure enough, t'was. like clint eastwood'd say, made my day...

Friday, November 10, 2006

Chaos, the Jason Statham movie

Entertaining enough, chaos references mostly token. As a reviewer put it,

this movie doesn't have anything to do with the chaos theory and just made to draw our attention to it. Someone tried to do the movie a smart one so he tried to relate the plot to the chaos theory. It looks like this person didn't know what the theory is about, it's just it sounded "cool", and he tried on the basis of this cool term to do a movie.

Shouldn't have been that hard to get a tighter integration with the script. Who dunnit? The Mandelbug done it, yer honour.

If crime, action, running about, is what you're looking for, this film is worth considering.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Is it a fractal of a caricature or a caricature of a fractal?

One more time...

What is art?

There's an old black and white movie that spends two hours depicting a jury sitting around a table in a room, deliberating the verdict of a murder trial.

Now I could also be wrong about this too, but I think it all starts when Jimmy Stewart, who's the only one of the twelve jurors who hasn't quite made up his mind to sentence the young man on trial to death, decides he wants to go over things... one more time.

In doing so, everyone realizes that they're not looking at the facts of the case at all, but rather have made up their minds to punish the accused for no other reason than they're all just really angry at someone else in their personal lives who they can't punish.

With the question, "Can I just go through it one more time?" the neatly rolled up guilty verdict (and resulting death sentence) starts to unravel until it finally comes completely undone, and the whole jury agrees the man is innocent and they themselves are just "12 Angry Men."

And so it is, sometimes, with these apparently simple and obvious things like art.

Another allegory or analogy: Einstein (remember, don't take my word for all this) would apparently spend days working on a solution to some deep, fundamental physics problem that he wasn't satisfied with and then throw all his calculations and papers away and start over again.

You can do that with physics because everything is derived from first principles (laws, or something) and any physics problem can be solved (if you know how) by applying the handful of first principles to the complexities of any situation.

Einstein would start all over because he thought he would stumble on the answer if he could start from the beginning and go over it... one more time.

So, like Einstein at his desk, and Jimmy Stewart in the jury room, I don't feel quite satisfied with my current understanding of things, and although I can't really see an obvious mistake in any of it, I just want to go over it again, one more time.

So, one more time...

What is art?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Squares of different magnitude

I quess I've had an infacuation with spheres and circles for quite awhile. Some can be perfect in shape and the spheres can have refraction, reflection, shadows and all kinds of properties that are real to the human eye. Squares are also interesting but circles and spheres really take the cake.

When I look at a sphere, I see a shape with infite points of reflection.

Shown here is an image of squares rendered from an IFS algorithm. The squares in the image may not be perfect of shape and each square is probably different in size by a very small magnitude. I don't really know too much about the sizes and magnitudes of each square, I just know that the IFS algorithm rendered it and that is the way that it is.


Less Erroneous Pictures of Whales (Moby-Dick, Chapter 56)

"The physiological side of collecting is important. In the analysis of this behavior, it should not be overlooked that, with the nest-building of birds, collecting acquires a clear biological function. There is apparently an indication to his effect in Vasari's treatise on architecture. Pavlov, too, is supposed to have occupied himself with collecting."

--Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project, p. 210

Irrational Exuberance

A number (real or complex) can be rational or irrational. A rational number is one that can be written as the ratio of two integers, such as 1/4, -2/11, or (1 + i)/(4 – 5i). When written as a decimal, a rational number either terminates (like 1/4 = 0.25) or repeats (-2/11 = -0.181818…). An irrational number cannot be written as the ratio of two integers, no matter how large the integers are. The decimal expansion of an irrational number never terminates and never repeats. Examples are the golden ratio φ, which is approximately 1.61803398875, and π, which begins 3.14159265358979. If you have a scientific calculator (or the Windows calculator under View Scientific), then most of those weird functions like sin, cos, tan, exp, and log will generate irrational numbers if you use an integer as the input.

If a number is rational, then there are an infinite number of integers by which it can be multiplied such that the result is an integer. For example, -2/11 can be multiplied by 11, 121, or -33i and the result will be an integer (-2, -22, and 6i, respectively). On the other hand, multiplying an irrational number by an integer will never result in an integer, although the product can be very close. For example, φ times 610 is approximately 987.000733.

Given an irrational number, we can break up the complex plane into blocks, each block representing a complex integer. Then, color the block by how close the product of the irrational number and the complex integer is to an integer. Each irrational number will have its own pattern. (Actually, the pattern is associated with the decimal part of the number—the integer part has no effect.)

The above images show this pattern for π (left) and 1/π (right). Both are taken from the same-sized region of the complex plane. The darker blocks correspond to integers where the product is very close to an integer; the white blocks indicate furthest away from an integer. Note that while there is a clear overall repetition to the pattern, it doesn’t exactly repeat. The only exact symmetry is rotational symmetry around 0/0, because 1, i, -1, and -i have the same effect on this analysis. Every irrational number has rational numbers by which it is well approximated, for example, π is very close to 22/7 and 333/106. These integers show up in the patterns as the centers and sizes of groups of blocks that almost repeat.

Opening this article is the pattern for the golden ratio, φ. It turns out that φ is well approximated by the ratio of adjacent Fibonacci numbers (the Fibonacci sequence begins 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5; each subsequent number is the sum of the two previous). Here, black (non-white) indicates relatively close to an integer and white indicates relatively far away. The black blocks are the pattern centered on 0/0. That pattern is symmetric because of the similarity between the real and imaginary numbers. Blocks of other colors show the slight differences between the pattern centered on 0/0 and the pattern centered on other Fibonacci numbers, like 89/55 or 987/610. The similarity of the pattern in various regions reflects how well the number can be modeled by a fraction, but the differences remind us that the approximation will never be exact.

Punker Chewing Gum

He's blowing a bubble, has spike hair, and is wearing an earring. God save the Queen, the fascist regime. Which some pedant pointed out was a contradiction in terms. Like fractal and art. But so what, if it works anyway. Punk was a good send up of the dinosaur acts. Yes, ELP, Pink Floyd, all those acts Rotten disliked so much. At least his stuff didn't sound like that. Rotten would introduce Pistol's songs by saying things like, "What's it like to have bad taste?" and, "Another tuneless racket..." The joke was on them too. No future, no future, no future, for you. Well, they did ok on their nostalgia tours, which at one time they swore they'd never undertake (Wot we gunna do, dig up poor Sid?). Instead, they dug up the original bassist they'd sacked, allegedly for being a Beatles fan, and they put out a DVD which I saw recently. They've really mellowed a great deal. Almost personable now (though here and there, Rotten does pour scorn - he's not quite dead yet, he'll have ya know). There's a segment where Steve Jones demos his licks. He looks genuinely happy that anyone would be interested, but they really weren't bad at all, and those Marshalls, well you can hardly miss with those. Actually, the best music to come out of the 70s was... DISCO.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Gadji beri bimba

gadji beri bimba glandridi laula lonni cadori
gadjama gramma berida bimbala glandri galassassa
gadji beri bin blassa glassala laula lonni cadorsu sassala
gadjama tuffm i zimzalla binban gligla wowolimai bin beri
o katalominai rhinozerossola hopsamen laulitalomini hoooo
gadjama rhinozerossola hopsamen
bluku terullala blaulala loooo

zimzim urullala zimzim urullala zimzim zanzibar zimzalla zam
elifantolim brussala bulomen brussala bulomen tromtata
velo da bang band affalo purzamai affalo purzamai lengado
gadjama bimbalo glandridi glassala zingtata pimpalo
viola laxato viola zimbrabim viola uli paluji malooo

tuffm im zimbrabim negramai bumbalo negramai bumbalo
tuffm i zim
gadjama bimbala oo beri gadjama gaga di gadjama affalo
gaga di bumbalo bumbalo gadjamen
gaga di bling blong
gaga blung

Hugo Ball´s phonetic poem
presented at Cabaret Voltaire
Zurich, 1916

Life is not

Life is not for the rich and famous
for the successful applicant and the olympic few
Life is in the eye and the mind and the hand
It needs no permission,
or conditions
to be.

We can all be like Sindbad
and set off on voyages with nothing but today
We do not need to own the ocean
it is enough that we are here