Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Looking for a Prince (m/f) on a white horse? You are looking for Jesus!

Let me tell you a fairytale. Once upon a time a group of people living in Judea worshiped a being bigger than life. They called Him: JWH (speak out 'Jaweh'). The source of  Life, Love and Death. He gave birth to everything: birds, bees, crops and human beings as well. He also toke care for their souls after death: if you had lived your life "good" you went to "paradise" if not you went to "hell". This group of people tried to live by His rules as good as possible but  still once in a while crop failure, being beaten in a war, earthquakes and other disasters. What went wrong? Answer: they must have interpreted His wishes of how to live a "good life" wrong!  What next? Wait on the "messiah" - the one and only messenger from Him - who could tell this "group of Judea" or "us people" how to live correctly in this life and by doing so earning the entrance to "paradise".

Time went by. Generations of "us people" were born, lived and died. Lots of people claimed that they were the "messiah". All of them proved to be false. On first of January year 0 - what a strange data isn't it? - an "us people" baby was born. He was called Jesus from Nazareth. He was the son of a carpenter. He grew up, went to school, went to church and had a good time with his friends. He was able to cure ill. He was able to listen well and talk with authority. A group of  "us people" knew and claimed that Jesus was the messiah. From then on "us people" was divided in two groups. One group who claimed that Jesus was not the messiah. And who are still waiting for the real messiah. Let's call them 'Jews'. One group who know for sure that Jesus was the messiah. Let's call them 'Christians'. ('Christ' is the greek word for 'messiah').

Time went by. Generations of "us people" were born, lived and died. Let's focus on the 'Christians' group of "us people". Generation after generation life was slowly getting less harsh. Suddenly (it took a couple of hunderd years) lots of these christians realized that they were perfectly well able to live their lives without the need of Him. They did not believe in Santa Claus. They did not believe in Jesus as the messiah nor in God as the source of Life, Love and Death. They claimed that He was dead!

This is were the fairytale ends. The christians needed for practicing their religion Jesus, God, churches, holy books, priests, rules of how to live correctly, holy days and so much more. In a metaphor: it was a big building! A building that formed the cities we live in. That formed the groups we live in. That formed how we treat other human beings and other groups. That formed our calender. That formed our seasons. That formed our schools, journals and magazines. It even formed how we live our individual lives: dreams, fears, sense of life, urge for perfection, how we treat other people and so much more. It even formed how we respond to people who get killed or get homeless in an earthquake in Haiti.

Still there? What's my point? God is dead. Jesus is dead. The big building of christianity  is very alive. In recent times we replaced 'God' by 'Love' and 'Jesus' by the 'Prince on the White Horse'. Listen to all the love songs. Watch all the talkshows and feel-good movies. Smell in your favourite pub or restaurant. A lot of  "us people" look for their white Prince (m/ f) on a horse. The One and Only who make it possible to live Life. The One who Understands all the smiles and tears, dreams and fears. The One who will make Live Perfect.

To summarize all the above. Big building of christianity is very alive in recent western society. God = Love. Jesus = Prince (m/f) on a White Horse.

How about you: are you looking for a White Prince (m/ f) on a Horse?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Stones boring? Really? 44 ways of looking at them. Part II

Part I (1 to 11)

12. Catcher of nightmares. My eldest daughter has a few stones - not every stone works every night  ;) -  that protect her against nightmares.
13. Starter of dreams. Dream stones.
14. Way of life. Behave like a "rolling stone".
15. Matter of definitions. Stone = stone? Sometimes not. "Stone" as used in natural language is not (always) identical to dutch definition "stone is sedimentary rock bigger than 63 mm and smaller than 200 mm"
16. Traveling companion. It's the asphalt or dirt road we take.
17. Pre-historic monument. Stonehenge. Secular calender? Burial place? Place of healing? Companion in rituals? Astronomical sign?
18. Ten Commandments. The 10 moral imperatives that God gave to Moses on two stones. The moral foundation in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
19. Turner of metal into gold. For a long time the philosophers stone was the most sought-after goal in Western alchemy.
20. Elixir of life. The philosophers stone is also sometimes believed to be useful for rejuvenation and achieving immortality.
21. Display of wealth. If one can afford a house of stone one is "more wealthy" than living in a shack of branches and twigs.
22. Top of the world. The highest point of Earth is made of stone. Really? Yes look under the snow on the top of mount Everest.
23. Marker of familylines. Edda: Gravestones seldom stand by the way-side unless raised by a kinsman to a kinsman."
24. Border demarcation. Between plots of land stones are piled.
25. Pest opponent. 'Mousestones' (german 'Mauseplatte') keep the mouses from food stocks.
26. Crust. Planet Earth's crust occupies less than 1% of Earth's volume. Do we live on solid ground? Actually it is a thin veneer (dutch 'dun laagje vernis').
27. Unit of measure. 1 stone is usually a mass of about 6.35 kilograms.
28. Marker of distance. Milestone.
29. Marker of new phase in life. Milestone.
30. Getting stoned. Feeling high, strange, happy, dizzy or weird after taking drugs.
31. Motionless. Lying as dead as a stone, stone dead.
32. Eponym. Giver of names to family, music, place etc.
33. Touchstone. Stone used to identify precious metals.
34. Predictor of the future. Shamans use stones and bones for predicting the future.
35. Bridging level. Stepping stones.
36. Giver of peace. Raking stones into a pattern (recalling waves or rippling water) by Zen priests helps them focus their concentration.
37. Time period. The Stone-age is a broad prehistoric time period during which humans widely used stone for toolmaking.
38. Cooking stones. Before 'homo sapiens sapiens' had cooking pans our ancestors threw hot stones in a leather bag with liquid for cooking.
39. Being out of fashion. People who still live in the Stone-age are considered to be old fashioned.
40. King maker. Scottish monarchs were seated upon the Stone of Scone during their coronation ceremony.
41. Workmanslook. Stonewashed jeans produce a faded and worn appearance to a newly manufactured jeans.
42. Holiness. The Black Stone is a Muslim relic. Apart from the ritual role of the Black Stone, its black colour symbolise the progress towards God.
43. Message out of space. Meteorite or tektite.
44. Source of quarrels. Judaism and Islam consider the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem as a holy spot. For Judaism it's their holiest spot. For the Islam it's one of the holiest sites.

Stones, they are like a mirror? Aren't they?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Stones boring? 11 ways of looking at them

Eleven ways of looking at a stone.
1. Stone = stone. Just a word in a sentence. Refering to something in the real physical world.
2. Water ripples. Stone is a thing you trow in a river to make nice water ripples.
3. Better on rock. The bible, Matthew 7:24-29 says: built your house on rock and not on sand.
4. Details. Rocks and sand are both composed of the same elements: tiny little stones. Sand are stones. Rocks are stones. The only difference is the amount and size of stones.
5. Stoning. Killing another human being by throwing stones at him/ her until he/ she dies.
6. Universe. If we go into the universe and look back to planet Earth it's just like a big stone.
7. Shaping. Wind, water, ice, sunshine and animals shape a stone. Water and other stones in a river make a stone round.
8. Raw material. Man can transform some stones into a spearhead, knife, sickle or some other tool. Some stones can be used for light up a fire.
9. Decreting. On the Rosetta stone the ancient egyptians made a decree "forever" in 3 languages. This stone made it possible to decipher a language that was lost for more than 2.000 years. 
10. Dressing. Banks are enrobed by granite to effuse durability. Woman are decorated with diamond stones to effuse being successful.
11. ... - Yes yours. Yes, you can!

Friday, January 22, 2010

IFAQ. Letter to @BillGates : Are we asking the right questions?

A few minutes ago I wrote this letter to Bill Gates via  'mail Bill your questions'

Mister Gates,

Nice that you are on Twitter now too. I checked out your Strange to read something directly from you that doesn’t come via my newspaper. Your answer on the infrequently asked question ‘Why Not Focus on Global Warming?’ puzzled me. I agree with your argument that the market has to solve our energy constraint.

My question is: are we asking the right questions?

Look to planet Earth (take 1 of the Apollo’s pictures). Did you really look? It’s a big circle in a really black background: the continents, oceans and clouds & I always hear a lot of “silence”. For me this image means: we as human species are 1; we live with all of us on 1 place in the universe we call Earth. The market will solve the energy constraint - I’ve no doubt about that - but is that all that has to be solved? Imagine people. All of them have their energy. What next? Will there be enough food for them? Will there be enough fish, meat etc for them? Will there be enough water for them? Will there be enough clay, wood and other stuff houses are built off? Will there be enough metals and plastics to make cars, airplanes, PC’s/ lap tops, machines etc.?

To be short, from my point of view our species ‘homo sapiens’ question should be: Aren’t we polluting and depleting planet Earth (dutch ‘vervuilen’ en ‘uitputten’)? Global warming is one of the aspects of ‘polluting’. Solving the energy constraint is one of the aspects of not/ less depleting planet Earth. In our present time – from my point of view - ‘polluting’ and ‘depleting’ aren’t solved by market. For the market both of them are “externalities”.

Best regards,

This was the automatically generated answer:
Thank you for your comments and questions.
Unfortunately, Bill can't answer all of the email he receives here. And, although we’re unable to use every question, we review all of the correspondence that comes in.
The Gates Notes Support Team

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

3 pics of fighter pilots that show how things changed in 100 years

Picture 1. Flying World War I. Droping a bomb above enemy lines.
Picture 2. Flying World War II. After the command "Scramble!" allied pilots climb as fast as possible into their airplanes to fight their enemies.
Picture 3. Flying 2010. F16-pilot in his G-suite and on his ejection seat ready for take off.

Only eleven years after human beings learned flying by a human made airplane, World War I (1914-1918) broke out. Aircrafts were at first only used for reconnaissance. Rapidly airplanes were used for primitive bombing as well. The airplane was of no strategic importance. Dogfights were very visible for the troops on the ground but it did not change the outcome of the war in any way.

In World War II (1939-1945) airplanes became of strategic importance. If Germany would have won the Battle of Britain in 1940, by gaining air superiority, the outcome of the war would have been different. The key to the allied success was radar linked to telephone lines on the home bases of the pilots and aircrafts. This made it possible that the allied pilots were in the air just in time - fresh and with enough engine fuel - and at the right place while the germans only had 30 minutes left to do what they had to do above english territory. After half a hour the germans had to fly back to their home bases.

In recent days (2010) airpower has become even more strategic. In the first few hours of a war the outcome of the war is being established. The main target in the first hours is to make the enemy blind: cut command lines and disturb communication between troups. In World War I and II the reliability and the range of the aircraft were the most important constraints. In recent days reliability and range are no longer constraints. In our days the pilot is the constraint. Even with the best training and a G-suite the aircraft is able to make sharper turns than a human being can sustain.

And the future? I guess a mixture between manned and unmanned spacecraft. "Space?" Yep, a craft that can fly in universe' space as well as in the air around planet Earth. A craft that can start, fly and land completely automatically. And (wo)man? We will need them anyway. Human beings will always be able to outsmart human made crafts, weapons and tools in general.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Split second

Last Thursday I had dinner with a couple of colleagues in a fancy restaurant. Suddenly I saw you from behind. In a split second I realised it wasn't you but I felt a big stitch of jealousy. 

Monday, January 18, 2010

Who restored 'Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue III'? Paint roller, Goldreyer or ...?

Remember Barnett Newman's (1905-1970) "painting"  Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue III?  It was damaged in 1986 with an knife. Daniel Goldreyer restored the painting. His restoration caused a big fuss  in 1991 because it was very expensive and probably done with a paint roller. The fuss is not over yet because Goldreyer laid a big "image damage" claim. The claim is still not settled by law.
Science can be helpfull on this isue. Why? Because statistical techniques (sparse coding analysis) make it recently possible to quantify the style of an artist. To be short was Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue III? restored by an paint roller, by Goldreyer himself or ... - who knows? This time statistics will tell.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sexrobot Roxxxy & bookreview Litt/ Journey into space

Planet Earth turns slowly. Every day it turns around one time.

A few days ago (January 9, 2010) the first sexrobot Roxxxy made her public debut. It’s a female – don’t worry the designer is working on a male too. She has a program to learn the owner's likes and dislikes. Is able to talk about sports and cars, can carry on a discussion and expresses her love to you. Her vocabulary is being updated via Internet. She has five personalities: (1) outgoing Wild Wendy, (2) reserved and shy Frigid Farrah, (3) a young naive personality, (4) Mature Martha and (5) adventurous SM Susan. (Blogs on Roxxxy 1 and 2.)

Products like this fill my mind with hundreds of questions. Are there only five personalities of a woman? Will she interrogate you afterwards when you turned the robot off? Will she complain when you don't clean her after having sex with her? Is there a future for sexparties where you can change your partner, our personal Roxxxyies? Can she feel when she is being raped? How will she respond when you don’t talk to her for weeks? Can she learn me languages? Can she improve my language and be my teacher on a given subject too? Is there a button “random question, mood, behaviour or (dis)like”?  Will she be moody too when she has her period? Does she recognize my smell? Will she be able to give birth to our kids and make it possible to reproduce me and her into an thirth personality? How does she respond to my boss, the postman and my friends? Is she sensible for celebrities? Can she be jealous? When will be the first divorce because a wife feels neglected by him because of his Roxxxy?

Well, well what a great future for (wo)mankind. Buy one if you want to but I’ll not buy one. For me it’s the "wrong" track for the species ‘homo sapiens’. Is living your life really that hard? What is wrong with a partner whose behavior is not always predictable? Why do you need affirmation or a mirror that much? Why do you want to be in control of having sex? Why do you want to be in control of your partner? Why do you want to be in control of life? It’s an illusion! It’s a dangerous dream! Everyone whose mindset is set into this way of life can’t bear natural disasters (earthquake, waterflood, illness, invalidness etc) or wars between groups of human beings.  Can't bear!

Roxxxy brings me to Toby Litt’s (1968-) book ‘Journey into space’ (2009). It’s a Science Fiction (SF) book about a group of 100 ‘homo sapiens’ who travel in a vessel to a place 3 or 4 human-generations far away. They travel with ¼th of the speed of light. Halfway they get the message that humanity killed herself (caused by discussions about “Jerusalem”). All that exists of Earth is what “IT” has archived. The spaceship turns back to planet Earth finding out that 250 people survived. They look “horrible”. The book ends with the vessel as kamikaze bomb. Everyone dies.

I disagree with Litt’s future (SF) concept of love and reproduction. For me love is the cornerstone of our (dis)behavior. Sometimes the lack of love is the cornerstone of our (dis)behavior. We can’t separate love and reproduction. We can reproduce our species without love. We can’t live our lives without love, the need of love, the longing for love, the fact that we fall in love. Love is undividly incorporated in everyone of us. There will be no future on Earth or somewhere else in the univere without human beings that fall in love or are in love. We will not allow it to be taken away from us. Chemicals will not cure this "disease". Love is the motor of our species’ evolution. And it allways will be.

Planet Earth turns slowly. With or without us.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The venus of Rubens: our ancestors as strangers

Sometimes our ancestors are strangers to me. I must have been 19 years old when I went to Antwerpen (Belgium) together with a friend. Visited the house of Rubens (dutch 'Het Rubenshuis') a famous painter who lived from 1577-1640. "Here is the house. That's the entrance door to the garden. The statue of Venus must be in the second niche on the right." Walking and counting. "One and two. That is strange. I must have counted wrong." I walked back to the house. Looked at the map again. Walked and counted again. I did it 5 times but everytime I ended for the same statue in the same niche. I even looked in every niche  in the garden to make sure that the map was - by accident? - wrong. Suddenly, it was completely clear to me. I looked at the correct Venus all the time but his Venus is not mine. Rubens' Venus and my Venus are two completely  different kinds of "beautiful" woman. The concept of a beautiful woman must have changed in history. What a surprise!

How did she look like?