Showing posts from November, 2018

Mensa Math Paradox

Mensa is a high IQ society. The Facebook groups are quite odd to participate in. They mostly demonstrate that you can have a high IQ and be a good person, or a bad person, an informed person, or an uninformed person. Often, a high IQ just gives you the ability to confuse yourself more. High fluid IQ means that you have the capacity to recognize patterns faster than the average person. High concrete IQ means that you know more of these patterns in a given society than the average person. But, I digress. Here is a math problem that seemed to stump everyone in the group, except for me (I think that's just the right amount of hubris). Someone posted this problem and called it a math paradox. - - - - - - - If you choose an answer to this question at random, what is the chance you will be correct? A) 25% B) 50% C) 60% D) 25% - - - - - - - Go ahead and give your answer and then see if you think I'm right after you read the rest of this post. I take no offense if you

A Story in Four Words

In a writing group a few months ago someone made a flash fiction challenge: Write a story in four words. That's a hard challenge, but I think I came up with a good one. I reveal it to you now. There is a unique skill and a unique talent involved in this unique challenge. It's called closure. Scott McCloud talks about it in his excellent book Understanding Comics. It's about the space in between. In the case of comics it's about the space in between the panels, in between the drawings, where we imagine what's needed to connect them. In prose and poetry there is also closure, it's about what happens in between what you say (not to mention before and after). In such a short piece of flash fiction there has to be a lot of closure. The writer must rely on the reader to fill in a lot of the space. Are you ready for my four word story? Here it is. - - - - - - - She sighed, walked away. - - - - - - - You can see what I mean. What happened right before th

The Lie of Showing Versus Telling

Writing groups can have aggressive stances on their views. This is one. Someone had asked about some sort of writing advice. It was something like not being able to do only showing and not telling. I responded. Then this Heather person responded. She's a normal type of online attacker that's not a very deep thinker. It isn't a great conversation, but it does show some interesting things. - - - - - - - Jeff(1) - When reading books you'll find that most writing advice is primarily bull. Heather(1) - Show don't tell isn't though. Jeff(2) - It is. When you read authors you'll notice that some of the greats do a lot of telling. Jeff(3) - That's why people like Ursula K. Le Guin say that show don't tell is bull. Heather(2) - No, it isn't. More of the greats show and advocate for it. Cite your source about Ursula Le Guin and feel free to name these greats who primarily tell. Heather(3) - Btw I've read all of her books. She does p

A Few Writing Ideas I've Been Pondering

I'm always generating ideas for writing. Often, I make a note of them. Here are, a few... Pro-Global Warming. Other than temporary trouble along the coasts for some people for a little while, overall global warm would be good for humans. It would open up large land areas that are currently not useful. Global cooling is the really scary thing. It would also be good for vegetation. I haven't heard anyone else make this argument before. I thought it out from first principles. Can long-term weather patterns, climate, stay the same or does it have to change? Change. Would it be worse if it was warmer or colder? Colder. What would be bad if it was warmer? The coasts would rise. What would be better if it was warmer? More useable land area, more water, more vegetation. The Moral Case for Meat Consumption. The more that I've learned, a lot through experience, about diet the more it seems to me that societies are healthier the more meat and fermented foods that they eat. Mika

What's Up with Cannibalism?

Cannibalism seems very odd to me. But, for some reason, it is fairly pervasive in our narratives. Let's explore it and see if any insights jump out at us. Little Red Riding Hood is about a girl that goes on a trip through the woods and encounters cannibalism. Now, everyone knows that it's a wolf that eats grandma, but it's a highly personified wolf. It's a wolf that talks like humans, and looks like humans, and acts like humans. Personification is an amazingly powerful mental ability, and we all have it naturally. In this case it means that the wolf is like a person, so when he eats grandma that's cannibalism. The Three Little Pigs is about a wolf that's trying to eat these pigs, all of which are personified, so there's cannibalism right there. But, when he gets to the last house, the brick house, he can't blow it down and decides to climb down the chimney. The pigs have arranged a giant pot of boiling water at the bottom filled with vegetables an

88.9 Hey Radio, Rusty Shipp, and Me

Welcome to the third installment of my articles for 88.9 Hey Radio. I'm not sure which angle I should take on this one. Rusty Shipp is an odd band, I guess I'll probably take that angle. - - - - - - - You can never say that Rusty Shipp is not an ambitious band. First of all, they are in the middle of leading the founding a new music genre called Nautical Rock'n'Roll. Their first album Mortal Ghost won some awards, but this seems to be just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. They're raising money for their second album now and there is a special project in the works. While on a silent meditation retreat the founder of the band, Russ T. Shipp, had an idea for a concept album which they are calling Liquid Exorcist. This will be a full narrative about the after-effects of an underwater sea war. Rusty Shipp has the feeling of classic rock, melodic hard rock, with a little twist. I like the existential questioning in the song SS Naronic, which is about the sh

Further Notes on Theoconceptualism - Towards a New Religion and Philosophy

Theoconceptualism is a new theological philosophy. Today, we shall cover a lot. Later we will need to filter and expand, but today is just about getting some of the notes initially articulated. Hold on to your hats, because this is going to go quickly, and in an order that has not been worked out. The Nature of God God is a conceptual reality. Rather than placing God under metaphysics, God comes under the study of epistemology, and then that effects ethics. Rather than material, God is spiritual. A good way to understand this truth might be to think of dragons and/or monsters. Dragons are real. They are real conceptual entities. They are the ultimate small mammal predator. The great mouth and head of a reptilian snake/alligator, that breathes fire, with the wings of a great bird of prey, and the claws of a great predatory cat. This concept is a real concept. We have pictures and toys of dragons. We know how dragons act, and we know how to act when we encounter a dragon. And,

Experiments with Active Imagination

Active imagination scares me a little. It's a psychological technique developed and promoted by Carl Jung. I've just started to explore it. The basic idea with active imagination is that you focus on a fantasy of some sort, it can be something you make up or something from a dream, and then you watch it move. You watch what happens next. The mind occurs across time, it thinks in narratives, and it will naturally start to move this fantasy and develop a story, many times a crazy story, but a story nevertheless. Over time you develop the skill of being active in these stories yourself. Just like dreams where your mind is trying to sort information and work out problems that you're having, in active imagination we work out our problems in a symbolic world. Once we resolve these inner tensions and conflicts, and integrate our unconscious, we are then able to use all of our resources to confront our problems in the world. It's powerful stuff. What scares me about it i

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