Monthly Archives: April 2012


Jill Tarter’s call to join the SETI search

There was a viral going around this week which inspired today’s blog.  It was a clip from a new daytime talk show by Anderson Cooper (more popularly known from Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN). 

It was about aliens.  I admit, I only watched the clips and did not see the original programming, however from what I saw it looked like a relatively balanced discussion between skeptics and believers. 

Is there a TED talk on this topic?  After all, if TED is about spreading ideas, this certainly expands greater than technological breakthroughs or philosophical discoveries, it is a very big and popular question.  Are we truly alone?

And with some luck, there is a TED talk that covers it.  The search link is here:

Quick aside: Freeman Dyson also provides a Ted Talk (much earlier, in 2003) regarding alien life as well.  It’s amazing that this talk was held over nine years ago.  Despite the fact the name is ‘let’s look for life in the outer solar system’, it starts off with a great tangent about biotechnology.  I’d continue, however each TED talk deserves its own entire blog entry so I might return to that TED talk another day.

Length: 21 minutes, 18 seconds

Jill Tarter begins the talk with a very well measured and paced introduction.  It’s understandable.  Had she begun her talk with the phrase, “We are NOT alone!” or “The X Files are real!” or “Look at dem dar stars y’all, I bet dare’s a farmyard o space critters that taste like chicken” and the collective room of eyeballs rolling back would be measurable on a microphone. 

People, like to be skeptics.  And even the idea of just believing there are aliens (something that as far as I am aware, has never been officially documented or announced) is a questionable practice. 

So she begins with what is real.  Humanity’s accomplishments, are quite real, and they were all located on a very small planet in a very big universe.  She progresses on this point and shows how truly small our piece of ‘home’ is. 

I didn’t really find the introduction to be particularly mesmerizing on its metrics alone, I wanted her to jump into the good stuff.  The real ‘greasy and volatile’ language of why we should expend resources to look for something that we have never seen before.  (Now let me reiterate that Jill Tarter does an incredible job at keeping the talk real.  She openly declares that Seti does not presume that extraterrestrial life doesn’t exist, rather that the possibility is there.)  So I felt like I was anticipating something big to happen, like she’d announce a fact that would blow my mind out of orbit.

And about seven minutes in, she sort of did.

I’ve never heard of extremophiles before, but I like the idea around it all.  I was already aware of life forms capable of living in harsh conditions (not sure if this was before or after the discovery of arsenic bacteria) but didn’t realize they had a name.  I think some people I know could be considered extremophiles based upon the fastfood they live off of.  I’ll have to remember to tell them about their new classification.

There are some interesting aspects about this talk, as she describes that humanity is still a creature in its ascent, that we’re not the end result.  This certainly makes sense, if our brains adapt to new knowledge, that we develop neuro pathways specific to that knowledge then certainly our own daily evolution is being molded with each minor technological invention that goes mainstream. 

Caveman brain = before 733t speak ? 


There is a brief historical outlook on Seti, from its renaissance beginnings with Copernicus, to its first official documentation in 1959, and in 1960 it performed it’s first observation of a celestial body.

More about Copernicus can be found here:

It’s interesting that we learn the measurements of space exploration.  Earth is 1 AU away from the sun, Voyager (in 2009) is 106 AU away from Earth, and I’d imagine our dreams of youth can be found about 1500 AU away. 

Jill Tarter expresses great thanks to the Seti supporters and mentions many names and significant events, one of which is that (in 2009) it was TED’s 25th anniversary. 

25!  I didn’t even realize TED was old enough to drink.

One Sentence Summary

(This is always an interesting exercise to me.  Trying to recapture the subject of the Ted Talk, despite the fact the ‘title’ of the Ted talk is an easy answer.  This one sentence summary is simply my interpretation.)

“In order for SETI, and the search for extraterrestrial life to continue, it needs the support of the terrestrial life.”

What caught me off guard

This TED talk starts with a little pop up at the beginning that hasn’t happened before.  It shows the words ‘TED Prize’.  This surprised me, was this talk a winner of the annual TED Prize? 

The Talk answers it for me, as Jill goes into exact details of what her wish was that led her to become a TED Prize Winner.  I’ll type it out here so you don’t need to reference it.

“I wish that you would empower Earthlings everywhere to become active participants in the ultimate search for cosmic company.”

Tarter goes into what this could be during the final few minutes of the Talk.  It’s very high level, but its (obviously) about creating an easy means for people to become involved.


Questions about aliens?  Why I don’t have any questions at all!

Questions about SETI, well that might be something altogether different.  How does one ‘help SETI’?  Would I need to have a degree?  Would I need the recommendations of peers and professors in order to be taken seriously?  Do all they want is money? 

Well, for one, at the end of the talk the phrase “To help with this wish visit

And that’s easy enough, so let’s go check it out.

The website is as I would have expected, about TED Prize winners.  Looking into 2009, we find it quickly at:

The answers to many of my questions are right here.  Yes, they’re ideally looking for engineers and experts that aren’t the ‘average’ person.  However some of the options to assist are a bit broad spectrum so if one was insistent there probably could be something one could do.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they had ‘social media directors’ who simply post Seti news.

There is a button to ‘Offer Help’ and this brings up the TED Prize Wish support form.  These appear to have a similar ‘level of request’ but its obviously generic enough to be applied to any TED Prize Wish.

The SETI website can be found here:

There’s a great deal of information here, but to summarize it has news, a who’s who and contact links for both Scientists and Educators.  In order for an organization to survive it does need to be self perpetuating, so education is important.

So now that its been discussed, what can we do?

In Talk like this, it has an expressed desire.  Jill Tarter delivers the message of ‘will you join in and help SETI?’, so that’s a decision that’s up to the individual.  If you’re someone who is not at all related to the field, and no desire to actually volunteer time or resources, I’d recommend at least knowing about it and mentioning the name if the subject matter ever arises.  The act of simply letting other people become aware of such an organization would be supporting it too (although significantly smaller scale).

Unfortunately for me, I don’t believe I’ll find a TED talk as ‘borderline different’ as the Anderson Cooper alien abduction / missing time clips. 

I don’t mind, my mind is in the clouds so often that I’m barely able to keep my feet on Earth.

– Updated every Thursday

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Posted by on April 27, 2012 in Uncategorized


Maya Beiser(s) and her cello(s)

I’ll be completely honest and say that I seriously considered skipping this week.  (It’s a birthday week so the laziness ramps up like a thunderstorm)  It so happens that I’ll spend a few hours on a Thursday watching anywhere from a half dozen to two dozen TED Talks before deciding which one to focus on.

And this week, I almost skipped it all.  That is, until I got home and…started watching TED Talks.

This musically based TED Talk can be found here:

Length: 20 minutes, 30 seconds

I love live entertainment.  I adore it, crave it, and it depletes me of valuable time and funds however it is worth every moment.  On average I’ll attend a concert / show / musical / play / poetry reading / dance recital about once every two weeks I think.  Each performance tells a meta story of its own, from its choice of actors/artists, their energy levels and what the presentation is.

Imagine my surprise when I encountered a ted talk that is eighteen minutes of music. 

And it is quite clever, despite the fact that the idea is not uncommon.

Beiser plays the cello with herself, eight times over in an interesting exciting clash filled with energy and various intensities.  It starts out so vibrantly that her bow becomes a frayed mess two minutes into the performance.  (Either that, or she needs to buy bows just for performances.  She just ripped that through that thing like a saw in wood)

The cello, to me, has a very distinct almost intrusive sound.  It doesn’t play in my ears the way a violin will leave a melody stuck in constant repetition in my head space.  Rather, it’s almost as if the sounds will pierce through this divide and strikes the adrenal sensations.  It’s understandable that the cello accompanies ‘dramatic’ moments in movies in that regard.

  It took me longer than I would have expected to get into the music itself.  I know why too  It’s because it’s a TED Talk, and my initial thoughts were about the audience.  What were they expecting?  What about the TED staff?

The camera directors for TED took full advantage of a non standard presentation and provided a filming experience that is unlike any other.  Full closeups of Beiser’s right hand, her neck, the audience members in attendance.  As a visual experience it is both distracting and complementary to the music.  I sat and watched wondering why I wasn’t as entranced with the music but when I saw an audience member shift in his chair that I immediately realized why.  And that the audience itself, was distracting me from the TED talk.  (The audience is rarely seen at all, except in cases where they are reacting.  So when they show the audience, I look for a reaction.)

The video presented is artistically minimalist.  It’s not a fanfare of colors or pop culture references to trigger the comfort response.  It’s kept at a level that is foreign enough to keep one a bit askew so I wonder if this impacted some of the listeners. 

Although I would recommend watching every TED talk twice, for this one I think just listening to it would be even more enjoyable.

Beiser mentions her influences, including Sebastian Bach as a major contributor to the cello.  Wait, let me clarify, Johann Sebastian Bach is a major contributor.  If you google Sebastion only, you get a Canadian metal head.  (Which I admit, the latter as her prime practice would be…hilarious.. and.. unusual.)

  Seriously though, watch it again but only listen.

One Sentence Summary

“Modern performance evolves with technology.”

Recording yourself on a microphone and playing it back is not new.  Recording yourself and singing along ‘with yourself’ is also not new.  (It was the first thing a friend of mine did in highschool in fact)

However, to purposely record oneself, enough to create a full concert, with the intention of playing alongside oneself, IS new. 

What caught me off guard

The audience member in row seven chair 17 that shifted in his seat uncomfortably like he was sitting on a frying pan caught me off guard.  I’ve never been so distracted by the audience before.  (And I don’t actually know the seat area, I’m making this up)

Actually, what caught me off guard was the fact this was so very artistically distinct.

What do I mean by that?  I mean the circus, has ruined me.

What do I mean by the circus? 

Do you know when the audience KNOWS when to clap for the circus performer?  Its when the circus performer suddenly stares at the audience and waves out a hand like he or she is presenting a huge 4ft tall wedding cake.  It’s freaking obvious.  If the audience doesn’t clap then they’re a bunch of morons.  That or possibly one of the circus performers just died, which would also be a reason not to clap.  (Heaven help those that do)

That straightforward, in your face, this is how it should be delivered approach, is affecting me now.  Beiser is not playing TO the audience.  Her face isn’t giving knowing glances with the audience, the kind that might say “this is the tricky part” or “this was sad now cry”.  It’s a performance where she is fully invested in playing the music, and that’s very enjoyable.


None.  (see birthday week excuse above)

So now that its been discussed, what can I do with it?

Appreciate the cello and Bach more, is the first things that come to mind.  It’s surprising how much influence that this might actually be for me.

– Updated every Thursday

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Posted by on April 20, 2012 in Uncategorized


Another year wiser and other blatant lies.

Celebrated a birthday this week, and it was mine!

Not that I’m one to usually celebrate birthdays.  I realized something a long time ago and that is I can’t afford to give out presents to all the people I’d like to give presents to.  It’s a numbers game and I’m simply not there.

So where’s the fair trade?  Well, that’s rather simple.  Don’t celebrate your own birthday and you skip all that ‘present exchange’ shenanigans.  Of course this rule is a very soft rule, so yeah, presents still come and go.  Except now instead of it being expected, it’s more of a ‘Surprise!’ (followed by the mental ‘you thoughtless jerk, how can I reciprocate this blatant generosity’ moment)  Btw, I can do a full rant on how every time a friend gets married it’s the cost equivalent of them smashing in one of my car windows but that’s just me ranting for the joy of ranting.

And as I sat on the hypothetical mountain top this week, I pondered my life.

Well, not just ‘my life’ as in past events.  It was present tense or rather where I’d like to see it going.  I have a couple of ideas, all requiring a great deal of effort.  And then this thought slipped into my mind, was I even wiser now that I’m older?  I’m getting ‘wider’, I’m not sure if that counts.

They say that wisdom comes with age and I have to say that this is a load of poo.

How do I know this?  Because I’m an idiot.

And I know it.

Self Awareness is one of those things that starts in the classroom.  In grade 5 we were assigned to write a short essay about our own self awareness.  I remember commenting on how our actions affect others, but this certainly stems to how we present ourselves, how we listen, and how we deliver our wisdom.

Now here is the most peculiar thing.  Why is it, the older we get, why does it feel like the ‘less likely’ someone will actually ask for our wisdom?

Sure, for specific questions, they still get asked.  However, these are really SPECIFIC. For instance,  What’s good to order at Taco Bell?  Combo 3, one hard shell taco and one soft shell taco.

This, from what I can tell, is the extent with which people wish to know my wisdom.

Or maybe which videogames to play.  Or if I can check a resume for typos.  Sometimes it’s about relationship advice.

Now please understand I’m not some greybeard who wanders the streets with a lantern and staff.  I’m not expecting people to start talking in riddles just so I can bestow my wisdom back at them with more riddles.

“What lurks in the shadows of doubt, where fear and openness struggle for dominance?”

“My answer, Combo 3, one hard shelled taco, one soft shelled taco.”

The fact is, finding wisdom is barely a stepping stone in North American society.  We aren’t given ‘quests for wisdom’, and there’s little reason to need to know more if one can simply pick up the process.  By that I mean, the ‘know how’ to do something will naturally contain conventional wisdom.  However, it doesn’t have the blood/sweat/tears that it might have took to find it.

I don’t have any problems with that.  Look at the internet.  It’s an information washing machine that takes in load after load of dirty information, washes it around in a forum of crowdsource-ing and spits out clean clean conventional wisdom to wear.  (Do NOT wash your personals in this washing machine, as it will have a tendancy to shrink them.)  Likewise, a bright sweater will temporarily affect the entire wash, making them pink or lime green.  I can only recommend a colder water setting with harsher restrictions.

I’ve obviously much wisdom about washing machines.

But the years = wisdom analogy?  I don’t feel a day wiser than I did in 2011.

Maybe certain outlooks have changed.  Goals have become more ‘real’, or ‘more easily measured’, arguably ‘easier to attain’.  Is that wisdom?  Or is that being pessimistic?  Could positive day dreaming be the real wisdom?  Could it be found on a fastfood menu?  The smiles are free, and isn’t that one of the best things life can offer?

Seeking wisdom also relates to the ‘point’ of where we are in our lives and the every increasing circle of contacts that we’re generating.  If you know 50 people who are accountants, it’s highly unlikely you’ll go to all 50 of them with accounting questions.  With that in mind, I can see why I’m not being tapped for anything in particular.  After all, without an event or designation that screams ‘answers here’, there’s little to no reason at all to knock anybody else up for information.  If anything it’s simply an opinion, and that’s something we’re told to keep to ourselves.

So I flip the question on my myself.  Do I seek wisdom from others?   Yes and no.  Like a decrepit vampire I often turn to the more society connected peers to know what’s in or which new television show to watch.  That’s a sort of backwards wisdom in the social herding aspect of society.

Do I know individuals that have great wisdom?  It’s quite possible.  However, I do know too that their opinions are often heavily shrouded by their history or personal preferences.  To ask for their wisdom, in effect, is either asking for them to self validate or worse, they might push their own agenda.

Oh crap, I sound like I’ve lost hope in humanity.  People aren’t jerks.  Intentionally, at least.

So that must be it, I’m viewing life through a tinted pair of glasses.  One that self validates my own decisions and might occasionally seek an agenda of its own.

Now to find the wisdom to remove them.

Combo 3, One hard shelled taco and one soft shelled taco please.

– Updated every Thursday

PS> Forget the tacos, I’d rather have some poutine.

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Posted by on April 20, 2012 in In General..


Bjarke Ingels: Hedonistic sustainability

If there is one thing this blog has taught me, it is that I need much more time than what I give myself to finish researching the subject before actually typing.

Here’s the thing, I started looking things up at 11pm.  Got some ideas, tried to find them.  And next thing I know, it’s 2pm.  I’m a terrible researcher, and an even worse photoshop editor and definitely will be exhausted when I go to work tomorrow morning.  (On average, I finish and publish at around 3AM.)

This Ted Talk is just plain awesome and structurally sound.


Length: 22 minutes, 25 seconds

There is something beautiful about architecture that goes beyond the standard concepts of art.  It isn’t that art ‘fits inside this box’ but rather, buildings are just so big.  When you walk up to anything that stretches up towards the sky and people are LIVING inside of it in a visually pleasing manner, it makes all the more interesting.

I was browsing the web today.  I browse the web everyday.  I think I’ve already reached a level of ‘tuned out’, where I’m not paying attention to the nitty gritty details.  However, today was the first day I actually browsed BLOGS.

Now I like the way this blog looks.  It’s minimalistic.  I really don’t care if it’s fancy, and I’m not particularly interested in making it this over the top eye candy.  However, when I think about it, I realize that other people do care.  This past month might be nothing more than a wall of text that people will just give up reading before even trying.

Enter this Ted Talk.  Hedonistic Sustainability.  Now that’s a mouthful of awesome and that’s got to be good.  It also sounds dirty.

And after watching the Ted Talk, I can see that’s exactly the type of branding the speaker Bjarke Ingels was going for.  It’s a title that will catch your attention.  This guy is part salesman, and what’s for sale is interesting.  The buildings are beautiful, the landscapes are beautiful, and they’re so ‘different’. 

Radically different.  A passerby might even question the design choices.

There’s a thing about people I believe in.  If a person is given time, is given ENOUGH time, they can explain every aspect of their personality in such a way that every mannerism or attitude ‘makes sense’.  That if you were in their place, you’d pick up the same habits or at least understand a possible reason WHY they picked up theirs.

Mr. Ingels gets that time, and he is able to breathe life into the designs of these buildings that is more than just looking at a static photo.

His presentation method feels similar to what I like to do when speaking with a crowd.  He puts a lot of obvious ‘feedback’ moments where he can hear if a joke is going well, and through that surmise how much they’re paying attention.  And for a presentation about building design, it’s highly entertaining.  It brings up many good thoughts, but I think the one sentence summary might… summarize.

One Sentence Summary

“We can raise our standard of living through innovative architecture and design.”

In the building demos, photos, overhead views, etc, he poses a problem that faces the area.  There are some obvious solutions, but like a grandmaster in chess he skirts around the obvious and shows us the real ingenious answers they’ve come up with.

What caught me off guard

This guy’s accent is entertaining.  He sounds like the Arnold of Terminator, even though its a different country. 

There’s a television show called ‘How I Met Your Mother’ where they bring in a foreign architect firm named ‘Sven’.  Although I’ve always heard that foreign designs were more shocking, I thought the ‘Sven’ characters were just an exaggeration.  In all honesty, they could easily have been a parody of this guy.

Bjarke Ingels does a great job and presents an incredibly fun presentation.  I was amazed how I had a feeling of anticipation but it was further trumped by the fact that I had no idea what he was going to ‘show’ next.  It could have been a design about anything, but I knew it was going to be good.

So now that it has been discussed, what can we do?

Absolutely nothing as far as I can tell.  Not many of us have the ability to control structures at the city level.  I’m not wealthy enough to make demands on how buildings should be designed.  So the true decision makers would be a very small percentage, however it does bring up the awareness that we should seek new concepts. 

And that is a very good idea that I’d like to build upon.

 – Updated every Thursday


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Posted by on April 13, 2012 in Uncategorized


Clifford Stoll on … everything

I was sick last week, and I`m a strong believer that comedy helps the healing so I did a search for `Funny` Ted Talks.  After all, if there are great ideas being conveyed at TED, why not very funny ideas? 

I came across MANY TED talks that were labelled funny and all of them have their own merits.  However, it was through this exercise I stumbled across a Ted Talk that was NOT labelled funny by TED, but is instead listed as funny by comments and its linking.  (Note: I was searching via YouTube at the time)

Official Ted Link is here:

Length: 17 minutes, 54 seconds

It only takes a few minutes to realize that Clifford Stall is brilliant.  He is a brilliant mind for certain.  However, it only takes a few SECONDS to realize that Clifford is extremely eccentric. 

Eccentric, or possibly on the verge of being quite insane.  Not in a harmful way mind you, but in the manner of someone who exists within his own universe of observation. 

I can go into great detail of how I’ve encountered the psychotic brain in the business world.  It’s often said that this ‘serial killer’ brain actually ‘fits’ and flourishes in business, and perhaps it does.  However in science, I can easily see how a mind like this, that is so excited and enthusiastic, to be a huge benefit to finding discovery. 

Regardless of whatever opinion one might have of his behavior, I did find this talk to be extremely educational.  For one, he speaks with memorable phrases and shares anecdotes like they deserve to be shared.  Secondly, he makes an assumption that isn’t done enough (in my opinion) at TED Talks.  He starts with the assumption that the audience is educated, and that he doesn’t need to ‘dumb down’ his language or methods.

Clifford leaps all over the place, but in an amazing and excited manner that is very entertaining.  The fact he doesn’t even bother talking about his incredibly interesting past is actually really humbling.  I could make arguments that he spends effort on ‘showing his smarts’ or proving to the audience that he has an ‘expertise’ but this could easily be him trying to raise his own confidence while speaking with audience.

The reason why it is humbling to me, is that he could easily have focused on simply speaking about himself and in particular, what his actions were that made him ‘noteworthy’ to speak at TED.  He isn’t a speaker that is trying to sell a point of view that supports his company or is from a completed thesis.  I’d imagine having a typical conversation with him on the street would very much be like this talk.

That or quite possibly, he’d ignore me because he’s busy thinking about something else. 

I think the vain part of my ego simply wants to sympathize.  While in school, I was considered extremely ‘weird’, almost to the point that there were more than one person who probably would have questioned my own ability to adapt for integration with society.  Of course, in my case it wasn’t because I was too smart, I think I was just weird.  (And when it comes to being called weird, that still happens every once in a while today.)

Because he jumps across a dozen different subjects, there’s a dozen different spots where there’s a chance to learn something.  There’s almost too many to count as he is so specific about dates, names, the scientific nomenclature of tools/formulas and what equipment he uses.  (Watching this video, for instance, taught me how to use a slideruler.  Something I’ve heard about before, but never have once seen in use.  Multiplication via measuring didn’t make much sense at first until you notice that’s a logarithmic function). 

This is such an entertaining talk that I can see myself watching this again and again in the future.

One Sentence Summary

“How to find tranquility in confusion.”

Mr Stoll repeats a common philosophy or subtlety that might be accidental, but whether it is about mobius strips, university riots, or the loud noisy oscilloscope, there is something beautiful and beneficial that can be redeemed from the chaos.

The mobius strip is a bit of a mental conundrum as its very existence is puzzling on its own.  And yet from that he can create a rather pretty piece of art in the klein bottle.  The oscilloscope despite its natural distractions can be used to find a truth like the speed of sound.  A university riot, or in his circumstance, escaping a threatening authority leads to a rather thoughtful and most of all hopeful, inscription.

I do not know if Mr. Stoll was the originator of the phrasing, but I really liked the summary.  ‘The first time someone does something its science.  The second time it’s engineering and the third time its a technician.”

This stood out to me doubly so at the first watching of this video because only a couple moments before he describes himself as a technician working.  He then leads the statement and finishes with how he considers himself a scientist and that he wants to move on to new things.  In a way, this could be an explanation to the audience of why he is no longer a technician.

What caught me off guard

Clifford Stoll.

Seriously speaking, this guy looks like a cross between Data from Star Trek and Doc Brown from Back to the Future, he bounces around like the Nutty Professor and talks like a child that has just recently discovered sugar mixed with caffeine.  This is NOT what I would expect a TED Talk speaker to be like or to behave.

It does bring about a few questions on why he acts in the way that he does.  He mentions working with children, is this an adaptation from that?  Is he modelling from a brilliant mind that he knew growing up when he was a child?  Or is there a physical or mental mannerism that is present in him that is taking up the headspace that dictates whether to use the Super Ego or Id?  In other words, does he simply not know how to behave because to do so would be less interesting?


Wow.. So many questions.  There are actually too many questions that this blog cannot contain them.  I want to know if that experiment is legit.  For instance, if he measured using inches he couldn’t have used the same mathematics?  For that matter, what is the Wade equation?  (I might be misnaming it)  Or the dozen other equations he whispered to himself.  Is Clifford Stoll still around today?  His personality almost makes me question IF he is still working or has he moved on to other projects?

And for the first time, I don’t want the answers.  Maybe its because its late and I’m completely exhausted.  However when it comes to THIS talk, it almost feels like Clifford Stoll is also expressing another truth.  Answers will come. 

He stayed in physics because a man who was specializing in music said so.  University riots lead him to a church bell.  Handing over a Klein bottle gave him a drink he never tried before.  (I will also agree that Vitamin Water is terrible.  Seriously, why do they make that stuff.) 

Effectively, in examining one thing the discovery for another completely not related thing occurs.  I think over the course of the week I should read up on some more physics, and through that I’ll probably end up learning more about art.

So that its been discussed, what can we do about it?

I can tell you exactly what I was going to do tonight. 

I wanted to write about this TED talk tonight located here on Youtube:

Peter McGraw talking about – What Makes Things Funny

I searched Ted’s website for this talk for hours tonight, but could not find it.  For whatever reason, it is not listed.  I found a very awesome spreadsheet that lists links to all Ted talks on its site: but it still didn’t list it.

I learned about an App for ‘making’ Ted Talks (which was a comedic talk etc etc) and that led me to finding an actual TED talk app. 

And through all this chaos, I could not find what I was looking for so I opted to do this talk instead.

For me, the Talk presented here is not random in any way, it is the tranquility I found after being stuck with chaos.

– Updated every Thursday


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Posted by on April 6, 2012 in Uncategorized


Updated every healthy Thursday

Ever get so sick that it causes a nightmare of fear?  I have.  It happened only last week.

It started like a normal ordinary Monday.  The kind of boring Monday that is full of routine and monotonous repetition that begins with the mindless morning ritual.  Yeah, a typical Monday.

Looking back, I realize now, is that this was nothing more than the silence before the storm.

You do not know fear as I know fear.

The work day really didn’t seem that unusual, except for the fact a plague had somehow infiltrated the office. And there isn’t anything wrong with that.  Colds, measles, strange epidemics occur in the office every week.  There isn’t anything wrong with fellow employees who will ignore any signs of sickness and they will boldly stride in to be on the job.  As far as they’re concerned, they won’t go home unless they’re dead.  Or more accurately, until everyone else is dead.  It’s that special kind of moment when you say to yourself, “I’m sick!  I must share this, like a link on Facebook.”

And when I started sniffling, I wasn’t that alarmed.  Heck, I’ve been pseudo sick with some kind of cold or another for most of the nineties.  Ever hear of SARS?

That’s nothing.  That’s what I sneeze out of my mouth when I’m healthy.  (Note: not an actual fact)

I laugh at disease like a person in denial laughs at Hoarders.  I’ve never actually seen this show mind you, but if I did, I think it’d be hilarious.  Hilarious until they find the guy who collects all the stuff I want, and then I’ll be jealous and maybe mad as hell.  Until that moment, hilarious.  (Note2: I wouldn’t get mad)

Seriously speaking, I do not get sick that often.  Once in a while during the winter, I will feel a chill run down my back and maybe let out a random cough.  Application of a sweater and a scarf and I’m able to continue cruising down the road of life with no sign of slowing.  And that’s where this Monday led, to a tiny little sniffle coming from my nose.

Now I’m uncertain about how a cold develops.  Maybe there’s some incubation period, maybe it needs time to hack my servers, maybe it was building a trojan horse into my sinuses but this was it.  It was just a stupid little sniffle that only needed a couple napkins to clear up.

And the rest of the week rolled on.  It was a good week, I managed to get a lot of work done.  I felt like things were getting accomplished, and I only needed to clear my nose every once in a while.  Sure, the phlegm was beginning to build up but I could handle it.  (Wasn’t there a story about a boy who stuck his finger in a dyke?  In this example, the dyke is my nose.)

What I wasn’t certain I would be able to handle, was the fact I had early morning meetings back to back for three days straight.  It isn’t that I prefer late mornings, but there is something evil about being forced to wake up an hour earlier than you’re used to.  Not morally evil mind you, its the type of evil that causes injury or harm.

However, like any dedicated soldier I trekked on.  And although I certainly was not as rested as I would normally prefer, I didn’t think much of it.

Enter Friday, or what I like to call it, “what the hell is wrong with the weather here in Toronto” Friday.  For you see, the start of the week (Monday) was hot as any summer afternoon.  Girls walked around in short shorts, guys seem to have forgotten where their shirts were and I felt out of place wearing my winter jacket.  It was alright, I was fighting a leaky faucet called my nasal passage.

However it flipped.  The weather became freezing in the span of a day. It was now freezing.

Friday night, on this blistering cold Friday night, I decided to go out and get some culture.  A friend of mine, she was singing in a cabaret downtown and had sent me an invite.  Now, I couldn’t turn that down so I bundled up to fight the snow and headed out for a late time.  (Yes, snow.  As I said, the weather turned)

What I didn’t realize was, that Friday night was going to be known as “why the hell am I sweating bullets” Friday night.  For you see, I had entered Fever land.  And this isn’t the disco fever that keeps ya moving to the beat.  This was the fever that terrifies.  The fever that causes paralysis and you can’t clap your hands.  Worse than Bieber fever, this was ‘I’m an idiot for going out’ fever.  When I’m sending out text messages that read, “I’m sick.  I think I might die.”  I guess I should have stayed in.  Of course, the rational side of the brain is usually one of hindsight, so I suppose I shouldn’t have gone out the Saturday as well.

By the time Monday morning rolled in, I was starting to cough.

This cough = the fear.

You see, by Wednesday, this cough had gone full blown into cough cough cough mode.  And then I started coughing so hard that I thought it was connected to my spine.  And then the bizarre happened.

I coughed so hard, that it triggered other bodily functions.  Well, not full tilt but enough to make not want to cough EVER AGAIN.

Look, when you cough so hard that you suddenly pass uncontrollable wind, pardon my language but WHAT THE FUCK man.  How does this help?  This doesn’t help me, this doesn’t help anybody.

They’ll find my corpse in the bathroom and the paramedics will say,

“How did he die?”

“I think he imploded.”


And then the mortician will point to a chart and say, “His insides smashed together with such great velocity, we discovered the Higgs Boson particle.  Can somebody contact CERN?”

The newspapers will read, “Man coughfarts so hard it became science.”

And I don’t even want to consider what would have happened if either side was, well, not empty.  Ever sneeze while eating pasta?  It shoots out of your nose like spiderman flinging with his webshooters.  And on the back side, it’ll probably just spray out in some wild out of control shotgun.”

Fear of the coughfart, as you could probably have guessed, now had its grip on me.

Thursday night, I caught up on sleep.  (Which is why this blog didn’t happen that night)

And do you know what the worst part of it all is?  I’m just getting over it NOW.  It’s a week later.  It took the power of Advil, Dristan and Cold FX to get me through to this point.

I did at least get to try a dozen other remedies as well.  For instance, drinking green tea.  I drank four glasses of green tea on Tuesday night and learned that sleeping is optional.  Seriously, drink enough green tea and you will never need to sleep again.

I usually like to brag when buying the monstrous new Tim Horton’s Extra Large coffee.  I hoist up the giant trophy of a cup, smile at the other customers and whisper to them, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

But that’s a lie.  I can crank that back and sleep comfortably in my cubicle.  But not this time.

I stayed up till four in the morning that night widely alert and forcing myself to sleep.  Luckily, I did.  I slept for what felt like an entire night of rest.  I check the clock it was FIVE.  I had slept an hour, why the heck was I so alert?  Because the tea was green.

So now that I’ve told this ridiculously long story, I will have to put an amendment to my ‘Updated Every Thursday’.

I do not know who would have had the endurance to read this entire mash up of thoughts but if you made it this far, I salute you.

– Updated every Healthy Thursday

PS> Don’t drink too much green tea

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Posted by on April 6, 2012 in Uncategorized