David Thompson
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January 29, 2016

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ac1

Cylon Headlights! Does Audi have a plan?

R. Sherman

The "waffle poots" vid has over 1.2 million views. Humanity had a nice run.

jones

Why can't we make all our clothing from titanium? From the practical experiment above it would only need to be about a quarter of an inch thick, or even less.

Would be very useful for when there's one of those (multitudinal) lone wolf attacks.

Darleen

drawing robot???

Pffft.... let's see it do this

David

The “waffle poots” vid has over 1.2 million views.

We live in an age of wonders.


Pffft.... let’s see it do this.

Kid’s got skillz.

The Sage

>Text tone analyser

Are we getting closer to the day when we can detect sarcasm on the internets?

DMS

I think "waffle shart" would be a better title, but 1.2m views is definitely a sign of end times.

Steve

Let's take the fusion of Politics and Art to a new level.

Give the People what they want, Bernie:

http://hausrules.us/conservative-artist-sabo-seriously-crashed-bernie-sanders-art-expo-in-la

David

Let’s take the fusion of Politics and Art to a new level.

I don’t know if it’s art, but I do approve.

Jon Powers

Re Text tone analyzer
PRO TIP: "Hey Assholes, go fuck yourselves" scores pretty negatively. But, substituting "team" for "assholes" really gives the text a more agreeable tone.

Joan

"Feminists around world."

https://twitter.com/FeministShit/status/684185250474405889

David

One for music lovers.

Hedgehog

Well, the snow drawings certainly fit the category of ephemera. I think they're lovely, but I'm puzzled by the lengths people will go to in order to create evanescent art. What does it say about 21st century civilization? Stonehenge was built between 3100 and 1100 BC; the Pantheon in Rome was finished in 125 AD and is still used today; Chichen Itza is dated to the 7th century AD; the great cathedrals of Europe, 11th to 14th century; the palaces at Knossos, 20th to 12th century BC. These people thought for the ages. We have the attention span of a mayfly.

David

What does it say about 21st century civilization?

I’m not sure that it says anything about 21st century civilisation. Except, perhaps, that we have cameras to record these things for posterity and the amusement of others. I’d imagine most of what we now consider the great painters and composers of history had in their time thrown away and lost forever things that displayed rare talent and many hours of work, things we might now consider valuable.

Ten

Stonehenge was built between 3100 and 1100 BC; the Pantheon in Rome was finished in 125 AD

Large numbers of sophisticated megalithic sites point to the 10-12,000 BC era. Apparently primitive man felt an overwhelming need to mark his place in the heavens with remarkable precision, which he did all over the place. Some ancient event coincided with the rapid uptick in temperature that led to the stable climate of today, and that Something Big was recorded with culture-bending urgency.

We couldn't build the Giza pyramids today if we wanted. Although we can dick up 21st century civilization to the degree that we won't be able to prevent our own demise. With our organizational skills and staggering grasp of the philosophy of human life, surely we were seeded here to see how long simple idiocy could last.

Jen

I’m not sure that it says anything about 21st century civilisation. Except, perhaps, that we have cameras to record these things for posterity and the amusement of others.

And the internet.

Hedgehog

we have cameras to record these things for posterity

And the internet.

Yes, although most if not all of these cameras are digital, and of course so is the internet, which means that after Chtulhu escapes his subterranean lair and brings death and destruction to our civilization, whoever finds the remnants won't be able to do anything with them. At least the people we now consider the great painters and composers of the past recorded their scribblings on a more permanent medium. What's more, they didn't create for impermanence by design. With works like the snow drawings, however, the impermanence seems to be a large part of the point.

And yes, I know that the internet is forever, but only as long as we know how to keep the lights on. There have been periods in history when that was not the case.

Hedgehog

We couldn't build the Giza pyramids today if we wanted.

Ah, a kindred spirit. Greetings, Ten.

Hal

I really recommend taking up a different hobby.

dicentra ن

I'm puzzled by the lengths people will go to in order to create evanescent art.

It's not just us: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sand_mandala

The evanescent art created by ancient civs...

wait for it...

ISN'T HERE ANYMORE

Chester Draws

These people thought for the ages. We have the attention span of a mayfly.

Have you thought that the impermanent things they did haven't lasted? Duh!

We couldn't build the Giza pyramids today if we wanted.

What.A.Crock.Of.Shit.

We build entire islands. Not little islands, but whacking great things on which we land our not very tiny jet planes. Or that have ports that service major cities like Shanghai.

We build bridges of staggering length -- Denmark to Sweden for goodness sake!

The Millau Viaduct only has a mass of about a tenth of the Great Pyramid of Giza, true. But the fucker is over 300m in the air.

Not only could we build the pyramids if we wanted. We could build them on stilts.

Chester Draws

Now I'm riled at this idiotic belief that we are midgets compared to people who built 10 pyramids in 1,000 years.

http://www.citymetric.com/skylines/gift-sea-through-land-reclamation-china-keeps-growing-and-growing-1350

The city of Longdou took down a mountain and made some new port land. They move over 150 times the biggest Pyramid in dirt and stone to do so. And that is so trivial that none of us had even heard of it until I just looked it up!

David

We couldn’t build the Giza pyramids today if we wanted.

Tongue half in cheek, I suspect planning might be an issue, and there might be some health and safety concerns. Ultimately, though, I suppose you have to ask why you’d want to build them again. What modern purpose would they serve? It’d be a huge project with no obvious commercial or cultural pay-off.

And I suspect that if you could take one of the mighty pharaohs around even one of the duller buildings of our world – say, a provincial biscuit factory - he would be astonished by what happens inside.

Ray

Chester Draws
I'm so old I remember when National Geographic would have been exited about that, in a good way.

David

A few months ago, I caught part of a How It’s Made or How It Works programme, which happened to be about something ostensibly quite dull, i.e., the making of rather bland dry crackers. I snorted dismissively, thinking the programme makers must be short of ideas and scraping the barrel bottom. Twenty minutes later, I was still watching, fascinated by the ingenuity of the process, the machines, the timing, the almost perfect reproducibility.

And if the humble cracker can impress…

Stuart Lord

Is it sad I was giggling like a child watching that titanium video?

Ten

We couldn't build the Giza pyramids today if we wanted.

What.A.Crock.Of.Shit.

Presume away. If you think I refer to size and scale, you don't even begin to know the subject.

Although I am quite daunted by your use. Of. Idiotic. Internet. Devices.

Ten

The city of Longdou took down a mountain and made some new port land. They move over 150 times the biggest Pyramid in dirt and stone to do so.

Yeah, we're indeed great at relocating vast amounts of soil. Like I say, you haven't the faintest idea what I'm referring to.

David

Yeah, we’re indeed great at relocating vast amounts of soil.

[ Raises hand sheepishly. ]

I’m not clear what point is being missed either. If we’re not talking about technological ingenuity or scale or whatever, or practicality in a modern context, what’s being missed? Are you referring to projects that involve huge swathes of the population, point to the heavens and announce “This is who we mighty people are!”?

R. Sherman

@Ten

I think the best example is considering the "miracle" of modern communication technology, which allows us virtually instant access to information all over the world. This leads not to the modern equivalent of Marcus Aurelius's Meditations but incomprehensible strings of 140 characters and "Waffle Fart" videos.

Ten

Ultimately, though, I suppose you have to ask why you’d want to build [the pyramids] again. What modern purpose would they serve? It’d be a huge project with no obvious commercial or cultural pay-off.

We'd first want to know why they were built and for what purpose. We don't. The cultural pay-off they delivered for their time is likewise unknown, although their incredible precision - which is what's impressive - appears to point to it. Any idiots can move dirt and many have...

And no, we couldn't do that today, even assuming the mass-versus-height problem could be surmounted. We literally can't move today what was moved in antiquity. We can, however, presume we could. Because we really like us.

And I suspect that if you could take one of the mighty pharaohs around even one of the duller buildings of our world – say, a provincial biscuit factory - he would be astonished by what happens inside.

I would certainly think so. But the original point remains: Aside from our mechanical and electronic technologies - which are the objects of two hundred years fiddling and which obviously we're quite self-impressed by - we haven't the cultural and hence, spiritual directive to organize well enough to stave off, say, monetary collapse. Or political disaster, any number of democides and genocides, or even the dysfunction of this blog's unending targets. That was the point.

Despite the despised notion of noble savages - modern man being magically but wholly superior because modern man - I suggest that there have been periods in antiquity where spectacular and still-astonishing projects were tacked that today we haven't the skills of direction to accomplish, even if we were able to grasp what and why they are. For our part today, we're wrong on a number of advanced sciences, with professional scientific bewilderment being professed weekly out on their forefronts. Our reach commonly exceeds our grasp.

But then I'm less impressed than most with western man's unique ability to pat himself on the back for the temporary windfalls gleaned from the greatest frauds and perversions of organizational sanity ever known. We love those levers, regardless of where they lead us. Pride and falls, and like that.

David

we haven’t the cultural and hence, spiritual directive…

Well, in a modern economic and democratic context, a secular society, it’s hard to imagine a construction project that would sweep up half of the population in some capacity or other, including emotionally and spiritually, all voluntarily, and that would symbolise something important and unifying to all those involved in its construction and any number of onlookers.

God-kings, popes and pharaohs had more elbow room in that respect.

Ten

God-kings, popes and pharaohs had more elbow room in that respect.

Modify that to contemporary progressive God-kings, popes and pharaohs - whether on the left or right political wing - and I'd think that today we have at least as much elbow room for idealistic collective projects.

Again, there is no reliable history for the ancient versions, calling the presumed history of former God-kings, popes and pharaohs into question. Today, not so much. Today we're staring insolvent groupthink in the face, not least of which is about cultural stability and endurance. Likewise for hunks of our sciences.

WTP

FFS, we sent men to the moon. The f'ng moon. Man has stared at it in awe, wonder, and even worship for as long as man has been man. And we did that with 1960's technology that seems ancient today. Of course we "can't" do that today. We have an Internet but the notes and communications that were written by many of the men who built it are inaccessible today because we have "lost" the technology. Though one could argue "we" we're better people back then. We wrote tighter code, built with weaker materials, etc. etc. But were we? We had television and used it to broadcast Tiny Tim singing "Tiptoe Through the Tulips".

Check your Shakespeare. Irony was not born yesterday. Which itself makes irony such fun to play with.

WTP

One thing I miss about back then was that we didn't have silly spell checkers that turn every use of "were" into "we're", even after you're damn sure you went back and corrected it three times. Of course we paid much more attention to detail back in those days rather than rely on technology like the lazy monkeys we're.

Kevin B

I dunno David, look on the mighty fields of eco-crucifixes we've built on land and at sea.

These surely represent the kind of useless waste of resources, in pursuit of spurious immortality, involving massive sacrifice by the plebs, in order to give their rulers a comfortable (after)life that is clearly represented by the pyramids.

Ten

I think the best example is considering the "miracle" of modern communication technology, which allows us virtually instant access to information all over the world. This leads not to the modern equivalent of Marcus Aurelius's Meditations but incomprehensible strings of 140 characters and "Waffle Fart" videos.

Yup. The technological inverse being impossible projects - with impossible precision regardless of time or technology - being coordinated and successfully executed for unknown reasons (although we have our rote, quasi-official explanations).

Like I alluded, swaths of other of our most religiously revered sciences are undergoing the first phases of revolution. We're probably somewhat more impressed with ourselves than history will be, assuming it's recorded, cackling over waffle farts recorded in the great Oracle of YouTube within it. Thanks for that cultural insight, David, and I reckon that's what it best is.

Now back to viewing Coogan and Brydon's The Trip...

David

Now back to viewing Coogan and Brydon’s The Trip...

I’m being dragged away by an episode of Thunderbirds and the imminent arrival of pizza.

Ah, modernity.

Jonathan

FFS, we sent men to the moon. The f'ng moon.

Yes, and we couldn't do it today- we'd have to start again from scratch. It seems to me that Western Mans ambition has shrunk over the last 40 years. I can remember when we looked out into the Universe and the future was a better place, now the future has arrived and we just gaze inward.

Ten

If we’re not talking about technological ingenuity or scale or whatever, or practicality in a modern context, what’s being missed? Are you referring to projects that involve huge swathes of the population, point to the heavens and announce “This is who we mighty people are!”?

I started of referring back to Hedgehog's observation upthread that:

[Ancient] people thought for the ages. We have the attention span of a mayfly.

...with a note on the great tilting of the ratio of organized contemporary focus to genuine accomplishment; of noise to achievement.

And with that diminished attention span comes a grasp of macroscopics so impressive as to think about just about everything in terms of it's basest, most immediate ostensible material benefit or benefit to any rampant ego, this being the postmodern era of a systemitized secular man and his emergence from the dim catacombs of abstract, objective, and frequently individual intellect, art, principle, and philosophy.

Yes, “this is who we mighty people are!"

It's just ironic that we could at any time wipe ourselves out by worshiping one of our own false gods.

Ten

It seems to me that Western Mans ambition has shrunk over the last 40 years. I can remember when we looked out into the Universe and the future was a better place, now the future has arrived and we just gaze inward.

The cold war's arm-flexing over the moon didn't have much to recommend it, and today's rote dogmas about "exploring space" - typically practiced by the right - is equally questionable, at least in terms of real, sustainable returns unrealizable by the objectives of the near monopoly on cosmology and astrophysics held by official agencies.

Habitation and mining aren't likely to exist in any near future just because they can't. If they should come to pass, they'll be accompanied by a new awareness of and appreciation for natural and abundant oxygen and gravity and crops and standing upright - of the preciousness of the Earth we tacitly admit we can't manage either. But the Buck Rogers thing is compelling, if not exactly rational. How many astronauts don't gaze back upon Earth with their hearts in their throats.

So space remains a cultural ideal shared by a small portion of mankind for reasons unrelated to self-sustaining accomplishment but quite related to showmanship and nationalism. Maybe like making megalithic sites, come to think of it. They're both largely Marxist ideals...

PiperPaul

Thunderbirds? If we're talking Anderson stuff, it has to be UFO.

David

Thunderbirds? If we’re talking Anderson stuff, it has to be UFO.

I remember enjoying UFO as a wee seedling and I had a model of the S.H.A.D.O. 2 mobile, complete with rocket launcher, but I haven’t seen it since.

Watching Thunderbirds over pizza, the Other Half and I realised that Lady Penelope is much more ruthless than the Tracy boys. She blasts ne’er-do-wells away at a rate of knots. Every other week rival spies are driven off the road to die in an explosive fireball, and she’s handy with a surprising array of firearms, from 21st century blasters to the stash of machine guns kept under Parker’s bed. And being a lady, she’s always classy with it.

Jonathan

I remember enjoying UFO as a wee seedling and I had a model of the S.H.A.D.O. 2 mobile, complete with rocket launcher, but I haven’t seen it since.

I had one too - 'til I accidentally shot someone in the face with the rocket....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sGZWHbyXKs

jones

Parker was the true psychopath not Penelope.

David

Parker was the true psychopath not Penelope.

We have a theory that they met in prison. Before “Penelope” transitioned.

Captain Nemo

We have a theory that they met in prison. Before “Penelope” transitioned.

Damn it, David. I was drinking tea when I read that. You owe me a new keyboard.

David

No refunds. Credit note only.

Chester Draws

A few months ago, I caught part of a How It’s Made or How It Works programme,

A personal favourite of mine. Fascinating stuff.

I'd just like to point out a major issue about the majesty of the pyramid building.

It wasn't done by people volunteering. It wasn't done by slaves, true, but the labourers involved didn't do it for the love. They worked "together" because they had no option.

All that work was done because one man wanted his tomb to be better than his predecessors.

It is an example to us. A perfect example of the type of personal egotism that we are better off without. Why authoritarian systems of rule should be avoided, and theocratic ones even more.

If you want an example of people working together for common purpose you'd be better off citing the great cathedrals of Europe.

If "we couldn't do that today" then that is a very good thing indeed. (Actually, given the likes of Mao and Stalin, we could do the same today in that sense. The White Sea Canal is a good example.)

This leads not to the modern equivalent of Marcus Aurelius's Meditations but incomprehensible strings of 140 characters and "Waffle Fart" videos.

If you think the Romans didn't do fart jokes, you could not be more wrong.

As pointed out above, the ephemera of the ancients has been lost to us (mostly) but that doesn't mean they didn't have it. (The irony of complaining about modern society's taste for such things on a blog specialising in ephemera isn't lost on us either.)

You may not have noticed, but in between the ridiculous tweets and silly videos the world is continually producing many great works of art. They just haven't the time to be given the garnish of time that transforms what would be some reasonably interesting thoughts into the greatly over-rated "Meditations".

Ten

All that work was done because one man wanted his tomb to be better than his predecessors.

We should remember that that's the approved, officialized version of those events, but scant evidence exists that it's actually true. It could easily be another of the convenient placeholders we use to explain the unknown to our joint satisfaction, many times to contrast our presumably advanced ways and means. Who would be so gauche these days to construct a 42 story tomb over twenty years, say we.

But we lend sacredness to a lot of what we think we know, especially our own accomplishments and theories. The unscientific Big Bang, or black holes, relativity, and associated claims about red shift and age; all are in the process of being upended by more insightful, inquisitive, and developed science. We don't know what gravity is, for example, or light, or how a force works. We write "laws" that roughly hew to natural effects, but it's just part of our other busy fiddling.

That's not to be merely contrary. I'm simply asking if we have modern equivalents to the cultural sophistication of the magnitude of the ancients - by ratio to their technology vacuum - and if we really know why they did what they did.

To Hedgehog's point, apparently we can't unify to alter entire cultures anymore than we can turn out brilliant minds of art and thought. Organizational exceptions occur in response to extreme need: The Allied force in WWII, for example, a virtual miracle of accomplishment. But apparently we haven't the attention span or the motivation for greatness anymore.

Ray

Adam Smith pointed out that if you created wealth a few hundred years ago or more, the only thing you could spend it on was people. Court hangers on, priests and soldiers mostly. Hence the popularity of empire and conquest. It was the only thing that gave you any return.

I like to think of the pyramids as a workfare program. We're not feeding so you can just sit around all day. Go and put that stone on this one. You've done that? OK now that stone...

Anthony

I'm chuffed you featured the Titanium video from Demolition Ranch. It helps generate money for Vet Ranch
- Mats second channel.

He's a really decent guy.

Hal

The unscientific Big Bang . . . .

. . . . the initial conditions of the big bang theory remain similarly inexplicable.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

I have a rather different memory of Thunderbirds.

David

Lady P likes a drop or two of acid in her Pernod.

WTP

So a great animal like that, you don't eat him all at once.

David

I had no idea this existed.

“Free handkerchief.”

Thornavis

Ten

Large numbers of sophisticated megalithic sites point to the 10-12,000 BC era.

Really ?

i[Ancient] people thought for the ages. We have the attention span of a mayfly.

How do we know that ancient people thought for the ages ? For all we know the reason a handful of their structures have survived is chance, available materials and necessary over engineering just to get the things to stand for more than a few years. They may have been totally uninterested in posterity and only wanted to build something of utilitarian value for whatever the intended end.

I bet there was some bloke standing around in 3,000bc as Stonehenge went up, shaking his head and asking what the world was coming to and why modern man was so trivial, unlike when Ug were a lad and his gran made wolfskin socks to really last and with deep spiritual purpose.

Hal

We have the attention span of a mayfly.

I'm informed in recent news and political humour that evidently some alleged adults in the UK have been insisting on wandering about anywhere in pyjamas . . . . and then there was the political humour blending in the other news;

Ten

Really ?

Yup.

Ted S., Catskill Mtns., NY, USA

Lady P likes a drop or two of acid in her Pernod.

You don't?

Thornavis

Really ?

Yup.

Any evidence for that ?

Ten

Any evidence for that ?

Yes, or I wouldn't have made the claim.

Thornavis

Can you provide a link or a reference ? I'm not any sort of expert in the subject but as far as I was aware most megalithic sites date from the Neolithic and earlier ones are either disputed or very rare, you claimed that there are large numbers of them, which I seriously doubt. Not that it makes much difference to my main point which is that we have no evidence that they were erected with posterity in mind, we don't even know if anyone had a concept of posterity in the way that we do. To dismiss our mega constructions are merely ephemeral and serving no higher purpose on the basis of unknown and possibly misinterpreted history is illogical.

Ten

I invite you to find references yourself, Thornavis, although I linked a teaser above. Anonymous people assert wildly different versions of reality at one another online almost as a requirement. I have no interest in making our hosts space an example, as off-topic as this is.

As for posterity, I find the assumption about ancient man's thinking interesting. Much of the point upthread had to do with modern man's inability to think, whereas looking back in time we find the wholly ubiquitous phenomenon of legend: it's illogical, rather, to nullify the tradition of oral and written lore that eventually combined to form the foundation of western thought.

Clearly there is no hard dividing line of human consciousness based on time - a go/no-go gauge with a datestamp. Consider that the Egyptians - who did indeed reference some very old phenomenon - erupted on the historical scene with their stunningly competent sciences, technologies, and methods fully formed, and left no prior or subsequent record of them with their disappearance. They're not the only ones...

I'm aware that history is shoved into the convenient boxes of our time - they're another component of the myopic and self-regarding establishment that also replaces reason and mind with post-structuralism and officialdom in virtually every category you'd care to mention. It's also wrong on at least one major science and it is indeed logical to question its dogmatic view of history. We are not superior because we find ourselves to be superior. We just fiddle better and collect more. Or we think we do.

I also find it interesting that the moderate or conservative will accept a half dozen or so major structural fallacies - political, economic, cultural, social, moral, philosophical - and go so far as to urgently defend their effects that, were they defined fully and completely, would clearly fall into the fanciful progressive mindset. It's certainly then a small step to link big bang creation myths to a slanted view of history by way of archaeology-by-the-numbers, or more assuredly, archaeology by popular interpretation out on the street. I'm sure that tendency of ours surprises no one.

I proposed that pop sensibilities are as predictable as they are common. With where we're going and how we're getting there, we should be less impressed with ourselves and our times than we are.

To dismiss our mega constructions [as] merely ephemeral and serving no higher purpose on the basis of unknown and possibly misinterpreted history is illogical

To say that said history is widely misinterpreted is not such an audacious statement, and if that's the case, it makes less sense to question posterity and thought; certainly purpose and intent. I simply dismissed our stuff - since roughly the 20th Century, and with some exception - as technical, very short-sighted, and deeply self-impressed. I'd sort the remarkable phenomenon found in the distant past as anything but. Obviously they built for great meaning, whoever they were and however the bloody hell they did it.

Virtually all of our accepted narratives on distant times and peoples simply leaves all the many dozens of unanswered questions up in the air. That's not a basis; it's a concession. By now it's even a tradition.

Thornavis

Right, so you dismiss a polite request to provide a simple link because it's o/t and then go on to fill several paragraphs on the subject, that makes sense.

Ten

Such a travesty, since the general subject of accomplishment and periods and thought had been an open topic, right? I can see how very gutted you'd be not to have some red meat to bang on about.

Given how malformed your comments were, I somehow figured you'd take it that way. Call me perceptive.

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