Sunday, June 29, 2008

Postcard Archive 9: Lying on Cars


Lying on Cars - postcrossing
Originally uploaded by Alhazred

Sent to a Postcrossing user in Finland.
On back:
Lying on cars
Photograph Chrissie Thirlaway (c) 1984
Cath Tate P.O. Box 647, London SW2 4JX

Legend of Con-way

  • Con-way celebrated it's 25th anniversary in fine style with the publication of The Legend of Con-Way, which employees here at the Portland campus received free. I haven't dipped into it yet, but will give a brief review when I do.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

del.icio.us randomizer

  • I used to enjoy bringing up random web pages through Stumbleupon, but I got a bit tired of all the pictures of sunsets, lists (10 Strange Houses, 15 Stupid Criminals, etc etc) that you had to wade through before getting something more interesting and substantive.
    Now I usually use the del.icio.us randomizer button to get a random site that has been bookmarked. I did a slight tweak to the URL, changing it from http://del.icio.us/recent?random&min=10 to ...min=1, so that I would not be just getting the more popular bookmarks.
    Does anyone know how I could change the URL so that I could use the whole del.icio.us database instead of just the recent bookmarks?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Life Imitating Powers

I just posted the following to the Tim Powers Yahoogroup:
One of the my favourite themes in Last Call was the idea that events in the subtler realms manifest themselves via patterns in the material world. So we have Georges Leon looking for the best times to attack Siegel by looking at patterns in stock market data, Ozzie paying attention to poker hands, the smoke puddling over the middle of the table. And of course the dramatic scene with Arky, Dondi Snayheever, and Ray Joe Pogue at Lake Mead. Great stuff!

These same principles seem to be at work in Princeton's Global Consciousness Project. (At least, that's what I get out of it. I'm not enough of a statistician or scientist to speak with authority.) From the wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Consciousness_Project):

"The research examines the output of some 65 networked hardware random number generators located around the world. The remote devices have been dubbed Princeton Eggs, where EGG is short for electrogaiagram, a portmanteau of electroencephalogram and Gaia. The general hypothesis holds that events that have a significant human impact may affect the randomness of the data from these generators in a statistically significant way.

Roger D. Nelson developed the project as an extrapolation of two decades of experiments from the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Lab (PEAR) which repeatedly show that electronic noise-based, truly random number generators (RNG or REG) seem to be intentionally influenced to bring about a less random sequence of data - in other words, that human intention can reduce natural entropy and create greater coherence within a random series of events.

In an extension of the laboratory research called "FieldREG", investigators examined the outputs of REGs in the field, before, during and after highly focused or coherent group events. The group events studied include intense psychotherapy sessions, captivating theater presentations, religious rituals, popular sports competitions, like Football World Cup, and high-interest television broadcasts like the Academy Awards..."

Now that's rather interesting stuff. As I say, I don't have much knowledge in this field, so for all I know it is just mumbo-jumbo. But it's coming out of Princeton, rather than Fred's Garage Academy of Parapsychology, so perhaps it's worth paying attention to.

Canby Depot Museum