Brainsturbator

The Mind of Tony Smith: A Guided Tour

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imageThe first website I ever got lost in belonged to a rambling genius named Tony Smith, a cowboy from Georgia who’s physics theories were too radical for Cornell.  That kind of resume will definitely get a high school kid’s attention, and years later, one of the first Brainsturbator articles was a bunch of links to Tony’s site.  This is an expanded version, which quotes a lot of the material since the site has disappeared completely several times now.

Brainsturbator is here for the long haul, so I’m doing this for the good of humanity...kind of like our backup Paul Laffoley Gallery, which is also under re-construction.  (Meanwhile, check out Laffoley Archive. Like Laffoley, I honestly cannot understand a great deal of what Tony Smith is trying to tell me.  Like everyone else I consider a teacher, though, he provides so much to think about that even Not Getting It becomes an educational experience.  I hope you dig it.

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Welcome to Brainsturbator 2.0

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imageYou’ve already noticed things look different.  Charles Blingus, the mastermind behind Back Brain Media, has been itching to re-design Brainsturbator for over a year now.  With some help from our friend Gomar, we’ve finally got a fully operational Brainsturbator 2.0 up and running.

I’m also working on a ton of new articles, and if you’re curious where things are headed, I did a rambling forum post outlining some of it.  Meanwhile, the most logical way to kick off the new design is a quick explanation of our new features.  It’s also an open call for user feedback, so if you’ve got some, please drop a comment here.

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10 Ways YOU Can Fight Fascism Around the World

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10 Ways to Fight FascismI wrote this for Nick Pell at Key 64.  I’m very glad he asked me to write it, because it did me a lot of good to get my thoughts organized, and the response to this piece has been huge.  I’m backing it up here because I like my formatting more, plus I fixed a number of typos.

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Networks, Bacteria, and the Illusion of Control

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human neurons magnification

“The good Christian should beware of mathematicians and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and confine man in the bonds of Hell.”

--St. Augustine

I’ve been working on an article encompassing these themes, but I had a revelation.  If all I’m doing is re-organizing and synthesizing the work of other humans, why do I write so much?  Rather than burden you with my own meditations on “The Illusion of Control,” I’ve decided to abandon that illusion altogether for this piece.  I’m going to keep going for three more sentences and then I will step out of the way completely.

Everything assembled here is brainfood with a purpose: triggering shifts in perspective.  When you get used to the same perspective—or “stuck”—it can be alarming to feel yourself shifting, but that’s a good thing—that’s neurons waking up, that’s muscle tissue saying THANK YOU, that’s new hormone combinations in your bloodstream.  After all, even if your conscious “self” actually was in control, you’re only driving the car—you’re only manipulating something else.

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The Quest for the Elusive Chronon

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Time Itself Used as a Weapon The Filth Grant MorrisonIn the past century, human science has advanced beyond anyone’s wildest dreams: we’ve put humans into space, eliminated entire cities with a single bomb, industrialized the genocide process, poisoned our entire planet, and figured out how to stick over 5000 albums into a small plastic box.  We have peered billions of light years into the cosmos, we have unraveled the atom and discovered quantum weirdness, and even transcribed the human genome.  As a direct consequence of all this glittering achievement, scientists are understandably pretty cocky these days. However, I would like to pass anyone reading this the Silver Bullet to instantly deflate the ego of anyone who’s exponentially more intelligent than you are: just ask them to explain what time is.

Time is the single most universally constant of physical constants, and yet we barely know anything at all about it.  Here in 2007, we still don’t even have a working definition of what it is.

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Our Interview with Godforbid, Lead Singer of That Handsome Devil

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Godforbid That Handsome Devil Subway Balloons

I was going to do a “We Salute You” tribute, but I realized an interview would be better.  Besides, I’m honestly unsure about how to approach even an introduction to Godforbid.  Do I say he’s one of my favorite rappers?  After all, the dude has moved on from mere hip hop—he’s currently working with That Handsome Devil, making some of the most creative shit I’ve heard since Zappa was wearing tight pants and frowning at the audience. 

Shit...there I go, making music critic comparisons. Here’s the bottom line: this interview is some of the best stuff Brainsturbator has done in 2007.  That Handsome Devil is an amazing band, and I feel confident saying that checking out their music will radically improve your day.  Godforbid is a singular human being, and you’re about to find out why directly from him.

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Our Fractal Universe: A Sneak Peek at the New Cosmology

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Buddhabrot Mandelbrot VisualizationWe talk about the third dimension a lot, but most humans don’t live in it.  Abbot’s Flatland was not so much a metaphor as an operational description of the sensory world most people inhabit: a continuous, unbroken plane that, despite surface variations and wrinkles, remains a flat stage for our two dimensional lives.  This is inevitable, since humans cannot hover or fly without technology assistance, and few of us can jump higher than three feet off the ground. 

And let’s be serious, here—what is a dimension? Have anyone ever even proved they existed?  Sure, you can draw a Cartesian XYZ grid on paper, but you can also draw a unicorn vomiting angels. I’ve been digging through the concept of time for a month, and it’s a concept nobody can really define, despite the fact we all experience it.  I’ve come to realize there’s very little humans can say for sure about space, either.  The more we learn, the less we know.  Everything you were taught in school is currently falling apart—so let’s take a look at a theory that will likely be replacing all this Big Bang horseshit: the Universe is fractal and infinite at every level of scale.

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More Chronon Theory: Jacques Vallee’s “Associative Universe”

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human tree trunk scale timeIn the last installment, a meditation on the concept of the “Chronon” and the total failure of human beings to understand and define time, I threw a ton of brainfood together and overstuffed the turkey.  Despite that, I still left out a lot of material, and I’m going to cover most if it in this “sequel,” epecially the work Jacques Vallee.  Vallee is one of my favorite authors because he precisely conveys meaningful content.  When I do that, it’s generally by accident.  You can decide if this article is worth reading in five sentences:

Time and space may be convenient notions for plotting the progress of a locomotive, but they are completely useless for locating information. What modern computer scientists have now recognized is that ordering by time and space is the worst possible way to store data. In a large computer-based information system, no attempt is made to place related records in sequential physical locations. If there is no time dimension as we usually assume there is, we may be traversing events by association. If we live in the associative universe of the software scientist rather than the sequential universe of the space-time physicist, then miracles are no longer irrational events.

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Get In Tune With Chronobiology: Part Two

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human clock wonderbabeDid you know that you have a 70% higher chance of having a heart attack between the hours of 7 and 9 am?  That’s averaged out over the full year, but if you look from a larger level of scale you’ll find that winter months are also especially high risk.  The more I dig into Chronobiology, the tenor of my investigation has changed from simple wonderment (after all, this stuff is pretty damn cool) to more sinister speculations.  Among them is the suspicion that “Daylight Savings Time” causes epidemic levels of depression, as well as a sharp increase in accidents, both on the job and on the road.

Even thought the “facts” bear my theory out more or less completely, I just mention it in passing.  We still have a lot of ground to cover, laying out the basic mechanisms and principles behind Chronobiology.  The closer I look, the more important this material seems—whether that’s a trick of perspective or a valid point is strictly up to you.

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