Archive for May 2008

Entropy Visualized

May 30th, 2008 — 5:28am

A problem with a lot of modern science is the difficulty of visualizing these things in any manner that doesn’t feel intuitively wrong, like you’re watching an episode of the twilight zone that has been cut up so much to make room for more commercials that it no longer makes any sense. An electron imagined as a wave form of quantum probability that collapses into a definite state only upon observation is really cool, but I don’t know what that LOOKS like…

Interesting article: the arrow of time, which poses a possible answer to the question of why time seemingly moves solely in one direction.

Also interesting is the visual that the article conjures up of a possible model of existence that seems to work intuitively with a human mental model of the world.don't shoot

So picture a rippling plane, like a flag in absolute space, and in its least energetic state the flag is still, which is the state of greatest entropy, which would be equivalent to the point in our far future at which all matter and energy have spread into an even, near-homogeneous void. But then picture the thing in a gentle wind. Fluctuations in either direction of the ideal plane ripple it in the direction of decreasing entropy, each temporal/anti-entropic wave of which falls back eventually toward its natural state. Time is the experience of moving from one of those low entropy ripples toward the high entropy natural state.

So that if our universe is visualized as existing on one of those ripples, another universe might be on a ripple moving in the opposite direction, so that were it ever possible to map an experience in one to that of the other it would seem from each vantage point as if time in the other universe were moving backward. Each observer however would experience his or her movement as being progressive.

The initial image in my head was that of our expanding universe as one of those ripples moving outward, because of the metaphor of the big bang as an outward explosion. But our state is such that we are moving from lesser to greater entropy, in other words, in this image of a rippling flag carried by some Canadian terrified of being mistaken for an American while on vacation, the big bang would be the farthest outer edge of one of those ripples and our universe would be in the process of returning with it to the central state of maximum entropy, which is the flag at rest. All of which would mean that time as it is experienced is a returning of existence toward maximum entropy, regardless of which direction time is moving. Therefore there is no one direction of time, but there is also not somewhere a race of beings who are living “backwards.”

Comment » | entropy, ignorance

a small sense of relief

May 29th, 2008 — 8:36pm
Not sure why my mental state is as fragile as that of a pneumatic six year old girl right now [NOTE: apparently I meant to say neurosthenic, since a pneumatic six year old would have an air hose sticking into her…], but things are looking slightly more sanity-friendly.
This potential freelance gig I am meeting about will pay per iteration, which means that my napkin calculated daily rate would be $300, which is not great, but would be FUCKING great if it were taking place in Bangkok or Phnom Penh or Berlin or a Brooklyn Hovel, or anywhere but inside a homogenized, air conditioned nightmare surrounded by people who really can’t wait for the next movie by Will Ferrel or Adam Sandler and who quote Office Space, thinking that they are being ironic, not realizing that there is in fact no irony, and that they are an exact replica of the sorts of people FROM Office Space and that if there were ever an Office Space II it would be full of characters who themselves are quoting Office Space.
I do not rely on hope, but I will accept it when offered.

1 comment » | anxiety, design, Whining


May 29th, 2008 — 3:59pm
When the CD found out that I would be working on independent projects for the company instead of just disappearing conveniently, she asked the tech guy to have me moved to the rickety temporary tables where the interns and new hires sit, while waiting for their own space. She CC’d me. So high school. I can so easily picture what she was like, sitting in home room, trying to fight her shame at a less than ideal body by whispering cruelly about the girls who were mildly different. Luckily I am only coming in on an ‘as needed’ basis moving forward… we shall see what they consider needed in the coming days.

I am struck by the calm manner that the beautiful and ruthless VP let it be known yesterday, as she wished me well and hooked me up with my independent project, that the methodology for their department is very straightforward: they crank out material, day in and day out. Quality isn’t the point, and it is silly to argue for it, because the business model is really about novelty and variety, not quality. The end result however, for the designer, is that there is a disconnect between the day to day dialog at meetings, etc. (which pretends to a desire for quality) and the reality of being a disposable resource forced to crank out material at a steady, unvarying rate. The only hope for any of them is to build a portfolio and leave, or to become a manager and do to the other designers what was once done to them. The CD apparently grew up in South Africa, so I suppose the ethos comes naturally… Did I mention she looks like Bernadette Peters on crack?

Comment » | Whining

Manilla LA

May 29th, 2008 — 12:40pm
protofascist roboticistThere was an insight now lost to modern business that even someone as innately heartless as the crypto-fascist Henry Ford well understood. Today there is a strange disconnect between the concept of the marketplace and the entities that create the marketplace. The business model seems to be: create a company, find a niche, and then optimize the fuck out of everyone within the company in order to maximize profit. You should pay as little as possible, outsource globally to obtain the best exchange rate for human effort, burn through your workers because it is cheaper to hire new ones after a year or two than to allow proprietary knowledge to make them more productive (and therefore more expensive) and expand at a constant or accelerating rate of growth (the methodology of the cancer cell).
Unfortunately, if your workforce is less fulfilled, more miserable, overworked and without the freetime or extra income to enjoy many of the products you are creating, the economy will wallow in its own excrement and quality of life will decline. The polarization of employees and managment is further indication of the problem, and is only leading us toward a life like that lived in the Philippines. I like the weather there, but the place has been fucked by modern capitalism like the crackho of southeast asia.

Comment » | ignorance, Whining


May 26th, 2008 — 9:17pm
I think Curtis is the first thing I’ve ever felt connected to that has actually died. Never met either grandfather and my grandmothers were distant strange creatures. I had a childhood friend that jumped in front of a train, but I hadn’t seen him in years when he killed himself.

Life is too short to work for the forces of evil, at least when it’s this un-fun.
Saturday I composed a letter of resignation and sent it off.

Comment » | Whining


May 26th, 2008 — 9:11pm
C, the original owner wanted to come along, so we waited for her to arrive from whatever she was doing in Laguna del someplace, and I am a little vague on the last bits, but we put Curtis in his carrier and drove out to the Emergency center where they inserted a catheter into his leg and put him on a table where I held him. The lady injected him with an initial sedative and Curtis stopped trembling and then she flushed out the catheter with some saline fluid, and injected the final substance which quickly resulted in his complete absense of movement. I looked down and could see the tip of his tongue sticking out of his mouth.

I didn’t want any time with the corpse, so she wrapped him up in a towel and took him away. E and I spent the next couple of days drinking and eating really bad food…

Comment » | Whining


May 21st, 2008 — 6:27pm
Nothing like coming over to your desk to see your gmail account on screen and the top email that has just come in says, Gamelink: Check out our new anal movies! in boldface…

Comment » | Whining

the gold chain

May 20th, 2008 — 4:45pm
Years ago when we were killing people in Vietnam to staunch the spread of Communism, my father bought a 24carot gold chain that he now wants to give to E, because just like my cat he’s dying of cancer —he wants to make sure people in the family know how important they are to him. He wants her to have this gold chain. The price of gold has skyrocketed since he bought it, so the thing is worth money, and it has sentimental value due to its connection to the unnecessary war in Vietnam, and so he mails the chain to her in a registered package which I’m not here to receive. He doesn’t know she now lives across town, as this would only lead to an extended pre-death freakout on his part. So the next afternoon when the postal service employee arrives, we engage in a friendly brief conversation and she takes the signed slip requesting delivery, promising to drop off the package the following afternoon. Three days pass, E is too freaked out by her new job to make it to the post office, and so I head over there and they have no idea what I’m talking about. No package, sorry…  

Naturally, my first thought is ‘the bitch stole the gold chain!’ My next thought is the realization that I am a white, middle-class male accusing a slightly lower-middle-class black female of stealing jewelry from me. Which is incredibly tacky and possibly racist depending on how I would have reacted had it been a white, old lady instead. However, on the other hand, we’ve never had a single piece of mail stolen since we’ve lived here and many packages have been left at the doorstep and retrieved safely. Just never 24carot gold chains. This is further complicated by the knowledge that E thinks gold is unattractive and would never wear it, yet neither would we sell it, since it’s a memento of that period of my father’s life when he was busy dropping bombs on a bunch of innocent southeast asian farmers. She is annoyed that I handed over a signed slip to the postal employee; I’m annoyed that she couldn’t have bothered to go pick it up herself. The cat is meanwhile hacking in the corner reminding everyone quietly that he, too, is dying.

Then I remember the tone of my conversation with the postal lady; that was not the voice of someone who would be interested in stealing stray packages. She was cool; also kind of hot. It didn’t make sense, and I didn’t believe that she took the package; it also didn’t make sense that anyone else had taken it, because the likelihood that the one package stolen from us in 4 years would be the single most important one is statistically less than a quarter of a percentage point. The only other option was that it hadn’t been delivered. So I called this morning and after some grumbling the man at the other end went searching once again through their stacks and found the certified LETTER, not package, that my dying father sent over.

Fundamental Law of Trouble Attribution: Laziness or Inneptitude Are Always More Likely Causes of Your Ills Than Evil.

ADDENDUM:  So of course when I drive over there at lunch the woman behind the counter can’t find any package for me. She had the scary sallow look I remember from the days back in college when I used to sell blood. But then I remembered that there was another post office further down Washington Boulevard, so I drive down there and wait in line only to have the lady behind the counter tell me, “Son, you belong at a different post office.” She directed me back to the one where I began my search. So I gave up and went home and then realized that I had forgotten to mail my application to the OUTFEST art show, despite the fact that I’m heterosexual, and since I still had half an hour left I walked to my THIRD post office of the day, the closest post office to my house despite it’s not being my official post office, and I mailed the envelope.

On my walk back, I saw the postal employee and corroborated with myself that she was hot. “Wait!” she said, “I have a package for you in the truck.” 

Comment » | ignorance

Quote of the Day

May 20th, 2008 — 4:05pm
“C- just realized that we can’t use Bella as one of the Before & Afters, as she’s
not a real person.”

Comment » | Whining


May 19th, 2008 — 12:50pm

We put the chair by the bed now so Curtis can more easily climb up. I awake in the middle of the night and he’s on my stomach hoping to be pet. It’s three thirty, the clock radio glimmers dimly, and my brain automatically subtracts 8 from that number for the hourly countdown to the moment I will have to begin leaving for work. The countdown will reset as soon as I get there, becoming two numbers in my head, the time I have given myself to leave for lunch and the time I will be able to leave at the end of the day. Curtis has his countdown and it’s looking more definitely that Saturday is the day to have him killed. Today his left eye is slightly closed and he looks lopsided.He was coughing in the middle of the night.

With the thirteen minutes left before leaving for work I quickly scan the job boards for something worth applying to, but they all look the same. People eager for you to join their effort to make a lot of money off of other people. 

Comment » | Whining

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