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This fascinating study suggests that belief, not just food intake, influences how the body responds to meals.  It's not just about the calories in the food.  It's about what we think  we're eating, and how we feel  about it.

So this seems like another place where mind over matter could be tremendously useful.  Meditation can impact other bodily processes.  One option for food satisfaction, therefore, might be meditating to improve those metabolic shifts to deliver better satisfaction with lower calories, and more efficient use of fuel rather than packing it into fat storage.  Unlike other dietary manipulations, this one doesn't cost money and it's likely to improve mind/body interaction.  Worth a try.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
When a Tesseract and a Hypnotoad love each other very much, you get this.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I was fascinated by this article about rats and racism.  First, it examines an interesting issue of altruism.  Second, it's about a series  of studies in which the first results were disappointing, so people looked deeper and devised ways of testing different possibilities.  Some of the best science involves digging down to core concepts like this, not accepting the first answer just because it meets somebody's expectation.
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Here's a very thoughtful explanation of why robots will NOT get "smarter than humans" in the near future.  These are many of the same reasons I've been giving, arranged in clear and concise format.  This doesn't mean that artificial intelligence is impossible, just that we aren't as close as some people think, and there are still some major obstacles to solve.

On the other hoof, the potential for sentience follows the infrastructure.  If we start building machines with the physical  complexity akin to a human brain, then we're creating an environment that could  host a complex mind.  At that point it becomes possible, however distantly, whether we intend it or not -- just because life is mightily creative stuff.  We could wind up with an infant AI where nobody expected one.  I suspect the results would be bad, because humans still haven't figured out how to treat each other decently on a consistent basis, let alone the first of a new species with no legal protections.
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Bend over and kiss your ass goodbye.

I hear you, bro.  I've been saying many of the same things, since I was a wee toddler in the 1970's.  Nobody ever fuckin' listens.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 So these are possible.  Now consider the oodles of stars in the Milky Way and other galaxies.  If it's possible, then somewhere out there is a planet shaped like a donut.  
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 My partner Doug recently pointed me to a couple of articles about supersymmetry and monopoles.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 ... is pretty consistent in the papers, despite fuss about humans not being the cause.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 What we now call the continent of North America has in the past been a cluster of subcontinents separated by shallow seas.  This is why we have the Sand Hills out west, which I have visited.  My series Submerged Nebraska, which you can find via the Serial Poetry page, has a similar geography.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This article suggests that life may have evolved prior to Earth and migrated here.  While this is just a theory, note that the portion of evolution we know about and can map does seem to fit the projected pattern pretty well.
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This poem came out of the May 2013 [community profile] crowdfunding Creative Jam. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] alexseanchai. It also fills the #1 Liminal slot in the [community profile] rainbowfic Moonlight list. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.


"Liminal Gifts"


Each new age awakens
new abilities within the human spirit --
someone must have been
the first to work fire magic,
air's original archer.
Someone learned to blend
the elements with pottery and smithcraft.

The earliest technomancers
had to invent their own medium,
creating computers and programs and cyberspace
from the spit and spark of electricity and dumb machines.

Only then could their creations begin to speak.
Only then could the technomancers begin to listen.
People called them "computer wizards"
out of blind ignorance,
but it was so.

Today, technomancy is just one more talent,
sprung up from handfuls of far-flung seeds
scattered across infant minds as children
grow up with wonders that their parents
could scarcely conceive.

They hold lightning in the palms of their hands
and whisper to it like an old friend,
familiar as any household servant,
like fire has become long since.

But never forget,
it is the liminal gifts
that light the way
into this brightening future,
the work of those who go first
and are thought mad.

* * *

Notes:

Technomancy is the junction between science and magic, using technology to work enchantments or vice versa.  Computers are really made of magic.  Technoshamanism adds a dimension of spirituality.  You can find books on technomagick.



ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

This poem came out of the May 2013 [livejournal.com profile] crowdfunding Creative Jam.  It was inspired by a prompt from [livejournal.com profile] siege.  It fills the #8 Phantasmagoria slot in the Rainbowfic Moonlight list.  It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.


The Field of Phantasmagoria


The spectrum is twisted and bent
like the arc of a golden torc, its two ends
snarling at each other across the gap.

On the right side lie science and logic;
on the left side lie magic and intuition.
Their practioners mumble and glare,
each believing the other a fool.

Every once in a while,
a sorcerer explores methodology,
a scientist experiments with mystery.

They are thought mad,
who leap into the gap between the ends,
but in truth they are the rare masters
of the field of phantasmagoria
which draws its strength
from the spectrum entire.

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Forensic anthropology reveals what Jesus would have looked like

This is really well done.  I would've expected the cheekbones to be a smidge narrower and the nose a bit more arched, but I can look at this and say, "Yeah, that's Jesus."  Such is not true of the white Christs that are the prevailing portrayal.

His appearance matters,  because it can influence how people respond to each other.  So that's one reason why I write things like "Sharper Than Nails."  If the guy in this new picture showed up in today's world, he'd get a downright hostile reception.  Again.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's an excellent post about making a fantasy map for a book.  Lovely job of describing the illustrative process.

My maps tend to look a lot like the author's sketch.  I don't do them very often, because I'm not an artist, but sometimes I do.  And when I do, they're detailed and carefully thought out.

If I'm thinking on a large scale, I am thinking about the biomes of a continent or the continents of a planet.  If I look at someone else's map, then that's also what catches my attention first.  I look for signs of plate tectonics, ocean and air currents, weathering, that sort of thing.  This is what lends verisimilitude to a map: it "looks right" when people see it.  Of course, for a world with different underlying laws, sometimes the map winds up very different.  But usually those are the rules.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's a fascinating look at the climate of Middle Earth

Yes, I think about things like this when I design settings.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

This poem came out of the December 3, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from [livejournal.com profile] siliconshaman.  This also fills the "experiment" square in my 11-26-13 card for the Origfic Bingo fest.  It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.  You can read more about the Higgs boson online.


The God Particle


The Higgs boson
is a small, temporary speck
with large, permanent implications.

It opens up whole new areas of physics
for active testing, so as to create
a better understanding of the Universe.

Physicists spent forty years of experiments
searching for the Higgs boson
in a wilderness of other particles,
and finally found it in a Large Hadron Collider.

They don't think of it as a personality to be met
but as an object to be investigated.
The similarities still remain.

This is a torch that lights the way --
and after all, isn't that what gods are for?

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

This poem came out of the December 3, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from Dreamwidth user Jjhunter.  It has been sponsored by [livejournal.com profile] baaing_tree.  You can read more about the indriso form online.


Infinitesimal Divinities

-- an indriso


How many angels dance upon a pin?
How many iron atoms make a head?
Does God transcend the world, or dwell within?

A circle dance is held, but never led:
Each dancer's hand is clasped in its own spin,
A stranger charm than any priests have said.

Twixt science and religion, veils run thin,

And God holds every atom as they tread.

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