February 2007

There are many inferences made in the following video but it’s interesting nonetheless.

Reuters reports:

Magnificently sophisticated geometric patterns in medieval Islamic architecture indicate their designers achieved a mathematical breakthrough 500 years earlier than Western scholars, scientists said on Thursday.

By the 15th century, decorative tile patterns on these masterpieces of Islamic architecture reached such complexity that a small number boasted what seem to be “quasicrystalline” designs, Harvard University’s Peter Lu and Princeton University’s Paul Steinhardt wrote in the journal Science.

Only in the 1970s did British mathematician and cosmologist Roger Penrose become the first to describe these geometric designs in the West. Quasicrystalline patterns comprise a set of interlocking units whose pattern never repeats, even when extended infinitely in all directions, and possess a special form of symmetry.

Medieval Islamic Art“Oh, it’s absolutely stunning,” Lu said in an interview. “They made tilings that reflect mathematics that were so sophisticated that we didn’t figure it out until the last 20 or 30 years.”

Lu and Steinhardt in particular cite designs on the Darb-i Imam shrine in Isfahan, Iran, built in 1453.

Islamic tradition has frowned upon pictorial representations in artwork. Mosques and other grand buildings erected by Islamic architects throughout the Middle East, Central Asia and elsewhere often are wrapped in rich, intricate tile designs setting out elaborate geometric patterns.

The walls of many medieval Islamic structures display sumptuous geometric star-and-polygon patterns. The research indicated that by 1200 an important breakthrough had occurred in Islamic mathematics and design, as illustrated by these geometric designs.

Via Reuters

A recent post on BoingBoing linked to a video on YouTube featuring a young boy painting a picture of a Ninja Turtle. You can see the video is shot in such a way to create the illusion of the boy painting. If you were to go to the link in the video (turtlekid.com) you would find three other ‘amateur’ videos. The site is promoting the upcoming Ninja Turtle movie and a variety of products which can be purchased from a number of corporations.

As of today the following video has over 71,000 views.

Terence McKennaTerence Mckenna’s library of rare books and personal notes was destroyed in a fire started in a  sandwich shop in California.

Terence’s brother Dennis owns an index of Terence’s collection, which will at least give us an overview of his library—sorta like a playlist without the MP3s. But even this valuable document will not replace the body of knowledge itself—a body that had become, in the weird ways of the memetic world, a kind of second body for Terence’s fabulous and fascinating mind. No budding head will ever be able to poke through this collection again, with its faintly perfumed volumes on Chinese alchemy and butterflies and hash. And the world has one fewer 1659 folio of Isaac Casaubon’s A True and Faithful Relation of what passed between Dr. John Dee and some spirits, and one fewer old-school copy of Agrippa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy, which Terence swapped for a pound or two of yummies back in the day. The content of these books, at least, is reproducible; Terence, of course, was one-of-a-kind.

Via TechGnosis

Joel Surnow’s “The 1/2 Hour News Hour”
What happens when Fox News imitates The Daily Show?

I tried to approach the first airing of this show with an open mind. Judge for yourself:

Clip #1

Clip #2

A response on YouTube which I pretty much completely agree with:


A German company known as ”TREER” may have designed a revolutionary new automobile. Their site features what appears to be an advertisement in which two cars have sex.

Who knows what all this could mean.


Medical MarijuanaJag from MAPS writes:

“It is with great pleasure that I announce DEA Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Mary Ellen Bittner’s favorable recommendation that the government end its sixty-five year monopoly on the supply of marijuana that can legally be used in FDA-approved medical marijuana research. In her 87-page ruling, Judge Bittner concluded that it is in the public interest for the DEA to issue a Schedule I license to Professor Lyle Craker for his proposed MAPS-sponsored marijuana production facility.

Breaking NIDA’s monopoly by establishing an independent high-quality supply of research-grade marijuana is the final necessary prerequisite to resolving the controversy over medical marijuana through rigorous scientific research. The other necessary prerequisite, which has already been achieved, was the acceptance by the FDA of the use of marijuana vaporization as well as marijuana smoking in clinical research, so that we’re technologically capable of overcoming the expected opposition to smoked marijuana.

DEA lawyers have 20 days to file their objections to the recommendation, although they may be able to file an extension. Prof. Craker’s lawyers will have a similar amount of time to respond. Then the ALJ’s recommendation, and the comments from lawyers for DEA and Prof. Craker, get forwarded to DEA for a final ruling either accepting or rejecting the recommendation.

MAPS, in association with a coalition of medical marijuana patients and researchers, drug policy reform groups, and scientific and health organizations, will soon initiate another major campaign to generate pressure from Congress to compel DEA to accept the recommendation. Thirty-eight members of the US House of Representatives and Massachusetts senators Kerry and Kennedy have already written to DEA urging it to approve Prof. Craker’s license application. The assistance of MAPS members in helping to contact your elected representatives could prove to be crucial in persuading DEA to stop obstructing privately-funded medical marijuana research.”

Read MAPS’ Press Release.
Read Judge Bittner’s 87-page “Opinion and Recommended Ruling”.
If you don’t have time to read the full 87 pages, here’s Judge Bittner’s seven-page concluding statement.

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