Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Rock Away on Empty Air

OK people, I know we have been a bit slow on upping the ante, but big things wait ahead for our dedicated readers. First, from here on there will be scheduled updates every Monday and Friday, so you can check us up regularly. Aside from that, there will be special treats on odd days, if we conclude it is worth jumping ahead of schedule. Our first new feature will be the literary section, which will include book reviews, original fiction and other goodies (starting this Friday). Well, aside from all that sweetness, take a look at this guy here who has turned his hobby into an honest-to-God art, creating music through… tied balloons! I was flabbergasted at how can anyone create such a thing in such a small amount of time and for it to actually work. True, elastic membrane acoustics are not the cutting edge these days, but the essential role played by each component, as well as the research put into reaching the desired result, show true dedication. Enjoy and be aghast!


Sunday, 28 October 2007

An Illusion of Sound

OK, now when ergoproxy told me that he had found a video of an audio illusion, I found myself weirded into silence. You know, “video is seeing as audio is hearing”. However, he HAS told me of more improbable things, so I checked it out. Turns out that the video part is just a black screen and of course, the audio is the gist of it. For the experience to be successful, we must set some things straight first: I cannot tell you how this works because it will probably make you so attentive that the illusion will fail (ergoproxy had explained a bit of it to me and my being a physicist, the illusion worked only the 3rd time I tried it).

Secondly, you have to do it right; let the video load completely before you play it. After it has loaded, try to relax and clear your head (better avoid a distracting environment, i.e. noises, people talking etc.). Then play the video and just listen to the sounds. After it ends, quickly press the replay button and keep listening. Repeat a third time. You should notice the pitch of the sounds increasing continuously. After you have done that, let your ears (and mind) rest for a while. Then, listen to the audio again but this time around, include roughly 1 minute intervals between hearings. Do you notice anything different? [Leave your comments if you like and in approximately 4-5 days, we will post a new text which explains the effect, as well as a video elaborating on the causes, well beyond our meager knowledge].


Thursday, 25 October 2007

Right Place

Since the last video and commentary were a bit on the serious – even sad – side of life, here is a focused look on a disorder, though viewed through the rosy lens of humor. Our Japanese clerk suffers from typical OCPD, commonly known as Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder which, yes, is a different condition than OCD, i.e. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

The latter is related to an inherent anxiety, which requires the individual to perform certain “rituals” (as in “repeated, simple actions with inherent symbolism to the initiator”, NOT voodoo, wicca or what-have you; pinching your eyes closed repeatedly, craning your neck, counting things in prearranged sets – twos, fours etc – are all valid examples); the person suffering from OCD fears that not performing the ritual may have dreadful consequences and whenever their thoughts veer towards the object (or objects) of their anxiety, the rituals kick in. In truth, it is a much more complex disorder than the above simplistic description; however the goal here is not to bore you to death with Psychology 101. If you want the poster child for OCD, check out Melvin Udall, as portrayed by Jack Nicholson in “As Good As It Gets”.

Our OCPD clerk suffers from a much more mild condition, related to his sense of perfection. It derives form the fact that, when things “do not seem right”, they cause him anxiety, thereby driving him to correct them, just like our clerk does. Furthermore, the person suffering from OCPD cannot be dissuaded from what he does and is very rigid about the correctness of it. In effect, the video’s name is absolutely correct and in a completely metaphorical manner, so is its ending (setting bones is effectively, “putting them in their right place”). Well, the socks are a bit of a stretch, but it is the time-honored tribute to everyone’s lolita complex.

In any event, very fun to watch.


A little note from ergo proxy:

As you might have noticed the website now has a new writer! I would like to welcome Andreas Michaelides (Speedgrapher) aboard and to thank him for contributing his eloquence to easy subjugation. Also the commenting system now works so feel free to leave any messages with your ideas comments and opinions. That’s all from me… Enjoy