Thursday, April 21, 2022

The Harold Redux

Around 2014 I started building a plaster mold collection at the college for bronze and clay. All gone now, stolen or thrown away. Still, over time I made lots of waxes from those molds and tossed them in boxes. Today I have three boxes of waxes.

I've thought about having a Frankenstein Party. Go through my stuff and combine it like a variant of Exquisite Corpse. But that doens't sound all that interesting. It's what I've been doing, at the outset of making an art object, but it was always just the beginning.

Find The Game    =  World Building (characters in a world)
Raise The Stakes  =  Perspective Shifting (character interaction, expand the world)
Play to the End     =  Action Generating (let her rip, with callbacks and connections)

I talked about The Harold before, a generative procedure for long form improvisation developed by Del Close and Charna Halpern. I thought about those boxes of wax parts and I said how can I use the Harold with these? It would seem an obvious thing to just substitute art or music or poetry for comic performance and surely smarter people than me have done it to make jazz and other collaborations. I looked for diagrams, found one, studied it, and finally it hit me.

I finally noticed a scene or "beat" as they like to call it, produced a temporary art. Well, duh. More improtant, the Harold can be recursive, both during the procedure and results input as new values in a Recursive Harold. (Although that's for another time). 

So, do I need other players in this game? It woud be more fun. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Awaiting Rescue

Heard a news story today that a ridiculous number of Americans think they can survive in the wilderness for two weeks. You could call it Dunning-Kruger, but it turns out Dunning-Kruger is Dunning-Krugered.

Two weeks, though, clearly they think they will be rescued and merely have to hang out vs. living indigenous for the rest of their life. Well, know how to make a fire with flint and get clean fresh water is all you have to do.  You can live without food for two weeks.

What if they don't have a zippo? "Find some rocks to strike together" 

What if there are no rocks? "Fill a plastic water bottle and use if as a magnifying glass" Wow*

Maybe a lot more Americans have survival skills than I thought. I certainly would be fucked.

Me, a Boomer, supposedly trained for war, pampered beyond repair, woefully unprepared. It's different if you are a Boomer from the South (or similar hunting cultures throughout the USA). Much better prepared for so-called primitve camping. Still and all, the attitude is awaiting rescue. 

We expect and enjoy our Anthropocenic Tour of Nature.

Other things. Quick eye update. When your opthamologist/retinologist says "Let's try this", you know you are dealing with permanent vision loss. And sure, enough, at last appointment, he told me there will be permanent vision loss. How bad is still to be determined, but right now, the answer is legally blind in the right eye. It's like my macula is balding, big blind spots on the right side. That aint' com ing back and I already feel my cortex rewiring accordingly. The one interesting thing of note is my new reliance on propriosenses(?) and body awareness. Presence. I am more present with the loss of an eye.

For example: Teaching welding is more difficult. Loss of depth perception has turned me into a monkey touching a stove. But whatever you use to throw a ball without looking, that's what I tap into to do welding demos. 

(My welding has always been atrocious, but I can teach, I am a damn good teacher)

Today is 4/20 which is Weed Day so Happy Weed Day from Grandpa Weed. My
bet is federal legal soon and I don't get why Grandpa Joe hasn't pulled that train into the Junction. 

I declare myself a natural medicine enthusiast. Weed, yes. Mushrooms, definitely. Poppies, for sure

*out in the middle of nowhere and they can find a plastic bottle. Answer since 1973? Yes.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

The lesson of history is that no one learns it

I have a student named Lenin. You got to admit it sounds cool, but I don't think her parents realized just how much of a cocksucker, a plague virus, bad RNA, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was. Last year I had a student who informed me he was a Stalinist. Then again my ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide in my head seemed like magic to him.

I was there once, inexperienced, wounded by lack of knowledge and adorable in my ignorance but not this fucking stupid. Maybe the reactionary minds that feel they should be in control have a point. But reactionary minds gets you the freedumb stuff. No liberties allowed.

Anyway I'm making clay this semester, and I know keep saying it but I really miss color. Metal 

- and I will always pour metal until I am too frail - 

Metal makes lustrous colors but not vivid colors. A plague has made me crave vivid colors. These are some clay figures I made, Frankenstein style, random parts except for the legs. Acrylic paint, and I get a sense of maritime creatures. Maybe you don't. What about Speedo, white legs and black socks, a comedy classic?

The legs makes them sexy?

More of a vegetarian?

Or nautitical?

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

The End of the Golden Age of Barbarism

Which happened 40,000 years ago, I reckon.

According to Marx and Engels, the means of production is technology and ancillary components. Ownership of the means of production can be private (capitalism), society (socialism) or the state (command/communist/fascist).

The real means of production is the uterus, the womb. 

You may have heard about the woman in Texas charged with baby murder by induced abortion. Charges dropped, but the woman was put through what Texas dough boys wanted her (and the media) to be put through.

This has resulted in a Practical Guide to Not Getting Arrested for a Miscarriage or Abortion.

This is not simply crime codes and control or commodification, but a recent push towards totalitarianism. Forced birth is a declaration of ownership rights (slavery), and it appears that ownership, in the state of Texas, belongs to the state. Fucking Commies. 

When did the Republicans, or the radical right, become communist? Their organisations and institutes even ape Soviet naming conventions. (Committee For Future Prosperity, etc.). Maybe its In order to defeat the asshole, you must become the asshole kind of thing. Or Horseshoe Theory.

Whatever it is its happening, the push is on towards more restrictive and exclusive laws and mandates against the people in the states, picked off piecemeal. It is obvious this is a response to the climate shock and awe just around the bend, the big windshield heading towards us ape-shaped bugs.

And here we are trying to grow things too, trapped in the ditch of agriculture. Got to feed the baby cannons somehow. (In chicken and egg style, yes, food is needed, but only tehcnologically derived only recently in the past 5K years or so, in which case you need people to tend machines. 40,000 years ago getting food took no time at all amidst such plenty. Now, we are finding out, a different plenty, and the wrong kind).

Currently, food is grown with oil and natural gas via domesticated plants. This is not sustainable. Ammonia, used as fertilizer, is derived by the Haber Bosch process, run on oil and gas. This is not sustainable. Top soil, especially in North America, has been eroded down to unsustainable levels, washed down the rivers into the oceans to become useless. The useless silt deposits have created dead zones, anoxic waters. The ocean is not getting enough oxygen, 

Soylent Green, way above budget but only slightly behind schedule.

And for people who read all this as a crisis (and they are right), they are getting their doomsday forts ready. A doomed effort, because collapse means Collapse. No where to hide, rich people, not even New Zealand. Nope, the reactionary minds, thinking that only they know how to run things, are making their play. They have moved from hippy underground to set piece battles, and the rest of the decade will be interesting times (as if the past couple of decades haven't been interesting).

Do I think I'll be around for the collapse. Oh, sure, and honestly it will be like a brick wall thrown at us. Meaning life will still continue to be pleasant on the surface, all rot and degradation underneath, but this is not news. We will keep on doing what we do, like stupid bacteria with no off switch, and eat and eat and eat and eat.

Whats' to be done? Well, thank goodness for a limited lifespan. I once figured 2032 was my death year. Coming up fast, and probably wrong. If I make it to 2042, that's when it gets really bad, or really, really good. Probably just the robots that survive, and maybe that's what we scramble to do the next 20 years. Get everyone into their emergency avatars, and do our darndest to simulate them in the wandering satellites and moonlets of the Metaverse. 

Fake people living in robots.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

DALLE-2 and the End of Art

Arthur C. Danto, art critic, once declared the end of art and DALLE-2 might be it. 

DALLE-2 is a text to image app from OpenAI and it is astonishingly good. You put in any text and a scene is provided in return. A djinn and a wish. For example, "Hothouse elves in a greenhouse of flowering fire plants and vines, in the style of ____" and voila! A replicator and a holosuite rolled into one produces your scene. Your world building, your characters, and you can adjust it just by being more specific like a recursive wishaholic. 

Graphic and game designers, artists who know about it are either nervous or greedy to get their hands on it. I'm signed up. You can submit pic requests to OpenAI via Twitter and Instagram right now if you wish. Some consider this highly dangerous, deep fake wise, but if you cannot rely on computer number one (taps head) to sift out the bullshit, you are kind of fucked anyway. Hopefully someone will look out for you.

I played with DALLE back in 2021 and am blown away at the advancement. I shouldn't be, but I am. Here's the thing, that part to me that I wanted to use was: in the style of_____

I was too lazy to download and learn the software, so I relied upon service, Snowpixel. I relayed the desire that when it came to that In the Style of____ lazy Johnny wanted in the style of me. The developer replied you are about the millionth person that wants that. Artists hand a multiuniverse generating versions of their own works. A vast portfolio of John Kurman stuff for me to pick and choose and point in directions I want to go. It is a Moog synthesizer of  brain toy. 

Here's the funny thing, you guys ready? Samples of my art indicate I am 73 different artists. Never one to be patient, I roam the borders, forever in novelty. So of course I want to use DALLE-2.

OpenAI also has a text generator called GPT-3 which can code, blog, and argue. I'm sure someone has suggested GPT-3 texting DALLE-2 and bye bye.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Breaking News: Elon Musk Invades Twitter

Musk has been buying shares of Twitter since January, amassed 9.2% of the company to become the largest shareholder. The Twitter put him on the board of directors with his promise he would not seek controlling interest. No one wants to call it a hostile takeover, but that is what it was, exactly the same to when Musk took over Tesla.
Sieg Heil Baby

Musk claims this is a free speech issue, but this is a red herring considering 1) under Citizen's United, money is free speech, and therefore Musk is more than free to speak; 2) his own censorious history and lame shitposting negates his claim to be a free speech absolutist, and 3) this is not a First Amendment issue. Only the mentally challenged, highly naive or cynical nihilists buy the Free Speech bullshit.

Is any of this important? Could be, under certain counterfactuals. Twitter has been getting the tar beat out of it by TikTok and Snapchat. User numbers of Twitter, like Facebook, are not going in the right direction. I doubt that Musk is interested in growth so much as control, our thin-skinned petty tyrant is making Twitter how he wants it to be. I will tell you right now, Twitter jail will be expanded to a gulag.

(One wonders why Donald Trump didn't try this instead of tragic attempts to get his mojo back. It oculd, aside from not being smart enough to think of it, or having smart advisers to think of it, Trump just didn't have the money to pull it off. So, he stinks of loser stench forever after, amen).

If Musk is actively involved in management, we can expect similar disappointments that Tesla and SpaceX have provided. 

What? Scream the stans, Tesla is worth over a trillion dollars, and SpaceX disrupted the aerospace industry. But keep in mind, without stellar management and countless faceless engineers for him to Thomas Edison in front of, Musk would have neither Tesla or SpaceX. In fact, he barely managed to be part of PayPal.

More and more, the comparison to Hitler's early luck and later meddling seems ready to play out. All Musk needs now is a Doktor Feelgood to shoot him up with concoctions to get him to the next meeting.

Which is to say, this is more illiberal democracy, more of the totalitarian future we can all look forward to. Social media is carved up and siloed, but clearly all it takes is the next invention to fuck up the status quo. You don't need innovators or disruptors to muck about the place, things just keep on changing. Without the next big thing, it's just churning the waters with a shit stick to see what can be skimmed. Perhaps that's all this is, or perhaps Musk thinks he can, with his brain control shit, control brains. 

Or maybe he just wants an Edit button.

Friday, April 1, 2022

World War IV

We Kurmans have a dark, bleak, pitch-black sense of humor. Our observational humor could arise from either side of a death camp fence. But even our humor will not save us from doomsday. Ragnarok. Armageddon. The Apocalypse.

Right now everyone is focused on a slap, but we will armchair general our way back to Ukraine, and what went wrong? Is it going wrong? Is Putin playing nine-dimensional chess? Is Xi thinking 200 years ahead? Is the US going to do what it always does? 

Will there be World War III? Nope. We already had that, and the Boomers won. 

Over the period of the Cold War, about half a gigaton of nuclear tests were done, poisoning air, water and soil. The fact that millennials and zoomers don't have two heads or flipper limbs is a testament to the robust supply chains of DNA.

(Life started out as RNA world, when Earth and Sol were still part of a globular cluster chock full of ionizing radiation and blazing sister stars. I suspect DNA world didn't get started until Sol was flung free of the birth cluster, but I digress).

Meanwhile we've pumped out Hiroshimas per second of CO2 and methane, heated up the oceans and air, to set up something that dwarfs the might of all the world's nuclear weapons. World War IV is upon us.

And of course, we are losing. Oh sure, temporary victories, like fusion. But pulling tech out of our ass only works in movies that end with a big musical number: musicals, comedies, and musical comedies. 

Fusion will not decarbonize the atmosphere. Fusion will not stop the sixth extinction, even if we all cluster into monkey hives and let Mama Earth do Her thing. That ain't gonna happen. So Apocalypse it is!

As I've said before most people don't have a strong enough imagination of post-apocalyptic life because they will be dead. 

Who is gonna die? Well, if we go with the Kurman Maxim, those least deserving of it.

India was supposed to be a superpower by now. Instead, they have staggering poverty rates, 1 in 5 people. (The USA is 1 in 10 poor). Glacier loss is important, loss of ice as water storage. Less water down river for everyone. Tibet, the Himalayas, the Third Pole, is warming up and that is bad for Earth Island. Not just India but southeast Asia. Australia is getting clobbered, and will continue to get clobbered. Africa is already familiar with drought and deluge, but the loss of wildlife is astonishing. The Western hemisphere, traditionally arid, is nostalgic again. Europe? Is for Mister Toad's Wild Ride

In all we are entering a period of prolonged instability between Icehouse and Hothouse.

Let me explain. In college I got interested in nonlinear equations.Not being very bright I modelled stuff on the university computers. Nowadays it is called chaos theory or complexity theory. Running my FORTRAN programs, most stuff flips from one state to another and then stays the same. But sometimes there is turbulence, switching between states, and this can become a permanent thing. 

RE: wild wild weather from here on out. Strap in. Build your infrastructure accordingly. People get acceleration and shock, but they don't get 4th derivative and up stuff. Just this energizing of the atmosphere and the oceans gets you standing waves of static. Or..

Per Kurman's Ironic Global Warming, the tropics and subtropics ain't that bad. The poles still get cold by being in seasonal shadow, so there's still a heat sink. There is still tropic to pole circulation, but not the good kind that mixes up waters and oxygenates oceans. This is the problem. Suddenly relying on fossil oxygen while the generators are shut down. Nothing so dramtic as the Great Dying of the Permian. But nothing nearly as nice as the Miocene-Eocene warmup.

Quite simpy, most people are fucked. Fuck Mars. Time to think about terraforming Iceland. Or Northern Siberia.

There's the rub.