Some interesting happenings in the world of Exorcism. In a recent study that highlights the bendability of memory and perception, psychologists were able to convince normally skeptical people that they had experienced a possession at some point in their life. As if marking the occasion, the 1973 classic film, The Exorcist was recently re-released, and pyschologists expect a rash of new possessions. Also, it seems the old rite of exorcism is gaining new respect. I read the book by William Peter Blatty a while back, and was suprised at just how detailed the psychological aspect of the story was. By the end of the book, I still was unsure of whether or not the possession was caused by psychological influences or some supernatural power. In fact, the rite of exorcism was shown to be a very scientific method and I was duly impressed with the novel’s objective study. However, the book does not quite capture the pea-soup-projectile-vomit themes too well 🙂
Usability “expert” Jacob Nielsen recently published Flash: 99% Bad, an arcticle that reminds me of Dack’s Flash Is Evil article published over a year ago. Dack has also done an informal Usability Test pitting HTML vs Flash. Go and read about the unspeakable horrors of Flash. Then read Kottke’s response to the Flash Usability Challenge in which he makes several good points about Flash and its good uses.
In my opinion, there are two types of sites that can work with Flash:
• Personal sites – Visitors to a personal site are not as goal oriented as they normally would be (at, say, an e-tailer for example). Flash won’t necissarily make a personal site better, I just think its more acceptable on a personal page where I’m not looking to perform any specific tasks. Flash software isn’t very cheap either, making it less viable to a personal site developer.
• Graphic Design sites – Graphic Designers all but need Flash so that they can show… well, their designs. Flash offers a good compression for the kind of graphics and animation that a Graphic Design site would entail. Again, Flash makes their site less usable, but it is acceptable since it is showcasing what they are selling (graphic design).
I recently visited Eastern State Penitentiary’s haunted house, Terror Behind the Walls. It was a pretty good haunted house; my only complaint is that there were way too many people walking through with me (thus I saw many of the people in front of me get scared). The creepiest part, however, was simply walking down the dark corridors of the old, decaying site, looking into the cells and seeing only darkness. At the end of the tour, there was a small museum showing the far more interesting history of the old penitentiary.
Eastern State Penitentiary was built in the 1820s under the Quaker philosophy of reform through solitude and reflection, and has held the likes of Al Capone and Willie Sutton. Covering around 11 acres in Philadelphia, it has become a Historic Site. From the moment he arrived until the moment he left, the prisoner would see no one. The furniture of the 8×12 cell consisted of a mattress and a bible. “…Silence, solitude, the bible, never a moment of human contact, never a voice heard at a distance, the dead world of a living tomb…” In the end, the solitary confinement of Eastern State ended up driving most of its inmates insane, until 1903 when the idea of complete isolation was abandoned. By the time Eastern State was closed in 1971, it had become just another old, crowded prison with the usual share of brutality, riots, hunger strikes, escapes, suicides, and scandals. I think a regular guided tour and commentary would be scarier than the haunted house was…
In trying to sift through the issues of the upcoming presidential election, I’ve found that both candidates are truly obnoxious. What criteria should I base my decision on, especially when they are no doubt lying their butts off? This year, I think I’ll give my vote to the candidate with the hottest daughters. Sadly, this criteria could actually be used with a clear conscience.
It doesn’t quite reach the satirical brilliance of The Onion’s fake news stories, but BBSpot provides a veritable plethora of humerous news stories, many of which are more technology related than other news spoofs… Take, for instance, a recent article: Priceline Offers Name Your Own Price Prostitutes or Pope, Protestants Open Source Bible. They’ve got some good Polls as well.
Joseph Campbell’s influential The Hero With a Thousand Faces defines the “Universal Myth,” a structure which underlies stories told all over the world since the beginning of recorded history. This page discusses how Campbell’s blueprint for “The Hero’s Journey” was used by George Lucas in making Star Wars (the page also discusses Campbell’s influence on The Matrix). This interesting article and other influences and origins of Star Wars mythology can be found on this Star Wars Origins site. Another interesting site for the futuristic myths produced by science fiction is The New Mythology; there’s lots of discussion and a ton of links (references include Star Wars, Dune, Asimov, Enders Game, and more!)
Those who are familiar with Kaedrin’s Tandem Stories might get a kick out of XMark’s Interactive Stories. You can continue the stories already there and you can even start your own story! He’s also got some links to other kickin’ interactive story sites.
BTW, I’ve begun to archive this weblog so you can see all the posts since its inception.
Kaedrin has just been given the “Rebel Rebel Yell” award, complete with spiffy graphic on the right (ack! its gone!). The award comes from Michman’s Rebel Rebel Star Wars Fansite. For quite some time now, Michman has woven an interstellar tapestry of adventure, romance and a few guffaws for generations of Star Wars Role-Playing Gamers. Check it out, I’m also being interviewed by Michman for inclusion in his Tie Interviewer section (Sneak Peak).
More things people do while stuck in traffic (Contributed by Spencer via the infamous Kaedrin Discussion Forum) :
- Picking their teeth
- Cleaning out ear wax
- Picking nose
- Balancing checkbook
- Getting dressed
Another interesting article concerning traffic congestion suggests that certain traffic densities “transform the whole mess into a state of crystalline harmony”. However, this state is extremely sensitive, which probably explains why I have never witnessed said “crystalline harmony” in traffic.
I know this whole traffic jam situation seems hopeless, but this guy claims there is hope and he goes into fairly deep detail about the whole situation. This article is excellent, and I even tried some of his “solutions” and they appeared to get me to my destination quicker than usual, though I really fail to see how my driving can affect the people in front of me (though I can see that the people behind me are in a state of uniform movement, which is pretty damn cool).
Some things I noticed people doing in their cars while waiting at the Tollbooths of the PA Turnpike:
- Playing with something hanging off their rearview mirror
- Dancing retardedly to their stupid music (wich is being played way to loud)
- Reading a novel
- Washing off their windshield
- Picking their nose (my personal favourite)
So the next time you get stuck in traffic and feel the compulsive need to pick your nose, remember, people can see through your windows. Then pick your nose anyway.