Monday, March 28, 2016

A Modern Shen Ring? Art Architecture Archaeology Postmodernism & Counterculture: What Does it All Mean?

Postmodernism is a direction visible in art and architecture that refelects a cultural evolution that impacts all disciplines, also those of Archaeology and fields related to study of the cultures and technology of the ancient world.

What do we mean by that? Let us look at some examples.

Are Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders inevitable products of an era dominated by a cultural evolution that is labeled post-modernism?

Nikil Saval at the New York Times titles his article on the new headquarters "campuses" being planned by Google and Apple as Google and Apple: the High-Tech Hippies of Silicon Valley. Back to the future?

Make sure to view the slide show at that link for architectural design prior art.

The Google plan reminded this writer of the Eden Project in Cornwall, United Kingdom, with its biomes, its object of sustainability and its emphasis on the importance of transformation. Google is a digital Eden Project in our eyes.

Apple's 4-story building structure reflects circular designs that are historically ubiquitous - see "circular design in architecture" in Google image search. Indeed, we are reminded of the shen ring of the Pharaohs, symbol of eternity.

Both Google and Apple designs most certainly try to "escape" the limits placed on architecture by square-sided building geometry. Indeed, Frank Gehry's twisted buildings can be viewed as an attempt to do just the same. Squares are out. It is no wonder that Jeb Bush had no chance in the primaries.

Saval writes in his New York Times article about the future that:
"Like the rest of Silicon Valley, however, this future is in fact rooted in the past. It comes, transfigured, from the wrecked dreams of communal living, of back-to-the-land utopias, of expanding plastic spheres and geodesic domes that populated the landscape of Northern California around the time (and around the same place) that the first semiconductors were being perfected. This is the world of what a recent exhibit at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis has termed “Hippie Modernism.”"
As those of us know who grew up in the "flower power" age, especially in California in the late 1960's, the heroic status attached to alternative forms of living and lifestyles in the 60's seemed to disappear as quickly as the "flower power" movement came and went. But did the basic foundations of the "alternative culture" expressed at that time really disappear? Perhaps not.

One could argue that the late 1960's were a landmark in cultural evolution, an era marked by the breaking down of viz. questioning of many human customs and taboos that had existed for many generations, but that perhaps were no longer necessary or appropriate to the post-modern age. The weakest and most sensitive elements of society would have "felt" that particular change quite early.

That cultural evolution, referred to modernly now as "hippie modernism" at the Walker Art Center, is a term which we find to be too narrow, and we would suggest the perhaps more accurate term "future counterculture".

Indeed, one could argue that the counterculture evolution has actually been with us in a process of varied transformation the last nearly 50 years, visible, for example, in alter egos such as digital technology or in post-modernity in art and architecture, or in innumerable other aspects of human society, whether we talk about race, diversity, gender equality, abortion or even LGBT.

One need not agree with such developments -- to acknowledge they exist.

Indeed, even the emergence of disruptive political candidates such as Donald Trump in the Republican Party and Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Party in the currently ongoing Presidential primary elections may -- perhaps to everyone's astonishment -- well be inevitable expressions of that same "counterculture", as serious challenges to the existing but disappearing mainstream infrastructure, a modernistic edifice succumbing to post-modernity.

We read at the Wikipedia under Postmodernism [paragraphs added]:
"Postmodernism is a late-20th-century movement in the arts, architecture, and criticism that was a departure from modernism.

Postmodernism articulates that the world is in a state of perpetual incompleteness and permanent unresolve.

Postmodernism promotes the notion of pluralism; that there are many ways of knowing, and many truths to a fact.

From a postmodern perspective knowledge is articulated from local perspectives, with all its uncertainties, complexity and paradox.

Thus knowledge is relational and all realities are woven on local linguistic looms.

Postmodernism includes skeptical interpretations of culture, literature, art, philosophy, history, economics, architecture, fiction, and literary criticism.

It is often associated with deconstruction and post-structuralism because its usage as a term gained significant popularity at the same time as twentieth-century post-structural thought.

The term postmodernism has been applied to a host of movements, mainly in art, music, and literature, that reacted against tendencies in modernism, and are typically marked by revival of historical elements and techniques.
"
When one views the current world as a post-modern development in process, it becomes more understandable and we better comprehend the architectural style of the buildings being planned by Google and Apple.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Art and Architecture: The Tallest Residential Building in the Western Hemisphere and Other Things That Matter

To understand the ancient world, one should probably also have a basic appreciation of art and architecture, also in the modern era, which succeeds the technology that existed in past millennia. Art and architecture point to the motive forces that guided previous civilizations and they reflect the power and prestige that accompany the creation of artistic and architectural works. For example, the Pharaohs built the pyramids -- on a massive scale. We moderns build skyscrapers -- on a massive scale. These activities are related in their reflection of prevailing societal norms, beliefs and systems. Is "big" better?

New York City, "the Big Apple", remains the "biggest" in our modern time and continues to amaze via its sustained architectural flair and achievement. These are symbols of the "center" of the world, culturally seen.

The tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere is ready for residency in its 104 luxury apartments
at 432 Park Avenue in Manhattan, New York City,
as designed by the architect Rafael Viñoly.

Apartment prices start somewhere near $20 million and a penthouse was presold at a reported ca. $100 million.

The 432 Park Avenue website starts out with an elevated full screen photo of the building as it towers far above Central Park and the surrounding skyscrapers.

Thereafter, take a look at the 432 Park Avenue website panoramic 360° views, where the viewer can set the height from which the City is viewed. Amazing!

See BusinessInsider to get an idea of how tall the building is relative to its surroundings. More such tall slender buildings are planned for the New York City area but right now 432 Park Avenue has its own iconic character.

ABC News reported already in 2014 at Inside the Tallest Residential Building in the Western Hemisphere in a story by Alyssa Newcomb.

A photo in that ABC News story attracted our personal interest. See the specific image at http://a.abcnews.go.com/images/Technology/HT_tallest_residential_building_4_sk_141014_4x3_992.jpg.

That image was taken -- we assume by ABC News -- from 432 Park Avenue looking southward toward the MetLife Building (formerly the PanAm Building, middle), the Empire State Building (somewhat back and to its right), as well as the One World Trade Center building, the tallest skyscraper (with spire) in the Western Hemisphere, seen far in the distance down in the financial district (e.g. near Wall Street) (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/432_Park_Avenue#/media/File:NYCbyPinHt_update.jpg).

That ABC News image from 432 Park Avenue also includes 345 Park Avenue, a 44-story building which was completed in 1969 and that occupies a whole city block of Midtown Manhattan in what is called the "Plaza District". Compare its base to the "only" 93-foot width on each side at 432 Park Avenue, an architectural difference of generations in the strength of materials and the demands of more limited space in New York City.

By the way, as written at the Wikipedia, the Plaza District is "a term used by Manhattan real estate professionals to denote the most expensive area of midtown from a commercial real estate perspective, lies between 42nd Street and 59th Street, from Third Avenue to Seventh Avenue, about a square kilometer or half a square mile."

At the start of the 1970's, 345 Park Avenue, designed by Emery Roth & Sons, (see Richard Roth Sr.), who also designed the World Trade Center, was just about the tallest and largest building in the neighborhood. It is found in the immediate left foreground in that already cited photo taken from 432 Park Avenue as the widest "bright" rectangular building, standing as if in "T-form" just behind the smaller earlier-built black Seagram Building, whose structure was designed by Mies van der Rohe and with some internal aspects designed by Philip Johnson. The bright color of 345 Park Avenue was intended by design to contrast the neighboring Seagram Building.

345 Park Avenue was the former headquarters of the international law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison ("Paul, Weiss et al." viz. "Paul|Weiss"), where the LawPundit was an associate in the early 1970's. This was once also "my residential neighborhood", so it is always a thrill to follow its development.

In the illustration below, we have marked the approximate location of our former office in that building with reference to that ABC News photo.


Now compare that illustration to the photo at the link ... ABC News photo. To be able to see one's former offices that clearly from high above via the tallest residential building in the Western Hemisphere gives one a special feeling.

A marvelous photo looking southward is also found at 432ParkAvenue.com (click on the photo for a larger image), compressing the distance and thus showing some of the distant buildings better and seemingly closer.

Google Street View takes you to
51st and Park Avenue in New York City,
the location of 345 Park Avenue,
from which there is a view of 432 Park Avenue in 2015.

345 Park Avenue is also known as the Bristol-Myers Squibb Building. It is currently 100% leased and includes the following tenants, according to its website as of our last visit of that website on March 20, 2016:
Hat tip to CaryGEE.


Please note: This posting was made mostly for the interest of our friends and for those interested in New York City architecture especially. Nothing in this posting constitutes paid or unpaid advertising of any kind and it is not a solicitation for anyone to buy or lease apartments or office space, to attend sports gatherings, to invest money or to avail of financial services, to conduct banking transactions, or to wine and dine. We waive any and all liability for anyone relying in any way upon our text or graphic materials or links.


Ranking the World's Best Universities

We were alerted to this topic via an article by Ellie Bothwell regarding the Best universities in Europe 2016 based on the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings.

Times Higher Education is published in the United Kingdom and thus has its own particular, we presume British, view of what is important in education and what is not, and how it is to be measured. Opinions will differ worldwide.

Whether one takes such rankings seriously or not, the fact is that any such rankings become a part of the image of any university. That same image has a lot to do with student study choices as well as the financing of university research by government and private sources.

As Imre Lakatos so cogently posited, a primary unit of appraisal in science is the "research programme", a basic philosophical observation that could also be expressed more banaly as, "whoever gets the money, calls the shots".

As Bothwell writes:
"Overall 22 countries are represented in the top 200 [of Europe] list, which draws upon data from the 800 universities from 70 countries in the overall THE World University Rankings."
We obtained our law degree from Stanford University and are glad to see Stanford ranked 3rd in the Times Higher Education world rankings behind Cal Tech in the USA, the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom and just ahead of the University of Cambridge in the UK. Much in the realm of university rankings depends on the selection and weighting of criteria.

If one were to define the best education and hence the best university as one which educates "the whole man" or "the whole woman", then Stanford would modernly always emerge on top of any ranking because it is not only at the top academically together with a mere handfull of other institutions but because it is heads and shoulders above the rest of the competition in being the best student athletic program in the United States (and surely the world), having won the USA Directors' Cup for the last 21 years -- based on actual university sports competitions -- as the best in the nation. See NACDA Directors' Cup at Wikipedia where it is written:
"The NACDA Learfield Sports Directors' Cup is an award given annually by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics to the colleges and universities in the United States with the most success in collegiate athletics.... Stanford University has won the Division I award for twenty-one straight years."
There is to our knowledge no comparable record in sports -- and this record is being achieved at a University that not only ranks at the top academically but whose direct environs of Silicon Valley rule the modern world of high tech.

Which university ranking method includes these amazing things? None.

What is even more amazing is that Stanford has only 7000 undergraduate students, as compared to undergraduate student enrollments of e.g. ca. 55000 at Central Florida (UCF), ca. 45000 at Ohio State and Texas A&M, ca. 40000 at Texas (Austin), Arizona State, Penn State, Michigan State and Florida International (FIU), ca. 35000 at Florida, Florida State, Minnesota, Illinois, Rutgers, Houston and Indiana, ca. 30000 at UCLA, Alabama, Washington, Texas Tech, Iowa State, North Texas, Missouri, Temple, San Diego State, Purdue, South Florida (USF) and Arizona, ca. 25000 at LSU, South Carolina, Texas State, Colorado, Utah State, Maryland, San Jose State, North Carolina State, Georgia, Utah, UTSA, Virginia Tech, UNLV, Washington State, Colorado State, Georgia State, Kent State, Cincinnati, Ohio, Florida Atlantic (FAU), NYU, BYU, California (Berkeley) and Oregon State, ca. 20000 at North Carolina (Chapel Hill), Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Charlotte, Arkansas, East Carolina, Fresno State, Iowa, Akron, Western Michigan, Oregon, Buffalo, Kansas, New Mexico, Old Dominion, Central Michigan, Boise State, Pittsburgh, Middle Tennessee, Eastern Michigan, UTEP, Oklahoma State, Auburn, Kentucky, Kansas State, West Virginia, Georgia Southern, Connecticut, Tennessee, Clemson, Western Kentucky and Nebraska, ca. 15000 at Syracuse, Nevada, Louisville, Louisiana Lafayette, Baylor, Memphis, Hawaii, Toledo, Bowling Green, Miami (Ohio), Ball State, Northern Illinois, Troy, Appalachian State and New Mexico State, ca. 10000 at Notre Dame, Miami (Florida), Marshall, UAB, South Alabama, Northwestern, TCU, Idaho, Louisiana Tech, Wyoming, Arkansas State, Southern Miss and Boston College, ca. 7000 at Duke, Tulane, Vanderbilt, Louisiana-Monroe, and SMU, ca. 5000 at Wake Forest, Tulsa, Rice, Air Force, Navy and Army, etc. (all numbers approximate and rounded, please look the exact stats up at https://www.collegeraptor.com/)

It is not without reason that Admissions at Stanford University writes about Athletics and Recreation at Stanford: 

"Unparalleled in its success and considered the dominant athletic program nationally, Stanford promotes excellence in both academics and athletics. Consider the following:
  • Stanford has captured 21 consecutive Directors' Cup titles (1995–2015), an award that honors the nation's top overall Division I athletic program.
  • 300 athletic scholarships are awarded each year.
  • There were 42 Stanford-affiliated athletes competing in the London Olympics, winning 16 medals, 12 of which were gold.
  • The Stanford campus is home to 127 national championships—more than any other college in the U.S.
  • At least one Stanford team has won a national championship during each of the last 39 years. This is the longest continuing streak in the nation....
Palo Alto is a glorious college sports town, and Stanford maintains 1 million gross feet of indoor facilities and 94 acres of outdoor fields, including the:
  • 6,800-yard Stanford Golf Course
  • 7,200-seat Maples Pavilion
  • 4,000-seat Sunken Diamond
  • 17-court Taube Family Tennis Stadium
  • 2,500-seat, four-pool Avery Aquatic Complex
  • 50,000-seat Stanford Stadium"
As far as the development of Silicon Valley is concerned, the Wikipedia writes:
"Stanford University, its affiliates, and graduates have played a major role in the development of [Silicon Valley]....

Thousands of high technology companies are headquartered in Silicon Valley.

Among those, the following are in the Fortune 1000: Adobe Systems, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Agilent Technologies, Alphabet Inc., Apple Inc., Applied Materials, Brocade Communications Systems, Cisco Systems, eBay, Electronic Arts, Facebook, Google, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, HP Inc., Intel, Intuit, Juniper Networks, KLA Tencor, Lockheed Martin, LSI Logic, Marvell Semiconductors, Maxim Integrated Products, National Semiconductor, NetApp, Netflix, Nvidia, Oracle Corporation, Riverbed Technology, Salesforce.com, SanDisk, Sanmina-SCI, Symantec, Tesla Motors, Western Digital Corporation, Xilinx, Yahoo!

Additional notable companies headquartered (or with a significant presence) in Silicon Valley include (some defunct or subsumed):

3Com (acquired by Hewlett-Packard), 8x8, Actel, Actuate Corporation, Adaptec, Actiance, Aeria Games and Entertainment, Akamai Technologies (HQ in Cambridge, Massachusetts), Altera, Amazon.com's A9.com, Amazon.com's Lab126.com, Amdahl, Aricent, Anritsu, AstraQom, Asus (headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan), Atari, Atmel, Broadcom (headquartered in Irvine, California), BEA Systems (acquired by Oracle Corporation), Cadence Design Systems, Cypress Semiconductor, Dell (headquartered in Round Rock, Texas), EMC Corporation (headquartered in Hopkinton, Massachusetts), Extreme Networks, E*TRADE (headquartered in New York, NY), Fairchild Semiconductor, Foundry Networks, Fujitsu (headquartered in Tokyo, Japan), Groupon (headquartered in Chicago, IL), Harmonic, Inc., HCL Technologies (headquartered in Noida, India), Hitachi Data Systems, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, IBM Almaden Research Center (headquartered in Armonk, New York), iCracked, Infosys (headquartered in Bangalore, India), IDEO, Informatica, Intuitive Surgical, Kerio Technologies, LinkedIn, Logitech, Maxtor (acquired by Seagate), McAfee (acquired by Intel), Memorex (acquired by Imation and moved to Cerritos, California), MetricStream, Micron Technology (headquartered in Boise, Idaho), Microsoft (headquartered in Redmond, Washington), Mozilla Foundation, Move, Inc., Nokia (headquartered in Espoo, Finland), Nokia Solutions and Networks (headquartered in Espoo, Finland), NXP Semiconductors, Nook (subsidiary of Barnes & Noble), Olivetti (headquartered in Ivrea, Italy), Opera Software (headquartered in Oslo, Norway), OPPO, Palm, Inc. (acquired by Hewlett-Packard), Panasonic (headquartered in Osaka, Japan), PARC, PayPal (it has been demerged from Ebay), Pixar, Playdom, PlayPhone, Qualcomm, Inc. (HQ in San Diego, CA), Quanta Computer, Quantcast, Quora, Rambus, RSA (acquired by EMC), Samsung Electronics (headquartered in Suwon, Korea), SAP AG (headquartered in Walldorf, Germany), Siemens (headquartered in Berlin and Munich, Germany), Sony (headquartered in Tokyo, Japan), Sony Ericsson, SRI International, Sun Microsystems (acquired by Oracle Corporation), SunPower, SurveyMonkey, Synopsys Inc., Tata Consultancy Services (headquartered in Mumbai, India), Tibco Software, Tesla Motors, TiVo, TSMC, Twitter, VA Software (Slashdot), VeriSign, Veritas Software (acquired by Symantec), VMware, WebEx (acquired by Cisco Systems), @WalmartLabs (acquired by Walmart Global eCommerce), YouTube (acquired by Google), Yelp, Inc., Zynga"
The impact of Stanford University alumni on the economy is massive, as noted at Best Value Schools (by ROI), is that:
"The combined annual revenue of all the companies that have been founded by Stanford alumni is over $2.7 trillion, equivalent to the tenth largest single economy in the world."
One can also rank the universities in terms of their actual "money clout", i.e. their total college endowments, which of course may not fully reflect their actual sustained current strength, but rather the accumulation of money over time. Money breeds money. According to U.S. News, here is the Top 10:
1. Harvard University - $36,429,256,000
2. Yale University - $23,858,561,000
3. Stanford University - $21,466,006,000
4. Princeton University - $20,576,361,000
5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - $12,425,131,000
6. Texas A&M University - $10,521,034,492
7. University of Michigan - $9,603,919,000
8. University of Pennsylvania - $9,582,335,000
9. Columbia University - $9,223,047,000
10. University of Notre Dame - $8,189,096,000
A somewhat older, but also useful list for a general overview is The World’s 50 Wealthiest Universities, which lists the universities in the following order: Harvard, Yale, KAUST (Thuwal, Saudi Arabia), Texas (System), Stanford, Princeton, California (System), MIT, Michigan, Texas A&M (System), Notre Dame, Columbia, Cambridge UK, Northwestern (Illinois), Pennsylvania (Penn), Chicago, Oxford UK, Duke, Emory, Washington U in St. Louis, Cornell, Virginia, Rice, USC (Southern California), Dartmouth, Vanderbilt, Ohio State, NYU, Johns Hopkins, Pittsburgh, Penn State (System), Minnesota, KSU (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia), Brown, Singapore, North Carolina, Washington (Seattle), Osaka, Kyoto, Purdue, Richmond, Wisconsin (Madison), Pomona, Williams, Illinois, Caltech, Amherst, Boston College, Nanyang Tech (Singapore), Rockefeller U.

So how about the number of billionaire alumni?
CNBC Inside Wealth has the following list:

1. Harvard University - 52 billionaire alumni - $205 billion
2. University of Pennsylvania including Penn's Wharton School of Economics - 28 billionaire alumni - $112 billion
3. Stanford University - 27 billionaire alumni - $76 billion
4. New York University (NYU) - 17 billionaire alumni - $68 billion
5. Columbia University - 15 billionaire alumni - $96 billion (Warren Buffett)
6. Massachusetts Institute of Technology - 15 billionaire alumni - $114 billion
7. Cornell University - 14 billionaire alumni - $35 billion
8. University of Southern California (USC) - 14 billionaire alumni - $32 billion
9. Yale University - 13 billionaire alumni - $77 billion
10. University of Cambridge, UK - 11 billionaire alumni - $48 billion

Another measure are the number of CEOs (Chief Executive Officers) of Fortune 500 companies, compiled by BestColleges.org, CEOs who are accounted for by 38 universities and colleges in the following ranking order:

Harvard, Stanford, Penn, MIT, Cornell, Chicago, Northwestern, Columbia, Yale, SMU, USC, NYU, Texas A&M, Princeton, Notre Dame, San Diego State, Penn State, Purdue, Michigan, Kansas, Georgetown, Cincinnati, Babson, Duke, Minnesota, Brown, Pittsburgh, Clark, Oklahoma, Tufts, San Diego, Virginia, Charlotte, Berkeley, Colorado, Wayne State (Detroit), Boston College, Houston.

But what about the ability of universities to retain members of their incoming freshman class, something which CollegeChoice.net rates as 50 Colleges and Universities with the Happiest Freshmen. Here is their ranking primarily by freshman retention rate: Yale, Chicago, Soka University (Orange County, California), Princeton, Amherst, Stanford, Penn, Dartmouth, MIT, Virginia, Carleton (Minnesota), Harvey Mudd (Claremont), Hillsdale (Michigan), Harvard, Pomona, Notre Dame, Brown, Duke, Middlebury, Johns Hopkikns, Swarthmore, Bowdoin, Haverford, Davidson, Tufts, North Carolina, USC (Southern California), Michigan, Naval Academy, Williams, Columbia, Vassar (Poughkeepsie, NY), Northwestern, Washington U St. Louis, Cornell, Caltech, Vanderbilt, Hamilton, Georgetown, Rice, Berkeley, UCLA, William & Mary, Florida, Rochester, Northeastern (Boston), Worcester (WPI, Massachusetts), Wesleyan (Middletown, CT), USMA (West Point), Wellesley (Massachusetts). Interesting is that many of the colleges and universities with superb freshman retention rates require on campus living or college or dormitory housing. That surely must help young students from becoming isolated from their peers and must instill a feeling of identification with the university or college they are attending.

Last but not least we have the year 2016 rankings of 380 colleges and universities in the USA by The Princeton Review, which "surveyed 136,000 students from across the country". They have many rankings lists. Take a look there for many more interesting ways of viewing the university scene.


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Human Brain, Our Sensory System, the Paradigms of Entrenched Ideas and Why Donald Trump is Winning

Did you see the story that Google's DeepMind AlphaGo computer software program defeated a human world class champion GO player 4 games to 1?

Is that a devastating setback for human intelligence?
or does it merely show the limitations of human brain "bit processing"?

Are you ready? Here is the brainy question.
Get out your math brain and pay attention to the animal numbers!
And you have to answer FAST. Be quick!
"What was the TOTAL NUMBER of EACH ANIMAL that Moses took ON THE ARK with him during THE GREAT FLOOD."
That question was posed on the TV game Jeopardy
and the contestants flubbed it.

One contestant pushed his button the quickest and gave the answer as
"What is TWO".
That was wrong.

The second contestant noticed potential linguistic trickery in that "EACH animal" (as opposed to a "kind of animal" or species) could only be represented once, pushed the button and gave the answer as
"What is ONE".
That was wrong also.

Both contestants failed to notice that it was not Moses but Noah who was the Biblical figure of the ark. The names had been switched. The right answer to the trick question was therefore
"What is ZERO".
Biblical Moses took ZERO animals on the ark.

We subscribe to the book reviews at DelanceyPlace.com and the above example, known as "the Moses illusion" in Psychology, is referred to there in its recent "getting the gist of it" review of Stephen Baker's Final Jeopardy: Man vs. Machine and the Quest to Know Everything. Take a look.

The reason that the Jeopardy contestants overlooked the trick switch of Moses for Noah was a function of the way that the human sensory system functions.

The human brain, for all of its marvelous features, can only process about 50 bits of information a second, so it relies a lot on memory to fill the gaps and it tends to "group" concepts, so that the Biblical switch of the similar names of Moses and Noah can easily bypass notice, since Moses and Noah are "grouped" together by the brain as Biblical personages, whereas if say, the name TRUMP were substituted in that same question, people would notice it easily.

Humans "focus on the items that appear most relevant and round them out with stored memories, what psychologists call 'schemas.'" We battle these "schemas" all the time in mainstream science. We call them entrenched ideas.

That same brain processing competes with "an estimated eleven million bits of data [that] flow from the senses every second." Some people call this the "gut" brain and it is in many respects superior to the main "mind" brain, because the sum total of sensory perceptions of the human organism far outnumber the bits of info that the brain can directly process per second.

Since machines can be programmed to process more than 50 bits of info per second, they will -- with proper programming -- necessarily be superior to the human brain in performing tasks solely dependent on those kinds of bit processing information. That is why the best computer software chess or checkers programs now already beat humans at those games.

Where humans remain superior to machines, however, is in the sum total of sensory perceptions that the senses process every second. Machines can not do that to the same degree ... yet.

So how does this explain why Donald Trump is winning?

Most mainstream news media, commentators, politicians and political experts continue to churn out masses of well-meaning meaningless print in which they address the voters and their "50 bits of brain info per second", pointing to failings by Trump, things similar to confusing Moses with Noah, and expecting results, but in fact the voters are not listening to these commentaries.

Those 50 bits a second of "rational" thought are not what voters are using to make their voting decisions. They are instead relying mostly on the processing of an estimated "11 million bits of sensory data per second" in making their voting decisions, and that is a horse of a completely different color, as many exit polls clearly prove.

The REASONS why a voter votes a given way are extremely complex and usually have much more to do with "gut" feelings (based on 11 million bits of sensory data per second) than on a conscious decision based on simple brain data bit info of 50 bits per second. Nor is that remarkable, rationally seen.

Put into simplistic terms: WINNING the vote generally means positively resonating the system involved in processing those 11 million bits of sensory data per second. Or to put it another way, whether Trump says "Moses" or "Noah" is irrelevant. It is ignored, as in the Jeopardy question.

Similarly, speaking of Biblical personages, we can further take the example that mainstream science persists in assigning an era of historical existence to Moses which finds ZERO support in the probative evidence. NONE. And yet, RATIONAL attempts to point out this folly of the scholarly world roll of the backs of mainstream academia like water off the back of ducks. A contrary view simply does not fit the short-form grouping of concepts that the present academic school of thought employs. It is as simple as that.

People in academia are thus confining their intelligence to 50 bits a second of what they view to be "rational" thought, ignoring the "gut doubts" of others and are filling in the blanks of missing info with mainstream paradigms.

When those paradigms are shown to be faulty, the whole present historical reconstruction collapses like a house of cards, but since established academics do not want that collapse or do not think to be able to profit from it, the house of cards is maintained as if the fantasy construction were real.

Just watch political dialogue and you will see this same phenomenon at work.



Saturday, March 05, 2016

The Question of WHERE ARE WE? Dominated Antiquity Just as it Does Today: Project Tango by Google

A recent headline at The Verge pointed to a smartphone revolution:
Lenovo is making the first consumer phone with Google's Project Tango.

Those who think that the future of smartphones and privacy is being decided in the current Apple-FBI encryption controversy may be missing the real boat.

First of all, governments can not permit the existence of technology which hides evidence forever from law enforcement agencies when people's survival may depend on being able to obtain access to hidden information. We have no doubt that the controversy will be resolved in the interest of society generally.

Secondly, as far as the future of smartphones is concerned, Apple, Inc. has much more to be worried about in the coming advance of technologies such as Google's Project Tango, which will be released in a Lenovo smartphone this summer, implementing new 3D mapping technology for consumers that was already on display in Barcelona in February and which will revolutionize the way that people use smartphones to interact with their world.

See e.g. the YouTube video at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBIjo8Tsn4s.

The Lenovo Project Tango page writes as follows at Coming Summer 2016! The World's First Project Tango-Powered Smartphone:
"Google's Project Tango and Lenovo are partnering to create the world's first smartphone powered by Project Tango technology. The device, which will allow users to experience the world in ways never before possible through a smartphone, will launch in Summer 2016. Watch this space for the latest from Mobile World Congress and beyond on new Project Tango experiences and details on the coming device!"
Project Tango involves the convergence of many new "locational", "navigational", "sonar" and "mapping" technologies -- also such as have just been introduced in consumer drone technology and about which we have been posting.

We have not been writing about drones for nothing and perhaps there is a connection to our publications about ancient mapping systems, e.g. Sky Earth Native America (see Vol. 1 and Vol. 2) and Stars Stones and Scholars.

It was Giordano Bruno who reportedly stated that "if the world has no beginning or end, then where are we?"

That concern for "our location" has been a guiding question of humanity from its very inception, and it guides the rationale for much of science and religion, which try to answer the question of "WHERE ARE WE?" Indeed, the common orientation of ancient and modern systems of mapping and navigation is the aim to "help everything and everyone understand where they are".

Project Tango as implemented in smartphones will lead to unprecedented new possibilities in this regard.

See the following YouTube videos:

Most Popular Posts of All Time

Sky Earth Native America


Sky Earth Native America 1:
American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
,
Volume 1, Edition 2, 266 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Sky Earth Native America 2:
    American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
    Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
    ,
    Volume 2, Edition 2, 262 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Both volumes have the same cover except for the labels "Volume 1" viz. "Volume 2".
    The image on the cover was created using public domain space photos of Earth from NASA.

    -----

    Both book volumes contain the following basic book description:
    "Alice Cunningham Fletcher observed in her 1902 publication in the American Anthropologist
    that there is ample evidence that some ancient cultures in Native America, e.g. the Pawnee in Nebraska,
    geographically located their villages according to patterns seen in stars of the heavens.
    See Alice C. Fletcher, Star Cult Among the Pawnee--A Preliminary Report,
    American Anthropologist, 4, 730-736, 1902.
    Ralph N. Buckstaff wrote:
    "These Indians recognized the constellations as we do, also the important stars,
    drawing them according to their magnitude.
    The groups were placed with a great deal of thought and care and show long study.
    ... They were keen observers....
    The Pawnee Indians must have had a knowledge of astronomy comparable to that of the early white men."
    See Ralph N. Buckstaff, Stars and Constellations of a Pawnee Sky Map,
    American Anthropologist, Vol. 29, Nr. 2, April-June 1927, pp. 279-285, 1927.
    In our book, we take these observations one level further
    and show that megalithic sites and petroglyphic rock carving and pictographic rock art in Native America,
    together with mounds and earthworks, were made to represent territorial geographic landmarks
    placed according to the stars of the sky using the ready map of the starry sky
    in the hermetic tradition, "as above, so below".
    That mirror image of the heavens on terrestrial land is the "Sky Earth" of Native America,
    whose "rock stars" are the real stars of the heavens, "immortalized" by rock art petroglyphs, pictographs,
    cave paintings, earthworks and mounds of various kinds (stone, earth, shells) on our Earth.
    These landmarks were placed systematically in North America, Central America (Meso-America) and South America
    and can to a large degree be reconstructed as the Sky Earth of Native America."

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