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An Artist’s Notebook of Sorts

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Weak XXV|

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26 June 2011

gratuitous image

No. 1,165 (cartoon)

This is a tedious party.

I’d be bored if I was here.

27 June 2011

Singularity University

I spent today at Singularity University because I was paid to do so. The experience was more than financially rewarding; I was reminded why I loathe formal education.

Singularity University’s raison d’être is fairly straightforward: really smart people can use technology to solve the world’s problems, and make a huge fortune doing so. The premise is not without merit, but the academic approach was mind-numbingly ridiculous.

One speaker talked for twenty minutes without using any visual or audio props. His talk wasn’t bad, but I could have read the exact words in five minutes. They played a speech from a public Internet site, something anyone could have seen at any time. Why did they summon students to an auditorium to watch it? And then there was the three-way conference chat over the Internet that failed because of the predictable technical problems. In summary, not much information and lots of wasted time.

Perhaps I’m being too critical, and perhaps today’s presentations were atypically uncreative. Even so, my dissatisfaction with formal education remains the same. I want to investigate what interests me, not follow someone else’s curriculum. I also want to learn at my own speed, skimming over things of little interest and spending more time on complex topics.

I’m skeptical that the earnest people at Singularity University are going to save humanity with technical fixes; my cynicism is too strong. Their use of an eighteenth-century approach to education is especially uninspiring. Still, I enjoyed my time there; it was a nice reminder of why I’m proud to be a college dropout.

28 June 2011

Dead Skin Health Dust

The average human is covered in about two square meters of skin. That’s good; I’ve found that after I lose a patch of epidermis after a bicycle accident I bleed all over everything. And today, I learned that skin does more than just keep our innards in.

Every hour, I lose about two and a half million skin cells; they just fall off. Even though the dermis has left to join the realm of dust, it’s still functioning. Skin contains squalene, an organic compound that neutralizes ozone. And now, a new study by the American Chemical Society suggests that skinny dust reduces indoor ozone levels from two to fifteen percent.

This is wonderful news! I always told my mother that dusting was bad for my health, and now I have scientific proof.

29 June 2011

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A Loving, Multipronged Attack!

Brickhouse Security sells products for spying on friends and family. For less than two hundred dollars, one can answer questions such as, “Who are your loved ones emailing?” “Who is your spouse texting?” “What are your children really up to?” What a great way to build stronger, more trusting relationships!

Here’s the company’s sale pitch.

The most effective way to successfully catch a cheater is to wage a multipronged attack. In the BrickHouse Security Catch a Cheater Packages, you will be given all the tools you need to know if your partner is being unfaithful.

Nothing says love and commitment like a multipronged attack! And if eavesdropping on your partner’s phone calls, reading all correspondence, and monitoring everywhere s/he drives isn’t enough, the enterprise also offers the CheckMate Semen Detection Kit. I’m again exposing my naiveté, but I can’t believe anyone would spy on his or her partner. Is a relationship that involves no trust or honesty a relationship worth pursuing?

I’m surrounded by loving friends and family I trust. I wouldn’t think that’s atypical, but apparently it is.

30 June 2011

I’m a Pro

Antoinette asked me how HTF was progressing, an introduction that needs some splaining. I’ve learned that one shouldn’t tell anyone about very ambitious projects. Once you do, you’ll spend years making excuses why you haven’t finished your play, novel, opera, et cetera.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t aware of that phenomenon when I came up the idea for HTF. I lied, and told Antoinette that I was still working on it, and making excellent progress.

“David, you started that alleged piece in the last millennium,” she reminded me. “You really put the pro in procrastination.”

1 July 2011

Drama Elsewhere

Cedric courts calamity and predicaments; he claims the practice is ultimately constructive. When I challenged him, he cited Jean Monnet’s observation, “People only accept change in necessity and see necessity only in crisis.”

Monnet’s maxim is based on a preponderance of empirical evidence; we humans aren’t a very smart or analytical lot. In Cedric’s case, though, I think he simply thrives on theatrics. That’s what I think, so that’s what I told him.

“I think you flourish on boredom,” he replied.

I annoyed him by agreeing with his accurate assessment, and that was the end of our short conversation. He realized he’d have to find drama elsewhere, so that’s where he went.

Stare.

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©2011 David Glenn Rinehart

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