Just some things I wanted to share, or at least found interesting. Really, it's largely just letting me close a few tabs. I've mostly been staying away from Facebook this week (for reasons I may get into in a future post), so the compulsive need to share fostered by having been on it so long needs an outlet. And I can ramble on for no good reason here more than I can there. Facebook doesn't even let you use in-line links.
Are the zombies here?
You may have heard about the naked guy in Florida who police had to shoot because he was eating another man's face.
There was also a fellow in New Jersey who repeatedly stabbed himself, then through his own internal organs at the cops.
There are reports that both incidents involved "bath salts" (which is one of the most ridiculous street names for a drug I've ever heard, as a side note). I haven't seen anything that verifies that the stuff was in their systems (speculation and the possibility that they used at some point, is what I'm mostly seeing) yet. If these guys were on the stuff, though, it seems like a good reason to steer clear of it. This article, including a first hand account, doesn't make it seem any better.
I'm really getting the impression that the stuff can induce friggin' psychosis. Shit, at least cocaine will just make you freak out a little and have a heart attack or two.
Amanda Palmer's Million-Dollar Kickstarter
I've seen some criticism about Amanda Palmer raising money for her album and art book on Kickstarter, and it kind of baffles me. I mean, I can see why recording labels wouldn't like it, but she's not bilking people out of money - she's just making the pre-order process more direct and letting people buy more expensive stuff if they want. The woman's no stranger to controversy, and I can certainly understand some of it, but acting like she's a horrible sellout and screwing independent artists by doing this? That's just ridiculous.
She's also putting a lot of money into the products, so its not like she's just pocketing a million dollars. The woman is, after all, selling something.
It's kind of amazing how big it's gotten. Not totally surprising, but, yeah, I don't think she's just blowing smoke when she talks about how this could be the future of music production.
And her celebratory dance is adorable. I mean, really.
If you go to the Kickstarter updates, be aware that she also celebrates things by taking off clothing. Nothing even approaching pornographic or anything, but you never really know when someone might freak out over a nipple or two. Even if they're covered by smurfs.
(Honestly, one of the reasons I like Amanda Palmer is that she can be a little nutty, usually in a pretty fun way.)
Really, I don't have much to say about this, aside from noting that it's neat and not understanding the haters.
She's throwing a block party tomorrow night in Brooklyn, and (as I have nothing on my schedule) I'm vaguely considering going. It'd be a long-ass day (at least three hours to drive up, before considering rush hour, five hours there, and a three-hour drive back, though at least that last part would have much less traffic), but I've done that sort of thing before. And it'll probably be interesting. I'd put the odds of my going fairly low, but I can't write off the possibility. It'll be live-streamed at Party ont he Internet, too.
On a related note, David Mack did a watercolor for the art book, and he's got a sort of step-by-step progression of it posted over on his Facebook that's kinda neat.
Makey Makey Invention Kit
This was actually featured on a webcast Amanda Palmer did the other day from the MIT media lab.
Effectively, it lets you rig up anything that'll conduct electricity to be an input device you a computer. There's a video of some of the possibilities at their Kickstarter.
I haven't backed it, but that's mainly because a) I'm unemployed and b) I tend to fizzle out of the sort of Big Ideas I might have related to this sort of thing.
That said, it's an interesting concept. As they demonstrate, you can use it to make a synthesizer out of your friends. Or a keyboard out of a flight of stairs. Or whatever else.
In the webcast, they primarily focused on musical applications (having a banana piano and limes as a drum machine for their demonstration). My first thought - and this was brought up in the webcast as well (I forget if Amanda first mentioned the idea or if it was something they said) - was using it or something like it to make concerts actually interactive. The audience could be an instrument, and not just in the sense of clapping and singing along. It would probably be a nightmare to figure out how to do it and make it sound good with a gaggle of human beings that tend to be hard to predict, but it could be damn interesting. Or, as Amanda brought up, crowdsurfing itself could become part of the song, not just part of the performance.
It's all stuff that's not exactly new, as an input concept (a basic controller button just completes a circuit, after all, and Tesla demonstrated that a human body could to that over a hundred years ago). This sort of thing just makes it easier for a layperson in the fields of computing and electronics to kind of skip the how portion of coming up with something crazy.
I'll keep an eye out for the webcast - I didn't catch all of it, and there were probably other interesting things that came up in it - and link it if I do find it.
...I think that covers most of my open tabs. At least, the ones that aren't Skyrim-related (TV Tropes pages, videos of glitches and silly random events, mods, et cetera).
I had a rant on facebook about not only all the speculation around the Miami attack, but the fact that people seem to think it's a big joke, when in actuality it should be a call to address serious issues like addiction, if anything. Tired of misinformed media repeating unconfirmed information and then it taking on a life of its own. It loves to do this when drugs are involved. (Read an article recently that referred to "Cocaine and other LSD-like drugs" - WTF.
Pretty much everything I've heard about it (beyond the bare facts of what was directly witnessed) is speculation. I know there are drugs that, at least under certain circumstances probably linked to preexisting issues, can cause problems that present like psychosis or schizophrenia (PCP is one of the ones that, though it might not be a likely outcome, it's a possibility). I've read enough about MDPV to make me think it's a possibility there, too. Whether or not something like that actually had anything to do with it is probably going to remain a matter of speculation (maybe a more informed version of it, but still) since he can't weigh in on what was going on in his head.
I saw that "LSD-like drugs" balderdash in something or other, too. I'm hardly an expert on drugs - I've done illegal drugs a grand total of once, not counting second hand pot smoke - but come on. It's not even just the media. Drug classification everywhere but in the medical field is friggin' wonky as hell. I've had to resist wasting energy on a rant about what the word "narcotic" actually means a number of times, for instance.
I read an article based on an interview with his live-in girlfriend, who said he was a heavy pot smoker, but she didn't think he would take something like bath salts knowingly, and didn't know him to be a violent person at all. She outright stated she believes he must have been drugged/spiked. I'm not an expert either, but even marijuana can induce psychosis. Or a joint could easily contain something he wasn't aware of. But all these journalists who have the balls to use statements like "cocaine and other LSD-drugs" when cocaine isn't even the same class of drug as LSD, need to get fucked.
The other thing about cases like this is that the information we get initially is all from the cops, who are saying everything they can to justify killing someone. I've seen the phrase "excited delirium" used in relation to this case, and that isn't even a recognized psychological disorder. It's a made-up condition to describe people (usually large black males) who the cops can't control and end up beating/shooting to death. It's diagnosed after death! That's some good psychologin'. :P
In fairness to the police, at least in this case, it was a pretty extreme situation. Yeah, it would have been better for them to use a taser instead, but I don't know what sort of training could have prepared them to respond calmly and rationally to something like that. Frankly, I'm a little amazed the responders to the guy in Jersey managed to keep their heads enough to bring him down alive.