Saturday, March 08, 2008

Info Dump

I may be on the road for most of the weekend - waiting for a call to determine precisely that - so here's today's compendium of things that make me go hmmm....

-Honkytonk Dragon mourns the passing of Dungeons and Dragons creator Gary Gygax and lauds the AD&D character alignment graph that was many young gamers first exposure to complex ethical philosophy:
Looking at it again resolved something that had been tickling in the back of my brain ever since I first encountered the Political Compass system, a complex four dimensional economic and ideological matrix that provides a much deeper portrait of someone's political thinking than the stale old two dimensional left/right axis.I'm Chaotic Good by the way, so down around the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela apparently - or at least I try to be. I now have to wonder though, if the creators of the Political Compass were gamers?

-The creators of the HBO TV series The Wire call for widespread jury nullification to try to put the brakes on America's insane war on drugs. Jury Nullification of course, helped end prohibition as jury after jury refused to imprison their fellow Americans for having a drink and the laws against alcohol became unenforceable.

Many judges try to preempt jury nullification by falsely instructing jurors that they have no choice but to decide on the facts and only the facts of the case before them. Of course the option of saying 'screw the law, let the guy go' is the whole point of the jury system in the first place, the last defense of the public against unjust laws. And yes, this applies to Canada too, we're heirs to the same legal tradition.

-The greatest inventor you've never heard of, Dr. Yoshiro NakaMats, often called Japan's Edison, not least by himself, claims to hold the world record for patents, over 3000 including the basic concepts behind such items as Cinemascape, digital watches and even floppy discs (IBM claims to hold the patent on the floppy disc but admits to a financial relationship with NakaMats going back decades.) among many others.

He's the classic eccentric 'mad' scientist. He's been filming and examining minutely every meal he's had in the last 35 years and counting, plans to live to 140 and is a perennial candidate in Japanese elections. When asked recently where he gets his ideas he firmly gave credit to something that sounds an awful lot like auto-erotic asphyxiation!

Is there a secret to becoming an inventor? How do you come up with new ideas?

I am teaching philosophy at the University of Tokyo. The base for everything is a strong spirit, followed by a strong body, hard studies, experience and finally leads to a “trigger” experience. You “trigger” a bullet which contains spirit, body, study and experience - and finally that releases the actual invention.

How do you “trigger” an invention?

A lack of oxygen is very important.

A lack? Isn’t that dangerous?

It’s very dangerous. I get that Flash just 0.5 sec before death. I remain under the surface until this trigger comes up and I write it down with a special waterproof plexiglas writing pad I invented.

Do you do that a lot? Putting yourself in that kind of situation to come up with a new invention?

Of course. This is the Dr. Nakamatsu method.

-New definition of the term 'eyetooth'. An Irishman blinded by being splashed with liquid aluminum at a recycling plant has had a new eye constructed from a lens installed in a tooth donated by the man's son and implanted in his eye socket. Yes, it works.
The surgery, Osteo Odonto Kerato Prosthesis (OOKP),

involved fitting a living canine tooth with an optical cylinder and transplanting it into the eye cavity.

Speaking at his home in the village of Bellaghy on the Sligo/Mayo border yesterday, Mr McNichol said that given his age, it was decided that a donor with younger gums would be more suitable.

"All of my kids said they would donate. They even wanted to donate an eye to me, if it meant I could see again," he said.

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