Saw this vid on google video. Very cool band, got to see them in Cincinnati a while back. Their gimmick is that the band is all cellos plus a drummer and the occasional guest vocalist. Very talented musicians that have a lot of fun with their music.

I like this song in particular, like the lyrics: "If you are dead or still alive, I don't care. Just go and leave this all behind because I swear I don't care." I can think of at least one person from my past that applies to. How about you?


Of course they play classical too...


Oh, and for metallica fans.


Someday I may forgive metallica for being such bastards about napster.

Atheist Coven

Next Sunday is the Solstice, lot to do to be ready for that! So, without further delay...

Announcing the atheist coven! This is the brainchild of myself and magikmama. She is more than welcome to refine, contradict, or otherwise disagree with any of the below, as is anyone else! Anyway, here's the idea!

Lot's of us have gotten into magick, ritual, witchcraft, mysticism, etc. because we wanted to better understand spiritual experiences. We wanted to know God, ourselves, the meaning of life. Along the way, many of us have found that we don't quite believe in God or even believe in the supernatural. We're not atheists in the normal sense, because we didn't come at this with some sort of grudge against religion. We like the ritual, the feeling of deep significance and connection. Perhaps in a way like how adults still enjoy santa, we still enjoy religion. That is what this coven is about, religion and ritual without the necessity to believe in absurd things. It is a coven to have fun with being a coven and not get hung up on metaphysical whatnot. We'll do whatever feels right, basically making religion what it should have been all along.

So, who's in?

I'd like to get something together for the Solstice this Sunday. That doesn't leave much time. We need a space, a time and some sort of plan. I'll offer my house as the space if a better one isn't available, but Joliet as a location kinda sucks and the house isn't really set for guests... We need to figure out which deities will be invited. I'll start by nominating Maat/Themis and Eris (never make the mistake of not inviting Eris to your party!) Other suggestions are some sort of dying god figure, Osiris maybe, and I'm always a fan of Horus. Bast is a favorite, as is Babylon (but what kind of party do we want this to be?!) Nuit is ever present as is Hadit, so we don't need to speak of them... anyway, who'd you want to mention? What sort of ritual would you propose?

The Pusher

This is a bit of writing I was working on this morning. It is really the same scene that I wrote out some time back. I'm just starting to get the urge to write now, make this into a real story. Anyway, here it is as it came together this morning.

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Writer's Block: Full Moon Fever

It's the full moon today. Almost every culture has its share of lunar lore, from werewolves to lunacy to true love. Do you believe that the full moon affects our behavior or do you think it's a myth?

Definitely. Perhaps due to all the artificial light we have it isn't as pronounced as it once was, but the moon definitely has its effects on us. It is especially noticeable during long winter nights the winter. A clear winder night with a bright moon and the everything coated in snow is quite an image. I'm a pretty skeptical person, but denying the influence of the moon would is just silly. After all, the moon's influence is deeply emotional, people say they are affected by it, it is like being moved by a poem or a painting, just because you can't muster a logical explanation doesn't make it less real. I can't really define how the moon affects me.

The moon is a light in dark times, but it cannot be relied upon. Its strength waxes and wanes and can be so easily obscured by a bit of cloud. It has no light of its own and thought it appears bright, that is only because of our natural state of darkness. It signifies some strange secret life, but is itself dead, battered and lifeless. And while it appears brilliant at night, a full moon during the day is almost comical as it continues to shine its borrowed light unaware of the needlessness of its presence.


One more random sorta language thing... just saw a headline: "Greece rocked by third day of riots". "Rocked" is a popular word for headlines and I always associate it with rock 'n roll, "rocked the club" sorta thing. So I always read those and my first association is something like "Those must be some awesome riots!" or "That earthquake kicked ass!" Am I the only one that has to read those headlines twice?

Ear pierced

I've been meaning to get my ear pierced for a while now. For whatever reason, Saturday night seemed like the night to do it. There was a straight pin handy in the bathroom and before I thought to long about it I poked it through my ear. K helped me cut the pin down and the next day we went and got a 20 gauge ring for it. After a fight to get the ring through the whole and another fight to get the damn bead back in the ring... I now have my first piercing. Woo. It looks a bit lonely, but next one I'll probably get done professionally.

It's a little bit sore, but I don't think it's infected. Once it's been in a few weeks I think I'll move up to an 18 or 16 gauge ring.

Temperature as ratio variable

(From a debate with my statistics teacher)

Temperature, in Celsius, is an equal-interval variable, but when temperature is measured in Kelvin it is definitely a ratio variable. That is to say, while 84 Celsius is *not* twice as hot as 42 Celsius, 84 Kelvin *is* twice as hot as 42 Kelvin.

Here's why: As we both know, the Celsius scale was created by measuring the expansion of mercury. The zero point was made to correspond to the freezing point of water. The mercury could expand beyond that zero mark some amount or shrink below it, so we can have positive or negative temperature. The scale is equal interval because the marks on the thermometer are equally spaced. I'm sure we agree so far...

Now, physicists knew that heat flowed from hot objects to cold objects and the going theory that this was because of the action of a material they called phlogiston. Well, suppose phlogiston turned out to be a real substance and that phlogiston was attracted or repelled from objects proportional to the heat of the object as recorded in Celsius. Let's say the force on the phlogiston is F and the temperature is t. We can state now that F = k * t (where k is some constant) or F / t = k. Put another way, there is a constant *ratio* of F to t. The reason it is a ratio variable is because it can be used in this sort of mathematical expression, but it depends on what you want to infer from the data whether it can be treated as a ratio.

In like manner, temperature in Kelvin was found to be a useful measurement in many different ways and it is used as a ratio such as in the ideal gas law (pv=nrT). So it is a ratio variable *because* it is useful in this ratio. It could not be used as a ratio variable if we were trying to deduce the perception of cold...

What I'm trying to get at is that the distinction between an ratio variable and a mere equal-interval variable depends on how the variable can be used to predict the values of other variables.

UPDATE: She said in class today that actually I was right! :-D

Notetaking just wastes time...

My organic chemistry class is really depressing. We were doing review today of some very basic concepts, valence electrons, atomic number, periodicity of the elements, lewis dot structures... All stuff everyone should already know.

But he starts of the lecture saying how the best students are the ones that take a huge amount of notes, like with giant fucking binder where they've written everything down and worked all the problems... Ugh.

Everyone in class copying exactly what he wrote on the slide. At one point he meant to write "lose" and instead wrote "loose"... and everyone around me wrote "loose" in their notes. They're not even hearing the words he's saying; they're just copying down verbatim what he writes. I promise you, the more accurate the notes the less the student actually understands. If you're keeping up with a class, the only notes you should be taking are things like "Review ionic bonds" or "VESPR (wtf?)". Then you go to google and type in the terms you need to check on. You'll find lectures from better professors and scads of explanations. Don't bother with notes, it just wastes paper. Nothing that you write down will be better than what's in the text or on the web.


If I've got that right, the translation is roughly Hi Y'all!

Whew. It was a bit of a pain figuring out how to do the chinese input but now 是很好!

Really this is pretty awesome and not nearly so much of a chore to do as I thought. It'll be a great study aid...

Anyway, heh, I'm taking Chinese this semester and it promises to be a challenge. Somewhere around a third of the class seems to be fluent in Cantonese, which I think means that they can read everything but need to learn new pronunciations. That doesn't seem exactly fair to me... it'll be a challenge to keep up I'm sure.


Qaballah and molecular orbital theory

I was studying chemistry this morning, diagramming some molecular orbitals. If you've not studied chemistry, molecular orbitals build upon the quantum mechanical, wave function, concepts the nature of the electron and apply it over multiple atoms as they come together to form chemical bonds. The wave functions of the individual atoms combine to create interference patterns and new wave patterns, new "orbitals". "Filling" the molecular orbitals in a diagram can tell you the expected bond strength between two atoms...


Anyway, while drawing it I had a spooky sensation I'd seen this before:

While I hesitate to take this too far, there are some really interesting connections. The vertical positions of the orbitals in these diagrams correspond to the energy levels. Electrons, like everything, settles to the lowest available energy level. The σ (sigma) orbitals are symmetrical about the line joining the two nuclei. The π (pi) orbitals are off to the sides. The orbitals with '*'s are anti-bonding orbitals. The strength of the bond is half the sum of the number of electrons in bonding orbitals - the number in anti-bonding orbitals.

Now, there are only eight orbitals here, but notice how they switch position. Once the second bonding sigma orbital is full, (tipareth is occupied) it drops in energy level and the pi orbitals move up...

Notice that the highest three orbitals are all anti-bonding orbitals. If all these are full, the bond can't exist because the bond strength falls to zero. This corresponds to the upper triad in the tree of life... I could draw out a number of other metaphors, but I'll just leave it at that... isn't that interesting.