Lexicon

Make great art

In 2012, Neil Gaiman gave a speech to the graduating class of art students at the University of Philadelphia. It’s a pretty inspiring piece, with a lot of great advice and big ideas. I’m putting down some notes as a personal reminder: Getting started When you get started, you know nothing. This is good. If you don’t know what is “impossible”, it’s harder to fail/easier to do the impossible. (Or even thirteen impossible things?) Make your end-state desire a distant mountain. Every time you need to decide between two paths, or just pick the next thing to do, make sure it is a step towards the mountain. Make your own art. You may start by sounding like a lot of different […]

Meditation

Meditation is the name given to several different practices which aim to bring about a non-typical (and beneficial) mental state. Different forms have been documented by practitioners and teachers throughout history, and several religions promote their forms of meditation (or prayer) as transformative, leading to enlightenment or gnosis. All forms seem to share certain characteristics: Object of focus — whether a physical sensation (such as is created by the act of breathing), a word or image, or a positive emotion, meditation generals asks the practitioner to “notice”, and continue noticing, a particular object of focus. In the case of transcendental meditation, the objejct is a “sacred word/phrase” or mantra which the meditator repeats mentally until the mantra seems to be repeating itself. […]

Memetics

Memes are the hypothetical “unit of transmission” in information-transfer within social environments i.e. “ideas” that pass from one entity to another in an almost viral way. Memetics provides an approach to evolutionary models of cultural information transfer based on the concept of the meme. Memeticists have proposed that just as memes function analogously to genes, memetics functions analogously to genetics. Memetics attempts to apply conventional scientific methods (such as those used in population genetics and epidemiology) to explain existing patterns and transmission of cultural ideas. In this theory (or prototheory), memes are considered the “second replicator” (the first being genes, and the third replicator temes/codemes).

Mesopotamian religion

Mesopotamian religion refers to the religious beliefs and practices of the civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia, particularly Sumer, Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia between circa 3500 BC and 400 AD, after which they largely gave way to Syriac Christianity. A few traces remained among Assyrian communities in isolated pockets of what had been Assyria until the 10th century AD, with the very latest attestation being found in this region in the 16th century AD.[1] The religious development of Mesopotamia and Mesopotamian culture in general was not particularly influenced by the movements of the various peoples into and throughout the area, particularly the south. Rather, Mesopotamian religion was a consistent and coherent tradition which adapted to the internal needs of its adherents over […]

Metaphysics

Metaphysics (from the Greek words μετά (metá) (“beyond” or “after”) and φυσικά (physiká) (“physics”)) is philosophy or philosophic thought about the nature of reality: what IS, and its properties. For example: the world appears to contain many “things” — physical objects (like apples) are called particulars, and possess properties (or universals). There are also non-physical abstract objects, like numbers — and properties themselves can be considered abstract objects. Ontology is the the study of existence: Rene Descarte proposed, “Cogito ero sum” (I think therefore I am).

Minatures

This is one of those hobbies (things I’d like to try). I’ve just bought the Dead Zone box and a couple of basic tools, so I can actually start doing some of this. Creating small figurines from base model pieces and modelling putty, then painting them.  I have an idea for a cool chess set: daemonic Nazis versus cybernetic Soviets. Apart from that, it would be nice to try to create a couple of WH40K armies for “family games night”.

Mitochondria

Mitochondria (μίτος, mitos, “thread”, and χονδρίον, chondrion, “granule/grain-like”) are tiny organelles inside most eukaryotic cells which supply cellular energy (by releasing ATP), as well as other functions (cell growth & senescence, differentiation and signalling). Individual mitochondria can vary in size and the number in a cell by organism and cell-type. From wikipedia: There are two hypotheses about the origin of mitochondria: endosymbiotic and autogenous. The endosymbiotic hypothesis suggests that mitochondria were originally prokaryotic cells, capable of implementing oxidative mechanisms that were not possible for eukaryotic cells; they became endosymbionts living inside the eukaryote. In the autogenous hypothesis, mitochondria were born by splitting off a portion of DNA from the nucleus of the eukaryotic cell at the time of divergence with the prokaryotes; […]

Mokṣa

In Indian religions, moksha (Sanskrit: मोक्ष mokṣa) or mukti (Sanskrit: मुक्ति), literally “release” (both from a root muc “to let loose, let go”), is the liberation from saṃsāra and the concomitant suffering involved in being subject to the cycle of repeated death and reincarnation.

Motorcycles

Ever since I was a boy (of about 12?) I’ve been a little obsessed with motorbikes: from Harley-Davidson posters on my bedroom walls, to an ongoing love affair with classic Ducatis, flings with sportsbikes (Yamaha R1 anyone?) and most recently an admiration for the BMW K-series. When we build our dream house, I’m going to have a motorcycle workshop. In the meantime, Albany Road has a double garage that will do just fine — as soon as I clear out the stuff we’re selling! Motorcycle maintenance: ’90 BMW K100LT, the “yellow beast” Motorcycle restoration/custom build: ’90 BMW K100, “cafe tourer” matching hard panniers custom-shaped chromed rear rack integral GPS “traffic cam” HUD hand-stitched seat keyless start maybe a little hipster […]