Archive for July 13th, 2011

July 13, 2011

Form Constant

form constants

mescaline form constants

A form constant is one of several geometric patterns which are recurringly observed during hallucinations and altered states of consciousness. In 1926, psychologist Heinrich Klüver systematically studied the effects of mescaline on the subjective experiences of its users. In addition to producing hallucinations characterized by bright, ‘highly saturated’ colors and vivid imagery, Klüver noticed that mescaline produced recurring geometric patterns in different users. He called these patterns ‘form constants’ and categorized four types: lattices (including honeycombs, checkerboards, and triangles), cobwebs, tunnels, and spirals.

Klüver’s form constants have appeared in other drug-induced and naturally-occurring hallucinations, suggesting a similar physiological process underlying hallucinations with different triggers. Klüver’s form constants also appear in near-death experiences and sensory experiences of those with synesthesia. Other triggers include psychological stress, threshold consciousness(hypnagogia), insulin hypoglycemia, the delirium of fever, epilepsy, psychotic episodes, advanced syphilis, sensory deprivation, photostimulation, electrical stimulation, crystal gazing, migraine headaches, dizziness and a variety of drug-induced intoxications. These shapes may appear on their own or with eyes shut in the form of phosphenes, especially when exerting pressure against the closed eyelid.

July 13, 2011

Tetris Effect

Game Boy

The Tetris effect occurs when people devote sufficient time and attention to an activity that it begins to overshadow their thoughts, mental images, and dreams. People who play the video game Tetris for a prolonged amount of time may then find themselves thinking about ways different shapes in the real world can fit together, such as the boxes on a supermarket shelf or the buildings on a street. In this sense, the Tetris effect is a form of habit. They might also dream about falling Tetris shapes when drifting off to sleep or see images of falling Tetris shapes at the edges of their visual fields or when they close their eyes. In this sense, the Tetris effect is a form of hallucination or hypnagogic imagery.

The Tetris effect can occur with other video games, with any prolonged visual task (such as classifying cells on microscope slides, weeding, picking or sorting fruit, flipping burgers, driving long distances, or playing board games such as chess or go), and in other sensory modalities. For example, there is the tendency for a catchy tune to play out unbidden in one’s mind (an earworm). In kinesthesis, a person newly on land after spending long periods at sea may move with an unbidden rocking motion, having become accustomed to the ship making such movements (known as sea legs or mal de debarquement). Computer programmers and developers sometimes have similar experiences, and report dreaming about code when they sleep at night.

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July 13, 2011


earworm by Slug Signorino

Earworm, a loan translation of the German ‘ohrwurm,’ is a portion of a song or other music that repeats compulsively within one’s mind, put colloquially as ‘music being stuck in one’s head.’ Use of the English translation was popularized by James Kellaris, a marketing researcher at the University of Cincinnati, and American cognitive psychologist Daniel Levitin. Kellaris’ studies demonstrated that different people have varying susceptibilities to earworms, but that almost everybody has been afflicted with one at some time or another. The psychoanalyst Theodor Reik used the term ‘haunting melody’ to describe the psychodynamic features of the phenomenon. The term Musical Imagery Repetition (MIR) was suggested by neuroscientist and pianist Sean Bennett in 2003 in a scientifically researched profile of the phenomenon. Another scientific term for the phenomenon, ‘involuntary musical imagery,’ or INMI, was suggested by the neurologist Oliver Sacks in 2007.

People with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are more likely to report being troubled by ear worms – in some cases, medications for OCD can minimize the effects. The best way to eliminate an unwanted earworm is to simply play a different song. Supposedly, some songs are better for this purpose than others, such as the theme song to ‘Gilligan’s Island’ or ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight.’ Arthur C. Clarke’s 1956 short story ‘The Ultimate Melody’ offers up a science fictional explanation for the phenomenon. The story is about a scientist who develops the ultimate melody—one that so compels the brain that its listener becomes completely and forever enraptured by it. He succeeds, and is found in a catatonia from which he never awakens.

July 13, 2011

DJ Earworm

united states of pop

Jordan Roseman aka DJ Earworm is a San Francisco/London-based mashup artist who has achieved recognition for his technically sophisticated, songwriting oriented music and video mashups. His annual ‘United State of Pop’ mashups, short mixes featuring the top 25 songs of the year according to Billboard magazine, have reached the Top 100 for national radio play. He began making mashups recreationally in 2003 using ACID (he announced in 2008 that he had switched to Abelton Live). After encouragement from DJ Adrian at Club Bootie, Roseman created the moniker DJ Earworm (‘earworm’ referencing a song that repeats uncontrollably in one’s mind) and began releasing mashups.

DJ Earworm has a unique mashup style that consists of a compositional, songwriting approach. He gradually layers samples on top of one another, matching keys and subtly altering melodies. His mashups often convey an entirely new meaning than the original material, such as a political message in ‘No More Gas.’ He has been contrasted with mashup artist Girl Talk, who has a more DJ-oriented style. He is the author of Audio Mashup Construction Kit (2006), a how-to manual for creating mashups.

July 13, 2011

Card Sharp

teddy kgb

A card sharp (or card shark) is a person who uses skill and deception to win at poker or other card games. The label is not always intended as pejorative, and is sometimes used to refer to practitioners of card tricks for entertainment purposes. The term has also taken on the meaning of ‘expert card gambler who takes advantage of less-skilled players,’ without implication of actual cheating at cards, in much the same way that ‘pool shark’ or ‘pool hustler’ can (especially when used by non-players) be intended to mean ‘skilled player’ rather than ‘swindler.’ A card sharp/shark may be a ’rounder’ who travels, seeking out high-stakes games in which to gamble.

Card sharps who cheat or perform tricks use methods to keep control of the order of the cards or sometimes to control one specific card. Most, if not all, of these methods employ sleight of hand. Essential skills are false shuffles and false cuts that appear to mix the deck but actually leave the cards in the same order. More advanced techniques include culling (manipulating desired cards to the top or bottom of the deck), and stacking (putting desired cards in position to be dealt). Dealing the cards can also be manipulated, by dealing either the bottom card from the deck or the second one from the top instead of the top card. These are called Bottom dealing and Second dealing, respectively. Dealing may also be done from the middle of the deck, known as the middle deal or center deal, but this is not as common.

July 13, 2011


the hustler

Hustling is the deceptive act of disguising one’s skill in a sport or game with the intent of luring someone of lesser skill into gambling (or gambling for higher than current stakes) with the hustler, as a form of confidence trick. It is most commonly associated with pool, but also can be performed with regard to other sports and gambling activities. Hustlers may also engage in ‘sharking’ – distracting, disheartening, enraging or even threatening their opponents, to throw them off. Hustlers are thus often called ‘pool sharks.’

Professional and semi-pro hustlers sometimes work with a ‘stakehorse’ — a person who provides the money for the hustler to bet with (and who may assist in the hustling) — in exchange for a substantial portion of all winnings. Another form of hustling (often engaged in by the same hustlers who use the skill-disguising technique) is challenging ‘marks’ (swindle targets) to bet on trick shots that seem near-impossible but at which the hustler is exceptionally skilled.

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July 13, 2011

Hunter S. Thompson

thompson for sheriff

Hunter S. Thompson (1937 – 2005) was an American journalist and author. He is credited as the creator of Gonzo journalism, a style of reporting where reporters involve themselves in the action to such a degree that they become central figures of their stories.

He is known also for his unrepentant lifelong use of alcohol, LSD, mescaline, and cocaine (among other substances); his love of firearms; his inveterate hatred of Richard Nixon; and his iconoclastic contempt for authoritarianism. While suffering a bout of health problems, he committed suicide in 2005, at the age of 67.

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July 13, 2011

Raoul Duke

raoul duke by ralph steadman

Raoul Duke is the fictional character and antihero based on Hunter S. Thompson in his autobiographical novel ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.’ The book was originally written under the name Raoul Duke. He is the main character and narrator of many of Thompson’s stories, novels, and articles, often taking part of events in Thompson’s life in Thompson’s place.

He is portrayed as a cynical, eccentric hedonist. He is in a near-perpetual state of intoxication on whatever drugs happen to be available, ranging from marijuana to amyl nitrite to adrenochrome. He usually obtains and consumes these substances in the company of his attorney, Gonzo, a half-crazed 300 pound Samoan, whose drug-induced frenzies give even Duke pause. Thompson based Gonzo on his friend the civil rights lawyer Oscar Zeta Acosta.

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