Tag Archive | News

The Call’s Gnuz & Lynx Roundup | 2015.11.23

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 19.50.30

This week has been one of great change. With the world galvanizing itself to action after the brutal terror attacks of last week by Daesh and others, and my own country shamed by the racists and bigots with their fear and hatred of brown people and other religions, the future grows darker, at least in those things we can see crossing the threshold from future to present and then onward to tragic history.

Pity that, as one person put it “Prediction is a forgotten art.” But maybe that’s all for the better. The uncertainty of it all may be discomforting, but it keep things interesting.

Those who brought this on and those who, reacting out of primal, mindless fear, perpetuate this cycle of hatred and misery are, I believe, on the wrong side of history, and engaged in a lost cause. They pit themselves against the very best humanity is capable of, and they will lose, the fear-mongers and those they cynically manipulate alike. They will lose unilaterally, or they will lose because we all will lose.

But I’m optimistic, hopeful for a positive outcome while recognizing that the way to it is likely to be harrowing and dangerous. This could be the pivotal moment for our species, and perhaps things will get worse before getting better. But I’m confident that they will get better. It’s been said that if we as a species don’t annihilate ourselves in the next 200 years, our future will be bright.


The future looks dark only a short distance from now, but further out it is shrouded in mist, hopefully brightly lit by the end of the next century. We may become extinct, or we may survive and go on to reach for the stars.

I’ll wager on the latter outcome, but cautiously.


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Mean Teddies

A teddybear protects its human, in battle with the monsters under the bed. Brilliant stuff.

The Call’s Gnuz & Lynx Roundup | 2015.10.11

English: El Capitan in the Yosemite Valley.

English: El Capitan in the Yosemite Valley. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

G’day! Welp, I’ve decided that I won’t be participating in this year’s NaNoWriMo contest, because I’ll then have too much on my plate for other things, including study and housework. I will, however, start a writing challenge of my own, possibly as soon as later this month, and extending into November. Starting then, every other day I’ll post either an essay based on a recent news item I’ve come across, or a short fiction piece ranging from 13 to 800 words or so.

The thirteen word format is a favorite of mine, and I credit SF writer S. A. Barton for it. The fiction can be prose, poetry, or a combination of these, and I may do more than one post, of either or both types, during any given publishing day: fiction/fiction, essay/fiction, or essay/essay, as needed, which should be a good way to keep this blog on topic and active.

I’ll continue to post this installment and Caturday’s Astrophenia on weekends.

I’ll also keep posting fractals each week as I generate them, though I’m currently having difficulties with two of the apps I’ve previously used: Mandelbulber and Mandelbulb 3D, neither of which will work with my current OS (El Capitan). Mountains. It appears that once Apple ran out of cats to name the OS after, it’s now named after mountains…

Unfortunately, that means I can’t generate Mandelbox or hybrid images until those problems are overcome or I find another app that I can use to produce them. It also means that there will be no more Mandelbulber tutorials for version v.1.16. I’ll keep poking around in the meantime for updates that will work on my OS, but I’m not holding my breath for it. I may have to improve my coding skills and write my own app. That’s not out of the question, but it’s too soon to say for now. We’ll see.

I’m on my first real conversational lesson in my Bengali studies, and I take periodic reviews of the language’s elegant script and mellifluous sounds for practice. My progress is measurable, but slow, given my other activities and duties. I’m not moving on to the next study unit until I finish this one and complete the unit quiz. Let’s see, that’s unit 14 of Teach Yourself’s Complete Bengali. I’ve also ordered a full-sized English-Bengali dictionary for those words and phrases not accounted for in the above study text (that with only a vocabulary of 1,000 or so words), which I’ll be using often. But I’ll not rush this. For the study to “take” I’ll need to avoid impatience…

Stay cool, stay safe, and have a blast of a new week, all of you!


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xkcd: Hardware Reductionism

The Call’s Gnuz & Lynx Roundup | 2015.09.27

Mnemonic to remember the waning moonphase (des...

Mnemonic to remember the waning moonphase (descending – after full moon) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

G’day! This week, I prepare for guests to visit sometime this October, and part of that involves working on efficient study techniques, some of those involving mnemonic devices, a recent one I’ve put together I use to remember a sequence of numbers for the months of the year in the Gregorian calendar.

It’s a simple, grammatically discernible, memorable, but in fact nonsensical phrase: “Chennai, no less, may later shun Ray.” In this simple phrase is the number sequence 6, 2, 2, 5, 0, 3, 5, 1, 4, 6, 2, 4, encoded into each separately pronounced consonant sound, ch, n, n, l, s, m, l, t, r, sh, n, and r, for the months from January to December.

You see, there’s a neat little parlor trick I’m practicing on to improve my mental mathematics chops: Calculating, from a month code, a weekday code, and a year code, the day of the week for any date in recent history, at least after the adoption of the Gregorian system of dates, upon which the reasoning for the calculations is based.

Mnemonic to remember the waxing moonphase (beg...

Mnemonic to remember the waxing moonphase (beginning after new moon) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve kind of abandoned the use of mnemonics for language studies, and focusing mostly on retrieval practice and spaced repetition until I improve my ability for mnemonics in other areas. Some things you just have to know in themselves, and can’t simply be encoded, not unless you’re really good at it….which, I am not.

Next month, beginning later this week, I resume full study of Bengali, as right now I’m revising previous material while studying other subjects and working on lecture notes from my courses as well.


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Fearless Collective – Bonded, not Bound, Dharavi

The Call’s Gnuz & Lynx Roundup | 2015.09.20

English: Brihadeeswarar temple in Thanjavur, T...

English: Brihadeeswarar temple in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

G’day! This last week and weekend blogging has been a bit slow, and so has study. I’ve been working on rearranging stuff in my room, and in the house, to prepare for tomorrow’s upgrade to my room’s workspace, a new desk purchased for my birthday. I’ve also been celebrating my birthday, first with friends at the local zoo on Caturday and earlier today with family at a seafood spot in Virginia Beach. There shall be pics for Tuesday.

I’m taking care of the final preparations tonight, and will have to unplug the electronics in my room to move the old computer desk out of my room and into the kitchen. All must be ready before I get to bed for the night. I’ll get up and ready for it tomorrow morning.

Study as been slow for another reason as well. I’ve discovered that it has been hampered, though not completely, by a perfect trifecta, a sort of Unholy Triad, of procrastination (which I should put off for as long as I can 😉 ), a lack of deep focus on individual study units, and overthinking the content of the lessons instead of taking them simply as they are. It is much more than merely a problem of time-management. I have plenty of time as it is. Now that I’ve identified the enemy, I may deal with them as ruthlessly as possible. The mindfulness lessons I’m taking ought to be a useful tool to that end.


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The Wonders of Pluto

The Call’s Gnuz & Lynx Roundup | 2015.08.30

This is the image of a consonant in Tamil alph...

This is the image of a consonant in Tamil alphabet generated by User:Sundar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

G’day, and happy Sunday. I’m currently engaged in deepening the level of detail for last weeks’s post on planet Bruticus, with a crunch-piece behind the actual science behind the natives’ biological spacecraft, thanks to commentators Anneliese and Ray – You’re both a huge help with this!

This week will also see the release of the concluding narrative for the #Tamil pure consonants. This one includes the remaining basic letters and their sounds, the laterals, fricatives, glides, and Grantha letters for those sounds borrowed from Sanskrit, and a Lovecraftian rather than silly theme for the mnemonic story is not out of the question.

It will conclude my study for this month, after which I switch learning time to #Hindi, focusing more on vocabulary and grammar, as well as spoken and written practice.

So, as always, be safe, well, and brilliant as the stars. You peeps are awesome.

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“Earth Angel” – No God But Funny contest winner

The Call’s Gnuz & Lynx Roundup | 2015.08.09

Whelp, the weekend is almost over, and I’ve noticed something interesting for the first time in a while: Upon seeing a fractal image with a sky blue background, I can almost, but not quite, hear the electronics of the Gary Wright song, “Dreamweaver” from the 1970s or thereabouts, in my head.

This first came to my attention some years ago when seeing a Collatz fractal looking as though it was hanging in an empty and perfectly clear sky. I’m very close to certain that it was this one – the image links to its Wikimedia Commons page when clicked:


That sensation has never fully left over the years, and I’m wondering if that has anything to do with my fascination with fractals or with my unusual…psychology. The association feels a bit like synesthesia, though not quite to the level of fully audible sound, more of an almost-sound in my mind’s ear, so to speak. I noticed it again last evening with this recently generated wallpaper of my own, still that same near-sensation of music, combined with a stark, alien sense of mathematical strangeness and beauty.


Anyhoo, I’ll be spending extra time studying tomorrow and the rest of this week, as I’m having a blast taking notes and practicing techniques from a course on mental mathematics, and incorporating some mnemonics I’ve learned from it in my language studies, the Major system and the Pegword method. I’ve even found a way to use the Major system to easily expand use of the Pegword method, which has even more win!

Talotaa frang, talotaa kas, talotaa tranga sulat.

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Daniel Dennett: Can Churches Survive the New Transparency?

The Call’s Gnuz & Lynx Roundup | 2015.07.26

As of this morning, I’ve finished all but two study units with a review of all completed units (12 of them) to follow this final week of July. There’re a few things that need to get done, but with the current rate of activity, those should be of little worry.

I’ve been tackling tasks without a to-do list and mostly without timers, a thing I wish was the case with my now-defunct blogs…

…Those were fun experiments, but my health and energy-levels at the time were not up to the task of maintaining them at any reasonable level of quality.

In any case, the last few weeks of posting since the end of my most recent blogging hiatus look very promising, and I’ll endeavor to maintain a decent posting schedule at least for this blog, and soon the others I own.

There is much to that can be said for one’s stamina when opportunities for regular exercise are available and taken.

May you all that a fantastic new week and end of this July. I hope what follows is at least as good as it has been so far, or is that just an appeal to inductive reasoning?… 😉

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xkcd: Exoplanet Names 2