Interesting Things to Fill Your Beautiful Skull.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Keith Richards to Youth: "Lay off the dope...."

Now you tell me!!!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hyun Gak Sunim on Buddhism

New Music

I just got a ton of new tunes, and I was curious what people were listening to.

What you been listening to, Willis?

I've deleted all my tunes off my hard drive (placed on an external), and I've been rocking out to:

Amon Duul II (1960s German Krautrock band. They helped start the scene in Germany)

Cal Tjader (American vibraphone jazz musician. He is one of the early musicians to fuse Latin rhythms with jazz)

John Zorn's Kristallnacht (experimental musical interpretation of the Night of Broken Glass in Germany before the Holocaust)

Madvillain (MF DOOM and Madlib)

Secret Chiefs 3 (Trey Spruance from Mr. Bungle....weird and weird)

Earth Hour

I like it because it brings attention to the cause and it's kind of neat to think about the city in darkness for an hour. I'm glad Tel Aviv is one of the cities participating.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008


I love Florida. The head of a regional DUI offender program gets busted for a DUI...with a 0.336 BAL of all things.


Protecting America

Saturday, February 23, 2008


So here's a story of a woman in England who naturally carries a very high charge of static electricity in her body. When she touches electric appliances, she shorts them out. When she touches people, she shocks them and makes their hair stand on end. She must be a real kick in bed...

It reminds me of that movie Unbreakable. There are people among us who do live with slightly different abilities, but they're so subtle that we usually don't notice them.


Friday, February 22, 2008

The Boys and the Vehicle

Originally uploaded by The Passing Strange
I never would have thought he would have been the first to procreate.

Monday, February 18, 2008


Recent experiments by professors at the Universities of Oxford and Wales Bangor show that it may be natural for people to herd just like animals when they are in a crowd, as reported by The Telegraph (2/14/08) The scientists told volunteers to start walking around a large hall with no particular destination. Then they gave a few of the volunteers some directions on where to walk. It turns out that it took only 5% who seemed to be informed to sway the rest of the crowd of 200 people or more. "There are strong parallels with animal grouping behaviour," says Professor Jens Krause, who led the team of scientists.

..herding behavior in human beings .... is the study of how humans behave in groups within contexts of uncertainty....

Elliot Wave Theorist 2/17/08

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Q&A from Linguistics Final

7. Present, discuss, and explain the two proposed mechanisms for language acquisition and learning.

Noam Chomsky was the first person to ask the question of where language comes from. For years, the word linguist carried the implication that someone spoke many languages. Chomsky would change the meaning of this word forever. Chomskyan or Nativist linguistics dominated the field for more than 30 years. It begins with Chomsky's poverty of the stimulus. Since there isn't sufficient input to properly equate for the output, the nativists thought there must be a component in the brain to answer this question. The nativists view the brain as modular, components that do not communicate with one another. One of these modules, say the nativists, is a language component. Language is a species-specific property that is there from birth. In other words, humans are born with the a priori knowledge of grammar. The only thing we have to do is expose this language acquisition device, within each of us, to language in the natural world.
Chomsky and colleagues (Fodor and Pinker) posited that our cognition is partitioned into modules. Chomsky and colleagues stated that this module and component of language is present from birth. The ability is there, but it is expressed later in life when certain neurological conditions have matured. There are some examples elsewhere in the body that add evidence to this. The ability to walk is present from day 1, but it takes time for certain motor conditions and muscular conditions to develop for that to occur. Also, it takes the liver about a year after birth in order to function properly. The body must take time to develop into its full potential.
According to this theory, this modular brain has a central processor to direct the activities, but each module does not interact with another module. It can only deal with material that is specific to them. One example of the inability for modules to interact with one another is optical illusions. The eyes, no matter what the cognition is aware of, can't separate itself from the illusion. So the nativists view language acquisition as a priori knowledge; something that comes from within. The environment plays a secondary role in language acquisition. The environment affects the language one acquires and the accent, but the actual mechanism of language is there from birth, and it is this module within the brain that contains this language ability, universal grammar.
According to the nativist tradition, there are three components to language learning. The first component is what we have been discussing, the language-specific module consisting of universal grammar. Most of this linguistic knowledge is innate. There are a finite number of fundamental principles that are common to all languages. For example, all languages have subjects and verbs. There are always some sort of grammatical structures prevalent in all languages too.
The second component is that of parameters. These are the binary rules (parameters) that are specific to each language. There are a number of finite set of parameters that determine syntactic variability between languages. All the parameters are linked, and a child must figure out the parameters for his/her L1. Some examples include Korean's use of status within the language. A Korean child must learn to say ahnyounghaseyo (hello) when speaking to an elder, but amongst friend they can drop the "haseyo" when greeting and just use "ahnyoung." This binary parameter is part of the process of acquiring their L1.
The third component to learning a language is lexical learning. Basically, this equates to learning the words of a language. This aspect takes a long time through a trial-and-error process. Dorit was quoted class as saying, "This is about breaking into the system." To a nativist, the lexicon is considered the least important aspect of language learning.
To sum up the nativists (Chomskyans, generalists), children quickly develop the complexity of language. Children hear a limited amount of sentences, but somehow they know the infinite possibilities of language. There is a lack of stimulus so how is it possible? Nativists think the brain is broken-up into modules. One of these is the species-specific module of language housing universal grammar. This knowledge is a priori knowledge, and it allows the answer for the poverty of the stimulus.
It took more than 30 years for a different perspective on language acquisition to be accepted within the field of linguistics, but during the mid 80s through the mid 90s, new theories were introduced that changed everything. Computers and technology played a huge impact on allowing this transformation take place. Now linguists could apply empirical concepts used in hard science in research to further expand the knowledge base of linguistics.
With this new technology, computers were modeled after human/animal brains. Computers were able to simulate neural networks. Neuroscience added its own bits of information too. We learned that as information gets stored into long-term memory, the brain changes physically. The proteins change in the neurons. The neuron is connected to thousands of other neurons. When one protein changes, essentially the system, as a whole, changes. From this viewpoint, the brain is not linear, it is not binary, it is non-economical, there are no modules, there is no "domain" of language, there are no innate symbolic categories. The brain, with its web of neurons is a complex system, and behaves like all complex systems.
There are emergent properties of a complex system. Cities, historical timelines, economics, sociological situations, and astrophysics are all examples of studies in complex systems. One of these properties is that all complex systems seek order. When looking at a neural network in the sense as a complex system, then we can see the brain is merely a complex system making sense of the information presented to it. The proponents of this idea, connectionists, argue that language is not an a priori feature of the brain. Rather, the brain is a complex neural system, and it merely seeks to create order out of the language it receives. For example, the brain is introduced to a big vehicle with four wheels. It learns that this is a car. The next day, the child sees another big vehicle with four wheels, but it is slightly different. This is also called "car." Eventually, the brain gets enough stimulus to make a category of "car," and is able to put all the "car" information into one folder. That folder will eventually be organized into other larger folders, such as "nouns." The categories EMERGE in the brain after probabilistic computations once enough input has been given to the brain.
Both theories are trying to answer the poverty of the stimulus question. The nativists believe the brain to be modular in nature, and one of the modules is dedicated to language, housing universal grammar. This knowledge is innate knowledge, and the map of language is merely mapped onto the language the child is exposed to. The connectionists use the idea of neural networks in relation to complex systems. Order emerges from the nature of complex systems. The child is exposed to enough language, and the brain self-organizes this information into categories, giving the child the ability to use language in ways that equate to a larger amount than the input. This theory promotes the idea that language isn't a component of the brain, merely that language gets categorized after exposure.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


How people count cash in different parts of the world.

How People Count Cash? - For more funny movies, click here

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Skif Dank

This is an article that ran in Daytona Beach's Newsjournal. This is a profile of one of our dear friends, Marc Tomestic. The picture is hysterical, and the book he last read happens to be a book I had with me, and showed him, the last time I saw him. I'm glad he found it and read.

Here's the link to the article

Ah, how I miss the Dank....

2 Ft. and 9 Inches of Muscle Power

Check out this article on the strongest dwarf in the world.....

Wee Power

I love life and how many sizes it can come in...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Music Video Monday

Because I can't be bothered to wake up today...

Got another minute?

With all the education talk going on in the blog, I figured this video was fitting. Ed, I thought of you at the end.......

My condolences....

One of South Korea's national treasures burned down this week. As someone who lived in Korea, I have a deep connection with Namdaemun gate. Above is me in front of the gate, and below is a link to a news article about it. If it does turn out to be arson, I can't imagine who would do such a thing. I really can't imagine.

Link Here

Friday, February 8, 2008

The Mustangs

I got my first 'Video Response' today from YouTube. Over a year ago, I posted a video I took of a kickass rock band in Seoul, Korea called The Mustangs. Somebody responded to that video with this one taken from a television station in Seoul. They're on TV!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Middle Eastern cables

The Wall Street Journal has followed up on the severing of internet communication cables in the Middle East and has determined that it is likely not sharks with laser beams on their head.


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Coloring books


Here is a man of India.
He is praying to his god.
His god cannot help him.
This man must know about Jesus.
Can you think of some ways to help him?

I don't know if this really is from some Christian coloring book or something else, but I laughed.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Monday, February 4, 2008

Is it really necessary to know your history?

So a study of 3000 Britons came out that revealed that one in four think Winston Churchill was a fictional character, but Sherlock Holmes was a real person. This article goes on, adding Mahatma Ghandi, Cleopatra, and Charles Dickens as people that some think did not really exist.

I suppose that at some point, a person that is long dead may appear more fictional than real. Understanding history is how to understand why today is today, I think. It's a bit of a shame some folks don't make an attempt to learn about it, but how necessary is it? If you're not that concerned about why things are the way they are (and a lot of people aren't), then why bother learning about history at all?


I love posting videos on YouTube. It cracks me up to see that 350 people have actually watched this video:

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Internet Radio

I've been mourning the loss of Pandora. My random internet radio days just couldn't compare...or could they????

First, I found this site.:

It's not amazing, but I like that they give you a little bio information, and it's a clean design.

THEN!!!!! I found the motherload.....

I haven't played with it enough, but for sheer design it gets major points. Check this one out:

Grateful Undead

The Grateful Dead are reuniting! To play a concert for Barack Obama?



After traveling around the world, I've realized that one of the real joys about being an American is the our unequaled access, indeed our constitutional right, to high-tech weaponry. In fact, it's not only awesome to own guns, but it's downright fashionable these days to own a Taser. They come in pink and leopard print now! For only $350!

To top it off, you can get a holster with an integrated MP3 player. This way, you can get your tunes and your jolts at the same time.

To purchase yours, click here.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Currently digging some of this music. I'm not sure what to make of the video. Pretty interesting what kids get up to nowadays.