Thursday, July 31, 2014

Shadows of a Thousand Years

As Gene Wolfe has observed, the workings of Narrativium and the Morphogenetic Field are not limited to the usual constraints of causality:
When Stelarc dons his Laser eyes...
...and his bioengineered ears...
...and his supplementary hands, he is (all unawares) recapitulating the Perseus myth cycle; with its supplementary Fetch Quests where Perseus gallivants around to obtain the trappings of heroism -- the wingèd sandals and the Glove of Power and the Star Wand --

"You seem to be experiencing some cross-talk or bleed-through from Creatures of Light and Darkness", said tigris.

"Did you watch the Lars von Trier adaptation last night on the Riddled Channel?" Another Kiwi wondered. "Eight hours long but he captured Zelazny's aesthetic exactly."

"...Stelarc is also creating ripples in the morphogenetic field," I said, pressing on and undeterred, "which propagate backwards to trouble the dreams of 16th-century engravers. I am not sure where the shaggy trousers with the pelvic-thrusty wings come from. Perhaps they are part of Stelarc's transhumanism performance which he has not yet perfected."
 photo stelarc.gif
Meanwhile AK was calibrating the time-machine extension to the Dream Machine so as to inspect the troubled dreams of those engravers and woodcut artists. "The hero, once suitably attired and armed, is supposed to be slaying Medusa, innee?" he vouchsafed. "That does not look like a Medusa." 
"He's chasing Ann Althouse," I said; "that's good enough for government work."
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Commentator ITTDGY argues that "close enough" is preferable to "good enough", and he has the backing of Goofle NGram:
I favour "good enough" because shut up that's why.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask what happens if we subject a sequence of morphed facial expressions to Chronotopic Anamorphosis?

Have you ever noticed how weird and distorted people look when they are underwater, with their faces pressed hard up against the inside of the aquarium glass, pulling expressions and trying to hold their breath at the same time as say something (like "Please let me out of this piranha tank")?
 photo topomorph4.gif photo topomorph3.gif
Um, me neither.
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Original inspiration for the Riddled Chronotopic Anamorpher was Rybczynski's short movie which I saw with the Frau Doktorin back in 1988.

You have to imagine a series of two-dimensional images (from here) as if they are stacked up in a three-dimensional block, so each instant is a horizontal slice through the block; and then slice down through that block at a diagonal angle to make a new set of images, in which there are time delays between one horizontal level and another. Video Artist Daniel Crooks has incorporated the concept into his Artistic Practice:

This should not happen normally unless you are trapped in that bright moment where you learned your doom have the Clyde familial brain chemistry.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dances with Wolves

Can anyone advise me as to the name of the dance style? I am trying to keep up with the language of kids these days.

"Das Xxxij Capitel" is totally not the name of a nightclub.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New from the Riddled Gifte Shoppe

Novelty Toyen-inspired hotwater-bottle covers!


Because it's feckin' cold here.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

We could go and look and stare

Thinking about a Plate of Shrimp

"Take a look at this identity line-up of Cambrian lobopods, sir. Do you recognise..."
"Him! That one on the right! That's the one I saw evolving into an Anomalocarid!"
There is much to love about Cambrian lobopods, not least the term 'Xenusiids', which is straight from an old BBC script (sent back to the writer because "The name of Dr Who's alien adversaries sounds too silly").
Also their resemblance to ambulatory pear pimples for hairy fish-nuts prickly-pear bushes, or to a homemade Father's Day gift assembled from toadskin wrapped around a pipe-cleaner sculpture, NOT THAT I'M BITTER and IT'S THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS.

Over to the right of the line-up, note the speculative evolutionary trails from the Xenusiid lobopods to tardigrades, and to Pentastomid parasites like Bockelericambria -- which really deserve a Riddled post to themselves for being so ghastly as to belong in Charlie Stross' next 'Laundry' novel.
As well as Kerygmachela kierkegaardi and Pambdelurion whittingtoni, other lobopods elsewhere in the Cambrian oceans had finished evolving into Anomalocarids a wide variety of seafood-pizza toppings as shown above [art stolen from John Meszaros]. While other Anomalocarids had already evolved into primitive anthropods... ancestors of crustaceans, and in the case of the Megacheira, ancestors of spiders. So if Megacheira evolved from lobopods, how come there are still lobopods?

One Anomalocarid survived another 100 million years into the Devonian era by growing flippers and pretending to be a penguin. The official line, otherwise, is that they are long-extinct so we will never what they taste like with caper butter; and any resemblance between their circular mouthparts and those of Fane Flaws cartoon characters c. 1987 is purely coincidental.


The official line is also that lobopods are entirely of terrestrial origin, and that velvet worms such as Peripatus are the only surviving relatives.

Siberion lenaicus is especially scary. No further speciments are likely to turn up because after Dzik's initial report, that particular limestone outcrop in Siberia was destroyed. This was by private fossil collectors and was totally not a cover-up to forestall the piecing together of dissociated knowledge that would open up terrifying vistas of reality.