Ravens and Crows

Ravens can solve puzzles, trick other animals into helping them out, and communicate with each other at a level even apes can’t match. And now we know they can hatch plans.

Ravens are so smart it’s actually kind of disconcerting, new study finds | Popular Science

I think ravens and crows are awesome.

Crows can snowboard.

Crows don’t forget a face.

Crows use cars to crack nuts.

The real question is will finding out that animals are intelligent change our view of the natural world and thus our behavior?

Now : Time

The following is a post from September 2009, slightly edited:

Time has changed, or should I say our perception of time and especially our use of time has evolved. A long time ago we used to say “I’ll see you in Spring,” then we might have said “I’ll see you at the beginning of the third moon,” which became “I’ll wait for you during the second week of the seventh month,” until we arrived here: “I’ll meet you at 6:15, and don’t be late – I’ll only wait 10 minutes.”

The grid has narrowed, from a year to a nanosecond, and the hatch-marks are so close now that we can barely distinguish them. if your watch slows just a little bit you miss your appointment – unless you are a doctor: they are ALWAYS late for your appointment.

Is time an eternal and infinite and mysterious NOW or is it this finely hatched grid we have superimposed?

Of course it is both. The present moment versus measured time is also poetry versus data, which is also beauty versus information, or being versus having…

The moment, that now is poetry. The grid we superimpose is data. And isn’t that we seem to do to everything? Aren’t we choking all beauty with our grids, our data? Music and books have lost their magical beauty and have been reduced to data files and streams. Is it a teeter-totter that swings back and forth? Now towards poetry, now towards data? After these decades of reduction, will decades of expansion follow?

And that thought brings me to this: what do we need to change, what can we change?

Perhaps we can sometimes choose walking and biking over driving, like choosing to vacation in an area we can discover on foot or bicycle, as opposed to doing ten cities in two weeks. Perhaps we can discover ways to counteract the tightening noose of time that we are ourselves superimposing on our world. If we can insert a little space into our time, little balloons of NOW, those spaces will act like airbags in cars that save us from a collision… they will create little bubbles within the tightening net of measured time.

In the Middle of the Night

A few weeks ago I was awoken by a sharp knock. It was the middle of the night, perhaps around three, and I jumped out of bed. Being one of those people who naturally flip that switch from asleep to awake very quickly I immediately moved to the bedroom door and listened. Silence. I opened the door and nothing stirred. I opened the front door and there was only darkness and silence outside.

I thought about the sound I had heard and noticed that something was wrong with it. It hadn’t sounded woodsey enough and the reverb accompanying the sound was also wrong… What was going on? It must have been a dream.

First I went to bed and back to sleep then, in the morning, after all of my brain came alive with a cup of coffee, I realized something.

Our brain can’t record sounds or sights, or smells for that matter. It can file the experience for future reference and categorize the type of sound, for example a knock against a wooden door as opposed to a hollow metal door. Then when we hear that sound again, we can compare notes and realize it was a wooden door we heard.

When we dream we are so involved in the emotional aspect of the dream that the details don’t matter much. The brain creates an *impression* of a knock on a wooden door. And it is good enough because it got me going, didn’t it. But I am musician and the impression didn’t last long in my waking state.

I don’t remember many dreams, in fact I hardly ever remember one, and perhaps that’s why they seem very real when they do spill into the waking state for me. Note to self, try to make it sound a little more realistic next time.

T-Shirt

No, I have nothing to do with this. I don’t think it’s a nice design and that’s certainly not a Flamenco guitar. I also don’t play bass. But I know a great bass player…