Category Archives: Under the Influence

Chaos produces order. Randomness begets meaning.

I’m going to post this here because I consider you a smart bunch of people. I’ll keep it as short as possible because we all have shrinking attention spans.

(I blame you, Internet.)

I write, take pictures, and make videos for a living. I write philosophical sci-fi and fantasy as a hobby. I’ve always been fascinated by quantum physics, but now I’m even more fascinated by chaos theory. Before your eyes glaze over, give me a chance to explain why — maybe it will fascinate you too.

I’m writing a series of realistic fantasy books and one of the characters is the god of chaos. Through this character, in studying to write it with some intelligence, I’ve been led to an amazing fact that is filling me with wonder.

We all spring out of complete and total randomness. Everything that is us and our world, and even our thoughts, are the product of complete and total randomness.

If you can wrap your head around this, you begin to understand that we have a general misconception of what “random” truely is. Apple Computers had to come to this conclusion, oddly, because when they first had a “random” setting on their early iPods people complained that it couldn’t possibly be random because it kept grouping songs together. They had to tweak their “random” algorithm to not be truly random so that it actually seemed random.

I promised I would keep this as short as possible, so I’ll end here, and just let you think about this: what we consider a rational, coherent universe is, at its very heart, complete and total random chaos.

Chaos produces order. Randomness begets meaning.

What does that imply to you?

Coffee Helps Fight Dementia

A study published in the May 2010 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease purports that caffeine may protect against cognitive decline that occurs as a result of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.  The report goes on to specify that caffeine can help:

  • Normalize brain function and prevent degeneration
  • Reduce effects of Alzheimer’s
  • Improve memory and overall cognitive performance
  • Protect against Parkinson’s disease

Caffeine appears to reduce amyloid-beta production, and that in turn helps inhibit growth of plaques in the brain that lead to Alzheimer’s.  The other effect — and this falls into the realm of research that shows happiness is, in itself, incredibly good for you — is that caffeine can act as a powerful mood lifter, relieving the depressive symptoms which are thought as the most prevalent complication of cognitive decline.

So, coffee (or at least the caffeine in it) is a mood lifter?  I guess so.  I know I’m significantly less happy in the morning if I don’t get it.

Music I Listen To While Writing

iTunes Radio - Ambient Radio

Ever since Apple came out with iTunes Radio, I’ve gravitated to this particular station to listen to while I write: iTunes Radio – Ambient Radio

Everyone has their own process. I know when I was younger I used to listen to Pink Floyd, Yes, ELP, the Beatles, etc. while I worked.

This music though, I find it doesn’t get in the way. It helps my creative process in the background. Also, since usually writing is such a lonely process, having this ambient background going keeps me company.

What music do you listen to while creating?

The Strongest Coffee in the World

Someone named “Pat” left a link for me on my coffee review website, pointing me to Death Wish Coffee, “The Strongest Coffee in the World.” That was back in April. I made note of it and promptly forgot about it.

Sorry about that, Pat … procrastination and forgetfulness are one of my two strongest qualities.

Last week I went through a purge and refocus, killing off some of the websites I’ve been neglecting and generally lost interest in. I came really close to killing this one off as well, and just moving my blog over to my main website, but … nah. I shouldn’t clutter up my main marketing website with blogging blather. Best leave that where people expect it. came really close to going into the bin as well, but as I read through it, my interest rekindled. Besides, that website is there for a purpose: to get me free coffee and beer.

So I rediscovered the mention of Death Wish Coffee, and followed up. It turns out the owner, Mike, is a really nice guy — and he is quite happy to send me a sample of his killer coffee. And what better way to restart the momentum on a coffee review site than by infusing it with “The Strongest Coffee in the World?”

Indeed. But, why am I talking about it here?

It’s a tip for you: If you really have a passion for something, consider starting a review site around it. At the very least it might get you some free coffee, and you just might end up helping some people.

I’ll let you know when I get the coffee, and when I post the review.