Tao of the Machine

Programming, Python, my projects, card games, books, music, Zoids, bettas, manga, cool stuff, and whatever comes to mind.

Rakim interview

I don't really have any news, I was away for the weekend and am currently reading Zope books. So I'll just discuss a link or two. :-)

rakim.com kind of works (it never used to). Among other things, it points to a mildly interesting article (part one, two).

Among the more interesting observations is that Rakim thinks of "old school" as a style, rather than a period. Also, he talks about the breakup with Eric B.

On a side note, an astrological guess-the-sign game can be played here... this quote pretty much gives it away: "At the same time at that point I was more on just doing joints that I felt that I wanted to do. If everybody was going right I went left. Everybody was talkin' about blue, I'ma talk about black. So I never wanted to follow the trends that everybody did. At the same time 'till this day with me, I dropped a couple of albums and some of the beats for the entire album wasn't what everybody was doing at the time, but at the end of the day if everybody liked what I was putting down on the mic, then I'm able to do another album. So it was never like did what everybody else is doing and all that shit. I always wanted to do me." (Note that if you literally copy down what a person is saying, it doesn't make them sound very intelligent. :-)

If you can't figure out the sign, this page has the DOB.

Posted by Hans Nowak on 2003-11-03 13:23:18   {link}
Categories: music, esoterica

On astrology

In my next attempt to destroy any credibility I might have in the programming community, I will start discussing astrology on this weblog.

I am not interested in discussions about whether astrology is possible, or how it could be possible. Astrology works for me (or at least some parts); if it doesn't for you, or you don't want to hear about it, then you're free to skip the posts in this category.

Over time, I will try to explain some of the basics of astrology, debunk some myths and misconceptions, and offer some of my own thoughts and theories (which are not necessarily the same as the conventional astrological notions).

This is a difficult topic, not only because it's controversial, but also because There's More Than One Way To Do It. N people often have N ideas about astrology, frequently incompatible with each other. And there's no real way to "verify" things. Most of the astrological ideas come from personal experience.

Is astrology a science? I don't know. It obviously isn't an "exact" science like physics, mathemathics or chemistry. I think it's more like psychology and sociology. Is psychology a science? Some think so, others don't.

I am mostly interested in the branch called "psychological astrology". I don't do the prediction stuff, and find mundane astrology only mildly interesting. In other words, I think of someone's horoscope as a psychological profile, or maybe a template. Planets represent certain energies. Signs represent ways in which energy can be expressed. Houses represent the areas of life and society affected by the planet-in-sign combos. More about this later.

Posted by Hans Nowak on 2003-10-02 15:34:27   {link}
Categories: esoterica

Astrologically incorrect

is the title of a little book I got yesterday. Yeah, it's another sun sign book, but this one looks like it might be worth reading. It's humorous, while the things it says are often *very* correct.

Some quotes about one particular sign:

Lesson: Tell Aquarius he's crazy. He'll get off on it.

Lesson: Aquarian tolerance hits a meltdown around control freaks.

Lesson: What looks like chaos to you is business as usual to Aquarius.

Get it. It's good.

In other news, I got a UPS yesterday. It works really well; the power already went off several times, but my computer survived. No more lost files, dysfunctional DSL, or broken spambayes databases. ^_^ (We also got more RAM, but that was less of a success...)

Posted by Hans Nowak on 2003-08-07 12:18:01   {link}
Categories: esoterica

Lost continents

From Wikipedia: Atlantis. I didn't know there were so many ancient sources mentioning Atlantis or "a large island beyond the pillars of Hercules". Hmm. Then again, anybody can edit this Wiki, so I don't know how reliable this is. :-/

See also: Mu, Lemuria. I used to have a book describing these lost continents, complete with maps. Te gek! That is too much to believe even for me. :-)

Related: Maybe not scientific, but interesting, are the stanzas from the Book of Dzyan.

Posted by Hans Nowak on 2003-07-20 17:08:05   {link}
Categories: esoterica

Tao Teh Ching translations

Tao Teh Ching translations. What a mess. All of them are different, to the point where the verses have entirely different meanings. Which one is the "correct" translation? (Of course, the answer is that none of these translations capture the essence of Tao adequately.)

Some examples of translations of the first line:

  • The Way that can be experienced is not true.
  • Even the finest teaching is not the Tao itself.
  • The Tao that can be followed is not the eternal Tao.
  • TAO can be talked about, but not the eternal Tao.
  • (what I learned first:) The Tao that can be named is not the true Tao.

The problem with Taoism is, that all can be correct, or none. In fact, they are probably all correct and incorrect at the same time. Hmm, quantum-religion, anyone? emoticon:loveit

Posted by Hans Nowak on 2003-07-11 23:56:23   {link}
Categories: esoterica

On alchemy

This is the first post in a new category, "esoterica". This basically covers everything skeptics don't like, including (but not limited to) astrology, tarot, I Ching, runes, oracles, UFOs, etc.

And alchemy. I don't know too much about it (chemistry is not my forte), but it was (and probably still is) based on the notion of four elements: fire, earth, air, and water. Not coincidentally, western astrology works with these elements as well.

Back in high school, alchemy was cursorily brushed over in the introductory chapter of our chemistry textbook, and the authors happily debunked the system of four elements. Earth is a vague description of something that consists of many chemical elements, water (H2O) consists of two elements, air of multiple elements as well, and fire isn't a chemical element at all.

No, no, no. That is not what the four elements stand for. Consider this list:

  • earth stands for matter in a solid state.
  • water stands for matter in a liquid state.
  • air stands for matter in a gaseous state.
  • fire stands for energy.

If I recall correctly, these look suspiciously like the four states of matter, as known in modern physics. Seen in that light, the ancient ideas of alchemy do not seem so backward at all.

(braces himself for flames from skeptics, physicists and chemists emoticon:sweatdrop)

Posted by Hans Nowak on 2003-07-04 23:45:44   {link}
Categories: esoterica

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