Saturday, July 26, 2008

We have been talking recently about the concept of meaning and where it emerges from and why that is important. I believe that meaning is important because it helps us to identify the results of cause and effect. When we understand the meaning of our actions we are able to see that action as a system of a cause resulting in an effect. There are several layers to this system of cause and effect. For example, there are many different systems of cause and effect that we take for granted because of their seeming obviousness. Our biological systems of cause and effect are a good example of this. We wake up and eventually must sleep. We get hungry and we satisfy that hunger with the consumption of food. If we do not eat, we will ultimately die. If we do not sleep, we will lose our minds and ultimately die.
There are more complicated systems of cause and effect however that transcend the biological alone and enter a different realm of mind and of human choice. There are social systems, religious systems, political systems, legal and moral systems, economic systems, etc. All of these systems have the human participant and conscious choice as the ultimate common denominator. When we observe our actions and decisions resulting in certain outcomes and effects, we are then free to make modifications if those effects do not line up with what we desire them to be. But to make this observation requires an understanding of that meaning that exists within the system of cause and effect. In other words, if the story doesn't end how you want it to, you can change the plot and fix it. If your actions are leading you to results that you do not want, then you can change your actions. This is the most obvious and yet most difficult aspect of humanity. Because there are so many different things to blame, we often take for granted our own significance in the way the story unfolds. This is a great fraud! We must not be fooled by our own egos. It is OK to mess up if realizing our mistake leads to a positive change. The deception is that we are powerless. That is a lie. That lie is what I want to expose through my art and stories and my life. You have been given the gift of power to write your story. There will be plot twists that are beyond our control. The important thing to remember is how we react to those moments. We are all writing the story together. What does your story say? Does it line up with what you want it to say? How do we decide what we want it to say? Where do you place your value of Truth? Where is your compass pointing? Is your life story making the human story a better one? Why? Or, why not?

Friday, July 25, 2008

I have happy tears running down my face right now. Please give yourself a gift and watch this. Thanks to Benji who sent this story my way tonight.

Rest In Peace

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

From the Lefsetz Letter yesterday. Bob Lefsetz, who is a music industry consultant, keeps an online blog about the evolving music industry. As we set out on our own with this next chapter of the Mae story, we find much encouragement from his letters. This one in particular I believe was worth sharing. Let me know your thoughts. Enjoy!

"In Rainbows" was the turning point.Most of the attention has been placed on the name
your own price formula but, most important, it was released without a major record
label and as a result of being available for free, Radiohead achieved its number one goal,
the music in as many hands as possible. That's now the paradigm, doing whatever it
takes to get people to hear your music, not to get them to pay for it. Hearing is
more important than hype. Notice the absent of hype on the original "In Rainbows"
site, it was all about the music and the music only, the music stood for itself.
Doesn't matter how many people paid, Radiohead is playing the buildings it wants to
and doing phenomenal business. That's the goal of a band, to execute on its own
terms, not be noticed by people who don't want to partake/believe.

It started with Pearl Jam. The first band made by MTV to turn its back on television.
Pearl Jam was fearful of losing control, being defined by the medium instead of
itself. It took back control. The medium looked elsewhere, but Pearl Jam can still
play arenas, whereas everybody else who whored himself out for exposure can barely
work, if they can work at all. How many tickets could Limp Bizkit sell today?

It's not about theft of music, even though the establishment of Napster was a turning
point in music history. It's about the artist taking back control. Fans buy into
an artist, not a label. Why should they pay the label an exorbitant fee for music
that the act will see almost nothing of?

Forget the rationalizations for theft, but don't you find it interesting that all
these years later, with many of these artists dead, the label is still making money
off the records and the acts and their heirs are not? Isn't it weird that those acts
who've recouped under labyrinthian formulas don't own the copyrights to their own
songs? Are relegated to recutting them for commercials as opposed to using the
original, so they can make a bit of bread?

Sure Radiohead was built by the system, as was Pearl Jam. But, newbies who want some
of what they got can't seem to understand that that paradigm is dead. That you can't
execute that old formula anymore. One of mass exposure generating multiple
impressions. People are not watching and feel beaten over the head if they are, and
end up abandoning the overhyped act, if not hating it outright.

Look at R.E.M. Beneficiary of one of the richest deals in the business. They put
their heart and soul into their new album, worked it relentlessly, but it still didn't
sell. We could debate the record's merits ad infinitum, but no matter what the songs
sound like, there's a limited audience. The more interesting issue is do they
re-sign with Warner Brothers? They're certainly not going to get a rich deal. Do
they go independent? They'll certainly make much more for their music. As for their
label penalizing them for going independent, it won't be long before physical retail
is essentially dead, with everything equal on iTunes, on the Net, to what degree can
Warner Brothers penalize R.E.M? The label is not going to restrict their product
from the Web, there's not an issue of selling product to retailers where they've got
more of an upside.

So all the old acts are going to go independent. Because it doesn't make any sense
to make a deal with the major. The major can't offer enough money and exerts too much

Only newbies will want to sign with the major, but the aforementioned restrictions,
on everything from what to record and when to release it to how to look make anyone
with pretensions of artistry chafe.

So, where does that leave us?

Well, Live Nation wants to roll up the superstars. Give the advances the labels used
to. Not a bad deal for an act looking for guaranteed income. Although a lot is
given up in the process, certain control over ticketing...

Live Nation doesn't want the newbies. Will the newbies be rolled up by an
entrepreneur? One Web-savvy as opposed to bricks and mortar-savvy?

"In Rainbows" was the turning point. It was the moment when an act that counted, not
a has-been, decided to enter the future, to throw off the reins of the corporate
behemoth and invest in its own career, accepting both the losses and the rewards.

I'm not telling you to give your music away for free. But I am telling you it's free
anyway. So, rather than fight this battle, figure out a better way to sell it and
innovative revenue streams. Maybe the music comes with a physical product, like a
t-shirt. Or a code for a guaranteed seat. Don't throw your money at charlatans
without your best interests at heart, sit down and have a conference amongst your
team. How can you best develop, how can you best proceed on your lonesome. Are
you willing to risk for reward?

That's the game.

And if you're not getting the reward, you're not entitled to complain. All that
means is you're not marketing well enough, or your music isn't good enough. Either
you haven't reached the target audience, or those people don't like it. The key is
getting them to taste and accepting the results. You must get down in the pit with
your public, not try to find fat cat investors to inject some cash so you can live
for a year in exchange for almost all your rights.

Hello friends, I am back from an awesome three day adventure in the mountains of New York for my cousin Heidi's wedding. She married a Columbian actor/writer/producer named Johnny Sanchez in one of the coolest events of the year. They invited 150 of their friends and family to come to a retreat in the Catskills and have quality time together. Every day there were scheduled nature hikes, chess tournaments, philosophy discussions, theatrical productions, musical jam sessions and great food. Heidi is (among many other things) a director for Broadway productions including The Color Purple and Baz Luhrmann's La Boheme. She was responsible for bringing many amazing shows to the Off Broadway lanes as well. One in particular that blew my mind was a production called De Laguarda. Check this out... (
So, I am sure you can image what a treat it was to have impromptu performances from Broadway stars, surrounded by nature and love and family. It felt like a throw back to the hippie days of old :)
The ceremony itself took place around a giant tree in the center of the camp. It was a beautiful moment. Frank Oz (the voice of the Muppets and Yoda) officiated the event and made it that much more amazing.
On Monday afternoon my dad took me to this bridge overlooking a place called Mosquito Point. Under the bridge was a rope swing and my brothers and I spent a good two hours swinging out into the water. Fun fun fun.
I am so glad to have been a part of this event and I wish Heidi and Johnny the best.

1. My Dad and his brother Richard making some music in the woods.
2. A hidden bridge on the local lake.
3. Surrounded by nature.
4. The bridge at Mosquito Point.
5. Yum.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

So, I want to continue the unveiling of some of the meaning of the record Singularity. Lets rewind for a moment to The Everglow. The Everglow was a linear story told through the simplest form to grasp and even presented in a children's book. We had been through quite a ride after the success of Destination : Beautiful and we were living our dream. We wanted to explain to people through our art, that anything was possible. The Everglow record was even more successful than Destination: Beautiful and it was absolutely amazing to have people being elevated to active optimism by the hope contained within these songs.
But if you think of our band as story tellers, then you must consider what happens after the "happily ever after." The story doesn't end. In the great words of Spiderman, "with great power comes great responsibility."
Singularity is not a linear story. It is a story but it is designed to unfold like a puzzle. The meaning contained in the puzzle is designed to grasped over time. I know that it was the least understood of our records and I am fine with that. It was meant to be a challenge. It was meant to be a seed that got planted and slowly grew over time. The Everglow was an invitation and Singularity is a wall to be climbed. It is a challenge to define your world view and your actions. The setting is modernity. It is asking you to stand in the modern world and face the modern reality. It is a challenge to expand the way we all look at the world. To see the order and the chaos. To see glory and the limits of our selves. To explore with wonder the subtleties of the knowledge and point of view that our modern world has unveiled to us with the wonders and terrors of technology. In the spirit of the Matrix, which pill will you take?
With the goal of making that journey more inviting, I would like to continue to provide jumping off points for discussion. And the thing about discussion is that it requires participation. So please, take a moment and participate :)
This article is another jumping off point. It was written by one of favorite people, Kevin Kelly and I have included a link to the original page at the bottom of this post.

The Maes-Garreau Point

Forecasts of future events are heavily influenced by present circumstances. That’s why predictions are usually wrong. It’s hard to transcend current assumptions. Over time, these assumptions erode, which leads to surprise. Everybody “knew” that people won’t work for free, and if they did that it would not be quality work. So the common assumption that a reliable encyclopedia could not be constructed upon volunteer labor blinded us to the total surprise of a Wikipedia.

The present-bound nature of predictions is not news. But forecasts may be more bound to the personal life of the predictor than first appears. Here is a story. Pattie Maes, a researcher at the MIT Media Lab noticed something odd about her colleagues. A subset of them were very interested in downloading their brains into silicon machines. Should they be able to do this, they believed, they would achieve a kind of existential immortality. Presumably, once downloaded, their souls could easily be migrated from one hardware upgrade to the next. So on, ad infinitum.

The technology to work this miracle seemed far away, but all agreed that once someone designed the first super-human artificial intelligence, this AI could be convinced to develop the technology to download a human mind immediately. This moment was christened the Singularity because what happen afterwards seemed impossible to even imagine. But, if one could make it to the Singularity, that is, if one could live until the time when a super-human mind was operational, then one could be downloaded into immortality. You were home-free for eternity. The trick was to stay alive until this bridge was crossed.

All the guys who were counting on this were, well, ... guys. Pattie saw this a very male desire. She hypothesized that “women may have less of a desire to reach immortality via living in the form of silicon, because women go through pregnancy & birth and as such experience a more biological method of ‘downloading/renewal/making of a copy of oneself.’ Of course men are involved in having children, but for a woman it is a more concrete, physical experience, and as such maybe more real.”

Nonetheless, her colleagues really, seriously expected this bridge to immortality to appear soon. How soon? Well, curiously, the dates they predicted for the Singularity seem to cluster right before the years they were expected to die. Isn’t that a coincidence?

In 1993 Maes gave a talk at Ars Electronic in Linz, Austria called “Why Immortality Is a Dead Idea.” Rodney Brooks, one of her male colleagues, summarized the talk in his book Flesh and Machines:

[Maes] took as many people as she could find who had publicly predicted downloading of consciousness into silicon, and plotted the dates of their predictions, along with when they themselves would turn seventy years old. Not too surprisingly, the years matched up for each of them. Three score and ten years from their individual births, technology would be ripe for them to download their consciousnesses into a computer. Just in the nick of time! They were each, in their own minds, going to be remarkably lucky, to be in just the right place at the right time.

Maes did not write up her talk or keep the data. And in the intervening 14 years, many more guys have made public their predictions of when they think the Singularity will appear. So, with the help of a researcher, I have gathered all the predictions of the coming Singularity I can find, with the birthdates of the predictors, and charted their correspondence.


You will not be surprised to find that in half of the cases, particularly those within the last 50 years, the Singularity is expected to happen before they die – assuming they live to be 100. Joel Garreau, a journalist who reported on the cultural and almost religious beliefs surrounding the Singularity in his book Radical Evolution, noticed the same hope that Maes did. But Garreau widen the reach of this desire to other technologies. He suggested that when people start to imagine technologies which seem plausibly achievable, they tend to place them in the near future – within reach of their own lifespan.

I think they are onto something. I have formalized their hunches into a general hypothesis I christen in honor of them.

The latest possible date a prediction can come true and still remain in the lifetime of the person making it is defined as The Maes-Garreau Point. The period equals to n-1 of the person's life expectancy.

This suggests a law:

Maes-Garreau Law: Most favorable predictions about future technology will fall within the Maes-Garreau Point.

I haven’t researched a lot of other predictions to confirm this general law, but its validity is disadvantaged by one fact. Singularity or not, it has become very hard to imagine what life will be like after we are dead. The rate of change appears to accelerate, and so the next lifetime promises to be unlike our time, maybe even unimaginable. Naturally, then, when we forecast the future, we will picture something we can personally imagine, and that will thus tend to cast it within range of our own lives.

In other words we all carry around our own personal mini-singularity, which will happen when we die. It used to be that we could not imagine our existence after our death; now we cannot imagine the details of anyone’s existence after our death. Beyond this personal singularity, life is unknowable. We tend to place our imaginations and predictions before our own Maes-Garreau Point.

Because the official “Future” -- that far away utopia -- must reside in the territory of the unimaginable, the official “future” of a society should always be at least one Maes-Garreau Point away. That means the official future should begin after the average lifespan of an individual in that society.

The Baby Boom generation (a world-wide phenomenon) has an expected life span of about 80 years. Born about 1950, most baby boomers should be dead by 2040. However all kinds of other powerful things are expected to happen by 2040. China’s economy is due to overtake the US in 2040. 2040 is the average date when the Singularity is supposed to happen. 2040 is when we expect Moore's Law to reach the computational power of a human on a desk top. 2040 is also about when the population of the world is supposed to peak once and for all, and environmental pressure decrease. This grand convergence of global scale disruptors are all scheduled to appear – no surprise – at exactly the date of this generation’s Maes-Garreau Point: 2040.

If, as many hope, our longevity increases with each year, maybe we can extend our lives way past 80. As we do, our Maes-Garreau Point slips further into the future. The hope of the gentleman in the chart – and my hope too – is that we can extend our personal mini-singularity past the grand Singularity, and live forever.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


The Meaning in Life.

Meaning. What is meaning? What does it mean to mean something? To possess meaning? If you really think about it, meaning is quite difficult to pin down. It is a ghost that walks among us and deceives us with its’ casual proximity. There are several reasons why it is so hard to isolate.
For one, who is given the power to determine meaning?

A traditional understanding says, “If I am an author or composer and write a story or a song, it must “mean” what I intended for it to mean.” But, is the meaning truly in my intention or in the mind of the reader? Or, is it independent of both of us and exist only in the work itself? If my reader and I disagree on the meaning, who is correct? How do we reconcile objective intention and subjective response?
How could we both read the same thing and get a different meaning out of it? How could we watch the same film or listening to the same song and take something radically different away from it?

As human beings, we are collections of experiences. Those experiences together to create a point of view. That point of view is personal. It is OUR truth. OUR experience. And it is very difficult to transcend.
Einstein had a famous analogy he would use to help people understand the concept of the theory of relativity. If you have a man sitting on a jet plane flipping a quarter in his hands, he will see that quarter rise and fall in a vertical line before him.
Lets say you have woman standing on the ground looking up at the man in the jet flipping his quarter. She would need to have some pretty amazing eyesight but lets assume she is a superhero of sorts. Well, if you think about it, anyone who can survive the process of giving birth is in fact a superhero of sorts. So, the woman is looking up at the man in the jet flipping his coin straight up and down and what does she see? A straight vertical line?
Because the jet is moving at 650 miles per hour, she sees the quarter moving through space in an arc.
So who is correct?
They both are. From their points of view, they are both seeing the same cause resulting in different effects.

If we concede that our own point of view has limitations, we should find encouragement and life in other points of view! But if we take our experience as Truth, we would find ourselves living in a very small box.
How then do we transcend the limitations of our own perspective without discounting its importance to our experience and out understanding of the world?
By the way, I use “understanding” as different than “knowledge” in the same way that the Book of Proverbs does. For example, I could recite the entire alphabet, and that would show my knowledge. But that knowledge by itself does not give me the ability to arrange those letters into words and those words into sentences and those sentences into poetry or a story. That requires understanding.
So how do we transcend our own perspective?
Communication is expression with the intent of transferring meaning.

When I was fifteen I went on a trip to smuggle Bibles into communist China. The way we did it was to pack them on our bodies and cross the boarder from Honk Kong into Shenzhen. We had to be very careful not to be seen with any other member of the group because if one of us was caught then it would inevitably jeopardize anyone we were associated with and risk the confiscation of our entire load. So we made a plan to split up and cross the boarder separately and meet at a specific location on the other side. I was the youngest member of the team by ten years and I didn’t really think through all the details of this plan as comprehensively as I should have. So, once I was on the other side and alone, I realized that I had no idea where I was going.

In that unique moment, I was surrounded by people and yet I was completely alone. I was surrounded by signs loaded with information that I could not absorb. I was swimming in meaning that I could touch. The simplest communication was impossible. Imagine that for a moment.
If you have meaning and you want to transfer it to me, then we need a system to transfer it through. We need a bridge. That bridge takes its form in language, symbol, numbers, art and music. Written, spoken, thought, forged and sung.

We imbue sounds and little squiggly lines on paper with meaning and through our collective agreement, we establish the basic system to communicate and transfer meaning back and forth.
But meaning doesn’t just exist in one plane or, on one surface layer. Oh no, the light really comes on when you realize that meaning exists in many layers. And the stacking of those layers of meaning results in entire new dimensions of meaning. Let me show you what I mean.

A line and a circle. In your mind, place the two dimensional line inside of the two dimensional circle. Now, still in your mind, imagine that line spinning in all directions.

Together they become a sphere. A new dimension is created by their interaction and combination. A new dimension emerges.

In 1979 Douglas Hoftstadter wrote a Pulitzer Prize winning book called Godel, Escher, and Bach; an Eternal Golden Braid.

It was a very long book and in fact I have been trying to finish it for over ten years. You should win a Pulitzer for reading this book much less writing it. In it, Hofstadter was laying the foundations for artificial intelligence. In my reading, I was struck by a concept he called Contracrostapunctus. This is a study in the layers of meaning. I want to show you what I mean. This famous print by Gilbert is appropriately titled, “All Is Vanity.”

It is showing you multiple layers of meaning. One way of looking at this will show you a woman looking in her vanity mirror. Another way of looking at this same image will show you a skull. A third way is to look at what these two images and the title reveal conceptually when tied together in one image like this. It is telling us that we are mortal. We are fragile and all is ultimately vanity. There is nothing we can do to escape this end.

In Russia during the last half of the nineteenth century there was an upheaval in all aspects of the arts. Wassily Kandinsky was inventing abstract art by painting his impression of music and freeing painting itself from its marriage to the object.

Alexander Scriabin was inventing a light and color organ to create the first proper light show for a musical performance during his symphony “Prometheus; A Poem of Fire.” He even created a written version of a scale or “notes” on this new kind of “instrument.”

Each in their own way were building synergy within the arts and expanding the frontiers of artistic expression.

Anton Chekhov and Konstantine Stanislovsky were rewriting the rules of literature and theater. Chekhov had written a play called “The Seagull” and it had performed terribly by a well-established theater company in Moscow. The performance had missed the mark because the director had missed the point of the play. You see, Chekhov had crafted a world of beautiful complexity through relationships where what was spoken was rarely what was meant. His characters were built through subtext. Sarcasm, wit, and clever plays on the meaning of words were the tools that Chekhov used to bring these characters to life. And the meaning was only clear when you stood back from the obvious and saw the exchange from a different perspective.
Chekhov had employed a deeper layer of meaning in his story and everyone who saw the play opening night realized that it didn’t work. One realized why. That man was Konstantine Stanislovsky. He left that experience a changed man, his eyes opened by the power of what he saw and what everyone had somehow missed.
He went home and began working on a whole new approach to acting. He called it “method” acting because realistic portrayal of a complex character required a new level of commitment and there would have to be a method developed to serve as a bridge for actors to cross in order to gain admittance into the world of the character they were to inhabit and become. Method acting is the foundation for almost all film, television, and theater acting still today.

You have heard the expression “ a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.”

This is one of the great mysteries of existence. It is ultimately the result of patterns. Of design. Of intention.
My primary occupation is a musician. When I create music my tools are pitches, or frequencies of sound forged by striking, plucking, strumming, and singing. I take the raw pitch and shape it to fit my intention within the context of a specific expression. I work patiently to place tones into patterns of melody, harmony, and rhythm. Timbre (which is a tone’s color or texture) and dynamic (which is a tone’s loudness or softness) and lyric each add definition and new dimensions to the shape of the music. You can take music and reduce it down to any of those parts yet the music doesn’t live in any of those parts by itself. Yet, HOW you sculpt them together is what creates the magic of a musical experience.
In painting, a similar variation of the same types of tools appears. Color, shading, lines, form and perspective are what bring to life the great works of visual art. But that art cannot be reduced to any one of these things without altering or even destroying the MEANING of the whole.

Art is what emerges out of the details of the created structure.

Meaning is what emerges out of the created expression.

The whole of the art IS the meaning and it emerges out of the patterns we create with our intention, our effort, our work, our choices and our applied skill.

The purpose is to convey meaning. To convey Truth. To transfer our perspective through a new language, a new media, and a new form. To take the listener, the observer and the participant across the bridge that WE built to show them the world or a moment through our lens.

How you prepare the ingredients is what gives life to the meal. How you paint those sounds upon the canvas of silence and how you touch the white emptiness with your brush is what brings art to life and give it meaning. How you arrange the words will create the story. You must breath life into the work with your intention.

This brings us to the greatest work of art and meaning.

Your body, made up of cells and bone and tissue and organs all working together to give rise to a symphony of form. Your mind, emerging out of a vast ocean of interconnected neurons all communicating in patterns so complex that they make the stars pale in comparison, gives glorious rise to the one and only You. The unique being and perspective of You. Your emotions add another dimension and your spirit is the art that emerges from your form.

The greatest art that I can create will only humbly serve to remind you of the art that you already are. The river of human history flows inevitably through you and the shape your story takes will forever alter the shape of history. So to each and every one of you my challenge is to shift your perspective to illuminate the meaning of your own significance. You bring the meaning of life into existence with your actions, your attitudes, and your decisions. That is the great responsibility.



You are art. So BE ART.

I'm back.
Back to Philly. Back from the one day jet set. Back to the art tank.
The whole thing feels like a dream. I fell asleep at 2 AM Tuesday and left the hotel at 4:30 AM. The flight departed Philly at 6AM. I landed in San Fransisco at 11:30 AM Tuesday morning and took a cab promptly to the Cartoon Art Gallery at 655 Mission Street. The air was crisp and alive. The driver had the windows down and we sailed along the interstate at 90 miles per hour. I didn't ask him to go fast but I didn't object either. I wanted to be there. I didn't want to miss a thing.
The conference was a small group of about twenty five investors and managers of private equity funds. There were another twenty five or so artists, inventors, writers, video game designers and film makers, effects artists and comic book artists. And me.
The conference consisted of a series of presentation from the artists with overviews of their industry and then pitches to investors for funding of specific projects.
The first presentation was a conversation between Steve Garber of the Washington Institute and Kevin Kelly, the founder and "Senior Maverick" of Wired Magazine. Then Mr. Kelly gave a brief power point presentation about the emergence of a "Planetary Computer."
Sound familiar?
If not, scroll down two posts. That article was his contribution to this current issue of Wired. I almost fell out of my chair. I was sitting two feet away from him. From the guy who wrote one of the coolest articles I have ever read. Someone who's thought process was leading the charge in opening my mind to a bigger and brighter and clearer way of seeing the world. He was right there. After the presentation I was introduced to him by my friend Mark who hosted the event. Mark was gracious and said kind things to Mr. Kelly about me and about Mae and about Singularity. He said we should talk. So Mr. Kelly looks at me and smiles and gives me the next ten minutes of his undivided attention and we TALK. Not the kind of talk that hesitates. The kind of talk that says I have climbed a mountain and I have ten minutes before I have to go back down to reality. Ten minutes with the Dali Lama of modern technological philosophy. He was gracious and insightful. He listened to me and said I should look into Process Theology. He said he looked forward to hearing ME talk later in the evening. I laughed.
I felt like I had somehow sneaked into a meeting I was not supposed to be at. But I was supposed to be there. I was supposed to learn. I learned.
The next presentation was by a panel of comic book artists. These guys were amazing.
There were aspects of every presentation that dealt with story. We eventually left the Cartoon Art Gallery and headed to dinner. Jim Krueger spoke at dinner. He had written the Superman comic book for a long time and wrote the screen play for X Men and many other things. His talk was wonderful. He talked about how he hated Superman. He talked about how Bat Man displayed much better character because he had to overcome so much. Bat Man had watched his parents be gunned down in front of him. Superman had grown up on a peaceful farm. He had normal friends, he was from the easy life so being good made sense. Bat Man however, had a mountain to overcome. A mountain of personal baggage. Yet in spite of being so incredibly wronged, he was able to overcome and be a force of good. It was a great talk.
And then, it was my turn...

Tomorrow I will post my presentation for you read if you would like.

As I spoke I looked down and in one surreal moment saw Kevin Kelly paying attention. Listening. I couldn't wrap my mind around it. I laughed inside and thought, this is proof that anything is possible. I am serious. This may not seem like that big of a deal but please if nothing else, take away from this story that anything is possible.
I finished and a band called the Daylights played a few songs for everyone. It was a lovely way to end the night and I had wonderful conversations with a lot of great people. I then rushed back to the airport for my 11:30 WCT flight back to Philly. I landed this morning and took the train back to the hotel and arrived as Dave and Zach were getting ready to depart for the studio. I took a nap and then met up with them. The progress they made on guitars in the last two days is incredible. We are on fire :)
Tomorrow night I will have the presentation up for you. I can't wait to hear what you think.
Good night. (4:44 AM)

By the way check out Kevin Kelly's personal site when you want to get your mind blown.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

What a week. We pulled off a five show run with the Plain White Tees and went straight into the studio again at Drexel. This is our second ten day session and I have just finished tracking drums for four brand new Mae songs bringing the grand total up to 8.
I am crashing early tonight because I have to be up at 4 AM to head to the airport for a flight to San Fransisco to speak at a conference tomorrow evening. After speaking, I will head back to the airport to fly back to Philly to be back in the studio Tuesday morning. Crazy.

Friday, July 04, 2008

The Singularity IS clear from a distance.

Never mind Web 3.0: The next stage in technological evolution is a single worldwide computer. Collectively, we are already assembling this megacomputer from our billions of Net-connected PCs, cell phones, PDAs, and the like. As an increasing number and variety of devices are lashed to one another via the Internet and other communication systems, they form the components of what we might call the One Machine.

Its circuit board encompasses the million copper wires and radio connections linking all the chips contained in the gadgets in your pocket, office, and car. Instead of being powered by a mere billion tiny transistors, as your typical personal desktop is, it runs on a billion PC chips, each with its own billion transistors. Its memory is the collective hard disks and flash drives of the world. Its RAM is the sum of all memory chips online. Every second, a Library of Congress worth of data flows through it. The program it runs — its initial OS — is the World Wide Web.

Just as the One Machine's hardware is assembled from our myriad devices, its software is written by our collective online behavior. Each time a person clicks on a search result or creates a link to a Web page, the Machine is being programmed. Each new link wires up a subroutine, creates a loop, and unleashes a cascade of impulses. As waves of links surge around the world, they resemble the thought patterns of a very large brain.

Indeed, a hyperlink is much like a synapse in the brain. Both work by making associations between nodes. Each unit of thinking in the brain — an idea, for example — grows by gaining links to other thoughts. The greater the number of synapses connecting to an idea, the stronger it becomes. Similarly, the more heavily linked a Web node is, the greater its value to the Machine. Moreover, the number of hyperlinks in the World Wide Web is approaching that of synapses in the human brain. But the Machine contains a million times more transistors than you have neurons in your head. And, unlike your brain, it's growing at a rate that outpaces Moore's law. By 2040, the planetary computer will attain as much processing power as all 7 billion human brains on Earth.

But the Machine also includes us. After all, our brains are programming and underpinning it. As much as we will come to depend on the One Machine (who needs memory when you've got Google?), it will depend on our minds for a sustaining river of input. We are headed toward a singular destiny: one vast computer composed of billions of chips and billions of brains, enveloping the planet in a single sphere of intelligence.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

I just got this myspace message in our mae account and I have to share it. It made my day.

your music got all the way to Israel
you're always in my ipod
and everyone else's
cause you're amazing
and your music is incredible.
I think you should visit at leaste somewhere around Israel :D


THIS is what its all about. THIS is what's important. The connection. Music as a bridge. Thank you to everyone who spreads the sound.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Cosmic 'DNA': Double Helix Spotted in Space
By Bjorn Carey Staff Writer
posted: 15 March 2006
01:00 pm ET

Magnetic forces at the center of the galaxy have twisted a nebula into the shape of DNA, a new study reveals.

The double helix shape is commonly seen inside living organisms, but this is the first time it has been observed in the cosmos.

"Nobody has ever seen anything like that before in the cosmic realm," said the study's lead author Mark Morris of UCLA. "Most nebulae are either spiral galaxies full of stars or formless amorphous conglomerations of dust and gas-space weather. What we see indicates a high degree of order."

These observations, made with NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, are detailed in the March 16 issue of the journal Nature.

Disk-driven shape

The DNA nebula is about 80 light-years long. It's about 300 light-years from the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. The nebula is nearly perpendicular to the black hole, moving out of the galaxy at a quick clip-about 620 miles per second (1,000 kilometers per second).

Magnetic field lines at the galactic center are about 1,000 times stronger than on Earth. They run perpendicular to the black hole, but parallel through the nebula. Scientists think that twisting of these lines is what causes the double helix shape.

While the black hole might be the first culprit to come to mind, it's more likely that the magnetic field lines are anchored to a giant gas disk that orbits the black hole several light-years away, researchers say.

It's like having two strands of rope connected to a fixed point, Morris said. As you spin the strands, they braid around each other in a double helix fashion. In this case the gas and dust of the nebula makes up the strands.

"It's as if there's a bar across the middle [of the black hole], or a dumbbell shape, where the strands are anchored, and as it spins around, it twists the strands together," Morris told

This process takes a long time, though, since the disk completes one orbit around the black hole roughly every 10,000 years. But that's an important number. "Once every 10,000 years is exactly what we need to explain the twisting of the magnetic field lines that we see in the double helix nebula," Morris said.

The recipe

The recipe for a DNA nebula is strict but simple. It requires a strong magnetic field, a rotating body, and a nebulous cloud of material positioned just right.

Massive central black holes are the best sources for both the strong magnetic field and rotating body, and since most large galaxies have them, Morris expects DNA-like nebula may be common through out the universe.

"I absolutely expect to see [this configuration] in gas-rich galaxies with all these elements in place," Morris said.

However, these nebulas are tough to spot, and current technology limits scientists' observations to our galaxy.

Find the link to this article here :