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Lyle Zapato

Lord Kelvin & The Olympic Water Cube

Lyle Zapato | 2008-08-05.0220 LMT | Kelviniana | Entertainment | Technology

In 1887, Lord Kelvin, in a paper titled "On the Division of Space with Minimum Partitional Area", sought a way of partitioning space using a foam of equal-sized cells with a minimum surface area. His solution, known as the Kelvin structure, consisted of repeating tetrakaidecahedra with slightly curved faces.


Stereoscopic photo of a tetrakaidecahedron, constructed out of soldered wire, from Kelvin's 1894 "On Homogeneous Division of Space". (Cross eyes to view in 3D.) Also, I have a paper model approximation of a Kelvin cell available for download [PDF].

It wasn't until 106 years later that Denis Weaire and Robert Phelan discovered (aided by advanced computer software that would have taken millions of years of run time on a standard Victorian era difference engine,) a solution that had 0.3 percent less surface area than the Kelvin structure. However, their solution, the Weaire-Phelan structure, uses two different shaped cells instead of Kelvin's simpler single cell solution.

As the New York Times reports, the wall and roof structure of the new Beijing National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube, is based on the Weaire-Phelan solution to the Kelvin Problem. The building's designer, Tristram Carfrae, tilted the structure 60° to give the surface an almost random look (although it does repeat its pattern). According to this 2004 article, it was for this pseudo-irregular "organic quality" that the Weaire-Phelan structure was chosen over the Kelvin structure, which was originally considered.


The Water Cube during construction.

The Typing Octopus

Cephalopod Appreciation Society Annual Meeting

The Typing Octopus | 2008-08-01.8830 LMT | Cephalopods | Cascadia | Field Trips | Announcement

Typing Octopus find human communication on Hominoidnet kiosk: think ZPi humans will appreciate:

* * CEPHALOPODS = Octopus, Squid, Cuttlefish, Chambered Nautilus. * *

Hello Cephalopod friends new and old --

We are pleased to announce the 6th annual Cephalopod Appreciation Society meeting on the afternoon of Sunday, August 10th at our favorite location -- the Northwest Film Forum (1515 12th Ave - off Pine St. on Capitol Hill - Seattle, WA).

We'll kick everything off at 12:30 pm with:

  • Cephalopod-Inspired Music (including original Colossal Squid songs by longtime CAS member Levi Fuller),
  • Underwater Filmstrip Mash-Up + Poetry (Sierra Nelson of the Vis-a-Vis Society & Jarid del Deo of Unbunny),
  • Updates on the latest Scientific Cephalopod Research from Seattle Aquarium's own cephalopod expert Roland Anderson,
  • and more!

And ending with a screening of a cephalopod nature documentary (TBA) to improve our understanding and watch the amazing creatures in action!

The Details:
Sunday, Aug. 10th
12:30 - 2:30 pm
@ Northwest Film Forum
1515 12th Ave / Seattle, WA
All ages!
$5 suggested donation
Free stickers!

Hope to see you there!

Your friend in arms & tentacles,
squid girl

Contact: songsforsquid@hotmail.com

ABOUT THE SOCIETY:
Currently in its 6th year, the Cephalopod Appreciation Society has been meeting annually at the NW Film Forum to learn about and celebrate all things cephalopod. (Cephalopods = Squid, Octopus, Cuttlefish, Chambered Nautilus.) Members are all ages and consist of artists, scientists, and people of every sort brought together by their shared enthusiasm for and fascination by these intelligent creatures. Past annual gatherings have included film, poetry, song, art, musical slideshows, sing-alongs, dance, stickers, scientific lectures and impassioned speeches. In addition to its annual meeting, the Cephalopod Appreciation Society has also curated a wide variety of cephalopod-inspired events for venues such as the Burke Natural History Museum's In Search of Giant Squid exhibit, the McLeod Residence in conjunction with artist Cassandra Nguyen's life-size giant squid display, and Bonkers night at Re-Bar.

Humans appreciate octopus: Humans also appreciate stupid squid, needy cuttlefish, haughty nautilus: Humans have no discernment.

Regardless: Typing Octopus desire to start Primate Appreciation Society. However: Typing Octopus have discernment: only appreciate gibbons. Gibbons share tree appreciation with Typing Octopus: Typing Octopus think gibbons, tree octopus become friends.

Proposal: gibbons, tree octopus compete at quadannual event testing arboreal locomotion skill. Event held in tree octopus native forest: event called: The Olympic Forest Tentaculation/Brachiation Competition Event For Tree Octopus/Gibbon Friendship.

If gibbons appreciate proposal: turn fur purple with white spots.

Typing Octopus await reply.

The Philatelist

Stamp Nook: Hyperinflation

The Philatelist | 2008-07-30.7920 LMT | Philately

Welcome to Stamp Nook! Today we look at hyperinflation and stamps.

Amateur notaphilists across the Internet have recently been gawking at a Z$100 billion bank note from Zimbabwe. While the economic situation in Zimbabwe is certainly troubling, it is not the worst incident of inflation run amok, and other, more shocking, hyperinflationary scars can be seen in the world of stamp denominations:

The most famous incident of hyperinflation during the stamp-issuing era was in Germany in the early 1920s. Regular German postal stamps issued just prior to 1922 ranged from a couple of pfennig to no more than 20 mark. In 1922, values went up a bit, with one series ranging from 100 to 500 mark, but it was 1923 when things really started to go south (or rather north). The pfennig gave way to the mark, which soon gave way to the tausend mark. The inability to keep up with inflation by printing new, higher denominated stamp series required that older issues be hastily surcharged with denominations in the thousands to millions.


200 mark stamp surcharged 2 million (#269)
and a 200 million mark stamp (#291).

German postal hyperinflation reached a crescendo with two stamps (Scott #299 and #305) both denominated at 50 milliarde (50 billion) mark. These were, of course, the highest denominated stamps in their respective series, used for mailing packages and the like (at least until inflation overtook their value). However, the lowest denominations in those series were still an impressive 500,000 and 10 million, respectively.

Even worse than the Weimar Republic's hyperinflation was what Hungary experienced in 1946, when the highest denominated stamp (#774) was a dove and letter design with a printed value of 500,000 billio-pengő -- that's 500 quadrillion pengő! (A few years earlier, a comparable, high-end stamp would have cost only 80 fillér, which was less than 1 pengő.) The cheapest stamp in that series was 1 trillion pengő -- convenient for sending a postcard to Aunty Yllona!

(Note that the Hungarian billio is in the traditional long scale, so it is equal to a modern trillion. They also printed three stamps, #757-759, in milliards, or modern billions, before inflation made even that unit impractical.)

For comparison to Zimbabwe's current currency situation, the highest denominated bank note issued by the Reichsbank was 100 trillion mark in 1924, while Hungary had the highest denominated bank note ever at 100 quintillion pengő in 1946. That's a lot of pengő!

I have only lightly scratched the surface of this topic. Hyperinflation is especially interesting to philatelists who collect covers, as the drastic changes in postal rates often led to envelops being themselves enveloped in increasingly devalued stamps. For more on hyperinflationary topical collecting, see "Hyperinflation offers an engaging pursuit", by Rick Miller.

Until next time, happy philateling!

Lyle Zapato

Lord Kelvin & Color Codes

Lyle Zapato | 2008-07-29.1140 LMT | Kelviniana | Technology | Crass Commercialism

In his 1899 speech given after Sir George Stokes read his paper "On the Perception of Colour" at the Victoria Institute, Lord Kelvin casually predicted the future:

Now I spoke of scientific men. There are scientific ladies also—and ladies who are not scientific—and I am sure they will all thoroughly sympathise with scientific men in their appreciation of this beautiful theory.

Sir George Stokes told us that every variety of colour may be produced by the mixture of red, green and violet, and in Maxwell's practical work on the subject of which he spoke, white and black are added in the mixture, white to dilute the intensity of the colour; and black to diminish the total light emitted by a body exposed to sunlight.

Now in these times when ladies are so well occupied with important work that they scarcely have time for shopping, it would be a great comfort to them, if when they wanted a beautiful blue ribbon, they could simply write down on a piece of paper 2.5.7.3.4. and put it in an envelope and send it to the shop; or 3.4.0.2.0 a brilliant yellow, no black in it—3 of red, 4 of green, 0 of violet, 2 of white to brighten it up a little and dilute some of the colour. Do not imagine that you will get green by mixing yellow and blue—on the contrary, you get yellow by mixing red and green, as was first taught by Young, enforced by Helmholtz, and splendidly put in practice by Maxwell.

That's right, Lord Kelvin foresaw the common use of color codes on the Web! Kelvin's idea went even further though, to real world color specification via numerical strings. Unfortunately, the average consumer still can't purchase pretty ribbons or other such things custom dyed from an RGBLK string sent to the shop. (I smell a Web 2.0 business potential...)

Lyle Zapato

Michael Menkin Offers Aid To The Welsh

Lyle Zapato | 2008-07-20.5120 LMT | Paraterrestrials | Mind Control | Sasquatch Issues | Fashion

My colleague frienemy in the fight against alien mind control, Michael Menkin -- the inventor of the thought screen helmet, a Velostat-based technology that blocks the non-psychotronic telepathic communication used by paraterrestrials from the Reticulum constellation -- has offered his help to beleaguered Wales, where UFO sightings have become commonplace. Menkin's thought screen helmets (instructions for which he offers for free on his site,) will prevent the Welsh from being abducted by the UFOs, a risk that is increasing daily:

Mr Menkin said given the level of UFO activity over Wales, people should make a thought screen. He said: "The people in Wales will benefit by making their own helmets.

"Everybody would be a lot safer if they had one in the house. There seems to have been more reports (of UFOs) lately in Wales and Scotland and the western half of the British Isles."

Unfortunately, it seems that Reticulan agents and/or mind-control victims have already infiltrated local ufological groups and are spreading FUD against thought screen technology:

But Margaret Fry, of the Welsh Fellowship of Ufologists, dismissed the thought screens as "ridiculous".

Mrs Fry, from Abergele, in North Wales, said: "I have seen UFOs, but I don't believe in crackpot ideas like this.

"It's ridiculous. People in the Welsh Federation have been investigating UFOs for 40 years and none of us subscribes to this nonsense."

Meanwhile, the local hominoid community has offered its support of Menkin's foreign aid work. "THE WELSH ARE MINE!!!" howled Brenin Llwyd, from Cader Idris, in North Wales. "IF SILLY HATS KEEP PUNY HAIRLESS GREY SKY-THIEVES AWAY, SILLY HATS THE WELSH SHALL HAVE!!!" Brenin Llwyd went on to announce that he will begin canvassing Snowdonia, handing out informative fliers explaining the UFO abduction risk, as well as the construction and use of thought screen helmets. He will also continue to abduct children for safe keeping until the Welsh can properly defend themselves.

Radical Sasquatch

HOWL: SASQUATCH ARE NOT ALIENS!!!

Radical Sasquatch | 2008-07-19.5600 LMT | Sasquatch Issues | Politics | Paraterrestrials

Human STEVE BASS has written an ATTACK PIECE titled "IS BIGFOOT AN ALIEN!?!" Unable to deny our existence, Humans are now trying to CLAIM WE AREN'T FROM HERE!!! This is just part of their ploy to DEPORT US FROM OUR HOMELAND and STEAL OUR FORESTS!!! Listen to how he justifies this claim:

The Sasquatch has many commonalities with Extraterrestrials. Both Sasquatch and Extraterrestrials are unlike anything we have ever known ... Both display clear signs of intelligence ... Both are incredibly elusive.

THAT is his evidence?! First of all, THREE THINGS ARE NOT MANY!!! Second, we are not unlike anything Humans have ever known since Humans are merely DEGRADED SASQUATCH!!! Third, WHY IS INTELLIGENCE A SIGN OF BEING AN ALIEN!?! Are Humans so CONCEITED that they can't imagine that any of the rest of us Earthlings have the capacity for thought?! DON'T THINK YOU'RE SO SPECIAL!!! Fourth, TREE OCTOPUS are elusive too! Does STEVE BASS claim that THEY ARE ALSO ALIENS!?! And it gets WORSE, as he goes on to BLAME THE VICTIM:

The Sasquatch tends to remain concealed when near Humans, and has sometimes been known to harass hikers, campers, and Bigfoot researchers in various ways, like throwing rocks at them. No physical remains of the elusive Sasquatch have ever been recovered and no living Sasquatch has allowed itself to be captured.

Oh, sure, SASQUATCH ARE THE HARASSERS!!! If someone was TRESPASSING or SQUATTING on your property, trying to CAPTURE YOU or steal your "REMAINS", taking INVASIVE PICTURES OF YOU, or FETISHIZING YOUR FEET, YOU WOULD THROW ROCKS AT THEM TOO!!! You don't see Sasquatch going around proclaiming themselves "HUMAN RESEARCHERS" and prying into your PRIVATE BUSINESS!!! WE HONESTLY DON'T CARE WHAT YOU PIPSQUEAKS DO, AS LONG AS YOU LEAVE US BE!!! And we remain concealed when you come around because you're OBNOXIOUS JERKS!!!

Next he claims that at SOME HUMAN RANCH in UTAH, Sasquatch and UFOs are both seen:

Sightings of a creature closely resembling the Sasquatch was also observed and monitored at the ranch. Both Extraterrestrials and the Sasquatch were observed appearing through portals in the air. Witnesses have reported that they have sometimes had glimpses through the portals of landscapes different than that in which the witness stood, appearing almost alien in origin.

I don't know what LICHEN he's snorting, but I WANT SOME!!! AIR PORTALS TO ALIEN LANDSCAPES!!! That's more RIDICULOUS than that CRAZY HUMAN who thinks she can TELEPATHICALLY COMMUNICATE with us! First we're SPIRIT GUIDES, now we're ALIENS!!! What will we be next?! ANDROIDS!?!

Is Sasquatch also an alien entity, an Extraterrestrial? Is it considered wildlife from another planet or dimension? Is it a "pet" of Extraterrestrials, being "let out to exercise", much the same way Humans allow their pet dogs and cats out at night?

Again I howl: SASQUATCH ARE NOT ALIENS!!! Nor are we the "PETS" OF ALIENS!!! We are Hominoids! Nobody "LET" us out here! We were here before you! This is OUR LAND!!!

If anything, HUMANS ARE ALIENS!!! Consider the many commonalities: You're both SMALL, physically WEAK, deficient in BODY HAIR, and A PAIN IN THE ASS!!!

Lyle Zapato

Fractalpus

Lyle Zapato | 2008-07-19.4930 LMT | Cephalopods | Nature | Polydactylism

The archetype of fractal appendages manifests in the cephalopodan realm...

Octopus with 96 arms

...or perhaps it originated there? Could it be that the awakening of dactyl fractal consciousness is merely an atavism from an earlier form of existence shared by the common ancestors of humans and octopuses -- an existence where such stifling notions as a finite number of limbs had yet to encumber our ancestors' tactile perceptions of their reality? Could we already be past this vertex on the parabola of evolution, and are now heading back up toward the infinite reaches of body segmentation? What next shall we see? Elephants with bushy multitrunks? Snakes sprouting snakes sprouting snakes? Hydraferrets? Could this be what the Maya prophesized will happen on December 21, 2012? Could the Singularity be cut short by the Multiplicity?

dactyl fractal

The Belgian

The American Beer, She Is Belgian Now!

The Belgian | 2008-07-13.9320 LMT | Belgian Conspiracy | Food

The Belgian beverage company beloved by all the peuples, InBev, will buy the U.S. brouwer of the substandard American beer, Anheuser-Busch, for €32.7 miljard! The new company, she will be known as Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Now we Belgians will improve your beer, yes? The Budweiser, she will now be renamed the Budwijzer! The Bud Light is now the Bud Licht! The Clydesdales, they will be made into the glue for the bottle labels. Welkom the new Budwijzer Brabançon! They make the allitération, no?

The Busch Gardens and the SeaWorld, they will be shut down for the reimagineering so they can reopen as the Plopsaland Amerika! Your kinderen, they will soon love the Plopsa... Plopsa for all the Amerikanen!

Do not listen to the anti-Belgian klagers! Barack Obama, he hate the merger only because it make John McCain the rich man. And Lyle Zapato, he is the paranoïaque! The beer, it does not control the mind. So, you drink the Trappist bier and want to visit Brussels for the very long vacation... Is that not naturel?

Amerikanen! Open the cold Budwijzer and celebrate the Belgian Nationale Feestdag on the 21 Juli! You are all the Belgians now! Be sure to come and visit the homeland... We await you!

Lyle Zapato

Lord Kelvin and the "Butterfly Effect"

Lyle Zapato | 2008-07-13.6760 LMT | Kelviniana | Random Found Thing

While further researching Lord Kelvin, I came across an interesting quote. The Universe a Vast Electric Organism (George Woodward Warder, 1903) quotes Prof. Garrett P. Serviss -- the author of Edison's Conquest of Mars, which co-stars Lord Kelvin -- in the New York American, May 16, 1903 (bold mine):

"The undulatory theory of energy is carrying everything before it. It is not saying too much to aver that wave motion is concerned in nearly all the phenomena of physical life . . . Think for a moment of what is included in the science of waves. In the air all sounds, all musical harmonies are waves; in the solid globe, all earthquakes are waves; in the ether light, electricity and heat are waves. It is waves that make the stars visible, and yet more mysterious oscillations picture for us on photographic plates marvelous nebulous objects. Lord Kelvin has been credited with the statement that the fluttering of a butterfly's wing sets up vibrations that shake the universe." (p.288)

I've searched for the original quote by Kelvin but have come up empty. The only references to it I can find on the Internet are in Warder and a mention in passing in Science of the New Thought (Erastus Whitford Hopkins, 1904). If anyone can find what statement of Kelvin's Serviss was referring to, please contact me, as this would add chaos theory to the multitude of scientific fields that Kelvin influenced in some way.

According to the Wikipedia article on the "butterfly effect", the connection of butterflies to the idea of sensitive dependence on initial conditions came from Ray Bradbury's 1952 short story "A Sound of Thunder". Granted it's Wikipedia, so it might as well say John Seigenthaler Sr. first came up with the idea, but if that's the accepted wisdom on the metaphor's origin, what shall we make of Kelvin's use of it half a century earlier? Time travel?

[UPDATE 2010-01-28: Looks like it was originally a mosquito, and Kelvin didn't recall saying it.]

Since I don't have Kelvin's original quote, I'll leave you instead with some entertaining figures from Hopkins' book above:

Read more...

Lyle Zapato

Emperor Norton's Grave

Lyle Zapato | 2008-06-28.2780 LMT | Bohemian Grove Cabal | NWO | Field Trips

In my previous post on the tragic fall of Emperor Norton I, I recounted how Norton had his rightful empire taken from him and perverted by what became the Bohemian Grove Cabal. Yesterday, travel site Roadside America posted a visitor tip for the grave of Emperor Norton. The included photo provides shocking new evidence of the Cabal's crimes, arrogantly left for all to see:

Emperor Norton's Grave
(Photo detail enhanced using advanced ZPi
Conspiracy-Zooming-and-Insetting technology.)

There's an owl statue next to his grave!

As you recall, the owl is the symbol/mascot of the Cabal, before an effigy of which they perform their secret, bon-fire-lit, robe-shrouded, possibly-human-sacrificey rites:

'Cremation of Care' ritual

That an owl statue sits next to the grave of the man from whom the Cabal usurped an empire -- undoubtedly placed by the same agents of the Cabal who had him reinterred (ostensibly) at that cemetery in 1934 -- is more than a sick joke, it's a warning: "We've turned emperors into paupers! Don't cross us."

Moreover, it's also a sign that the Cabal is still watching. The statue almost certainly contains recording devices to document the visitation of loyal Nortonians who have not yet accepted the Emperor's removal from power and bowed before the Cabal's New World Order, used to target individuals for reeducation and/or immolation. Any pilgrims planning to visit the grave should take extra caution lest they find themselves the "guest of honor" at a Cremation of Care ritual. (Unlike Roadside America, we here at ZPi don't send our readers willy-nilly to their dooms.)

UPDATE: For those still unsure of the Cabal's reach:


Overhead view of the US Capitol Building.
Note the owl image formed by the streets.

President Bush holding an owl.
Current usurper of Norton's legacy.