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Friday
May222009

Facebook, and the amazing destruction of images.

I've been uploading some of my Photoshop/Illustrator work to Facebook lately. I find it to be the most efficient way to get people I know to see the stuff I've fashioned together, using only my inferior skills and less than acute sense of style. Getting people to pop on over to a blog every time I leave another brain dropping is not exactly easy. By plopping these things into an album on the FB (that's what the cool kids are calling it, the FB. Or so I have been informed) I'm sort of forcing them to notice it. They can't not see it. Cruel, I know.

Facebook does not seem to appreciate my artistic endeavors and chooses to utterly obliterate the image quality. Escalating what would have been a mild assault on the visual senses into a full scale ocular genocide. Is it not enough that I'm hampered by the cruel luck of the genetic draw? I have to get repeatedly molested by Facebook as well? Feast your eyes on this digital atrocity.

faceProbably not my best work ever.

Now, to some this might not seem like such an intrusive reduction in image quality. "Hey, that's only slightly more artifacts." a person might say. That person also doesn't notice any difference between SD and HD television and will be wondering what all the hubbub is about. He is also 57 years old, loves sweater-vests and owns the collected works of Tom Clancy. This person needs to leave the room immediately.

The reason for the re-compression is in all likelihood storage space. Facebook deals with millions upon millions of photos after all. That is a lot of data and jiggabits and hardspace disks and whatnot. And how much larger is the already compressed "50% quality JPEG" file than its Facebook counterpart? The answer: about 8% smaller. Bare in mind this image consists of three colours. Facebook's re-compression can't handle the colour red? Seriously? I could understand if there was some gradient effect tripping up the algorithm here, but these are three clearly separated colours. Would I have crashed the servers with this image if it happened to be some blue in there? Should I stick to cubist black & white pictures? I can only imagine what other optical horrors FB has in store. Check out a reasonably well compressed version of the actual image over in the Flickr-stream to the right, or here

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Sunday
May032009

A booger of a thought.

Self-righteousness is a swelling and bloating feeling I'm sensing in this social body I occupy. It's pouring out of all corners and viciously attacking me from all angles imaginable. It's not just oozing out of the regular go-to-places from which I've come to except this vile sense of self. Instead of the figurative smelly armpits of this global community I'm catching a whiff coming from, I don't know, the ears or something. Can ears stink?

Christian people are easy targets these days. Especially in the secular haven of Scandinavia. I can literally (and hopefully)  go days without ever running into a person of the religious persuasion. What I cannot do however is avoid encountering the occasional smug cretin with their head lodged firmly and deeply up their own asshole. Oh, he may be a self-professed atheist, animal rights activist, fair trade-advocate. But he's still incapable of rational thought and introspection. For instance; You see - he's not an atheist because he's come to the rational conclusion of a well deliberated internal argument. He's a non-believer because he has been told that religious people are dumb and he's certainly not dumb. He's smart, his momma told him so, although all factual evidence points to the former.

So in a seriously convoluted way, the only "logical" path to take is that of atheism. Not agnosticism by the way, that's for pussies. The same goes for faux-vegans, who don't eat meat because people who do are immoral and inferior to them. Pseudo-eco warriors who only really care about the bike path outside their condo. Wannabe-feminists who join up because they hate men. Impostors shouting "support the troops!" while actively obstructing increased pay and benefits for service men/women.  Fake freedom of speech supporters who want to stop others from expressing offensive ideas. And anyone else who dons the mantel of righteousness to simply feel better about themselves.

You can only truly know something if you actually believe in it. Answering the question: "Why do you believe?" with something akin to: "'Cause!" or "It makes me feel good about myself." are not viable options bucko. Pointing fingers at people and proclaiming your superiority feels good sometimes. Damn good. Just remember to pull that sucker out of your nose first. It's flu season you know.

Thursday
Mar192009

Interestingly Outdated Idioms.

The connection between the heart icon and the soul gives off strange connotations these days. Ancient peoples believed that the heart was the seat of the human mind. Today it's pretty much been whittled down to symbolising emotions of a romantic nature. We know that romantic feelings (which we hold so dear) do not reside in any bodily organ. Below the neck or above the waist, anyway.

This outdated symbolism lives on as it's rather quaint and charming. My Romantic Heart. If people once thought these things to be true, what other human conditions must they have believed to be housed in our various body parts? - My Hedonistic Liver. - My Platonic Pancreas. - My Curious Appendix. - My Impatient, But Curiously Resilient, Digestive System. - My Ululating Ulceration.

Do any of these make less sense than the idea that romantic notions reside in the organ that pumps oxygen to our cells? It's romantic, yes, but we could surely come up with something more modern and apt? Metaphors practically grow on trees. Come on poets, don't just rest on your predecessor's laurels. Get out there and romanticize post-modernity! Maybe it just doesn't hold up to scrutiny. Like romance, it has nothing to do with reason.

Sunday
Mar152009

The Power of Imagination.

The economy does not actually exist. I know what you might be thinking now. "Hey, how deep of a hit did you just take from your opium bong? You godless hippie." The short answer is: not that deep. The long answer is: An economy is just an agreed upon system of values and trade rules. It is no more set in stone than any other idea, and can be re-arranged or fundamentally revised any time we feel like it.

I know it seems as if economic systems, such as our pseudo-capitalist one, are quite real. As real as the buildings that house all of the institutions that prop up this concept. But it really isn't. It's "simply" a very elaborate system we have concocted in order to keep people producing goods and services that in the end benefit most of us. Motivated by greed. Punished by hunger. I will leave any further moral values and my own Utopian hopes out of it.

If this current model of incentives and punishment isn't getting the job done let's change it. Fine tune it to work better. Improve the social safety net for workers. Tax the rich bankers a little higher. Make sure stock trading is better regulated. Even out the peaks and valleys. We also have the short term option: Keep on buying stuff, you dumb shits.

A recession happens when people think a recession will happen. They stop buying and start saving. Industrialists stop producing the things that aren't being bought anymore. The same people who stopped buying get fired and continue not buying (now for a different reason, lack of funds) and the downward spiral worsens. Do you want to keep your job? You want your friends to keep their jobs? Stop stuffing your mattress full of imaginary wealth printed on paper and purchase things that might be useful. Either sneakers with lights in the heals or a shotgun for fending off the mutants when this economic crisis hits apocalyptic proportions.

You think I am over-simplifying a very complex issue? Yes, I might be. Bare in mind though that economist's seemingly elaborate hypotheses are not any more accurate. If these Oracles of Wall Street and Captains of Industry had any clue what pattern the market follows (if any) they'd be able to fix it. Instead they're just throwing anything they can think of at the problem and seeing what sticks. So far, nothing is.

A system no-one understands isn't a system, it's chaos. So kick back, grab a beer you've just brewed in your own toilet and enjoy watching as these granite monoliths of capitalism crumble. Like that pension you had saved away. It's much more fun watching something come crashing down. At least now you are not alone, standing in the rubble.

Also:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ci80-3NrEv8]