This is the blog of Artist/Scientist/Programmer/Chef/Designer Zavier Henderson.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

We are Playing a Game

If life is a simulation, like some of the minds that have shaped our lives (and therefore minds), like to think. What are we simulating? What rules besides physics govern our existence? I believe that we exist in reality caught between heaven and hell. Unlike some religious views I don't see these things as places we have yet to go. I see it as we are in heaven and hell simultaneously. We create our lives as much as we create our deaths. All I can find meaning in is knowledge. 

I know not what actual religious texts portray heaven as. When I was more a child I was told it's the place you go when you die if your really good, that it's a place of clouds, pure joy, and where god lives. I was told I would be reunited with others who have passed on and live forever with them. But skeptic child me kept poking holes in this belief when I was a kid I thought dying is just like having your eyes shut for the rest of time, as in still conscious but in a body that cant do anything. It wasn't until 9th grade that the true terror of death started to haunt me. I like to think and to think that I would stop thinking and knowing when I died kept me up at night and started making me worry about my eventual death, and worry about dumb people or forces killing me before I could actually make a change to the way we live on this rock. 

I have now come to terms with this and am trying to avoid deadly dumb things. I stopped seeing heaven as a cloud with everyone I know on it, that seemed more like hell to me. I now see heaven as the place where all of my dreams come true, and I don't mean those weird hallucinations we have when we sleep. Although some of those can be very heavenly. I think we can all from experience understand what heaven and hell feels like. Cuddling with something soft vs. an existential thought hole where everything you hear is death telling you to give up; feeling good for yourself and your achievements vs. being let down at the realization that no one you know will ever understand you.

Finding heaven is taking comfort in the thought holes and let downs, you can let your life be a roller coaster dipping in and out these states of mind. Or your life could be a joke, because your life is a joke, we are all jokes. Dante wasn't explaining hellse-where he was explaining your life and my life and life in general. We are a divine comedy right here and now. Our deaths are our punchline, can you not see the cosmic owl or some other godly being watching over every devout christian prepared to go to heaven as they suddenly realized they wasted every Sunday of their lives sitting and being tame, believing that the person of true goodness and purity was some man in the sky or a crucified guy and not themselves. I am saying that heaven is whatever heavenly experiences and true good you take the time and effort to craft here on earth. Even if there is a life after death, who is to say its not the same one where you are a dingus and don't do anything with your gift and just die waiting to do it all again. I believe in the soul but nothing more as a boolean across all realities, without memory or information besides the ability to occupy and witness, I also believe that animals have a soul and that we are just retarded animals.

The only people to define good and evil is ourselves. Some may struggle with the idea that they are evil while some may just think they are good while being evil. But only because they weren't taught otherwise, I believe you can only teach yourself and when every person is just someone else's person in a comfortable cushy path to death because its profitable of course no one will pursue the darkest parts of their mind and the darkest parts of this world. I only know/think what I do because I am not comfortable, I am laying down in a bed made by machines and typing this blog post on a computer based off of actual slavery (I say actual because we are all slaves to something but this is like text book slavery). I am not comfortable in houses that I don't understand and didn't build. I really only derive pleasure from learning and proving knowledge to myself and to others. I would rather build a house that I know and understand than live in one made of things that may not be ethical or sustainable, I only live in a house like that now because I am collecting knowledge and tools on the backs of everyone before me so I can play a game that I would be proud to have someone continue in my place. 

Right now we are playing a game that only benefits the higher level players and retards the other low level players into acceptance of crappy products and believing that they just aren't working hard enough. It's sad to think that most of the games the next generations of people aren't reflective of the actual game we all play. Not the game of politics or economy, the game of nature and natural law. I miss running around playing tag it is a valuable game, as is hide and seek, they teach you how to survive in a world ruled by natural law; predators and prey. This mental_floss post sparked this blog post, because all these games are creative and fun while hinting at the futility of life. I want to raise my kids playing games like this and a select few video games if my computer is still alive and I have power (if I have kids; I really want to adopt). But there are too many pointless video games and TV shows to say "have at it kids", humans take the path of least resistance and I don't want them to squander my gifts to them. I hope I have convinced you of my beliefs in some way. 

Deaths are hilarious but not understanding why they died is like hearing the butt end of a good joke and just not getting it. I hope you will find my life of trying to forge a living for myself not based off of the subjugation or pointless desires of others amusing or perhaps inspiring, I am just a joke after all. Choose how you laugh at me wisely, for it says more about you than it does me. 

P.S. If this was too dark and weird for you I am sorry. Keep living what ever life you are, but just make sure to think about what you are doing and tailor your choices to fit something less celebratory, you aren't special you are a retard like the rest of us. Let's make a future we can be proud of living instead of just being ignorant or sarcastic to get through life. Relevance is one of the most humorous forces, be relevant, be the change, be the laughing stock of the comfortable and the wicked. It's the only way that we will have any affect. You have the chance to be powerful, and that chance isn't one that anyone can give to you. You are more than a mindless mouth with a wallet in a box, get out of the box to truly realize this.                  

Sunday, December 18, 2016

We Need New Crops

We all know that the crops we grow didn't exist the way they do today a 1000 years ago. Ever since we learned how to grow plants we have been picking and choosing the "best" phenotype and traits. But many are convinced that we didn't know what we were doing. We now know a whole lot about what is and isn't edible, and what is and isn't good for our health. When we first started growing crops we just didn't, it was a risk trying to eat something new.

I see it like adding skill points in a video game every time you level up, but unlike video games, leveling gets easier the more you level (Moore's Law). For centuries we have been investing those "skill points" into the same crops.

We do have quite a few crops, but we are desperately dependent on a select few (like we wouldn't be in that much trouble if all strawberries, but we would be pretty screwdled in many different ways if all corn or wheat died). We have very few large carbohydrate crops besides these and many people's livelihoods depend on having acres and hectares of the stuff. Whereas our greens have been become more watered down (juicy) and crisp with no regard to the nutrient content, as for fruits and berries we just took the sweetest varieties we can find and bred them. I wish I had some showy study or hard data to show you.

But there just isn't money in proving centuries of effort and engineering to be pointless; money being the motivator behind most all research. Just look at crab apples vs. your everyday apple. Sure there is always the argument of "well crab apples have been evolving on their own for as long as we have been evolving their siblings." sure they have but have we researched that? No. I'm not sure it’s documented how these Malus (Apple Genus) subspecies diverged. Were they all like crab apples? Were they all like the apples we eat today but smaller? Were they a combination? How much variation was there between regions where these ancient wild apples grew? I am interested in what we lost when breeding our tasty fruits. Like what are these acidic compounds in crab apples like Octadecenoic acid or Octadecatrienoic acid? So many questions we don't know the answers to but so few are asking them. Where as everyone else is worried about fighting the battles we made for ourselves.

As we have been investing generations of work and "skill points" into these crops so have pests. Brassicas, for example, are notorious for being turned into bug food. Shouldn't there be alarms going off in people’s heads when there is such a thing as a CABBAGE MOTH or a POTATO BEETLE. Creatures are lazy and stupid by design; they take the path of least resistance. Cabbage had its defense mechanisms and was fighting its own battle against bugs before we stepped in.

When a lot of gardeners or farmers talk about Brassicas (like I did) they aren't talking about the family 9/10 times they are talking about 1 specific plant. That one plant is Cauliflower, Broccoli, Cabbage, Kohlrabi, Brussels Sprouts, Savoy, Kale, and more. That's right these vegetables are all the same freaking plant. No wonder there are pests specifically designed to take advantage of these crops and also its no surprise that these crops tend to need pesticides to survive. Don't get me wrong cabbage is good for you especially fermented like many enjoy doing with it.

But there are plants just as edible as Brassica oleracea was when we started modifying it. Take for instance Lamb’s Quarters, this plant is super resistant and has edible greens. This plant is so resistant and so good at growing that some varieties have been known to be resistant to glyphosate (Roundup(cancer)), people are bringing back 2,4-D (Agent Orange ingredient(more cancer)) just to kill the little thing. Honestly why isn't this sold in supermarkets when you can probably get multiple harvests in one season and it will seed itself and make infinite supply. We need to stop treating these plants that bugs ignore like weeds and make a business and an interest in it.

These plants are natural super heroes. It will be a long time before we can make the crops we grow now to be anywhere as efficient or healthy, instead of playing Jenga with our "skill points" on a shaky foundation that can easily be targeted by viruses, pests, and bio-terrorists. Lets just engineer these "weeds" to be new crops. If we focus on making new crops we can benefit from biodiversity and nature’s abundance instead of waging war against it. We don't have to have agriculture and nature be this huge departure that we are making it out to be. Let’s make food that can spread like wildfires and allow anyone to stop and taste success.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Coasting to coast on Space Ghost

I have always admired cartoons where I can tell the creators had fun making it. The first show that gave me this perspective was Chowder; the show that constantly broke the 4th wall and made its creator a character in the show (I will be writing posts about this show more later).

Recently I have been exploring the history and culture behind Cartoon Network and Adult Swim. Today I was feeling pretty under the (-11 degree F) weather. So I decided it was the perfect occasion to stream the first gem to come from Cartoon Network studios. If you couldn't tell from the title the show I am talking about is Space Ghost Coast to Coast. If you don't know what this show is, I recommend you just watch it. It is a comedic cartoon "talk show" hosted by Space Ghost, a Hanna-Barbera character from the 60's.

 This show is fucking hilarious, words alone cannot do it justice. It's what inspired Eric Andre to make his show the way he does. And I also was the start of the late night adult animation block Adult Swim. All the footage is either interviews made for the show or entirely re-purposed. The non-existent budget for the show starting off made it that much more entertaining.

Inventive animation blows my mind. This is the reason, like most others, that Kill la Kill is one of my favorite shows (again more on that later). Something that blew my mind was Space Ghost Coast to Coast Season 2 Episode 1. In this episode Space Ghost emcees Cartoon Networks "World Premiere Toon In" in which he interviews five different creators and teases tiny snippets of pilots to the shows they made. These interviews are then judged by the council of doom to choose a winning director. The winner ends up being a young Craig McCracken. At the end of the show after Craig scores major points with the council by dissing Space Ghost repeatedly and is the only one to take the swimsuit competition seriously, he is announced the winner. They then show a complete segment of a Powerpuff Girls Pilot. 
I am glad I grew up with Chowder but I can only imagine how fun it would have been to see this air on TV. It would have blown my mind more than it does today, and I probably would have been into making my own pilot concepts at an earlier age. I highly recommend this show, even though it is Adult Swim it was very tame because at the time this was all that was around for this style of content. The comedy just gets me every time, and each new episode I watch makes me more into the show. Thanks to Mike Lazzo, without him this show, and probably most shows on the network wouldn't exist. Here is your chance to fall in love with the history of this network, the full series is streaming here on Adult Swim.      

Monday, December 12, 2016

Hell, oh World.


I have a blog, and I am posting on it. Isn't that something. This is where I will post shit I am too scared to post where I know people will actually see it. Anticipate random doodles, ideas, projects, artsy photos, and a whole ton of updates. I may not be posting to regularly to begin with because I am working on making the rest of my site a thing to behold, as well as starting progress on my web comic(s). In the mean time enjoy this beauty straight out of MS Paint from who knows how long ago.