Federico Pistono's blog

The scorpion and the frog

"One day, a scorpion looked around at the mountain where he lived and decided that he wanted a change. So he set out on a journey through the forests and hills. He climbed over rocks and under vines and kept going until he reached a river.
The river was wide and swift, and the scorpion stopped to reconsider the situation. He couldn't see any way across. So he ran upriver and then checked downriver, all the while thinking that he might have to turn back.
Suddenly, he saw a frog sitting in the rushes by the bank of the stream on the other side of the river. He decided to ask the frog for help getting across the stream.

"Hellooo Mr. Frog!" called the scorpion across the water, "Would you be so kind as to give me a ride on your back across the river?"

"Well now, Mr. Scorpion! How do I know that if I try to help you, you wont try to kill me?" asked the frog hesitantly.

"Because," the scorpion replied, "If I try to kill you, then I would die too, for you see I cannot swim!"
Now this seemed to make sense to the frog. But he asked. "What about when I get close to the bank? You could still try to kill me and get back to the shore!"

"This is true," agreed the scorpion, "But then I wouldn't be able to get to the other side of the river!"

"Alright then...how do I know you wont just wait till we get to the other side and THEN kill me?" said the frog.

"Ahh...," crooned the scorpion, "Because you see, once you've taken me to the other side of this river, I will be so grateful for your help, that it would hardly be fair to reward you with death, now would it?!"

So the frog agreed to take the scorpion across the river. He swam over to the bank and settled himself near the mud to pick up his passenger. The scorpion crawled onto the frog's back, his sharp claws prickling into the frog's soft hide, and the frog slid into the river. The muddy water swirled around them, but the frog stayed near the surface so the scorpion would not drown. He kicked strongly through the first half of the stream, his flippers paddling wildly against the current.
Halfway across the river, the frog suddenly felt a sharp sting in his back and, out of the corner of his eye, saw the scorpion remove his stinger from the frog's back. A deadening numbness began to creep into his limbs.

"You fool!" croaked the frog, "Now we shall both die! Why on earth did you do that?"
The scorpion shrugged, and did a little jig on the drownings frog's back.

"I could not help myself. It is my nature."

This is a story often told in psychology classes. To understand the immutable nature of something is vital. There is no point intellectualising, making excuses and analysis, sometimes something just is what it is.

For humanity it is necessary to recognise the intrinsic nature of capitalism. It is an unfettered force which puts the value of money and profit above life itself. There are too many examples and stories from reality which prove this time and again that we would be fools to ignore this force. Unless we take steps to moderate the present capitalist system a few unlucky people will be left sitting on a vast pile of gold upon the smoking remains of a planet.

-- Anonymous

A response to Scaruffi's Millennium Questions

This is an attempt to respond to the 10 Millennium Questions posed by Piero Scaruffi on his last blog post. Be advised, I shall not succeed. But I shall have fun trying.

I took the liberty of creating a title for each question, to better organise them visually. I apologise in advance if by doing so I simplified the concepts to the point of inaccurately depicting them. Please refer to the full text of the question, and use the title merely as a reference.

1. What medium can we use to perceive other universes?

A particle that has no mass, the photon (i.e. light), is the medium that allows us (objects with mass) to perceive the other objects with mass that populate this universe. What kind of medium can help us perceive other universes that are based on different physical laws? A thing that obeys no physical law?
λν = c
E = hν

I suppose the reason we used light, as of now, is due to the fact that:

  1. our eyes have evolved to perceive objects through this medium, which in turn made us create mental frameworks to make sense of such perceptions
  2. thanks to Einstein's work on the photoelectric effect and subsequently Niels Bohr's research on quantum mechanics, Richard Feynman's efforts on quantum electrodynamics and many others, we have a set of theories that allowed to overlook other potential candidates for perceiving objects

We know so little about other forces that seem to interact with us in strange and mysterious ways that any attempt to explain further with our current understanding would be mere speculation.

And so I shall.

Dark Matter and Dark Energy are just placeholder names for seemingly unexplained forms of matter and energy that (apparently) poorly interact with ordinary matter, but they could really be a family of energies or media, which could follow laws that we don't know yet, or laws that don't fit with our universe. It could be that "dark energy" exists in another bubble universe next to our own, and that all we see is the shadow effect of dark energy from that universe being close to us. It could be that such energy transfers through a currently unknown medium from universe to universe, and by moving from one bubble to another it changes its properties.

Or, I could be completely wrong (most likely).

Einstein was wrong (COMIC)

Would be interesting to see a comparison before-and-after CERN's apparent discovery of neutrinos' superluminal velocities.

Hover image for alt tag ;)

The importance of being Creative Commons

A few years ago, I made a drawing called King of Midlands: Disturbed. I published it on deviantArt with this description, under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.

Creation: I was in my second year in college when I made this drawing. It took me approximately two nights, just before going to sleep. I used a pencil. That's it.

Time: ~2 nights.

Commentary: The drawing depicts the King of Midlands, he is disturbed (hence, the title) by the fact that Grifis violated his daughter, the princess. Since the King personality is quite disturbed himself (he was the one who wanted to violate his daughter) I thought the title was quite appropriate.

Inspiration: this work was inspired by Kentarô Miura (三浦 建太郎 )'s work Berserk.

Little did I know that what was an unfinished work from high school would become material for the Developing Rigorous Education in the Arts to Motivate Students (DREAMS): Improving Academic Literacy in the Arts in California. In the 2010 final report published by the Institute my drawing appears along with two questions.

1. Describe how Pistono used the elements or principles of visual art design (such as unity or contrast) to organize the composition of this drawing.

2. If you were an art critic, what are the features or criteria you might consider when judging the aesthetic value of a work of art? In terms of these criteria, what makes Pistono’s drawing effective?

To be honest, I don't consider this drawing to be any good, I was still in my early years, I never had any teaching nor any academic background, nor did I ever receive any instructions or suggestions on how to draw. I just drew. I liked it, and did it very spontaneously. I think you can tell by the inaccuracy of the pencil, the lack of perspective and the overall flatness of the image.

Still, it's fascinating that my work was taken, used by a school literally on the other side of the planet. I'm kind of curious to read the students' answers at this point, though I don't hope read any positive comments.

Either way, it was possible because I published it on the Internet, and I did it using a Creative Commons licence.

Some things are truly priceless.

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