luscious, verdant, sultry summer.  its not quite the same in south florida, where the season starts in february and lasts until november.  i miss georgia heat waves and the thick smell of hot pine needles and tall meadow grass.  and most of all, i miss warm blackberries off the bush.  the older i get, the more i feel a push to return home to the georgia piedmont.

summer in the south / paul lawrence dunbar

the oriole sings in the greening grove
as if he were half-way waiting,
the rosebuds peep from their hoods of green,
timid, and hesitating.
the rain comes down in a torrent sweep
and the nights smell warm and pinety,
the garden thrives, but the tender shoots
are yellow-green and tiny.
then a flash of sun on a waiting hill,
streams laugh that erst were quiet,
the sky smiles down with a dazzling blue
and the woods run mad with riot.


things to accomplish in life, from the perspective of someone that wishes they didn't feel the need to accomplish so much in life:

1.  make a happy family
2.  earn a doctoral degree
3.  publish two books, one fiction and one non-fiction
4.  see all 50 states
5.  see all 7 continents
6.  build a house
7.  fix up a classic car from the ground up
8.  sail around the world
9.  become completely fluent in another language
10. save someone else's life
11. make an album
12. die happy



(image: a dreamscape created out of noise by Google's image recognition neural network. (!!!))

"what do machines dream of?  new images released by google give us one potential answer: hypnotic landscapes of buildings, fountains and bridges merging into one.

"the pictures, which veer from beautiful to terrifying, were created by the company’s image recognition neural network, which has been 'taught' to identify features such as buildings, animals and objects in photographs.

"they were created by feeding a picture into the network, asking it to recognise a feature of it, and modify the picture to emphasise the feature it recognises.  that modified picture is then fed back into the network, which is again tasked to recognise features and emphasise them, and so on.  eventually, the feedback loop modifies the picture beyond all recognition.

"at a low level, the neural network might be tasked merely to detect the edges on an image.  in that case, the picture becomes painterly, an effect that will be instantly familiar to anyone who has experience playing about with photoshop filter ...

"but if the neural network is tasked with finding a more complex feature – such as animals – in an image, it ends up generating a much more disturbing hallucination ...

"ultimately, the software can even run on an image which is nothing more than random noise, generating features that are entirely of its own imagination ..." showing features like bananas, or elaborate and fantastic landscapes such as the one at the top of this post.


[from: yes, androids do dream of electric sheep / alex hern / the guardian / 06.18.15]


i saw a bird once that was mourning the death of another bird.  the friend had obviously been hit by a car and did not survive.  the bird kept flying to and from his body, chirping, over and over.

death is not the most uplifting thing to blog about, but there is something really powerful in these videos showing different species experiencing grief.  they place life, death, and emotion into a different perspective.  i think it is easy to assume a sort of human exceptionalism, but death is universal.  maybe grieving is too.