Saturday, June 28, 2008

Smoked Radmul

Rode out to the east and into the smoke of the California wildfires. Grizzly Creek Redwood State Park is 17 miles out highway 36 east from highway 101. Sort of an up and down ride with one big hill that seemed to sap my energy. Riding up there just was no oxygen in the air or so it seemed. My throat is sore today from sucking smoke. That being said the park is spectacular home to some of the tallest trees anywhere in the world. I camped right next to the Van Duzen River although the river is little more than a creek due to the drought that has hit California. The Radmul channel on Youtube has some video.
The park is not very big and sits right along the Hwy for the most part. There are 30 campsites and the place is almost never full so if you want to camp in Cali on any given weekend without a reservation that is the place. The trees are awesome and the place just has a lost in the woods feel to it. The pictures are from the visitor center and the immediate campground area. I will put some others from the surrounding up on photobucket.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Boardwalk Band

Went to the Thursday night concert at the old town Boardwalk. The summer concerts have decent tunes and if the night is not too cold a decent atmosphere. tonight's band was Big Rain from Santa Cruz Ca. There is a video here if you want to check out their sound.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Noone Expects the Language Inquisition

The Idea that we can fix our energy problems by drilling more holes is foolish. The concentration of Carbon molecules that lead to greenhouse problems in the atmosphere is already too high. Unless we stop burning fossil fuels and alter our consumption patterns we are already at the point where the next generation is boned.
I have been studying some philosophers of late. Looking for answers to big questions is one of the ways I distract myself from my pain. In the end this would seem to be a pointless endeavor as the big answer always comes up there are no big answers. I have a question for the philosophers that never seems to get answered and that is why they never seem to discard those that get falsified? Why the guys that are on about god are still given credence?
I have been listening to Peter Singer talk about Hegel and his ideas are interesting but the religion aspect confuses me. I am also listening to an Ipod U lecture series on him so I will report back when I have spent a little more time. He is the thesis, antithesis, synthesis guy and very influential. He had a lot of followers not the least among them Karl Marx. I have found him confusing and my bad German skills don’t help. That is one of the problems with philosophers in foreign language that the translation make a huge difference as to what the meaning is. I read the Three Musketeers in the original French and found that the story takes on subtle differences when the original language is translated. Wish I had spent more time keeping up with language both foreign and domestic.
The meaning of language is the line that I am off on today. I really like the mimetic explanation of this phenomenon. The Idea that our higher brain functions evolved as the result of service to language as opposed to other evolutionary pressures is intriguing. Once you get past the advantage of tool use it is hard to find the evolutionary basis for the higher brain functions. That and there appears to be a correlation between lower birth rates and more education. Not a perfect indicator of intelligence but I feel better than IQ tests. It would almost seem that things like theoretical physics have a negative impact on fitness by virtue of the fact that studying Quantum Mechanics makes you freaking weird. This has opened up the debate over group evolution and brought back into the discussion the Neanderthal and did they have language? When I was attending the cutting edge seminars at Evergreen they had not yet found a skull with a hyoid bone so the thinking was no speaking for the Neanderthals but that is no longer the case. They had the physiology but it is unlikely we will ever know one way or the other. With the increase in brain size and skull capacity it has actually gotten harder to give birth so will we be getting smaller brains in the future when we no longer have the economic capacity to maintain C-section births? I find it much easier to come up with odd questions than answers these days but I am trying hard not to fall into despair.
In the end am I nothing more than a habitat for microbes with a head full of viral memes? That is an unsatisfactory hypothesis but it fits all the available data. On that note I think I will take my illusion of free will and make some reservations at the Grizzly Creek State Park for Friday night and check my camping gear. After all one fantasy is as valid as another in the many worlds of the Radmul universe.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Teusday blurb

Took a great ride today in the sunshine. Planning a trip south for later in the week maybe out hwy 36. Haven’t been out that way in about 5 years that would be fun.
I have once again wasted some time arguing against superstition in the bloggophere. I will continue to do so even though I know it is pointless. Just as I am arguing for Senator Obama to adopt the right position on every issue. Currently it is on the issue of FISA and warrantless wiretaps and gathering of emails for data mining. Once he promised to fight it he should keep his word. The thing that has kept Democrats from winning with many of what the media calls low information voters is the unwillingness to stand on principle. Not what the issue is, if they knew about issues they wouldn’t be in that group but once the meme that you are untrustworthy is out it is tough to put back in the bottle. The switch from advocating public financing to opting out has already damaged him so now playing politics with the 4th amendment makes him look like a liar, pragmatist means nothing to the undecided. They don’t know what it means and they do not believe in it.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Wave whining Radmul

The first day of summer found me in a foul mood with the Congress voting away our right not to be spied upon by our government and funding the war without withdrawing the troops. The Congress is holding hearings on torture that the president seems to have authorized. I was reading the news and the blogs and listened to this speech by Martin King and decided that I needed to run for the border or at least the beach. The ride was nice, no wind for a change and nature provided a spectacular light show and thunder storm at night. Thought that I would share a few pictures and some video, sorry but the actual lightning shots didn't turn out but the cloud video is on youTube at the radmul page.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thursday in the dumps with Radmul

Have been busy with the housework and mundane tasks as well as body recovery the last few days, sorry for no new posts. When I feel like crap I just don’t do much in the way of creativity and tend to fall into a depressive rut. Plotting another trip south, debating whether or not to fight the crowds that will be at the music festivals that are upcoming in Benbow and Laytonville. In addition Don has been less able than usual so I don’t want to go off until he is getting around better. I think I will hit the beach Friday and clear out the cobwebs. Keeping the training up doing a minimum of 10 miles a day except for yesterday when I did laundry.
The other thing bumming me has been on the politics front. With the primary season over it has now become apparent that the media is in the tank for the corporations and the story is going to be that the dems are evil tax and spend flip floppers and that whatever talking points come from the right wing will be the story. We have the need for independent media in America but I have no Idea where it will come from. The internet should have been that source but it seems to be turning into an echo chamber . I read and comment on the Dailykos and the Huffington post as well as tripping thru the blogrolls on those sites and see a disturbing trend. These communities tolerate dissent about as much as the church. Try pointing out that Tim Russert is not a good journalist in the midst of his promotion to saint hood or that Keith Olbermann is a bit of a dick for attacking anyone that points out the sexist treatment of Hillary Clinton by the media and you are branded a troll or worse. I am way too far to the left to support Clinton but the mainstream treated her as a second class citizen as it tends to treat all women and I call bullshit when I see it. My problem with the Russert crap is that he knew the truth about the Plame lies coming from the White House and about the WMD crap VP Dickhead was selling but to protect his income and friendships he kept quiet and thousands of people are dead because of it. If you are complicit in the launching of an illegal war you are scum I don’t care if you were nice to your dad and kids. You are supposed to take care of your own kids so you get no points for that from me. The country is in trouble and as I have pointed out here and elsewhere I see no chance that we are willing to change. The democrats are not much better that the current scum running the country as they will continue to spend trillions on weapons and a pittance on education. They have already caved on universal healthcare and as I write this they are selling us out on immunity for the telecommunication industry for warrentless wiretaps.
A two star general has come out and stated that the president is a war criminal for torturing detainees but the media is spending its time talking about little girls that want to have babies. The desire to drill more holes and burn more carbon rather than change our consumer culture and conserve permeates the airwaves. This rant has gone on long enough so I will close and say to all, “good night and good fracking luck.”

Monday, June 16, 2008

test mess

I am trying to set up some entertainment here for you guys but not working to well yet. Check back to see if it works.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Radmul on the halfshell

Took a nice ride to Arcata to attend the Oyster fest. The smells were wonderful, the weather cool and crisp but in the end I was a little bummed. In the past they have had art and drawing on the sidewalks in chalk with music and it was a festival. Today was just a bunch of mass consumption yuppies standing on line for $5 beers and assembly line munchies. They seem to have succeeded in killing the soul of the square with a cop on every corner and it saddens me immensely. I shot some video and took a few pics then headed out to Manila to watch the birds fly and smell the dunes.

Friday, June 13, 2008

regional Radmul

The country is made up of many different regions. It is one of the ways we get our identity and in America identity is a big thing. I am a Californian, not by anything I did I just happen to be born here by a stroke of luck but it is part of my in group. It means something to be in that group just as being southern or western or a Yankee means something. Part of that meaning is derived from regional art. If you ever have the chance to travel through the Pennsylvania Dutch country you will see the hex signs painted on barns, very cool art for the fertility of the farm. In the Radmul region of the moment it is chainsaw art. Up and down the north coast of Cali carving stumps into cool stuff for the tourists is one way an artist can make a buck in an environment that because of limited transportation has little economic development. This is a region that derived its wealth from the exploitation of resources and once the trees were cut and the river fisheries screwed up the economy went into the crapper. The growing of pot has provided a positive cash flow with mixed effect. Criminal activity is probably not the best way to build a sustainable life style, but I digress.
As I ride through the towns and parks of the coast I try to take in the local art and remember how it was when I was a kid and how what gets made has changed over the years. There are still lots of bears and fish but some of the kitchy stuff from my youth has been replaced by dragons and unicorns. Of course Paul and Babe the blue ox are still there but now they have been joined by space aliens in Crescent city. Here are a few examples of the regional redwood art and some Aliens to boot. More can be found here and here on my photo storage sites. Hope you enjoy and someday get the chance to see them in person.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Radmul Rounds a corner

I am resting up today and must confess I am in a huge amount of pain. 7 days, 200 miles and 10,000 feet of climbing have worn me out but that is a good thing. Last time I went north it only took 4 days to put me in the same condition so while I am not ready to hit the road for the east coast yet I am getting stronger each trip and seeing some spectacular scenery in the bargain. A lot of the time I spend buckling down to fight the wind or trying to pull the next hill but that is only a small part of the experience. Most of the time though I am cruising along listening to music or the sounds of the woods and wondering what will come up around the next corner. this trip was no exception as around the corner was an amazing sight. I had just pulled the first big hill of the day and was coasting down the other side. 1000ft plus so it qualified as a mountain but just barely. the morning had been gray and misty wet but coming down into Klamath the sun came out and I stopped for a massive hot chocolate at the Pew Mia fuel stop run by the Yurok tribe to warm up. With a few more miles I moved away from the river and back to the coast and a spectacular scene. The rocks and the beach with a pounding surf, blue water and blue sky with a few wisps of clouds racing across the sky in a driving wind. The mountains loomed with another 1400 foot climb up to Mill Creek with the coastal redwoods and old growth but I had to savor that spot on the beech. Even being right on the highway the ocean smell was overwhelming in this little cove. There must be one hell of an undertow based on how the 6 to 7 ft surf was pounding and I doubt if many folks have been foolish enough to swim at this lonely spot on the north coast. For those that never have the chance to see the pacific you have my sympathy and I hope this video can convey a bit of the energy I get from spots like this. Later in the trip I rounded a corner to find a small herd of Roosevelt Elk Bulls grazing and that video is in the post from June 10th. I have yet to plan the next trip, probably going to head south to the Napa Valley and the wine country, but wherever the road takes me I will look forward to what is around the next corner. Click the link above to see my first impression of the spot on youtube, here is the same spot on the way back.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Some Elk Bulls

The first Video from the trip to Crescent City. Two hundred miles round trip it wore my ass out but the scenery was great and the wildlife cooperated as this vid testifies to. The roadkill report showed it to be a bad week for rocky raccoon. Twelve of them one so bloated it must have been five times normal size. A few deer a sparrow sized bird one domestic cat round out the carnage. On the live front I did much better. Whales two gray and one humpback out at Patrick's point two sea lions and some brown pelicans while I was waiting on the whales. A redtailed hawk a few buzzards and an angry jay. The California Jay was pissed about something as he was scolding me while I had lunch. The pictures will be up at photo bucket in the next few days but I am sore and worn out from the ride so a recovery day is needed before I get everything up.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Mystery tree munch

Just a quick post from the road. Heading south from Crescent City and stopped to eat at the Trees of Mystery in Klamath. Blackberry pancakes and tons of coffee. Cold foggy day with thousands of feet of up and down. Been a fantastic trip so far now out to try and find a whale.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Stream of Radmul Consciousness

Will head north again after casting my vote in the election tomorrow. I plan to get an early start and will be out for about eight days. From the look of it. WiFi is limited so I do not know how many updates I can post from the road but I will do what I can. The plan is to push hard for distance each day with the Oregon border or bust the theme of this adventure. Not sure what bust would be lets hope I don’t find out. In the meantime here is a little stream of nonsense for your perusal, the type of things that run through my head as I search for answers in the world of Ideas. I will try to figure out what happens to our friend Mr. Dunbar along the way. Feel free to send any questions or even better any answers you might have my way. or comment below. Enjoy your week I know I will enjoy mine.
Does my pessimism derive from my deterministic view of the world? Why do people think they have a choice? The empirical evidence all points against it. Why do people not realize that the choices made are generally not the result of a freely made choice. How do we decide whom to hold responsible for something and whom to absolve from guilt. Group evolution how does this play into holding people responsible? Deciding which norms are valid based on how getting rid of them effects the norm is that a valid argument for discrimination? I would argue no. Justifying the oppression of the one for the favor of the many must be based on the premise of the burden of proof being on the discriminator. You should be required to show that my wanting to do something you don’t like harms you in some way before you get to arbitrarily prohibit it even if now allowing it may damage the existing norm. Even if you could demonstrate some harm to marriage between a man and a woman deriving from the legalizing of gay marriage it still does not justify the discrimination. Why is your life more valuable than another’s that is the crux of the argument. If you take the position that the societal benefit outweighs the harm done to the minority how can you argue against extending that principle to everything. Is this just an academic argument with no value as we have no choice in the matter? Did the big bang produce homophobia? I would contend that the belief in an afterlife leads the discriminators to self justify their bigoted behavior. The mistaken concept that in the next life the underdog will get his happiness allows them to deny the victim their full pursuit of happiness. In the here and now. This destructive meme must be abolished.
The concept of an idea being viral in nature I find intriguing. The idea that language is a reproducing entity that an idea works to ensure its own survival for good or ill. These questions need further investigation. Some thoughts in support of memes, like genes that change over time due to minor modification, descent with modification is the actual term for evolution, language is passed down with minor changes over time some good some ill. The lower brain and higher brain operate differently to some extent independently of each other. Did the cerebral cortex evolve in conjunction with memes, is our higher brain simply a meme machine? This concept is harder to falsify the it appears on the surface, try to prove that fire is not alive. It is self replicating, it uses energy consuming oxygen and giving off CO2 much as we do and so on. Makes for an interesting thought experiment. In Darwinian terms what is the survival advantage to being able to engage in abstract thought like philosophy in the first place? The history of everything is such a tough nut to crack. We have the basics but the details are still as mysterious in some ways as they were to the first being that was capable of asking itself , “Why am I here?”.
Even in that there are more questions than answers, or so it would seem. There is research being done with bonobos, a form of ape, that indicates that they are self aware. They take care of their dead to some extent or at least they seem to feel the loss at the death of their young. They use tools, learn from and teach each other and use sex as a social instrument. Bonobos are the only animal other than us that has been observed enjoying sex in the 69 position, both hetero and homo. The harder one looks the less unique the human animal turns out to be.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Rhoadies from the Rode

Went out with lots of Questions about the larger picture. Am I a pessimist because I believe in determinism? Is the big bang responsible for Homophobia? What the hell is going to happen to Dunbar? Found no answers but I did find a few flowers to brighten my day. Thought I would share a few with you guys.