Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

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Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby Spoffin » Sun Feb 17, 2008 11:08 pm UTC

The Panama Canal
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Someone looked at the world and went, "y-know what? It'd be better if we didn't have to go all the way round South America", and then someone else went out and made it happen. Possibly the most ambitious engineering project ever, and there's just something a bit, I dunno, human about the accomplishment. Changing the world, so that it better suits us.

Anyway, this isn't really a thread about the Panama Canal, its a thread about things which are kinda cool. Make your case, and maybe we'll have a poll.
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby orangeperson » Mon Feb 18, 2008 12:25 am UTC

Music.
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Why is it so nice? It just is. Notes put together randomly aren't so good. What makes specific notes better? That they follow a specific scale, but why do we like that scale? What attracts us to it?

The panama canal is pretty cool too. You can't walk from North to South America anymore, for Northern values of North America.
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby Robin S » Mon Feb 18, 2008 12:31 am UTC

On the subject of music, I find it quite cool that while tonality and so forth isn't really universal, rhythm is. Certain rhythmic motifs turn up in native and popular music from around the world.
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby Spoffin » Mon Feb 18, 2008 1:17 am UTC

orangeperson wrote:Music.
Image
Why is it so nice? It just is. Notes put together randomly aren't so good. What makes specific notes better? That they follow a specific scale, but why do we like that scale? What attracts us to it?

The panama canal is pretty cool too. You can't walk from North to South America anymore, for Northern values of North America.
Music's a good one. It may actually be a bit better than just "kinda cool", but its definitely something. I like the way that between a note and the next one up, there isn't anything that sounds right. And that that "sounds right" thing works for like, everyone, and its tied into maths (you double the length of the string or the size of the jar and you get the same note an octave lower, etc).
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby Robin S » Mon Feb 18, 2008 1:43 am UTC

Spoffin wrote:
orangeperson wrote:I like the way that between a note and the next one up, there isn't anything that sounds right. And that that "sounds right" thing works for like, everyone, and its tied into maths (you double the length of the string or the size of the jar and you get the same note an octave lower, etc).
I'm not sure. What "sounds right" depends on context, and quarter-tones, notebending etc. are fairly widespread.
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby liza » Mon Feb 18, 2008 1:56 am UTC

I like the premise of this thread.
Okay, prepare for the obvious answer:
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The internet.
I mean, it's the epitome of communication. I can get almost any fact in an instant, verify it in another. We can live in an age of no misinformation (of course, we don't and probably won't, but the possibility is there!). Plus, I can have an instant conversation with all of you even though you are probably thousands of miles away. I can meet people on the other side of the country, on the other side of the world. That's neat!

Alternatively:
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Microwaves. I mean, how great is quickly-cooked food?! Very. It keeps me from starving!
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby Spoffin » Mon Feb 18, 2008 1:58 am UTC

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The Fibonacci Series

"... and add the last two numbers you thought of"

Cool cos you find it showing up in unrelated maths stuff as well as in nature, you can draw pictures with it if you've got some time to kill, and cos it gets closer and closer to approximating φ (an irrational number even cooler than pi).
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby DaMullet » Mon Feb 18, 2008 3:26 am UTC

Not cooler, but at least slightly more obscure (and thus more closely associated with Nerdcore culture). I'd have to say puns are kinda cool. They really only work in the language in which they were written, so you can't tell your French friend about the court jester who wasn't hung (because no noose is good news) without majorly rehauling the joke.
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby '; DROP DATABASE;-- » Mon Feb 18, 2008 5:00 am UTC

The pocket may be the best invention ever. We all use it pretty much all day every day. It makes life much more convenient. It's such a good idea that you practically can't buy pants without pockets, because nobody would want them. Just anywhere at any time you can store stuff, go somewhere, and retrieve it later.

(And with wifi and cellular, you can have a device with an Internet browser in your pocket, and use it at just about any time! :P)
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby protocoach » Mon Feb 18, 2008 6:41 am UTC

Human hands are really freaking cool. There is virtually nothing you can't do with hands and human ingenuity. You can accomplish any task, and what you can't directly accomplish, you can build stuff to overcome it. The hands are like an orchestra in perfect harmony, tens of muscles, tendons, and bones, firing in unison to create the world around us. Hands are versatile enough to act as weapons or to sculpt masterpieces. We use them as sensory organs, we use them to communicate, we use them to interact with everyone and everything around us. You can have entire conversations with your hands, no sign language necessary. And beyond the versatility of the hands themselves, there is a whole world of symbolism and meanings built up around the hands. We can use hands to literally speak, through sign language. Clasping hands is how we show that we are in agreement. Hands signal victory, anger, pleasure, displeasure, and nervousness. People's hands tell the stories of their lives. Our hands are where we put our indicators: rings, watches, bracelets. I am single; I am available; I am wealthy; I am frugal; I am vain; I am simple; I work on computers; I work in a ditch. Scars and callouses have stories behind them.

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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby Spoffin » Mon Feb 18, 2008 6:44 am UTC

I feel a couple of these should be in the category labelled "fucking awesome" and not just "kinda cool". But carry on.
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby Durinthal » Mon Feb 18, 2008 7:05 am UTC

Cameras and photography.
Image

Sure, we've been capable of drawing or sketching things for thousands of years. Cameras allowed us to take a real, instant image of a place, person, or thing. You no longer needed to have artistic talent or a great memory, just a device to capture a moment in time.


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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby ducknerd » Mon Feb 18, 2008 7:44 am UTC

Memory is cool. It lets people build something out of their life in addition to just living it. You can compare things to other things, make connections... really, all cognitive function absolutely requires a memory.
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby Hawknc » Mon Feb 18, 2008 8:09 am UTC

protocoach wrote:No, I'm not high, but this is something I've thought about in the past.

They call 'em fingers, but I never see them fing.



...Oh wait, there they go.

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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby noparenthesis » Mon Feb 18, 2008 8:30 am UTC

Language, both written and spoken. I guess it's another thing that falls more into the category of "fuckawesome," not "kinda cool," but whatever.

These little arbitrary marks that you're reading stand for sounds that, on their own, are equally meaningless. Somehow we manage to communicate everything from basic needs to our deepest passions to the most abstract concepts using these squawks and grunts and lines in the sand. The variety of squawks that we as a species have come up with is amazing, too. The way they spread and evolve over time, and how some die and some flourish--how did we luck into this ability? If there's life on other planets, what is language like for them? Will we ever decipher the languages of animals here on earth? I mean, whales sing their language, and bees dance theirs... Language is my personal nomination for the coolest fucking thing ever.

Also, without language, we wouldn't have swear words, and then where would I be?
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby Fossa » Mon Feb 18, 2008 8:42 am UTC

Puns? Really? They are the lowest form of humor, and your example simply proves that they're also one of the least accessible forms of humor since they are incredibly specific to the language.

I loathe puns.

They are not "kinda cool".

Everything else on the list is awesome.

To add to it, pretty much everything Tesla did was kinda cool, particularly inventing and spreading AC power generation/transmission/consumption. If it were up to Edison we'd be fucked as far as electricity is concerned.

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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby LE4dGOLEM » Mon Feb 18, 2008 4:42 pm UTC

noparenthesis wrote:Language, both written and spoken. I guess it's another thing that falls more into the category of "fuckawesome," not "kinda cool," but whatever.

These little arbitrary marks that you're reading stand for sounds that, on their own, are equally meaningless. Somehow we manage to communicate everything from basic needs to our deepest passions to the most abstract concepts using these squawks and grunts and lines in the sand. The variety of squawks that we as a species have come up with is amazing, too. The way they spread and evolve over time, and how some die and some flourish--how did we luck into this ability? If there's life on other planets, what is language like for them? Will we ever decipher the languages of animals here on earth? I mean, whales sing their language, and bees dance theirs... Language is my personal nomination for the coolest fucking thing ever.

Also, without language, we wouldn't have swear words, and then where would I be?


Punctuation's pretty cool.
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby theonlyjett » Mon Feb 18, 2008 5:03 pm UTC

This one depends on language and includes the internet. Global communication systems. From letter delivery to the telegraph, the telephone, radio (CBs, two-ways, etc.), public radio broadcasting, television, and now, of course, the internet. I know that the word "singularity" is sorta taken for self-improving A.I., but I definitely see global communication systems as another singularity of sorts. It has changed the world and continues to do so exponentially.

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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby diotimajsh » Mon Feb 18, 2008 6:56 pm UTC

'; DROP DATABASE;-- wrote:The pocket may be the best invention ever. We all use it pretty much all day every day. It makes life much more convenient. It's such a good idea that you practically can't buy pants without pockets, because nobody would want them. Just anywhere at any time you can store stuff, go somewhere, and retrieve it later.

Incidentally, this doesn't really apply too well for girls, since girl pockets generally speaking have a capacity of nil. So when you say, "we all," you're actually only counting about half the population =P.

(Well, you could argue that purses have pockets inside them, after a fashion...)
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Feb 18, 2008 6:59 pm UTC

Also, there are girlpants that have no pockets, just a thing sewn on to give the impression that there are pockets. Like on a cheap sportscoat.

I don't get it either.
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby Robin S » Mon Feb 18, 2008 7:00 pm UTC

And handbags? I don't get the handbag phenomenon. I think they deserve a thread of their own, to be honest.
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Feb 18, 2008 7:04 pm UTC

Anyway, back to the point of this thread...


Eyes. For the limited amount of spectrum we can see, the mere fact that we have organs that take reflected light and convert that light into millions of shades of color based on how much was absorbed/reflected poorly by the object in question and can use that information to find our way around friggen astounds me.

Of course, more astounding is the amount of information that we cannot perceive....

Is it so wrong to want to see Microwaves, Radiowaves, Infrared, Ultraviolet, Gamma rays, and X-rays?
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby Puzzlemaker » Mon Feb 18, 2008 7:08 pm UTC

Fossa wrote:Puns? Really? They are the lowest form of humor, and your example simply proves that they're also one of the least accessible forms of humor since they are incredibly specific to the language.

I loathe puns.

They are not "kinda cool".

Everything else on the list is awesome.

To add to it, pretty much everything Tesla did was kinda cool, particularly inventing and spreading AC power generation/transmission/consumption. If it were up to Edison we'd be fucked as far as electricity is concerned.


I dunno, I think they are kinda punny.

You do need to stop railing on him, though. You really PUNished him, did he deserve that?
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Mon Feb 18, 2008 9:48 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Anyway, back to the point of this thread...


Eyes. For the limited amount of spectrum we can see, the mere fact that we have organs that take reflected light and convert that light into millions of shades of color based on how much was absorbed/reflected poorly by the object in question and can use that information to find our way around friggen astounds me.

Of course, more astounding is the amount of information that we cannot perceive....

Is it so wrong to want to see Microwaves, Radiowaves, Infrared, Ultraviolet, Gamma rays, and X-rays?


I have this theory that eventually, when artificial retinas exist (and I can get a new one for my left eye, damn eye trauma) we'll equip them to see more of the EM spectrum. Because quite honestly, it'd be really freaking awesome.
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby Detritus » Mon Feb 18, 2008 10:08 pm UTC

orangeperson wrote:Music.

I give it a 6.8.

Sailboats on the other hand are pretty cool when you think about it.
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby Gladjaframpf » Mon Feb 18, 2008 10:15 pm UTC

Spoffin wrote:Cool cos you find it showing up in unrelated maths stuff as well as in nature, you can draw pictures with it if you've got some time to kill, and cos it gets closer and closer to approximating φ (an irrational number even cooler than pi).

Mathematical constants in general are pretty damn cool. One time I was bored in math class and decided to see where the maximum of the function y = x^(1/x) would be. All I had was a pocket calculator, so I tested a couple of values. I found that it was somewhere between 2 and 3. So I thought to myself, "What's a significant number between 2 and 3?" Sure enough, it was e.

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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Feb 18, 2008 10:25 pm UTC

Flasks. Now I can take my happy juice with me!

Public transit.
Pneumatic tubes.
Construction cranes (i can't stop looking up at them)
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby Cheese » Mon Feb 18, 2008 11:07 pm UTC

Is 'Curiosity' too vague?

If it is, then I'm going to put my vote on the wheel, clichéd as it is. Sorry, but I have no inspirational ideas right now...
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby audoue » Mon Feb 18, 2008 11:12 pm UTC

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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby SteaL7h » Mon Feb 18, 2008 11:16 pm UTC

Airplanes.

Even with internet, the world would be NOTHING if we didn't had the widespread use of airplanes to transport goods and people.

Can you imagine buying something from China and expecting to receive it in 3+ months?

Can you imagine taking days to travel from East to West coast?
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby Cheese » Mon Feb 18, 2008 11:20 pm UTC

SteaL7h wrote:Can you imagine buying something from China and expecting to receive it in 3+ months?

Can you imagine taking days to travel from East to West coast?
Yeah, I'm fine with waiting and travelling... I spend far too much time in just a few rooms (kitchen, this one with computer/TV/console(s), bedroom), and like new places. And anticipation is great fun (although admittedly it strengthens the disappointment if something's not right...).
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby Spoffin » Tue Feb 19, 2008 12:29 am UTC

Cheese wrote:Is 'Curiosity' too vague?

If it is, then I'm going to put my vote on the wheel, clichéd as it is. Sorry, but I have no inspirational ideas right now...

No, curiousity is a brilliant one!

The wheel, on the other hand, is undeniably very useful, but I don't really think its cool. I mean, if you are really impressed by the wheel and you just spend time thinking sometimes "Wheels... fuck yeah!", then fine, but to me its mostly just useful.
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby Spoffin » Tue Feb 19, 2008 12:50 am UTC

SteaL7h wrote:Airplanes.

Even with internet, the world would be NOTHING if we didn't had the widespread use of airplanes to transport goods and people.

Can you imagine buying something from China and expecting to receive it in 3+ months?

Can you imagine taking days to travel from East to West coast?

I'm not sure airplanes do it for me, but there is a related and more tragic one

Concorde
Image
Kinda cool cos, although it was ultimately pretty impractical, it was awesome. London to New York in three hours, at twice the speed of sound. Think of it this way, if you could shout "Its coming!" across the length of the Atlantic ocean, it would be there before the other person heard you. That's kinda cool. Also, with a three hour flight time and a five hour time difference, you can see two sunsets in the same day if you time it right. And we don't have it anymore. Which is kinda sad.
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby shinybaby » Tue Feb 19, 2008 3:31 am UTC

@ST: i'm totally with you about the eyes... so unbelievably cool!
also, our other senses are pretty cool too... and the brain's ability to translate and filter sensory data... kinda mind boggling when i think about it!
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby Namaps » Tue Feb 19, 2008 3:47 am UTC

Spoffin wrote:Someone looked at the world and went, "y-know what? It'd be better if we didn't have to go all the way round South America", and then someone else went out and made it happen. Possibly the most ambitious engineering project ever, and there's just something a bit, I dunno, human about the accomplishment. Changing the world, so that it better suits us.

Anyway, this isn't really a thread about the Panama Canal, its a thread about things which are kinda cool. Make your case, and maybe we'll have a poll.


To be honest, I think the Panama Canal is a horrible, horrible example, considering its history (i.e., all the French and U.S. political manipulation necessary to bring it into existence.) It's kind of like citing meth as an example of human ingenuity in chemistry, or robber barons as examples of great efficiency. Sure, they make for good examples, but they don't exactly have the connotations necessary for something to be awe-inspiring.


Regardless, I would personally give agriculture as my addition to the list. I mean, from a modern perspective it seems quite simple, but if you think about it, what was there to tell early man HOW plants came to be?
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby protocoach » Tue Feb 19, 2008 6:06 am UTC

audoue wrote:Image

Paintball, freaking awsome :D

Absolutely true.
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby Zak » Tue Feb 19, 2008 6:12 am UTC

The whole thing that stuff reflects light. And that this handy little thing gave us our primary organs of perception. And how stuff is colored based on how well it reflects light.

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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby Dark Ragnarok » Tue Feb 19, 2008 6:46 am UTC

Not that many people see it like I do... but Djing. Seriously. It's like watching a painter paint his masterpiece live and you see it live from start to finish and they're purposely moving you from one feel to another with each stroke. You won't know for sure what will come out of it, or where it will end. Each stroke just adds another piece to the whole picture. Being surrounded by the same people who love the art as much as you do, and seeing everyone being orchestrated by possibly the most compelling art form alive, and to experience time losing all essence and becoming a fabric for the art itself. It sticks to your mind as something that no one can ever fully recreate or experience in the same way again. Each piece being something both personal and shared. It's also more beautiful to know that it's somethng that most people will never really understand or experience, but there's enough that it makes it like an underground movement, that goes both nowhere and everywhere, with no true purpose but to just live for the moment. No matter what, whether the set is anything from 5 hours to just 30 min, a good Dj can really bring meaning to the true feel of music, not to mention the ones who know how to make a set feel like a single song versus a conjoined mix of songs, just further adds to it.

Er yea carried away. I still never fail to get blown away by ASOT 209, and Sharpnel Live at Happy Dynamite, or Pendulum Essential Mix, or Sasha live at the Liquid Rooms (Part 2).

Er yea i'm done.

/Rave
Last edited by Dark Ragnarok on Tue Feb 19, 2008 7:01 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Zak
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Re: Y-know what I think is kinda cool?

Postby Zak » Tue Feb 19, 2008 6:57 am UTC

That was more of a "/rave" than a "/rant"
*waggles eyebrows*


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