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Smile.jpg

Well, this looks bad.

The newest incarnation of smile.jpg

One of the strangest things about the internet are the stories that pop up in relation to it.  Of all the internet stories that I’ve ever heard – ranging from posting 10 comments to a youtube video to get a kiss from your crush to instant messaging 25 people with a rhyme in order to not get killed by a vengeful blind ghost – the one that has stuck with me for a long, long while was that of Smile.jpg – or better known now as… Smile.dog.

Smile.dog is a piece of what has become colloquially known as “creepypasta.”  Creepypasta is commonly a short anecdote that passes around the internet being claimed as real – what sets it apart from other anecdotes is that it is commonly accompanied by a picture or formatted in such a way as to emphasize the whole experience of reading it – much like the book House of Leaves if one thinks about it.

Smile.dog’s story consists of a classic horror set-up – an amateur writer visits the house of a lady who supposedly has a story for which he can borrow from.  Rather than speak, however, the lady has locked herself up in her room, crying and ranting about nightmares and visions and various other problems.  All of these center around a floppy disk she had been given that contain the image smile.jpg – which is smile.dog.  Other cases of this have cropped up…

Viewing this image incites insanity, and no copy of the exact image exists on the web though likenesses of it do.  The true image of smile.jpg is recognized due to the effect it has on the viewer – that is, they wind up dead.  Attaching the file – that is, spreading the word, is the only way to save oneself from the smile.dog that appears in one’s dreams demanding to spread the word.  Some say that the original legend began with an image of the devil.

What is it, then, about smile.dog that sticks with the reader?  Reading it late at night in the dark and alone… seeing the haunting image of the original(?) or at least close to the original image..  it incites a sort of morbid hypnosis that makes one want to believe in it in a way.  Why not torture oneself for a little and believe an urban legend for the shear adrenaline rush it produces?

Why not spread the word a little, oneself?  After all, how much hurt could it do?

smile.dog

Original Smile.Dog

We can have Forums!

Alright, dear Readers, I have an announcement to make.  We have, for us, the addition of some forums.  Feel free to go and register if you’d like.  This will allow for better contact and more discussion.

All the topics discussed here are available, as are more topics, etc. and if ever you want something specific addressed – just ask.

In addition, there is a Contact section where you can feel free to suggest topics for future posts if there is anything you would like to have me address in the future.  🙂

EDIT:  Upon realizing that the previous site was being very unfair to its members and requiring them to register for “offers” I have decided to relocate to here.

The link above has also been fixed.

Dead Dog Blues?

Suicide Bridge

The Overtoun Bridge

The Overtoun Bridge, located in Scotland, is a spot of intrigue and mystery to many.  It was built in 1892, and though it is a beautiful piece of architecture the reason it is primarily so well known now is due to the high number of suicides that jump off the bridge each year.  Many bridges can boast a high suicide rate, though… what makes this one different is that it isn’t humans taking the leap – it’s dogs.

Some papers have reported a little over 50 dogs having taken the leap in a single year, most report more.  The only consensus is that all of the breeds are long-nosed breeds.  If the lack of intent is questioned, there are accounts of dogs leaping off of this bridge to the rocks below and surviving – only to run back up to the bridge and make the leap again.  To make matters stranger, the jumps are all made from almost the identical spot.  Why would these dogs do this?  Different reasons have been given.

To get the strangest one out of the way first, it has been proposed as a psychic hot spot.. some evil force is compelling the dogs to jump.  Psychics have been brought in and reported no ill-findings, though.  Given, they did keep their dogs leashed and the dogs that leapt were under no such safety measure.   Even leashed dogs, though, have tugged at this spot.. that indicates something different going on, and something with a far more natural explanation.

The best explanation that I have heard is that there is an abundance of mink in the area.  The breeds being long-nosed would indicate a specialty in olfaction, so they would have a higher probability to pick up the strong scent.  Dogs lack the same sophisticated depth perception that we have, so perhaps they are making the leap thinking that they are just jumping across a small expanse to something more level?  When viewed from a lower center the bridge does look just like a normal garden path.

Although the explanation is not perfect it is the most logical I have read.  Anyone have any other ideas of how to explain this strange phenomenon?

What is a Primate?

-Assistance in writing this entry was given by a friend in WA.  E-mail or PM for further details.

A primate is a member of the mammal class that is characterized by certain biological features such as decreased olfaction, unique forms of teeth, stereoscopic vision, and the unique evolution of their grasping appendages.  Mammals are a unique class, as they include both homo sapiens and their closest relatives, chimpanzees, gorillas, and even tapiers and lemurs.  Physical anthropologists, in particular, take a great interest in studying primates and that field is known as primatology.

The first feature that differs between primates and other mammals is the advent of a shortened snout.  The increased size of primate’s brains tends to increase the ocular lobe with a decrease for the area meant for olfaction.  The reason behind this is the increased focus upon vision that is found within the primate class.  While other mammals more highly developed their sense of smell – primarily in order to help in pheromone detection (the scent molecules that are used as mating signals, trails, etc.) – the primates developed beyond a tri-color visual field and thus lost the need for the elongated snout and the brain space needed to process this raw data.

The decreased area for olfaction was caused mainly by the increased importance placed upon vision within the primates.  One of the key ways to recognizing a primate is by their forward-facing eyes, an advantageous change which further allowed for stereoscopic vision.  Stereoscopic vision is the ability of the brain to compensate for the lack of crossover within vision by inventing the images itself.  This is a trait that is especially unique to primates, and one that allows for better manipulation of the world around the creature itself.

To further help manipulate the world around them, primates were given elongated grasping appendages.  Elongated fingers and toes, mixed with stereoscopic vision, created a world in which the primates could interact with the environment in an effective manner.  Elongated arms in the apes further allowed for tree-top exploration and better hiding spots from predators which increased the ability to reproduce successfully and grow to maturity.

The final advent that allowed for primates to be great innovators was the changes within their teeth.  Incisors for biting and canines for shearing allowed the primates to subsist on a carnivorous diet.  The premolars and molars helped aid in herbivorous food consumption, while also helping to break food into digestible packages which increased the nutritional efficiency.  This allows for an omnivorous, nearly opportunistic diet that would create adaptability within the species.

The study of primates is more important than people often realize, as it helps us understand where it was that human beings evolved from.  Understanding the past is important for taking full advantage of what the future can offer us.  Becoming aware of how it is that other creatures perceive the world can help us learn better ways to process information.  Unlocking clues about how various elements evolved would also help us understand how to better fight modern problems with lack of development, or abnormal development and perhaps even help us overcome them.

Mythology Vs. Science

Mythology is often cited as being the precursor to science, in much the same way that alchemy is viewed as a precursor to chemistry.  The reason for both practices being viewed in such a way is that both sought to make sense of a world that was often random and confusing.  Mythology sought to understand through stories – alchemy sought to understand the properties of things so as to control and change them.  Scientific?  In a sense.  Were these precursors to science, however?  I would beg to say no,  for a variety of reasons.

Science is based off of empirical evidence.  Science seeks to explain and control in a logical, reasonable manner.  It is a process, and an admirable one at that which has developed into a way of life in modern times.  Conversely, mythology consists of stories that seek to explain.  The reality of situations rarely effected the presumed reality of the myth – it did not matter how the women were turned to stone, what mattered was that it did happen and that the stones are there to show for it.

If mythology does not truly explain situations – only seeks to and serves as a way to remember – then how is it that it stays so strongly with us?  The strength of myth is exactly within its medium.  Myth allows us to recall stories rather than hard facts, it allows us to remember the characters for we empathize with them.  Science is difficult as it relies on a dryness that myths immediately surpass by the very nature of their drama.

Furthermore, scientific society demands specialization.  People become compartmentalized as what I know may be different than what someone else does.  This isolation is extremely apparent in everyday life now.  In a myth based society it is uniquely possible for everyone to know everything at a single time.  Societies that depend upon oral traditional are communal for this very purpose – everybody knows everything and thus there is no reason why someone should be unable to converse.  Creativity is celebrated and abilities are recognized, but they are understood.

A return to myth based society is impossible, but the lessons behind it are easy to incorporate in education today.  A well spoken story to explain a concept is infinitely more effective than a simple recitation of facts.  The specialties that exist can at least be minutely understood if explained correctly.  It would be interesting to see what could be done if these concepts were correctly executed.

Wherever You May Be Wandering

Today is the birthday of the late, great, Townes Van Zandt. Although the man never gained the omnipresent popularity of artists such as Woody Guthrie or Bob Dylan, he insinuated himself in his own way. Although many do not know him by name, they know his writing through the covers of artists such as Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, and Lyle Lovett. Townes enjoyed a cult following in his lifetime, even as he struggled to keep his own recordings in print.

Townes’ power however, is something entirely different from a catchy tune from a few notes strung together. His power is even greater than a clever line. The power of Townes Van Zandt resides in the feeling evoked from his poetry. It arises from the emotions that his melodies never fail to invoke. Listening to the music of Townes Van Zandt may not be an enjoyable experience (he famously described his songs as being hopeless, not depressing) but rather a transcendental one. Somehow, in the process of learning how to play the blues he instead hit upon a much more primal and transformative emotion.

Growing up, I have always had a penchant for the older music favoring it above the popular music of the day almost exclusively. In listening to Pink Floyd and The Who I learned that music can be something more than a tune to be hummed, it can be a deeply personal and cathartic experience. In listening to The Wall and Quadrophenia, I learned how music can save a life. In listening to Townes Van Zandt, I learned how music can change a soul.

On this, his birthday, I would like to offer up my thanks for what he has done. His life and his music are something that will be cherished for many, many years. Though he may never reach the status of superstar that so many artists strive for, he will always enjoy a more personal and intimate relationship with his listeners than any of the wildly popular artists have. I don’t think that he would have liked the distance that such fame would inevitably bring.

Thank you, Townes Van Zandt and I hope you’re finding everything you want wherever you may be wandering now.