Monday, May 30, 2016

Chimps at the Bar

Today is a holiday, so I scheduled a post with this funny animated GIF that I saw on The Weird Wide Web. Just 2 chimps having a good time at their local bar...

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Teotihuacán’s Lost Kings

Last night I watched an episode of Secrets of the Dead on PBS, about the ancient city of Teotihuacán, located in Mexico.

PBS Secrets of the Dead

One of my favorite topics is the cultures of pre-conquest Mesoamerica, including the Maya, the Aztecs, and Inca peoples.

The origins of the awe-inspiring city of Teotihuacán are still a mystery. Amazingly, it was already ancient when the Aztecs discovered it. The name that they gave the abandoned site, Teotihuacán, means "The Place Where the Gods Were Created". The lost civilization that built the pyramid-lined avenues left behind some of their art & the magnificent architecture, but no written language.

I found the documentary to be very interesting. It was about a recent archaeological find in the city, by Mexican archaeologist Sergio Gomez Chavez.  

After a rainstorm, an area in front of the pyramid known as "The Temple of the Feathered Serpent" fell through, revealing a subterranean shaft. This shaft, which Chavez descended not knowing what he'd find, ended up leading to an underground tunnel. This tunnel extended to the direct central axis of the pyramid above. It was part of a symbolic attempt to connect the heavens, the human realm, and the underworld.

The "Feathered Serpent" was the deity whom the Aztecs called Quetzalcoatl. This dragon-like figure, called Kukulkan by the Maya, represented the combination of earth & sky- a merger of matter & spirit. 

After laborious excavation efforts of the tunnel, many artifacts & secrets about the city were uncovered. Many of the objects found were of ritual significance. It seems like the tunnel was a recreation of the mythological underworld, from which the world was created.

Even before watching the documentary, I had been following this archaeological discovery, interested in the implications for understanding the culture's rituals and spiritual practices. 

One thing I was intrigued by was the reported use of pyrite, or "fool's gold", that was embedded in the walls. From what I read, it sounded like there were small balls of this metallic material placed around the tunnel. 

However, when watching the show, I was glad to see that they elaborated on this & showed that there was actually a granular, reflective dust that was used. The effect in the dark corridor, when lit by torches, was like a sparkling starry sky under the ground. This, combined with the artificial lake that was created at the end of the chamber, gave the impression of visiting the mythical underworld to the priests & pilgrims entering the sacred area.

I'm sure that this mystical setting, along with the psychoactive substances or techniques they undoubtedly used, resulted in a conscious-altering experience- similar to the rites of the Eleusinian Mysteries practiced for thousands of years in Greece.

The spiritual aspects of ancient & indigenous people have always fascinated me. This documentary gave me some insight into the culture of one of the most mysterious sites in the world, and how their mythology shaped their society. I would definitely recommend watching it if you are interested in Mesoamerican history, religions of the world, or human spirituality.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

"Star Wars IV: A New Hope" in One Infographic

On BoingBoing, I came across this amazing piece of art that combines two of my favorite things: Star Wars & graphic design.

Swiss artist Martin Panchaud created an amazing, scrolling infographic that details the entire Star Wars: A New Hope movie. Click the link below to view the entire graphic:

(Star Wars A New Hope)

The exact measurements are a ridiculous 1024 x 465152 pixels / 27 x 12307 cm / 10.6 x 4845.3-inches. If the entire thing were printed out, it would be over 400ft long!

As someone who works in Adobe Illustrator daily and appreciates how complicated detailed art files can become, the scope of this project makes my head spin.

Here is a screenshot of the work in progress- featuring Princess Leia's CR90 Corellian Corvette (the Tantive IV) & its pursuant Imperial Class Star Destroyer:

Here are some of the vector objects he created, to use throughout this truly impressive graphic:

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Solar-Powered Water Desalination

There are many enormous problems that the human race is facing in the near future.

Despite the seeming impossible nature of some of these challenges, I believe that the power of human intelligence has the potential to solve them. Things that once seemed insurmountable can be made trivial by a leap in understanding & technology.

One of these problems is how to feed and supply fresh water to the exploding population. There is an abundance of salt water on Earth, so if we can find a way to convert it to fresh water efficiently & cheaply, it would go a long way to preventing hardship or violence over water shortages.

This idea for a portable solar desalination unit won the 2015 Desal Prize, a contest run by USAID to figure out ways to deal with the looming water crisis.

This is the explanation of the process by David L. Chandler of MIT News:

"Electrodialysis works by passing a stream of water between two electrodes with opposite charges. Because the salt dissolved in water consists of positive and negative ions, the electrodes pull the ions out of the water, Winter says, leaving fresher water at the centre of the flow. A series of membranes separate the freshwater stream from increasingly salty ones."

Here is the link for the webpage associated with the contest:

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Cloud Buddha

I saw this image of The Buddha, as an apparition in the clouds, on the blog, Water people, not grass.

It is an excellent representation of The Buddha's teachings on impermanence & the transience of form.

 "All compounded things are impermanent."

"This life of separateness 
may be compared to a dream, 
a phantasm, a bubble, a shadow, 
a drop of dew, a flash of lightning."

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Spymo Toys

On BoingBoing, I saw this funny "bootleg-style" toy of the actor Bolaji Bodejo, who played the xenomorph from the movie Alien.

 "Alien Man"
Because He Dared to Dream, and Never Stopped Believing

This handmade item is a part of a collection of ridiculous handmade toys from Soler Design in the UK. Here are some of my favorites:

"Cosmic Moron" 
Fully Poseable, Heavily Intoxicated Nuisance of the Spaceways

"Space Seed"
Of course I had to post this astronaut, accompanied by a chimp.  

"JAWS: Bruce"
 No One Knew the Depths of His Pain

 "DMT Warrior: Water Witch"

described by author Philip K. Dick.

Friday, May 13, 2016

"Da Vinci's Challenge" Game- Intro & Story Video

My brother works in video production, and a couple years ago we filmed footage for a possible crowdfunding campaign for the game I created, "Da Vinci's Challenge".

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

He recently edited some of that footage into a short (3:30 min) video, in which I explain the basics of the game play and the history behind the concept.


"Da Vinci's Challenge™" is an award-winning, classic strategy game, based on the ancient wisdom of sacred geometry. The gameboard is the circular design known as 'The Flower of Life' symbol. This ancient geometric pattern has been used in the art & architecture of many cultures around the world, for thousands of years.

I have been looking for ways to bring the game back onto the market, and also develop an electronic version to play on consoles or mobile devices.

Please visit & follow the Facebook page below for more info about the game, sacred geometry, & Leonardo da Vinci. Thank you!

Official Facebook Page :

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Face Swap with Michelangelo's David

I have been having a lot of fun recently with the MSQRD app, especially the "face swap" feature.

At my girlfriend's parents house, they have a small replica of Michelangelo's "David " sculpture. So, of course I had to try to swap faces with it...

American Robin Nest

My brother is a videographer & has filmed some interesting nature footage. He just posted this video of the activity in a robin's nest in his backyard.

He was able to get nice closeup footage of the robins taking care of the nest & their baby birds through the foliage.

One thing that I didn't realize was that the baby birds create fecal sacs, which basically hold their excretions so the parents can remove them & keep the nest clean. Apparently, sometimes the adult birds eat these 'poop sacks' (as we've been calling them). You can see the adult pull one right out of the baby's butt, at about the 2:00 mark.

Despite the subjective grossness of some of it, the life cycles of animals are truly a wondrous phenomenon.

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Chakra Light Animation

On Awakening Our Truth, I saw this animated GIF of one of artist Alex Grey's paintings- showing a meditator with the colored areas of the chakras lit up. The chakras are a conceptual system of naming the energy centers in the body. The clear white light is coming from the pineal gland in the brain, a mysterious light-sensitive organ that is traditionally associated with the mystical third eye.

Our scientific & medical experts would say these chakra energy centers don't really exist. However, despite all their benefits, the institutions of science & medicine have been completely wrong about many things. There is probably a correspondence to these theoretical locations and actual aspects of the anatomy, such as nerve bundles and major organs.

I think the energetic aspects of the body are a vital aspect of our whole being. We tend to concentrate on the physical aspects of health & disease. How energy flows through our body & mind is usually an overlooked aspect of our overall state. Even if the chakra areas & colors don't have an existence that is verifiable by current science, it is an important visualization tool. Perhaps focusing on these areas can cause a feedback loop of positive physiological and psychological effects. There are many secrets the human body has yet to reveal...

Awhile ago, I made a metaphorical series of images, based on the chakra system. It is available as a free PDF ebook, and my post about the series is here:

by Paul Micarelli 

I also made this animated GIF, that cycles through the stages of "Chakra Ascension".

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

"The Problem with the World"

On Geek Universe, I saw this print by Brazilian artist Butcher Billy.

It is a well-dressed ape, in Pop Art style, reciting a quote that has been variously attributed to W.B. Yeats, Bertrand Russell, and Charles Bukowski.

"The problem with the world is that intelligent people are full of doubts, 
while the stupid ones are full of confidence."

by Butcher Billy

Monday, May 02, 2016

Microsoft Encarta Memories

As a graphic designer, I'm always interested in the development of digital art & technology. I saw this article about early computer graphics that caught my attention. 


While watching the accompanying video, by prescient computer scientist John Whitney from 1968, I began to think about my early experiences with computers as a teenager. I'm not sure exactly when my family bought our first computer (early 1990's?), but it was crucial to my understanding of digital technology.

I remember we bought it from some sparsely-decorated showroom, with random electronic devices sitting around. We were in Georgia visiting relatives. My Uncle Hank was good with electronics, so he was helping us pick out a machine. It ended up being a disaster, since the computer had all kinds of problems & wasn't really working. My Uncle spent most of our visit trying to fix it & figure it out.

Eventually, we got another computer that used DOS & Microsoft Windows 3.1. One of the things that showed me the power of digital technology at that time was the CD-ROM encyclopedia that came with the system, Microsoft Encarta.

As a kid, I loved reading books, & especially encyclopedias or other sources of random information. The idea that all this knowledge could be accessible from a disc was awesome. This was waaay before the Internet as we know it, so the CD-ROM was the best way of offering content to the user digitally.

Even more impressive was the ability to experience media- such as pictures, audio, or video. I remember showing my parents the short, low resolution clips of the moon landing & one of John F Kennedy's speeches. I was trying to show them how great these tools were, using events from their generation. Thankfully, they've always encouraged my interest in computers & learning, in general.

Microsoft Encarta was one of those influences that shaped my understanding of the world and the possibilities of digital media. Here is a video that explores the software & brought back some memories of using the CD encyclopedia..

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Storm Print City

Russ Muits is an artist who was in high school art classes with me, and also ended up pursuing a creative career.

We recently reconnected through an alumni soccer benefit. He told me about his ongoing project, where he is making prints from the designs on city manhole covers. He has collected designs from all over the country. I always want to support the endeavors of other artists, especially people I consider a friend like Russ. Check out the prints on his website, where you can also buy them:

Here is his Instagram page with the many designs he's captured.

We're friends on Facebook, and I just saw him link to this recent article he was featured in, highlighting his printmaking: