Thanks for the welcome!
Houdini can be a lot of fun- but without a real goal it is almost too open for anything of value to be easily made. Messing around in Houdini is a time sink without a plan. :) That said, I absolutely love it as a program.
(I posted this in the other July2012 welcome thread aswell. :P Though apparently it has too many comments at this point or something to that effect.)
My name is Ryan and I am a 22 year old technical artist in the Video Game industry. I recently graduated with honors from the Visual Effects program at Savannah College of Art and Design. For those who don't know much about the industry I am in, my skill set is somewhere between a software programmer, a 3D artist, and a video editor. I write code to create tools to speed up workflows for the 3D things I or others need to do to make a game, or cinematic.
Now I found lesswrong.com through the Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality podcast. Up unto that point I had never heard of Rationalism as a current state of being... so far I greatly resonate with the goals and lessons that have come up in the podcast, and what I have seen about rationalism. I am excited to learn more.
I wouldn't go so far to claim the label for myself as of yet, as I don't know enough and I don't particularly like labels for the most part. I also know that I have several biases, I feel like I know the reasons and causes for most, but I have not removed them from my determinative process.
Furthermore I am not an atheist, nor am I a theist. I have chosen to let others figure out and solve the questions of sentient creators through science, and I am no more qualified to disprove a religious belief than I would be to perform surgery... on anything. I just try to leave religion out of most of my determinations.
Anyway! I'm looking forward to reading and discussing more with all of you!
Current soapbox: Educational System of de-emphasizing critical thinking skills.
If you are interested you can check out my artwork and tools at www.ryandowlingsoka.com