Back to Block

A crushed flower.

This post has nothing to do with Amy Winehouse, sadly on the list of great talents who, poorly served by those in their lives, lost their way and died tragically and long before their time. (It’s bad enough when the ravages of life — disease and accident — steal away those with gifts. Losing people to human foibles is a more painful loss.)

The topic here is the Block Universe Hypothesis, which I’m revisiting, so the title kinda grabbed me (and I am a Winehouse fan). I’ve written about the BUH before, but a second debate with the same opponent turned up a few points worth exploring.

So it’s back to basic block (everyone looks good in block?)…

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One Week Later

It’s been a week since we all watched — stunned — as an army of cultist haters, fascists, racists, and thugs, invaded and raped our Nation’s Capitol. Since then the wind seems to have (at long last) shifted to a new quarter. Nothing in the last four years was enough, but this straw was too heavy.

How real that change is remains to be seen, but the House is set to move forward with a historical second Impeachment, and with McConnell now giving it his blessing, and many Republicans desperately wanting to buy redemption, it’s possible we might see a conviction in the Senate.

Which makes writing a post very hard to focus on.

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Hard Problems

Among those who study the human mind and consciousness, there is what is termed “The Hard Problem.” It is in contrast to, and qualitatively different from, problems that are merely hard. (Simply put, The Hard Problem is the question of how subjective experience arises from the physical mechanism of the brain.)

This post isn’t about that at all. It’s not even about the human mind (or about politics). This post is about good old fundamental physics. That is to say, basic reality. Some time ago, a friend asked me what was missing from our picture of physics. This is, in part, my answer.

There is quite a bit, as it turns out, and it’s something I like to remind myself of from time to time, so I made a list.

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Our Fertile Imagination

Humans have long had fertile imaginations. It isn’t just that we see patterns everywhere, but that we see them and make up stories about them. Whether it be the forest, the wind, or the stars, we have long read into the world around us a rich tapestry of our own imagination.

A thread that runs through it all is the agency we ascribe to the patterns. The gods control our fates, the spirits reward or punish us, the stars foretell our future. Even the remnant of tea leaves in the bottom of a cup gives us an important and relevant message.

But what happens when we don’t exercise our imagination?

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Wednesday Wow (Jan 6, 2021)

I’ve been in a state of anticipation over the state of Georgia. I wondered if I might possibly wake up to a Democratic Senate this morning. As of last night, the Blues were trailing slightly behind. This morning I find they’ve called for Raphael Warnock (“Ding Dong, the witch is dead”), and it’s looking good for Jon Ossoff.

Today is also the day Congress meets, presided over by the VP, to officially count the electoral votes. It’s the last hurdle in an election badly polluted by bald lies and Constitutional sedition. The corruption and filth of the GOP is far beyond the pale.

Hell of a Wednesday. We could probably use a distraction…

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What About 2021?

It’s a New Year, so it’s time for that Janus backward and forward State of the Blog Post. (I did plenty looking back in the previous post, so today I’m looking mostly in the other direction.)

As I’ve mentioned, I framed 2020 as a year for changes. Many of them got sidelined (or outright derailed) but the year did result in some decisions that matter here. I find I’ve gone beyond my rope when it comes to what I’m going to begin always referring to as “fantasy bullshit” (FBS).

That’s not to say fantasy bullshit is all bad (some is fun; some might even be necessary), but I am going to start calling it what it is.

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Whither 2020

I think we all agree 2020 has been, as the curse puts it, an “interesting” year. Going into it, I had intentions about making changes. Most fell by the wayside due to COVID-19; I still haven’t taken the bus to watch the St. Paul Saints play. Or the bus-light rail combo to Target Field.

As a life long hard-core introvert, “social isolation” mostly meant I shopped for groceries less often but stocked up more when I did. The pain was fewer occasions of meeting a friend for tasty food, drink, and chat. I’m really looking forward to dining out again.

All-in-all, the last four years, this year… It’s been exhausting.

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Childhood Crushes

Versions of this post lived in my Drafts folder a long time. Writing about one’s childhood crushes is multiply fraught. The topic of sexual attraction is challenging, especially these days as we try to evolve our attitudes about it. Getting personal skates the line between recording my scrawl and TMI. The risk of objectification is also a problem.

But those childhood crushes were formative and abiding in my youth. They began at an early age, a long bridge to when I started dating (real beats imaginary every time). Honesty to my past seems to demand I include some mention of them in any account of my life.

So this is to toast those early loves (real and imagined).

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Boston Boondoggle

A while back I wrote about a Canadian fly-in fishing trip my buddy and I took back in 1996. The lake we went to was an old friend by then — it was a trip we took nearly every year for over twenty years (starting in 1985 or so). We’d bring people with if they were interested, but many years it was just the two of us.

This is the tale of a very different trip from the 1990s, although I don’t recall the exact year. I was in that work group in The Company (TC) from 1992 to 1997, so it could be any of the later years in that range. We supported the CAD/CAM system used by company engineers for facilities and manufacturing design.

The trip was to an annual CAD/CAM user convention in Boston.

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2020 Mystery Wrap-up

In light of yesterday’s post, I was initially a bit confused. Is this, because it’s a wrap-up, the last Mystery Monday post of 2020 or, per yesterday, the first one of 2021? I say we wait until after the popping of the champagne corks, so this is the last one of the past year.

No question that this is a wrap-up of an active reading year when it comes to (murder) mysteries. I’ve enjoyed the genre from a very early age (the enjoyment was handed down by my dad). In this atrocious year, they’ve provided a welcome escape and respite.

The year also marks my return to library lending, albeit electronically.

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