Looking Forward

I was asked why post #1000 looked backward rather than forward. It’s a fair question; I’m generally not one for looking back. I’m not terribly attached to the past (certainly not bound by it), but that doesn’t mean I completely ignore it. (History repeats, in part, because we don’t learn from it.)

As with years, counting posts begins with 1, so the odometer number 1000 is the end of a count sequence (one-thousand posts), which makes looking back seem fitting. That post was also a blog birthday so all the more reason to review.

This post, #1001, is the first post of the next thousand.

Or, more realistically, the next hundred(s). I’m not sure I’ll be doing this for nine more years (although who can say; maybe I’ll be one of the last long-form bloggers left standing).

More to the point, who can say what will happen in the next year, let alone in nine of them. (Not me! Sometimes next week surprises me.)

§

I’ve written a lot about consciousness mostly in the context of whether it can be implemented with software.

That ground seems pretty well covered for now, so unless I find new things to say, or unless there are changes in the field, I don’t plan to pursue it much. I remain skeptical about software consciousness, but I very much doubt the question will be resolved in my lifetime.

So it’s a topic that we can argue endlessly, which is fun and good mental exercise, but I’ve gotten a little weary of being stalled at guesswork. (For the same reason I haven’t been paying much attention to the high-energy physics world, either. Nothing new under the collider.)

I have notes about a post summarizing the recent posts about algorithms (last year and early this year). Computers are not the physical systems they model.

For me that probably wraps things up when it comes to information patternism, at least for now.

§

I expect to continue with posts about books, TV shows, and movies.

Maybe less on the movies, since I haven’t found most new movies very interesting (for quite a few years now; it’s probably been a decade since I’ve been to a movie theater).

There are the rare gems — usually found off the main paths, although even mainstream films aren’t completely immune from greatness (they are just far more comfortable with bland unoriginal mediocrity).

The emphasis is usually on science fiction, of course (although there’s always Mystery Monday). Sometimes, with books, I leave out the fiction; I also like me some science (books; most TV science shows leave me thirsty).

§

One thing I’ve been a bit lax about is posting the life stories. That was always a big intent of the blog — leaving a scrawl on the internet wall. “Kilroy was here!”

The recent Canada Camping post is an example. The text file sat in my Queue folder since I began the blog. There are a lot more stories in that folder. For instance, the time we went camping way up north in Saskatchewan (so far north we were under the Northern Lights and off many maps).

There’s also the time we rented a houseboat on Lake Vermilion (in northern Minnesota). That was an interesting trip. Night fishing for sunfish. Caught a bunch of beauties — utter slabs. Couldn’t eat any of them; they all were infested with worms. (Fishing with a lighted bobber is cool, though. When a fish hits, the little LED light is pulled down into the water.)

I’ve written about key points in high school, college, work, and life, but there are a lot more stories to tell.

§

I expect to continue with the occasional Sideband post when something grabs my inner über-geek. (The blog is also my science notebook for capturing stuff that’s caught my interest. Be thankful I off-load my programming posts to my other blog!)

There will be more math posts. Maybe in March or May. (With diagrams, because diagrams gotta diagram.)

I’ve been trying talk myself into publishing short “tweet” posts with just a single idea and not a lot of accompanying text. Not really my style, and I can’t decide whether to make them Brain Bubbles or just really short posts.

(And whether they should be indexed, which would blow up the Index if I posted a lot of them. And whether they should have a header picture.)

As much as possible I want to clear out my queue and toss my notes. (I’m afraid to even look at the pile of older notes I found during spring cleaning. So far I’ve left it lurking in a corner.)

Getting aggressive in draining the tank may require some half-cocked “flying by the seat of my pants” posts.

In the spirit of web logging, posts as notes and thoughts in progress.

[This rambling, random post is exactly what I mean. It’s actually almost entirely content-free. I’m just warming up after taking a little vacation. Don’t want to pull any of my writing muscles.]

§

Baseball is seriously derailed this year (along with so much else). I’ve had other things on my mind lately, and baseball sank out of sight. At this point I’m not sure how into the shortened season I’ll be when (if) it kicks off.

I had already decided 2019 was the last year of tracking the season using my homemade Python stats package. I’ve done it since 2010 — ten years is enough. (Not having those homemade stats to show off may cut down on the baseball posts. Depends on how the Twins do.)

I wrote the first version of that suite to give me the stats I wanted for an informal online group of Twins fans. We’d take over the comment section of the summary of the previous game and use it as a chat room.

But I got fed up with the BS, left for a year, missed it, came back for a year, but the BS was worse, and I realized chatting during the game (which is when the chat was active) was so distracting I wasn’t enjoying the game.

I wrote the second version of the Python suite because I learned so many things from the first one (about how not to write it; even version 2.0 kinda begs for a version 3.0 that’ll never happen but would be so much better).

§

Lastly, I expect I’ll continue writing posts about modern society.

One thing I want to start discussing more frequently and bluntly is stupidity. (Don’t for a moment think I just mean those dumb-asses on the right. There are just as many dumb-asses on the left and in between.)

Our anti-intellectual culture has turned a high IQ into something unwelcome (although it pays lip service to it). A high intelligence is like “thinking outside the box” — universally lauded in principle; usually punished in practice.

We’ve become a nation of day-dreaming self-centered unapologetic assholes who deny the factual world. The proof of the pudding is in who we elected POTUS in 2016. The continued proof of a now rotten stinking maggoty pudding is that 2020 will be anything other than a unanimous landslide.

We too often allow ourselves to be stupid. We need to talk about that.

§

One resolution I have is to try to write shorter posts. Brevity being the soul of something or other.

Stay long-winded, my friends!

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

9 responses to “Looking Forward

  • Wyrd Smythe

    Speaking of “self-centered unapologetic assholes” on my morning walk as I approached a nearby significant intersection, I saw someone zip through the red light at high speed. The light was definitely red when he zipped through, so this fucker saw the yellow and sped up.

    “How many times have I seen that exact thing at this light?” I thought. (One time driving through I was nearly creamed by someone running the light.) Then, as I got to the light, another guy ran it, making a high-speed left turn through a definitely red light.

    Two in 60 seconds, and that’s at just this one light. I imagine the Copernican principle applies, so assholes must be running all the red lights all the time. When did we become such a nation of self-centered motherfuckers?

    The only sanity is that not everyone is an asshole. After I crossed the light, walked down the block to my street and was about to cross the road, I saw an oncoming car, so I stepped back. But they slowed down and waved me across (probably much to the irritation of the car on their tail, but nice of them all the same).

    It’s just one more form of social polarization: Assholes and Angels. A Yin-Yang for our modern world.

  • Wyrd Smythe

    OTOH, we’ve had a nice break in the weather. The last five days or so haven’t had the killer temps or the killer dew points, so my morning walks haven’t been so killer, and I’ve been able to have the windows open the whole time.

    But I just closed them and turned on the A/C. Gonna be hot and humid today and worthy of a Heat Advisory tomorrow. Walk might be possible if I get out there by 6. (If I go just before sunrise, I might be able to spot the comet! With this nice weather I usually go at 7.)

  • Wyrd Smythe

    Ha! These comments are my “tweet” posts, my true weblog.

    I should set up a prominently linked “Tweets” page where I can add “tweet” comments. (Ideally, the setup would be only I could make top-level comments — the “tweets” — and others could only reply if so inclined. The comment section should sort newest-first, although I’d want the replies to sort newest-last. Hmmm. Nice idea, but complicated.)

    (I sort of did this with the In Bed post.)

  • SelfAwarePatterns

    Have to try to remember the 1000 post thing.

    I gave up pre-announcing what I would blog about years ago. It turned out that what I thought I’d blog on and what I did were only hazily related, and trying to live up to my pre-accouncements stressed me out. But I’m weird and it seems to work well for many people.

    I’ve been surprised by how much work is involved in keeping the size of blog posts down. I try to keep the majority of them down to 2 minute reads (400-600 words), but it sometimes takes as much work to tuck into that word limit as writing a 2000 word post.

    I sure hope blogging is still going on in nine years!

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Heh, yeah, well, in truth, I pretty much just said I’ll keep doing what I’ve been doing, so not a lot to stress out about.

      There’s that famous insightful Pascal quote: “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.” Paring down one’s writing to its essence is, as you say, hard work.

      Hard to even imagine what the world will be like in nine years considering how much has changed in the last four.

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        Paring down is hard work, and often involves painful cutting. But it helps me to do tightly focused posts, and remember that cut points can always be made later.

        I know one thing that’ll be true in nine years. Assuming I’m still alive, I’ll have less hair, and what will still be around will be grayer (or maybe white).

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “Paring down is hard work, and often involves painful cutting.”

        I think that’s one of the most important, and hardest, lessons a writer has to learn — cutting one’s own (oh so clever) words. But, as you say, it leads to tighter text.

        I’ve learned I can bring my word count down by dozens of words with a pass removing unnecessary words and tightening up phrasing. I’ve found it especially effective doing a pruning pass after letting the post marinate for a day.

        “I know one thing that’ll be true in nine years. Assuming I’m still alive, I’ll have less hair, and what will still be around will be grayer (or maybe white).”

        😀 I’ve got a bit of receding hairline, especially at the temples, but otherwise my follicles have hung in there. Kept their color pretty well for a guy in his mid-60s, although the beard hairs have gone completely white.

        Another one of life’s ironies. Lots of guys are losing their hair — some fairly young in life — and it stresses them out. I never gave a crap and got a free pass. (Weird thing is my dad was the same way. Full head of hair until he died in his 90s. But I’m adopted, so he and I aren’t genetically related.)

      • SelfAwarePatterns

        I think there’s a lot of value in writing as though we have a word limit, even when we don’t. And I agree, it’s easy to cut about 10-20% with just a tightening pass through the text. But often that doesn’t do it for me, and I have to cut real content. In today’s post, it was a side discussion about Natufians, which got cut because it wasn’t necessary for the main point.

        It seems like we always miss what we can’t have. My hair loss stressed me out a lot when I was younger. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve cared less and less. A big part was just letting go of the notion that I was still a young guy. My cousin, who is my age, still hasn’t yet, and he spends a lot of time exercising to preserve the illusion. (Although like me, he’s having shoulder trouble. Unlike me, he still aggravates it.)

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “I have to cut real content.”

        Yeah, I know what you mean. Sometimes, as you say, it wasn’t relevant. Sometimes it has enough meat that I save it somewhere for another post. (I cut a bit about Westworld being another disappointing SF TV series from today’s post. I originally put it in because I thought the post would be short, but it turned out I had a lot more to say about Who than I thought.)

        “A big part was just letting go of the notion that I was still a young guy.”

        Yep. Aging gracefully. I see it as the mark of a more whole, more fulfilled, person.

And what do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: