Over time I seem to be creating day of the week categories for posts. It started with TV Tuesday, back in August 2012. (Which I unfortunately made a Tag rather then a Category — something I’d like to change one of these days.) The very next month I created Wednesday Wow (as a Category), which languished for years but I’ve used more often lately.
I’m not exactly sure when I created Sci-Fi Saturday. The first post was in July 2011 (the month I began this blog), but the Category came later. I applied it retroactively (many SF posts were on Saturdays; go figure). Mystery Monday is a recent addition started in December 2019.
And now I’m starting Friday Notes.
Which (a) I should have started long ago, but (b) probably won’t use all that often. It’s mostly based on the notion of the “Friday News Dumps” that political and some corporate press offices use for stuff they don’t want noticed. The idea is that people are focused on the weekend so there’s a greater chance of the news release being ignored.
Being ignored isn’t the goal here (my blog is already pretty widely ignored). It’s more a way to post a potpourri of shorter half-baked ideas — notes I’ve had sitting around but which don’t seem willing to take root in my mind and grow into anything worthy of a blog post.
There’s an old saying that: “Experience is a comb life gives you after you’ve lost all your hair.” I’ve found that to be often true. There are more points in life than I can number that I wish I could go back and redo knowing what I know now.
One thing this blog has taught me is that long-term projects evolve as one does them. To one extent or another, one simply has to accept the past for what it is and continue to move forward. (That said, I’m not at all above going back and making some changes, but the more past there is the more effort it takes to change.)
Anyway, as a positive step towards reducing my pile of notes,…
I’m not sure what triggered the thought, something I read about how someone was quite usefully using a piece of software for something other than it was designed for.
It reminded me of how, way back in the day, people used the Lotus 1-2-3 software — an early (1983!) and powerful spreadsheet software — for all sorts of very non-spreadsheet stuff. For instance, many used it as a word processor to write memos.
The thing is, it worked just fine.
It’s an interesting lesson in the unintended uses of a design as well as in the ingenuity of people using a design.
It also struck me as a metaphorical instance of Turing equivalence, which is the notion that any computer with certain abilities is — memory and time constraints aside — capable of doing what any other computer can do.
It applies to computer hardware and to computer programming languages. It’s actually latter that’s most discussed. Any language with certain characteristics is said to be Turing Complete, and any Turing Complete language can do anything any other Turing Complete language can do (memory and time constraints aside).
The comparison may be only metaphorical with regard to Lotus 1-2-3 or software applications in general, but it is interesting how a tool with enough power can do things its designers never foresaw.
I was reading about recent advances in lasers, and the article pointed out that some new types of lasers no longer work using Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, but are still called lasers.
It’s an example of semantic shift. For example, we still say that ships sail, and we still refer to dialing a phone. Concept words become embedded in language through use even though what they signify may no longer be strictly true.
As another example, many use “OMG” without any reference to a personal deity. I recall reading about a survey that determined some people didn’t even know what it stood for — it just meant “Wow! Surprise! Shock!”
As an aside, an important memory from my youth was from somewhere in the late 1960s or early 1970s when lasers were a new big deal. (The first laser was created in 1960.)
I went to some local technology fair where one exhibit was a laser, and you could stick your hand into the beam.
No big deal in these days of common and cheap laser pointers (I have one myself somewhere), but at the time there was a sense of lasers being death rays and steel cutters.
So sticking my hand in the beam was amazing to me.
This is, again, perhaps metaphorical more than physical, but I’ve been struck by the notion of the superposition of thoughts.
The canonical example would be the love/hate feelings people can have. We often speak of “being of two minds” — of having mixed feelings.
I’ve talked about how two-dimensional thinking can escape the sense of a “tug of war” between ideas, but the idea of mental superposition gives the notion a mechanism.
This is not to suggest the mind is quantum. For one thing, sound waves can be superposed, so the basic idea is classical. But I’ve long been taken with a phrase from a Greg Egan novel (this one, I think) that our minds are highly complex standing waves inside our skulls.
I do wonder if the size and form factor matter. I definitely lean structuralist when it comes to consciousness.
I’ve been feeling very run down for months, due, I’ve thought, to age, the social-political bullshit, and winter. I’ve heard people talking about taking vitamin D supplements for years and finally decided to give that a try.
It’s only been a couple weeks (of 3000 IU per day), but there seems a definite effect. I no longer feel compelled to take multiple naps during the day (and yet to still sleep through the night).
My mood has been better, too, if for no other reason than I’m not sleeping away a big fraction of the day. There were too many days where I felt like I’d accomplished nothing but napping. A lost and ugly feeling.
The weather is getting nicer, the days longer, and I’ve been able to start talking walks again, so that has probably also contributed, but if you’re feeling run down, and don’t get outside much, you might want to consider trying vitamin D.
I didn’t mention it in the intro because I’ve only done one post so far, but I did recently also start a Sunday Sermons category. I am hoping to return to that, but my posting efforts have been largely directed at the QM101 series.
The thing is, I’m close to filling up the week! The only day left is Thursdays. (Thirsty Thursdays maybe?)
Stay noteworthy, my friends! Go forth and spread beauty and light.