Friday, March 30, 2012

Effectiveness

This topic was brought to the Loose Blogger Consortium this Friday by Ramana, aka Rummuser, aka Iron Man.

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I think most of us are acquainted with Van Gogh’s Starry Night. During his time, no one really bought into his vision, but since then we have been fascinated with a man seeing what we cannot.  Madness or unfettered vision?  Hard to say.

However, one thing we can say is that when puzzle makers take a portion of it (the art officianados will immediately see that the above which was used for the puzzle cuts out numerous stars and the top of what we can only surmise is a tree) and then turn it into 1,000 pieces … well, it is a real bear to put together!

Enter team family while on vacation.  They are working on this puzzle as I speak.  Lafawnda Fossil, Lady Fossil and Flash Fossil.  The Old Fossil, yours truly has been the weakest link on this team from the very beginning.

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Here is Flash at the beginning of the week pointing out the state of the puzzle as the week begins.

Note that there is a LOT of puzzle to go.  He and Lafawnda have started it and most of their time has been spent establishing a border and completing the tree.

Lady Fossil does detail work for a living.  You can see how intent she is examining the challenge!  She’ll be good!

 

 

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Here are Flash and the Lady F attacking a couple of nights later while Lafawnda works on her new computer.  The original crapped out the first day we were there, fortunate timing, because we were able to get the new on as she needed.  But look at the concentration of the other two!

 

 

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Here they are working away at another time while I am reading The Hunger Games on my Kindle.

The Lady F is persistent.  But, it becomes clear that the real talent lies with Flash!  More about that in a bit.

 

 

 

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the next night, these two are on a mission!  Look how much more of the puzzle is in place.  That represents major accomplishment!

Flash finds pieces at least five times as fast as anyone else.  He is amazing the speed at which he processes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Here is was last night. It’s the sky that remains – the part everyone dreads!  However, notice that the participants have taken the pieces and separated them by category:

Shoulders only, one arm, turtle head, lizard.  They have developed their own language to defeat this monster!

Tonight they try to finish.  But, the topic was Effectiveness.  What exactly is it that makes me, the worst of the crowd so awful and Flash, the best of the crowd so effective?  Well, age is part of it.  I am now designed to be fossilosophical in ways I could never have managed in earlier years, but it comes at the price of processing speed.  It also, I find, comes at the price of strategy when this type of task is being done.  I concentrate on one piece, determining in detail in my mind what the attibutes of that piece are and then obsess about filling that one space until the cows come home.

Flash, on the other hand, scans an area for color patterns, scans pieces for approximations, homes in on candidates, starts placing them in configurations on the board, discarding, trying others.  He works at it from a lower, much more effective level.  This isn’t any deep understanding of any kind we are looking for, we are looking to get pieces on the board!

Every day I have a new admiration for you, Flash!

Stay tuned, because next week you will get a follow up on the ultimate outcome and a little video of all of us working at it!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Designed to Mature


I suppose all people my age have nagging aches, pains and injuries. Some parts don't work as well as they once did, yet with some effort are mostly recoverable. Some parts will never be the same again. C'est la vie.

But, why is this so? Don't we replace every cell in our bodies each seven years or so with brand new cells? Why, then, don't we replace them with fully functioning cells without injury or aging? The answers are physiologically complex and there are those working on solutions to aging.

Solutions? There is a more ancient, tried and true solution. Don't just age, mature! Accept each stage with grace and engagement. Leave milestones along the way for others to follow. Look for the milestones others have left behind.

I am with my children on vacation this week. I am exercising, stretching, resting and healing; listening, sharing and exploring new territory; nourishing my body and my mind.

Life is good.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Grannymar Flu Arrives

It's here!!!! And my son has to care for wife and daughter ...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Complexity

I brought this topic to the Loose Bloggers Consortium.  My reasons were simple …

einstein_patentoffice

Many people mistake the idea of complexity with the measure of intelligence.  The more complex, the more intelligent, right?

Uh, not quite.  Scientists and programmers understand that complexity is a necessary evil along the way.  As man’s reach exceeds his grasp, often his only method of exploration and explanation is complex.  As man’s grasp expands to his former reach, the complex gives way to the true goal, elegance!

Einstein said it well when he said that things should be made as simple as possible … but no simpler!  Simple as possible, but no simpler representation is elegance.  It is the Golden Path, The Way, the Tao.

To say that energy and mass are equivalent and then fill a chalkboard with their equations demonstrating this is complex.  But, this is what is elegant:

E = mc2

Check out the other Consortium writers topic takes on the right side of this page.  Truly a collection of elegant writers and thinkers.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Captcha Hell

Captcha is rapidly becoming one of the most hated of all blogging hurdles.  Grannymar and Ramana have both rightly commented upon it.  So has an article in Scientific American.

For those of you that think this is mere whining, take a look at the following screen captures I got while trying to comment at one friend’s blog:

captcha_first_try

FAIL!  Fortunately, I had copied the comment and was able to paste and try again:

captcha_second_try_success

This time it worked.

I mean, come on!  No, I’m not a robot.  The robots will probably start getting it right each time.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Man Ramana Idolizes

Manohar Aich, the 1952 Mr. Universe.  He was a Physical Education teacher in the Indian Air Force.  And … he just turned 100 today!

This picture was taken two days ago in a gymnasium in Kolkata, India.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Everyone is Irish?

Today is St. Patrick's Day. In America we say that today, all of us are Irish.

I have approximately 5 liters of blood in my body. By ancestry, almost two liters of that blood has Irish genetic origin. But, the only Irish culture I know is fed me by Grannymar.

My mother-in-law can claim the whole package if she wants, though. She was left on a church doorstep in a basket. On Chinese New Year, she gets to be Chinese.

She doesn't know anything about being Irish, either. But, we both celebrate anyway - so, maybe we ARE Irish!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sexual Synchronicity

Today, Ramana puts on his blog a Scientific American article that recounts a study showing men becoming more stupid around attractive women.  My theory there is that blood diverted from the brain may be to blame, but … well, never mind.

On the very same day, bikehikebabe sends out an email that is relevant:

WOMEN

A real woman is a man's best friend.
She will never stand him up and never let him down.
She will reassure him when he feels insecure and comfort him
after a bad day.
She will inspire him to do things he never thought he could do; to
live without fear and forget regret.
She will enable him to express his deepest emotions and give in to
his most intimate desires.
She will make sure he always feels as though he's the most
handsome man in the room and will enable him to be the most confident,
sexy, seductive and invincible...


No wait...Sorry.


I'm thinking of Scotch. It's Scotch that does all that shit.


Never mind.

shackman, the universe has indicated the truth through synchronicity: a man needs his intelligence to cope with life.  Give him a chance.  Give him a good single malt.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It’s PI Day in America!

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3.14 (March 14th).  Ignore the 2012.  Ignore the fact that other parts of the world list it 14.3.

The encouragement of focused, proper ignorance is a blogger’s main purpose!  Not much different than politics.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Getting lost ...

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The young child begins with his parents, at home. He ventures out and suddenly, in a panic, realizes he is lost. Where is his mommy?

The teen goes to college. She has always lived at home. Everything she brings to her new situation seems to not fit and she feels lost and alone. She wants to go home.

The old man retires. He has always looked forward to this day. Then it dawns on him that he doesn't know what to do with himself, that he feels like he is just wasting time, running out the clock.  He feels lost without his projects and his work mates.

The happy man loses himself in spontaneity.  It’s hard to get lost when all you want and need is whatever presents itself here and now.

Simple idea, rare achievement.  Sometimes I get it.

Check out the other Consortium members (their links are on the right) and see if they are lost on this topic.  I bet Blackwatertown (Paul) isn’t, because he’s the one who brought us the idea to chew on.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I’m good at sleeping

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Read this description from The 8-Hour Sleep Myth:

In sleep, we slip back to a more primitive state. We go on a psychic archaeological dig. This is part of the reason that Freud proclaimed dreams to be the royal road to the unconscious and lifted his metaphors from the researchers who were sifting through the layers of ancient history on Egyptian digs, uncovering relics and forgotten memories. Ghosts flutter about us when we lie down to rest. Our waking identities dissolve, and we become creatures whose rhythms derive from the moon and the seas much more than the clock and the computer.

Now look at the theme of this blog.

Is it any wonder I am so good at sleeping?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Freedom from the fear of death

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No … I’m not saying that I have it.  But, I’m closer after reading the description of the experience of Michel De Montaigne.

On a smaller, slower horse, a larger and faster horseman came barreling onto a path blindly and hit Montaigne and his mount, knocking both sprawling.  Montaigne was very badly injured internally and was seen in great agony for an extended period, clawing at his abdomen and thrashing.  He came very close to death and took quite a stretch to recover his faculties.

This, in and of itself, is not extraordinary.  What is, is the detailed recollection over the years that Montaigne gave of the experience.  Even though his body showed the greatest of distress, he experienced a languorous state of floating peace.  It had none of the religious iconography attached to it, but rather just a state of absolute bliss.

Out of this, he came to realize that our external understandings of death is what leads to fear, that dying itself is a very easy thing, a sweet, peaceful letting go.  He never feared it again and this freed him up to live much more fully than ever before.

There is a great lesson in this.  My closest was to come very near death at the age of five in the hospital.  Externally, I had a very miserable condition as the medical staff misdiagnosed and mistreated an ailment I had.  They don’t expect a child to get mononucleosis.  They screwed up the paperwork and gave me a doubly scheduled dosing of penicillin for two weeks straight.  They killed all alimentary flora and it led to the opportunistic growth of fungus throughout the alimentary canal.  I was outwardly in ghastly shape and came very close to death.

My experience as I recall it, though, was that of peaceful lassitude, not of pain or agony.  Dying appears to be much easier in many ways than living.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Dalai Lama weighs in …

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People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness.  Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they have gotten lost.

- Dalai Lama

Monday, March 5, 2012

He who rides the tiger cannot dismount!

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The ancient Chinese proverb pretty much sums up the situation of anyone held to a belief by fear of the alternative.  It is true of many religions, including Atheism, which, as practiced by some, but not all, can be a religion.  But, it is not true of all religious people or all atheists.

We need to learn to stop fearing what we don’t believe.  Relax.  It has no power over us and may even contain meaning.  Let what you ride be a peaceful mount – and let it be sturdy.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Marching Back to the Middle Ages

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The march of human civilization isn’t always forward.  Lately, it seems we’ve been swept with a nostalgia for the old … and the very wrong.

I present to you a recent example that I see as an egregious violation.  Indeed, I think the teacher should have been counseled after the incident and fired after the supposed apology.  Please take a look and decide for yourself after clicking the following link:

Menominee Language Controversy

Friday, March 2, 2012

I’m a Broody Moody Buddha Today

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That’s just fine.  Peace is a result, not a goal.  The storm will follow its own path and depart …

… and the fishes of the sea …

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When I was a boy many moons, several suns and quite a few stars ago, fish in the sea seemed truly unlimited.  The sea itself was unimaginably vast and the sea life within was even further from countable comprehension.

Now I share this ball in space with seven billion other people.  If we could stand on one another’s shoulders, we would reach to the moon and back about 25 times!  We are about 500 million tons of human mass!  That takes a lot of food.  That takes an amount of food incomprehensible to me.

So, back to our original unimaginably vast, limitless sea life.  It isn’t nearly so limitless now that the human numbers have ballooned so.  In fact, we are well on the path of consuming vast portions of that sea life to sustain ourselves.  And still our numbers grow.

This can’t continue forever, you know.  I’m beginning to suspect that there may be consequences.  Gather your seven kids around the table to discuss it.

This topic brought to the Loose Blogger Consortium by Magpie 11.  You can find links to his and the other active LBC Members, many of whom are publishing on this topic as we speak, on the right hand side of this site.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

To the Mountain Top

Non Sequitur

Ramana and I periodically climb spiritual mountains together.  The result is often very good news.