070313 – Tuesday – Cutting back

I’ve decided that I need to cut back on my output here for awhile on this blog. I’m also going to change the balance a bit as well. My usual routine is to read through a pile of RSS links and pull down and post any and all stories that either bear on the Perfect Storm Hypothesis or that interest me personally (like science or psychology stories). I’ve also made the odd personal, philosophical or technical post here and there as well.

– One thing I’m going to do is post significantly less of the stories that bear on the Perfect Storm Hypothesis. In many ways, I feel I’m preaching to the choir here and while that’s useful, it is maybe not the best use of my time and energy. Instead, I’m going to only post the odd supporting story if it is a really egregious example of something.

– I might spend more time looking at stories like the one I began today about The Great Global Warming Swindle show which aired on Britain’s Channel 4 on March 8th a few days ago. What’s of interest to me here is the interplay between different entrenched points-of-view and how someone genuinely interested in getting at the truth rather than backing one horse or the other might proceed through all the claims and counter claims.

– I’d also like to write about some more philosophical subjects. I had lunch today with a friend of mine and we spent most of the time talking about books and computer programming and I enjoyed the heck out of it. We’d both read Blindsight by Peter Watts recently and loved it. We’d also both been reading A Mind of it Own by Cornelia Fine. Both books dealt with ways of looking at consciousness that are both unusual and revealing. Leonard Cohen came in for a mention because I’d read that he’d taken LSD when he was younger and credited it with breaking him out of looking at the world around him in an inflexible manner. My friends said I’d like his video, I’m Your Man, and that I could get it on NetFlix. Then we went into computer programming and how it varies across several axis where at one extreme, all the programmer does all day is look up how to use the various high-level interfaces he needs to use while at the other end, it is all about building and debugging complex logic structures. And then, along another axis, we discussed how many younger programmers have no idea how to do multi-threaded code whereas older programmers who’ve dipped their toes into the world of device drivers and interrupts, find multi-threaded programming natural. Finally, my friend offered that he disagreed with Greg Egan’s idea in Diaspora that if mankind learned effective immortality, boredom would become a critical problem. I said I didn’t agree. In my opinion, emotions are the real thing that drives us – in the same sense that a battery is the thing that makes an engine act. That over time, as the ‘been-there-done-that’ component of an immortal’s experience grew, the size of the emotional polarity (like the poles of the battery) between what they’d done and what they still yearned to do would lessen and, perhaps, eventually be completely nulled out. Without emotion to drive us, I wondered if we would act at all or if we would even care if we lived to see the next day.

I’m back now from lunch and thinking about ‘real life’ here at the nursery. Coming up in the near future, I have a big project. I’m going to replace our main (and only) irrigation pump – a three-phase pump with a single-phase with more horsepower. I’m going to replace an ancient 24 station irrigation controller which has been limping along for years with a modern one and I’m going rewire all of the electric and the associated relays that drive and control all of this. All of these are deeply interlinked so it all needs to be done in one move. I’ll have three to five days to get it all done and running before plants here at the nursery will begin to get seriously stressed from lack of water. Needless to say, I will need to have all of my proverbial ducks-in-a-row before I wade in and start tearing critical stuff apart.

Books and videos I mentioned here:

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