Thursday, July 24, 2008

I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals. I'm a vegetarian because I hate plants!

I can't think of a better death sentence for all plants than to be digested alive!

In truth, that was just a funny bumper sticker I saw once. Sarah and I haven't been vegetarians, but we are giving it a shot for one month to see how it feels. Over ten years ago, I remember saying I'd "consider" (in quotes because I don't think I really did) being vegetarian for health reasons and that the benefit for animals was simply a side bonus. Today, I think that sentiment is reversed. Yay health, but humane treatment of animals is what I think might be able to get me to actually do this. I've been considering trying for a few months now, ever since I read Douglass Hofstadter's I am a Strange Loop, which has some inspiring discussion on the topic. It is a book about consciousness (the consciousness of animals relevant to talking about how we treat them).

And it does feel like it will be difficult, hence starting out small with a one month goal. I'd be lying if I didn't admit I love Rudy's BBQ. Hopefully the difficulty will only be at first and become easier over time. That is exactly how it went with sodas when we challenged ourselves to quit them for a year. Now I wonder how I used to drink them instead of wondering how I could live without them. Maybe by posting publicly about this (sorta publicly, since no one is reading), guilt can drive this endeavor beyond a month, but with any luck maybe it will just end up feeling better both for body and mind and no guilt will ultimately be required. Or maybe the satisfaction of violent plant deaths... Anyway, I'll let ya know how it goes.

Friday, July 18, 2008


I was excited to get a 7x7x7 puzzle I ordered from in the mail this morning!!

It didn't stay in perfect harmony for very long, as my lovely entropy generator Sarah was quick to permute it into a dazzling disco ball of colors.

Hopefully I'll be able to put the universe back in order soon. If your inner chi is feeling off-kilter for a while, you'll know I'm still struggling with it...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Obsessive Email Editing

I never just sit down and write an email. Often the process starts with an outline, followed by a first draft, 20 rereads of word edits/grammar changes/structure reworks, a final publication candidate, and ultimately only concludes after an extended period of hanging over the send button in a paralyzed state. Sometimes this behavior is more overtly ridiculous, as when I need only produce a quick response to a friend, but rewrite the single sentence half a dozen times, investigating all subtleties and nuances of every possible word choice and sentence permutation, until I don't even know what sounds right anymore. My silly justification - I wouldn't want them to take my nice intentions even minusculely negative on any level whatsoever! In these situations, when I pass my pre-print over to my editor Sarah for the final ok, she rightfully refuses to even look at it. In other instances where a review might actually have a small iota of justification, she doesn't necessarily play the editor role (though she does that for me sometimes too), but instead often opts for the role of pressing the send button before I have a chance to stop her. I'm so thankful she's not like me sometimes :)

Naturally, this behavior will show itself in any writing I do, so maybe this blogging thing is going to be bad for me? (yes, I of course tortured myself with this post)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ignorance is Bliss (or is it?)

"Behold yon miserable creature. That Point is a Being like ourselves, but confined to the non-dimensional Gulf. He is himself his own World, his own Universe; of any other than himself he can form no conception; he knows not Length, nor Breadth, nor Height, for he has had no experience of them; he has no cognizance even of the number Two; nor has he a thought of Plurality; for he is himself his One and All, being really Nothing. Yet mark his perfect self-contentment, and hence learn this lesson, that to be self-contented is to be vile and ignorant, and that to aspire is better than to be blindly and impotently happy. Now Listen."

- Edwin Abbott, Flatland

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Turtles All The Way Down

I recently had the thought of doing a post on infinite regress. In fact, I felt I had stumbled upon the perfect idea to describe exactly what it was. After a little web searching, as luck would have it I found that this notion was already in another blog post. It was such a fantastic exposition of infinite regress in fact, that if the concept is fuzzy to you now, after studying that post a little things will become crystal clear. I can not emphasize enough that you must immediately go there and read it, starting at the top.

By the way, if you followed my advice and still made it this far, I guess that is the difference between a computer and a human. Somehow humans have learned to do a decent job avoiding the trap of the halting problem in most circumstances.