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Discoveries or Trivia?

by Ken Manheimer last modified Jul 30, 2011 01:09 AM
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hard won insights, or blatant trivia? you decide...

it is unlucky to be superstitious.

why moths fly around lights
nocturnal moths navigate at night by keeping a fixed bearing on the brightest light in the sky. that light used to be the moon, which is far enough away that they would reliably travel in an effectively straight line if they kept that bright light in a constant position. unfortunately for moths (and the softer hearted of us bystanders), the results are quite different with artificial illumination, which is usually brighter and much, much nearer. the strategy of keeping such a light in a constant position leads to tight, tragic circles. aieee!

insisting on doing it right the first time usually is recipe for not doing it at all, or doing only those things you can do well.

when learning something new and big, do a few to throw away, if practical. what better way to get acquainted with the domain, and get a feel for the shape your ideas actually take on when they descend from the ether and actually hit the ground?

people usually have more going on inside than than i expect
no kidding. i believe i'm not completely naive, but have discovered that i tend to be more naive than i expect, even taking this insight into account. i am surprised - again and again - when i get a look behind the curtain. sometimes even when it's my own curtain...
gravity, too, is just a theory

ever been boggled by the obstinacy of claims that evolution is just a theory, and thus an article of faith on par with creationism? makes me want to suggest it's a theory more on par with gravity - both models agree invariably with observed phenomena. creationism, on the other hand, is based on contradicting observed phenomena, where all evidence is considered to have been contrived by some agency to, for some bizarre reason, mislead.

gravity can be explained as god's will that things stay put, for instance. while this may serve some kind of dogmatic agenda, it forfeits all sorts of extremely useful and enlightening details of the scientific model. creationism in the stead of evolution has the same drawbacks.

esoteric toilet tech

did you know that the toilet doesn't only drain water when you flush, it also gulps some air? so flushing soon after you dump will take some of the fumes along with the waste, significantly reducing the bathroom stink!.

i haven't researched this - and haven't quite figured how to ask google - but i believe this is a deliberate design, a feature originally implemented and lasting, but not necessarily known to even those continuing the implementation. maybe i'm wrong.

in any case, this is the kind of fact that appeals greatly to my geek design/developer sensibilities - obsessive, even dare i say anal retentive? perhaps those sensibilities ultimately stem from potty training traumas, or vice versa?-)

or maybe this is common but common but unspoken knowledge? some kind of taboo? i've only heard it mentioned once or twice by others - and haven't had few occasions to mention it myself (though, yes, i have done).

and while i'm in this realm, i have to take a stand, controversial though it may be, and point out that there are clear advantages, in most cases, to having the toilet paper roll mounted on the wall so it unwinds with the paper going forwards over the top. this puts the tear in the front, easier to find and grab.

clearly, i've lived by myself for too long.

forwarding chain letters without the threat earns even better cosmic rewards

which are redeemable in any faith, not just that of the original threat. and, bonus, it doesn't matter how few copies you forward, or to whom.

(thanks are due christine cole for her brave example pointing the way, and the spiritual law firm, para, dox, and whimsy, for their diligence in verifying this metaphysical loophole...)

resentment and self pity are inherently debilitating

seems like resentment and self pity are misdirected anger, such that action on the misdirected impulse does not alleviate the underlying cause. (a classically addictive/self-reinforcing response, by the way.)

Resentment And Self Pity describes what's so suspicious about them.

sense of humor
it's called "sense of humor" rather than "force of humor" because it's about noticing funnyness - discovery rather than coercion.
fundamental temptation of superstition

superstition is attribution of cause without sufficient reason. i wonder whether one big driver behind that temptation is early learning situations, where appeasement of the teacher rather than correctness drove our responses. do we still look to appease the projected powers behind the forces we don't understand?

or is that explanation, itself, superstitious?

and yet still, some inferences, some trends we notice, are intuitive, legitimately based on experience in ways that we cannot explicitly pinpoint. reduction to equation is sometimes as non-sensical as reduction to projected mysterious forces. recognizing when uncertainty must be accepted, and operating with vitality in the face of it, is an art.

a Zen monk walks up to a hotdog vendor and says "make me one with everything."

ha ha!-)

some don't know there's a second part:

The monk gets the hot dog and pays with a ten. After several moments waiting, he says to the vendor, "I was expecting change.", to which the vendor replies, "Silly monk, you of all people should know - change comes from within."

see also Real Faith.

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