Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Just Attention

Craig Barnes on Clickstreams
Attention is NOT Click Streams

The idea of automating attention gathering and processing seems like a big deal. Those that learn to do it well could very well become powerful people, and a lot of work is going into streamlining this technology. I'm seeing, though, that most of the effort is being put into fine details and the big picture is being left to grow unmanaged. It is important to know what is attention, what it can and cannot/should and should not be used for, and how the data can be managed.

Many of these answers become apparent when we realize what we are doing. We are automating a process. Attention gathering and processing already happens, just not automatically. Have you ever spent time with someone and eventually you start to see what is important to them. You start to be able to predict what they will do in situations you have never seen them in. This is attention processing. Now train a machine to do what you already know how to do.

Attention is given to everything that is considered in an act or decision. Unfortunately, we don't yet have access to the mind's decision making processes so we have to make do with observing the act that results from the decision that results from the consideration. With enough observations from enough acts we can model the actor's priorities so that we may better serve them.

Categories:

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Why won't lefties play ball?

This is the story as I understand it:

- Liberals screw up
- Swing centers run to the right
- Swing lefties run to the center to fill the vacuum
- Hard core lefties are left to whine amongst themselves

I know you suffered some casualties but it is time to get down to business. In politics there are two types: rule makers and game players. Rule makers don't whine so that makes you a game player. Now there is a chronology to get from being a game player to becoming a rule maker. The necessary intermediate step is that you have to play the game, and play it well. So grab your socks and play ball.

Reservations about the system aside, I really don't want to hear any more about if Canada had proportional representation the Greens and NDP would have gotten such-and-such. We don't and they didn't. Move on. When you understand the game being played you can make judgements about its rules.

I've never met a lefty not afraid of organization. I know deference, structure and allegiance come easier to the right but they are implicit skills for the game. The thing is that the left can practice these without compromising its ideals. Well maybe not. Strict individualism may have to go.

The sponge was a Darwinistic cul de sac. To do the truely awesome things you need a central nervous system. Mind you to develope a responsible central nervous system we are going to have to solve some problems that haven't even been identified yet (and many that have).

Categories:

Friday, January 27, 2006

Thanks


  • Give thanks for sustenance.

  • Give thanks for requested deeds.

  • Give thanks for organizing efforts.

  • Give thanks for public appreciation.

  • Give thanks for private critique.

  • Give thanks for reminders to give thanks.

Rather than making resolutions sometimes I like to make tools, like lists or mnemonics, to make it easier to do what I think I should be doing. The above list reflects some of the thinking I have been doing lately about what I have been spending my attention on and what I should be spending my attention on. The things that made it on the list were things that happen frequently that could be handled in a variety of ways, but I wanted to make a bit of an extra effort to show appreciation.

I tried to leave the items ambiguous so that I could decide over time what they mean to me. This way I can edit the meaning of the list without editing the list itself. This is important with respect to the last item: Give thanks for reminders to give thanks. By putting in this item, making the list public and keeping it stable I'm experimenting with having the list come alive, so to speak.

The last item says that I will thank anybody who quotes an items from the list to me. This way it will be harder to forget about this peticular list. It also gives people a small incentive to read the list and see what it is I am trying to encourage. So making me more subject to its principles.



Categories:

Thursday, January 26, 2006

NBC Cancels 'West Wing' After 7 Seasons

NOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have been limiting myself to one article per day but this news requires a special lament. First John Spencer now this. Now where am I supposed to learn whatever the hell it was I learned watching that show. I guess now I will have that much more time to spend on local and domestic matters.

Watch out local and domestic matters. I'm coming.


Categories:

Artificial Accounting

Rebuttal to 0wning Your 0wn Data.
...if an organization sells your information (or allows it to be stolen!) that you should be compensated… preferably monetarily.
Naturally
Most systems naturally account for certain things. The current information markets, for example, account for information put into the system, the user's awareness of how this is used and others.

Artificially
To have the users be compensated monetarily would require an artificial accounting system. A system that tried to measure the inputs and outputs of the information markets and rebalance any injustices. (The graduated tax system is a good example) I wish to point out that these are rarely a satisfactory solution in themselves.

Firstly it takes extra attention to account artifically which may or may not be returned by encouraging a more effective natural system. For systems that we do not understand very well, such as information markets, many of the functions of the artificial accounting system must be arbitrary as we don't have to tools to derive effective functions. These arbitrary functions leave loop holes to be exploited by those who better understand the natural systems.

And so
The game begins. As the tax system is recalibrated every fiscal year to influance capital flows, your information too would still be at the mercy of those who understand it best. A monetary compensation system in place would put money in your pocket. But you trying to put money in your pocket gives the administrators another tool to control your information.


Categories: attention

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Strategic Departure

Usually it is the little things that tell me things are going to hell. Like I expect the entery level cashier not to care about my critique, but I look for any sign that they appreciate the proprietor might. I usually find none. Maybe they wouldn't care. I would have a problem with this too.


But today it was a little thing that made me smile. A car (Brown) wanted to turn left through a queue of cars (Black) as I (Grey) was approaching. I stopped with about 5 meters between me and the next car (Green) as to signal to Brown I would let her go. She got the idea. Then a surprise. I saw Green's reverse lights come on. Green backed up to let Brown make the left turn. It may seem small but I have never seen it happen before. I probably wouldn't have thought to do it.

It was a strategic depature from the norm for the good of the whole. I like to stress a healthy disrespect for convention... healthy disrespect. I do see the need for conventions. They make things predictable and offer order and structure where there would otherwise be none. But in situations like this where depature costs nothing and returns something it makes sense to deviate. At least one person agrees with me. Thanks Green.

And to the lady in the Explorer on Euston. Yeah, I had my signal on. You were right to think I was turning. I shouldn't have honked at you for cutting me off.

Categories:

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Stand

The night that man had been elected had been a night of horror for him, and all thinking men.

Stephen King
The Stand

Friday, January 20, 2006

White holes

I was excited when I first saw it. Yes, this is a screen shot from LIFE. What happens here is that the two masses on the left and right 'bounce' off of the square on either side and back into each other recursively. But each time they collide they produce a glider. Were I an astrophysicist it would be easy to compare this to a white hole. Creating something out of nothing seems like a big deal.

There is a great article on LIFE at Wikipedia.

Categories:

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Vertical Integration

Competition is a strange thing. It seems like two parties trying to undo what the other has done. And in essence that is what it is. It seems so wasteful, yet it is everywhere and it is encouraged. Why?

Something happens when the parties try to undo each other's work. That is that they try to find new ways to undo each other's work. They innovate. Like tectonic plates that push against each other so hard they raise each other up into a mountain range. Each layer of defense and offense creates something real out of the apparently destructive forces. These layers are responsible for capitalism, sport, democracy, I even suspect romance. The American system of checks and balances uses competition beautifully.

I have identified two things that can stop this destructively creative competition: apathy and cooperation. Apathy would be as if both tectonic plates stopped pushing and so they settle back down to sea level. There is no defense against this and it happens all the time to companies, leagues, nations and relationships. Usually described as 'fizzling out'.

Cooperation, on the other hand, we do have a defense against. Sort of. Back to the techtonic analogy, this would be if two plates met, maybe even influenced each other but never directly opposed the other. Like if they took turns pushing each other or pushed sideways rather than against each other. And so there is no destruction, hence no innovation. In the case of capitalism and democracy we try to use law to discourage cooperation. The thing is that when you are dealing with complex organizations like political parties and multi-national companies cooperation is a very hard thing to identify and define. So rather than deal directly with cooperation our laws try to regulate that which is needed for cooperation: communication.

It is illegal for opposing offices in a political campaign to coordinate schedules and strategies, and opposing companies cannot discuss pricing and promotions. But communication is a strange thing. Just as a person can 'make a statement without saying a word', organizations have ways of communicating information that simply cannot be regulated.

Competition can never be hardwired into any system. Assuming it stays energetic it takes innovation to recognize cooperation and discourage it for the sake of competition.


Categories:

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Gridlock solutions

Levels
01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40

Be sure to check out complete solutions for Sola Rola.
How to use this page:
-Click on the solution you are working on.
-Click on Top link at the bottom of the solution.
-Use your browser back and forward arrows to toggle between the game and the solution. Or you can use the keyboard shortcut, alt + [left arrow] and alt + [right arrow].
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Level #1
8 moves

Get both right longs down

0 - top right
1 - both left up
3 - both bottoms left
5 - both rights down
7 - solve!
Top

Level #2
8 moves

0 - blue right
1 - left down
2 - top left
3 - shorts up
5 - all left
6 - right down
7 - solve!
Top

Level #3
14 moves

0 - all up
2 - all right
4 - all down
5 - all right
6 - all up
7 - all left
8 - all up
9 - all left
11 - all down
13 - solve!
Top


Level #4
9 moves

0 - all down
1 - all left
2 - all up
3 - all right
4 - all up
5 - all left
7 - all down
8 - solve!
Top




Level #5
9 moves

0 - all right
1 - one left up
2 - all left
5 - most down
8 - solve!
Top



Level #6
9 moves

0 - blue left
1 - short up
2 - bottom short right
3 - short up
4 - long left
5 - longs down
8 - solve!
Top


Level #7
13 moves

0 - all down
3 - top right
4 - mid up
5 - blue right
6 - left down
7 - blue left
8 - all down
9 - top left
10 - 2 up
12 - solve!
Top



Level #8
12 moves

0 - all left
2 - top 3 up
5 - blue right
6 - all up
7 - all left
10 - all down
11 - solve!
Top




Level #9
12 moves

0 - all right
1 - all up
2 - all left
3 - all down
4 - blue right
5 - all down
7 - all left
10 - one up
11 - solve!
Top



Level #10
15 moves

0 - all left
2 - all up
3 - blue and long right
5 - all down
6 - all right
8 - long up
9 - all left
11 - all up
12 - all left
13 - all down
14 - solve!
Top



Updated:
7:38 PM 07/10/2006

Level #11
25 moves

0 - 12 top short into right corner
13 - 17 left short up
18 - clean up

0 - all down
1 - blue left
2 - one up
3 - top long left
4 - short up 3 blocks
5 - longs right
7 - one down
8 - blue right
9 - long up
10 - one left
11 - long down
12 - short right
13 - one up
14 - one right
15 - one down
16 - blue left
17 - one up
18 - blue right
19 - one up
20 - all left
22 - all down
24 - solve!
Top



Level #12
17 moves

0 - 4 up short
5 - 9 down left short
10 - down right long

0 - top right
1 - one up
2 - one left
3 - one up
4 - all right
6 - one down
7 - blue right
8 - one down
9 - top left
10 - right up
11 - blue right
12 - long up
13 - longs left
15 - one down
16 - solve!
Top


Level #13
16 moves

0 - right long up
1 - shorts down
3 - one right
4 - blue left
5 - all up
7 - all left
10 - all down
12 - one right
13 - two up
15 - solve!
Top
Little Big Planet



Level #14
17 moves

0 - all down
2 - blue left
3 - one down
4 - one right
5 - one up
6 - blue right
7 - all up
9 - blue and other left
11 - one up
12 - one left
13 - 3 down
16 - solve!
Top



Level #15
23 moves

0 - bottoms right
2 - all down
4 - blue left
5 - all up
7 - bottom left
8 - all down
10 - on the top clear the middle
13 - all up
15 - blue right
16 - all up
18 - all left
20 - all down
22 - solve!
Top



Level #16
22 moves

0 - all right
1 - all down
4 - 2 tops left
6 - all down
7 - one top right
8 - long up
9 - all left
11 - short down
12 - all right
13 - all up
15 - short left
16 - all down
17 - blue right
18 - long up
19 - all left
20 - all down
21 - solve!
Top



Level #17
24 moves

0 - 10 left short down
11 - 21 long down


0 - one short left
1 - all up
4 - all right
6 - all down
7 - two shorts right
9 - all down
10 - shorts left
13 - long right
14 - all up
15 - all right
17 - all up
18 - all left
20 - all down
23 - solve!
Top




Level #18
25 moves

0 - 14 2 shorts in right corner
15 - 19 short up
20 - clean up

0 - all right
3 - all down
4 - blue left
5 - all down
6 - all right
9 - long up
10 - all left
11 - all down
12 - all right
14 - all up
15 - all right
16 - all down
17 - blue left
18 - all up
19 - all right
20 - all up
21 - longs left
23 - all down
24 - solve!
Top





Level #19
22 moves

0 - 12 left short to bottom
13 - 19 long left
20 - 22 clean up

0 - all up
1 - all left
3 - left down
4 - top left
5 - rights up
7 - long right
8 - all down
9 - all right
11 - all down
12 - all left
15 - all up
16 - all right
18 - all up
19 - long left
20 - one down
21 - solve!
Top




Level #20
10 moves

0 - short down
1 - short right
2 - two left shorts up
4 - two bottoms left
6 - three down
9 - solve!
Top




Level #21
21 moves


0 - all down
1 - all right
2 - blue left
3 - all down
4 - all right
6 - long up
7 - all left
8 - all down
9 - all right
10 - all up
11 - all right
12 - all down
13 - blue left
14 - all up
15 - all right
16 - all up
17 - all left
19 - all down
20 - solve!
Top





Level #22
26 moves

0 - 18 right short up
18 - lower long

0 - short right
1 - one short to top corner
2 - blue left
3 - all down
4 - blue right
5 - short down one block
6 - all left
7 - long up
8 - all left
9 - right short up
10 - long right
11 - bottom t shorts down
13 - all left
14 - bottom short right
15 - all down
16 - all left
17 - right short and long up
19 - all right
20 - all up
23 - long left
24 - long down
25 - solve!
Top




Level #23
31 moves (there's probably a better way)

0 - 25 move all shorts left
26 - clean up

0 - all right
1 - all down
3 - short left
4 - all up
6 - bottom long left
7 - all down
8 - short left
9 - all down
10 - all right
11 - one up
12 - blue left
13 - all down
14 - all left
15 - all up
16 - short right
17 - short up three blocks
18 - bottom long right
19 - bottom short down
20 - top short left
21 - long down
22 - long right
23 - all up
25 - all left
27 - three down
30 - solve!
Top




Level #24
26 moves

0 - two left shorts up
2 - all left
4 - all down
5 - all left
6 - right shorts up
8 - all right
10 - all down
11 - all right
13 - all down
15 - three top shorts left
18 - all up
19 - all right
21 - all up
23 - long left
24 - one short down
25 - solve!
Top



Level #25
27 moves

0 - 8 Lower left short
9 - 18 raise second left short
19 - 27 clean up

0 - top short left
1 - two up
3 - left long down
4 - blue left
5 - long right
6 - short down
7 - 3 shorts right one block
10 - long up
11 - long left
12 - short up
13 - long right
14 - long down
15 - three left shorts left
18 - one short to top
19 - two shorts, one long left
22 - long and right short down
24 - top short right
25 - top short up
26 - solve!
Top



Revised for clarity:
03 Jan 07


Level #26
33 moves
0 - 6 lower mid short
7 - 9 upper long left
10 - bottom short two blocks left

0 - right shorts up
2 - short right
3 - one left short down
4 - mid long left
5 - short down
6 - blue right
7 - short down
8 - long left
9 - long up
10 - mid long right
11 - one left short to bottom
12 - all left
14 - one short three blocks up
15 - all left
16 - one short to bottom
17 - all right
19 - one left short to top
20 - blue left
21 - one short up
22 - all left
24 - long and mid short down
26 - all right
27 - short to top
28 - blue right
29 - mid short down
30 - long left
31 - short up
32 - solve!
Top




Level #27
32 moves

0 - 8 left short down
9 - 20 shorts to right corner
21 - long to left

0 - long up
1 - short right
2 - long down
3 - shorts right
5 - one short up
6 - blue right
7 - short down
8 - blue left
9 - short down
10 - shorts left
12 - long and one mid short up
14 - short left
15 - all down
18 - shorts right
20 - long and one mid short up
22 - all right
24 - left short up
25 - all left
27 - short up one block
28 - long left
29 - longs down
31 - solve!
Top



Level #28
30 moves

0 - top short left

0 - long up
1 - short down
2 - shorts right
4 - all down
6 - long right
7 - long up
8 - short left
9 - short down
10 - short left
11 - long up
12 - long right
13 - long down
14 - short left
15 - all up
17 - short right
18 - all up
20 - one bottom short left
21 - long down
22 - long left
23 - short up
24 - blue right
25 - long up
26 - all left
28 - long down
29 - solve!
Top




Level #29
31 moves

0 - 14 raise left short
15 - 24 lower long
25 - clean up

0 - one right short up one block
1 - one right short right
2 - mid short up 3 blocks
3 - short left
4 - bottom right short up one block
5 - all right
8 - short down
9 - one short left
10 - short down
11 - all right
13 - left short up
14 - two left shorts left
16 - mid short up
17 - bottom long and one bottom short left
19 - one bottom short down
20 - one mid short right
21 - one mid/right short down
22 - short left
23 - long down
24 - long right
25 - one short up
26 - blue right
27 - one short down
28 - long left
29 - one short up
30 - solve!
Top



Level #30
32 moves

0 - 21 lower left short
22 - 31 lower right long

0 - all right
4 - long down
5 - blue left
6 - short down
7 - long left
8 - long up
9 - two right shorts right
11 - short down
12 - short left
13 - long down
14 - long right
15 - short up
16 - blue right
17 - left long up
18 - two left shorts left
20 - short down
21 - short right
22 - long down
23 - all left
25 - right long up
26 - one short right
27 - short up
28 - all left
30 - long down
31 - solve!
Top



Level #31
51 moves

get right short 2 blocks down with 3 bottom shorts on the left

0 - 11 raise left long
12 -

0 - short right
1 - short up
2 - blue left
3 - long up
4 - short right
5 - long down
6 - blue right
7 - short down
8 - all left
10 - long up
11 - top short left
12 - long and short down
14 - short left
15 - left long and short up
17 - short right
18 - long down
19 - long left
20 - right long up
21 - two bottom shorts right
23 - short down
24 - shorts right
26 - all up
28 - long left
29 - right short down
30 - short left
31 - right long down
32 - long right
33 - long up
34 - short left
35 - short up
36 - long right
37 - long down
38 - top short right
39 - short up
40 - blue left
41 - all up
43 - short left
44 - short and left long down
46 - blue right
47 - long up
48 - long left
49 - long down
50 - solve!
Top



Level #32
37 moves

clear the 3rd row

0 - short down
1 - short left
2 - long up
3 - one mid short right
4 - short up
5 - short right
6 - left short down
7 - mid short left
8 - long down
9 - one mid short down
10 - short left
11 - long down
12 - one right short right
13 - short up
14 - blue right
15 - long up
16 - short right
17 - short up
18 - short left
19 - long down
20 - short right
21 - short up
22 - blue left
23 - short down
24 - short left
25 - long up
26 - short right
27 - short and long up
29 - short left
30 - one short and long down
32 - short left
33 - long down
34 - one short right
35 - short up
36 - solve!
Top




Level #33 - Fixed. Thx Rachel
44 moves

0 - short left
1 - long up
2 - one short right
3 - short up
4 - long right
5 - short down
6 - shorts left
8 - short up
9 - long and 2 right shorts right
12 - long and short down
14 - short left
15 - short up
16 - blue right
17 - short down
18 - top short left
19 - long up
20 - short right
21 - short up
22 - short left
23 - long down
24 - blue left
25 - short down
26 - short right
27 - shorts up
29 - blue left
30 - all up
32 - bottom short left
33 - all down
35 - short left
36 - one right short up
37 - blue right
38 - long up
39 - long left
40 - one bottom short down
41 - short left
42 - long down
43 - solve!Top




Level #34
43 moves

0 - two shorts to lower left corner from right

0 - bottom short right
1 - one short down
2 - blue right
3 - left short down
4 - long left
5 - two top shorts and long up - one block each
8 - long right
9 - left short down
10 - blue left
11 - bottom short up
12 - short right
13 - left short down
14 - long left
15 - bottom short up
16 - top short left
17 - bottom short down
18 - long right 2 blocks
19 - all down
21 - long right
22 - right/top short up
23 - blue right
24 - short up
25 - 3 shorts left
28 - short down
29 - top long left
30 - long up
31 - bottom long right
32 - short down
33 - long left
34 - blue right
35 - left short down
36 - long left
37 - two mid shorts up - one block each
39 - short left
40 - short and long down
42 - solve!
Top




Level #35
43 moves

0 - 19 raise left short

0 - long down 1 block
1 - shorts right
3 - shorts up
5 - left short down
6 - long left
7 - short up
8 - shorts right
10 - one mid short down
11 - one mid short down one block
12 - short left
13 - long up
14 - long right
15 - long down
16 - blue right
17 - short up
18 - blue left
19 - long up
20 - long left
21 - long down
22 - short right
23 - shorts up
25 - shorts left
27 - two bottom shorts down
29 - short down one block
30 - short left
31 - long up
32 - long right
33 - long down
34 - short left
35 - short up
36 - blue right
37 - short down
38 - short left
39 - long up
40 - long left
41 - long down
42 - solve!
Top




Level #36
44 moves

both shorts to lower right corner
raise right short

0 - short down
1 - long right
2 - long down
3 - top long and short left
5 - long up
6 - all right
9 - short up
10 - long left
11 - long down
12 - top long and short right
14 - long up
15 - long left
16 - short up
17 - short right
18 - short down
19 - long right
20 - long down
21 - top long and short left
23 - long up
24 - long right
25 - shorts down
27 - all left two blocks
30 - long down
31 - top long and short right
33 - long up
34 - long left
35 - short up
36 - long right
37 - long down
38 - long left
39 - top short up
40 - bottom shorts left
42 - long down
43 - solve!
Top




Level #37
47 moves

2 shorts up

0 - short right
1 - long down
2 - blue left
3 - short down
4 - short left
5 - longs up
7 - long right
8 - short down
9 - two shorts right 1 block each
11 - long up
12 - short left
13 - short down
14 - long left
15 - middle long down
16 - two top shorts right
18 - long up
19 - long left
20 - short up
21 - long right
22 - long down
23 - top three shorts left
26 - long up
27 - long right
28 - short up
29 - short right
30 - long down
31 - blue left
32 - short up
33 - long left
34 - longs down
36 - one short right
37 - shorts up
39 - blue right
40 - long up
41 - shorts left
44 - longs down
46 - solve!
Top




Level #38
49 moves

0 - long left
1 - long up
2 - shorts right
4 - short down
5 - short right
6 - two left shorts up
8 - long left
9 - short down
10 - short left
11 - long down
12 - long right
13 - one short up
14 - blue right
15 - left short down
16 - blue left
17 - short down
18 - long left
19 - long up
20 - short right
21 - short up
22 - long right
23 - three left shorts down
26 - short left
27 - two top shorts up
29 - short left
30 - all down
33 - all right
35 - one left short up
36 - all right
38 - short up
39 - two left shorts left
41 - bottom short up
42 - buttom short and long left
44 - two shorts and long down
47 - solve!
Top



Level #39
50 moves

get all shorts up and left

0 - long up
1 - all right
3 - all down
5 - long left
6 - long up
7 - short right
8 - short down
9 - short left
10 - long down
11 - long right
12 - short up
13 - blue right
14 - short down one block
15 - long left one block
16 - long up
17 - shorts right
19 - shorts up
21 - shorts left
23 - long down
24 - long right
25 - short up
26 - blue left
27 - short down
28 - long left
29 - long up
30 - one short right
31 - right short up
32 - top short left one block
33 - long down
34 - long right
35 - shorts up
37 - shorts left
39 - shorts down
41 - long left
42 - long up
43 - short right
44 - short down
45 - short left
46 - long down
47 - long right
48 - short up
49 - solve!
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Level #40
51 moves

0 - long up
1 - short right
2 - short down
3 - long right
4 - short up
5 - short right
6 - all down
8 - short left
9 - top short up
10 - blue left
11 - shorts down
13 - short right
14 - top short up
15 - blue right
16 - all up
18 - short left
19 - short down
20 - all left
22 - long down
23 - short right
24 - short up
25 - all right
27 - short down
28 - blue left
29 - short down
30 - short left
31 - long up
32 - long right
33 - short up
34 - short right
35 - long down
36 - blue left
37 - top short down
38 - top short left
39 - three top shorts up
42 - blue right
43 - long up
44 - one bottom short left
45 - one bottom short down
46 - two bottom short and long left
49 - long down
50 - solve!
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Monday, January 16, 2006

Busy day

I can hardly believe it. My first weekday of unemployment and I'm pleasantly exhausted.

The day started out with phone calls and emails. Letting people know that I now had time that I wasn't planning on wasting. I got a volunteer gig coordinating a forum on environment and energy. That sounds like it is going to be an experience. Reports will follow.

Then scanning some old email I found a notice about Harper's rally at the Rodd Charlottetown. Again a few phone calls to make sure I had company. Thanks Nicole. Turns out Dita was going to be there too. I did what I could to dissuade them from displaying their Shawn Murphy buttons while inside the rally. I thought there were plenty of protesters outside. Though not so many as to not have any spare room. I had never been to a rally before. Though it was as I had expected. Stump speeches and noise makers. A few signs too. I left with a smile on my face.

Next was the Charlottetown candidates's debate. (Podcasts here) What a debate. Seriously, WOW. I like to consider myself the objective observer but David Daughton showed them all how it was done. Perhaps it was debate prep, perhaps he is a gifted speaker, or maybe good sense prevailed but all the others got a lesson. Every address was concise and articulate, wise though understandable, and innovative though practical. I think I am a fan. If I don't seem him speak again I will be disappointed.

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Sunday, January 15, 2006

State

I tried to go to sleep last night without really being tired. I just closed my eyes and waited to see what would happen. As I laid there I started to feel strange, or better yet, awkward. Imagine that a few major muscles in your shoulder went numb then you try to move a piece on a chess board. You can still move your arm but just can't move it in any kind of skillful way. That is the kind of ineptness that I felt. Though nothing was numb and I wasn't trying to do anything specific.

It happens a few times a year so I like to experiment a with it a little bit when it does happen. And like all the other times I know when I open my eyes things are going to look different. It always seems to happen in very soft light. The full moon last night an a few LED's were sufficient.

When I opened my eyes I seemed to have lost all sense of proportion. I can see shapes but size doesn't seem to mean anything. As I fixate on one object, like my bookshelf, it feels as though my brain is testing out different possible sizes for it, thought none are any more valid than the others. So it erratically seems to be getting larger and smaller though always staying the same shape and in constant proportion to everything else.

From previous experimentation I knew that visualizations were hard in this state. So I closed my eyes and tried imagine what I would look like to somebody standing a few feet away. I couldn't do it. I tried to imagine what my house looked like from the outside and I got it but I couldn't hold the picture. As the picture became a little more stable I tried to imagine walking into my front door and moving around inside. As this became easier I noticed the feeling of ineptness started to lift. Then I opened my eyes and everything looked right again.

It's not a scary state. Normally I just turn on a light and give my head a shake to bring things back. This is the first time I got it to go through visualization... assuming that is what made it go. I like trying to figure out how it happens. My best guess to date is that in building a 3D model of your surroundings you use some stored information in conjunction with the visual information. But perhaps as part of the process of going to sleep these two functions separate and I try to build my models from purely visual cues. That would explain the proportion problem, but not the ineptness that comes before it. I guess I would like to know what happens but experimentation is fun too.

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Saturday, January 14, 2006

Have you ever...:

( ) Forgot a major anniverary/birthday?
(x) locked your keys in your car
(x) had something returned broken
(x) figured it out one moment too late
(x) been in love/been fired
(x) been dumped
(x) been the dumper
( ) gotten that kick ass job
(x) been in a fist fight/smoked a cigarette
( ) snuck out of your parent's house
( ) confided in a kid
(x) been arrested/been to a concert
(x) gone on a blind date/been in a car crash
(x) lied to a friend/stuck up for a friend
(x) wished it would last forever
(x) had your mouth washed out with soap
(x) skipped school/called in sick to work while healthy
( ) been to USA
(x) been on a public bus/subway/plane
(x) plucked the wings off of a fly
(x) done it because you would regret it if you didn't
( ) met someone from the internet/wrote an email you wish you didn't
( ) love someone/miss someone right now
(x) knew how to make a difference/said the right thing at the right time
(x) built a sandcastle/fort
(x) been lonely/told someone you miss them
(x) gone jogging/sleding/roller skating
(x) fallen asleep at work/school
( ) told your secret to a stranger
( ) used a fake ID/someone elses
( ) gotten kicked out of a club/bar
( ) solved the problems of the world with one phone call
( ) felt an earthquake/saw where lightning had struck
(x) slept beneath the stars
(x) been tickled/misunderstood
( ) petted a reindeer/kangaroo/
(x) milked a cow/goat
(x) won a contest
(x) remembered all the zodiac signs/birth stones/books of the old testament
(x) run a red light/stop sign
( ) been suspended from school
(x) had braces/kissed someone with braces
(x) felt like an outcast/third person
(x) had déjà vu/played with an Ouija board
(x) liked the way you looked
( ) made your mother cry
(x) witnessed a crime
(x) felt like dying
(x) sang karaoke
(x) laughed at yourself/cried yourself to sleep
( ) done something you told yourself you wouldn't
(x) made prank phone calls
( ) been kissed under the mistletoe
( ) made a bonfire on the beach
( ) crashed a party
( ) had a wish come true
( ) jumped off a bridge/bungee jumped
(x) taken control
( ) had your world change with one look
( ) seen someone die
( ) spent money on a foolish gimmick
(x) created your own word
( ) got what you wanted only to realize it wasn't what you really wanted after all
( ) lost a best friend (in one way or another)
( ) had something returned you thought you had lost

Props: she's so lame

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Friday, January 13, 2006

They really are pink!

I got the slip today. It really took me by surprise. Had it happened a few days ago I might not have been quite so surprised. It seems to contradict most things that I take for granted that I was reinstated and then let go. I guess that means I have something to learn from this experience.

So now we play the second guessing game. Not that I have regrets about any of it. But I can tease out a lesson if I try some substitute behavior and then go through the chain of events again. I don't know if it sounds like a lot of work but it is. But if I don't do it then I can't get the lesson, then I will have something to regret.

I have a few starting points. Most of what happened seemed like a unfortunate series of misunderstandings but I can't see that many misunderstandings happening unless there was a fertile environment for them.

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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Conway's Game of Life

I heard of it long ago but just got reminded of it today watching the Nature of Things (strange name for a show when you think about it). Today I did myself the favour of downloading it. And damn! It is as beautiful as I hoped. You can download it here. On the left are a few of the shapes I found worthwhile playing with.

Yes, I embrace my geekdom. For those not familiar with the game.. the green dots, 'critters', either live or die depending on how many neighbours it has. Most of these are stable populations except for the U, this is the start of a prolific colony, and the R near the middle. This one glides across the screen. I spent a few hours shooting them into stable colonies. Fun stuff.

As I was playing it, it was hard not to get philosophical about the whole thing. Raging against the fatalism of it all. Wondering if there were possible unstable though perpetual colonies. Or you can just shoot gliders into stable colonies.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Screw the leaders

These are the choices Islanders have to make for the 39th general election. THESE are the decisions. It doesn't have to be about the leaders. I want every Islander to be represented in the House of Commons by somebody that can protect and fight for their interests. So consider this scenario: Joe Smith from Party X is elected to the House. Party X leader Jane MacDonald wants do something that is bad for Joe's Community. What does Joe do? Sounds like a tough question, eh? But I submit it is easy if you are Joe. The answer is to follow whoever got you to the House. If it was the people follow the people; if it was the party follow the party.

If you vote for a candidate because of who they are, and not the line they tow make sure you let them know, or it is all for nought. The party line can be a very small part in a parliamentarians decision making process.

This is to say if you want to be represented put down the Globe and Mail. Turn off The National. Go have a conversation with a person.


CARDIGAN

ARSENAULT-ANTOLICK, Haida (Green Party)
GILLIS, Don (Conservative)
MacAULAY, Lawrence (Liberal)
PERRY, Edith (N.D.P.)

CHARLOTTETOWN

CHISHOLM, Andrew J. (Marijuana Party)
DAUGHTON, David Lobie (Green Party)
DeBLOIS, Tom (Conservative) (Can the man not take a good picture?)
JUDSON, Baird (Christian Heritage Party)
MURPHY, Shawn (Liberal)
POLLARD, Brian (N.D.P.)

EGMONT

GUERGIS, Edward (Conservative)
MATSUSAKI, Ron (Green Party)
McGUIRE, Joe (Liberal)
NESBITT, Michael (Independent)
RUSSELL, Regena Kaye (N.D.P.)

MALPEQUE

EASTER, Wayne (Liberal)
LABCHUK, Sharon (Green Party)
MARSHALL, George (N.D.P.)
NOBLE, George (Conservative)


Please contact me for errors or omissions.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

"I don't think I can do that"

Cool. I'm not unemployed. Yet.

I have been on suspension since Friday for... Well, there was never any official reason given. It was never even officially called a suspension for that matter. I haven't been to work since Friday. There was a meeting held on Monday to discuss the matter. I guess I gave them alot to think about for a mere 31 hours later my position was reinstated. Go me.

I had a dentist appointment this morning. It was scheduled weeks ago, really. It had nothing to do with a possible lapse in my medical insurance. But one of my novicane lisp encounters led to an I-love-PEI moment.

I had moved recently and I'm still compiling the list of people who send me mail. Or at least those I want to send me mail. Through a mix up I gave my bank the wrong postal code. As I am approaching the counter I realize I don't have my ID on me. When I told this (with my novicane lisp) to a cute little banker waiting on me I get back, "That's OK. I used to live down the street from you." Gah? Turns out she did too. If I wasn't on the verge of unemployment and I wasn't at high risk for drooling on myself it might have been fun to persue it. Instead I just thought 'I love PEI' and went about my day.

Right! The title.. It's from a critical moment in the Monday meeting. I was told that if I cannot commit to X* my services weren't needed. To which I replied "I don't think I can do that." X was then requalified to something I could agree with but it really set the tone for the rest of the meeting. Alot of consideration went into that utterance. It could have turned out differently but even if it did I would have been glad to have done it.

I don't just want a job. I want a healthy relationship with a good company. I now have more reason to believe I am there.

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Monday, January 9, 2006

Signs

Maybe they were there before, maybe not. If anybody knows, sharing would be helpful. The Green party has little stickers on some of their lawn signs. Not all of them. And they are small. And it doesn't look like the signs were supposed to have stickers put on them... But if you keep you windshield really clean and kinda squint you can see who is the Green Party candidate for you riding.

And I'm tired of having to drive for 25 minutes to get PEI beef. For the record I get this at Nick's Meat Market. The Co-op sells Atlantic Tender Beef Classic but hasn't confirmed where their ground beef comes from. The major grocery chains get their beef from western Canada. I haven't found anybody who said they got their beef from the US, but there have to be other venues to get local beef, right?

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Thursday, January 5, 2006

Political Process

This month you are going to hear something very familiar. We should remember them, it wasn't very long ago we heard it last. The popular vote v. political representation analysis, regional breakdowns and disproportionate representation, and above all voter turn out.

Now, a low voter turn out isn't a symptom of the growing divide between the state and the people, or even politicians and people. It is about the divide between the king makers and the people. As the elite grow more powerful they are less sensitive to the political efforts of the unorganized masses, so the masses find better things to do where their efforts. Re-enforcing things like jobs, education, art, etc. And it is really not an uninspired thing to do because political process is like all other processes: when it stops getting input it stops producing output; a fire can only give heat and light if it keeps getting fuel.

So it seems that as the divide grows larger and larger political apathy will drop further and further. Right? Well, yes and no. Political apathy will drop, and eventually bottom out, but it won't be reflected in voter turn out. There may already be a significant rift between the two. The king makers have alot to loose and don't want any scrappy rebels to know there is a standing reserve army ready to fight for a change so they have a reason to pump up the voter turn out. If I were in the driver's seat I would make an effort to organized voter mobilization campaigns.

Not voter education campaigns, mind you. That is the difference between political apathy and voter turn out. You can give people reasons to vote that are not entirely political.. that are slightly more basic like economic or social reasons. Remember that process? Well, some of the output, say government contracts, becomes input, like economic interest, for the next iteration. Each slightly less political than the one before.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Politics Scare Me

I just heard an ad on the radio. It was the Conservatives going for the Liberal juggular. I have a problem that it was an attack ad, but bigger than that was the closing line: "Paid for by your Crapeau Conservative candidate." ..And who might that be? I guess it doesn't matter. Why do I see Jack Layton signs all over? Is he running in the Charlottetown riding? Is the Green Party running any candidates? None of their signs name any.

If I could have one wish this election it would be that every Islander makes a decision based on their relationship with the candidate. Rather than a mutual relationship with the party leader.

Why you vote matters as much as how you vote. Keep the Island strong.

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Monday, January 2, 2006

Where Are You Now?

Maybe because I'm shy,
Maybe because I'm smart,
Maybe because I'm egocentric or opinionated. But I like writing the essay type stuff so much more than the how my day went stuff. I had a kick ass New Year's Eve (thanks Kim). A little bit of stuff happened at work and some stuff at home, and I don't feel like writing about any of it.

I want to write about 'Where Are You Now?' I have a feeling it will come off a little preachy yet hopefully insightful.

The intuitive answer to the title question is geographic. But how many other "where's" are needed to explain the places you find yourself right now? Every decision you make, conscious or otherwise, there are forces that make certain options more or less appealing. Ultimately, you make the choice but to not acknowledge the influences upon us is, dare I say, niave. Every one of these forces, some more significant than others, can be thought of as a difference between where you are, and where you want to be. Though most of us have an imperfect picture of where we want to be I'm finding more and more that people don't know where they are.

It may seem like a silly question but if you would indulge me in a thought experiment: Close your eyes and feel yourself jumping. Note the motions and the forces as you do it and how high you go. You might want to do it a few times so that it feels the same way as it did the last time. Now, feel yourself doing exactly the same motions only this time on a trampoline. If you are actually following along with me you will find, perhaps counter-intuitively, that you barely move on the trampoline. If you use the same motions to jump on a trampoline as you do from solid ground most of your effort is wasted. To jump from a trampoline you have to use much bigger, slower, more fluid motions. When you do this your feet can clear two or three times the height they did before. So if you didn't realize you were on the trampoline you would have wasted alot of effort and missed out on a great opportunity. Now consider yourself on a rickety old wooden stool. Now jump... If you didn't know what you were standing on before you jumped you probably wouldn't be jumping for a while. Where you are matters.

I would want people to decide which maps are important to them but one example of a non-geographic map would be the professional map. Where are you professionally? In order to answer this quesion you will need a few landmarks. Jobs are very social so your main landmarks will likely be people. Those you work with directly most days; those you see every other day; those who work over those you work under and those they work for. Once you get so far out is may be more useful to start thinking in terms of departments or cooperating companies instead of people. Consider the kinds of relationships you have with those who have made it on your map and where it would be worthwhile to put some more effort.

The word here is 'opportunity'. I'm not asking which relationships are bad and telling you to fix them. Some relationships are bad would take far more attention to fix than they could ever return. What you want to look for are opportunities to make relationships better. Maybe it is an opportunity to make a horrible relationship bad, a good one great, or a fantastic one spectacular.

An important note is that there is no called strike. If there was an opportunity that you didn't see then it wasn't an opportunity. If you don't have the tools to recognize an opportunity in the moment then it isn't one and that's fine. If you dont see one then keep looking. Mind you this is not the same as idleness. You're scanning and watching and perhaps ready to strike at a moments notice. If an opportunity is only an opportunity when recognized the more you know about your map the better equiped you are to find them.

Finding opportunities and making use of them, then reapping the rewards and using them to look deeper. I would say that is what moving up and on is all about.

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