Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   still mysterious in nature
Monday, July 16 2007
I took Sally and Eleanor to the Secret Spot on the Esopus (that popular swimming hole just west of the intersection of Hurley Mountain Road and Tongore). While I was there I suddenly and unexpectedly I felt the call of nature, in that way that requires some sort of burial, so I found myself looking for a big rock to lift up so I could place the unused detritus of my digestion underneath it. And as I did so I came upon a fairly large (though luggable) stone that looked like something from a Salvador Dali painting. I crapped beneath one of its ordinary-looking siblings and took the Dali stone home, eventually adding it to the border that I've been gradually building between the path and the swath of garden between the path and the house.

This evening I watched one of those grab-bag episodes of Nova where the host covered a variety of scientific topics in a newsy sort of way. One of the topics concerned the mystery of sleep, in which we learned that even fruit flies need a night's rest. Several sleep experts gave their theories about why we need to sleep, based on evidence showing (for example) that learning requires it. I was struck, though, by the narrowness of the search for an answer considering that I myself had an insight on the subject that wasn't being touched on. From my experience with large high-traffic databases, I know that database administrators usually schedule the various data crawlers, analyzers, digesters, and other such power-hungry data-analysis processes only at night or on the weekends. Some of the products of these processes are indexes to increase the speed of searches. Others include complex numerical digests of large amounts of data. All of this is information based on other information, but it's of higher value and allows broader insights into what the raw, lower-level data has to say. Though essential, it must be assembled at night because the database is too busy during the day. I imagine similar things happen in our brains with the data our senses collect in our waking life. This particular Nova episode almost said as much, but I was disappointed that it didn't attack the problem from the perspective of information technology. As technology has advanced, it has been forced to cope with increasing numbers of technical challenges already addressed by life. While it's well-established that engineers can learn from biology, biologists also stand to benefit by looking at what is being discovered in engineering, particularly as computers start to develop biological levels of complexity and cognitive power. Such cross-disciplinary work will allow biologists to inform their hypotheses in cases where engineers suprisingly (but for sound reasons) seem to be doing things that are also done in nature, but for completely mysterious reasons.

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