The Beav according to Beav

Still crazy after all these years.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Go ahead, ask me anything.

I've been caught in another seductive web of the...web.

I found Yahoo! Answers. There is something undeniably attractive about hundreds, nay thousands, of questions begging for your input. People with conundrums seemingly custom-designed for your knowledge. Not only that, but if you answer well, and the asker likes it, they can tell you that yours was the "Best Answer!" Man! That kind of validation can't be found just anywhere.

Granted, like any place on the web, there are trolls and idiots to suffer through. But there are also very real people with very real dilemmas, stumpers, and philosophical thought-journeys. If you're not careful, you can lose a day or 13 in there.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

I love these moments!

I just had a wonderful idea.

I was watching a show called Nova ScienceNOW that dealt with (among other things) the theory of emergence. Basically, emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a bunch of relatively simple interactions; essentially self-organization.

Now those of you with a science bent are probably thinking: "Wait, doesn't entropy say that can't happen?" It does seem to be contrary to what we know of organization. Order marches toward Chaos. That's entropy. What's up?

It occurs to me that just as we have conservation of energy and conservation of matter, we may have conservation of organization. When you see examples of entropy: as things decay, energy slowly transfers to create equilibrium; when you see examples of emergence: as computers teach themselves, molecules rebond in different configurations; what you see is not two different, opposite phenomena, but conversion of organization. Like the rock converts potential energy to kinetic when it rolls down the hill. Like the acid and base convert to water and salt when combined.

It may not be true. But it's certainly elegant.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

What do you mean, Stevie?

I work with a woman named Rhiannon. Her parents were die-hard Fleetwood Mac fans (and who isn't, really), and well, there you go: Rhiannon.

Now, everytime I see her, my mind says that "Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night," and it has occurred to me that I don't know what that means. How does a person ring like a bell through the night? What quality is she (or he for that matter) expressing? Or is there no meaning at all? Is it just a beautiful lyric that suggests without ever quite defining?

The things I think about.

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