Blogging Anniversary with Post No. 63. Equal to: 42 Plus (42 Divided by 2)

Captain’s log: In my time zone, it is now March 24, 2013, 00:16.

[Voice from the future – March 2019. Some links don’t work anymore. In order to preserve the spirit of this post and to make my life easy, I will leave the exercise to the reader. But those links will be marked appropriately, by some Unicode artthat is likely to not work anymore again in the future.]

This is the 63rd post on this blog, a truly random number.  But the title shows off that I can make sense of it and unveil its secret meaning.

It was on March 24, 2012 …

… that this blog went public, and I did my best to work around best blogging and SEO practices:

The short name of this blog is ‘elkement’. Search for this on Google and you will be asked: Did you mean element? So I need to stick to my stretch goal: Making elkement a household name. Search engines should rather ask Did you mean ‘elkement’? when searchers ask for element.

But I am The Subversive El(k)ement and blogging is about authenticity and integrity – or about playing with identity ⛔ a bit, maybe. So I am using my ‘real’ nickname.

This blog’s site title ‘Theory and <…>’ is incredibly looooooong. I thank anybody who ever added this to a blogroll or other list of blogs as my blog title usually introduces a pesky line break.

There are three explanations – pick your favorite one:

  • I needed to have the theme Garland, absolutely, positively. However, Garland does not display the blog’s tagline. So I needed to make the title an effective tagline. The real tagline, by the way, is: The Subversive El(k)ement’s Random Thoughts.
  • This blog covers a very peculiar variety of different topics – from experimental search term poetry to the history of physics. The only intersection between all these topics is me, and I am really serious about combining anything.
  • Many of my posts are long-winded. Thus the site title should be in line with that (managing readers’ expectations).

Before this post becomes too weird and too self-referential, I am shamelessly stealing The Curtain Raiser’s idea: I will rather link to blogs I really enjoyed following in the past year and which have inspired my own blogging considerably. It is really hard to pick a subset of the – much larger – list of blog I actually do follow. I limit myself to 12 blogs which is not an easy task.

But I cannot avoid navel-gazing nonetheless: In parallel to this blog, I am resurrecting my non-blog websites and I have turned from social media denier to addict. The main thing I learned from this was that social media and the web in general is an experimental playground, and I am enjoying to make strange connections and cross-overs between different virtual universes.

So I will attempt to loosely connect my blogging experience and my favorite blogs. Blogs are ordered by the date I followed them (ascending).

This is my fist blog with ads so to speak – context-sensitive ads. Just in case this is not self-explanatory: The link to the other blogs are the ads, links to my own stuff are considered content. The two of them are entangled – as the photons in quantum cryptography – and I guess I am doing much better here than any other website that makes it too easy to ignore the ads and focus on the content – or vice versa.

I deny all SEO and blogging good practices again – there is too much text and there are too much links.


The Millennium Conjectures(tm) – A Blog of the Ridiculous and Sublime
by Mark Sackler

This blog of mine morphed from very serious and wall-of-text-y posts to downright weird ones. As a former member of the Cult of Corporate, I need metrics and benchmarks, also with respect to weirdness and sublime-ness. I can safely say Mark Sackler scores higher on both and I keep his quote that my resume reads like a character from The Big Bang Theory as a badge of honor (Seems I have launched a pingback DoS attack against this page).

Right now – when preparing this post, on March 23 and checking this paragraph again – the notification on Mark’s latest masterpiece is delivered to my inbox, about his dream of working in an infinite office building with an infinite number of floors – every floor representing an alternate universe. Dilbert meeting Hilbert, I would say.

Please let me know if some links are broken in this article. As Marc(*) Mark noted in a comment (on a post on search term poetry of course), I am OCD, but getting all these links right is probably too much, even for me.
(*) Edit: Please see the comments for more enlightening explanations.


 Raising the Curtain – A look at life at the crossroads in preparation of the second act…because life does not come with signage
by Judy, The Curtain Raiser

Austria is very often mistaken for Australia. So I had actually expected that the first comment on this blog (other than my own pingbacking) would come from an Australian blogger. As mentioned above, I am stealing The Curtain Raiser’s award-winning blogging strategies.

On her blog she has raised the curtain in the past year which might have motivated me to do that as well in the middle of what I called a leap of faith.

Judy manages to let blogging appear easy, even if embarking on a daunting task as an A-Z blogging challenge. But I suspect she manages her bloggiverse like a forward-looking MBA and manager because Judy knows a lot about the intracacies of the corporate, strategic use of CC e-mails for example.


 Alexander Brown.infoScience & Communication, Fundraising, Being Bilingual and Floorball and
Do You Speak ScienceWhat science has to say, in words. Both blogs by Alex Brown

My hopes for inventing something groundbreaking or unlocking the secrets of the universe as a scientist and engineers have been shattered – until I started a global movement and founded the Cult of Search Term Poetry.

Though the illusionary bubble of having been the inventor of spam poetry had been punctured, the movement of ‘experimental art from the trash other people leave on the net’ (suggestions for better tags welcome!) has been professionalized ⛔ and hashtagged by Alex. We should all answer our searchers’ questions ⛔.

Alex is pi-lingual ⛔ and thus well-versed in finding worm-hole-like connections between, say, pies, math, stones, date writing conventions, and The Bloodhoud Gang.

(What will this post do to my search terms? Looking forward to my next Search Term Poem).


The Unemployed Philosopher’s Blog ⛔ – Just because you’re unemployed, it doesn’t mean that you’re out of work
by Dan Mullin

Dan’s blog has been a true Time Machine ⛔ for me. Thanks to his thoughtful posts on the Cult of Academia ⛔ I felt the need to travel back in time and re-live (is this a word? Like re-tweet or re-blog?) my own leaving of academia. Above all, his posts probably motivated the Geeky Turn in my blogging despite or because Dan is a philosopher. My reply to his bestowing a blog award to me, marks this turn – as ground-breaking as the as the Linguistic Turn  in philosophy, triggered by Wittgenstein, I think.

If you are interesting in alternative careers in philosophy and/or ‘Life, the Universe and Everything’ versus ‘The Economy’ / ‘The Job Market’, don’t miss his Podcast episodes ⛔.


carnotcycle – the classical blog on thermodynamics
by Peter M

I am reading (browsing, skimming) too many geek and science websites and I am guilty of getting carried away by the fascination of quantum / cyber / nano / bionic / cloud computing etc. Peter’s blog is what an excellent History of Science blog should be like: Focussed on a single topic that is not known too popular (in terms of inflationary re-sharing the same stories on social webs over and over), and it is well researched. It is fascinating how difficult it is to understand so-called simply basics written in the language of a previous scientific paradigm.

I sometimes dabbled in classical thermodynamics as well, but I cannot resist the geeky touch even here: My post on The First Heat Pump has become a honey pot for heat pump spam. I failed the Turing test by seriously starting to discuss with the first spammer.


who is bert – a dialogue on mind, consciousness and existence
by Bert0001

I am an avid outbound linker – I do not need (another) link to an older post of mine to prove this, just look at the current one. Bert manages to develop something like his natural philosophy without the need of outbound links, trying to understand who he is – in a way that involves a language that lingers on the edge of geekiness sometimes (using terms as interrupt, operator and connector).

But ‘natural philosophy’ is probably too much of a tag already, as well as ‘geek’, and Bert refuses being tagged.

I seem to enjoy being tagged or like tagging myself as a physicist, geek, engineer – to the extreme of becoming cliché or a living cartoon of the physicist-philosopher-engineer.


Many Worlds Theory – In one universe, this blog is about quantum mechanics. In another universe, it is not.
by Matthew Rave

In the universe the wave function is collapsing into right now (This is a sloppy statement – please read Matthew’s post on Many Worlds Theory) it is definitely a a first-class blog on explaining physics. Matthew proves that you can use metaphors to explain physics that make sense, such as the economics of children buying ice cream. Understanding physics is a pet topic of mine as well and I want to thank my readers again who really read my articles on gyroscopes and the Coriolis force.

In particular, I enjoyed Matthew’s posts on Pseudoscience – a another pet topic of mine, though I only wrote about fringe science once last year.

Recently he challenged his readers with his unbelievably low Google number. I am still trying to craft a two words Google search phrase that will hit my blog. Gone are the days when The Subversive Element used to have a Google number of 1 (actually: ‘Google-Zahl’ according to Matthew’s definition) in German speaking countries with


kellyhartland – Aphorist / Visual Artist
by Kelly Hartland

Did I mention my blogs are walls of texts and I need to force myself to 1) shorten them and 2) add images? Since this is my bloggiversary I don’t care.

But I do want to endorse Kelly’s blog and aphorisms – please stand in awe of the art of saying to much with a few words.

Elemental Wall of Text
Probably text is the canvas
and the wall is the message

— The Elkement

(This is a placeholder since I don’t want to copy one of Kelly’s aphorisms. A quote would be equivalent to copying the whole content.)


Play ⛔ – stories and photos from the southern Saskatchewan prairie
by M. Hatzel

A blog about the interaction of virtual ⛔ and real spaces and landscapes with yourself – probably better spelled as Your Self for that matter. This blog defines a class of its own, yet I would like to tag it with to-be-defined-tag that relates to to great pieces of ‘Web Philosophy’, such as David Weinberger’s Small Pieces Loosely Joined – despite or because the blog is mainly about the real space of Saskatchewan.

I can relate to her blog in so many ways, I am at a loss where to start. You put yourself into a context, an environment you have selected by applying some rationale. You believe you know your (rational) selection criteria. But probably you want to expose yourself to the challenge of interacting with this environment, and you want to learn about your own reactions.

If I needed to bestow a blogging award today, it would most likely go to Michelle.

I learned a lot about the history of the settlers who build their sod houses.⛔. It were the settlers’ stories and Michelle’s questions on the viability of the heat pump systems described in a surprisingly down-to-earth blog post of mine that triggered the very first cross-over between this blog and our German blog (Is there a name for such a cross-over? This is as like: Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice are exchanging staff). In this blog – which is actually a business blog though fortunately this is most likely not at all obvious – we call ourselves The Settlers who tell stories about energy and physics. In this post I tried to explain if the system could work in Canada and what the limitations are, very similar to my reply to the comment.


Duck? Starfish? but…23 – one rock at a time
by Maurice A. Barry

Recently I have realized that I have been a teacher and a student – at least part-time – for most of my life. It might be that obvious, but one of the main drivers for starting this blog was to ponder about formal learning and intuitive understanding. I call myself a dilettante science blogger and I have ambiguous feelings about popular science.

Maurice’s blog, and in particular his great series of blog posts on distance education in Newfoundland and Labrador provided me with new insights – not too mention those impressive images of NL’s coast line seen from a helicopter. I was stunned by the fact how ‘distance education’ had been done by Canadian pioneers long before ‘massive open online courses’ became a big hype. His stories of applying high-tech tools in a very down-to-earth fashion, serving local communities of people inhabiting a sparsely populated country … simply resonated with me.

Since Dan ⛔ and Michelle ⛔ are also from Canada, I tend to bestow my blogging country award to Canada!


postmoderndonkey – The carnival of instability in language, thought and audience
by postmoderndonkey

My blog might give proof of lots of inconsistencies and ambiguities; the site site should already indicate this. I am geeky nerd on the one hand, living in an interconnected world – very close to a mind uploaded to a global computer. On the other hand, I am striving for a sustainanable, down-to-earth live style.

postmoderndonkey’s narratives on farming, titled The Zenvironmental Journey, speak to me. I am quoting the last paragraph of his most recent post.

You in your labors are a perfect machine and it is not a moment to be missed that you are aware of the forces within you supporting each of your movements. This is the human you need to be sometimes, the one so unified with nature, so organic. Get wet with sweat, tears and fish water and let it remind you of the connection you and all things share.


Welcome to Pairodox Farm – sustainable living in rural Pennsylvania
by Pairodox Farm

I am not a photographer and I am happy that exists. The more I admire if somebody is able to capture the essence of a moment in an image AND is able to craft a story related to it, or provide some – entertaining – facts about agriculture. Isn’t this car just about coming to live?

I am particularly intrigued by the restoration of ancient technology, such as a water pump and a spinning wheel.

If I had to bestow an award for the best blog name, it would go to Pairodox Farm – check out the explanation!


Here was a Wikimedia image of alien cupcakes. which (according to the description) may not be a fully accurate representation of aliens. Removed in 2019 ⛔

… encouraging you to have a cup of coffee and an alien cup cake now!

Re coffee: The coffee reduction initiative went fine for while – until I fell ill two weeks ago and tried to use coffee first (to keep up working) before falling back on pharmaceuticals. Now the alien creatures in my bronchial tubes have been defeated and I need to convince myself I do not require coffee any more.


Captain’s log: In my time zone, it is now March 24, 2013, 00:23.

I have launched a severe pingback DoS attack against my blog (and a mild one against your blogs), but still seems to run fine.

39 Comments Add yours

  1. M. Hatzel says:

    I was away the past few days, but looking forward to your promised anniversary post. I’m delighted with all the wonderful things you said about Play. Your blog and our “conversations” have shifted my thinking, and I’m always excited to be challenged your next post. Thanks for sharing Dan’s blog in an earlier conversation; The Unemployed Philosopher blog is great and can’t wait to read more… thus, I’m delighted that you shared nine other new-to-me blogs. Can’t wait! Congratuations on reaching 1 year.

    1. elkement says:

      Thanks, Michelle! Your blog had an impact on my thinking, too!
      When compiling this list I tried to recapture how I found these blogs. As far as I remember, I stumbled upon each of them accidentally; I never searched for anything. This is quite different from work which is based on very focussed research. I might post a more serious analysis of my first year of blogging and social media endeavors!

      Dan’s blog was once “Freshly Pressed” – I have now searched for this particular post as I am pretty sure that you would enjoy it: It’s called Wide Open Spaces and – lo and behold – contains a photo of Saskachewan! I could not remember that detail!
      Quote: “There’s a certain austere beauty to the wide open spaces on the prairie. The expanse of land and sky makes one feel small and insignificant. It fills one with that feeling of awe that Kant called ‘the sublime.’”

      1. M. Hatzel says:

        Oh that’s excellent, both Dan’s quote on the sublime and the way serendipity can work by bringing people and ideas into intersections with each other.

      2. M. Hatzel says:

        I’ve been following up on this… Dan’s blog really hits the mark, I think. Not just what he says about Saskatchewan, but what he says about higher education. (I liked that IQ chart… I knew I was in the wrong field! Oh well. lol ;) )

        1. elkement says:

          As a physicist I liked the IQ chart and the quant. vs. verbal skill chart very much, too! I have considered reblogging the post with the charts although it is old – but this would seem a bit vain :-)

          1. M. Hatzel says:

            Yeah, I felt a little vain commenting on it, but one moment of weakness might be forgiven for what has otherwise been a rather modest life? (I hope.)

        2. elkement says:

          Thinking about it once more for 2 nanoseconds I decided to reblog it though now. There have been too much reasons for that and chaos theory demanded that your mentioning of this article cause me click the Reblog button! Thanks :-)

  2. Love your mind bender place holder, very clever. :)

    Thank you so much for adding my blog to your list; I am flattered that your mind enjoys my aphorisms!

    Visiting your blog blows my mind – it’s like thinking in a different language; but your sense of humour softens the translation. :D

    I shall visit your recommended blogs, and expect another mind blow no doubt. :)

    1. elkement says:

      Thanks, Kelly! I really enjoying making contact with bloggers from another universe in the blogosphere, such as artists!
      Our universes seem to have more in common that i had expected!

  3. First off … I really liked the droid cupcakes. Second … thanks very much for the mention … I am honored that you think so well of Pairodox Farm. And finally, congratulations on your anniversary … I anticipate great things in the coming year. I have very much come to enjoy reading your posts – sort of like doing situps every day – but in this case reading your stuff is good exercise for my brain. D

    1. elkement says:

      Thanks, Dave! All your expectations lay heavy on me ;-) I will try my best!
      Your photos and stories provide me with the daily doze of creativity :-)

      1. elkement says:

        Ha – I have misspelled ‘dose’ (as ‘doze’). Wondering what a doze of creativity might be – getting ideas while you sleep?

  4. Peter Mander says:

    Happy blog anniverary Elke, and thank you for your kind comments on CarnotCycle, appreciated. I will be uploading a new post soon, complete with yet more19th century primary documentation :-o

    1. elkement says:

      Thanks, Peter! I am looking forward to your upcoming posts!
      I would be interested in the history of would-be “inventors” of perpetuum mobiles and the like. My impression is those proposals did not change very much over time. Last year I read “Physics on the Fringe” by the American science writer Margaret Wertheim and she mentioned a collection of the ideas of “Paradoxers” (as the “alternative physicists” had been called in the 19th century) – documented by the logician de Morgan. Now I see the book is available on Project Gutenberg:

  5. marksackler says:

    Arghhhhh. Don’t ever spell my first name with a “c.” I’m a Markie, not a Marcie! :P

    1. elkement says:

      Oooops, sorry! I have corrected it while preserving history (using the strike tag).
      There is some quantum-like uncertainty because I got it right with 75% probability – and I have an explanation of course: I have just finished reading a German thriller on a two weeks blackout of our power system, initiated by hacked smart meters. The author’s name is Marc Elsberg.

      1. marksackler says:

        You are forgiven. But only because, well, because you are you. ;)

  6. congrats for a year of blogging! It was a blast reading some of the posts you linked to (especially the Turing Test Fail)

    1. elkement says:

      Thanks!! Yes, I also like the failed Turing test a lot and this experiment of mine needed a bit more publicity ;-)
      You should make fun of yourself sometimes – otherwise your readers start considering you a perfect non-human cyborg blogger ;-)

      1. I wish the cyborg part were true – I’ve always been fascinated by those “people”. As for perfect, I like a good flattering, but it can’t be so; I am quite sure that I am a real boy, not an AI programmed to believe it. Which reminds me: the Pinocchio story could use a little revamping

        1. elkement says:

          I would say the so-called perfect AI software bot has some imperfections built it – to make it even more human.

  7. danielmullin81 says:

    Happy Anniversary! I’m honored to be among the blogs you’ve enjoyed. Also, thanks for drawing my attention to some of your other favorite blogs! I’ll have to check them out.

    1. elkement says:

      Thanks Dan! It was hard to select a subset of blogs – I pondered on that for hours! Now I feel like a company that had sent of a Request for Proposal and now feels sorry about all the vendors that have not been selected.
      But that your blog has to be on list was clear to me from the beginning!!

  8. Award winning blogging strategies, love it, thank you :). Not sure about award winning, but my blog is my little experimental station.Congrats on this milestone and for pumping out wonderfully original material. There are not too many people out there with a fantastic mind and matching off the wall sense of humour . A combination I find intriguing and appealing and why I enjoy your work. Here’s to another year Elke. May we continue to swap quips, stories and geography lessons in cybrespace for a long time to come.

    1. elkement says:

      Thanks Judy! Wow – what a compliment “… fantastic mind and matching off the wall sense of humour … ”
      I hope I will be able to meet expectations in the following year!
      I am looking forward to your blogging marathon next month – thanks for the taking the time for reading and commenting here instead of preparing your 30 April posts ;-)

  9. bert0001 says:

    Congratulations for 1 year of blogging. If I were 20 years younger I would go through all the physics again just to understand everything in your blog, even the once problematic thermodynamics. I think thermo was not the problem but the transfer from teacher to ignoramus.
    My bookshelf is still divided by level, and physics, i.e. stellar physics, cosmology, string theory and things alike are its foundation.
    When I teach sysadmin, somewhere around day 3 I counter the terms geek and nerd. Geeks are sometimes people who learn the klingon language just before going to a startrek convention, while I develop my own terminology on mind and have not been to any convention yet.
    Regardless, I wish you a lot more years of blogging on nerdy subjects, and of course also this: “taH pagh, taHbe’ “

    1. elkement says:

      qatlho’ !
      Despite my alleged geekiness I needed to google the Klingon statement ;-)

      I tried Google Translate first – I expected them to be geeky enough to cover Klingon, but the translator suggested it was Malayan. Accidentally I stumbled on a great news article: The state of Oregon put Klingon on the list they might need an interpreter for: (The non-urban legend version is still funny)

      The way you develop your terminology is great – and better to understand than my jumping between different subjects in physics, I guess.

  10. marksackler says:

    Thanks, as always Elke, for the mention. I was actually considering using “42” as my next cosmic quote. Whether I do or not, you have pretty much got the next BLAHS award wrapped up. It’s only a matter of time. I have no idea how much time, but a matter of time nonetheless. :D

    1. elkement says:

      Thanks Mark! Isn’t it time for a new paradigm – shouldn’t 42 be superseded by another number?
      Probably the answer to all questions is now 43? Or something totally different such as an empty HTML tag?
      Of course my expectations on your take on 42 are very high!

      1. marksackler says:

        Maybe a competition for the best question to which the answer is 42…

        1. elkement says:

          I would suppose you setup a poll on your blog again!! Please schedule the deadline European-timezones-friendly – then I am again prepared to vote for 100s of times!

      2. marksackler says:

        I’m not sure about that, but I realized–a delayed reaction to the above conversation–that I should use “42” as cosmic quote #42. It’s just gotta be in the karma of the universe…

        1. elkement says:

          As I said, my expectations are high. 42 being quote #42 is probably required to meet the minimum bar ;-)

          1. marksackler says:

            At the rate I am going, though, that won’t be until the fall of 2014.

            1. elkement says:

              Or you make 42 the quote #21 = 42 / 2. But this was my joke ;-)
              Since your next post is #19, you could also state that 19 = Round down (3 * Square root (42))
              But I have no idea what is the meaning of 3 is :-)

            2. marksackler says:

              I could also wait until 4/2/2042 some 29 years from now…assuming I am still alive. Or I could write it now and place it in a cyber time capsule to be opened on that day…

            3. elkement says:

              So we need to wait for the Cyber Time Capsule to be invented first:

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