The Art of Removing the Right Things

Some metaphors feel so clichéd that you avoid making use of them – even if they are true to the core. Gardening has been likened to many phenomena. Programming may be like gardening. Picking the best ideas to guide your work and life may be. Once the first of them appeared out of nothing. A…

Computers, Science, and History Thereof

I am reading three online resources in parallel – on the history and the basics of computing, computer science, software engineering, and the related culture and ‘philosophy’. An accidental combination I find most enjoyable. Joel on Software: Joel Spolsky’s blog – a collection of classic essays. What every developer needs to know about Unicode. New terms…

Simulations: Levels of Consciousness

In a recent post I showed these results of simulations for our heat pump system: I focused on the technical details – this post will be more philosophical. What is a ‘simulation’ – opposed to simplified calculations of monthly or yearly average temperatures or energies? The latter are provided by tools used by governmental agencies…

The Future of Small Business?

If I would be asked which technology or ‘innovation’ has had the most profound impact on the way I work I would answer: Working remotely – with clients and systems I hardly ever see. 20 years ago I played with modems, cumbersome dial-in, and Microsoft’s Netmeeting. Few imagined yet, that remote work will once be…

The Stages of Blogging – an Empirical Study

… with sample size 1. Last year, at the 4-years anniversary, I presented a quantitative analysis – in line with the editorial policy I had silently established: My blogging had turned from quasi-philosophical ramblings on science, work, and life to no-nonsense number crunching. But the comment threads on my recent posts exhibit my subconsciousness spilling…

On Resisting the Bait

I don’t mean click-bait. I mean write-bait. That article that wants you to launch your 2.000 words rhetoric missile, and click the red button: Publish. I am pondering about one of the most successful genres clicked and shared on social media: a blend of popular psychology, life hacking, and business wisdom, perhaps enriched by trusted…

We Should Get Lost Sometimes – Nicholas Carr on Automation and Us

The Glass Cage is about automation’s human consequences. It is not intended to be your typical book about robots taking our jobs for better or for worse. Carr gives an intriguing account of the history of automation and robotics nonetheless – from Luddites to Google’s self-driving cars. What we have known intuitively is backed up…

This Year in Books: Biographies, Science, Essays.

I hardly review books on this blog, but I mull upon specific questions – to which books may have answers. This is my pick of books I enjoyed reading in 2013 – and the related questions! Biographies I have a penchant for physicists’ lives in the first half of the 20th century. How did scientists…

Fragile Technology? (Confessions of a Luddite Disguised as Tech Enthusiast)

I warn you – I am in the mood for random long-winded philosophical ramblings. I have graduated recently again, denying cap-and-gown costume as I detest artificial Astroturf traditions such as re-importing academic rituals from the USA to Europe. A Subversive El(k)ement fond of uniforms would not be worth the name. However, other than that I…

What? A Spooky Spam Poem of Danger, Fear, Hope.

It is time to purge the spam queue again! Spam commenters are still gloomy and plagued with existential questions and answers. I am very proud of the simple and powerful title. What? was a complete spam comment. I even clicked the associated link as it felt so genuine. What? there is no danger If you…

Transhumanism and the Extended Self

This transhuman and extended post has now transcended all other related posts on gamification. Blogging singularity! But wait… we did not factor in the lawyers! The target of this reblog is now offline, but I want to conserve the URL to the embedded video here – The Singularity, Ruined by Lawyers.

Creepy Game of Life

Every undergraduate in a science degree program has to develop some variant of Game of Life – in a programming 101 course. These – not very intelligent – life-forms on a checkerboard evolve by following very simple rules – ‘cell’ live or die, depending on its number of neighbors. The pattern is determined by the…

Existential Spam Poem: The Soul of This Bag

I follow the call to arms by fellow spam poet Michelle(*)(**). Every time she blogs about spam poetry, I have a spam poem in my drafts folder – so I think I need to release the current one now. This time I defined the following goals: there should be a topic and a narrative, and…

Philosophy Degrees are Undervalued

This is a vain and self-servicing reblog. I really like the figures in this post (as a physicist). Edit (2017): It seems that unfortunately the original, reblogged post is not available any more. It featured a diagram that visualized the results of GRE tests: Verbal and quantitative skills of graduates – as discussed also e.g….

Is It Determinism if We Can Calculate Probabilities Exactly?

I set a stretch goal for myself: I want to force myself to keep some posts of mine short. As a fan of MinutePhysics I am launching a new category: Physics in a Nutshell. I am going to try to tackle a question that has bothered me for a while – hopefully briefly and concisely. ___________________________________ The question of…

Are We All Newtonians?

In my most recent posts I showed off: 1) Sandra Bullock killing a computer virus and ordering pizza online, 2) a cartoon making fun of all academic disciplines I refer to this blog, 3) images of cute furry animals – dead and alive. I will not be able to top that. Thus I feel free to bore you…

Physicist, Philosopher, and Engineer

The headline indicates that I am going to tell one of this old jokes: A physicist, a philosopher and an engineer meet … This is in fact correct, but in an extremely subtle way. As the title of this blog and the pseudo-intellectual summary in the left pane should imply I am of course considering myself…

Why Do You Want to Become an Engineer?

There is this cartoon that explains why one would aspire to become an engineer. It appeals to the Bill-Gates-junior-type geek who wants to build cool stuff, rather than musing about the foundations of “stuff”. I sympathize with all of these three roles, also with the philosopher. I have also been inclined to philosophy, and I…