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Thursday, December 13, 2007


There's a certain type of balance I'd like to achieve.
Its sort of a balance between always acting from a center and giving up that center in order to go into details. Sort of a balance between unity and multiplicity. At the moment, it plays itself out in terms of work vs. social life, but within work itself it there is a similar struggle.

Ahh, so I was reading Kafka's story about being a dog. He really does a lot of stuff with animals. That would be interesting to learn more about.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

hello darkness my old friend

winter brings back memories. darkness. being alone.
i have a cold and this forces me away from physics back into my own obscure landscape.
time stretches out. i cannot imagine something different.
perhaps the one thing to take from this is that i am being too careful. imagining a snake around every corner is not helpful.

my computer life has blended the boundary between real and virtual. i ask whether i care about what my table is made of, or why it matters that my drawers are open and contain the least useful of my clothes. but i imagine that this is not something new to this time in history. there have always been people with a shadowy grasp on reality. perhaps it is the dream world or the spirit world that is blamed for this dissolution.

i wonder what would be a literature of winter. a type of writing that traces out such underground spaces. is it black and white, or is this just my relative inexperience with winter?
colors could be added. a dark purple, a crisp blue, perhaps even a pale yellow in a corner.

Monday, December 03, 2007

science vs. engineering

Ok, I will weigh in on this old topic.
Consider a matrix, an array of numbers. These can represent a wide variety of different things.
So, let's say a scientist and an engineer both think of their system as a matrix.

The engineer has control theory at hand. One thinks of a system in terms of input and output and asks about controllability and observability. How can I get this thing to do what I want? And... if I prick and sting this thing in all possible ways, will I have understood its internal state?

These are the questions the engineer asks. The system is to be made useful and its internal state is to be categorized in terms of well defined criterion. The questions are pretty set ahead of time.

The scientist doesn't seek total understanding in the same way. The scientist looks for funny properties. If I add up the eigenvalues of this matrix will I get a positive number? There is more of a creative element. A narrative element?