2016 — 26 April: Tuesday

I love it when some people (let's call them "psychiatrists") get to label and define other people (let's call them "people") as nuts. One of my underground comix heroes (Ron Cobb) drew a very neat variation on a Venn diagram...

The Venn of madness

... that captures the thin divide between life inside and outside that boundary. There was also a comment on a Grauniad article that still tickles me. Source and snippet:

The only difference between those who sit still staring endlessly at the wall and those who sit still staring endlessly at East Enders or into their beer is that the more common flight from Reality1 is considered "normal".

'mikeeverest' in The Guardian

So I was delighted this morning...

... when a chum sent me a lovely quote (picked by "The Economist") from that wily fox Marcus Aurelius:

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, 
but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Of course, now I've got James Bolam's voice in my head saying "Aurelius? He were a canny lad."


... I can report yesterday's memory-foam pillow to be a resounding success after my overnight test. (Or do I mean "down" time?)

A computer...

... contains (somewhere!) a master clock by which all the data streams between its subordinate bits'n'bobs are co-ordinated and (with luck) properly synchronised. Our brains? Not so much! When, for example, is "now"?

Our experience of the 'now' is built out of a mix of recent memories and our current sense perceptions, what we see, hear, feel, taste and smell. Those sensory perceptions are not instantaneous, but signals from stimulated nerve endings. Those signals are sent to the brain, a dynamic network that itself has no global clock. The brain is like the Palace of Dreams in Ismail Kadare's 1981 novel of the same name: a massive bureaucracy, full of intrigues, gathering intelligence from the restive provinces about the Sultan's dreaming subjects in hopes of divining their intent. 'Now' is a construct of the angst-ridden Sultan-brain, a local theory of what's happening, cobbled together using bits of news from the sensory hinterlands.

Gene Tracy in Aeon

Yet another brilliant image...

... that will now take me years to unload!

Bacterial hand print

(Shudder.) I got there from here, by the way. And I got there from here.

I like virtual desktops

Nine years ago I seemed to have found an easy way of blowing away my Ubuntu (Feisty Fawn) system simply by defining another three workspaces and moving a web browser window into one of them. I note from an El Reg comment on the new 16.04 LTS release that I may not have been the only one:

Virtual desktops

Not quite equivalent, I know, but it's surprising how confusing a new feature can be on "First Contact". [Pause] The next coat of Danish Oil is now gently soaking into my little wooden 'artwork'. I shall nip out on a local errand and then it will be more than time for my midday bite to eat.

It was in June 1971...

... that I bought and read my copy of "Hitchcock" by Truffaut. Of course, I only found out last May that a film of this week-long 1962 interview was in the pipeline. It arrived today:

Hitchcock interview

Had I known a quarter of a century ago that that was going to happen, I would have hung on to my book, dagnabbit. I was (and, in all honesty, remain) a great deal more interested in film studies than I ever was in aeronautical engineering.

Ignore my window frames...

... and just take a look at this sky!

Hitchcock interview

Taken just before the "Archers" comes on.



1  Reality being merely a crutch for those who don't take drugs. (For anyone who remembers the Sixties.)