At 12pm, the fire-alarm went off. “Ah, it must be today it gets tested” I cleverly thought to myself, before asking, quite loudly, for some rather greasy looking chili.
This earned me a scowl and a “Did you not get the e-mail?”.
"The one about the minutes silence."
I spent my lunch being confused and annoyed. Once I was back at my computer I checked my e-mail and sure enough we’d been forwarded a message explaining the silence barely an hour before it happened. Most of the office building is populated by Scottish Water who had decided to honour Workers’ Memorial Day, a Marxist remembrance day which I gather started in Canada and has since made its way over to our fair shores. Fine. However, the wikipedia page (which I highly recommend clicking through to) has some nuggets of wisdom to impart:
"One worker dies every 15 seconds worldwide. 6,000 workers die
every day. Work kills more people than wars."
Yes, that sounds like an entirely reasonable fact. Clearly the only solution is for everyone just to stop working (I’m waaaay ahead of you).
Even better, it then begins to sound like Workers’ Memorial Day, or WMD which has a nice ring to it, is in fact the next summer Holywood blockbuster everyone is just itching to see:
In a world, where on occasions death, injury and illness at work are
hidden away and taken for granted, Workers’ Memorial Day is an
opportunity to highlight the preventable nature of most workplace
accidents and ill health and to promote campaigns and union
organisation in the fight for improvements in workplace safety.
The slogan for the day is Remember the dead - Fight for the living.
An epic involving a regular guy, failure to correctly follow Health & Safety guidelines and, perhaps as a result, Zombies.
Anyway, sorry dead workers for disrespecting yo’, but your evangelical socialist descendants are just too unintentionally hilarious.
Thanks to this article I’ve finally realised what it is that annoys me so much about Lost (Fringe just simply isn’t as entertaining as it seems to think it is). Abrams thesis is that it’s not discovering what the mystery is that matters, it’s the process which takes you to that point. I think he’s quite possibly right, but the problem is that he’s chosen the worst possible medium within which to explore this theory.
In a film or TV series there is nothing the user can do other than just sit back and watch what’s happening. Rewatching and looking for clues, or digging through all the ARG nonsense wont get you the answer any faster because the producers can’t rely on everyone to do that, so any new information that requires you to do that is going to be pretty trivial. So what you’re left with is a persistent frustration, exaggerated by the episode and series cliffhangers and the fact there’s at least another year until the series will see any resolution (and I’m willing to bet most folk will not find that conclusion very fulfilling).
It’s not the same as a book, as the user has a measure of control over how fast they consume it. Also, few good books spend the bulk of their pages dealing with minor subplots and character development that doesn’t actually add anything to the main story, a phenomenon that is required of the US-style 20 episode, multi-series epic.
It’s also completely different from video games as there the plot advances exactly as fast as the user can figure out what’s happening. Instead of being entirely passive, you have to be entirely active: solving puzzles, fetching things and killing things as necessary to unlock the next nugget of mystery. Lost, in comparison, forces you to sit on your ass and do nothing but pay attention for about a hundred hours if you want to find out what’s happening.
Yes, JJ, the road may be interesting, but ultimately I didn’t actually do anything along the way. You did it all for me.
“University astronomers and other academics specializing in Mayan studies have argued that there is no evidence in the archaeological record to demonstrate that the classical Mayan civilization attached any apocalyptic significance to the completion of the 13 Bak’tun, and that the Long Count calendar does not end on 126.96.36.199.0. Scholars such as Linda Schele and David Freidel write that the end of the current Mayan long count is not in fact due until day 188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.0.0.0.0 from the theoretical end of the previous world in 3114 BC (an ‘end of the world’ unique to Mayan cosmology)—which, with each column equal to twenty times its predecessor, lies some 41,341,049,999,999,999,999,999,994,879 years in the future.”—2012 Doomsday prediction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“Those who don’t practice the martial arts may not be aware that just ‘winning’ is not enough. You must win well, as a result of your ability to control the opponent into your opportunities to strike. The awareness of this is what allows the martial arts practitioner to perform in the Ha stage… an understanding of good and bad, not right and wrong.”—
Small excerpt from Ron Fox’s contribution to an excellent discussion on applying the Japanese Martial Art concept of “ShuHaRi” to programming. I highly recommend reading his comment in full, but this passage seems to reflect some of unalones ideas. The point boils down to this: don’t just do something, make sure it’s done as well as you can do it. The rest should follow.
“The niche is the thing, friends. It’s the future, and it’s here. Things like this little rhubarb are just the earliest Braxton Hicks contractions of a change that will be getting way, way weirder than most people think.”—
Merlin Mann discusses attribution of content. It’s a bit of a polemic, but made for very interesting reading. There are several excellent quotes, but this one made me think which suggests it might be more important than the others.
“So maybe instead of getting your company on twitter, paying marketers to mention you are on twitter, and paying people to blog about your company, forget all that and just make awesome stuff that gets people excited about your products, hire people that represent the company well, and when your stuff is so awesome that friends share it with other friends, you may not even need “social media marketing” after all.”—A Whole Lotta Nothing: This is how Social Media really works
“Thus the conjectured “Church-Turing Thesis” is false. It is no longer true that, given enough time and space, any single general-purpose computer, defined a priori, can perform all computations that are possible on all other computers. Not the Turing Machine, not your laptop, not the most powerful of supercomputers.”—
Edit: Ok, on further investigation his claim that the Church-Turing Thesis is false is misleading. It’s false for any real machine we can build, as they can always define a function which requires it to process more information simultaneously than it was defined to. But for Turing’s idealised mathematical computers, it holds as there’s no link between the rate at which input variables change with the rate at which the machine moves through it’s various states. Effectively the ideal turing machine could perform an infinite number of steps per unit of time as percieved by the inputs to the machine. However, we can’t build those machines (certainly not yet we can’t and it doesn’t look like we’re going to do so any time soon).
I read this article over the weekend. It has its good points and its bad points, but it’s breadth and insight make it very interesting reading indeed. Highly recommended if you’re a developer or interested in how they’re strange minds work.