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{ Category Archives } brain flotsam

Against Undue Optimization

We chart our lives as paths through multidimensional state spaces. It’s trivial of course to consider only the familiar four dimensions, but these diagrams only become meaningful when you disregard the relative simplicity of space-time and plot, instead, your position in decision-space. You stand motionless at the vector sum of every decision you have ever [...]

Refreshing the Creativity Well

Vacations are wonderful times. It’s not just that I get to hang out with my wonderful friends and family. It’s not just that together, we head out and explore new and cool parts of cities and partake of fascinating events and activities. In addition to these, I get all the time in the world to [...]


One consequence of flight school was learning the pilot’s two measures of weather: ceiling and visibility. Ceiling is the lowest level above which there are too many clouds to dodge. Visibility is the distance you can see through whatever atmospheric haze is present. In Korea, you could accurately simulate a day’s visibility as a function [...]

The Soul Solution

Doctrinally, Catholics must go to Mass every week [ref]. That’s tough, though: there are plenty who’d rather be sleeping in and then watching the game, not dressing up for worship. This business is here to provide a solution. The notion is simple: your soul is like your dry-clean-only laundry. Drop it off at the cleaner’s [...]

Understanding Humans

The world needs a proper model of human comprehension of natural language. This one is based partly on the OSI Model, partly on standard compiler design. Conceptually, it’s an interface stack: a set of layers of functionality. Each layer can talk freely within itself, and has a well-defined interface to the layers above and below, [...]

Miss Saigon

It turns out that it is very possible to enjoy a show performed in a foreign language. It’s not at all the same thing as watching a performance in a language you already understand; it involves buffering current events, then processing over the past few minutes of performance to construct a narrative that matches the [...]

24 hours on duty again

Nick Harkaway’s The Gone-Away World is a truly excellent book, particularly for an extra-long duty day. When you’re not fatigue-drunk, he’s got an engaging style and wild wit. When you in fact are, the story perfectly matches the sense that nothing is provably real.

TV ๋“œ๋ผ๋งˆ

Out and about in Songtan the other day visiting a friend from college who through pure coincidence is also currently stationed in Korea, we saw a truck open on an anonymous corner near his apartment containing lots of stage gear: lights, reflectors, etc. It generated a moment’s curiosity, as there is no nearby theatre, but [...]

The Twelve Perils of Driving in Korea

I went to Yongsan today for a dental appointment. While stuck in traffic, I came up with a song to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas. I’ll write the last verse; I’m sure you can infer the rest. As I drove into Yongsan, what did I chance to see? Twelve driver TVs, eleven [...]


It’s a new year again, for my readers in Korea and Japan at least*. (ๆ–ฐๅนดใ‚ใ‘ใพใ—ใฆใŠใ‚ใงใจใ†ใ”ใ–ใ„ใพใ™!) For my family and most of my friends, it’ll be another half day or so. In moving here I’ve cheated over twelve hours from both 2009 and the decade it was a part of; I think most people will agree [...]