2018: Day 41 the one with some deep thoughts about conversation
Word count 112,174 + 3,006 or 115,180 of 1,000,000
Tomorrow will be day 42 of this journey. I guess that means it should be more epic and answer a lot more questions than the first 41 posts. However, at this point in time, my mind is absolutely clear. This is one of those times that we could go in any direction. A world of perfect possible futures exists. We strive toward reshaping this world to be close to that image of what we consider the perfect possible future. This morning my breakfast was unsatisfying. It was one of those things that happens from time to time. A couple hours into the day it seemed like a good idea to have a Protein & Greens smoothie. Those protein juice smoothies are pretty good. A few days per week that is my breakfast. It has worked out well enough. Maybe I should figure out a better breakfast routine. That might help me strive toward a perfect possible future breakfast. The rest is more complex. Maybe instead of dealing with perfection I’ll focus on some simple goals for next week.
Next week my goal is going to be to spend more time on my walking desk. In the basement I have a treadmill with a board across the front that is big enough to hold my work laptop. This setup allows me to walk at a pretty slow speed and keep using the laptop. That seems like an easy goal to achieve, but sometimes it is not all that easy. My goal for tonight is simple enough. I’m going to listen to this Dune (1965) audiobook from Google Play Books and write for the sake of writing. That book was written 53 years ago by Frank Herbert and I’m pretty sure some of the language would be different today. Now that I’m taking the time to listen to the audiobook and not speedreading like I usually do I have had time to think about all the language in detail. Some of it is a little cringe worthy. These words are just going to be based on whatever blinks into my mind tonight. About three times since using Play Books I have had to force close the application and restart the audiobook. For some reason the audio just started to stutter a little bit and basically failed.
My plan for this weekend is pretty simple. I don’t really want to do anything. It should be a weekend of peace and quiet. That should be pretty decent. This weekend is a good one to watch coverage of the winter Olympics. We are pretty much going to just watch whatever Olympic coverage ends up on NBC. I did not set the TiVo Roamio to record the Olympics, but NBC should have coverage all weekend. Next month my cable television bill will be around $150 cheaper. That will be exciting. My viewing habits have changed a ton in the last week. Instead of just passively listening to CNN on my computer that channel has moved to my car that has SiriusXM satellite radio. Now i thought they were two different companies, but apparently the service I thought was XM satellite radio is SiriusXM satellite radio. Anyway, semantics about company ownership aside —- I’m now listening to more CNN while driving around and listening to more music at home instead of watching CNN.
Neither of those things really boosted or lowered my productivity. For the most part I require some kind of background noise to go about my day. It is a very rare moment that everything stops and we have absolute quiet in the house or just around me in general. Thanks to our new puppy Captain Pickles it is even more rare. I know pickles is about 8 months old now and that conventional wisdom only considered a dog a puppy for like the first year or so. According to the puppy age calculator from the folks at Pedigree if Captain Pickles is a large dog then puppy food is on the menu for about the first 2 years. Maybe that is how it works for food and I suppose the folks at Pedigree are dog food experts, but I imagined at about a year they stop having many purely wild puppy behaviors.
Topic 1: Mining 1% of a bitcoin
Well my Coinbase account now has 1% of a bitcoin. The cryptocurrency mining struggle is real. The market value goes up and down rapidly. My mining journey from Monday January 1, 2018 to Wednesday April 11, 2018 continues. My mining rig is comprised of 2 graphics cards based on designs from NVIDIA GTX 1060 configurations. My account at the moment has 0.0116 BTC. That equates to about $103.11 USD. Overall my cryptocurrency mining efforts are making good progress toward paying off my my GTX 1060 graphics cards. It took 10 NiceHash wallet payments to be able to transfer enough BTC to Coinbase to hit 1% of a bitcoin. That does not seem like a huge amount of mining, but it is a reasonable amount of progress. Those payments happened between January 13, 2018 and February 9, 2018. That means that about every 30 days my mining rig generates 1% of a bitcoin in value. The value of that bitcoin will go up and down like a roller coaster if this last month is an indicator of future performance. I believe that the cryptocurrency market will continue to be volatile.
NiceHash wallet payments in reverse order:
10. 2018-02-09 03:48:05 Mining payment → 0.00102322 BTC
9. 2018-02-06 06:30:13 Mining payment → 0.00101337 BTC
8. 2018-02-03 05:50:10 Mining payment → 0.00135065 BTC
7. 2018-01-30 04:28:59 Mining payment → 0.00102840 BTC
6. 2018-01-27 04:51:21 Mining payment → 0.00120973 BTC
5. 2018-01-24 04:25:25 Mining payment → 0.00125795 BTC
4. 2018-01-21 05:32:06 Mining payment → 0.00133244 BTC
3. 2018-01-18 04:27:55 Mining payment → 0.00119401 BTC
2. 2018-01-15 04:30:34 Mining payment → 0.00105970 BTC
1. 2018-01-13 04:51:00 Mining payment → 0.00118327 BTC
Topic 2: Let’s talk about trying to write after giving blood
Last night I just wanted to go to bed. This is the first time this year during my 3,000 words per day journey that I have given blood and tried to write 3,000 words afterward. I could sit down and pen words. It was not a question of cognitive functioning it was a question of that spark that generates awesome original engaging and fabulous prose. It was not happening. Maybe it has nothing to do with giving blood and coffee is the true spice of writing. On days that I give blood my coffee intake is curtailed to like 2 cups. I know that is a normal level of coffee. Maybe it really was the coffee that is year to be determined, but something happened. In about 56 days when I am eligible to give blood again I’m going to have to ensure that all the words for the day happen before that appointment. It seems like after that appointment I just did not have the energy to write 3,000 words. That is a lesson learned and I’ll keep track of it for the rest of the year.
I talking about giving blood because it is a part of my routine, but not necessarily as a public service announcement that giving blood is a good idea and helps people. It does help people and it is a good idea, but you make your own choices about what you want to do.
Topic 3: Long form prose
You may have noticed that I have a strong preference for writing long form prose. Instead of thinking with an internal monologue I have developed a preference to slowing down and thinking in written form while typing. Sometimes that ends up being a very natural type of action that follows an almost rhythmic sustained typing effort. Those are the good days when the prose flows and things work out well. My pure internal monologue or thoughts race around and all day. Like a ripple in a pond my thoughts branch out across possibilities and I always try to calculate what will happen next. Thinking within the dimension of time and where things are now is something that consumes a large part of my day. In general, I have found it relaxing to sit down and engage in an hour a day of pure stream of consciousness writing sessions. Some of those yield blog posts and they for years. I’m not going to write decades, because that word choice while accurate makes me sad.
The fact that my stream of consciousness writing sessions have morphed into blog in a box type of efforts is interesting to say the least. It is one of those things that happened gradually. This blog is based on a pure functional journal style of writing. That is my style of writing in a nutshell. My prose is very functional vs. purely theoretical. My research is mostly applied vs. purely theoretical maybe that is a shortcoming in my nature or just the way I go about things, but it is for the most part very consistent. Over the last few years my writing style has been very consistent and I think has been improving one day at a time. Maybe all my efforts were building up to having this one big year of writing output. Focusing in on producing 1,000,000 words about my journey (life & times) in 2018 has changed that writing a little bit.
Instead of being supremely world economic I’m focusing on really flushing things out to explain and debate in detail. That is good in some ways. Instead of just plainly saying what it is I’m working to elaborate on that position and advance my argument in different ways. Saying what you want to say and saying it in a way that is engaging and thoughtful adds a certain degree of depth to the prose. In the past a lot of my prose was more focused on moving through a number of topics with a degree of breath vs. depth that exposed the limits of brevity in communication.
We as a society are dangerously pulling on the last strings of those limits. The very limits of brevity in communication are in some ways tearing down our interpersonal and intergenerational communication. Imagine for a moment that the greatest thinker of our time was walking down the street and wanted to strike up a conversation with a strange. Most of the time that stranger would say hello exchange pleasantries and never move beyond having a surface level conversation. Our routines allow us to pass by the thinker and move on without a second thought. We spend a lot less time debating and engaging in actual conversation. This is not an argument about social media or the internet. Those are gated platforms of a digital divide that separates us into bubbles of our own selection. This set of arguments is just about the nature of in person conversation and the limits we impose on it. This could be an argument about the power of self-censorship and how ignoring or engaging the thinker in a thoughtful conversation would be limited or engaging. The proposition of the conversation with the thinker is about the opportunity to have the most insightful and informing conversation possible. It is about the opportunities to connect with others that are missed and the reasons that happens.
Instead of engaging in conversation online and on social networks I just tend to want to write at the end and beginning of the day. During those windows of the day I have very little interest in engaging in conversations. With a little bit of hubris it would be easy to assume that I have become the thinker incarnate and breakdown the social contract of conversation to a singular form of prose. That would be beyond the pale of ridiculous indulgence. The thinker is a construct based around the perfect conversation. Outside of that I could strive to engage actively in the road toward inquiry and strive toward being an active and free thinker. That would be a more reasonable presumption.
Topic 4: Keeping up with the stream of words
Writing at a pace of 3,000 words per day every day and publishing them in blog form is about keeping up with the stream of words. My thoughts are plentiful enough to generate 3,000 words per day. It is the actual act of sitting down and writing that takes planning and opportunity. Sure things like that are about making choices and that is really what this whole journey and inquiry into the values of quality is all about. The choices we make inherently influence our path toward quality. That might seem a little overly straightforward, but hey it is snowed last night and it is still 6:00 AM. I have only had one cup of coffee and a wonderful breakfast that included a banana. Today was one of those days where John Paul announced that it was time to wake up at 5:000 AM. The day started a little early for all of us and strangely enough NBC is not really broadcasting any Olympic coverage until this afternoon. You can imagine my shock and surprise that the channel does not go all in on coverage and broadcasting recaps of events wall to wall. I think right now they are broadcasting some paid advertisement. Based on the amount they paid for the right to broadcast the Olympics you think they would want to just get people to tune in to the NBC channel for 2 weeks continuously. Wait I’m presuming television executives are rational actors… they did cancel Firefly and pretty much any other show I have enjoyed.
Topic 5: Today’s winter wonderland thumbnail
Two shots of espresso were just made using my Nespresso Expert machine. Those shots of espresso are resting in an Italian glass cup with a metal handle that reaches around the base for stability. These espresso pods made a thick crema on the top of the rich and decadent shots. That was enough inspiration to convince me to open the door to the cold outside world and reach out with my Google Pixel 2 XL smartphone camera and snap a picture. That picture of a light snow dusting is the thumbnail today. The sidewalk, street and years are covered with just enough snow to remind you it is winter. The chill in the air reminds you of just how cold it can get in Colorado. Last night I thought we might see one of the stranger things in nature the phenomenon of freezing fog. This manifests itself in wonderful crystal like coverings on trees and other things. The water droplets in fog basicly freeze on contact with surfaces and produce some interesting phenomenon.
Some of my best photographs are of tree branches with ice on them. That happened back in Kansas a lot more than it does here in Colorado. You can search for images of freezing fog and see what I’m talking about. It is very interesting and at time very beautiful. It is also very dangerous as you can imagine. A ton of ice arriving very quickly and in some cases being almost invisible on the sidewalks and roads is a recipe for problems. You have to be vigilant. I asked Google Photos to search through my more than 10,000 photos for “freezing fog” it found a bunch of photographs and a bunch of videos. I would have to say that more than half of them are really examples of freezing fog. You can tell because the branches on the trees are sagging from the weight of the ice attached to them. Machine learning has come a long way and it is amazing that I can just search my collection of photographs. Oddly enough a search for “tree ice” produced a number of different photographs. It seems like the machine learning algorithm over at Google considers freezing fog and tree ice to be two different conditions.
Dr. Nels Lindahl
Written on my Storm Stryker PC and or my ASUS C101P using Google Docs
P.S. Today was one of those days that required a recovery of my word count due to problems from a previous day. At this point my 24 hour buffer is almost gone. Working ahead was supposed to give me a little bit of time to edit and clean up my blog posts. That does not appear to be happening. We are well over 100,000 words this year. Even editing the 3,000 words from the previous day feels like a struggle. That really is a metaphor for how we strive forward everyday into the new day without letting the weight of history remind us of where we were and where we are going. That context of how we got the momentum that propels us forward can be informative, but for the most part we feel empowered in the moment by the fire that feeds our interest and passions at the time. We are creatures of the moment. In the brilliant and beautiful now we make choices. Each new moment brings the opportunity for another choice. That is how things work and how it goes. The reasons why and the consequences of those choices seem to fall away.
My hope is that now that we are approaching 42 consecutive days of writing we can venture deeper into the philosophical questions of our time. All of my mental power needs to be focused on answering the most difficult questions of our time instead of debating the nature of what would make the best breakfast possible. That split in some ways explains the nature of the inquiry into the the intersection of technology and modernity. We have a tidal wave of technological change in our time and we focus in on the smallest details instead of the bigger picture. Taking that step back and really thinking about the nature of technology and society involves moving forward from John Locke and thinking about social contracts to thinking about the social fabric that exists today and how it binds and holds us together. We are in some ways beyond the foundational social contract described by Locke. So many foundations have been established that entrench the contact to the point that we can really only debate the nature of the social fabric that binds us together. Maybe that is a point that deserves some later consideration.
Stay tuned for tomorrow and the 42nd blog post in this journey…