I Hate Lucy

C is back, jetlagged and exhausted from trying to squeeze the whole of Peru into a 2 week holiday. We should be able to meet up sometime next week.

I've had an idea for a short story, but research for it involves watching some of the more excrable American sitcoms and taking notes. This is called "suffering for my art". Unless it's called "need a different idea".

Ric's comment on my last post, about mathematics being an artificial construction, got me thinking about mathematical paradoxes, paraconsistant logics, and the way abstract models fill in the "gaps" of reality with stuff like negative numbers, zero, irrational numbers and countable infinities.

Here's a note I wrote this morning:

Aristotelian logics are granular and watertight. Dialectical logics are smooth and permeable. Are dialectical logics paraconsistant, or is paraconsistancy only possible in weakened aristotelian logics?

In pararentheses, the distinction drawn between aristotelian and dialectical logics is an aristotelian one. Could the distinction be rethought as dialectical? If the latter, then the question itself dissolves.

Someday, I might have the strength to unpack that note, and the others like it, into several pages of explanation each. In the meantime, I'm just swilling the ideas around in my head - when I really ought to be reading my books on basic physics. Oh well.

Perry can now climb both up and down stairs. But has discovered it's easier to look adorable and get someone to carry him. He's also found the most comfortable place to sleep is...the pillow of someone else's bed.

Timelapse photography is not a noticeably fast process. Postitioning my camera on it's mini-tripod to look out of the window at passing clouds, and setting it to take one frame every minute, means after three days I have maybe two minutes of raw footage. And some of it's black because it ran into the night.

Plus the camera is on it's last legs. After six years, everything works perfectly, except the on/off switch, which is susceptible to jolts. Of all the parts which could go wrong, it had to be the one all the others depend on.

There is a problem with explaining to musicians why it's a good idea to record with the drums in one room, and the guitar in another. The problem isn't that they're incapable of understanding how sound travels, or the way microphones work, or about clean signals. And it isn't that they've got used to practicing in the same room.

No, the problem is that musicians never listen. To each other, or technicians, or fans, or anyone else. They expect you to change the laws of physics and the limitations of the technology, just so they can avoid the bother of adapting.

If an architect designing a bridge refused to discuss materials and costs with the engineers, the bridge - if it somehow got built - would be late, overbudget, unsafe, and the architect would never work again. If a theatre director doesn't take on board the suggestions and opinions of the cast and crew, the result is a monochromatic performance, a lot of seriously pissed off people on stage and behind it...and a director who never works again.

But when musicians walk into a studio, all they have is their Vision, and the cast iron expectation that the sound technicians can make it happen by invisible alchemy - without the musicians having to do anything except play, or know anything except the songs.

And that's why, as a sound technician and musician, I prefer the company of other technicians.


  1. I'm still desperate t see the time lapse footage. I wish I had a posh camera that could do things like this.

  2. It is usually the Technicians who know how to mke things really happen.

    Unfortunately, it requires Social Workers to know how to massage the swolen egos of the narcissistic "artistes" to arrange matters so that it is possible to make things happen from a technical perspective.

    I'm sure you know all this already, nonetheless, it bears being said again.

    Countable Infinities sounds vaguely oxymornic, since if an infinity is counable (or enumerable), it ceases, by definition, to be an infinity. Or is that just an easy trap to catch out the intellectually ill-equipped and unwary?

  3. Minge: Unfortunately I can't make the days pass any faster, and I'm still learning by experiment which timelapse settings work best. But my camera cost GBP650 5-6 years ago, so I imagine the same features are available for half the price. Certainly more recent cameras have higher resolution.

    Adversarial: Since coming across the distinction between countable and uncountable infinities in The Emporer's New Mind by Roger Penrose in 1988, I've read several descriptions of what it means. And I've not understood any of them.

    Countable infinities are like the set of integer or the set of real numbers - they can be ordered. Uncountable infinities...aren't like that, and I never understood why.

  4. If you were reading The Emperor's New Mind in 1988, then you must have been reading the draft version, since it was published in 1990 and my Vintage paperback edition is datd 1991. Despite the age of the book, and the fact that I have had it for several years now, I have still not completely read it, which gives you some idea of my (lack) of knowledge on the subject.

    There seem to be certain assumptions that are adopted for the sake of 'convenience', so that other work can be done.

    I don't really know enough about the topic to be certain, but there seem to be some aspects that are 'taken as read', just so that certain classes of problems can be addressed.

  5. I like this blog - I found it completely by accident. I hope I can clear up the distinction between countable and uncountable infinite sets.

    A set is countable if you can somehow order its elements one by one so that every element is included in the list (technically, we say that there is an injective map from the natural numbers 1, 2, 3,... to our set). This can happen for infinite sets like the integers - we can write them as {0, 1, -1, 2, -2, ...}, but not for the real numbers. Sets where you can't do this are called uncountable. Uncountable infinite sets are 'bigger' than countable infinite sets.

    Think of the distinction as being like the difference between a ladder with infinitely many steps, and a rope with a continuum of points on it. While both are infinite, there is a qualitative difference in the knid of infinity.

    I hope that makes some sense, Mr K. I like the mix of politics, the personal and the ramdom here.

  6. Adversarial: You're quite right, it was 1990.

    His arguments are quite roundabout (and I find his writing style overpopulist), but as I recall they come down to the human ability to have thoughts like "...and so on", "do this an infinite number of times" and "skip over the intermediate stages to the end".

    We can recognise paradoxes of self-referentiality - like "I am lying" or "This statement cannot be proved" - as such, without following their implications to the end, even when there is no end. Human thought can see endless regressions in their totality from a birds-eye view, and become vague on unimportant points. Computers can't do either.

    Years later, another book was recommended to be: Turing's Man by J. David Bolter. It shows quite convincingly how, since at least the time of Plato, philisophers have imagined the mind as being like the technology of their time. So Plato writes of the mind being like a spindle for making thead, Descartes imagined it as resembling a water clock, and Marvin Minsky thought the mind was like a computer.


    Glenn: Welcome to my humble corner of the web, and thanks for the complement and the explanation. You don't have a blog youself? Drop by any time.

    I have no mathemetical quallifications - what small understanding I have comes from years programming computers, and reading books on philosophy, in particular logic and the philosophy of science.

  7. I'll stick to another department: I'm glad C is finally home, which at least means his health wasn't so bad as I first thought. I wish you both a peaceful rendez-vous.
    I know you'll keep us posted...
    Have a nice weekend!