2017-01-23 Mon

Clear Thinking

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Sunday’s Toronto Star had a delightful little post-seasonal present in the form of an observation about the return-of-gifts is hurting the retailers.

Truth is that retailers have hurt themselves, but it will be the shoppers who pay.

Western Society has been warped (both in the sense of bringing a captive boat alongside by tugging on a rope, and also in the sense of brain-warped) into consuming.

Christmas isn’t Christmas unless you buy presents for everyone.

I read historical fiction, and contemplate life two hundred years ago. My understanding is that we made presents, a scarf, a wooden whistle, a sled, socks, book of poems, whatever you were good at fabricating you fabricated. And the gift was an expression of the link between your person (what you are capable of making) and your knowledge of the person who received the gift.

Most people don’t make gifts anymore. We trot off to the stores and spend cash/credit to present a standardized mass-produced doo-dad that often enough bears no relation to our relationship.

The less associated we become with respect to our relationships (I don’t really know you that well, so I don’t really know what would make you happy) and the less we are associated with the retailers (“What’s a bricks-and-mortar store?”), the more dissatisfied we will all become with the experience.

And we will want our money back.

Moral: Spend more time with those you like or love, and set aside time during this year to fabricate something.

Clear Thinking

Physics has changed since I was a teenager.

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Sunday’s Toronto Star carried an article about Absolute Zero.

Absolute Zero, I was taught, is that point that is reached when all motion stops.

The Boolean question to be asked is “Has all motion stopped”. If the answer is “Yes”, then you have reached Absolute Zero.

So far so good.

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This article suggests that researchers are going to attempt to surpass Absolute Zero.

What can this mean?

I understand negative velocity (that means that the direction has changed), but I cannot for the life of me contemplate negative speed.

If you are in motion you are not AT Absolute Zero.

If you are NOT in motion you are AT Absolute Zero.

What other state could there possibly be?