Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Sunday, March 30, 2003day link 

 Weblogs on the move
picture Chris Corrigan mentions how it is a bit strange when the content of a weblog suddenly changes because its author is in different circumstances. Like here I'm for a couple of weeks vacationing in Europe. My weblog looks the same on the surface, but suddenly I'm just writing about little towns in France instead of about systems and technology and the world situation.

When I'm traveling I really notice how my normal style of blogging depends on many factors than I normally don't think much about, and how I'm sort of lacking a format for blogging what I'm actually doing.

Typically I work at my computer many hours per day and quite naturally I browse a lot of information sources, so I can maintain a certain overview. And I seem to have peace and quiet to sit and philosophize about things, and it seems natural to talk about self-organization or alternative economic systems or other meta subjects. And I don't have a great urge to talk about my physical environment or what I actually do each day.

But if for example I travel, my mind is more on where my suitcases are, on what I'm getting for dinner, who I'm meeting, and how it looks where I am. Very different thing. Much more sensory input, but less abstract input, and much less chance to sit quietly and talk about any of it.

When I'm on the move, what I could use would probably be a simple mob-log technology, where I could post photos and short notes from a cell phone or something. And probably I'd prefer for that to go in a sidebar to my normal weblog.

It is obvious that there are different styles of weblogging. For some people it is simply recording what they do and think each day, and what they have for breakfast. For some, their postings are driven by what is in the news. For some, like for me I think, there is a certain meta thread that goes through what they want to talk about, even if the pieces might be sort of haphazard, and might or might not have anything to do with the 'news'. Some people manage to find a style that brings all of it together. Doc Searls says his weblog is simply that he answers his e-mail in public. Dave Winer seems to have a style where car trips and family matters work well on equal footing with technical issues and bigger meta issues.

For some people, the ultimate of weblogging would be to have a camera attached to your head that would record everything that happened to you. For others the ideal would be a news studio or newspaper editorial office with hundreds of incoming feeds that you can select from. Others again would prefer a quiet spot away from all disturbances, where they can sit down and write about what they think, all by themselves. I suppose I'd prefer a combination of all of those.
[ | 2003-03-30 03:31 | 4 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

 The origin of things
picture Paul Hughes does some excellent thinking about really big questions, like the possible origin of the laws of the universe.
"I have been engaging in some discussion lately about the begining of the universe, and for the first time (amazingly enough) I pushed the 'Where did it come from' question through as far as it can go. And, not surprisingly, it doesn't go anywhere. No matter how you try to explain the origin of the universe, none of the theories can account for the cause of it. What caused the big bang? Where did 'God' come from? etc.

From this, i concluded that there cannot be a begining. If there was a begining, then something must have caused that begining, and so something was there before the begining.

This doesn't answer anything, but I am yet to see another way around the causality problem (defining something as 'acausal' doesn't solve it, it just dodges it).

Now, linked to this 'where did the universe come from?' problem is, 'Where did the incredible laws, which make our universe a coherent place come from?', which is what I think underlies it all. Once the universe began, it is easy to say 'the laws guided the evolution of everything from there'....but how did the laws come to be? Why are they so perfect?"
I wish more people would be able to discuss things like that intelligently. Many will merely, if they even try, end up with some silly circular reasoning or 'just because!' kind of answer. I'm not sure I end up in the exact same place as Paul does - that there are no fundamental laws. But then again, I agree that anything is possible, so maybe we do see it the same way. Either way, this would be a great discussion to spend a few hours on.

As Paul points out, any kind of explanation that is built on ideas such as 'that is how evolution works', or 'it is all random' or 'God created it all' or 'it all follows logically from a Big Bang' - are just sort of starting in the middle and not explaning how that arrangement came about.

The best guard against closed-minded fundamentalism, of the religious or scientific kind, would be to invite more discussions like that. And to invite more of us to be comfortable with the uncertainty you run into when you probe deeply enough into how things work.
[ | 2003-03-30 13:54 | 13 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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