Jay Cross
Jay Cross

New blog
Links & more

Subscribe with Bloglines
Enter your email address to subscribe to Internet Time Blog.

Thoughts from the throne
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
An Informal Learning Hack

Entering your home bathroom, you leave everyday reality behind. (See Body Ritual among the Nacirema.) Escaping into this private and supremely personal setting seals you off from the outside world, much as meditation clears the head of noise and static.

You're free from jangling phones, the beckoning monitor, and the peering eyes of others. You can take your pants down or even strip naked without giving it a second thought. The space is yours. You can do what you want. Go ahead: make faces in the mirror; sing in the shower.

When seated on the porceline throne, you're free to reflect on your experiences and think new thoughts. This morning I ducked out of a muted conference call to sit on the commode for a few minutes. My mind flashed on the peculiarities of the visible spectrum.

Here's the gist. Our environment is chock full of electro-magnetic waves, from cosmic rays to x-rays to FM radio to TV to shortwave to electricity. Visible light is a tiny band of frequencies between infrared and ultraviolet. This is the only part of the spectrum picked up by our eyes.

Let's apply the spectrum concept to size. Things come in all sizes, from quark to nano to planetary to galactic and so forth up to cosmic. Newton's laws of motion, like visible light, hold true in the middle of the spectrum. "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." It's clockwork. It's predictable. Yes or no. Logical.

However, go to the small end of the size chart and all bets are off. Waves become energy, energy becomes waves, and you can determine the mass of a particle or its velocity, but never both. At the spacey end of the size spectrum, time warps, black holes, and string defy logic.

In fact, logic only seems to apply in the midrange of the size continuum. Everything larger or smaller is unpredictable. Making sense of the passage through complexity at the top and bottom of the scale is like the calculus. You describe what's going on by examining a thin slice of the flow. This isn't reality; it's an approximation. So, too, Newton's Laws only hold true in a limited context.

Sometimes logic comes up empty. I find this liberating. Chalk the unexplainable up to complexity. (Complexity is scientific jargon for "Shit Happens.") It's not possible to have all the answers, so don't fret about it.

Like Stephen Wright's observation that "Every place is in walking distance if you have enough time," I believe that everything's connected to everything else if you look far enough along the network. For that matter, nothing ever ends. But now 'tis time for a temporary hiatus as I leave the lavatory to return to that conference call.


Blogger Crazy Dan said...

I was searching the web and found your entry Thoughts from the throne I really like your site and found it worth while reading through the posts. I am looking to publish a comprehensive site reviewing many different articles and blogg. Please feel free to take a look at my blog at and add anything your want.

2:33 PM  
Blogger Crazy Dan said...

I was searching blogs for and found your entry” Thoughts from the throne Its not a perfect match but Tis the season! So I thought I would write. There is lot of info on Embroidery stuff out there. I have been looking to add content to our site about Patterns and Sewing. If you have any good resources please share -- feel free to take a look at our site at
I just read your blog entry - Thoughts from the throne -- my partner and I are planning on setting up a review website – it will live on the home page of our site . I am looking for versatility in embroidery machine and setup a comparison. If you can help with any insight or direction that would be great. I am also would like to hear about Academy's courses with hands-on embroidery that people have taken.
I just found your blog entry -- Thoughts from the throne -- I am starting my own blog – you find frequently updated news, commentary, and the latest links about graduate school for applicants, current graduate students, post-docs, and faculty. If you come across any timely links or stories of interest to applicants, students, and faculty, share them with me -- so I can share them with all of our readers. Please visit us

2:40 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

About Us | Contact Us | Home |

Powered by Blogger

Copyright 2005, Internet Time Group, Berkeley, California