Observation Stream

15 minute read

Things that don’t fit in, fit here.

[2022-02-17 Thu 13:18] - 7962

  • on a video call yesterday, due to exceptionally high ping (delay), I saw myself blink
  • that was a rare sighting: I keep my distance from most forms of social media and hence have no visual record of me just existing
    • I also don’t have the kind of friends who’d post about me on social media: the one’s who’d be interested have convinced themselves to stay away from it as well
  • This was somewhat of a revelation for me as I can relate to the era when no cheap way to store visual memory existed (an artist wouldn’t paint a portrait with the subject blinking).
  • Shiny surfaces(mirrors, still water, etc) wouldn’t cut it as you’re blinking when the image of you blinking is formed (I tried…)
  • Consequently, I’m more aware of the differences between natural forms of visual replication (image formation) and actually storing a representation of the same and regenerating it on demand.

[2021-09-26 Sun 17:45]

  • around 4~5 days ago, had a discussion regarding the distribution of manual dexterity with my friends over a cup of coffee
  • obviously right-handed people are more common and we discussed why that is and how this has been viewed over the centuries (left being evil, sinister, gauche..).
    • nothing new up until this point
    • then we talked about how writing flow (left-right, right-left, top-bottom) varied across cultures
      • writing with an ink is favorable from left to right for right-handed people to avoid smudging.
      • I asked what about Arabic - initial false assumption that most of them were left-handed
      • then, one friend pitched in saying that they chiseled stones during the formative years so the smudging story doesn’t work here
      • we weren’t quite clear why prefer right to left for chiseling stones
      • then, I mimicked chiseling on a stone (I’m right handed).
      • I intuitively held the hammer in my right and the chisel in my left
      • then it all clicked, the striking angle would be from right to left and chiseling is not a particularly precise act, there are bound to be miscalculations in the force needed.
      • If one starts from the left, inscribing the next character could destroy the previous etch but that can be completely avoided when proceeding from right to left.
  • learned something that would be difficult to stumble upon with the internet
  • acting made it extremely easy: an act can connect the minds and tendencies of people separated by centuries and cultures.

[2021-09-19 Sun 18:35]

  • wondering upon the questionable finitude of “the” chain of thought
  • believe it should be possible to chart out what the mind is all about
  • if one goes about marking territories as they traverse along without alteration (only observe)
    • wouldn’t be the most ideal to do that in one go
    • non-dual traversal should lead to interesting thoughts after the conventional wisdom is appropriately marked and scraped through

[2021-09-11 Sat 15:05]

  • One may have thought about different modes of communication with both the sender and the receiver being in the same modes
    • I recently have established a new favorite
    • one talks, the other types/writes : I prefer being the typer (I won’t say a typist)
    • much better in terms of how discussions turn out
    • the typer doesn’t need repeat what is typed
    • the typer also doesn’t technically interrupt the talker and one particular party (sender/receiver) does not feel like they have to wait for the other to finish
  • this is how I’ve been dealing lately with questions for virtual lectures and one professor complained that reading in their live conversation is uncomfortable..
  • but, not having to repeat anything is such a game changer, you can just point it out with a blank face..

Wed Jul 28 20:09:14 IST 2021

  • Had a cold recently and my voice took a hit
    • some complimented it’s better, some just acknowledge that it’s different, no negative comments yet - people seem to get it on their own that I’m not faking it
  • Other than the changes in the nature of my voice, discrete changes can also be observed
    • It is impossible to “hmm” with a blocked nose - have had to switch them out with slightly different “huh”s than what I already use in my natural speech
    • nasal phonemes have been mangled with and require extra effort to be completely conveyed: - when I say “blank”, one may take it to be “black”

Thu Jul 8 18:46:32 IST 2021

  • I caught a cold day before yesterday and life has extremely sub-optimal since then - can’t work out, lost appetite, staying hydrated is tougher, can’t sleep when I need it the most - Almost all intellectual pursuits have been compromised :- - This is the closest I get to being a zombie: - eat, locomote, consume the most superficial level of information around and fall asleep by chance due to fatigue - took a day off from work and have a lot of time to spare: - even watching anything takes some effort and is daunting with a throbbing brain.
  • This happens to me almost once a year and I forget the habitual routines I enforce the previous times to hasten the riddance. - rehydrating and sleeping tricks need to be relearned and surveyed again. - Good thing I have my parents around that have endured almost double the number of colds - they’re persistent enough to not give up on me when I oppose the normal route of medication and try to brute through a cold - to their advantage, even though I get the voice of an old sage during such times, I am not at my most rational
  • Henceforth, I’m planning on initiating eviction protocols at the slightest hint of a sore throat. - no more waiting for a natural recovery :- that is a hideous concept

Sat Jun 19 09:25:01 IST 2021

  • Lately, I’ve been more aware of the itch-scratch cycle
  • scratching only worsens the itch
    • analogous to one noticing a drop of water when it’s only beginning to rain but not being able to distinguish between distinct drops when it pours.
  • not scratching feels different: but that is the smartest way
  • wonder why we are not evolution~arily smart-enough to not scratch
    • on second thought, scratching is far from being deadly so that’s a stupid line of thought
      • anyone who scratches, survives

Fri May 28 16:29:52 IST 2021

  • If I lived in the 17th century, I wouldn’t be able to watch “Batman: The Animated Series”

Wed May 19 21:18:18 IST 2021

  • Today, I saw an insect crawl.
  • I’ve been seeing them all my life but this one was slow and big enough to be easily observable
  • They have 3 pairs of legs
    • The inner pair of legs move the most and the outer pairs relatively less
  • compared to humans, their center of mass doesn’t bob away and towards the surface they walk on as much
  • just had a deja vu : been having a lot of these lately
    • glitches in the matrix …
  • never thought about the energy expenditure of an insect
    • do they track their macros somehow and seek variety in whatever they eat?
    • do they consciously decide whether it is more efficient to walk up a wall or fly and land somewhere it?
    • do they have the notion of exercising or training for a particular task?
      • or is it all practical : hunting and evading being the only play …
  • do they have circadian rythms?
    • some do: cicadas for instance : are a pain
    • some probably not : once with very short life cycles, feel like they won’t be exposed to enough solar days
    • they could take them as seasons though

Thu May 13 20:21:29 IST 2021

  • around 25 days of no visual media entertainment: The mind is cycling through old stuff that I watched.
  • life would be more interesting if Pokemon really existed but then I had all these thoughts about the same:
    • A dragon type chooses to eat processed pellets rather than the bug type next to it.
      • utter disregard for the notion of a food chain
    • Very conveniently, different species pokemon can understand each other but humans are too dumb for that.
    • Conveniently again, the cry of a pokemon is its name : bellsprout says bellsprout; bulbasaur goes bulbasaur
      • that’s three syllables : pokemon should be dumb for that…
    • As many of my acquaintances would attest, Pokemon have a greater range of expressions than I do.
    • They can narrate stories with gestures.
  • Well, lastly, I’m naive enough to take this all too seriously cause they can spit fire and ice
    • That’s some misdirection for the children and adults that watch(ed) the show (I finished the 23rd season last year)
  • For a self-proclaimed harbinger of logic : this is like burrying one’s head into the sand like an ostrich.
  • Now I am okay with them not really existing.
  • They’re like one of those sitcoms that try to be funny by leveraging tracks of laughter
    • A lot of people might wish to be in that sort of an environment but that sort of ignorance towards rationality could definitely induce depression.

Fri May 7 14:55:37 IST 2021

  • Have been listening to a lot of instrumental and lofi beats while working recently
  • Given that I have no other major rythmic externalities in the day : I start to subconsciously get in sync with the same
  • be it:
    • walking around
    • chewing food
    • typing periodicity
    • breathing
  • happens even when I’m not listening
  • have to avoid lyrical and listen to the same kind of music for this though : or lyrical on loop but that’s not my thing
  • Will read up on literature about this sometime soon

Wed Apr 28 21:16:18 IST 2021

  • Did test out the hypothesis pondered upon the last time
  • Doubled the amount of ice : 2 kilos in 15 liters(eyeballing the amount of water)
    • maybe should look into better techniques for eyeballing things
      • just a stream where I assert numerical claims I can’t testify explicitly sounds nice.
    • note that freezing time matters
      • 24 hours gives big solid blocks
      • 12 hours not so much : not frozen all the way through
    • Equilibrium corresponds a mixture
  • This also means that I can more accurately claim that I bathe with water at 0 degrees
  • Final shape has a very sharp circular brim corresponding to the open half of the freezing (cylindrical) utensil
    • Like a container : a transperent mug - well that’s a glass made of glass
      • but this one melts
  • So not really symmetric about the horizontal plane as I had hypothesized
  • The local freezing choronology matters:
    • Hypothesizing with prior knowledge:
      • Top first and seep down the bottom
        • but then why does the top melt the first giving a containerish appearance
        • To verify this, will have to describe the freezing patterns and the resultant cracks
    • Maybe should lookup what impurities are actually present in the tap water and how do they really affect the fluid’s thermodynamics.

Wed Apr 14 18:53:11 IST 2021

Have been taking ice baths for a month now and noticed something interesting today.

  • Prior : I use around a kilo of ice - a cylinder, frozen for 12 hours (two baths a day) : used to cool down around 15 litres of water @ room temperature
  • notice the final sphere of ice melting in a mug under well lit conditions
    • small air packets slowly rise up from around the sphere : I freeze tap water : Impurities are a factor
  • also notice that irrespective of the initial shape of a solid block of ice (solid the all way through, usually on day when I miss a shower(the cylinder has been frozen for a good 24 hours)), the final melting shape is always somewhat spherical
  • what if equilibrium corresponded to a mixture of the two states?
    • there could be multiple shapes with the same masses of the states
    • what is the affinity of each of these configurations?
      • energy wise, a spherical shape seems best because that promotes a similar equilibrium at all localities on the ice
        • caveat : for very large blocks of ice (ice bergs), the temperature gradient set off due to convection might play a role : that should make things more “eggish”
          • big-endian or little-endian is another issue : I hypothesize big endian (top first)

Sat Mar 13 21:26:48 IST 2021

Dust is made up of a lot of dead skin.
Two days ago, seated on my couch, gulping a protein shake in the golden 8 AM sunlight after a good workout, I noticed these funny little structures flaoting around. Everyone knows that’s dust, but I’m not here to write to let people know.
One thing that stuck with me post Leonardo’s biography was observing and reasoning about stuff for fun.

Here are some observations about dust:-

  • It comes in all shapes and sizes. Some like a cork-screw, some straight as a french fry, some as small as a point.
  • They move differently. They make fluid motion observable.
    • It moves slowly up from sun-lit surfaces, being replaced by particles from the shade : That’s convection.
  • If you try to play with the air your hands and are attentive : you might have your own turbulent flow wind tunnel; you could observe Bernoulli’s Principle (I recall using it in one of my science fair exhibitions: brought two cans together with a bang just by blowing air between them with a straw)
  • If you rub your index finger and thumb slowly and with great pressure, you could see a wavy (sinusoid like) soot-like substance rising up in the air : good lighting conditions are needed for this.

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