Timestream Post: A note from 03/17/2012

17 03 2017

Well, I’m standing in the midst of my 5th year wedding anniversary, and I thought it sensible to send a note forward another five years.  (It seems a nice increment for several reasons… not the least of which is our digits. *grin*)

We’re just hours from a renewal of our wedding vows downtown at a Las Vegas-style Strip-front “chapel,” to be wed by a singing Elvis.

No doubt, this will be a memorable affair. =)

Will we raise the bar for our ten-year renewal celebration?  Or, in the spirit of this experiment I suppose I should ask in the present-tense, are we raising the bar?  What are we doing?

The big difference this year compared to previous years (Elvis aside) is little Grayson!  At the time of this posting, he should be about 5-and-a-half.  …and I’m dying to know all about who the little guy is becoming!

Developmentally everything going okay?  (He seems to be cruising so far!)  Personality?  Does he still hate sleep?

I can only presume the 2012 end-of-the-world hype will go exactly the way of the 1999, 2000 end-of-the-world hype.  The economy is in shambles, particularly in Las Vegas.  Are things now looking up?

Please, tell me all about 2017!

From the Past and with love for my friends and family (Gray!),

Ben

Me (proud Dad) and Gray, March 17, 2012.

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Shredding the Library

3 11 2010

A stack of banker's boxes, which represent the remnants of my former paper library.

I was inspired by a recent post from SETI’s Dr. Seth Shostak to say something about my own three-year battle against three-dimensionality.

As a scientist, I’ve (intentionally) tended to collect reference papers and books into a sort of personal technical library.  (I’m not alone here, as Dr. Shostak will attest.)  My library includes excerpts, articles, and papers of note that I return to from time to time to support projects, refresh understanding, or simply that I saved because of the rarity and/or intrinsic value of the material.

This runs headlong against the reality of finite volume and cohabitation.

So, in the interests of reducing clutter at home, I began to digitally scan in every hardcopy paper and sheet of notes I’d been keeping in binders for the last ten years, fighting in vain to find versions that had already been digitized before committing myself to hours by the scanner.

Let me tell you – it takes a long time.  (I began in 2006 or 2007 and still have a tower of boxes to get through, if that’s any indication.)

Having said that – is it worth it?  Absolutely.  I had no idea just how much time is saved during research or the writing of a paper or article when everything is digitally search-able.  Precious minutes spent scanning bookshelves and thumbing through sheets of paper has been replaced by a couple of mouse clicks and finger strokes across a trackpad.

It’s also turned me from a conventional paranoid data-backup-er into a completely unhinged data-hoarding zealot.  Because I’ve committed myself to my digital library by shredding my original documents after scanning them in, (much like Cortez burning his ships upon reaching America to motivate his crew,) I currently maintain quadruple-redundancy with the digital library… and I might compulsively expand that soon.

But, there’s good news here, too – that even for a data fiend like myself, having multiple redundant data storage systems takes up about as much space on a bookshelf as two full-sized dictionaries.  That sounds impossible as I read that out-loud to myself, but it’s a modern reality.  Cheap data storage has completely overtaken the data “cost” of traditional text-based information.

So, while I lament the thrill of the paper, fire up the shredder and join the 21st Century, my fellow scientists and information-hounds!  Your husbands and wives will thank you.

(-And in a pinch, you can always print out a copy for emergency real-word note-scribbling in the margins.)





Time Experiment: Digital Time Travel

9 09 2010

Scientia in Posterus. (Credit: Ben McGee)

In the interest of exploring some of the more intriguing implications of our ubiquitous Cyberverse, I’ve decided to attempt to use WordPress as something of a digital time machine.

You see, there’s a “Schedule” feature for blog posts that I realized should work as long as WordPress and the Internet are around, and through it, we may be able to send information across immense spans of time.  (Sure, this feature is intended to make it easy to spread out posts over the course of days or weeks, but why not send messages a year, a decade, a century, or a millennium out?)

-So, presuming the digital infrastructure is going to exist for a while, I’m going to send messages from the present into the future at regular intervals, and each message will be sent to an exponentially-more-distant temporal location.  (E.g., one month, 6 months, 1 year, 10 years, etc.)

Then, when I receive a message from my past self, I’ll post an honest reply as though I were having a real-time conversation with myself in the past.  The conversation might be light or very revealing, depending on what mood it is that’s prompted me to talk to the future – and I’ll do my best to answer in kind.  In this way, we’ll see if I can’t engage in a bizarre, superchronistic conversation across the very fabric of linear time.

(For the interested, I’ve created a new post category called, “Digital Time Travel,” which will chronicle the experiment.)

…And, the kicker here is that to my surprise, I’ve already started the experiment.  As it would turn out, I had a similar idea months ago and already sent a message into the future.  However, at the time I thought it’d be a one-time deal – a single digital time capsule.  Now, I think it’d be better-suited as a long-term experiment; An exchange that breaks the timestream.

Anyway, I thought I’d put the experiment out there so that when messages from the past start showing up on my blog in the present, everyone won’t assume I’ve finally gone all the way around the bend.

(Man, in the spirit of the experiment, I can’t wait to tell my past self what he involuntarily started when that original “time capsule” message finally arrives…)

Time flies, and I hope to invoke some turbulence.








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