« learnings from sxsw and etech 2005 | Main | a concise guide to what I learned at sxsw and etech 2005 »

Saturday, 19 March 2005


roly poly

PS did you know roly polys are more closely related to shrimp than insects? They are crustaceans. Sorry, this has really nothing to do with your post. I just love roly polys. Even their name is fun.

I did not know that. Are you sure? Wouldn't bug-like crustaceans be called something else? What about centipedes and millipedes, are they crustaceans to? Maybe roly polys (and not roly polies?) are the missing link for the whales getting into the ocean?

Oooo! Programs of the mind.

One related incident comes to mind when I think about this:

I was playing a game of Photo Hunt. I don't know if you've seen it, but it's basically just a large arcade-type machine. On one side of the screen they show a picture, then on the other side of the screen they show the same picture, but there are 5 subtle differences between the two pictures. So there is a time limit, and you have to find the 5 differences before time runs out.

When I first started playing, I would choose a small section of the picture, focus on it, then look at the corresponding section of the other picture, and look for differences. I would do this methodically- generally starting from one corner and dividing the picture into a little grid.

This was my method for finding the differences between two nearly identical pictures.

But as I was playing the game, somehow (I really have no idea how it did this), my brain started to automatically see differences between the two pictures.

So I guess my brain has developed a program to compare the two nearly identical pictures and quickly detect the differences.

I think that's one of the most amazing things ever.

In your car example, you just have that conscious desire to avoid getting hit by a car and the brain will take car of the rest. It starts safety programs that function in the back of the mind.

I'd be more interested in finding out how these programs originally develop. You program your own programs. But the program to program those programs is unconscious. Let's call the program to program those programs the metaprogram. (Those are some crazy sentences. I can't think of how to clean them up.)

Hmm an interesting questions about metaprogramming: Does metaprogramming consider the experiences of others who we have simply "heard about"?

I mean, adults intentionally program kids to "look both ways before crossing the street."

And if the child does not look both ways, there is generally a rebuke from the adult.

Thus the child learns to look both ways in order to avoid the rebuke of the adult.

But cars could be utterly harmless, and yet the child would still have this program running in the back of their mind for years. So other people can program our programs. Hmm.

So could you create an unconscious program to examine current programs?

Sorry this is a longish comment. Brevity has never been my strong suit.

The comments to this entry are closed.