An Interview with Dead Dick

(Speaking of UBIK, here’s an interview with Dead Dick. Courtesy of the Bardotown Gazette.)

Bardotown Gazette Reporter (BG): Dick, how do you like being dead?

Dead Dick (DD): Tell me the truth, did you really like your first beer or cup of coffee? Didn’t it take a bit of getting used to? Death, like beer and coffee, is an acquired taste. As it is now, I wouldn’t want to live without being dead.

BG: Have you been working on any new books since your terminus?

DD: I have made some furtive attempts at ghost writing. So far I have not been able to find any Lightsiders that could put themselves and their own interests aside long enough to get even a novella out. I shouldn’t make it sound so negative. I have a coup
le of good prospects even as we speak. The trick seems to be to let them think that they are stealing my ideas and style for their own purposes. You may see some pretty interesting material during the next few years. I only hope they can learn to spell, punctuate and use grammar. Don’t you know that it must be a law somewhere that “those who are able are not willing and those who are willing are not able.”

BG: Were you satisfied with your recent lifetime, Dick?

DD: As you know, I am many different authors scattered throughout history — much like fingers poking through a piece of paper. From one perspective they look independent. But, when one is aware of the “hand-ness” that connects them, the synchronicities of action and cooperativeness of efforts no longer looks miraculous or mysterious. It is taken for granted that the fingers of a hand will work in concert. My most recent sojourn into the Lightside was quite useful. However, I think the most satisfying was
that cave thing in France. To tell a story within the constraints of a single wall was quite invigorating. I just wish we’d had a better blue to work with.

BG: Do you have anything that you would like to relate to our Lightside readers?

DD: First of all, has it occurred to you that your experience of me is just ink on pressed wood pulp? If you look too closely (as with a magnifying glass) even this black and white existence is shown to be a semi-organized chaos of dots. It’s all in the reading.


Good To Know

Here’s a few tidbits, gaggle of truisms that you might find useful.

The 80/20 rule.

The Pareto principle (also known as the 80–20 rule, the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. (Check out the wikipedia article for more background).

Basically this means 80% of the audience opinion will come from 20% of the lecture. 20% of the comedy set jokes will generate 80% of the laughter.

So does this mean that we could perhaps drop 80% of what we do and trim our efforts down to the 20% that “get the job done”? Maybe…, but it is not certain. Some times the 80% is part of the process.

Many songs are 80% silence and 20% notes. What if we removed the silence and trimmed the song down to just the notes?

I  suspect that in many situations a little “trim” is in order. But, let’s not be too quick to judge what is the 20% and what is the 80%.

Parkinson’s Law.

Parkinson’s law is the adage that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. (wikipedia) Or, in other words, you can probably get the job done faster than you think. E.J. Gold refers to this as the busy desk syndrome. Meaning if you want to get something done fast put it on the desk of someone that is busy. A busy person has great throughput. A non-busy person might look like they would have more time available to do your task. But, Parkinson’s Law tells us that however few tasks they currently have the work they do for those tasks has expanded to fill available time. Continue reading

Lucid Living

The phrase “Lucid Living” intentionally draws inference from “Lucid Dreaming.”  The goal of Lucid Dreaming is to awaken in the dream coming into an awareness of self — with operational presence and attention.

Lucid Living has a similar goal: to awaken coming into an awareness of self with operational presence and attention.  Only in Lucid Living one is wakening while in the walking around sleep state rather than the horizontal sawing logs sleeping state.

Your dreaming carries on with or without your awake presence. In the same fashion your life carries on with or without your awake presence. Continue reading

Questions About Awaking The Machine

Below is a portion of a question/answer email exchange with a friend in Italy. I’ve posted it here on the off chance it might be of interest to others.

(Note: this conversation is part of an on-going dialogue. And as such, we have already shared a common vocabulary. So some of the words may be used and have meanings  that are new or unusual for a first time reader.)

> I have some other questions for you.
> – How long it does take, on average, to awaken the human biological machine?

Awakening the machine is not something that happens once then you stay “on”.
It would be pathological to stay in the waking state. The same as it
would be pathological for you to not sleep in the ordinary sense. Continue reading

Broaden Your Physics Background

I was recently asked by someone what would I suggest that might perhaps maybe help broaden one’s understanding of physics. The “might perhaps maybe” was not part of the question. I’m just stuffing that in there to sow the seeds of uncertainty concerning any specific result that may come from following my hair-brained (or is it hare-brained ala Bugs Bunny) ideas.

I apologize now for the meandering twisty path of my answer. I take the question very serious and thus I feel it is necessary to sneak up on the answer. Continue reading

No Privacy

A post I read today reminded me of something my father told me as a kid. Basically: “never do anything you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the newspaper.”

I know, how quaint, they had newspapers back in the olden days. I suppose in current vernacular it would be “never do anything you wouldn’t want to see on the home page of youtube.”

Admittedly a video clip of one sitting on the john in the midst of a cataclysmic flu episode is not something you (or anyone else) should want to see on youtube. Embarrassment is one thing, getting caught “cooking the books” or making heated remarks that include graphic details of bodily harm is another.

Posting anything to the internet is like getting a tattoo. It may be with you for a long long time, there is no guarantee that it can be removed ever, and there is no place you can put that tattoo that will be invisible to everyone — folks you’d rather not see it could easily end up with access.

Case in point, the post I mentioned at the start of this blog: “Privacy issue: Google Docs seems to not delete but only hide documents when the trash is emptied“.

In the post it was demonstrated that a deleted google document was still available — for anyone to read. Thing is: this document started life as a private document. It was deleted, trashed, and the trash dumped. Still the document is hanging around. That is the not so good news. But, the really bad news is: anyone (in spite of so called privacy issues) can see the so-called deleted document.

This is not a slam against google. It just serves as a wake up call. Anything that goes over the internet is at risk of being tucked away in dusty corners of the internet. Email drafts saved before you even hit the send button could be available. You could be put to task for an email you wrote that was not even sent, and was in fact later extensively revised. The internet is like one huge, massive cloud storage device. If you live in this world, and use any of the new technologies, you can’t escape it. But, you can learn to be more discreet.

Yes, fight for privacy anywhere you can. Use care when setting your account privacy rules. And, be aware that in spite of your best efforts you may not be able to protect your documents the way you wish. Thus, be careful what you allow onto the cloud. It could easily come back to haunt you.


Wind On The Pond

To illustrate a point, I’d like to represent one’s inner world as a pond. For me when I think of a pond I am reminded of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden Pond. Off the topic at hand, but if you have never encountered the book you may want to give a few portions of it a read.

In any case, we started with the notion of using a pond to represent one’s inner world.

So, moving forward, I’d like to observe that more than a few folks have noticed (and mentioned) the presence of ripples, waves, and darn near tsunamis mucking about on their little pond.

The general presumption is that: “if my pond is unsettled it must be something happening with me.” That is not necessarily the case. There are a variety of potential sources of “winds” that can disturb the surface of your pond: Continue reading

Greatest Joy

Few of us experience our greatest joy — for fear of annihilation.
Later we may be able to deal with it. But, not then when it is offered.
We aren’t brave enough or experienced when it’s offered.