Thursday, July 30, 2015

One Knife, One Fork, One Spoon

It Is Enough
One of my favorite old stories on creativity is about an experimental subject given two long boards and some rope, and challenged to cross a room without touching the floor. Some would tie the boards together to make a bridge, although by design the boards were too short for this. Some would tie them to their feet like skies, but by design the boards were too long for this to work well. Some would tie the rope to one board, stand on that board pulling on the rope, and then hop across the room. When I suggested offering the stuff to the lab assistant in exchange for being carried across, I was told that the point of the exercise is that sometimes a solution involves simplifying, not bribing.
I was recently reminded that the terms of the divorce prevent me from using the dishwasher in my house for as long as Kris shall stay here. It is a bitter pill, but there it is and I'm not going to fight over it.
I was feeling vexed over the inconvenience of this, as dishes accumulated in my sink. We have all wash dishes by hand, but going backwards just feels wrong. Also, I'm trying to be neat, which is difficult when denied access to technology.
Then it hit me: the problem is not the technology - the problem is that I have too much silverware!
For decades I have had a full silverware tray with about ten knifes, forks and spoons. Having them all match was important to Kris, and nothing to me, so when it was all divided, I got the odds-and-ends, a tray full of metal that over the course of days would be converted from shiny stainless steel to food-soiled implements that lead to my vexation.
I washed them all. I set aside one of each: one knife, one fork, one spoon. The rest I stored in an out-of-the-way drawer, in case this experiment failed - but it did not fail.

  • For breakfast, I used the spoon and I washed the spoon. 
  • For lunch, I used the fork and I washed the fork. 
  • For dinner I used all three, and I washed all three.

This problem has gone away. The problem was not that I had too little, but that I had too much!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Clean Water and the World Computing Grid

The Computing for Clean Water team has discovered how water can pass through tiny carbon nanotubes much more easily than previously predicted. This groundbreaking understanding of a fundamental physical process holds potential for improving access to clean water for millions through more efficient water filtration and desalination, as well as possible applications in clean energy and medicine.

The World Community Grid and the 150,000 volunteers (including my humble self - REW) who participated in this project enabled the simulation of water flow at a level of detail never attempted before, which revealed a phenomenon that had not been detected in previous studies.

I feel pride at having been a part, however small, of this effort. No-one can do everything, but we can all do a part.

Monday, July 27, 2015

De Profundis

The Basement Dweller
Hears the laughter from above,
Sleeps without dreaming.


I am happy that Kris and my young associates enjoy life, but it seems a little harsh to deny me access even to the dishwasher. I endure it because I must, and I reproach no-one because it is pointless - although it gives me material for my writing, so there is that.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

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July 26, 2015

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