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Howdy, pilgrim! You're in the ^zhurnal — since 1999, a journal of musings on mind, method, metaphor, and matters miscellaneous — previous volume = 0.9946. Click headlines to browse, comment, or edit the ^zhurnalyWiki. Page-top links provide random mantras, tarots, unicorns, power thoughts, and meditative suggestions. For a lovely little mint-tin deck of mindfulness reminders see Open Mind OM Cards.



Mnemonic Media

Andy Matuschak and Michael Nielsen in "How can we develop transformative tools for thought?" (2019) discuss at great length memory systems. Their essay is unfortunately repetitive, unstructured, and distractingly first-person. It asks good questions (starting with the title) but offers few useful answers. Worse, it lacks a BLUF. Abridging their lengthy "Summary and Conclusions" (to make it more memorable!):

Matuschak and Nielsen ask further questions about other thinking tools; more on that another day!

(cf Mental Bandwidth Boosters (1999-06-26), Body Mnemonic (2004-12-04), Mnemonic Principles of Taiji (2014-03-24), ...)

- Saturday, November 27, 2021 at 06:00:46 (EST)


2021-10-24 - Great Idea

~6.1 mi @ ~14 min/mi

"Breakfast – Lunch – Cold Beer!" A Kensington diner offers all the food groups. 🔥 & 🐻 start their 16 mile ramble just after sunrise on a soggy Sunday morning. 🤖 checks in on them along the way, brings sour lemon drops to share, and with 🥃 plays escort for the middle segment. Our Motto: "That's a horrible idea. What time?"

(trackfile)

- Friday, November 26, 2021 at 06:25:06 (EST)


2021-10-23 - Peppers

~2.7 mi @ ~25 min/mi

"Peppers!" The Garrett Park farmers market features colorful produce. 🥃 & 🐻y shop after an inspection of Halloween decorations.

(trackfile)

- Friday, November 26, 2021 at 06:22:19 (EST)


Noise, a Flaw in Human Judgment

Noisy, without much signal – that's the unfortunate feel of the 2021 tome Noise: a Flaw in Human Judgment. Authors Daniel Kahneman and Cass Sunstein are semi-celebrity scholars; their co-author Olivier Sibony less so. Their joint work here lacks coherence, stylistic sparkle, or novel substance. Some bottom lines, from the "Review and Conclusion":

OK, and ...?

(cf Infotopia (2010-06-13), Predictably Irrational (2011-02-22), Signal and Noise (2012-12-25), Thinking, Fast and Slow (2013-10-24), ...)

- Thursday, November 25, 2021 at 07:00:42 (EST)


2021-10-22 - Mission Accomplished

~3 miles @ ~21 min/mi

"Make it a mission!" Cool Friday weather tempts the To Do list to grow – so besides the local deli for lunch carry-out, add grocery store and gas station to the loop: falafel wraps, bananas, pastrami, ramen, oranges, lottery tickets. Got it!

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, November 24, 2021 at 06:20:41 (EST)


2021-10-21 - Celosia Argentea

~2.7 mi @ ~14 min/mi

"Celosia argentea, aka plumed cockscomb, variety flamingo feathers!" A front yard garden is afire with autumn colors on the way to the Public Library book return. A late Thursday meander includes fishy lawn art on Hermitage Ave plus intervals of jogging through a corner of Wheaton Regional Park.

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, November 23, 2021 at 07:24:22 (EST)


2021-10-20 - Talbot Avenue

~2.5 mi @ ~16 min/mi

"Bridge out!" An inspection late Wednesday afternoon finds girders that go most of the way over the train tracks, with gaps remaining. A neighbor's front yard is gruesome with Halloween statuary.http://zhurnaly.com/images/arty/Talbot-Avenue-Bridge-construction_2021-10-20.jpg

(trackfile)

- Monday, November 22, 2021 at 06:56:16 (EST)


Creating Space

From A Morning Cup of Yoga by Jane Goad Trechsel, in the section "Observe, Don't Act":

An important aspect of a sitting practice is to have no expectations. Now this is truly radical and unfamiliar to us. We are used to reacting—immediately. If we itch, we scratch; if we feel discomfort, we adjust our position. This carries into every area of our lives. Get tired of a job—quit. Get angry—blow up at someone. Have trouble in a relationship—leave it. To break that connection, to see impulses arise and not act on them, but simply to observe them—this is to turn off your auto-pilot. This is the beginning of actually taking control of your life. Simply creating some space between an event and your reaction will have a profound effect on your life.

(cf Moving from Experiences to Experiencing (2015-08-06), Holding Space (2016-07-22), Mantra - Do Less, Better (2016-12-14), Power of Intention (2021-07-24), Practice of Contentment (2021-09-18), ...)

- Sunday, November 21, 2021 at 05:56:05 (EST)


2021-10-18 - Olney Manor Farm

~3.1 mi @ ~16.3 min/mi

"Corgis are the best - but your other puppy is nice too!" says 🤖 to a dog-walker. A Monday afternoon walkabout in Olney Maryland takes meandering paved paths that abut the backsides of uncounted townhouses. Giant halloween spiders and skeletons swarm to attack Olney Manor Farm, a "two-story brick Georgian Revival-style manor house built in 1937" according to county historical documentation.

(trackfile)

- Saturday, November 20, 2021 at 07:29:42 (EST)


2021-10-17 - Justice as Fairness

~6 mi @ ~17 min/mi

"In law school, they don't teach Common Sense!" says 🐻y on a sunny Sunday morning. 🔥 and 🤖 sip coffee, ramble, and discuss the Original Position (John Rawls' theory of justice), Saw (a horror film), moral hazard (risky behavior when insurance shifts the burden of loss), health care costs, and Halloween lawn ornaments. 🥃 arrives to join a training run, and 🤖 walks home.

(trackfile)

- Friday, November 19, 2021 at 05:45:18 (EST)


2021-10-16 - Sunrise at the Meadow

~10 miles @ ~21 min/mi

"Let's loop back and try again!" says 🔍 when a missed turn leads away from the neighborhood 🤖 hopes to explore. A mile later on orbit #2, there it is! 🔥 greets the horses at Meadowbrook Stables as they eat an early breakfast. A beautiful dappled sunrise reminds us, bundles of DNA wandering the surface of a rocky planet, to be thankful and mindful. 🐻y joins at the Parkway Deli where iced tea, hot coffee, and a shared cookie provide a power-up for the home stretch. The trackfile map weaves a tangled web.

(trackfile)

- Thursday, November 18, 2021 at 05:51:54 (EST)


No One Cares

Arthur Brooks (The Atlantic, 2021-11-11, "No One Cares") writes cheerfully about letting-go:

... we consistently overestimate how much people think about us and our failings, leading us to undue inhibition and worse quality of life. Perhaps your followers or neighbors would have a lower opinion of you if they were thinking about you–but they probably aren't. Next time you feel self-conscious, notice that you are thinking about yourself. You can safely assume that everyone around you is doing more or less the same.

... ask yourself: What am I hiding that I'm a little embarrassed about? Resolve not to hide it anymore, and decimate the useless shame holding you back.

The way to free yourself from this belief is to stop judging others, and, when you accidentally do so, to remind yourself that you might well be wrong. Try this experiment: Set a day in the coming week when you resolve to judge nothing, and instead merely observe. Instead of "This rain is terrible," say, "It is raining." Instead of "That guy who cut me off in traffic is a jerk," say, "That guy must be in a hurry." It will be difficult, but strangely refreshing. You will have relieved yourself of the burden of constant judging–and thus be less worried about getting judged.

(cf Three Equations for Life (2020-05-03), Regret v Disappointment, Risk v Uncertainty (2020-08-18), ...)

- Wednesday, November 17, 2021 at 06:35:24 (EST)


2021-10-15 - Silver and Gold

~2.8 mi @ ~18.4 min/mi

"Honey Dutch Boy ... Raspberry Pocket ... Almond Tartlette ... Pistachio Leaf ... Vanilla Florentine ...", say the labels on Donut King's cookie trays. There's much to be thankful for in this world – in moderation, of course! Friday afternoon's late lunch mission picks up sandwiches. On the way take short-cuts over the streams and through the woods between suburban streets: "Find new paths, revisit the old / One is silver, the other gold." The county bus, free under COVID, closes the loop.

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, November 16, 2021 at 06:42:21 (EST)


2021-10-13 - Pugs and Kisses

~4.0 mi @ ~17 min/mi

"Pugs & Kisses!" The neighbor's puppy statuette wears a pumpkin orange costume for Halloween. On Wednesday afternoon take the long way to pick up fancy carry-out dinner from Pacci's Trattoria. Sidewalk chalk on Rock Creek Trail reminds: "Dream".

(trackfile)

- Monday, November 15, 2021 at 06:33:19 (EST)


Scout Mindset

The Scout Mindset by Julia Galef (2021) brings a positive, helpful metaphor to bear on the challenges of thinking better. Instead of cognitive biases, Galef explores the contrasts between what she calls the "Soldier Mindset" (decisiveness, persuasion, certainty, group membership) and the "Scout Mindset" that an individual can develop and encourage in others. Good Scout Mindset characteristics that Galef highlights include:

Galef notes the Bayesian value of being comfortable with uncertainty and of estimating the likelihood of events, then updating those estimates as new information comes in. She explains how a long shot can be a good bet if the payoff is large enough. In the metacognitive arena, she underscores the value of learning general principles that apply across many specific application domains. And above all, Galef suggests "hold your identity lightly" and instead of saying "I'm an X", try to say and think "I'm a person who agrees with many of the X ideas and positions". Beliefs are then contingent and subject to change.

Among the Scout Mindset tests that Galef suggests are:

Galef also recommends an "Ideological Turing Test": striving to explain a belief convincingly enough to be indistinguishable from a someone who holds that belief. By doing so, one can begin to understand both sides of an issue better, and perhaps help others (or oneself!) think more clearly.

Galef's final discussion touches upon a Scout Mindset society. She suggests that one "... aim to please the kind of people you'd most like to have around you, people who you respect and who motivate you to be a better version of yourself." She quotes philosopher Robert Nozick: "... it's a sign of confidence, intellectually, to not need to be certain about everything". [1]

Galef's conclusion:

Personally, I find all these aspects of scout mindset inspiring–the willingness to prize impact over identity; the confidence to be unconfident; the courage to face reality. But if I were to name one single facet I find most inspiring, it's the idea of being intellectually honorable: wanting the truth to win out, and putting that principle above your own ego.

(cf Deliberate Opinion (2001-10-14), Universal Flourishing (2001-12-25), Light Mind (2002-08-22), Think Better - Three Keys (2019-06-25), ...)

- Sunday, November 14, 2021 at 08:02:12 (EST)


2021-10-12 - Toddler Escape Zone

~4.3 mi @ ~16.3 min/mi

"TODDLER ESCAPE ZONE AHEAD" warns the sign by Rock Creek Trail near the Rays Meadow playground, aimed at alerting speedy cyclists. Humid Tuesday afternoon offers a chance to survey pre-Halloween front yard decorations. Tombstones, spider webs, skeletons emerging from the ground, and witches remain popular this year, many with solar-powered enhancements.

(trackfile)

- Saturday, November 13, 2021 at 06:09:47 (EST)


2021-10-10 - Diverse Dimensions of Beauty

~10.6 mi @ ~18.1 min/mi

Venus statue after Botticelli"Puppies and Babies!" 🔥 and 🤖 pause to pet a brindled dog and coo at a happy infant. Both concur: both belong in a Gratitude Journal, with other reflections on this wondrous world we're blessed to be in. Sunday sunrise, coffee in hand, brings Kensington cut-throughs and Systems Thinking about self-care concepts and connections: sleep, work, happiness, health, money, relationships. And how about the "New Economy"? Can society and its members thrive without asset accumulation, safety nets, family stability, education, etc.? Is a "Caregiving" vs "Caretaking" distinction helpful?

"May we detour to admire the charms of Venus?" one animal blushes to request; the other animal insists that we must! Complementarily we tarry at another shapely sight: a shiny sterling silver Monkey Urn (perhaps a spittoon?) in an antique shop window. Evolution and experience open different eyes to different dimensions of beauty. Friends laugh at themselves and confess quiet joys to each other. Yes, and we're all part of one great system!

"You're far too fast for us!" 🐻 dashes from home and meets 🥃 and 🔍 at Ken-Gar before the daybreak twins return. A closed section of Beach Dr is busy with cyclists, runners, skaters, and dog-walkers.

(trackfile)

- Friday, November 12, 2021 at 06:43:24 (EST)


2021-10-09 - Death Rates

~5.8 mi @ ~15.4 min/mi

"At that rate of murders the population would be gone in a few years!" 🐻y & 🥃 analyze mystery-crime show demographics as they lead a brisk jog-walk downstream along Little Falls on Saturday morning. Woodland paths lead to Sangamore Road and a hilly neighborhood humming with inflated Halloween lawn art.

(trackfile)

- Friday, November 12, 2021 at 06:11:43 (EST)


Gratefulation and Gratituding

Quibble or nuance? Matters not! Gratefulness and gratitude – whether feelings, states, responses, attitudes, or aspirations – seem worth cultivating. "Comments on Thanks" is an experiment in gratitude journaling – a place to toss thoughts and celebrate ideas, joys, things, toys, whatever. At the moment it begins (thanks to "DDR", a friend who asks wonderful questions):

... and includes allusive in-jokes ("emoji 🥀 that 📚 can 🌊 be 🐳 used 🐇 to ✨ convey 🌷 multiple 🎵 meanings 🎶 among ➿ friends 🐙") and word-play patterns such as:

... and much more such silliness! Feel free to add to it, within the bounds of polite discourse of course. The purpose, like a religious "ejaculatory prayer", is just to focus the mind and lift the heart toward the Good.

(cf Happiness Buffer (2013-12-22), Good Manners and Taiji (2013-04-03), Beautiful Beyond Description (2014-11-19), You Are a Poem (2020-02-10), The World According to Mister Rogers (2020-03-13), OM - Gratitude, ...)

- Thursday, November 11, 2021 at 06:57:19 (EST)


Happiness and Excellence

Political columnist George Will in a thoughtful September 2021 meta-essay "The pursuit of happiness is happiness" (from his book American Happiness and Discontents) observes:

Although there are many kinds of colleges and universities, the idea of a university is inherently aristocratic: Higher education is not for everyone, and it is not primarily vocational or even "practical," as this is commonly understood. Rather, institutions of higher education – some much more than others – should be answers to a question posed by Alexis de Tocqueville. His "Democracy in America," which has rightly been called the greatest book about a nation written by a citizen of another nation, implicitly but insistently asked this: Can a nation so thoroughly committed to equality cultivate and celebrate excellence, which distinguishes the few from the many? Much depends on our being able to answer this question in the affirmative. Much depressing evidence suggests we cannot.

... and concludes:

It has been well said that the United States is the only nation founded on a good idea, the proposition that people should be free to pursue happiness as they define it. In recent years, however, happiness has been elusive for this dyspeptic nation, in which too many people think and act as tribes and define their happiness as some other tribe's unhappiness. As a quintessentially American voice, that of Robert Frost, said, "The best way out is always through." Perhaps the information, the reasoning and, I hope, the occasional amusements in newspaper columns can help readers think through, and thereby diminish, our current discontents.

They will diminish if, but only if Americans adhere to two categorical imperatives: They should behave as intelligently as they can, and should be as cheerful as is reasonable. The pursuit of individual happiness, and of a more perfect union, never reaches perfect fulfillment, but never mind. "The struggle itself toward the heights," wrote Albert Camus, "is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy."

For Americans, the pursuit of happiness is happiness.

(cf Independence Day (2001-07-04), Knowledge and Public Happiness (2003-07-29), Pursuit of Happiness (2008-11-19), Habitual Virtue (2008-12-18), Happiness Buffer (2013-12-22), Habits of Unhappy People (2014-03-11), Read What You Need (2016-01-16), Mantra - Happiness Is (2018-03-20), ...)

- Wednesday, November 10, 2021 at 07:11:19 (EST)


2021-10-08 - Drive-through Lane

~2.1 mi @ ~13.1 min/mi

"¡Yo quiero más 🌮🔔!" But to atone in advance, park in a nearby neighborhood and jog-walk in search of painted mailboxes and early Halloween decorations. And then, in the drive-through lane, who is there purely by chance getting Friday dinner only four cars ahead? #1 Son!

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, November 09, 2021 at 06:01:44 (EST)


2021-10-07 - Mackerel Sky

~1.8 mi @ ~19 min/mi

"Mackerel Sky!" High clouds on Thursday afternoon portend possible rain. "Danger - Do Not Enter" warn symbolic barriers on the path at National Park Seminary, where steep decayed stairways lead to overgrown valleys, stone walls, and old statues that decorated the girls' school campus a century ago.

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, November 09, 2021 at 05:58:25 (EST)


2021-10-06 - Grow Here

~3.3 mi @ ~14.9 min/mi

"Bloom where you're planted!" advises a parking garage mural. The first Maryland soldier killed in the Korean War, John C Brown, is commemorated by a bridge over the railroad tracks. Wednesday's mission, dropping off glasses for frame repair in Rockville, enables a speedy walkabout on the way to pick up late lunch bison at Ted's. 🦬

(trackfile)

- Monday, November 08, 2021 at 05:18:13 (EST)


Wholeness and Beauty

Thoughts on awareness and attention, from the Foreword of The Healing Power of Mindfulness by Jon Kabat-Zinn (2018, originally published in 2005 as part of Coming to Our Senses):

... Every circumstance, however unwanted or painful, is potentially a door into healing. In the world of mindfulness as a practice and as a way of being, there are many, many doors. All lead into the very same room, the room of awareness itself, the room of your own heart, the room of your own intrinsic wholeness and beauty. And both that wholeness and that beauty are already here, and already yours, along with your intrinsic capacity for wakefulness, and thus, wisdom, even under the most trying circumstances. ...

(cf Coming to Our Senses (2009-01-01), Intimate Relationship with the World (2009-01-23), Work of a Lifetime (2009-02-01), Midcourse Correction (2009-02-13), Out of Shape (2009-10-06), No Method (2010-01-21), Mantra - Cling to Nothing (2016-04-17), ...)

- Sunday, November 07, 2021 at 04:49:56 (EST)


Mantra - Together, Lucky, Loved

Remember you are not alone
    Focus on your good luck
        Love who you are

... thoughts from "Identical Twins With Two Very Different Destinies" in the New York Times, a personal essay by Amit Majmudar. One of his identical-twin children has a congenital heart defect and must suffer through multiple challenges. Majmudar suggests:

([1] is a free shared link – cf Mantra - Fine and One and Blessed (2016-09-23), ...)

- Saturday, November 06, 2021 at 06:36:25 (EDT)


2021-10-05 - Eyes Open

~2.1 mi @ ~18.1 min/mi

"The first 40 years of parenthood are always the hardest!" says the package of napkins in the store window, next to bath bomb and body butter. Hmmmmmm! Curbside art reminds: "Eyes Open!" Taco Tuesday's ramble to Java Nation picks up pupusas as well. A solar-powered glowing-eyed kitten crouches in the grass.

(trackfile)

- Friday, November 05, 2021 at 06:41:32 (EDT)


2021-10-04 - Talking Confidentially of Birds

~5.1 mi @ ~19.6 min/mi & ~3.3 mi @ ~17.9 min/mi

"After a few thousand miles together ..."

"... we can finish each other's sentences!"

Sunday sunrise: 🔥 and 🤖 feel spooky-same déjà vu at crossroads where they've never been before. Shared experiences echo across time. Mental meta-models sharpen into crisp focus. "You knew I knew you would think that, and I knew you wouldn't mind!" The world is full of laughter and forgiveness, patience and peace. Pause for pics of public sculpture ("Starting a New Life", Ken Lonn, 1989) and Halloween lawn art (animated 8-foot "Dark Angel", Home Depot, $400) and small stone fragments (girl-on-a-swing, without the swing).

"The problem is that we think there's enough time!" says a blue square sticky-note on the Starbucks bulletin board. Or maybe there's plenty of time, if we're present in the present? Jon Kabat-Zinn suggests, "... stepping out of minutes and hours into moments, which are truly dimensionless and therefore infinite ...". George Eliot observes, "They were looking at each other like two fond children who were talking confidentially of birds." Yes, and...

"There was an article recently about why one should NOT make a bucket list – but I didn't read it!" 🥃 & 🐻 appear and, with 🔥, pull dragon-draggin' 🤖 downstream at a brisk pace, then graciously walk him back before continuing for additional Sunday morning mileage.

(trackfile & trackfile)

- Thursday, November 04, 2021 at 06:16:41 (EDT)


2021-10-03 - MCRRC Black Hill 10k XC

~6.4 mi @ ~14.1 min/mi

"One of you is an Unknown Runner!" says the Timing Director at the end of Saturday morning's race. 🐻y suddenly remembers that he has the chip of neighbor "Fast Mary" in his pocket to return, in addition to one tied to shoelaces. Sensors are sensitive today!

Jeannie Larrison paces 🤖 on the first half of the MCRRC Black Hill 10k cross-country trail event. It's a fine day to reminisce about past runs, share notes on injuries, encourage each other, and try not to fall on rocks, roots, and slippery stream crossings. Then it's time to unleash the inner geriatric gazelle and catch up with 🔥 and 🐻y, who are enjoying a training-and-recovery trek. The trio finish together, 46th to 48th place of 51 finishers, gun time 1:28:45.
http://zhurnaly.com/images/run/Black-Hill-10k-XC-trail-race_2021-10-03z.jpg

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, November 03, 2021 at 07:29:53 (EDT)


2021-10-01 - Chocolate

~2.6 mi @~18 min/mi

"Chocolate on sale!" Fairtrade, cocoa-farmer-owned (44% anyway), B Corp – and great tasting, at a deep discount with sell-by date looming. The neighborhood grocery walk gets a bonus, on top of bananas and ramen, on the way to pick up a carry-out Cubano sandwich to split for lunch. The arty tile-decorated stairway, first seen a year ago, is still uplifting.

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, November 02, 2021 at 07:29:22 (EDT)


Imagine that Life

Imagine that life flowed the opposite way
      Beginning with childhood and teenager years
      Full of wisdom, experience, deep understanding,
      Vast circles of friends, carefree humor, and leisure –
But also with physical frailty, weakness, poor stamina,
      Fuzzy vision, muffled hearing, vertigo, indigestion.
And what if old age offered bodily health
      Strength and vitality, a whirlwind robustness –
      Along with ignorance, turmoil, conflict, worries,
      Career chaos, angst, and loneliness, ...

Who would want that?

- Sunday, October 31, 2021 at 06:07:22 (EDT)


2021-09-30 - Chevy Chase Corner

~1.9 mi @ ~13.7 min/mi

"Maybe it's time to train a bit?" A cross-country 10k on Saturday suggests hill work, and what else suggests hill work than notorious Leland St? And somehow there's a never-explored neighborhood corner of Chevy Chase to loop through, on the way to pick up gyros for Thursday afternoon dinner. Lawn ornaments and early Halloween decorations abound.

(trackfile)

- Sunday, October 31, 2021 at 05:38:07 (EDT)


2021-09-29 - Mass Shooting Memorial

~3.2 mi @ ~16.3 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/mass-shooting-penants_Silver-Spring_2021-09-29.jpg"23 Dead, 27 Wounded - 7 Killed, 3 Injured - 12 Killed, 70 Injured - 10 Dead, 12 Injured ..." New pennants for mass shootings join the Black Lives Matter flags in the median of Columbia Blvd. A brisk evening walk fetches Hunan City carry-out home for Wednesday's birthday dinner.

(trackfile)

- Friday, October 29, 2021 at 07:20:10 (EDT)


2021-09-28 - Coronation Walk

~2 mi @ ~14.4 min/mi

"A royal neighborhood!" Olney street names include Queen Mary, King William, and Princess Ann. No wonder the dentist prescribes a new Crown for 🤖 on Tuesday afternoon! Sprints between decorated mailboxes help pull the pace down.

(trackfile)

- Thursday, October 28, 2021 at 06:12:21 (EDT)


2021-09-27 - Metropolitan Branch Dermo

~4mi @ ~18 min/ mi

"Here Kitty-kitty-kitty!" On the Metropolitan Branch Trail a black cat dashes away holding a limp mouse in her mouth – apparently she doesn't want to share! Bright wall art decorates the border of the Metro Red Line and the Amtrak right-of-way. Monday's dermatology appointment provides liquid nitrogen on the forehead (actinic keratosis) and a bonus 'flu shot.

(trackfile + trackfile + trackfile)

- Wednesday, October 27, 2021 at 05:48:30 (EDT)


2021-09-26 - Garrett Park Muff

~3.9 mi @ ~21.1 min/mi

"It was my grandmother's muff – and it's a bit dodgy!" says the nice British lady whose house is for sale. A sign by the street says "Free Stuff on Porch", and of course somebody has to go check it out. A half-marathon race blocks many streets, so 🧸 & 🔥 & 🥃 & 🤖 commence their Sunday morning walkabout a wee bit late. A new cut-through connects Keswick and Weymouth Sts.http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/Garrett-Park_grandmother-muff_2021-09-26.jpg

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, October 26, 2021 at 06:25:41 (EDT)


LOOPY - From At Risk to Thriving

http://zhurnaly.com/images/LOOPY/LOOPY_from-At-Risk-to-Thriving.pngHow can a child (or anyone else!) move from deep poverty toward a happy, productive life? A thoughtful talk at the October 2021 "Black Heroes of Mathematics" conference by Maurine Atieno Songa suggests factors that can work together to catalyze success:
      • identifiable heroes
      • dreams beyond one's current surroundings
      • financial resources
      • encouragement
      • long-term career vision

Ms Songa went from a rural village in Keyna to her current place as a PhD student of Category Theory at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. She credits a combination of these forces.

How to improve the odds for others to do likewise?

(sketch thanks to LOOPY2, an ultralight tool for systems thinking ©2021 MITRE Corporation ...)

- Monday, October 25, 2021 at 06:43:11 (EDT)


2021-09-25 - Milking Stations

~8.3 mi @ ~21 min/mi

http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/Milking-Station_Glen-Haven-Park_2021-09-25a.jpg"They're milking stations!" Farm-bred 🔥 identifies mysterious iron artifacts that 🤖 discovers on a narrow path through the woods to Glen Haven Neighborhood Park, between McMahon Road and Windham Lane.
Perhaps the structures are remnants of a barn? Concrete slabs are covered with graffiti. 🧸 tells of the Montana Marathon and Stella's Bakery with its legendary cinnamon rolls.http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/Milking-Station_Glen-Haven-Park_2021-09-25b.jpg

(trackfile)

- Sunday, October 24, 2021 at 07:19:05 (EDT)


2021-09-24 - Grateful, Thankful, Blessed

~1.6 mi @ ~23 min/mi

"You have time to get coffee!" the dentist's aide promises. That doesn't allow for Friday morning rush hour lines at the Olney Starbucks, or for getting lost, climbing through fence rails to escape a dead-end, and pausing for pics. No worries though – as a painted mailbox promises, "Grateful, Thankful, Blessed!" The Metrobus homeward is empty.

(trackfile)

- Saturday, October 23, 2021 at 07:40:32 (EDT)


2021-09-23 - Falafel Run

~2.9 mi @ ~16.1 min/mi

"We close in 20 minutes!" warns the voice on the phone from Goldberg's New York Bagels.

"I'll be there in 10!" promises 🤖, on a Thursday afternoon mission to get falafel wraps for a late lunch. Run the downhills, speed-walk the climbs, and make it on time! Three little birds perch in a front yard.

(trackfile)

- Friday, October 22, 2021 at 05:56:46 (EDT)


Metacognitive Reading

Thomas Oppong's essay "How to Use Metacognition Skills to Remember 90% of What You Read" (subtitled "Reading is not a race – make time to learn, recall and think") offers a range of good suggestions for awareness and improvement of one's reading. He quotes:

Oppong observes that deep readers often:

His concluding recommendations: "Slow down. Think about the ideas. Be analytical. And remember to summarise in your own words. Start every book with a goal. Some books are not meant to be read faster. Choose your reading style wisely."

(and contrariwise, as Owen Webster said in his wonderfully metacognitive 1965 book Read Well and Remember, sometimes it's best to consciously speed up, then reread – or as Boswell described Samuel Johnson as doing, scan and skim without guilt! – cf. Read Well and Remember (2002-07-31), Read Through (2003-02-16), Ralph Waldo Emerson (2003-08-05), ...)

- Thursday, October 21, 2021 at 06:46:51 (EDT)


2021-09-20 - Bananas and Chocolate

~2.2 mi @ ~20 min/mi

"Whole Wheat EVERYTHING!" Afternoon selection at the bagel bakery is limited, yet somehow perfect. Cover-for-Action on Monday's ramble is a falafel wrap fetch. A quick side trip to the grocery store finds bananas and chocolate. All Food Groups are covered!

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, October 20, 2021 at 06:29:35 (EDT)


2021-09-19 - With the Tide

~2.4 mi @ ~18.3 min/mi

"Out with the ebb tide, on some farther quest." A grave marker quotes Edith Wharton's poem "With the Tide", written the day after Theodore Roosevelt's death. It's a celebration of friendship and duty, adventure and hope, life and love – a thoughtful gift at the local cemetery, a mindful surprise on the way to pick up Chinese carry-out for a late lunch!

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at 06:13:20 (EDT)


2021-09-18 - Submarine

~2.9 mi @ ~14.5 min/mi

"Let's try a Chicken Parm Sub!" The direct route is to Pacci's Trattoria is only a quarter mile, so take the long way to earn (some of) the calories. Gates and pool are closed at the local swim club, and paths through the woods are overgrown. Sporadic semi-sprints pull the pace down to sub-15 min/mi and make up for food delays. Forest Glen "Castle" looms nearby.

(trackfile)

- Monday, October 18, 2021 at 06:08:42 (EDT)


2021-09-17 - Open Mind

~3.2 mi @ ~16 min/mi

"What if there's something you haven't learned that could change everything?" asks a mindfulness bulletin board near the meditative labyrinth. What a perfect question! Other postings counsel Silence, Hope, Appreciation, Discovery, and Care. Friday afternoon's taco trek sees wee bits of all those, along with Kensington Bad Dad Joke Day #517: "When I was at the beach I saw a big Seagull – maybe a D-gull, but not big enough to be an Eagle."

(trackfile)

- Sunday, October 17, 2021 at 05:20:56 (EDT)


2021-09-15 - Crosby Place

~2.6 mi @ ~19.6 min/mi

"END" says the sign at the end of Crosby Place, a mystery street with hypermodern houses on one side and thickets of impenetrable vines on the other. A tributary of Forest Glen Creek stops at a barrier of ragged brush. No new ways through today!

(trackfile)

- Friday, October 15, 2021 at 05:57:49 (EDT)


Peter Schmidt

Peter Schmidt (1931-1980) was an artist and art teacher who worked with musician Brian Eno. From Eno's "Homage to the Missing Collaborator" (1987):

"... he was remarkably free of envy. His work was very much a personal inquiry, a continuous questioning of deeper and deeper assumptions, a delight in finding himself in new territory without answers, and thus innocent. We are always innocent, unless, from laziness or for convenience, we decide to overlook the novelty of the moment, this particular now. It seemed to me that Peter was more capable than anybody else I have ever known of following that understanding through in his actions. He was always alert to those little byways of thought that might open out onto whole new vistas, and he followed them with a quiet kind of courage ..."

"... He wrote to me once, 'In a roomful of shouting people, the one who whispers becomes interesting.' ..."

"... his work is full of seeds, any one of which could form the basis of a healthy artistic career (and many of which probably have). ... To follow the threads that are woven through his work, to watch the way that they cross and mesh with new threads and with older ones picked up again is to see a graceful and brilliant dance in motion. That this same pace and brilliance characterized his everyday life came, at first, as something of a surprise. He never raised his voice. ..."

And another Brian Eno comment (from "A Year With Swollen Appendices", 1996):

"... My friend Peter Schmidt used to talk about 'not doing the things that nobody had ever thought of not doing', which is an inverse process – where you leave out an assumption that everybody has always made and see what happens ..."

Zen thoughts on the value of nothing and noting and not and now!

(cf http://www.peterschmidtweb.com/, and No Beginning, No End (2013-03-24), Charlotte Joko Beck (2014-08-18), No-Self (2014-12-25), Holding Space (2016-07-22), Naked Truth (2017-06-26), No Separation (2017-08-03), Nothing, Sacred (2018-06-07), ...)

- Thursday, October 14, 2021 at 06:12:35 (EDT)


2021-09-14 - New Old Motor

~2.2 mi @ ~19.8 min/mi

"Come see your car without an engine!" invites the mechanic, midway through a major operation. Tuesday afternoon revisits wooded trails leading to Rock Creek, narrow pathways between trees and ivy. A garden gnome bears a striking resemblance to somebody. "I'm hiding in the bushes!"

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, October 13, 2021 at 06:54:36 (EDT)


Mantra - Think Small

Think small and
big things happen!

(... said baseball player Chris Taylor of the Los Angeles Dodgers, after his two-run homer ended a crucial playoff game on 6 Oct 2021, as quoted in "The Dodgers beat the Cardinals in walk-off fashion" by Benjamin Hoffman, New York Times; cf Small Ideas (2005-12-12), Mantra - Relax - Slow Down - Breathe (2016-07-10), ...)

- Tuesday, October 12, 2021 at 05:54:39 (EDT)


2021-09-13 - Kensington Errands

~3.5 mi @ ~22 min/mi

"Make Way for Wire-frame Ducklings!" Fall flowers flourish at the Mormon Temple, and sidewalk art decorates downtown Kensington. Point-to-point Monday morning errantry visits the Post Office, picks up a prescription, and snags the weekly CSA bag o' veggies from the Greek bakery, plus a fruity bonus of dried apricots. Then a bus arrives for the quick ride home!

(trackfile)

- Monday, October 11, 2021 at 06:55:50 (EDT)


LOOPY - Problem Solving

http://zhurnaly.com/images/LOOPY/LOOPY_Problem-Solving-Process_2021-10-10.pngClassical problem-solving is described as a one-dimensional flow: QuestionDataHypothesesResearchAnalysisPublication.

But in reality, to produce data-driven model-based decision-relevant insights requires a flock of feedback loops, some of which take significant time and effort. Key Questions need to be developed in consultation with Subject-Matter Experts and with Concerned Customers. Data Collection and Hypothesis Generation are tightly coupled to Modeling and Analysis. Results must be conveyed to End Users who likely will ask new Questions. And ...

(cf Insight Modeling (2019-12-31), LOOPY - Knowledge Organization (2021-09-21), LOOPY - Model Validation (2021-09-24), ...; sketch thanks to LOOPY2, an ultralight tool for systems thinking ©2021 MITRE Corporation ...)

- Sunday, October 10, 2021 at 13:17:26 (EDT)


2021-09-11 - Deli and Carry-out

~5.3 mi @ ~21 min/mi & ~1.7 mi @ ~25 min/mi

"Cookie?" - "Coffee?" - "Hamantashen?" Bidding escalates as 🐻y & 🤖 ramble toward the Parkway Deli on a crisp Saturday morning walkabout. "Climb up that scaffolding - it will make a great photo!" - "You first!" And later that same day ...

"Hot and Sour Soup! And add apples and oranges!" A late-afternoon walk to the grocery store for fruit and the carry-out restaurant for Chinese garners a bonus mile of indoor GPS glitches, as well as pink flamingo and flower pics.

(trackfile & trackfile)

- Saturday, October 09, 2021 at 12:34:01 (EDT)


2021-09-09 - Discite Servature

~1.4 mi @ ~18 min/mi

"Discite Servature", motto of the Washington Latin School. It means: "Learn, those who are about to serve" – a noble sentiment for a bumper sticker! Thursday's late lunch walkabout arrives at Pacci's Trattoria just in time to pick up an "Ultimate Cuban" sandwich before the restaurant closes for an afternoon break. Construction work continues below a narrow bridge. Polychromatic hair is on sale. Not much help for a bald 🤖!

(trackfile)

- Friday, October 08, 2021 at 08:21:33 (EDT)


LOOPY - Funding for Research and Discovery

http://zhurnaly.com/images/LOOPY/LOOPY_research-discovery-weapons-civilian_2021-10-07.pngLarge-scale R&D in recent centuries seems to take two primary paths: "Civilian", driven by profits from corporate investments, and "Weapons", paid for out of governmental taxes. The competition between those two reinforcing loops has shifted from time to time, and varies from field to field of research. Nuclear fission, computational science, biochemistry, precision timekeeping, space, ...

Fascinating!

(sketch thanks to LOOPY2, an ultralight tool for systems thinking ©2021 MITRE Corporation ...)

- Thursday, October 07, 2021 at 07:09:46 (EDT)


2021-09-08 - Ave Maria, Gratia Plena

~1.2 mi @ ~20 min/mi

"People are dying to get in!" says 🐻y, on a path by the neighborhood cemetery during a Wednesday evening walkabout. Ditto the competition is fierce just to enter the Big Sur International Marathon, and without winning the drawing for a slot one might pay double via donation. Time to buy lottery tickets to pay for the privilege? "Ave Maria, gratia plena," remind signs at the Virgin Mary's statue nearby.

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, October 06, 2021 at 06:39:40 (EDT)


2021-09-07 - Asian Dinner

~2.3 mi @ ~20 min/mi

"🦀 🥦 Crab Rangoon & Beef with Broccoli!" GPS glitches scribble noise onto the trackfile while underground at the Metro pedestrian tunnel and waiting for carry-out inside Hunan City. Wind chimes and pendant artworks dangle and sway from a tree at the local cemetery.

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, October 06, 2021 at 06:31:54 (EDT)


Gospels - Sarah Ruden Translation

The Gospels: a new translation by Sarah Ruden (2021) is dedicated "To the Quakers". The author's Introduction begins with context:

As a Quaker—a member of perhaps the least theological, most practical religious movement in the world—I'm supposed to be open to looking first at a thing in itself, whether it's a head of Swiss chard, money, a gun, a book, a belief, or anything else. As a Quaker translator, I would like to deal with the Gospels more straightforwardly than is customary, to help people respond to the books on their own terms. Yet never before, in nearly forty years of translating, have I found texts so resistant to this purpose.

As in her fascinating translation Confessions: Augustine, Ruden addresses the four books of "Markos, Maththaios, Loukas, and Iōannēs" with a mix of quirkiness and humor, precision and poetry. She offers detailed explanation and justification along with "A Discursive Glossary of Unfamiliar Word Choices in English", and above all strives to follow the earliest and best Greek texts wherever they lead. Extensive footnotes add further context. As she notes in her prefatory remarks:

Sometimes the difference made by the correct translation of a single word can be shattering. In the famous passage in John, Chapter 3, about being "born again" into eternal life, the meanings "again" and "from above" (which here implies "from heaven") are equally valid for the Greek word anōthen. Jesus is teasing the quizzical Nicodemus with a pun, which is itself a lesson. Nicodemus never does understand what Jesus is saying about salvation; nor, apparently, is he meant to; nor, actually, can I. Through the inquirer's obtuseness and Jesus' scolding, the reader also is warned not to construe divine purposes as "Do this, get that"; everyone must simply trust Jesus. This is one place where a single rendering of a word is not adequate to the sense, so I write "born again, taking it straight from the top."

Sarah Ruden follows the truth – logos – as well as she can, wherever it leads her. She fights "... against anachronism, obfuscation, and lethargy, which drain communications of their primordial electricity." The results are impressive: the Gospels escape into new life, sharpen into new focus. As she writes:

In the face of all this, I have done what I can to reconstitute the Gospels as books—to be read, understood, interrogated, enjoyed, and debated as they are. Fundamentally, I make for this translation the plea I have made for all my others: I love significant writing, and I try to love it for the best, which means calling every word as I see it, after the requisite research. How can anyone claim to love something—be it a book, a child, a country, a faith, or anything else important—that in its essence relies on her honesty, and yet try to keep that thing outside the reach of reality? This is particularly important for translating scripture. Reality is what God is, if there is a God.

(cf Bearing Witness (2002-01-17), Confessions of Augustine - Sarah Ruden Translation (2021-09-23), ...)

- Tuesday, October 05, 2021 at 05:57:44 (EDT)


2021-09-06 - Labor Day Pi

~3.6 mi @ ~14 min/mi

"The guy in front is much tastier – you should go for him!" 🤖 advises a barking dog, as 🐻y dashes ahead on the path. A holiday Monday rendezvous leads to multiple cut-throughs on a northerly loop. Q-Tips litter the street: "Did you know you can compute the value of π by counting how many land on a crack?" A "Joseph's Coat Climber" rose blooms by the front door.

(trackfile)

- Sunday, October 03, 2021 at 05:13:31 (EDT)


2021-09-05 - Train Spotting

~4.0 mi @ ~15 min/mi

"Don't lie down on the tracks – it sets a bad example for little children!" 🤖's classic Utilitarian argument doesn't deter 🐻y, at mile ~9 with 🔥, from posing on the rails. Fortunately no vulnerable observers are present. Sunday morning tourism in Kensington reveals the secret workings of a fire hydrant and maximal coolness of a dinosaur skeleton. Then it's time for pulling up weeds and pulling down vines in the front yard!

(trackfile)

- Friday, October 01, 2021 at 05:53:38 (EDT)


LOOPY - Caregiving vs Caretaking

http://zhurnaly.com/images/LOOPY/LOOPY_caregiving-caretaking_2021-09-30.png"Think about caregiving less as a bundle of services and more as a web of relationships that encourage human flourishing." In The Atlantic Anne-Marie Slaughter and Hilary Cottam describe a "Caregiving Economy" that contrasts with the mostly-paid "Caretaking" system for supporting children, the elderly, and the disabled.

A LOOPY causal flow cartoon illustrates connections among their concepts. It's all about relationships – affection, consideration, and respect – that lead to growing, learning, thriving, and making the best of life. The coaches and guides who help catalyze that journey are special. They need support and solidarity. (And besides building better outcomes, they save the System money!)

Slaughter and Cottam conclude: "Care jobs help humans flourish, and, properly understood and compensated, they can power a growing sector of the economy, strengthen our society, and increase our well-being. Goods are things that people buy and own; services are functions that people pay for. Relationships require two people and a connection between them. We don't really have an economic category for that, but we should."

(sketch thanks to LOOPY2, an ultralight tool for systems thinking ©2021 MITRE Corporation ...)

- Thursday, September 30, 2021 at 07:04:57 (EDT)


Act of Creation

From a Kurt Vonnegut video interview (ca. 2002, part of an ad campaign for TIAA, the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association) by Michael Ward:

Tonight, before you go to sleep, write a six-line poem.
When you have made the poem as perfect as you can,
tear it up and scatter the pieces through widely-separated
trash receptacles – and you will discover
that you got your full reward already,
simply by the act of creating.

(cf In the Palm of Your Hand (2006-09-11), Life Lessons from an Ad Man (2021-01-01), ...)

- Wednesday, September 29, 2021 at 07:32:03 (EDT)


2021-09-04 - Kensington Arts Weekend

~8.2 mi @ ~20 min/mi

"Nominal Aphasia? Or some such term – I forget!" 🤖 leads Saturday's semi-sketchy shamble around a memory-care facility ("Don't go in!") and through the woods while trying to remember 🐻y's daughter's name. 🔥 points out that he left his keys and wallet in her car, which tosses a spanner into his point-to-point plan. (It all turns out ok, thanks to the help of friends!)

"I'm a Guide, not a Coach!" A dawn quest for coffee leads to Chevy Chase and mindful conversation about how to encourage others – and self – to be one's best. Cut-through paths arrive at the Kensington Farmers Market and Arts Weekend, where dozens of painters wield brushes and slap pigment on canvas. "Bad Dad Joke: Day 504" asks "Why are fortune tellers so easy to buy clothes for?" (Answer: "They're all Mediums!")

(trackfile)

- Tuesday, September 28, 2021 at 07:50:28 (EDT)


2021-09-03 - Molang

~6.4 mi @ ~16 min/mi

"I want to be Bob Dylan / Mr Jones wishes he were someone just a little more funky!" Friday morning special-holiday conversation goes maximum meta. "Have you seen Molang?" The animated French TV show for kids is calm and loving – just what we need sometimes in a stressful world. Molang focuses on "... the relationship between an eccentric, joyful, and enthusiastic rabbit, and a shy, discreet, and emotional little chick ..." (cf Wikipedia). Hmmm, not at all like 🤖 & 🔥, eh?

"The Space Force needs new metaphors!" Where are the poems and songs about transfer orbits, gravity assists, or lagrange points? How can smart people create radical collaboration in a new environment? "Graphical Languages for thinking better? What about other senses – touch, taste, scent?" Mind tools need to play their music together as an orchestra, an ecosystem; they must be extensible, responsive, based on solid mathematical-epistemological foundations. And delightful!

"Oh, no – we're trapped!" Beach Drive was wide open at 0645, but gates at both ends of the Connecticut-to-Cedar segment are closed and locked shut a few hours later. The curb is too high to drive over. Ah, a short detour across the grass enables escape. Whew!
http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/Rabbit-reading_cat-fairies_hollow-tree_Kensington_2021-09-03.jpg

(trackfile)

- Monday, September 27, 2021 at 06:08:23 (EDT)


Future of Work

It's all about balance – among meaning, compassion, helping one another flourish, and maybe remembering to cherish oneself as well. "Productivity"? Maybe a bit less. Jonathan Malesic in the New York Times raises important and challenging issues in his essay "The Future of Work Should Mean Working Less". Setting aside debatable-political asides, a key bit:

... those of us fortunate enough to have jobs that consistently provide us with meaning ... [need] ... a reminder that we may not always have that kind of work. Anything from a sudden health issue to the natural effects of aging to changing economic conditions can leave us unemployed. So we should look for purpose beyond our jobs and then fill work in around it. We each have limitless potential, a unique "genius," as Henry David Thoreau called it. ... Pursuing our genius, whether in art or conversation or sparring at a jiujitsu gym, will awaken us to "a higher life than we fell asleep from," Thoreau wrote ...

And among other insightful thoughts:

... Patricia Nordeen would like to teach again one day, but given her health at the moment, full-time work seems out of the question. ... Patricia said that making art is often "meditative" for her. "If I'm trying to draw a plant, I'm really looking at the plant," she said. "I'm noticing all the different shades of color that maybe I wouldn't have noticed if I wasn't drawing it." Her absorption in the task – the feel of the pen on paper – "puts the pain out of focus." ...

and

"... I've had to evaluate my core values," she said, and find a new identity and community without the work she loved. Chronic pain made it hard to write, sometimes even to read. She started drawing, painting and making collages, posting the art on Instagram. She made friends there and began collaborations with them, like a 100-day series of sketchbook pages – abstract watercolors, collages, flower studies – she exchanged with another artist. A project like this allows her to exercise her curiosity. It also "gives me a sense of validation, like I'm part of society," she said. ...

and

... each one of us has dignity whether we work or not. Your job, or lack of one, doesn't define your human worth. ...

and

... The idea that all people have dignity before they ever work, or if they never do, has been central to Catholic social teaching for at least 130 years. In that time, popes have argued that jobs ought to fit the capacities of the people who hold them, not the productivity metrics of their employers. ...

and

... It's true that people often find their jobs meaningful, as Patricia did in her academic career or as I did while working on this essay. ... For too many of us, if we aren't breaking our bodies, then we're drowning in trivial email. This is not the purpose of a human life. ...

and

... Dignity, compassion, leisure: These are pillars of a more humane ethos, one that acknowledges that work is essential to a functioning society but often hinders individual workers' flourishing. This ethos would certainly benefit Patricia Nordeen and might allow students to benefit from her teaching ability. ...

Maybe most important:

Your compassion can evoke mine.

(cf Practical Productivity (2004-01-20), Steady State Economy (2005-06-11), Steadiness of Heart (2011-07-13), Yasutani Roshi (2015-01-28), World as Ocean (2015-03-25), Wings of Acceptance (2015-05-26), Our Job for the Rest of Our Life (2015-07-18), We Are One (2017-07-22), Bob Sutton on Work and Life and Balance (2019-10-30), Chaucer Doth Tweet (2020-05-23), Self-Compassion (2020-06-08), Compassionate Living (2020-08-30), ...)

- Sunday, September 26, 2021 at 07:17:44 (EDT)


2021-09-02 - Dipsacus fullonum

~2.3 mi @ ~17 min/mi

"Wild Teasel!" At the bus stop prickly geometric seed pods of Dipsacus fullonum flourish. Thursday walkabouts include a cubano sandwich pick-up at the local cafe and a dental visit to install a new crown. And why is there a sign "Please Ring Bell" at Amanda the Psychic's door? Doesn't she already know somebody's there?http://zhurnaly.com/images/walk/Dipsacus-fullonum_teasel_2021-09-02.jpg

(trackfile & trackfile & trackfile)

- Saturday, September 25, 2021 at 07:01:57 (EDT)


LOOPY - Model Validation

http://zhurnaly.com/images/LOOPY/LOOPY_Model-Validation-Process_2021-09-23.pngModels represent reality, but simplified to highlight key concepts. How to verify and validate?

Begin with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), people who know something about the issue. SME judgments can define the Domain within which the model is reliable, and can suggest good Test Challenge Questions to ask the model. Combined with past collections of Ground Truth Data, those tests begin the Model Validation process.

And there's more: model results can and should be further evaluated with New Data and in simulation exercises with human players. That's how to develop Credibility and an appropriate amount of Trust in the model results!

(sketch thanks to LOOPY2, an ultralight tool for systems thinking ©2021 MITRE Corporation ...)

- Friday, September 24, 2021 at 06:21:22 (EDT)


Confessions of Augustine - Sarah Ruden Translation

Sarah Ruden's 2017 translation of St Augustine's The Confessions is delightfully colloquial and precise, modern and meticulous. It's a showcase for what she describes as Augustine's paradoxical self-deprecation: "His purpose is always to show human worthlessness extravagantly blessed with gifts from God .... It's necessary, in this schema, for the author to denigrate his own expressive genius even as he parades it, and he makes this reversal many times with considerable wit and charm."

In her Introduction Rudin explains her key linguistic and stylistic decisions, including the word "Master" rather than "Lord" for Dominus, and "Slave" rather than a gentler term for Servus. She notes, "This imagery, with its reminders of American plantation slavery, may be harsh and off-putting, but a translator must govern her distaste and try to make her author's thought and experience as vivid and sympathetic as it plainly was to his contemporaries. Otherwise there can be no limits to the demands of a condescending, manipulative, and anachronistic political correctness." Likewise Rudin notes with honesty:

As a partly folksy, sometimes smirking writer—or just as a man of his time—Augustine sometimes commits himself where his translators have wished he wouldn't, and this has led them to gloss over what he does plainly express. He speaks, for instance, contemptuously of women as women .... And Augustine really does talk about the embarrassment of nocturnal emissions for a man called to celibacy (book 10, chapter 41). He can't have meant his readers in any language to chew a fingernail and ask, "Could he be saying—that?" Yes, he's saying it. But I would have had trouble picking this up from even the best current translations on their own.

Ruden herself is Augustinian in her lithe footnote-asides, with gems such as:

Augustine shines via Ruden's words. Confessions – or more accurately, as she notes, Testimonies – is thoughtful, humorous, and moving in its celebration of God's timelessness and perfection, despite humanity's sinfulness and fallibility. Yes, sometimes it's over-the-top, quibbling, doctrinaire. But overall Augustine's public prayer is a showcase for the Universe's beauty and the eternal truth of love.

(cf Bearing Witness (2002-01-17), Unsystematic Theology (2002-03-15), Kenosis (2008-09-21), O (2012-12-24), Help, Thanks, Wow (2013-02-25), ...)

- Thursday, September 23, 2021 at 07:23:04 (EDT)


2021-09-01 - Rastaman

~2.7 mi @ ~16 min/mi

"Good job, Rasta!" An elderly gentleman with a curly white beard salutes another with a scraggly straight beard as they meet in an alley. Remnants of Hurricane Ida threaten the region on a humid Wednesday noon. Flower vases by the lovely Virgin Mary statue have blown over and get a bit of tidying up. A food truck ("THE SPOT – Wings – 21 flavors") features graffitish art.

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, September 22, 2021 at 06:29:21 (EDT)


2021-08-31 - Catwalk

~2.7 mi @ ~17 min/mi

"I trained her to follow me – it's a COVID trick!" says the lady out walking her cute cat. Taco Tuesday features a point-to-point trek to JavaNation where carnitas is on the menu. The #5 Ride-On bus is on time for the trip home. An almost-spherical bunny sculpture watches over a garden; Beltway traffic is at a near standstill after an overturned tractor-trailer mishap.

(trackfile)

- Wednesday, September 22, 2021 at 06:24:52 (EDT)


LOOPY - Knowledge Organization

http://zhurnaly.com/images/LOOPY/Knowledge-Organization_customers-questions-people-data-tools_2021-09-21.png

How does a consultancy-knowledge-expert-advice organization work? Well, it has to have Customers, and those Customers have to have important unanswered Questions and Needs. To meet Customer requirements demands People, whose special superpowers involve good thinking – applying appropriate Tools and methods to relevant Data, thereby producing valuable Answers and Advice.

Those key elements form the central positive-feedback loop that keeps a learning organization healthy in the long term.

(causal cartoon-sketch thanks to LOOPY2, an ultralight tool for systems thinking ©2021 MITRE Corporation; cf Bossy Questions (2001-04-06), Buckman Mantras (2001-04-13), Discussion and Dialogue (2006-01-07), Learningful Life (2021-07-02), ...)

- Tuesday, September 21, 2021 at 07:10:37 (EDT)


2021-08-29 - Closure

~4.3 mi @ ~15 min/mi

"Just seeking Closure!" says 🐻y during a super-humid 16 mile loop that generates the trackfile he craves. Happy 🔥 and he accept Gatorade from a mobile Aid Station between their miles 12 and 14, but decline a butter-walnut cookie or a well-aged chocolate energy gel found on the ground. The new bridge over Silver Creek has a 10 Ton weight limit; 🤖 avoids testing it. He meets VHTRC trail comrade John Fitz finishing up a Sunday long run.

(trackfile)

- Monday, September 20, 2021 at 05:35:10 (EDT)


LOOPY - Arms Race

http://zhurnaly.com/images/LOOPY/LOOPY_Arms-Race_Escalation_2021-09-17.jpg

In an "Escalation" situation (like the US-USSR nuclear arms race of the 1940s-1980s) a tiny initial difference grows exponentially. Each of the actors in this LOOPY sketch adds to its weapons stockpile at a rate governed by its (delayed!) perception of the other's stockpile size. The result is a stair-step climb toward infinity.

What can stop this dash to destruction? One way is to change the system's structure – breaking the positive feedback loop via arms-control treaties, mutual inspection, etc. Other ways include economic ruin, or thermonuclear war ...

(causal cartoon thanks to LOOPY2, an ultralight tool for systems thinking ©2021 MITRE Corporation ...)

- Sunday, September 19, 2021 at 07:20:43 (EDT)


Practice of Contentment

In A Morning Cup of Yoga, Jane Goad Trechsel offers gentle thoughts on nonattachment, letting-go of expectations. In the section "Practice of Contentment (Santosa)" she writes:

A beautiful niyama to work with is the practice of contentment, or santosa. In this practice, we decide that in this very moment we will be contented, no matter what storms are threatening. The fact is, there are always storms. If we wait for things to become as we demand them to be in order to be contented, we will always be waiting. Contentment can be enjoyed in small tastes. On the worst of days, it's possible to pause and look at the world with unclouded eyes for a moment, see the sky, hear a bird, see a child's face and say, "For this tiny moment, I choose to be contented."

Begin to look for those moments. When you crawl into your bed at night, let your body relax. Let go of the concerns of your day. Stop trying to control events and people around you, and, as the Beatles said, "Let It Be." When we quit fighting and resisting, contentment arises naturally.

(cf This Is It (2008-11-14), No Method (2010-01-21), Without Effort, Analysis, or Expectation (2010-08-04), Groundhog Day (2013-06-19), Let Go (2013-10-18), Aspiration, not Expectation (2014-12-12), Aspire without Attachment (2015-12-28), Morning Cup of Yoga (2021-07-17), Power of Intention (2021-07-24), ...)

- Saturday, September 18, 2021 at 06:59:26 (EDT)


2021-08-28 - Lost Fiver

~8.5 mi @ ~19 min/mi

"And at least it wasn't a $20 bill!" Pollyanna-bot 🤖 finds a bright side to losing $5 from a too-shallow pocket in the women's shorts he bought half-price some years ago. (And at least it wasn't a cellphone falling out of the pocket in a porta-john, as happened at 2019-09-29 - Clarence DeMar Marathon, Keene NH – don't even think about that!) 🔥 paces a fast lap (2:02) around the local high school track. 🐻y joins in retracing the route during a fruitless search for the missing fiver.

"And behind Door #3?" The quest for coffee leads past a COVID vaccination/test site. At sunrise two bucks, antlers still velvet, pose in a front yard near the Capitol Beltway. Trail talk includes the Grand Prismatic Spring at Yellowstone National Park and "Openness" as the key psychological trait for good thinking.

(trackfile)

- Friday, September 17, 2021 at 05:55:25 (EDT)


2021-08-27 - Lunch via the Woods

~2.0 mi @ ~21 min/mi

"Not ALL who wander are lost – but SOME are!" A paved path through the woods above Rock Creek leads to a well-trod dirt trail that branches onto a deer track that turns into thickets of brush. Back yard fences block the way to Forest Glen Park streets. Eventually, though, scramble onto Woodstock Ave after scrambling over-and-under deadfalls and shaking off a minor fall.

"Thank you, but calling it 'running' is an exaggeration!" A sweaty Thursday afternoon jogger dismisses a compliment as he crests the steep Forsythe Ave hill. At Pacci's Trattoria a carry-out Cubano sandwich is ready for pick-up.

(trackfile)

- Friday, September 17, 2021 at 05:48:53 (EDT)



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