Notes for Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Some overlap in Scott Young’s reading list with some of my most important reads. My ODB book features James and Lakoff pretty prominently as writers who shaped my approach here. In fact, the book that Scott mentions, Metaphors We Live By by Lakoff was the first of his I read and made the first connection for me between the neural maps of the brain and the semantic versions that seem abstract but are always rooted in the physical world. Our world of words and ideas are metaphors for concrete reality since that reality is all our brain was ever built to deal with. We’ve added this semantic layer of meaning on top, much like an augmented reality. I see a bit of shiny metal but think and associate spoon. And soup. And ice cream. It was Where Mathematics Comes From: How the Embodied Mind Brings Mathematics into Being which Lakoff wrote with Nunez that really cemented for me this idea that our ideas are all based in metaphors drawn from the physical world.

I’ve stopped bothering with dropping Amazon affiliate links when I discuss books. I’ve never seen enough monetary return to go through the trouble of looking up the link at Amazon. Although it is a nice affordance for a reader who’s thinking about buying the book.

One of my new habits has been to download Kindle samples of interesting books and read the first couple of chapters. Often enough to get the idea with minimal commitment.

Speaking of Amazon, I really think they are hurting themselves with this emphasis on sponsored ads at the top of and throughout organic searches. I know a few people who don’t always realize that many or most of the results are not actually what they searched for. And often are overpriced copies or imitations of the object being sought. Twitter too is polluting my timeline with more and more sponsored, page filling ads. It used to be the occasional click bait. Now its straight ads and topic suggestions. Instagram still seems like a nice place to visit.

An endorsement goes out to Pen Tips from Groningen in the Netherlands. These are conical, silicon tips that fit on the end of the hard plastic of the Apple Pencil. I loved the idea of the Pencil with the iPad, but hate the slippery, bouncy feel of plastic on glass. And I can’t degrade the iPad screen with one of the matte protectors that is said to be a – feel. These Pen Tips provide enough cushion and friction to make using the Pencil practical for me. It’s not the tactile spring of a fountain pen on good paper, but then I would expect these digital tools to every really feel like that.

I actually spent a week or so in Groningen many years ago conducting a clinical trial. The highlight was a day trip to Schiermonnikoog National Park, one of the barrier islands in the North Sea. It’s is a quick ferry ride from the mainland and then one can only bicycle to get around the island. The images were shot with my first DSLR, the Olympus E1.

Another endorsement goes to Apple Fitness. I’ve wound down my summer cycling activity with 3 big rides over the last month and am now it what they like to call “Transition”, being off the bike and doing some cross training. So finally I’ve tried Apples workouts, so far sticking to Pilates, Strength Training and Treadmill. Actually I did try one Yoga workout. These workouts are not dumbed down and by no means easy. They let you set your own intensity, say by picking your own dumbbell weights. They are fast an efficient, going from exercise to exercise without rest over 10 to 30 minutes. You get instruction- verbal and visual plus get to work out at home in a very short period of time. I will be incorporating some of this year round.

While I’m writing here, I make slow halting progress on the book manuscript. I’ve made an editing run through the first three chapters, but its harder to do in short chunks compared to getting out that first full draft. I’m hopeful that winter will bring some time to work on it, but my work life has been busy with taking care of family and cycling being the two big priorities.

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