The Logical Philosopher

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Go Hold Yourself

"Can I put you on hold again?"

"What if I say no?" I asked.


"Because I've been put on hold, what, six times now? It's 46 minutes into this call and you yet to tell me you can email, fax or send by pigeon carrier a copy of the repair estimate that the previous support person told me you would do."

"You haven't been put on hold six times sir."

"Yes," I sighed, "You are right. It's been more like eight or ten once you count the other person that transferred me to you!"

After spending 58 minutes on the phone to the support line, I still am no closer to getting the piece of warranty paper I need to fix my iPod. Well, that's not totally true. I now have a ticket number for next time I call. Lucky me.

I found it ironic that in that wasted hour I could have worked and billed enough time to get a new one. Sometimes sticking to your principles costs more than just paying something you shouldn't have to pay for in the first place.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Monkey Dust - The Cyclists

"We are the cyclists. The intermediate stage between humans and pure energy"

Ironically, I can relate to it all. Even riding on the sidewalk and squishing the dog. Too funny.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Logical Philosopher and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day

I apologize for not posting this week but I've had a Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Week.

Some highlights:

knocked over a few glasses while cleaning the kitchen table, shattering them into pieces. Unfortunately at least one was still full of my spouses wine. It was red wine. She was not impressed.

Tuesday: Got to work and was so incoherent and spaced out, was sent home for the day. "Geeze LP, you look like you just got to work from being out on a bender." The tip-off may have been that I was wearing my sunglasses inside my office, with all the lights off - or maybe it was when I walked into a wall, missing the doorway to the conference room. For the record my 'bender' had consisted of me getting less than 9 hours sleep. Imagine that.

Wednesday: I accidentally backed over the front wheel of my bike because I forgot I put it there. The not so funny part is the time between me putting my wheel down and getting into the car to back it up was under 60 seconds. Fortunately it wasn't my sexy HED wheels, but I still bent the rim and it needs fixed before I can ride again.

Thursday: Forgot I had a dentist appointment for a filling, so had to cut out of work in the morning (after already missing a day). After finally getting to work at 10:30am, I had a frozen face until 3pm. I think I was drooling in my morning meetings, but at least nobody sent me home.

Friday: I get home from work to find I am out of Coke.

AggHHH!!! I want to move to Australia.

I can't wait until my coordination and brain are fully functioning again. At the very least it will cut down on the "walking into walls at work", which probably would have hurt had I been more coherent that morning.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Double entendre

"My first time in 2 years to get some HED and WHAM! I blew my wad before I even got to take her out for a spin."

"No way! Dude, you've been talking about running those sleek set of rims under your frame forever! What happened?"

"Yesterday I didn't use rim tape for protection and WHOOSH! blew my wad all over the room. But once blown, I learned my lesson pretty quickly so last night I slapped some new latex in them and KABOOM - still as hard as a rock today." Then I broke out into a I'm-going-for-a-bike-ride-tomorrow-no-matter-what kind of smile. "Life is good."

He nodded his head in agreement, and chipped in one final piece of advice. "Just make sure to use lots of lube if you blow out again. You know, to make it easier to get it on next time."

Logical Philosopher gets and his pre Ironman HEDI've had my HED's sitting in the same unopened box they were shipped in, almost two years ago. I ordered them in preparation for Ironman Canada, but in the few days before they arrived a big black SUV decided to made sure I wouldn't be racing - let alone riding - that year.

However, with the consistent appearance of sunny skies this month I broke the seal on the box that my HED wheelset arrived in so long ago. Not only was I greeted by the smell of freshly weaved carbon fiber, but it made my bike look fast. Well, at least when I'm standing beside it they give the illusion of me going fast on them. But not tomorrow. For tomorrow I ride. Fast or slow, I don't really care, because I've been saving up my energy all week just to be able to go out for an hour workout.

While I will be all twinkied out to watch the local races this weekend, hopefully next year I will be well enough to race. Until then I will be the triathlete with the sexiest wheelset not racing anywhere fast this weekend. Remember to say 'hi' when you pass me on the Road to the Middle of Nowhere.

I hope I at least drop one person, even if it is an old lady wearing her helmet on backwards.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

What's new at Logical Philosopher

I want to be your new daily vice.
I want you to check here before, and after, you check your facebook newsfeed while you are still at work.

Why? Over the past few years there has been quite a few times where I actually came to the end of the Internet. Really. At first I was Fazed. Then Digg and Reddit had given their all - and there were no new posts to see. And you know what? When I do emerge from being plugged in to the world's newsfeeds, I realize that not everyone has the passion to randomly digg like I do.
Last month I remember being asked about fixing an iPod battery for someone. "There's a guy in Montreal that will do it via mail order" I told him. "How can you possibly know that?" was the stunned reply. "I read the Internet last week. All of it."
So, in keeping with my maven like tendencies of being a web 2.0 based Renaissance Man, I've updated my template to include my Daily Fresh Links (on your left). Based on many categories, there will always be one interesting article or link to read.

Michael at Google Video of the Day said it best when he started in 2005:

Check here before you check your email at work. Share these delightful gems of idiocy, cuteness, and weirdness with your coworkers. Make it a habit, because habits are hard to break, and I want your ass coming back here every single day.
In the mean time I'll still be tweaking the layout & colors this week, but if you have any suggestions to make it flow better, or otherwise, let me know!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Watching pornography and sleeping in will make you live longer

Fan Tan Alley, Chinatown
I walked through Chinatown this morning on my way to work – but for all I knew the apocalypse could have happened this morning without me knowing. Not a soul was present, not even behind the boarded shutters and gates. That was a surprise, particularly considering the time: 8:45 in the morning.

I usually take a stroll through Chinatown in the afternoon when I am in the area. It really is a sensory buffet, if one so chooses to watch and listen. Colorful arrangements of foreign fruit and vegetables in their waxen boxes, ready for testing by curious cooks. Banter of old men, discussing the latest sports event, their conversations moving in and out of English and Mandarin. Sweet smells of dumplings and Noodle Boxes, wafting out of the back alley kitchens. Without fail I always stopped for a batch of freshly baked fortune cookies. But not today.

Instead I was greeted by barren stalls, the wind gently pushing dried scraps of yesterdays produce down Fan Tan alleyway. Traffic was sparse too. No delivery trucks double parking and unloading more fresh wares, their engines still rumbling in case the Parking Attendant headed their way.

As I stood in the middle street and looked around I had an epiphany. Now I know why so many Chinese shop owners lived so long. It was just before 9 am and they were still at home, probably in bed. I was done my first meeting of the day and on my way to the second.

Is there a causal relationship of work philosophy of a culture and ones longevity?

Now, for those regular readers you know my 90 year old chinese neighbor seems to like to watch porn, occasionally forgetting to close his blinds. The gross factor notwithstanding, I pose another thought.
Is their a causal relationship of pornography viewing and ones longevity?

Putting the relationships together we get:
If you stay in bed at night and watch pornography, and you sleep in instead of going to work in the morning, will you live even longer?

Although I’m sure it would be a fascinating subject of the Work Life Balance many of us hear so much about, my wife would not be as impressed if I immersed myself in this research topic.

So for now if anyone wants to embark on research, let us know how it turns out.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Is the Dunbar Theory applicable in a Web 2.0 Society?

The Long tail of Social Networking and the Dunbar Theory, with the Logical Philosopher and Gaping Void So what is the true purpose of social networking? Apart from keeping the labor lawyers busy with defending slanderous and malicious wall-to-wall writings, it also serves as a portal to reconnect with old friends, and meet new ones. Or does it? It actually changes our neocortical processing capacity, seen in our ability to connect with a finite amount of people at within the neocortex level in our brain – something that has been limited since the Neolithic age.

That poses an interesting social question: Can Web 2.0 undo 6000 years of evolved social limits?

It worries me that several of my last posts have been about Facebook. Yes, a time waster for all of us, but for me it provides a mark of how much more I am online, as compared to out people watching downtown for great blogging stories.

I find it funny that people on my list that I work with don't acknowledge the existence of it while at work. It's like "What happens in facebook, stays in facebook." I am sure that will all go to hell when something really good gets posted on facebook.

On the topic of reconnecting with old friends, someone said it best to me when they said "I haven't heard from these people for 10 years - why seek me out now, other than to boost their friends count?" As such, I was discussing the philosophy of facebook with Sandritia last weekend, and we came to an interesting point in our analysis.

Social Networking really provides three types of friendships:

1) A pure virtual friendship - no maintenance required, apart from the occasional poke. It is available 24/7 and can reach all corners of the networked globe, connecting individuals with the same obscure interests. Like any digital community it gives an arms-length form of a relationship, allowing us to morph in and out of a digital character, whether it be a true mirror of ourselves, or a made up avatar.

2) A reconnection of friendships – old acquaintances that you just lost touch with, but if you knew where they were, or what they were doing you would be sure to drop in and visit when you were in their part of town. But like any double edged sword this also includes acquaintances that you were glad to lose touch with.

3) New analog friendships, but with the social networking add-on. Instead of meeting somebody once at a social gathering, you now have the ability to keep tabs on what they are doing until you meet at another, real world, social gathering. Effectively accelerating the “getting to know you” from three or four meetings over a few weeks (or months) to twenty or so digital updates within a few days.

In reality we can only genuinely keep up with so many friends. Speaking from a sociologist’s point of view, there is an actual theoretical numerical limit to which we can reach where we begin to lose track of the social relationships with each person, and how they relate to everyone else we know. Highlighted in Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point, this theory is seen as one of the central pillars of the Power of Context: The Dunbar Principle.

Dunbar’s research was measuring the “cognitive limit to the number of individuals with whom any one person can maintain stable relationships.” The research looked at a variety of settlements over centuries of social data: Hutterite settlements, army sizes in both current state and as far back as Roman times, and even settlements reaching back to Neolithic farming villages. His conclusion was a human group size of no more than 150 people.

Facebook and Myspace: Social Networking and the Dunbar Theory with the Logical Philosopher Ten years ago I would have suggested that most of us would be hard pressed to name 150 close social friends. In reality work colleagues, relatives and family took up a good portion, with the remainder being our social friends. But now? I’m not so confident of my suggestion. In the past year there has been a boom of social networking sites: 43 Things, Facebook, Myspace, Linked-in, Bebo, Friendster, Hi5, Livespace, etc… Not only do these sites allow us to keep track of our current friends and acquaintances, but more importantly they allow us to retain a connection to those we would have lost touch with when we moved on from a job, a school or a city.

Now, although I’m going to mention the word “statistical distribution”, trust me, this is where it gets interesting.

Long tail economics refers to the statistical distribution of high-amplitude populations followed by a tail of low-amplitude populations. It provides interesting model to look at social networking through – we now have a long tail of friends. They are no longer gone, but only a few Google clicks away of being found.

Mixing in the long tail economics with social networking it begs the question: Can Web 2.0 change the social dynamics of our social contacts enough to significantly change the way Dunbar’s Theory can be approached?

Yes – and it is already happening. It is like we all just got an expansion card for our neocortex, complements of the computer. And if you lose your card, Google will be there to archive it for you. Like it or not, I think we all just took one large step towards living in the Matrix.

If you are a Sociologist and want to explore this more, give me an email. I think we have the makings of a good research article here.