Category Archives: Inquiry

On Greeting

I have a vague feeling of déjà vu that I’ve written this post already, but the subject bears repeating.

I’m working with a few preconditions of human nature with one of them being that humans like to see that they have some kind of effect on and in the world that they live in. This explains the subtle enjoyment one gets from cracking the ice of small ponds on a cold morning or why some people build models or any of the huge number of human endeavours that exhibit this idea.

Being social creatures that we are, we also like to see that we have an effect on other humans. We like to be acknowledged by them and recognized by them. I honestly think that you could drive anyone mad by just everybody not paying any attention to him/her or engaging in any interaction with them apart from the smallest possible amount. For example, if you tried to talk to people at work, they wouldn’t respond with anything meaningful, just grunts or shrugs. No matter what you said. Any questions at the supermarket would be met with I-don’t-know’s and I-guesses.

It is exactly because of this need for recognition that makes people greet each other. It is the assumption that if I acknowledge you, you will acknowledge me in turn. It is because of this fundamental link with basic human needs and traits that makes greeting an activity in need of as little as possible of reasons. Greeting should be acceptable in any situation. You should never have to explain why you greeted someone.

For any number of reasons, listed in this post or otherwise, I genuinely think that the world would be a bit better place if people greeted each other more often.

Saving the God-Damn Planet

Just over a week ago some kind soul relieved me from the pain of owning a bicyclelamp. Forgetting the effect this incident have had on my attitude toward my fellow creatures, I have been involved with the process of choosing what kind of light-inducing solution will I mount to my bicycle from now on.

I have considered a hub-dynamo, which would provide light whenever I’m in motion, without having to worry about changing batteries or the lamp getting stolen. Stealing would have to include the whole front wheel in that case. Only thing that I’ve wondered is that why there aren’t any LED -based solution with hub-dynamos? Ok, not a bad solution, a bit expensive (including not just the lamp and dynamo but the wheel as well), but probably well-worth its prize in the future.

Petzl is somewhat legendary spelunker and famous for head-mounted lamps carrying his name. One sly sales-man introduced me to this choice, making the case for a model that has a retractable string allowing an easy mounting to almost everywhere, from your wrist, to your head and bicycles handlebar as well. It requires batteries though, but three small batteries would last for 120 hours, that would probably be enough for one winter. Expensive, but a quality product.

Yet, my solution was one which has 3 leds and get this, gets it’s charge from a fucking crank! Thats right, no batteries, 1 minute of cranking produces, supposedly, 40 minutes of light. The whole thing costed me 10€ and I’m left wondering whats wrong with this choice. It seems too good to be true. Will the built-in battery explode if its over-charged? Will it’s capacity wain in a year? What?

Internets, this is a mission for you. Dig up any and all bad sides this solution might have and report it here. You have time only up till eternity or the heat-death of the universe to complete this task. Your time begins now.

Strange Aural Phenomena

I was watching the third episode of the last season of The Sopranos. Somebody gets shot on the street in that episode. As they show a close-up of the body a female scream is heard in the background. Fair enough. I only got the distinct feeling that I’ve heard it before, and I have. It was on a music piece by a local indie artist and I’ve certain I’ve heard it elsewhere as well. Now I’ve concrete evidence instead a vague feeling.

This is not an isolated incident. I seem to notice that the sound of door opening in television in many occasions sound familiar. The particular sound that I recognize I’ve heard in some computer game, probably Half-Life.

Even with this meagre empiric evidence I’ve convinced that this is a real phenomena, reusing sound samples beyond ridiculousness. Why does it happen? Is it so hard to come up with a sound sample library big enough to make running into familiar sounds improbable enough? Or is this just an unlikely coincidence? Does it happen for copyright reasons?

Why should we care anyway? Well, for one, it quickly disposes the suspension of disbelief. It is also highly annoying, partly because I don’t know why it happens?! WHY?!