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Functional Zen

When I first saw the term gaslighting1, I thought it referred to igniting one’s farts, which made absolutely no sense at all in context. So I did the logical thing and copied it into Google, which actually meant I wanted a Wikipedia article. Gaslighting is actually a form of psychological torture where you trick someone into doubting their memories. Click* click, and before long, it was 1:30AM and I had 4 tabs of Wikipedia articles about psychological torture open in Chromium. I don’t know about you, but staying up till post-midnight just creeps me out. I’ve got this circle of light coming from the desk lamp while through the window outside, it feels like everyone is dead. Nonetheless, there is no better time to think than during the silence of the night when everything else is muted.

Look at this here. I can imagine every bit of what’s going on. I can see the voltage applied across the liquid crystals in this screen that allow light to pass through. I can see the signals from the computer, serially transferred through the 18-pin DVI cable. I can see Chromium’s progressive rendering of responses sent over endless miles of transcontinental cables by Wikipedia’s (what appears to be) Apache with gzipping, caching, and a round-robin DNS built up by the ingenuity of engineers whom I’ll never meet, while completely ignoring the equal ingenuity of Wikipedia editors. See typically, engineers are obsessively concerned with how something works. It clears up the magic behind why things work, from electronics to how we can know the surface composition of planets a billion miles away. This obsession sometimes creates a problem that I’m sure you can relate to. Though a system may function perfectly, if the “how” behind its engineering isn’t perfect, it will drive you crazy.

Most people are most comfortable when there’s a certain degree of magic. When you hit Print on MS-Word, you don’t care about color profiles or calibration. You just want your damn copy. Microsoft doesn’t give you many options, because they’re just scary.

I wrote most of this in the morning, and it was going well until I started the computer talk. Then, it digressed into nonsense. This blog is just great, because the first thing I need in the summer is more writing to do. Pretty soon, I’ll need to transfer RogerHub to another web host and deploy Clark as well. I think I”m just going to go to sleep now.

  1. Here you go: gaslighting.

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Sun Feb 12 2017 03:58:25 +0000