A new website

So I have a new website… You may be wondering why I did that considering that I rarely update this website? Well, basically I decided I didn’t want to get rid of this website and, at the same time, I didn’t want to pay Squarespace prices to maintain it. So I moved to the slightly cheaper WordPress and let’s see how it works.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like Squarespace. It was easy to use, had way more intuitive navigation and formatting, and it did make my website look better without a lot of effort. So I do feel a little bad that I left, but I couldn’t convince myself to pay almost $200 a year to keep a website that I’m not using.

So, do I have plans for this website? I’ll get back to you on that. I do want to write more and share my ideas more often, but right now I’m not convinced I have the time to do it. Maybe 2020…

So much life out there

We are living in a world of change. We plan our lives around change. We challenge and fight sameness. Interestingly, this is something quite new in human civilization. Surely the world always changed, but some time ago, we thought it was good if we found a “career” and just followed it. People would be working in the same company for decades and not really consider themselves sad.

We could ask ourselves many questions: what has changed? How has it changed? Is it actually a good thing for the human society in general? But I prefer the simpler question: why has it changed?

Humans are one of the most adaptive races out there. Our very big and expensive brain allows us to plan and execute very complex tasks that protect us from very adverse and sudden conditions. We are not the fastest or strongest. We don’t have the longest lifespan. But we are one of the best survivors.

I think that this change is more of a realignment to our basal sense of adaptation. We were built for it, and not really to be inside a house, with a family and an 8-10 job (all normal jobs are 8-10, right?). So suddenly technology advances allowed us to recover this missing drive for adaptation. It is amazing how powerful it can be to our whole body. Think of the experience of starting a new job, or moving to a new house, to buying a new car…

On the other hand, sometimes the stress of “unplanned” (but potentially forecastable) changes is a little too unhealthy. And that’s when changes erode our self, that’s when it’s always just better to go back to your cocoon and hide there for some time.

Being political, but tired

Sometimes you just have to accept some things and try to swallow as much anger as possible. There is nothing to do when somebody is just frustrated at you, because of incompetence of the people around them. At times like this you have two options:

1) Just blame it on them and start a war

2) Swallow the blame and try to work things out

Number 1 generates a war that could have repercussions that is difficult to forecast. Especially when you don’t quite know the strength of your enemies. However, number 2 keeps everything on your side of the court. You can’t sleep, you just let people slap you around and convince themselves that you can be their scapegoat for all their ailments. Soon enough you will continue receiving angry emails with lots of capital letters and you life will just collapse in unfinished business.

Anyway, that’s my disappointment of the day. I’m tired, I have to start thinking about moving (yes, I’m moving to Seattle – no, I don’t quite live in Seattle right now, more like Bellevue), I have some very busy and important last couple of days at work, and things don’t look like they will get any better anytime soon. Sometimes I wished I could just have a weekend.

At times like this, my usual solution is to just alienate myself from the world and listen to some Steve Reich. It’s like listening to noise, but mathematically beautiful musical noise.

By the way, talking about music, I’ve finished a book that I had on my list of “to read” for some time: This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, by Dan Levitin

Interesting book, if you survive past the first chapter. Dan needs a better editor that will fix all the wrong and missing information on his introduction to music theory. He should have discussed well-tempered instruments. He should not have mentioned that multiplying the frequency of the pitch by 2, 3, 4, etc. causes us to think it’s the same pitch (although an octave up). Instead he should have said that it’s the factor of 2 that matter (2, 4, 8, etc).

After this painful chapter, the book gets quite intriguing. Nothing really shocking if you have read another very interesting book about brains: On Intelligence, by Jeff Hawkins and Sandra Blakeslee.

These books make me hope that we are getting somewhere closer to understanding the brain. At least I can say I’m a little closer.