Tag Archives: Logic

Strange World

The world is a strange place, dudes.

It’s to my greatest regret and my greatest gratitude, that we don’t have a fence in the backyard. Because of that, Buzz, the garbage disposal that walks like a dog, must, in fact, be walked. Often. At great length.

If I want Buzz to be walked in a way that ensures he won’t be leaving little brown, smelly presents all over the house at inopportune times, I have to do it myself.

And so I get a chance for a little alone time with Buzz. Of course, it’s not actual alone time, seeing as how Buzz is at the end of the leash, but he doesn’t actually require that I talk to him, listen to him or respond back to him. Which, as you might imagine, is a bit of a relief on occasion.

So while the walks do take out a significant portion of the day, I always find that I’m feeling much better about life at the end of each walk.

These walks also let me see some very interesting things along the way. Not even going to go into the folks who seem to believe that if they are on the other side of a house window that they’re invisible from the street. For the record? They’re not. They’re so very not invisible.


No, what got me thinking about the world’s strangeness was the pumpkin patch of old, discarded (I think) pumpkins I found the other day along a utility siding. It’s a large field of open space that allows a set of power lines to roll across the land without crossing any homes. It’s bound on each side by a small line of trees and bushes.

As I was walking into the open area, I noticed several small pumpkins in the bushes. This being the time after Halloween, I thought nothing of it.

Then, when I went back later, there were more pumpkins. Two of them were rather large and rather white, something I’d never seen before. I’m assuming they’re a thing, but not something I’ve known about.

Strange, I thought, then walked on.

Finally, on a third trip through, I found even more pumpkins on the ground. I counted up a total of nine pumpkins, some large and some small.

Now, I realize it’s probably because the people nearby didn’t want to throw their pumpkins out and wanted, instead, to offer them to the local wildlife, but that’s the logical reasoning and doesn’t really cover why they appeared over a number of different days.

And, besides, we have no way of knowing if it’s true. There could be any number of reasons, from aliens setting bad traps for people who, only a few weeks ago, seemed to have pumpkins everywhere, to the spontaneous appearance of pumpkins in the nexus of all Halloweens throughout the multiverse.

It’s the difference between not understanding something and something being a mystery. Mysteries are lovely and allow for such speculation and, best of all, they are there until we decide to solve them.

Mysteries allow for the strange and the unusual. Mysteries are the stuff of adventure.

The world is a strange place.

Let’s keep it that way*.


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Living In The Hear And Now*

Making promises is easy. Keeping those promises is where it gets hard for some dudes.

Time, people and circumstances change. We realize that the future is an undiscovered country, but still believe that we will remain the same no matter how much time passes.

Yesterday, I talked about how present bias can make for a difficulty in keeping promises that you have to make come true somewhere down the road. You can’t conceive that you’ll behave differently, feel differently than you do right now, so you assume you’ll be able to follow through on your promise.

That. . . doesn’t always happen. Which can cause quite a ruckus with the little dudes and dudettes in the household.

Here’s another fun little thing you might want to consider. It’s called generalization. What basically this does is, the little dude will take one example and then apply that to every single other thing.

Little dudes love routines. Really they do. Have you ever seen a kid who’s cranky during the first little while of summer break because he’s no longer in school, where he’s supposed to be every morning? If not, you will. Just give it time.

However, there do come exceptions to every rule, breaks in every routine. That’s where the danger comes in.

If normal bed time is 8:30 pm (maybe earlier than some of his classmates, but you understand the importance of daddy-alone-without-kids time), but you tell him he can stay up to talk to Aunt Sonya, who’s just come into town to visit, but only for one night, what do you think the little dude is going to want to do the next night that Aunt Sonya is there?

If you guessed scream and yell about how he’s supposed to stay up with Aunt Sonya, you’re 100 percent right. That’s the way kids’ minds work. Since they crave routine, every event is the start or continuation of a routine. Stay up late one night, then that’s going to be the new routine.

It’s as if they’re doing their very best to ensure that the future them gets to do the same thing as the now them. It’s almost like they’re intentionally creating a present bias that works to their own benefit.

Of course, they’re not doing it intentionally. Kids that young can’t actually think. They can simulate it and — maybe — eventually grow into the ability to think, but not when they’re young. Logic, to them, is what happens to old dudes.

The way I’ve grown to look at it is that present bias, a very real and quite studied concept, is a leftover from childhood, when we wanted desperately for things to stay the same, because we understood it, we knew what was coming and it all worked out for us.

Just something to consider.

*Yes, I realize this isn’t the correct use of hear. It was supposed to be a punne, or play on words, because of all the instances of talking, listening and screaming in the post. Really. You believe me, don’t you?

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Twelve By Any Other Number

It’s been common knowledge since parents first took their young dudes and dudettes out to teach them how to drive.

You should always drive with your hands on the steering wheel at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock position. That is, hold your left hand slightly to the left of the top of the steering wheel and your right hand slightly to the right of center.

Apparently, that is no longer the case. And it’s all down to something that was designed to make us safer in the car. Unfortunately, that thing to make us safer can now use our handy position on the steering wheel to cause us more damage than we’d get if our hands weren’t even on the wheel. Although that last might make it a bit more likely that we’d have an accident.

Yeah, it’s the airbag. Turns out, when you have an accident, that triggers the airbag compressed within the steering column. The airbag bursts forth from the exact center of the steering wheel, inflates quickly and cushions you against hitting the steering wheel.

The problem comes in that, if your hands are at 10 and 2, the airbag has a very good chance of blowing your fists through your eye holes. In a manner of speaking.

Not only that, but the advice on where to put your hands was concocted long before power steering became standard on almost every car made around the world. Now, the mixture of those two things is causing insurance agencies like AAA to recommend you not use the 10 and 2 position.

AAA Manager of Driver Training Operations William Van Tassel, PhD, explains in the video below that “10 and 2” dates from the era before power steering. Turning the wheel required more force then, and pulling down on it was the easiest way to do it.

But easy-to-turn wheels and airbags have changed the logic. If the driver’s hands are at the top of the wheel when the wheel-mounted airbag deploys, they are likely to be knocked into his face. If they are at the bottom of the wheel, they will be sent sideways, and do no further damage.

The better hand positions, Tassel says, are 9 and 3 or 8 and 4, where they are out of the way and still in control.

Well, that’s moved us into the 20th century. If only we’d hurry up and get some flying cars around so we could move into the current — 21st — century.

The only question now is will we as parents be able to remember the new advice when it comes time for us to be the latest sacrificial lambs to take a fledgling dude or dudette out onto the road and begin our reacquaintance with appalling fear and the prayer such engenders?

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