Creuset of Ideas
A collection of various ideas

Archives of 2006-08


Creative problem solving

2006-08-25 @ 13:01

You know that question people never ask in an interview “What is your best quality/asset?” My answer is usually “creative problem solving” (e.g. I once build a talking tree suspended upside down to illustrate the evolution of Indo-European languages). Well, I’m talking yesterday to a friend of mine who also noticed this is one of her strengths, and she’s wondering how come, if we’re so good at finding creative solutions to various problems, at work and elsewhere, we can’t be bothered to find any for our own problems?



2006-08-22 @ 12:55

I just the other day finished reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, novel where the narrator-protagonist is an autistic 15-year-old (actually, Asperger syndrome). Quite good; reminds me of The Catcher in the Rye (without that whole killing John Lennon thing). Although it has its failings, I warmly recommend it. The author presents quite well an autistic point of view, especially with regards to information overload.

Which leads me to talk about filters. Perceptual ones, both biological and psychological. I make a distinction between what we could call “innate” filters, resulting from peculiarities of the nervous system, and those we put up ourselves as we grow up and old.

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Cats and the secret of happiness

2006-08-22 @ 7:37


[Welcome to my silly side.]


spc in a ouroboros

2006-08-21 @ 17:11

This is me, admitedly a bit tired, in a ouroboros mirror.


This was taken at my friends up North. Kind of a way to show that sometimes, we get stuck on some never-ending loop, or vicious circle, or pattern. Sometimes, you have to find a way to get out of it, sometimes you need to stay in.

We can also see in the picture what I’m told is an Epiphyllum Midnight Bloom, a flower that only blooms once a year, in the middle of the night. I like those two symbols together: the ever-circling and the rare opportunity. Sums up life pretty well, in a way.


spc in a bottle

2006-08-14 @ 12:53

Me in a bottle

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Book meme

2006-08-9 @ 17:42

Okay, Thinking Girl got me (just as I was reading Nerdine’s answers). So, here more or less goes.

1. One book that changed your life?
I remember Anna and Mister God, way back when I was a teenager. It had a strange (not really religious) effect on me. Also, the Tout connaître series, because those were the first I devoured. More recently, Carla Fine’s No time to Say Goodbye.

2. One book you have read more than once?
Like Nerdine, I’ll have to say Pride and Prejudice. It’s actually better the second time around.

3. One book you would want on a desert island?
The works of Alessandro Baricco. Marvelous author for taking it slow.

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2006-08-9 @ 11:08

I’ve been reading a bit on sociopathy (or anti-social personality disorder) — that’s what happens when you read Wuthering Heights once too often. Wikipedia (not the best source, but still) gives the following criteria taken from good ol’ DMS-IV:

  1. failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest
  2. deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure
  3. impulsivity or failure to plan ahead
  4. irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults
  5. reckless disregard for safety of self or others
  6. consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain steady work or honor financial obligations
  7. lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another

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Wednesday Linguistics: Memory

2006-08-9 @ 11:06

Language and memory are like conjoined twins: they are so intertwined, the interaction between the two are so complex that they are hard to separate. There’s obviously no possibility of language, on an individual basis, without memory. On the other hand, some of our memories are processed through language; depending on the person, there are memories that lose details because they become tied in to words.

We could even argue that, in a way, our first memories are words. We remember, for instance, the word “mama” from where we were one. But it’s not a memory as such, but something that is ever and always reactivated.

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spc in silver

2006-08-9 @ 7:43

So this is me in silver. After a year’s hiatus, I going back to jewellery making, slowly. By learning patience first. Ever tried sawing 1/16″ thick silver in a straight line? That’s a good zen exercise. And after all is done, you have to tackled the boredom and tediousness of polishing. But everything else is SO fun!!


Wednesday Linguistics: Beyond Communication

2006-08-2 @ 13:38

(Well, it’s been a while. Can’t say I was that busy, but things been happening that make me forget to post.)

Invented Usage, in a recent post, challenge the traditional maxim according to which the purpose of language is to communicate:

i’d like to submit (usage liberal that i am) that language has more purposes than just communication. i even believe it goes beyond wallace’s observation that the diction/style/accent we use communicates something about us. language is used to confuse, to distract, to entertain, to kill time, to remember, to make art, to perform ceremonies, all of which could be considered communicative under my usually broad definition… but beyond even that, the ways people judge each other based on language use are PART OF LANGUAGE ITSELF. its purpose is also to divide, include, grade and judge. these functions determine who gets listened to, and in extreme cases, who gets listened to is a matter of life and death.

I can’t really subscribe to the idea that to divide, include, grade and judge are purposes of language. Of course, we use language (ours and other’s) to do this, but that doesn’t mean these are purposes of language. This is like saying that since I can judge the handiness of someone through their use of a hammer, and by its wear, one of the purposes of hammers is to judge handiness. Also, just because I can use a hammer as counterweight, doorstop or smurf pedestal, doesn’t mean these are purposes of hammers.

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