DISTRACTION – So coin! Much gender. Wow

Ah Bitcoin, you reminder that cognitive dissonance and random hope are the fundamental drivers of human culture.

Let us draw two circles, let us create a Venn diagram of two sets. One being those who “mine” the Bitcoin, the other being women. And the intersection of the two, the common members of both sets? I strongly suspect that it will be zero, a null set.

Has currency, the concept of money, always been gendered? Has Bitcoin merely thrown a light on something that always was there, obscured by time and common practice? I reach for my Delphy.

Let us draw another circle, this time let it be made up of those who complain about “fiat currency”, those who demand that money be based on something that has intrinsic value.

Which is of course an absurdity, anything and everything is only worth what someone is willing to give in return for it. And that applies to the medium of exchange like everything else. But I still remember the shock in my classmate’s voices when, as mere cubs, we were told the truth about money. That it is an agreed collective delusion. Like everything else we call culture or human nature.

Now let us look at the circle of true money believers and the Bitcoin “miners” (so macho, much struggle, wow). I suspect that this time the intersection is not empty and that the two groups overlap to a marked extent. Despite, no, of course, because Bitcoin is a delusion based on bits, on the hum of the machine. Boil the oceans so that we may be journey deeper into the Bank of Babel.

Bitcoin is Tlön. An answer to an obscure trivia question in 2021. It is not caek.

The Killing Words (Updated)


I have a medical condition. Thanks to the NHS I take a pill every morning and the condition is controlled. allowing me to live a normal life.

This morning I popped into Boots to pick up my drugs, as I use their excellent prescription renewal service, and ran into a potentially lethal issue around language.

My previous prescription started on the 1st October for “2 months”, however the pills come in packs of 28. So I was given 2 packs of 28, a total of 56 pills, to last 61 days.

You can see the problem. The chemist was very apologetic, had contacted my surgery earlier in the week, but there was nothing they could do without the renewed prescription.

I do not blame them in the least. Nor do I blame my GP.

The problem lies in language. Whenever we are involved in service design we need to be obsessive about driving out any loose terms like “month”.

So back to the chemist’s on Monday and I hope that the prescription is in.

I am lucky, I can safely go for a few days without my medication and I have no difficulties in expressing myself, but others may not be so lucky. I cannot be the only person who finds themselves in this situation. For others the consequences may be much grimmer.

Loose language has no place in service design, that is a basic principle we all need to recognise as we work on developing new services or redeveloping existing ones.


So it is now Tuesday and the prescription has not yet come through. This is going to be a tough week…


It would be easier if we either remembered things or just simply forgot them. But sometimes things just do not enter our minds.

If memory is one and forgetting minus one, then there is a zero. A nothingness of things that neither are nor are not.

Sometimes a thought trips over a nothingness and we feel a moment of unease, like but not like the sensation we have when we think we have forgotten something.

For that sensation still has an echo of the object, whilst this is wholly of the void. No matter how much we strain we can never find the lost memory, it never existed in the first place.

What is is but an infinitesimal in what is not.

And that is why your birthday card is still sitting on my mantelpiece.

What’s my language?

Words spill over my tongue,
Dart from between my teeth


Dropped ‘aitches and Yiddish mix with
South Yorkshire “Baths” and “Bizaaaaaare”.


My shibboleth is not “Broagh” but “Three”.


My Spanish has a French accent,
If only my French did …


My language is words but my language is hands,
Hands twisting and pushing to shift reality.


I know the meaning of words,
I know the tocsin of words.


So tell me, what’s my language?

Zen Bosons

What is the simplest possible universe?

One answer is that it is ours because ours is the only universe we know to exist and one is simpler than two.

Another answer is to start from scratch with a blank sheet of … well what? Vacuum foam? Dirac sea? Hilbert space?

So rather than building up perhaps we should start by simplifying, decluttering the universe we have. We could start by getting rid of some of those high end elements from the periodic table, the ones with half lives measured in fractions of a second…

But although they seem to have no relevance to our world they exist because of the laws of nature so we would gave to unpick the laws of nature and elements, are in any case, merely energy situationally described in information terms so which laws do we need to start unpicking?

So perhaps we need to go back to the start from scratch approach?

And so this cycle of random night thoughts continues until I fall asleep.

Night all.

Gazing from the crypt 1

There are those who do not believe in mistakes, for them everything happens for a reason. This view is seldom shared by anyone who has asked a bear for directions or a monkey to put up shelves.

It is definitely not shared by anyone who has gazed in puzzlement at the crypt which crowns the very top of the House of Monkeys and the House of Bears.

The reason for this crypt appearing at the top of the building rather than its usual position at the base of the foundations is usually given as an absent minded builder holding the plans upside down but some people claim to have seen a smile cross Red Mamba’s features when the crypt is mentioned and they wonder if she may not have had something to do with the odd placement of the crypt.

But of course no one would be so ill-mannered as to ask someone as gracious and beloved as Red Mamba if the rumours about the smile were correct.

Given that the crypt was there it seemed only proper to put it to some kind of use. The question of what use led to weeks of debates. There was a strong push by a section of the monkeys for the crypt to be given over to lounging, lazing, lying around and other languorous pastimes. However the climb to the roof was long and exhausting so the monkeys decided to lounge around somewhere more convenient.

A leading bear proposed that the crypt be used for cake related experiments to see if little cakes were more or less delicious at high altitudes. This was a serious research project which demanded consideration but the crypt was rather small for a research team of bears and all the little cakes that would be needed.

While the pondering carried on without much progress finally a young bear and even younger monkey proposed that the crypt should be made into an observatory, complete with telescope.

The House of Monkeys and the House of Bears carefully looked over the proposal – the bears decided that cakes could be eaten as part of astronomical viewing so they were happy and the monkeys decided that if anyone wanted to climb all the way up there then good luck to them.

All that was needed now was the telescope … (To be continued)

A Bear Faced Liar

Some time back I blogged about the paw twitching appeal of the infinite library but implied that I would be strong and would resist its appeal.

Yet now I write these words with a Kindle III beside me.

So what happened to change my mind?

Simple, the notion of being able to carry up to 3,500 books anywhere I go is just too appealing to resist.

Initial Thoughts

It is light, just about light enough to be unnoticeable and the device is easy to hold. It feels like a rubberised version of the chalk slate I used as a cub.

The screen still does that annoying white – black – white inverse refresh when you turn a page. But it is almost fast enough to be non-annoying even to a person like me.

The screen is excellent in good light and rubbish any other time.

Line images look fine but colour photographs are pants.

The battery life is exceptional, they claim a month for the wifi version and based on my use I can believe it.

The experimental webbrowser is er experimental. You can use it in a pinch but to frank they would be better off with Lynx.

I have had no odd looks reading it on buses or trains, even in my transpontine realm. I have ordered the frankly overpriced cover for it as I worry about the screen scratching. Oh and the illuminated cover is like some odd Roncomatic idea.


You can send PDFs to the Kindle by email – each Kindle has its own unique address. They come out readable but you can convert them to Kindle’s MOBI format by putting Convert in the email subject line.

You need to add your address to allowed email addresses as to prevent spam the Kindle will only accept email from preregistered addresses. Just go to your Amazon account to configure the list of allowed addresses.

It does not do email other than that which I think is a lost opportunity – I would buy the 3G version for my mother tomorrow if it came with an email client.