More notebook fragments! I hadn't realized how far back this stack reached in time. I have notes here from sophomore year when I started keeping a notebook with me at all times - notebooks that still have not been gone-through.

After overhearing the term "meta-culture" tossed around in Taipei

One interesting source of meta-culture examples are world religions.

They have to be pretty darn locally accessible and compelling to build a presence in different places, but keep a common thread of belief, recognition, and acceptance between different subcultures in order to stay a coherent global presence and community.

They can be connected virtually, but religious communities are, almost exclusively, ultimately locally based institutions. Some choose a common language, at least for their most fundamental principles and prayers (the Torah, the Kyrie Eleison) - most localize linguistically. Forks happen all the time when people disagree (Luther!) yet they can still be recognized as and called by a name that implies some shared, unified belief.

While being overwhelmed by information

In the absence of coherent input, all I can do is try to make my output as coherent as possible and beg people to give me course corrections.

After returning from Taiwan

I feel as if I've become unstuck in time, so I'm going to try to put myself back together again. It's August 12, 2007. My name's Mel - I'm sitting in a bookshop in Boston, not entirely sure what to do with myself.

A shopping list... but I've forgotten what for

cream of chicken, nutella, cream of wheat, microwaveable chicken, parmesan, broccoli, bananas, peaches, plums, melon, salami, french bread

Quickie math for unknown reasons

(x^3 - 5x^2 + 2x + 20) / (x-3) [and then the subsequent working out of this down one page margin]

Reading more John Holt

  • The training needed for continuous learning is continuous learning.
  • Interesting. The definition of education being used in this book is education as something people do to others - Holt wants to eliminate rather than improve it, likening it to saying "we can make slavery more humane."
  • (Holt, on why he disagrees with compulsory schooling but does not condemn the presence of all schools, using language schoosl as an example:) "[Language schools] do not say, either, that if we would like to speak another language, we must learn it in a school, let alone their school. They only say that if for our own reasons we would like to speak another language, they have resources... which may help us and which (usually for a fee) we are welcome to use if we want."

Prototypes of Stat!

This is a sketch of a screen mockup for something that Andrew, Mark, and myself once wanted to make. The query in the search box is "how much wood do woodchucks" (with the cursor after it, presumably still in the midst of typing) and the search results below include:

  • Woodchuck chucking, 1997 - 20,796 references
  • Chuck's wood output 1980-2004 - 14,200 references
  • Wood output by animal - 14,166 references

(With a description like that, I defy anybody - except Mark and Andrew, of course - to figure out what Stat! was supposed to do. *wink*)

Other fun finds

A sketch for a layout I like much better than my current webpage design (which I whipped up on the subway back to my apartment yesterday). I do, however, like this layout a lot better than my former "well, I'll put up a wiki and pretend that I'm going to fix things up for about a year, but never actually do it" game plan, despite its complete lack of images, color, or visual appeal.

A long letter about Maker House. I may post parts of it up later.

Some illegible notes about the role of "truth, beauty, and goodness" in schools. Or about the role of schools and teachers in conveying "truth, beauty, and goodness." I can't tell; my handwriting is poor enough that I can't even tell what I wrote down as definitions for each.

Furniture layout drawings for my suite single.

Naming schemes for my electronic gadgets. (Except for "dandelion," the desktop since passed on to a cousin, they all are named after made-up words in Jabberwocky.)

Notes from various restaurants, from when Eric and I were doing Bootstrap, an exercise in extremely rapid (48 hours) product design. We were trying to redesign menus and came up with a couple neat concepts and some excellent excuses to go out to restaurants in the name of "research" (well, how else were we going to observe how people used restaurant menus?) This is the same Bootstrap project that eventually led to Echo, the robot-design-concept that just won't die. That robot keeps coming up in conversations and emails and just seems to be begging us to make it real.

Notes on continuous-time signals. The smallest nonzero T for which x(t+T) = x(t) is called the period, T_o. (This is the only one from that page that I can render reasonably in text - the others require TeX to look sane.) I love clear formal definitions. A dictionary of mathematical terms is, to me, like a book of poetry.

A reminder to "leave hungry." This is in reference to my tendency to overdo things - the best way to ensure I'll do something a nth time is to not satisfy myself fully the (n-1)th time I do it.

A drawing of a cube, a ladder, a horse, a landscape, and flowers - and a poorly-rendered raincloud. I think that only Chandra knows what it means. I've certainly forgotten.

A baby phoenix cheeping out of a broken eggshell. Drawing for Jon Tse for a project that I don't think ever happened.

Notes on what I thought I'd be doing after graduation (driving across the country teaching math camp? Learning Chinese? I guess I've done some of them, and come reasonably close to others.)