Monday, May 30, 2005

Eye Eye

been reading a book about cave art, and it talks about common visual hallucinations and so, whilst browsing the net about this I stumbled upon a couple of detailed definitions of things I just take for granted, Interesting stuff, the sort of thing we all experience, but hardly ever talk about to each other.

Floaters are little "cobwebs" or specks that float about in your field of vision. They are small, dark, shadowy shapes that can look like spots, thread-like strands, or squiggly lines. They move as your eyes move and seem to dart away when you try to look at them directly. They do not follow your eye movements precisely, and usually drift when your eyes stop moving.

In most cases, floaters are part of the natural aging process and simply an annoyance. They can be distracting at first, but eventually tend to "settle" at the bottom of the eye, becoming less bothersome. They usually settle below the line of sight and do not go away completely. Most people have floaters and learn to ignore them; they are usually not noticed until they become numerous or more prominent. Floaters can become apparent when looking at something bright, such as white paper or a blue sky.

Floaters occur when the vitreous, a gel-like substance that fills about 80 percent of the eye and helps it maintain a round shape, slowly shrinks. As the vitreous shrinks, it becomes somewhat stringy, and the strands can cast tiny shadows on the retina. These are floaters.

'Phosphenes' are signals from the neurons of the retina to the visual cortex of the brain which are interpreted by the brain as lights and visual patterns, but are not caused by visual light. They can be produced by neurons randomly firing (similar to what causes muscle twitches) and a variety of other causes, including pressure to the eyeball and (less commonly) various diseases of the retina and nerves. Phosphenes are most easily noticed with the eyelids closed, or in a darkened environment. Category:Visual system

Sunday, May 22, 2005

A word for you

Main Entry: 1su·per·la·tive
Pronunciation: su-'p&r-l&-tiv
Function: adjective

1 : of, relating to, or constituting the degree of grammatical comparison that denotes an extreme or unsurpassed level or extent
2 a : surpassing all others : SUPREME b : of very high quality : EXCELLENT
- su·per·la·tive·ly adverb
- su·per·la·tive·ness noun

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Distortion, Deletion and Delerium

Communication is an interesting subject, so let's go there today...

The mind is incapable of digesting and storing everything it sees, so there are processes which make it possible to get the gist of any situation while not having our heads explode from information overload.

one of these processes we shall call filtering.

when you enter a situation, lets say your first day at a new job, you take in masses and masses of information, and as we've said, you can't possibly keep all that information in your head, (think back to last thursday and try to remember as many details as you can about the hour of 12:00 till 13:00 and you'll see that you remember much less than an hours worth of information)

so somewhere along the way, one of the things that you do is filter out and store only the information that is important to you.

but herein lies the rub.

How do you define what is important to remember and what isn't, on that first day how do you build up your impression of the Job, who chooses what you will use, and what you will discard.

we all have many filters, and they are running all the time, as you read this, you've already started filtering, you get the gist, but lose the detail.

a good example of a common filter is Positive / Negative.

some people filter there experiences for negatives, ask them about their job and they'll tell you the negative aspects, ask them to describe a rusty car and they'll tell you it's an pile of junk.

others filter for positives, they'll tell you all the best bits of their job, they'll tell you that the car is a classic waiting to be restored.

their situations are identical, yet their filters change their perception and lead them to different conclusions, different versions of the truth, yet they're both right.

let me give you another filter to play with.

get a pen and paper, and answer the following question.

write 9 bullet point sentences comparing how things are going in your job this year compared to how things were last year



ok, so now lets look at what you wrote, we're checking for a specific filter the same / change filter, on the paragraph check how many times you said something was the same as last year, and how many times you noted that something had changed.

if you've more things that changed, that's an indication of a person who filters for change, someone who likes change and a changing environment

and if you've listed lots of things that are the same then that indicates that you filter for sameness, and like knowing where you stand and similarity.

of course this is only a little test and there are many other factors, and it's a scale, so you could be in the middle, and be equally comfortable with change or sameness.

but it gives you a starting point to explore your filters.

the really interesting thing is what happens when two people have opposite filters.

let's take an example

Jane filters for sameness, and John filters for change.

John wants to get Jane to come on a holiday with her and he, being a change person, pitches it like this.

"It'll be really amazing, nothing like our normal holidays, you've never seen anything like it, honestly. There are loads of different things to do, things you've never done before, a great new hotel and a whole new world of adventure"

OK so maybe he's gone a bit over the top :) but the essence is there, he filters for change, so he's telling her things that excite him, the differences. but she won't buy into this, she filters for sameness, he'd have more luck with something like.

"It'll be really amazing, There'll be you and me, as always, and there's plenty of things to do, even some things you've never done before, we're in a lovely hotel like last year, and out the window is a whole world of adventure"

he's telling the same story, but dropping out a few of the change specific bits, and adding some sameness that Jane can relate to.

so if we are aware of others filters we can communicate on their wavelength. someone who filters for negative for example isn't necessarily a negative person, it's just that positive things aren't as obvious to them, they will describe the glass as half empty not because they are negative, but because they honestly see the glass as half empty.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

fun and free games

ok a few little web gems for you

Chaos theory
a lovely little game, you get three rounds and in each round 50 balls are thrown up on the screen, you must click once to cause an explosion that will destroy as many balls as you can, the highest score is 150, my high score is 129

Make a Flake
remember at school you made snowflakes out of.... look just have a go, it'll all come back

Just solitaire
This one's for my mum, around 10 different free solitaire games you can play on the web

I'll add a few more tomorrow

feel free to comment

Sunday, May 08, 2005

An excerpt

I'm writing a Sci Fi story at the moment, it's set in a world where our sight is augmented by computers to such an extent that we lose track of what's real and what's computer graphics...

here's a very small excerpt for you to have a look at, feel free to comment. I may post a larger piece later.


Often, when I meet people for the first time, if they recognise my name and realise who I am, they ask me, in hushed tones, looking guilty, “What’s it like”.

I don’t mind the question; to be honest I enjoy the opportunity to shock, and to educate.

“At first it’s like being blind”

They pause, uncertain, waiting for more.

“Everything is bland, pale, no colours as such, and there are no numbers, not one” They usually recoil or gasp at that.

“And things get in the way, I can’t see past walls, or trees, or anything, even you… I can’t see anyone’s tags, I have no options, none, I have to talk to everyone, face to face” more horror on their faces, but I smile at them now

“But everything, absolutely everything I see is real… and I see it with my eyes, mine … no lies, no tricks, no blips or virg, no verts, heh, no spamverts… that alone makes it worthwhile”

My smile broadens.

“The sun is so bright it hurts my eyes… but it’s supposed to… I see the world as it is meant to be seen”

I can’t help but laugh

“And it’s a beautiful sight”

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

a Pawn

found this while geocaching?

leave a comment and let us know where he's ended up :)

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Nice Weekend

Spending the weekend in Norfolk with first family, then friends.

having a lovely time, and have just discovered the fun of Geocaching, check out

It's a really rather interesting idea, basically a giant treasure hunt across the whole world :)

Kez and I found our second cache this weekend and mum and dad enjoyed it too.