But we get 3 seconds more sunlight tomorrow and that can’t hurt.
Thought That Came Unbidden
Tomorrow we begin the journey up.
You can mess with time. You can mess with space. But you can’t mess with both.
Oh, NBC. Your new series Blindspot had such potential for people intrigued by puzzles. And then you had to go and spoil it all by not understanding how time and distance work.
For those unfamiliar, Blindspot‘s premise is this: a woman covered in fresh tattoos is found naked in Times Square. She has no memory of who she is or how she got into the duffel bag she was found in, or why one of her tattoos is the name of an FBI Special Agent.
Following the structure of most big-4 TV network shows, each episode includes a episodic plot and an serial plot. In this instance, the serial plot – that Jane Doe’s tattoos will eventually reveal not only her identity but also why she was covered in them and delivered to the FBI – is fed by the episodic plot – that each tattoo is the clue to some urgent, criminal or national security situation.
The urgent, action driven nature of the episodic plots:
- a disgruntled ex-pat Chinese chemist makes a bomb that could kill thousands of people in New York City;
- a paranoid, ex-drone jockey seeks to expose a secret, domestic drone program based in New York City by hijacking a drone and bombing the building that houses not only the drone program but also the FBI field office in Manhattan;
- an international heist crew made up of ex-SEALs take over a New York City hospital in an attempt to rescue one of their own who was shot during a jewelry store robbery;
is supposed to support the more cerebral, nerdy lets learn about steganography while objectifying this beautiful woman serial plot. The episodic plots, however, strain credulity, something I was willing to overlook because 1) beautiful woman, 2) intriguing puzzle. I was willing, that is, until that strain snapped the fabric of the space/time continuum.
[WARNING: HERE BE SPOILERS]
Dear men in urban environments and in grocery stores,
Standing behind it and pushing the stroller or the grocery cart doesn’t make you look less manly. You look less manly by standing beside the stroller or grocery cart and pushing it with one hand. It is your very standing beside it that tells the rest of us you care about how manly you look which in and of itself makes you look less manly.
Please think about this before you block the entire sidewalk or grocery store aisle.
Every urban pedestrian and grocery shopper ever.
There’s a huge push in the U.S. these days for STEM – Science Technology Engineering Math – education, as if the only thing you need to be a successful human being is the ability to program, build a bridge, or solve the quadratic equation.
One thing that is good about this push is the emphasis on science. We need more science in a country that has a Creation Museum that posits with no irony whatsoever the idea that dinosaurs and homo sapiens lived simultaneously. The bad thing, though, about this devotion to science is that there’s too much science in it.
A key component of science is the experimental method:
- Try something
- See what the outcome is
- Judge the outcome as desirable or not desirable
- Note the conditions under which you tried something
- Repeat if necessary adjusting and noting the conditions you adjusted until you achieve a desirable outcome
- Once a desirable outcome is achieved, attempt to replicate those conditions every time you do that something.
The thing about this method is it works across every thing you do in life, even things like cooking and team sports that don’t meet the strict -ology definition that characterizes science. The harm in restricting the experimental method to things that are strictly science is how it shackles us to the idea of perfection.
I’m skipping my first curling team this year and it’s a huge learning experience. The first thing my Vice, who has been playing three times as long as I have, asked me was if I knew the best way to learn. By failing. The experimental method takes the stigma out of that failing and lets failing become learning, something we also need more of to be successful human beings.