What do you mean, you “can’t wait?” Obviously, you can!

 

you can wait

Why do people so often, and completely incorrectly, say they “can’t wait” for things? No one ever says this, it seems, unless they already are waiting for whatever they are talking about.

A seasonal example: “I can’t wait for Christmas!”

When I hear this, I generally point out to people that they are already waiting, and therefore, obviously, they can do so.

What is it with this? Why do so many people say this thing that clearly makes no sense at all?

On Teaching Students with Asperger’s Syndrome

teaching Aspies

Teaching students with Asperger’s Syndrome is a challenge. As a teacher who also has Asperger’s, I have some suggestions for how to do this, and wish to share them.

  1. Keep the administrators at your school informed about what you are doing.
  2. Know the laws regarding these matters, and follow them carefully. Laws regarding confidentiality are particularly important.
  3. Identify the special interest(s) of the student (these special interests are universally present with Asperger’s; they also appear, sometimes, with students on other parts of the autism spectrum). Do not expect this/these special interest(s) to match that of anyone else, however — people with Asperger’s are extremely different from each other, just as all human beings are. As is the case with my own special interests in mathematics and the “mathy” sciences, it’s pretty much impossible to get students with Asperger’s to abandon their special interest — and I know this because I, quite literally, cannot do much of anything without first translating it, internally, into mathematical terms — due to my own case of Asperger’s. Identifying the special interest of a student with Asperger’s requires exactly one thing: paying attention. The students themselves will make it easy to identify their special interest; it’s the activity that they want to do . . . pretty much all the time.
  4. Find out, by carefully reading it, if the student’s official Section 504 document, or Special Education IEP, permits item #5 on this list to be used. If it doesn’t, you may need to suggest a revision to the appropriate document. (Note: these are the terms used in the USA; they will be different in other countries.)
  5. Of things done in class which will be graded, if the relevant document permits it, alter them in such a way as to allow the student to use his or her special interest to express understanding of the concepts and ideas, in your class, which need to be taught and learned. This is, of course, the most difficult step, but I cannot overemphasize its importance.
  6. Use parental contact to make certain the parent(s) know about, and agree with, the proposed accommodations/modifications. (504 students get accommodations, while special education students receive modifications. Following both 504 plans, and Special Education IEPs, is not optional for teachers — it is an absolute legal requirement, by federal law, and the penalties for failure to do so are severe. It is also, of course, the ethical thing to do.)
  7. Do not make the mistake of punishing any student for behavior related to a documented condition of any kind, including Asperger’s Syndrome.

My Mental Jukebox

NOTES

My mental jukebox’s default setting is “on,” which is nice. Usually, I can even consciously choose what to listen to, and it doesn’t cost me a cent.

Speculation Regarding Future Human Speciation, Part II

tree

[My first post on this subject appeared here.]

In the future, the human race, homo sapiens, will do what all living organisms do when circumstances change, as they always do, sooner or later. We will adapt, migrate, and/or die. Since this is a post about speciation, I’m mentally setting that part of my brain which worries about extinction happening relatively soon to “hopeful,” for the duration of writing this post.

For speciation to happen, two things must happen first: reproductive isolation, and the passage of a lot of time. Migration (to off-earth colonies, for example) can produce reproductive isolation, but so can other things. As for adaptation, this is done in many ways by our species, consciously, as well as unconsciously. Evolution is always happening, but it is the slowest of all human adaptive processes. It is estimated that it has taken us (and everything else) 3.85 billion years to evolve, after all, and that’s roughly the most recent third of the time since the Big Bang.

Extra-terrestrial colonies would definitely be a huge “push” toward speciation, especially colonies with low gravity, relative to that experienced by other people. As well-described in Robert Heinlein’s novel The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, return to a high-gravity environment, after many years in a low-gravity environment, would carry significant health effects, with serious risks of sever complications, up to, and including, death. If we ever establish colonies outside the solar system, this isolation will become even more extreme, simply due to the enormous distances and travel-times involved.

However, we will speciate, as will all other species, if we stay alive long enough, even if no more of us leave low-Earth orbit.

In my previous post on this subject, I speculated about the emergence of fully-speciated homo lunaris,  homo literaticus, homo illiteraticus, artificially-genetically-modified humans (whom I did not name then, but homo techogeneticus would do nicely), and homo cyberneticus. An increase in the number of infertile offspring between two groups, combined with a falling birthrate between them, persisting over millennia, would be an early warning signal that speciation might be happening — that’s how long this evolutionary process takes.

Given enough time, and increased reproductive isolation from non-“Aspies,” another group which could speciate is the population with Asperger’s, to form homo aspergerus, primarily because of the difficulties each group of people have communicating with the other group. However, I’ve written several posts already which seek to help Aspies and non-Aspies understand, and bridge, the communication-gap. What’s going on here? Simple: evolution is simply a process which happens. It has no ethics. It is neither good nor evil. More to the point, just because I can discern a possible future does not mean I want that possibility to become real.

In what other ways could speciation happen? A widenining gap between the rich and poor certainly seems possible as a “push” towards speciation, at least currently, which could create homo plutocraticus and homo povertus. It is easily possible to imagine this happening along with the emergence of homo cyberneticus.

Another interesting possibility would occur if humanity survived in the North and Southern hemispheres, near the poles, but extreme global warming made tropical regions uninhabitable, and the equator untraversable, or at least very rarely crossed. In this case, it is hard to imagine what direction the changes would take, for they could go in many directions. Names for such Northern and Southern humans could be homo borealis and homo australis, from our point of view. In theirs, of course, as in many of these scenarios, the likely terms each group will use for the other will translate, roughly, as “us” and “them,” unless they somehow manage to shed the primate characteristic of forming rival groups, one which long predates humanity.

How could the maximum number of new species emerge in the least time possible?  This is known: a mass extinction would be needed, one which leaves a small (but large enough) percentage of humanity alive, and fertile. This would open numerous ecological niches which we, and other extant species, would rapidly fill, by rapid speciation, into an amazing variety of forms. Again, this simply happens — that does not mean it is to be desired, and I am certainly not hoping for it to happen soon. I simply realize that it has happened before, and we have no reason to think it will not happen again.

On Asperger’s Syndrome, Honesty, Lies, and My New, Sonic Lie-Detector

house

The TV series House MD first aired in 2004. I quickly developed a fascination with both the title character, and the show, and watched the entire run of the show, until it ended in the Spring of 2012. The following Fall, I began to seriously suspect — at age 44 — something that had occurred to me only as a possibility for a few years before that: I’ve been an “Aspie” my whole life, a hypothesis which I could tell had great explanatory power to explain my numerous peculiarities, as you can tell in this early blog-post on the subject, not long after I came to WordPress. By the time 2013 arrived, shortly before I turned 45, I had begun the necessary tests of this idea, which included, of course, discussions of the possibility with a psychiatrist, as documented in another blog-post, here.

This was a breakthrough for me, for it helped with a long-term project I begun in my teens: development of the ability to reprogram my brain’s own software, which I became aware was happening at night. I first wrote about this sleep-reprogramming here, just over a year ago, almost two months after getting married — to another math teacher. Thanks to my wife, the critical error in that sleep-related post (that I was reprogramming in the deep parts of non-REM sleep) was later discovered, for she noticed that I frequently stopping breathing while asleep. Sometimes she would have to shake me awake, urging me to resume breathing; other times she would be awakened, herself, by my own gasping for air, which it turns out I had been doing for years. At her urging, I discussed the possibility with my primary care physician, who immediately referred me to a specialist for a sleep study. This resulted in a definitive diagnosis of sleep apnea, revealing that I was only getting stage 1 and 2 sleep, but no significant quantities of stage 3 sleep, nor stage 4 sleep, nor REM sleep. This ruled out my “deep-sleep reprogramming” hypothesis.

I’ve been a teacher for over twenty years, and have more experience teaching science than any other subject. I started learning science very early in life, simply by hanging around in the science building of a university, as a little kid, where I could avoid interacting with children my own age (whom I did not understand), and communicate exclusively with professors and their college students, as described, along with a 5th-grade “sequel” involving “show and tell,” here. For these reasons, I don’t have to consciously employ the scientific method when empirical evidence shows a hypothesis to be flawed — it is automatically what I jump to. My deep-sleep hypothesis did not have to be thrown out completely, but only modified. The evidence prior to the sleep study did indicate this auto-reprogramming was happening in my sleep, but the sleep study proved that it could not be happening during deep non-REM sleep. What was not ruled out, though, was the only type of sleep I had been getting before I got the CPAP machine I use now: Stage 1 and 2 sleep. It is my current position, subject to further testing, that I sleep-reprogram in the shallow parts of non-REM sleep, most likely Stage 1, or in the “twilight” regions between wakefulness and sleep, hypnagogia (the “going to sleep” transition period), and/or hypnopompia, the “waking up” transition period. With my CPAP machine, I have now had the better part of a year to recover from the negative effects of chronic sleep deprivation. I now get the REM, stage 3, and stage 4 sleep needed for good physical and mental health. Of course, I still get Stage 1 and Stage 2 sleep, so I can still sleep-reprogram — and, for the last few months, I have been using sleep-reprogramming to seek ways to reduce the social-interaction difficulties involved with Asperger’s, while retaining the advantages.

One night, and I suspect it was last night, I used sleep-reprogramming to prepare myself to learn to do something I have not been able to do before: detect lies, and employ certain specific, related social skills, using alternative methods than those used by most non-Aspies. The program required watching House MD to activate it, however, as I discovered while watching it today, after a couple of episodes, while resting last night, before going to sleep — the first time I have watched the show in months. The changes that happened while I watched a single episode (season one, episode four, “Maternity”) were both rapid and dramatic; it was quite clear to me that an already-prepared unconscious subroutine was being activated.

Before this lie-detecting subroutine was activated, these had been long-term statements which accurately described me:

  • I was rarely able to detect sarcasm in others — but could dish it out in large quantities.
  • Although I sometimes made jokes (linguistic wordplay; made-up words, etc.), or even pulled pranks, I rarely recognized the same behavior for what it was when it was turned around, and aimed in my direction, by others, leading to numerous serious misunderstandings, in both childhood and adulthood.
  • I could not “read” other people’s emotional states, and, for most of my life, would not even acknowledge that the ability to do so was a useful skill. Most people do this by analyzing such things as facial expressions and body language; analysis of sound is, for most people, secondary to this.
  • I found it nearly impossible to detect dishonesty, and, while I can lie, I learned (as a teenager) that I could not do so effectively. If I try to lie, I figured out decades ago, there is a very good chance that another person will know I am lying. Under these conditions, having lies detected (and then experiencing the consequences of this) led me to consciously make the choice to be honest.
  • I have often behaved in ways which unintentionally offended, angered, or irritated people, simply due to my lack of awareness of any emotions which are not my own, and, 99+% of the time, I was not even aware that I had done so, until later, when informed that I had. My usual reaction has been surprise and confusion, for my emotions are not like those of non-Aspies. When younger, I spent absurd amounts of time stuck in intensely angry states, for reasons connected to another condition I have, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). I recognize anger; early exposure to far too much of it was involved in creating my PTSD in the first place. However, as I have recently learned, anger is not binary — most people experience a whole range of “shades of grey” related to, but less intense than, white-hot fury, such as simply being annoyed, or irritated. It was only recently that I became aware that other people experience such intermediate states between “angry” and “not angry,” although I know of no other person who made such a “discovery” in their 40s . . . and, without help from my wife, I might never have made it at all.

There is an important subgroup of the general population who form an exception to one of the common-among-Aspies characteristics above: not reading facial expressions or body language well. This group is the blind, and, to a lesser degree, the visually impaired. I wear glasses at work, and while driving, for mild-to-moderate myopia, but do not need them to function indoors, especially in familiar settings, such as home. Lately, I have simply stopped wearing my glasses while home. However, I certainly use my vision a lot, and think visually; the sheer volume of geometry (with apologies for the pun) on this blog is evidence enough of that. I have more familiarity with blindness than most sighted people, though, for three reasons: (1) I have read comic books since I was a kid (sometimes while hanging out in some science lab, although I was more likely to be found playing with a some dangerous chemical when very young), and my favorite title for most of my life has been Daredevil, the source of the lower-left part of the image above, (2) I have had close friends who were blind, and (3) I learned to read and write Braille as a college undergraduate, so that I could communicate with these friends by mail, and have not forgotten this skill, although it has lost speed — but I made the Braille lettering in the image above, which simply reads “everybody lies,” a line made famous by House MD.

There is also a fourth reason, unrelated to blindness, which is a common characteristic of those with Aspergers: periods of time when my senses become painfully over-sensitive, so that the sun, indoor lighting, etc., appear to be turned up extra-bright, everything is incredibly loud, etc. — except for my sense of smell, weakened by allergies, and exposure to chemical fumes. This used to happen during migraine headaches; now, I no longer get this state with headaches, but the amplified sensory perceptions are now so intense, at times, that this state is actually worse than a migraine headache, for at least those had pain to distract me, at least somewhat, from overwhelming sensory overload. When this happens, I blindfold myself to eliminate the visual overload, but I cannot silence the world, and you can read a description of what it sounds like, when I am in “Matt Murdock mode,” as I call it, in this blog-post. My perceptions don’t become so acute that I can hear the heartbeats of those around me (as the fictional Murdock can), and I’m fine with that; I don’t need, nor want, to have the volume turned up any further.

When House MD was airing new episodes, as I remember the show,  Dr. Gregory House would be an incredible jerk to people at least six to ten times per episode, sometimes more, and I found it hilarious. Only tonight, while watching the episode mentioned above, “Maternity,” did I realize (after nearly everyone else on the planet who has seen even one episode of this show), that House is incredibly rude at a rate far closer to six to ten times per minute. I had no idea!

This made me quite surprised. I then suddenly noticed something else: Dr. Allison Cameron — lying. Next, Chase lied. Later, Foreman lied. A patient lied, but of course they always do — “everybody lies” is a recurring theme of the show, and the consequences of lying are the show’s most-used plot-device. While thinking about this, I caught House lying. And I knew about each and every one of these lies before House revealed them, as lies, later in the episode. How was I noticing these lies I had never heard, as lies, before?

Of course, I have seen every episode of House MD, so memory is definitely a factor, but had not watched season one in years. I began to focus on this puzzle. About ten detected-lies later, I figured it out: I was hearing not an increased volume, but tiny changes in pitch, no more than a half-step on the musical scale. Lying is a risky activity, and liars know this, so it causes increased anxiety when people lie — and, due to this anxiety, I reasoned, their airways constrict, at least slightly, at the end of a lie, causing an increase in the pitch and frequency of the sound of their voices at the end of a lie. House was the ideal tool for teaching this, for it allowed me to “calibrate” my internal lie-detector, by focusing on the voices intently, while using long-stored memories of Dr. House revealing lies to help me catch what I had never caught before.

Of course, House is a TV show. This needed to be tested — with something which did not involve actors, nor writers. And so, I devised a way to test it. I asked a scientifically-minded person I know to help me test a hypothesis, by choosing a random order for a true statement and a lie, and then simply telling both to me, and then see if I could accurately identify the true statement, as well as the lie.

The pitch of this person’s voice unexpectedly went down, slightly, at the end of one of the statements, but did not change when speaking the other statement. What was going on, I wondered? I then figured it out: I had chosen a scientifically-minded person — who was trying to outsmart my experimental test! I then noticed that one statement of the two — the lie — concerned the number of items in a box, and was therefore testable. The other statement was not testable. The other person, who is quite intelligent, had taken a minute or two to formulate both the true statement, and the lie — and clearly intended me to fail the test, and then be able to prove it had failed, by simply opening the box. Using logical reasoning (an old skill) and my new, sonic lie-detector, together, I can now even detect a lie that a police polygraph might not have been able to detect!

I then realized I was detecting more subtle emotions . . . catching more jokes . . . and generally doing, by rapidly analyzing sound, what other people do by somehow “reading” body language and facial expressions.

It is a myth that Aspies can’t do such things as understanding emotions. It is not a myth that Aspies think in different ways, however. Sometimes, individual Aspies simply have to figure out their own methods for doing something which comes naturally to non-Aspies — and that’s exactly what I did.

I could, presumably, use this new frequency-sensitivity to train myself to lie convincingly, by deliberately avoiding the “tell” of a slight pitch-increase at the end of a lie. However, I choose not to do that. The first week I went without telling a single lie, in my teens, was difficult, but the second week was much easier, and the third was easier still. Not having to try to keep track of previous lies began to give me a persistent, liberated feeling that can only be enjoyed by those who are honest — and that feeling would, of course, vanish if I chose to invest time, energy, and thought into becoming a skilled liar. To do that would be to move backwards in my life, rather than forwards, and I see no reason to do that. In other words, I’m still me . . . just the latest version of me, that’s all.

How I Hit My Personal Mathematical Wall: Integral Calculus

Hitting the wall

To the best of my recollection, this is the first time I have written publicly on the subject of calculus. The fundamental reason for this, explained in detail below, is something I rarely experience: embarrassment.

Unless this is the first time you’ve read my blog, you already know I like mathematics. If you’re a regular follower, you know that I take this to certain extremes. My current conjecture is that my original motivation to learn how to speak, read, and write, before beginning formal schooling, was that I had a toddler-headful of mathematical ideas, no way to express them (yet), and learned to use English in order to change that. Once I could understand what others were saying, read what others had written, write things down, and speak in sentences, I noticed quickly that interaction with other people made it possible to bounce mathematical ideas around, using language — which helped me to develop and expand those mathematical ideas more quickly. Once I started talking about math, as anyone who knows me well can verify, I never learned how to shut up on the subject for longer than ten waking hours at a time.

A huge part of the appeal of mathematics was that I didn’t have to memorize anything to do it, or learn it. To me, it was simply one obvious concept at a time, with one exposure needed to “get it,” and remember it as an understood concept, rather than a memorized fact. (Those math teachers of mine who required lots of practice, over stuff I already knew, did not find me easy to deal with, for I hated being forced to do that unnecessary-for-me chore, and wasn’t shy about voicing that dislike to anyone and everyone within hearing range, regardless of the situation or setting. The worst of this, K-12, was long division, especially the third year in a row that efforts were made to “teach” me this procedure I had already learned, on one specific day, outside school, years earlier.) It might seem like I have memorized certain things, such as, say, the quadratic formula, but I never actually tried to — this formula just “stuck” in my mind, from doing lots of physics problems, of different types, which required it. Similarly, I learned the molar masses of many commonly-encountered elements by repeatedly using them to show students how to solve problems in chemistry, but at no time did I make a deliberate attempt to memorize any of them. If I don’t try to memorize something, but it ends up in memory anyway, that doesn’t count towards my extremely-low “I hate memorizing things” threshhold.

When I first studied calculus, this changed. Through repeated, forced exposure in A.P. Calculus class my senior year of high school, with a teacher I didn’t care for, I still learned a few things that stuck: how to find the derivative of a polynomial, the fact that a derivative gives you the slope a function, and the fact that its inverse function, integration, yields the area under the curve of a function. After I entered college, I then landed in Calculus I my freshman year. Unbeknownst to me, I was approaching a mental wall.

My college Cal I class met early in the morning, covered material I had already learned in high school, and was taught by an incomprehensible, but brilliant, Russian who was still learning English. Foreign languages were uninteresting to me then (due to the large amount of memorization required to learn them), and I very quickly devised a coping strategy for this. It involved attending class as infrequently as possible, but still earning the points needed for an “A,” by asking classmates when quizzes or tests had been announced, and only waking up for class on those mornings, to go collect the points needed for the grade I wanted.

This was in 1985-86, before attendance policies became common for college classes, and so this worked: I got my “A” for Cal I. “That was easy,” I thought, when I got my final grade, “so, on to the next class!”

I did a lot of stupid things my freshman year of college, as is typical for college freshmen around the world, ever since the invention of college. One of these stupid things was attempting to use the same approach to Calculus II, from another professor. About 60% of the way through that course, I found myself in a situation I was not used to: I realized I was failing the class.

Not wanting an “F,” I started to attend class, realizing I needed to do this in order to pass Cal II, which focuses on integral calculus. A test was coming up. In class, the professor handed out a sheet of integration formulas, and told us to memorize them.

Memorize them.

I read the sheet of integration formulas, hoping to find patterns that would let me learn them my way, rather than using brute-force memorization-by-drill. Since I had been skipping class, I saw no such patterns. All of a sudden, I realized I was in a new situation, for me: mathematics suddenly was not fun anymore. My “figure it out on the fly” method, which is based on understanding, rather than memorization, had stopped working.

A few weeks and a failed test later, I began to doubt I would pass, and tried to drop the class. This is how I learned of the existence of drop dates for college classes, but I learned it too late: I was already past the drop date.

I did not want an F, especially in a math class. Out of other options, I started drilling and memorizing, hated every minute of it, but did manage to bring my grade up — to the only “D” I have on any college transcript. Disgusted by this experience, I ended up dropping out of college, dropped back in later, dropped out again, re-dropped back in at a different university, and ended up changing my major to history, before finally completing my B.A. in “only” seven years. I didn’t take another math class until after attempting to do student teaching, post-graduation . . . in social studies, with my primary way of explaining anything being to reduce it to an equation, since equations make sense. This did not go well, so, while working on an M.A. (also in history) at a third college, I took lots of science and math classes, on the side, to add additional teaching-certification areas in subjects where using equations to explain things is far more appropriate, and effective. This required taking more classes full of stuff I already knew, such as College Algebra and Trigonometry, so I took them by correspondence (to avoid having to endure lectures over things I already knew), back in the days when this required the use of lots of postage stamps — but no memorization. To this day, I would rather pay for a hundred postage stamps than deliberately memorize something.

In case you’re wondering how a teacher can function like this, I will explain. Take, for example, the issue of knowing students’ names. Is this important? Yes! For teaching high school students, learning the names of every student is absolutely essential, as was quite evident from student teaching. However, I do this important task by learning something else about each student — how they prefer to learn, for example, or something they intensely like, or dislike — at which point memorization of the student’s name becomes automatic for me. It’s only conscious, deliberate memorization-by-drill that bothers me, not “auto-memorization,” also known as actually understanding something, or, in the case of any student, learning something about someone.

I don’t know exactly why my to-this-point “wall” in mathematics appeared before me at this point, but at least I know I am in good company. Archimedes knew nothing of integral calculus, nor did his contemporaries, for it took roughly two millennia longer before Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz discovered this branch of mathematics, independently, at roughly the same time.

However, now, in my 21st year as a teacher, I have now hit another wall, and it’s in physics, another subject I find fascinating. Until I learn more calculus, I now realize I can’t learn much more physics . . . and I want to learn more physics, for the simple reason that it is the only way to understand the way the universe works, at a fundamental level — and, like all people, I am trapped in the universe for my entire life, so, naturally I want to understand it, to the extent that I can. (A mystery to me: why isn’t this true for everyone else? We’re all trapped here!) Therefore, I now have a new motivation to learn calculus. However, I want to do this with as much real understanding as possible, and as little deliberate memorization as possible, and that will require a different approach than my failed pre-20th-birthday attempt to learn calculus.

I think I need exactly one thing, to help me over this decades-old wall: a book I can read to help me teach myself calculus, but not a typical textbook. The typical mathematics textbook takes a drill-and-practice approach, and what I need is a book that, instead, will show me exactly how various calculus skills apply to physics, or, failing that, to geometry, my favorite branch of mathematics, by far. If any reader of this post knows of such a book, please leave its title and author in a comment. I’ll then buy the book, and take it from there.

One thing I do not know is the extent to which all of this is related to Asperger’s Syndrome, for I was in my 40s when I discovered I am an “Aspie,” and it is a subject I am still studying, along with the rest of the autism spectrum. One thing Aspies have in common is a strong tendency to develop what we, and those who study us, call “special interests,” such as my obsession with polyhedra, evident all over this blog. What Aspies do not share is the identity of these special interests. Poll a hundred random Aspies, and only a minority will have a strong interest in mathematics — the others have special interests in completely different fields. One thing we have in common, though, is that the way we think (and learn) is extremely different from the ways non-Aspies think and learn. The world’s Aspie-population is currently growing at a phenomenal rate, for reasons which have, so far, eluded explanation. The fact that this is a recent development explains why it remains, so far, an unsolved mystery. One of things which is known, however, is the fact that our status as a rapidly-growing population is making it more important, by the day, for these differences to be studied, and better understood, as quickly as the speed of research will allow, in at least two fields: medicine, and education.

Only one thing has fundamentally changed about me, regarding calculus, in nearly 30 years: I now want to get to the other side of this wall, which I now realize I created for myself, when I was much younger. I am also optimistic I will succeed, for nothing helps anyone learn anything more than actually wanting to learn it, no matter who the learner is, or what they are learning. In this one respect, I now realize, I am no different than anyone else, Aspie or non-Aspie. We are all, after all, human beings.

A Lesson Involving the Social Use of Color

colors

RobertLovesPi’s social-interaction lesson of the day: different colors of fabric can actually mean something else, besides simply reflecting different wavelengths of light, and these meanings can shift quickly. (I already knew this could happen once per day, but was only just taught that this is also possible for n = 2, allowing me to extrapolate that, for the general case, n > -1, presumably with an upper limit set by the individual’s speed at changing clothes.)

As far as I can tell, n = 0 on weekends and legal holidays, in most cases, and n = 1 on most workdays (but not today, when the needed reflection-wavelength shifts from ~475 nm to ~550 nm after I leave the city of Sherwood, Arkansas, bound for a spot approximately 20 km South of there, in Little Rock, which is still in the same county).

Apparently my key to understanding this stuff is finding a way to analyze it mathematically. Also, posting such “new” discoveries to my blog increases the odds of me remembering them. However, unlike my last such finding (it involved chocolate chips not being a sandwich topping at Subway), I did NOT figure these things out “all by myself.” In fact, without help from two very important people, I doubt I ever would have figured them out at all!