When we write down any sentence, we feel as though we are decreasing entropy in the universe, because we are constructing something that has order, structure and meaning. But we need to do this while obeying the laws of physics.

Which means that when you look at the process of “person writing a sentence” as a holistic system, you will probably find that entropy was increased by that single act of thoughtful creation. This entropy increase generally comes about in ways we don’t think about, like moving, sweating, typing, or the heat given off by our brains.

So ironically, the more order we try to create in the universe through our well intentioned systems of thought, the faster we are actually causing the universe to wind down and eventually die. This is one of the odd peculiarities of being a thinking physical being.

But I wouldn’t sweat about it.

Fixing the bug

Many of you have been there. Your computer program has a bug, which for weeks you have been searching for.

You keep making improvements to your program, adding features, making things prettier. But still that bug persists. And you know you can’t really release the code until you find it.

Then one day, you manage to fix it. The clouds part, sunshine streams in. Somewhere a choir is singing.

Just this morning I fixed such a bug. A terrible, tenacious, head banging scourge of a bug.

But now the bug has been vanquished. It is no more, and I am free.

Until, that is, the next bug shows up.

Economic shift

A huge economic shift is coming. Post-pandemic, things will not go back to the way they were pre-pandemic.

Companies are downsizing their plans for new office construction. The assumption now is that people will spend more of their week working from home.

Commercial property won’t go away, but the home will take on a more prominent role as an integral part of the workplace.

New kinds of services will arise to cater to the growing market that this will create. For example, health and wellness while working in the home will gain in prominence, as millions of new customers show up for that market.

To take just one category of such a market, “aging at home” will start to be tied to the work economy in a fundamental way. Older people will consequently find it easier to enter a newly configured workforce.

These will all be great changes, if they are done properly.

Beautiful flowers

Why do people find flowers beautiful, and why do we like their aroma? If you look at these questions from an evolutionary perspective, it is hard to identify a specific chain of cause and effect.

What would be the evolutionary advantage to flowers for people to find them beautiful and fragrant? Conversely, what would be the evolutionary advantage to our species to perceive flowers in this way?

Unquestionably, we humans love to look at flowers and we love to smell them. We cultivate them, surround ourselves with them, and give them as gifts to the ones we love — entirely because of these qualities that please us so very much.

Is there some non-obvious evolutionary adaptation at work here? Surely somebody must have studied this question before.

Future sports

If we were to design a space from the ground up to support sports contests for people who are in high quality VR, how do we do that? Are there elements that are essential, and others that are optional?

What kind of tracking equipment do we need? What are the safety considerations?

Is there a fundamental difference between collocated and non-collocated sports contests? Can we consider a mix between the two?

In other words, can we consider the sports equivalent of the Jedi Council? And if so, what are the issues around network latency that need to be considered for non-collocated players?

I suspect there are a lot more things to think about here, and an opportunity to play entirely new varieties of sports. I, for one, am looking forward to playing Quidditch.

Virtual pets

I wonder whether virtual pets will really be a thing, as extended reality starts to become pervasive. I think it comes down to the question of whether we would think of an artificially intelligent entity as “alive”.

I don’t mean this in an intellectual sense, but in an emotional sense. There is a kinship that we have with any fellow living creature that possesses an organic brain.

We understand such a creature to be a feeling, thinking being, however different from us. It is not clear that we would ever think the same way about an entity that is simulating a brain via artificial intelligence, however faithful the simulation may appear.

If I had to venture a guess, I would guess that virtual pets will never be a thing in the way that real pets are. In this domain, the difference between real and simulated is simply too primal, and the potential for true emotional bonding hinges upon that difference.


I am visiting a hospital today for a checkup. Unlike most places in July 2021, masks are mandatory for everybody here.

This raises an interesting question: Are hospital safer than other places because we are all wearing masks, or are they less safe because, well, they are hospitals? After all, there are lots of sick people here.

Somebody probably knows the answer to this question. I sure as heck don’t, but I’m very curious to find out.

Post-physical jewelry

Some years from now, we may all be wearing XR glasses as we shop, travel, go to restaurant and so forth. Those glasses will take the place of SmartPhones, but they will be far more integrated into our surroundings.

When that happens, I wonder whether we will see the rise of non-physical jewelry. Rings, necklaces, earrings and so forth might start to appear on peoples’ bodies, not physically but virtually.

Unlike physical jewelry, these adornments will be able to change their appearance over time, perhaps to match our mood or the current social situation. They will also have value, but in a way that differs from physical jewelry.

The uniqueness and rarity of a particular piece will be established by digital means. Blockchain or an equivalent technology will ensure the provenance of that rare necklace you are virtually sporting.

I wonder what skills will carry over from traditional jewelry making, and what new skills will be developed. I guess only time will tell.