Saturday, May 28, 2016


I might as well coin the term "beuroware" for software that replaces a beurocracy.

"For English press (1)"

Friday, May 27, 2016

Pausing before taking off the second shoe

I notice that as I take of my shoes, there is a moment, when I have taken off one shoe, when I am at rest for a moment. I resume taking off my other shoe without a definite schedule. This is reflected in a "," in diagramming the expression "I took off one shoe and then the other:
I took off one shoe, I took off the other
Compare with the expression "I untied my shoe and then took it off". Which diagrams as
I untied my shoe :: I took the shoe off
The "," conveys a sequence that can proceed at an unconstrained rate, so I can relax for a moment before taking off the other shoe. When I untie a shoe, though, I do not rest until the shoe is off. 

I find other moments of rest, during the day. For example, getting out of my car there is a related set of actions: pull in, take car out of gear, brake, stop, pull parking brake, undo seat belt, open car door. THEN there is a pause before I exit the car, where I feel like I can rest a moment.  

These moments of pause are represented by the "," of narrative structure describing the action. I understand why it is natural to occur between shoes, but I am less clear why it works that way with stepping out of the car. In fact, I sometimes put one foot out of the car and on the ground, then pause. I guess moving a leg from inside to outside the car is a complete action and that "," is natural between complete actions. These thoughts reinforce the comparison between actions and narratives that can be called "planning". An action is not necessarily described in words but when it is the narrative should reflect underlying structure for the action. By this view, the structure of language simply represents the structure of planning and of action. Which allows language to be a window into our mental processes.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Boy and the Dragon

Act 1
Scene: The boy named Tom Solomon, is fishing along the river, only a few feet from the nose of an old female French Swimming Dragon (the ones that lay eggs that are elongated. These dragons are green and reflective and well camouflaged when they hold still). Female dragon is peacefully occupied looking for large prime numbers in her head and spearing an occasional passing fish with her tongue. Nearby a young female dragon, daughter of the older female, plays in a field. Her name is “Esque”- as in ‘statuesque’, ‘arabesque’, and ‘picturesque’ but not as in ‘grotesque’ or ‘Kafkaesque’.  The boy is glad it is Sunday and he can play outside.

Scene: the King’s advisors talk of how the King’s authority is being eroded by a strong middle class and powerful merchants. Originally the King’s family was famous for slaying dragons. “Too bad there aren’t any dragons left, or we could have the King defeat one… What, that old fart? We’d have to fake the fight…..hey why not fake the dragon….can we do that? Let’s ask the magicians and special effects department….” Eventually they come up with a fake dragon and launch it: a Red Fire Dragon, swooping back and forth over the town and countryside breathing fire and terrorizing everyone. Among all the advisors, one (The Naysayer) says: “No, you should not fool around with dragons…”

Scene: everyone cowers under the swooping presence of the Fire Dragon. The boy scrambles out of his boat and runs to hide under a nearby bridge. The old dragon shows no signs of even noticing the disturbance overhead. The young female, Esque, cowers for a moment in the field. She is too young to realize how well hidden she is in the grass, and she runs to hide under the same bridge – back to back with the boy. They meet and converse.

Scene: The mother dragon is called “Llel” as in ‘parallel’ and ‘Low Level Energy Laser’*. Esque talks to her mother about the scarey dragon overhead and the Lell says: “Oh! That? You can tell it is fake – see how it keeps repeating the same pattern – three flaps, a swoop and a turn to the left; then three flaps, a fireball, two flaps and a turn to the right…what a piece of junk….it’s a wonder the thing hasn’t crashed.” “But mother, it is frightening, can you make it stop?”
Reluctantly the mother agrees, shakes herself off, and jumps into the air. These French Swimming Dragons are graceful and delicate. Once airborne the mother becomes quite hard to see, reflecting the color of the sky and clouds. Occasionally a metallic glint is visible but never an outline. She flies alongside of the fake dragon – matching it flap for flap, swoop for swoop, and then shreds it with her claws and extinguishes the fire with a well-placed spout of water. She shakes herself off and glides to a landing on a distant lake a few miles away.

Act 2
Scene: The Naysayer and Merchants sit discussing events. One argues that the military is loyal to the King, another argues that a few select generals control the army’s loyalty.

Scene: the King’s advisors are only confused briefly by the destruction of the fake red dragon; then they see their chance. They call up the generals to send out the troops looking for a “green dragon”. Most of the troops don’t believe there is any such thing.

Scene: mother dragon swims back up the river, past the town, back to her quiet spot by the river. The troops ride up and down.

The troops capture Esque. The boy Tom gets into the castle and gets her out of her cage. As a young dragon Esque does not have ability to fly or shoot water. Somehow the stresses of capture initiate the maturation process. In a desperate moment, Tom climbs on her back and she is able to fly out with Tom on her back.

Act 3
They return to the mom. She gets angry, trashes the kings troops.

Much confusion ensues, possible dethroning of the King. In the end the Naysayer says: “I told you so”.

*Senior Dragon’s occasionally are allowed to claim an acronym for their name. It is not common.