This website shall finally reconnect with its roots – radices.
With the dawn of the new millennium a self-proclaimed Subversive Element has registered a bunch of domains. It was especially fond of radices.net and subversiv.at. Today, all these sites have been re-united and redirected to elkement.subversiv.at. But the site does not deliver on its promising name – I feel it became way too 'professional' recently. Historical content has been filed mostly under Physics (radices) and Art (subversiv). The category life displays some of the matter-antimatter collisions of these two worlds. Which also explains the category of the current article.
The Subversive Site was a Red Padded Cell, with Font Color = White, a so-called creative playground. The Element was aware that 'everybody' could read this but it did not care. The Merger of the sites was inevitable in the end, after a final detour of professionalization – when radices.net suddenly also hosted pages with IT Security links.
I have been a blogger, and I observed the evolution of other blogs: My anecdotal evidence shows that blogs live for about 1-2 years. If they are bound to survive they have to escape the matrix and to overturn their creators. A personal blog or website needs a 'Big' Idea. OK, not really big, but at least a-all-encompassing and abstract enough so that all the authors different threads and lines of thoughts can be silently tied together using this idea's magic glue.
My elkement.blog is relentlessly edited (Voice from the future: Soon there will be no distincion anymore between 'this website here' and 'the blog over there'. It was a more philosophical site once, but I aim at following our punktwissen principles now. Articles should be concise, provide value, and perhaps also entertainment. There should be s logical connection between posts and my curated lists should help readers to find something 'useful'.
On the contrary, this site has more or less the same article over and over again – perhaps in disguise and interlaced with technical notes. It is all about my personal keeping the essence of Physics alive and useful for me. Since radices was originally a German-only science and philosophy site, the English version might not reflect this – but in the early articles on elkemental Force (at that time: Theory and Practice of Trying to Combine Just Anything) I recaptured these ideas.
So I do finally accept this – let elkement.subversiv.at have its way. This is elkement's personal site, and its primary topic is How To Learn About Physics And Why This Might Be Useful Or Even Edifying In Very Different Ways.
- Learning physics means to start somewhere in the middle. That's why a first Introductions to Physics lecture is always hard (if the lecturer has some modest mathematical aspirations). You need to look at the same phenomena from different angles, and only after a while – and some work – everything will fall into place. This process and journey of learning is rewarding in itself.
- The more related to mathematical foundations (of physics) a question is, the less googleable the answer is. You can find anecdotes, and examples, science sound-bites for entertainment. Of course you find awesome lecture notes to learn the fundamentals from Feynman Lectures to Landau-Lifshitz – but you need to 'learn' them. In contrary to the mantra of You Just Need to Know Where to Find Something (like: Google for error messages) I believe that really knowing about fundamentals without googling helps a lot with problem solving: You can walk through how a system should work, just using the resources in your head.
- Mathematics purges the brain, and this does not only help with mathematical problem solving. So I believe that the hackneyed problem-solving skills of science graduates are real (albeit it is difficult to assess the self-selecting nature of STEM degrees for people with natural 'analytical' skills). But the caveat it: Years of corporate work, powerpoint slides, office politics, distractions, pressure to deliver ad hoc can erode these skills. I have long-term tested different methods to keep physics knowledge alive and usable - and learned now that science might even provide some evidence, in a sense.
- I have been in 'cyber security' for a while and I have written lots of gloomy articles about our new smart world of automation and where everything (including heating systems) is turned into cloud-based services. Thoughts on all of this is still work in progress, I am working on internal consistency and unambiguity. I came into the world of IT as an experimental physicist, I was applying my training of troubleshooting complex 'analog systems' to digital systems. Despite the myth of crystal-clear 0s and 1s it was often better to treat them as blackboxes. I lacked the typical computer nerd's / enthusiast's background and started late – playing with Microsoft systems and Office VBA and the like. In spite of this Treat-as-a-Blackbox approach I like to understand as much as possible about a system. Yes, I know you cannot understand, yet build, a power plant, from knowing how to solve Maxwell's Equations (yet understand or solve issues in cyber security related to such power plants). Nevertheless, if I have the choice to understand something at all, I'd pick Maxwell's Equations.
Since years I am using an (angry) dinosaur as my web and blog logo. The dinosaur is from another era, and sometimes it cannot deal with 'modern' concepts of our 'smart', 'networked' world. But perhaps, it was part of this world for a while in order to overcompensate.
Now the dinosaur is getting more and more confident that its typical dinosaur activities might be more productive and positive than it thought before.
I have returned to where I started from. This website closes on itself.
Unburdened of the nagging questions that have tortured The Element before. So this is: Subversion Light. Subversion in Retrospect. Subversion Reloaded - a remake, probably diluted due to pondering about what has been pondered about what had been pondered about.
Work has always been the leitmotif of subversiv.at. Work and the connotations attached to it by a corporate geek, such as true calling (or not), (knowledge) work, dread and pleasure.
This website has been started in 2001: motivated by philosophical discussions with like-minded corporate geeks. Discussion that accompanied a so-called management training. Confirmed by hip and hot so-called business book.
On the dawn of the new millennium I have started a psychological self-test and under-cover research. This was called 'Corporate World'.
So what happened to the Element? Did it live up to its expectations? Which expectations? Imposed by whom?
There is a Ten Years After edition of the business book mentioned. I do not know it and I have written an update of my own.
This is not about numerology or other esotericism - this is just a try to transform corporate planning thinking and deadline madness into something useful.
The proverbial carrot in front of the nose of the donkey does work. In fact, in works the better the more pointless but simple the goal is. I can speak from experience.
I once promised to myself that I need to make the change until a date of
0x.0x.(20)0x with x=5.
Actually the decision has been taken as early as x=2.
And it worked.
Probably thanks to conditioning by various dangling prestigious carrots - that I had all managed to grasp finally in the past: School, university, corporate goals.
At x=9 I started pondering about new plans again.
We are using the Babylonian system of numbers based on 60 and its various factors such as 12. This means that there will be no 13.13.13
The Element is in change mode and mood again.
(First English version generated at the beginning of 2011. There is no older and thus 'more positive' English version in this category - one that would correspond to the oder German articles.)
Some years ago I would have described myself as a nerd, geek and tech freak. I like Dilbert-style humor, worked at strange hours and found some aspect of Star Trek like adventures. I still believe that having worked in the trenches of a real IT project adventure is the best way of building long-term 'contacts' (as relationships between human beings in the business world are called in modern 'networking lingo')
23:00 ... But there is still life in the office (or in the data center). The project team is working their heads off to meet the deadline. Having consumed an enormous amount of coffee, Coke and pizza the mood is cheering up - paradoxically. It is difficult to understand for outsiders when grown-up professionals show childlike joy when call their test domain disaster.now.
By the way I have implicitly defined 'Technology' as something like the real-world applications of the insights provided by natural sciences and engineering - real-world also including human beings, corporate politics, and so on. Originally the term as such would rather mean 'Understanding of techniques' in my opinion - which is to some extent exactly what is missing in modern 'technology' (depending on how to define 'understanding').
My resume from many years 'in IT' and 'in technology projects' is as follows: I was worth the experiences - both technically and personally. It is fun to be part of a Dilbert cartoon for some time, it is like carnival (which I never liked, BTW). But at some point of time you might want to return to the role of the person who is just occasionally reading the cartoons - even if this means: less money, less glory.
Scott Adams hat written God's Debris. I would be interested in his motives.
Being subversive - does anybody appreciate it?
Does appreciation result in financial compensation?
Are we not able to be subversive in so-called business world or do we just feel that we are not allowed to?
Or could we be subversive all the time?
Would anybody notice it?