All Postings (93)

2017

Computer Science and IT

Taking stock! Physics

Subversive? Physics?

My Philosophy!

Scripts Beget Scripts

2016

Theoretical Physics. A Hobby.

Self-Referential Poetry

Silent Online Writing

'Are You Still Doing PKI?'

My Philosophy (?)

Impact of physics on my life

Not much happened in 2015

2015

Unspeakable

Self-Poetry

Farewell Posting ...

Hacking away...

Web Project - Status

We Interrupt ...

Poetry from Poetry

PKI-Status-Update

Life and Work

Definition: 'Subversive'

2014 in Books

Physics Postings

Engineering Postings

True Expert

2014

2014 - a Good Year

Physics or Engineering?

Engineering Links

What Is Art?

Bio

PKI FAQ

Google's Poetic Talents

Certificates and Heat Pumps

Nr. 5: A Mind-Altering Experience

Technet postings

WOP!

Pink Spaceship

radices = Roots!

IT Postings

Web Projects

Life, the Universe, and Everything

Uh-oh, No Posting in March

PKI Resources

PKI Issues

Subversive Work

Spam Poetry

A Career 'in Science'

Writing

On the Shoulders of Subversive Giants

Search Term Poetry

Facebook Art

2013 in Books

2013

Explain, Evaluate, Utilize

Technology

About Life-Form Elke Stangl

elkement and This Site

No. 3: Internet Apocalypso

Retrospection

Newsletter Resurrection

2012

For Free

Subversive Yearly Report

Is My Life a Cliché?

Indulging in Cliché

Torture Turning Trivia

Intermittent Netizen

Knowledge Worker...

Profile

Physics on the Fringe

Graduation Speech

The Element is Back!

Offline

Physics Links

2011

Not Funny

Calendar and Magic

Expert

In Need of a Deflector

About to Change

A Nerd's Awakening

For the Sake of Knowledge

2008

Profession Or True Calling?

No. 2: On Self-Reference

I Have No Clue About Art

Netizen

2007

The End

No. 1: On Subversion at Large

2005

Emergency Exit

Modern Networker

2004

The Scary Part

Exploring the Work Space

2003

Instead of a CV

Favorite Books

2002

Elke was here

Postings tagged with 'Decisions', listed in descending order by creation date. All Postings shown.

Science and Me. Torture Turning Trivia.

(elkement. Last changed: 2013-03-26. Created: 2012-11-02. Tags: Science, Career, Decisions, Academia. German Version.)

I am flooding the whole world wide web with my musings on science, physics in particular, plus a bit of history of science.

But it seems a point of equilibrium has been reached. Peace and quiet. As an engineer 'in the making', focused on renewable energies, I am reconciling 'anything with anything'. Finally.

I have still not decided what 'science' means to me: Is it a world view, a collection of disciplines (I am biased in favor of natural sciences) or is it defined by the social system called scientific community?

I have left academia more than 15 years ago, trying to avoid the nomadic post-doc's lifestyle. It was a negative decision and not at all an easy one, I was not yet drawn to something new. I cannot leave blog posts on 'Leaving Academia' uncommented, see the following articles (highly recommended reading): The Cult of Academia und A Nerdy Break-Up: Leaving the Academic Life.

Here is my take on this: The Dark Side Was Strong in Me.

Fast-forward: I have finally found out, that

  • my destiny was to start a business of my own and

  • that I am not comfortable with being part of any large organization or system - be it academia or a global corporation.

But it took me some years to realize that, because academia was not igniting my entrepreneurial spirits yet. Rather the opposite: Though you have been trained to become a very specialized expert for many years - more trained or more specialized than any other professional, 'the system' still makes you feel you are still 'a student' who has to jump through more hoops, do more post-docs, write more papers, apply for more grants etc. 

Adding more trivial conclusions: Nice to analyze all this in hindsight, but I could have got there in an easier way. Maybe. And if you have problems with systems (sample n > 1) you should not blame it on the systems.

In December 2012 I was able to report on a milestone - not because something has changed dramatically in 2012, but because I have finally reached a Zen-ny state of contentment: 2012: The Year We Make Contact.

Offline

(elkement. Created: 2012-04-29. Tags: Web, Blogging, Writing, Decisions, Life, Announcements. German Version.)

The Element is offline - or at least it wants you to believe it is. In a distant corner of the web(*) it is more active than ever.

The red pages will be back online - probably changed a bit - in due time.

The pages are still there - you just need to know the URLs.

(*)elkement.wordpress.com

The chance in a life time to quote from the grand Offline Page I've never used:

This website is temporarily offline...

...being updated with new revolutionary content

... or just to fix some stupid error

Stay tuned.

About to Change (Though Unaware of This)

(elkement. Last changed: 2012-01-03. Created: 2011-01-07. Tags: Life, Work, Decisions. German Version.)

On reviewing your one history you are always biased and tend to rewrite it silently. You might consider that bias positive, recapturing Viktor Frankl's saying of flooding the entire life with meaning in retrospect. I am keeping the old versions of my web pages and force myself to re-read, comment and gradually change them. The CV tends to become cluttered, therefore I am providing a current version (2011) which is neither complete nor objective.

I always wanted to know how stuff really works and what makes human beings behave the way they do. As a child I have dismantled a toy car in a way that the grown-ups could not reproduce. I grew crystals of potash alum and blue vitriol (until I destroyed a not so heat resistant glass) and crafted paper polyhedrons (the largest in terms of no. of surfaces was a rhombicosidodecahedron with pyramids on each surface). Later I fired pulsed laser beams on little lumps of ceramic material, took photos of the emitted cloud of evaporated material and let thin films grow from this material. I have tried to understand why this clouds protruded into space in a very peculiar shape and why the electrical resistance of these films became zero at low temperatures (or not).

I was most interested in the reason why (things were as there were). It seemed less important to me to build something useful based on these insights. But I became more and more involved in the latter. Probably this was based on my investigations of the human behavior. Or rather the behavior of systems constituted by human beings. I learned what is required, important, right or opportune. As a small particle in large systems I have made some contributions. Today I am still under the impression of the ambivalent nature of of being the 'techie who saves the world': Fame and glory versus burnout and stoic self-descipline.

Reading the book of my life I am detecting the following recurrent theme: Since nearly 25 years I have been explaining technical and scientific stuff. By explanation I mean the transfer of low-level understanding - of 'talking and thinking science' in the language of mathematics - into examples, action, and stories. I am a true fan of Richard Feynman.

Steep meandering paths in Tenerife, Anaga Mountains. 2004, iconic trip.

(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.

Breakwater in Teneriffa, near the village Garachico at the Northern coast, only accessibly via a steep meandering road. (2004 - seven years before I finally and completely put into practice what I pondered about back then.)

Personal website of Elke Stangl, Zagersdorf, Austria, c/o punktwissen.
elkement [at] subversiv [dot] at. Contact