Monthly Archives: October, 2023


Spotted on Mastodon, by Michael Marshall:

Schrodinger’s cat is now so ubiquitous a reference that it’s often used by people who don’t actually understand it or what it even means.

And you can only tell if they really do understand by waiting to see what they say next about it, to see if that demonstrates any further understanding.

But until that next thing is said, it’s impossible to tell. So they essentially exist in a superposition of both getting and not getting the reference.

Dumb switches and smart lights?

Almost all of our lights are now ‘smart’: controllable by software, timers, motion sensors etc as well as switches.

If you’ve done this, though, you’ll know there’s a problem: how do you stop people turning things off at the wall, at which point your smart lights become remarkably dumb?

Here’s how I do it:

(Direct link)

Overchoice and How to Avoid it

Do you ever find yourself agonising over two very similar items on Amazon, wondering whether you should by the one that has 0.3 more stars but is 30% more expensive? And what about other more major decisions, in this world where we often have so much choice?

In a nice article entitled Overchoice and How to Avoid it, Gurwinder says:

The best way to manage the myriad decisions of the modern age is by employing “philosophical razors,” so-called because they shave away options, simplifying choices.

Naturally, there’s an overwhelming range of razors to choose from. I’ve tried scores of them, and have found that most aren’t workable, either because they lead to poor decisions or they’re too complicated for everyday decisions.

A few, though, have proven indispensable. Here are the five I use most.

Read on.

Thanks to Charles Arthur for the link. As Charles suggests, you probably need to write these down somewhere prominent to get in the habit of using them!

Forms of address

Here’s a rather pleasing collection of UK address oddities by Paul Plowman.

In the US, it’s common for house numbers to be quite large – my parents-in-law used to live at 18325 Robert St, for example – but that’s because the first two or three digits are the block number, and the numbers aren’t contiguous within the block, so you can build more houses in the gaps if you want to and renumber very little.

But what do you think is the highest house number in the UK? This (and other entertaining facts) can be found in Paul’s blog post.

Thanks to Doug Clow for the link.

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser