Software Musings

Cartesian Gliding

Posted on: 25/10/2009

I have come across two thought-provoking notices over the last few days.

I am informed, by a normally reliable witness, that the first appears in the women’s toilet in the Chapters Bookshop on the corner of Rideau Street and Sussex Drive. It is inscribed on the wall and reads

I think, therefore I am. Aristotle.

The second appears more openly in the window of a hairdresser on Beechwood (a street in Vanier, Ottawa rather than a bosky grove). It says

Say ‘NO’ to thermal abuse.

I have no recollection of ever having said “yes” to thermal abuse and, as a glider pilot, I have abused many. I remember one of my instructors saying that it was incredible how I had been able to fly across the floor of a valley in central Wales, missing every one of the thermals. The problem, of course, is that if you catch the edge of a thermal with your wing, it lifts the wing and tends to throw you away from the thermal. The trick is to detect the tiny upward movement of the wing and immediately turn into the thermal. Thereby gaining lift.

It it still a puzzle why anyone would be that worried about thermals but the quotation from Aristotle is even more thought-provoking.

I assume that the versions of Aristotle that we have, translated and interpreted by people like Abū ‘Alī al-Ḥusayn ibn ‘Abd Allāh ibn Sīnā’ (OK, I looked Avicenna’s real name up in Wikipedia), have had his sceptical side suppressed. It is good to see that someone, and someone who is female and who frequents Chapters, has a more accurate version.

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Disclaimer

The author of this blog used to be an employee of Nortel. Even when he worked for Nortel the views expressed in the blog did not represent the views of Nortel. Now that he has left, the chances are even smaller that his views match those of Nortel.
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