Wednesday, June 1, 2011

what i love about wandering a bookstore

it's the patterns. the internet gives too much information. a library and the classroom out of date. only with books (300,000 new ones a year in the u.s. alone), laid out the tables, spread around the cafe, can i see what's the real trend. for example, national brain month. i've already written a bit about that. so much of what the new technology discovering, probing, picturing has us fascinated with ourselves in a new way.

ah, my search today related. it's all about ferreting out probability. i'd never heard of the 'quants' on wall street, traders analysing numbers derived from all kinds of info from the web. they know nothing about stocks, yet can pick the winners with more than a realistic chance. or take the recent tome 'a billion wicked thoughts' by aqas and gaddam. these guys tracked billions of hits and other memorabilia on the web. they came up with some surprising conclusions in the sexual arena, ie. most men prefer women with weight on their bones. i thought i was different, however the skinny in bed not as comforting as the pillow of a big behind and fleshy arms cradling your head.

the debate, of course, is how predictable are we? 'bursts' by lazlo babarsi maintains all, most all of us, providing you have enough information, can be tracked by big brother. then 'the genius in all of us' by david shenk maintains the opposite. true, i drive to the bookstore once or twice a day, yet i left my truck lights on last night. dead in the water, i took a walk in the park and bathed in the watery, spring greenery. that improved my mood, despite the viruses running around in my lungs. could this change in plans have been computed?

a wise politician said events determine the society's next move. could 9/ll have statistically been predicted? princess diana's death by paparazzi? the japan tsunami with the results it had? all these in the realm of possibility, and how do you narrow the odds? at the beginning of 'bursts' the author relates the trials and tribulations of the artist asan elahi. dragged into interrogations by the color of his skin and erratic travel, he decided to post everything about himself on line. as far as i know, his movements still can't be foreseen.

yes, books reveal a lot merely by being. let's hope the e-readers don't kill the hard copies. after all, during vietnam, even with extreme television coverage, i never would have known what was really going on. fitzgerald's 'fire in the lake', for example. what patterns do you see? zombies, teens obsessed with the mystical, all kinds of people browsing the overflowing business section. hang out in a bookstore, before it's too late, if you really want to know what's going on.

well, i've also been discovering the androids that live in my cell phone. you're welcome to look. after all, there's no hiding place.