About Momentary Fascinations

permalink         categories: meta         originally posted: 2007-03-04 13:38:12

Welcome!

Welcome to Momentary Fascinations! This is a blog... sort of. Really, it's an outlet for essay writing, a way for me to work off my occasional topical obsessions.

Every so often, I'll go on a real information bender. I'll go deep into some subject, doing a bunch of research and filling my head with knowledge, until—inevitably—I burn out and move on. This was usually a complete waste of time; I wouldn't use the information for much of anything, and eventually I'd forget all about it.

Enter Momentary Fascinations. It's intended as a repository for that knowledge. During my throes of fascination, I'll hammer out an essay while it's all still fresh in my mind—thus preserving my ephemeral fixations for posterity.

Or, at least, that was the original inspiration. These days I also write essays on long-standing topics of interest; most of the essays in politics are like that.

Note that, unlike conventional blogs, I reserve the right to edit my essays. I don't plan to make violent changes, but I may edit to make things easier to read, to update in light of new information, to correct errors, or to elaborate on some points. Reader emptor I guess.

You'll also notice that I don't have any mechanism for leaving comments. So far, I haven't felt any great need for one; it'd just be something that I had to police for spam and foul language, and anyway this site is here for my benefit more than yours. Of course, if you'd like to email me with your comments, feel free.

Anyway I hope you find it all terribly interesting... though if you don't, I don't really want to hear about it.

Why A Butterfly?

One question I've never been asked is "Why do you have that picture of a butterfly there?" Time to hash out this non-question once and for all!

This is me apparently mis-remembering something said by Dr. Ted Nelson, the father of hypertext. You see, Dr. Nelson suffers from ADD. When I created this blog, I dimly remembered an interview with him where he talked about his condition. He said he prefers it to what he understands non-ADD consciousness to be like! He described how his mind, like a butterfly, would alight on a new idea for a short while, only to flitter away to something new. An apt metaphor for my blog, no?

However! I finally located the interview online, and discovered it didn't talk about butterflies at all. The interview was part of the article The Curse Of Xanadu, published in 1995 in Wired Magazine. In there, Dr. Nelson said:

Although inconvenienced by his disorder, Nelson is nonetheless proud of it. "Attention Deficit Disorder was coined by regularity chauvinists," he remarked. "Regularity chauvinists are people who insist that you have got to do the same thing every time, every day, which drives some of us nuts. Attention Deficit Disorder - we need a more positive term for that. Hummingbird mind, I should think."
Hummingbird mind? I think my mis-remembered analogy is way cooler. So the butterfly stays. Anyway, it's possible I'm remembering correctly, and just haven't found the right reference yet. (Please email me if you have an authoritative answer!)

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