Welcome

I’ve been contemplating starting a blog for a long time now, and have finally done it!

Welcome to iParallax, where I will be sharing the types of thoughts and ideas that tend to annoy people when they are shared in the form of Facebook posts.

So first things first-the blog’s name: iParallax. It’s more than a cool sounding title, it’s a reflection of how I tend to see things and what I hope to do with my writing. First, a dictionary definition of parallax:

par·al·lax [par-uh-laks]

noun

1. the apparent displacement of an observed object due to a change in the position of the observer.

In everyday terms, this is why a passenger in a car looking at the speedometer will think the car is traveling slower than it really is. The passenger is viewing the needle from the right and the needle will appear to be hovering above a number further to the left (slower). The passenger’s vision is fine, the image he is seeing is accurate, but unless he corrects for the distortion inherent in his point of view, he will still draw the wrong conclusion. If he were to calculate his ETA to the destination based on his distorted view, he would be wrong. If the driver were to change speed so the passenger saw dial as indicating the speed limit, the car would be speeding. To repeat; he is still right from his point of view, but ultimately he is still wrong.

Parallax can be useful, though. It is used in astronomy observing celestial objects at different times of the year, and therefore different positions in space, to determine angles and therefore distances to and between those things in space. In everyday life, shifting your head side to side will reveal which objects are closer; they will appear to move farther than objects in the background. This is how some animals without binocular vision and thus depth-perception as we know it determine distances.

This phenomenon can be (i)ntellectual as well as physical, hence the name. Viewing any type of issue from different points of view can help us arrive at a better understanding. And so I intend with my writing to share the off-the-wall ideas, connections, and perspectives I come across, hoping to make everyone (myself included) a little bit smarter and better off for having taken the time to read.

After an academic career worth of writing papers with defined end-goals, it sure feels odd to start an open-ended writing project. I’m sure discussion themes will evolve over time, and I already have a few series-worth of articles brewing in the back of my mind!

Ground rules for discussion are simple. This blog is about ideas, not people. Therefore disagreement with ideas is encouraged; insulting the people who hold them is prohibited. Let’s try to avoid needing anything beyond that.

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3 thoughts on “Welcome

  1. Pingback: Comedy: Part 2. “Life is the Business of Pimps and Hoes” | iParallax

  2. Pingback: The 2013 Anti-Progress Report | Radish

  3. Pingback: Logo | iParallax

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