Unfinished Thoughts

A scratchpad for exploring favorite themes: Borges, time, consciousness, computer science, etc.

Huffman Encoding

10 October, 2020

In chapter two of Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, an extended set of exercises deals with Huffman encoding. It's fascinating...

Threading Macros in Scheme

02 October, 2020

I’d always heard about the power of Lisp macros, which let you extend the language by rewriting code on the fly. You call macros just like…

World Lines

25 January, 2020

In Horizon, Barry Lopez writes, “A species is not so much a permanent thing as a point on the developmental line of that thing through time.” People, too, are fundamentally four-dimensional...

Objects and Ideas

07 December, 2019

Ideas are abstract, immaterial, in principle immortal. Objects are mutable; objects degrade and scatter; they crumble at our touch. Not one…

Crucibles of Mystery

17 May, 2019

After years of hearing Barry Lopez mentioned alongside some of my favorite writers—Edward Abbey, Aldo Leopold—I finally began to read him…

Madness, Rack, and Honey

09 March, 2019

I just finished Mary Ruefle’s Madness, Rack, and Honey, a collection of lectures about poetry and art in general. It’s an amazing book...

The Experience of the Sky

09 February, 2019

The strange thing about dreams isn’t that they’re strange. It’s that, as we experience them, they don’t feel strange. There’s something of…

Other Worlds

06 February, 2019

I wrote this for my friend Adrien Converse, the artist Lurm. In their livestream series “Live with Lurm,” Adrien reads pieces of writing for the very first time, then improvises music in response....

A Hardware Element to the Soul

23 January, 2019

A diary or journal doesn’t just reveal a person’s inner life. It helps create it, by structuring and deepening one’s ongoing dialogue with…

Looking for the Territory

18 January, 2019

Here’s one of the most wonderful passages in all of Borges, “On Exactitude in Science”:...