Philosophy: what is an abstraction?

Self-tutoring about philosophy: the tutor looks at abstraction.

An abstraction is a definition of an entity that includes only how it behaves and reacts but not what it is. Abstractions are used when details are unimportant beyond the interaction itself.

Let’s imagine a road: a person needn’t know what surface it’s paved with, how old it is, or who laid it, to travel on it. The abstraction is the understanding and expectation of how one can use a road for passage, ignoring details about it.

Source:

Lewis, Depasquale, and Chase. Java Foundations: Introduction to Program Design & Data Structures, 4th ed. Toronto: Pearson, 2017.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

What is real? -part II: cryptozoology

Self-tutoring about reality and awareness: the tutor explores a concept about cryptozoology.

As I understand, cryptozoology seeks to describe animals not accepted by mainstream science. “Not accepted” is perhaps open to interpretation.

Years ago, I would walk a thin patch of forest with my kids. With so many houses nearby, I doubted anything large could be found there. When I saw, on a couple of occasions, large mounds of black scat, I wondered, but decided it couldn’t be from a bear. The scat ceased to appear that year, confirming my suspicions(?).

The following year, in springtime, the scat reappeared with growing frequency. What could be causing it? I continued to wonder.

Late one July afternoon, my kids and I were there again. I pointed to a disturbance in some bushes; unexpectedly, they ran ahead of me to investigate. I was on higher ground.

As my kids neared the bushes, I saw a black bear rise from within them. I shouted, “Get back, there’s a bear!” I could see the bear’s face; its expression seemed one of surprise, rather than fury.

Perhaps it thought humans don’t exist in those woods.

Source:

wwwlivescience.com

outdoors.stackexchange.com

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Biology: botany: plant ID from field guide: shepherd’s purse

Self-tutoring about plant identification: the tutor mentions shepherd’s purse.

Reading the field guide lately, I noticed shepherd’s purse in there. It looked familiar, but I wasn’t sure where I might have seen it.

In my experience, there are two ways to make a new ID. One is by accident: just walking somewhere, you might notice a plant with distinct characteristics easy to remember. You observe as much as you can, then later find that plant in the guide. Most identifications I’ve made happened like so.

Otherwise, you might start from the guide: noticing an interesting plant therein, you might resolve to find it. You read its ecology, then visit corresponding sites, combing them for that plant. Eventually you find it, knowing already what it is because it’s what you came for. Great identifications can happen that way.

I wanted to find shepherd’s purse, but life is busy lately, with end-of-school concerns, etc.

In an odd twist, my older son and I walked home from the gym on Saturday, which we almost never do. (My wife dropped us off but needed the car.) We were walking and talking when I noticed plants growing up from seams in the sidewalk. Unmistakably, they were shepherd’s purse!

Shepherd’s purse is tough plant, often around the height of a ruler, with a thin erect stem, that’s easy to miss. Its flowers are very small and white. Its peculiar feature is its fruits, which are triangular discs with a definite seam lengthwise through the middle.

Source:

Pojar, Jim and Andy MacKinnon. Plants of Coastal British Columbia. Vancouver: BC Ministry of Forests and Lone Pine Publishing, 1994.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Bird identification: Eurasian collared-dove, part II

Self-tutoring about bird watching: the tutor continues about the Eurasian collared-dove.

Back on April 2, 2016, I ID a Eurasian collared-dove. They’re prominent here; I recognize their owl-like cooing often.

Lately I’ve been hearing a squawking sound; what could it be? Tonight I heard it and noticed swooping movement outside. Looking there, I saw nothing at first, but then noticed a tail among high branches. I hoped to behold the bird behind the squawking.

All of a sudden, it took wing and flew to another nearby tree; simultaneously its mate appeared with it. They were light-coloured, dove-like birds.

I looked up the Eurasian collared-dove, wondering if it has two voices – it does. Besides cooing, it can make the squawking sound, which I’ve heard often this season.

Source:

allaboutbirds.org

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Botany: field identification of plants: a fresh set of eyes identifies pepper-grass

Self-tutoring about plant identification: the tutor reveals a tough ID, made with a fresh set of eyes.

Possibly two years ago, I began noticing a tough plant with a thick stem and disc-like fruits that look like smooth, round leaves. The fruits got my attention, since they’re so well formed. They’re typically 3mm to 4mm across.

I looked through the guide and found pepper-grass, both tall and prairie, might resemble what I’d found. Yet, I wasn’t sure. Truly, I wasn’t observing carefully enough to make the positive ID.

Yesterday I browsed through the guide, wondering about returning to field plant identification (it’s been awhile). I noticed pepper-grass and, recalling my curiosity about it, read carefully its characteristics. Today, I saw some of the plant, and recalled my reading from yesterday: its flowers are at the end, but easy to miss, being around 1mm and white. Its leaves are alternate, and its disc-like fruits each has a distinct seam.

The last few times I read the guide, I just didn’t read those details carefully enough, or even recall them.

I mention in my post from October 16, 2017 how informative a fresh set of eyes can be. Today reconfirms it.

Source:

Pojar, Jim and Andy MacKinnon: Plants of Coastal British Columbia. Vancouver: BC Ministry of Forests and Lone Pine Publishing, 1994.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Homonyms: wurst and worst

Tutoring English, homonyms are always interesting. The tutor mentions the pair wurst and worst.

wurst: product prepared from ground meat, such as sausage or meat spread.

worst: least successful

Source:

Mish, Frederick C (editor). The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 2004.

whatscookingamerica.net

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Psychology: Why might one arrange deck furniture on a sinking ship? Part 0

Self-tutoring about psychology: the tutor reflects….

I forget when, or from whom, I heard the saying “…just like arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic…”; likely, it reached me a few years ago. My impression is that the saying is relatively recent, as least in popular culture.

The concept of arranging deck furniture on a sinking ship surprised me as much as I’ve ever been: it’s so absurd – right(?!?). “Who would do such?” I wondered. “Surely not….” Reflecting truthfully, I realized I do actions tantamount, and I think most others do, too.

I believe there are numerous reasons why people will attempt to cosmetize a doomed situation. The zeroth I want to bring up I might call “human nature.”

I recall hearing that all animals are creatures of habit if they can be. They are only pragmatic if menaced, and often not even then. Animals are who they are with neither regret nor apology.

Humans sometimes imagine themselves apart from animals, but perhaps we’re not. We struggle to find a routine that works and then we stick to it. Some people prepare for disaster, but few.

Living is risky business, which most creatures understand is beyond their control. What they hope to control is how they feel, even during those last moments before they sink within the waves to the great unknown.

Often, humans aren’t pragmatic, but at the same time we never give up. Heaven knows, we’ve been miraculously snatched from disaster more times than we imagine. While waiting to be rescued, why not engage in a soothing habit, in order to help restore “normalcy,” which the human animal refuses to believe isn’t returning?

I suppose I would help rearrange the chairs on the sun deck of a sinking ship. First, though, I’d pick up a coffee from the espresso bar. Then, I would be reassured:)

psychologytoday.com

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

English: homonyms: clue and clew

Tutoring English, homonyms continue to delight. The tutor mentions a great pair.

clew: a metal loop sewn into a sail for fastening.

clue: helpful evidence towards solving a mystery.

Source:

Mish, Frederick C. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 2004.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Lifestyle: Salt Spring Coffee: Blue Heron variety

Self-tutoring about coffee: the tutor mentions one he’s glad he picked up.

When Salt Spring Coffee comes on sale, I usually buy a few bags. Yesterday was just such an occasion.

The Blue Heron variety, which I’m drinking right now, is a nice treat. Described as Medium Dark, I’d say it’s closer to Dark than Medium. Its flavour is full, and I’d describe it as very smooth.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.

Windows 7: creating restore point

Self-tutoring about home computer use: the tutor mentions a great video about how to create a restore point in Windows 7.

A great presentation is entertaining just by itself, regardless of how interested you are in the topic.

Lately this computer’s been running so well I thought I’d make a restore point. But, how? I found this video about it.

I followed the steps he mentions to create a restore point.

Jack of Oracle Tutoring by Jack and Diane, Campbell River, BC.
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