Nice Problems

Friday, April 22, 2011

Today's post will be on "three good things," with a twist. For various reasons, I'll call these "three nice problems."

1. Wednesday morning, I woke up seeing a big time gap to fill and planning to use it for a few projects of my own choosing. Wednesday evening (and four emails later) I now have a project that wants the lion's share of that time, and have learned that I may have a lot less of that time than I thought I would. (Sorry, but that's about as much detail as you'll ever get from me about work-related matters.) From the perspective of time management for the next month or so, this is going to be quite a challenge. From the perspective of achieving a very difficult personal goal, this is fantastic news.

2. Fortunately, one of the projects I had started was to go through the recorded sessions of a personal productivity class I enrolled in a couple of years ago, only to find myself unable to attend the live classes. Wednesday morning, I realized the "homework" would probably be much more useful if I were busier. I got my wish, and I have come up with a very clever way of keeping track of all my "thinking on paper," if I say so myself. But that -- if it really works well -- is the subject for a later blog post, after I try it out and refine it. It was for the lack of a good non-paper system for keeping up with my thinking notes that I never got into the habit of using that technique, as effective as it can be. Oh, and it looks like a promising way to keep track of other thinking and things like lecture notes. That said, squeezing in the rest of the lectures for the course will be tricky!

3. Uncle Sam's choice to pickpocket a legitimate and profitable government agency is indeed horrible news, but it reminded me or led me to learn about some interesting trivia about the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Here's the interesting trivia:

Did you know that none other than Thomas Jefferson was the first patent examiner in the United States? See Historic Press Releases. Did you know that from 1841 to 1876 the Declaration of Independence was entrusted to the Patent Office and put on public display? See Declaration of Independence A History. Did you know that in 1865 President Abraham Lincoln’s second inaugural ball was held in the model room of the Patent Office? See Inaugural Ball.
Read the whole thing later, to learn about a foolish trade-off of innovation for the paltry sum -- compared to the price tag of our various redistributionist schemes -- of $100 million. Even this is a nice problem, in a sense, but we won't even be able to have it for long if we don't fix it.

The links in the above excerpt lead to other interesting things. To end on a light note, in keeping with my practice of thinking about positive things on Friday, I found this patent drawing for a "continuous wave generating apparatus for simulated surfriding" rather amusing.

-- CAV

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