Saturday, 3 November 2012

I know this is a bit silly, but...

...I can't resist sharing it. I was idling away my time the other day thinking about brains. I was thinking how the associations my brain is capable of were far more interesting than a search engine could achieve. I might have less information in my brain than exists on the internet (do I? Now I type it I'm not sure) but my brain's search tools can throw up all sorts of associations way beyond the abilities of an internet search engine. Moreover, my brain's search engines usually operate outside my conscious control.

Both brain and internet have their strengths. I can wonder what sort of music I feel like listening to. My brain can reflect on all the genres I'm aware of and express a preference for one. The internet could throw up a genre I was previously unaware of. My brain could suggest I search the net for something new or even pick up an instrument and invent a new genre.The internet will only do what I ask it.

Thinking along these lines, it occurred to me that although the internet can't reproduce a search akin to my subconscious associations, my brain could attempt a crude search along the lines of an internet search engine - a "brain google" if you like. Take a word -any word- at random, let your mind freewheel and see what memories are associated with the word. This is not at all like the traditional psychoanalytical word association - it really is a matter of trawing one's memories for ones where the word might prove useful. For example, I tried it using the word "over". These were the first four "hits":

1. Cricket at St Chad's school. The score board was also a shed where the scorers sat. My mum had knitted me a white cricket jersey.

2. A game we played at school called OWZAT! You played it with polyhedral dice. It was simply a random game of cricket. One die told you what the batsman scored off each ball. The other die told you if the ball was a wide, etc. One self-explanatory facet simple said OWZAT! Owzat! was a serious pursuit played with proper cricket scoring books.

3. Amateur radio. Over, funnily enough, is not a word people use. More likely to say "Back to you, old man". (Seriously).

4. Playing cricket for the ASLEF cricket team, which I did in my 20s. I didn't work for ASLEF, but had a friend who did. Their office-workers were keen cricketters but could't quite raise a team without a few players from outside. Me, I'm a lousy cricketter. I once had to bowl the last two overs of a match against Kent NUM. To my amazement, I took a wicket - the only one I ever took in my brief cricketting career.

12 comments:

Rachel Fox said...

Nice exercise. And as for "back to you, old man"... really?
x

Tom Stephenson said...

Airline pilots and ATCs say "Good evening" (or morning or afternoon) to each other when signing off, but balloon pilots just say "Out" - not 'over and out' - but they still say "Over" when in the middle of a message. That's all I can say about it!

Dominic Rivron said...

Thanks for these comments.

RF: Really. In Morse code it's abbreviated to OM, as in

73 OM es TKS fer FB QSO.

Which means

All the best old man and thank for the great (literally "fine business") contact".

Amateurs (the male ones) are also famous for referring to their girlfriends as YLs (young ladies) and their wives as XYLs.

Amazingly, given this glimpse of potentially geek culture, there are female amateurs too.

TS: I'm not surprised balloon pilots say what they say and don't say what they don't say. Over and out could be dangerously misinterpretted. :)

The Weaver of Grass said...

With regard to number one on your list - that white cricket sweater. My mind wanders on that theme, following your instructions. If I remember rightly you were clambering around the decks of Bill's cabin cruiser on the canal, when you fell into the water. When you managed to get out, said sweater, apart from being a dirty brown, was also round your ankles. Conclusion - home knitting and canals are not good for one another.

Jenny Woolf said...

When my kids were little I used to tell them stories entirely improvised from on three words which they gave me out of their heads. I was always amazed at how my brain can lnk almost anything you could mention.

patteran said...

On early illegal CB, we always used to say 'Over'. It fulfilled thrillingly that sense of Biggles, Lancs over Germany and hushed tones from behind the lines! Since becoming a radio ham, I adopted the languid, very English, 'Back to you', leaving the 'old man' addition to the radio ancients.

A Cuban In London said...

Which is why the idea they were discussing the other day on Radio Four won't take off. Robots or computers writing novels. If they could, they would probably look like a Katie Price's book. Written-by-numbers.

The only reason why we're capable of writing poetry, prose, writing songs, painting, making in art, basically, is because of these mental associations you were referring to in your well-articulated post.

Thanks. I enjoyed reading that.

Greetings from London.

Gwil W said...

It's not over until the fat lady sings!

Dominic Rivron said...

Thanks for these comments!

Malcolm Duffin said...

Hi Dominic
My Name is Clive Hunte and I work for Band on the Wall, I'm working on a archive project with Ian Croal, and He's looking for pics of musicians such as yourself (pics at botw would be preferable).
if you can get in touch via my email clive.hunte@bandonthewall.org that would be great.

Cheers

Clive

Jessica Maybury said...

I like this :) maybe I should play this game.

Dominic Rivron said...

JM: Go for it!