What is it?

These days, you can buy “self-blinking” LEDs which have their own tiny brains embedded inside the LED. Just power them up, and they blink about 1.5 times a second. The thing is–they’re not all that precise. One might blink slightly faster than the next, or slightly slower.

Each light just blinks on its own, at its own pace; the structures and sequences we perceive are artifacts created by our pattern-sensing minds.

To my mind, a lot of modern life boils down to finding patterns: matching things together, making theories that fit the data. We boil down a lot of things; yes or no, us versus them. This talent was useful as hunter-gatherers: seeing a pattern in the underbrush could mean the difference between eating or starving. But today I suspect that we detect less helpful patterns. We find signals in the noise, whether it’s there or not; Skinner’s pigeons, hopping one-footed.

What, where, when


Care and Feeding






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