Creating contours in the flat landscape of lockdown

In the midst of lockdown we have created a new household tradition that brings a highlight to the week. On Saturday nights we dress for dinner, enjoy our meal, watch Strictly on our new TV, and then push back the furniture and dance. 

With the household locked down, one day could easily look like the rest. To use Matthew Crawford‘s  language, the ‘affordances’ of one day look exactly like the rest: there are a fewer physical contours that shape how different parts of the week feel now that we are always at home. So you have to create that structure for yourself.

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Imprisoned with the infinite – the philosophical implications of an imaginary visit to Sweden

Yesterday our household returned home from an imaginary holiday. Despite being in lockdown, we realised that we could imagine going on a trip anywhere in the world. Our daughter suggested our Sweden. Too far to easily get to under normal circumstances without flying, with that constraint removed we thought, why not? Now back home, I have been using this visit as an opportunity to explore some philosophical arguments about how we deal with choice and how this affects our creativity.

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The satisfaction of learning what the buttons can do

A Casio fx-570s calculator, shown to illusrate a blog article called 'working out what the buttons do on machines'

I am reminded this morning of much I like working out what all the buttons do on a machine. Quite often the machines we use, be they an oven, a sports watch or a computer, have many more functions than we realise. Not all of these devices have the levels of user interface design that you might get from say a modern phone. While I’m a fan of good user design, I quite enjoy pouring through manuals to discover these more obscure functions… or better still, trying to discover them for myself.

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