Sunday, December 10, 2017

What Can Leonardo da Vinci do for Me?

Can you spot the difference between the picture above and the one which appeared (in the exact same spot) in the previous essay.
(I'm not trying to, um, frame you… Hint: Look for a frame!)

Preamble ๐Ÿ„

I get the joy of rediscovering you
Oh, girl, you stand by me
I'm forever yours
Ever yours

~ Journey (Lyrics from Faithfully)
In the previous essay, we had begun our exploration of the life of Leonardo da Vinci. It wasn't meant to be a comprehensive review of the big new book by Walter Isaacson; we were just having some fun delving into what all we could learn (from da Vinci's life) and apply it to our daily lives.

Ditto this essay. It's definitely not a homily. After all, I'm not your messiah that you have to reason why, notwithstanding that I had quoted the following antithetical lyrics from Prince as recently as the previous essay:
I'm your messiah and you're the reason why
'Cuz U - I would die 4 u, yeah
Darling if u want me 2
U - I would die 4 u
~ Prince And The Revolution (Lyrics from I Would Die 4 U)

The Short Answer

So the short answer to the question, which also happens to be the title of this essay—What Can Leonardo da Vinci do for Me?—is simply this: Quite a bit, if done right. And that's what this essay is all about! ๐Ÿฐ

The Long Answer

The longer answer requires some explanation; that’s what the rest of this essay is all about ๐Ÿป

My Promise

Since we are on the subject of what the guiding philosophy of this essay—or any other essay on this blog for that matter—is all about, let me be clear about something: I am, first and foremost, an explorer of ideas who freely shares his research findings with you. The last thing I want is to bore you to tears ๐Ÿ˜ญ

The style of my essays positively does not conform to the Elizabethan mold, though I'll unabashedly confess that great literature from that era has played a pivotal role in the formation of my writing style. Neither are my essays—at least I hope not—boring rehashes of what book critics have to say nor tiresome lectures on what some author got wrong or right (in full candor, I don't much read them anymore, a notable exception being the NYT Review of Books) ๐ŸŽญ

Look, while all those things serve a purpose, I think that your time—and mine—is far too valuable to be spent on that sort of thing. Sorry if I offended anyone, but that's just the way I happen to see things ๐Ÿ‘ป

So what I'm trying to say is this: if you don't get at least a handful of things out of any given essay posted on this blog—to improve yourself, to learn something useful, to get a bit of education, all of those things while having fun—then I'm failing you. I don't want to go there! And that's the last thing any one of us wants to happen anyway, right?

Yep, so that's my promise to you. Now it's up to you to keep me honest!

With that, let's dive right in ๐ŸŠ

A Guide To The Fun Which Lies Ahead ๐Ÿ 

What we anticipate seldom occurs; what we least expect generally happens.
~ Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield 1804–1881 (Henrietta Temple [1837], bk. II, ch. 4)
We have some ground to cover in this essay since we will continue our look—picking up from where the previous essay left off—at a multi-faceted individual because the life of Leonardo da Vinci is itself a multi-dimensional work of art. He sure was one awesome polymath. Interestingly enough, when I looked up the wiki page for "polymath", what did I find? Yep, a portrait of da Vinci himself (corectly billed as "a polymath of the Renaissance era"), smugly glaring back at me in all his wizened hoariness.

Dude, his august visage sent shivers down my spine as I thought to myself, "Man, did somebody of his caliber actually tread the same planet we live on? Like, for real? I need to spend some time learning more about him… This is way better than that Big-Mac-and-fries-and-ice-cream-cone super-combo I got just the other day from the McDonald's drive-through!" ๐Ÿ” ๐ŸŸ ๐Ÿฆ ๐Ÿฉ

Pit Stops (aka Sojourns) On Our Journey 

So let's get started with a bird's eye view of the pit stops we'll hit during our upcoming excursion ⛷
  1. Allow Yourself to be Fascinated by Math ๐Ÿ‘’
  2. Spot the Hidden Treasures ๐Ÿ‘‘
  3. Rekindle Your Passion for Probing Origins ๐Ÿ”ญ
  4. Hunt for Big, Timeless Ideas ๐ŸŽป
  5. Cultivate a Deep Feel for Learning ๐ŸŒŠ
  6. Pack Information as Densely as Possible ๐Ÿ‘œ
  7. Allow Your Art to be Informed by Nature ๐ŸŽƒ
  8. Distribute Evenly (or at Least as Evenly as Possible) ๐Ÿ‘ 
  9. Should You Chance Upon a Dark Cave… ๐ŸŒ
  10. Take it to the Limit ๐Ÿ

Receding Like The Distant Ship Smoke On The Horizon

Stand up in a clear blue morning
Until you see what can be
Alone in a cold day dawning
Are you still free
Can you be

~ Steve Winwood (Lyrics from While You See A Chance)
Okay, so what you see above is the itinerary for the sojourns receding from us—excuse me there, I had meant to say—coming our way: So I wasn't joking when I noted above that we have some ground to cover; not anywhere near what we had in the past couple of essays, but substantial enough, nonetheless, to warrant your packing at least some gear for the journey ahead ⛰

Ready? Got that trusty rucksack slung across your shoulder? ๐ŸŽ’

Great, let's start our journey with that crucial first step๐Ÿšถ


A Pattern Language ๐ŸŽฒ

Brief Background

So you know the routine by now, having read up the precursor essay or two: the genesis of the notion of a pattern language, inasmuch as it applies to software design—rest assured that I'll be introducing it shortly—can be traced back to the seminal book that had rocked our industry a bit over two decades ago:
Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software
 (Addison Wesley) by Gamma, E., R. Helm, R. Johnson, and J. Vlissides
And the way it rocked our software industry was right up there with a tsunami, albeit a benign one; a tsunami that nourished rather than demolished on whichever shores its waves crashed. In other words, it was a rising tide—albeit a massive one—that had lifted all boats unlike any other that our industry had seen before ๐ŸŒŠ

The Pattern Language: Annotated

Here, then, is the pattern language—note the color-coding below, starting with blackpurpleblue, and even some green making an appearance—in which I've cast each of the nine pieces that make up the bulk of this essay:
  • Heading: A short description of what a given piece is about (Precisely so, yay!) ๐ŸŽฏ
  • An Aspect of Leonardo da Vinci: My editorial "wisdom" (You back there, stop snickering. Now!๐ŸŽค
  • Related Book: Something to lend texture to the discussion (We play with word-painting) ๐ŸŽจ
  • Picture: A picture with which to ground the narrative in a corporeal way (This will be your ticket) ๐ŸŽซ
  • Quotation: A quote selected to wrap it all up into a unified whole (Big gifts come in small packages) ๐ŸŽ
In the end, I hope you will agree that there is a method to this madness… With that, let’s embark on our journey!


1. Allow Yourself to be Fascinated by Math ๐Ÿ‘’

An Aspect of Leonardo da Vinci: Applied mathematics is everywhere. It is no exaggeration to say that it powers modern civilization as we know it. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that a virtuoso polymath like da Vinci  allowed himself to be fascinated— to the point of being drenched—by applied mathematics. To take just one example (and Isaacson does a good job of laying out the details), da Vinci fully realized that deep understanding of the math underlying mechanics, together, of course, with a bunch of allied skills, would be crucial to his work as an anatomist. And he sure was a hot shot anatomist; no doubt about it! ๐Ÿ’Ž
Related Book: The Princeton Companion to Applied Mathematics (Princeton University Press) by Nicholas J. Higham (Editor), Mark R. Dennis (Editor), Paul Glendinning (Editor) ๐ŸŽจ 
If the pursuit of mathematics was good enough for Leonardo da Vinci, it's good enough for me. Period. There are a ton of great books on applied mathematics but probably no single volume quite as amazing as The Princeton Companion to Applied Mathematics! This marvelous book has an overwhelming—in a good way—amount of  stellar material (all, covered thoroughly) on applied mathematics. Mind you, not pure mathematics, but applied mathematics. For pure mathematics, there's an even more awesome book, also from Princeton University Press. It's called The Princeton Companion to Mathematics. While the word "Pure" is missing from the latter, the bottom line is that it's chock-full of some of the loveliest pure mathematics you will ever set your eyes on; remember what the legendary British mathematician G.H. Hardy had to say on this very topic: "Beauty is the first test: there is no permanent place in the world for ugly mathematics."  Beautiful mathematics is permanent and doesn't go stale.
12 f
Philosophy is written in this grand book—I mean the universe—which stands continually open to our gaze, but it cannot be understood unless one first learns to comprehend the language and interpret the characters in which it is written. It is written in the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles, and other geometrical figures, without which it is humanly impossible to understand a single word of it; without these, one is wandering about in a dark labyrinth.
~ Galileo Galilei 1564–1642 (in Il Saggiatore, The Assayer)

2. Spot the Hidden Treasures ๐Ÿ‘‘

An Aspect of Leonardo da Vinci: Read all about the fascinating story of how a collector—with an eye for spotting hidden troves—came across an unidentified painting at Christie's in Manhattan. The plot thickens after connoisseurs enter the fray. But look for the tenacity of this one collector whose drive led him farther than most... Isaacson tells the story with great relish. Great stuff! ๐Ÿ’Ž
Related Book: Seeing What Others Don't: The Remarkable Ways We Gain Insights (PublicAffairs) by Gary Klein ๐ŸŽจ 
It would take an entire essay to describe the wherewithal of the remarkable book that is Seeing What Others Don't. Nevertheless, the sketchiest of descriptions that I can share  goes something like this: If ever you were interested in finding what makes human decision-making tick and how insights occur, this is the book to read.
13 f
When you find something funny, search it for hidden truth.
~ George Bernard Shaw

3. Rekindle Your Passion for Probing Origins ๐Ÿ”ญ

An Aspect of Leonardo da Vinci: Isaacson, I must confess, has done a stellar job of making da Vinci's life come to life! Case in point: Origins matter, not in a fatalistic way— I subscribe to the growth mindset, not the fixed one—and da Vinci's notebooks, filled to overflowing with drawings and descriptions of all things engineering,  delved into the origins of fissures in walls. What exactly is it that causes cracks to appear in walls and stuff like that. While this may not sound like the coolest thing on earth—and practitioners of civil engineering would probably beg to differ—the point I'm trying to make is simply that systematically drilling down to root causes, using nothing more than first principles, is often the best strategy around. Some principles of engineering are timeless; this is one of them. By the way, remember Mona Lisa’s enigmatic smile? Yep, there's a  fascinating discussion in the book which details how da Vinci doggedly went about determining the origin of every nerve that controls the facial muscles—talk about dedication, keeping in mind that The Mona Lisa is pretty much the most famous painting in history ๐Ÿ’Ž
Related Book: Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe (Vintage) by George Dyson ๐ŸŽจ 
Contrary to the cheeky adage that "History is bunk", there's much to be gained  from the study of history. Trust me, I've been there: back in school, the mere mention of the subject history was enough to make me from and sigh with melancholy! But that was then, and this is now. In the interim, I have learned—sometimes to the school of hard knocks—that "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Lesson draw from my mistake as well as those all others: pay close attention to the genesis  of phenomena. And that's where Turing's Cathedral comes in. Magnificently written, this book—which chronicles the life and times of Alan Turing—is a joy to read. if you want to probe the origins of our present day digital infrastructures, this is the book to read . Don’t miss it! It would be remiss of me to not mention how life came to find out about this cool book: through the pages of the masterpiece book entitled Plato and the Nerd, which, as you'll recall, got its very own set of three essays on this blog. Enough said.
14 f
Stop this day and night with me, and you shall possess the origin of all poems.
~ Walt Whitman 1819–1892 (Song of Myself, 2)

4. Cultivate a Deep Feel for Learning ๐ŸŒŠ

An Aspect of Leonardo da Vinci: In his big new book, Isaacson gives copious examples which  conclusively prove that da Vinci sure was a smart cookie. The depth with which our smart cookie studied any given problem to be solved is quite staggering. As an example, consider the phenomenon of waves propagation: da Vinci had such a deep feel for how waves propagate that he assumed—correctly—that both light and sound must travel in waves. There's a lot more going on, of course; get a copy of Isaacson's book and find out for yourself ๐Ÿ’Ž
Related Book: Deep Learning (The MIT Press) by Ian Goodfellow, Yoshua Bengio and Aaron Courville ๐ŸŽจ 
What is there to not like about the intriguing subject of deep learning? Since I have already written quite a bit about it, allow me to give you references to those very essays:
Good enough?
15 f
I have three treasures. Guard and keep them:
    - The first is deep love,
    - The second is frugality,
    - And the third is not to dare to be ahead of the world.
Because of deep love, one is courageous. Because of frugality, one is generous. Because of not daring to be ahead of the world, one becomes the leader of the world.

~ Lao-tzu c. 604–c. 531 B.C. (The Way of Lao-tzu)

5. Hunt for Big, Timeless Ideas ๐ŸŽป

An Aspect of Leonardo da Vinci: Isaacson aptly points out that, as a pedigreed heir to a lineage of notaries, da Vinci instinctively kept recordsscribbling away ideas (several of which would lead to timeless inventions and discoveries) and lists and stuff like that. Woohoo, he sure was a latter-day aficionado of keeping an engineering diary, something which your very own blogger is fond of to this day. My own journey from (software) engineering to computer science and back—with multiple arcs of traversal back and forth—have served to both leaven and intensify my long-existing propensity for note-taking. While I'm not by any means claiming to be a modern day da Vinci, there's nobody to stop me from taking inspiration all the same! ๐Ÿ’Ž
Related Book: Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age (O'Reilly Media) by Paul Graham ๐ŸŽจ 
This is a unique book to which you will find frequent references throughout my essays. Yes, you know where I am going with this, don’t you? Exactly. Here, then, are the relevant references:
  • An essay where we chat some about the lispiness of the Lisp programming language in a disarming way; non-programmers have nothing to dread as we blend art and programming ๐Ÿ”ฎ
  • An essay which leads off with a David Foster Wallace quote ("If you are immune to boredom, there is literally nothing you cannot accomplish") ๐Ÿ˜ด
4 f
We live in fragments. The design is only revealed later.
~ Anais Nin (in an unpublished diary, circa 1952,  as quoted in The Quotable Anais Nin: 365 Quotations with Citations 
— Sky Blue Press) ๐ŸŽ

6. Pack Information as Densely as Possible ๐Ÿ‘œ

An Aspect of Leonardo da Vinci: What, exactly, is information anyway? Did da Vinci ever try to take it apart and put it back together again? If so, how expertly? Did he stumble? Or did he succeed? these are just some random questions that I'm throwing out there… Thinking here in particular to one episode in the da Vinci's life when— just before undertaking his journey in service of Borgia— he enumerated the equipment to pack, including, prominently enough, a book of white paper for drawing and a leather vest. Anyone remember the knapsack problem? Anyone? Hello, Bueller. ๐Ÿ’Ž
Related Book: The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood (Vintage) by James Gleick (Extra brownie points... Chaos)  ๐ŸŽจ 
James Gleick is an amazing writer. Unless I’m mistaken, I have read every single one of his awesome books. This happens to be the penultimate one, the successor being on matters of time and space. Far from being a dry tome, The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood reads like a thriller... 
17 f
There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry—
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll—
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human Soul!

~ Emily Dickinson (In "XVI: A BOOK", from The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson)

7. Allow Your Art to be Informed by Nature ๐ŸŽƒ

An Aspect of Leonardo da Vinci: As we find from reading Isaacson's big book, da Vinci was definitely on to the notion of the shortcomings of arithmetic—being a computational science— when it came to grapple continuous quantities. Oh my, da Vinci sure was one of the smartest of smart  cookies. That's for sure! The lesson and it is for us: analyze, but also quantify and diversify ๐Ÿ’Ž
Related Book: The Nature of Computation (Oxford University Press) by Cristopher Moore and Stephan Mertens ๐ŸŽจ 
Let me put it this way, to give you an idea of just how special this gem is: this is one of my desert island books. Period. Lavishly illustrated, it reads like a detective novel. As Scott Aaronson (associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT) aptly put it: "To put it bluntly: this book rocks! It's 900+ pages of awesome." So don't be surprised when you run into (copious) references to The Nature of Computation in the essays around here! For example, these:
 That's all folks.
18 f
Computers are useless. They only give you answers.
~ Pablo Picasso

8. Distribute Evenly (or at Least as Evenly as Possible) ๐Ÿ‘ 

An Aspect of Leonardo da Vinci: First, allow me to point out that your feet wouldn't ache as much if only you would choose to distribute your (slender!) weight, um, slightly more evenly. That's all that my bright-red icon (the red pumps) above—the one pair-less red pump right next to the heading—is trying to say, even as I try to be as delicate about this (to my female readers) as I possibly can: nothing less, nothing more, ladies. Trust me, we guys—and I happen to be an inveterate feminist who grows more appalled by the day in trying to keep up with the steady stream of news trickling out about sordid misconduct of so-called "leaders"—have our own share of even-handed justice to be dispensed to us!

So anyhow, read up the fascinating details (in Isaacson's Leonardo da Vinci of course) of how da Vinci doggedly went about achieving marvels of engineering—which he lovingly captured for posterity in his detailed notebooks—including the glorious casting hood for the monument. The casting hood just happened to include plans to pour molten bronze through many holes so that it would be distributed evenly.

Again, for the fascinating details, read up the big new book by Isaacson! And while poring over its pages, you'll also want to check out how da Vinci was in the vanguard of researchers—another name, really, for a polymath on fire—who came to realize that the heart, not the liver, was the keystone of the engineering marvel that allows it to function as the pump for evenly distributing unto the blood system. ๐Ÿ’Ž
Related Book: Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture Volume 4: A Pattern Language for Distributed Computing (Wiley) by Frank Buschmann, Kevin Henney, and Douglas C. Schmidt ๐ŸŽจ 
You all knew this, didn't you now: sooner or later, my roots in the craft of designing and implementing distributed computing systems would pop up in this essay. Somewhere. at least once, and probably sooner than later; in this case, admittedly enough, it's happening later, such as... Now. And what you have in this nice book (A Pattern Language for Distributed Computing) is nothing less than a rundown of everything that makes distributed computing tick.
19 f
Good sense is of all things in the world the most equally distributed, for everybody thinks he is so well supplied with it, that even those most difficult to please in all other matters never desire more of it than they already possess.~ Renรฉ Descartes 1596–1650 (Discourse on the Method [1637], pt. I๐ŸŽ

9. Should You Chance Upon a Dark Cave… ๐ŸŒ

An Aspect of Leonardo da Vinci: Isaacson does a good job of giving the reader insight into the formative force of a chance encounter with a dark cave—visualize da Vinci standing at the cave's lip, debating whether he should tread inside—while hiking near Florence (Italy). I especially enjoyed how Isaacson masterfully builds the atmosphere leading up to the point where da Vinci's burning curiosity triumphs over his initial reticence. He enters the cave, only to discover... Are you ready to do the same? If so, read on to what I've got in the next ("Related Book)" section of this piece...
Related Book: Deep Thinking: What Mathematics Can Teach Us About the Mind (World Scientific) by William Byers ๐ŸŽจ 
Marvelous book. Don't miss it. I’m surprised by how little the name of its author (William Byers) is known outside of the contemporary, mathematical community… That is a pity because his work has much to offer to a diverse set of disciplines outside of the queen of sciences, notably including computer science, philosophy, and software engineering. You will be pleasantly surprised by the rather profound message of Deep Thinking. The style of writing is engaging. The bottom line: it sheds a flood of light into the dark recesses of your slumberingoops, I didn't quite mean to put it that waythinking apparatus (yep, your one and only noodle that slumbers inside your cranium) ๐Ÿ’€ Well worth a look! (Both of them, actually: your noodle and this book) ๐Ÿ“•
20 f
The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards.~ Anatole France [Jacques Anatole Franรงois Thibault] 1844–1924 (The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard, II, 4) ๐ŸŽ

10. Take it to the Limit ๐Ÿ

An Aspect of Leonardo da Vinci: A watertight argument can be made that few individuals in the history of mankind have given their all—with a passion at once playful and obsessive—to the pursuit of an incredibly diverse set of subjects (among them: anatomy, fossils, birds, the heart, flying machines, optics, botany, geology, and weaponry) to the degree that da Vinci did. He unleashed his creativity to an extent rarely, if ever, seen in another human; he died empty.

By the way, and just the other day, a friend quizzically looked at this piece and asked me, "What exactly is that bumblebee doing there?" It was only then that I realized how misplaced my assumption was in tacking on a cute bumblebee to the end of the heading above—symbolizing as it was the defiance of limits, since bumblebees, given their chubby tubby ponderousness, are not supposed to be able to fly at all—in that my symbolism would probably be clear as mud to other readers as well! Oops… And that's when I had hastened to add my solemn expiation, the sorry note you just read. So if anyone is abuzz about what that was all about; well, now you know ๐Ÿ˜™

One more time, How do we take it to the limit? Read on to find out… ๐Ÿ’Ž
Related Book: Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day (Portfolio) by Todd Henry ๐ŸŽจ 
In some ways, this book resonates the deepest with the life of Leonardo da Vinci. You may well be asking, Why? How so? Perfectly good questions all. The answer is actually quite simple: da Vinci lived his life with an unrivaled passion that would put us all to shame. He died empty, living a life with no regrets, sharing his discoveries with the rest of the word through his scintillating work. So are we up to at least trying to do little bit of what da Vinci did? Can we, really? I say we can. And you know what? There is nobody to stop you…
21 f
For it is not meters, but a meter-making argument that makes a poem—a thought so passionate and alive that like the spirit of a plant or an animal it has an architecture of its own, and adorns nature with a new thing. 
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ("The Poet", from Essays: Second Series [1844])๐ŸŽ

Epilogue ๐ŸŽˆ

A Collage Reappears Out of Ether

Since we've been having some fun gleaning useful takeaways from the life and times of da Vinci, it's pretty safe to say that we have been in engineering territory. (I sure hope you enjoyed this essay, made up as it was—the bulk of it anyway—of 10 distinct, standalone themes). In the end, to  tie together those diverse themes into a unified whole, let's briefly revisit the annotated collage coming up quick ๐Ÿšง

So go ahead and spend the next few moments taking in the collage below ๐Ÿ‘€ Notice the contoured (and admittedly jaundiced) arrows—which emanate from a handful among the books that encircle an eclectic set of mementos which in turn encircles my book-of-the-decade—all gracefully pointing in the direction of awesomeness ๐Ÿ†

I have written quite a bit about it already and will likely be writing much about it in the future as well; just a word to the wise ๐Ÿ˜น

A Parting Thought...

No lectures, no nothing now ๐Ÿ™‰ As we wrap this up, all we're going to do is have some fun with recursion gone haywire that's finally reconciled by way of weak central coherence… Cool? ๐Ÿ˜‰

With that, why don't you check out the recursively framed artwork below. And when you do, please help me understand just what in the world could be going on in there, would you? Of course, I'm not leaving you stranded either; I like you all way too much to do anything of that sort!

Here, then, are some annotations—sorry, no arrows this time, jaundiced or otherwise—which actually show up right after the framed artwork below ๐ŸŽจ

Legend to the Picture Above

Clockwise, starting from the top, we have:
  1. Standing upright, we've got painting virtuosity on display ("The Reading Room", a prized possession) ๐ŸŽญ
  2. A physical red bench, which just happens to be a memento symbolizing real life conversations that matter
  3. Woohoo—a piano keyboard awaits the trained fingers of a maestro to bring it to life ๐ŸŽถ
  4.  Goodness gracious! How did my Towers of Hanoi make it into this collage? ๐Ÿน

 The Power of Conviction and Courage… inspire with beauty and roses ๐ŸŒน ๐ŸŒน ๐ŸŒน ๐ŸŒน

Featured in there—for those not familiar with the sterling work of interfaith pioneer Eboo Patel—in addition to stuff not already mentioned, is a remarkable book entitled Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, in the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation ๐ŸŒป


  1. - What follows is not fake news. It is brought to you as a public service, sort of. I'm not making it up; I swear it's true. 

    - You all are so shy, which probably explains why… i.e. we seldom see comments posted around here. Plus, a ton of readers have reached out to me, telling me about problems encountered while trying to post their comments on any given essay. I'm not sure if this is a Blogger-specific thing, or whether readers of other blog sites (powered by WordPress, etc.) also run into similar issues…

    - Should you still not believe me—aha, we got ourselves a credibility gap eh—I refer you to the following comment (actually a recommendation that's closely related to the essays we read and write around here)... Here, then, is that note, verbatim, and which you'll also find on my LinkedIn profile at the URL above:

    As a brilliant translator and supremely gifted writer, Akram Ahmad draws inspiration from a prodigious knowledge of a world of great literature and poetry. His blogs, decorated always with the perfect choice of artwork, flow with charm and originality and are a feast for the eyes and a joy to read.

    - Look, I'm not trying to be a jerk. Why would I? After all, I'm allergic to jerks of all kinds, much as I think you, too, are. All I'm trying to say is that the artist is like a vessel who allows himself (or herself) to be filled with art—be it painting, prose, poetry, you name it—which he (or she) then shares freely with his (her) patrons. That's all I'm doing here.

    - You all—my dear Readers—are simply the best! You are awesome!! Having said that, I'm going to add something which I trust you'll take in stride: to paraphrase George Orwell, "All Readers are equal, but some Readers are more equal than others." Once again, dear Reader, if you reach out to me—through your comments on this blog, through Twitter, or however else you wish to—then you, too, will become "more equal than others." LOL! How does that sound? Everyone happy? Yes, yes? Hey, hey… Yay!

    1. - Adding that—at least from the standpoint of posted comments—a bunch of other essays have fared far better. I hasten to add that I don't judge the success of any given essay based on the number of comments it garners… By the same token, seeing more comments (than less) is way more fun!

      - As an example, barely a day goes by when one of my essays—the one about big data which I wrote a couple of years ago—garners yet another (enthusiastic) comment. Go figure :-)

      - As soon as I get to the bottom of the problems encountered (by readers) while trying to post their comments on any given essay, I'll be sure to update you. That way, we can all be on the same page. Again, I'm not sure if this is a Blogger-specific thing, or whether readers of other blog sites (powered by WordPress, etc.) also run into similar issues…