4000 Weeks

It could have been named 75 years or 900 months or 30 000 days or an even larger number of hours, minutes or seconds. Instead, the unit used was weeks. All of these numbers indicate the approximate human life expectancy.

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals (2021) is Oliver Burkeman’s (1975 – , 2400 weeks) contribution to understanding the temporal limitations of human life. I have come across several reviews of this book, two of which I have read, including one by the author. The others I have either skimmed or ignored.

Burkeman’s own review of his book, At best, we’re on Earth for around 4,000 weeks – so why do we lose so much time to online distraction?, appears in the Guardian 2021-08-07. He begins with a description of 44 wasted minutes, when in 2016-04, two Buzz Feed reporters attach 686 elastic bands to a watermelon, that ultimately explodes. Why do people use their time in such ways? This question applies not only to participants determined to affix elastic bands, but also to the spectators watching the YouTube video, and the commentators reporting on it, including myself, who has not even bothered to watch any of the video. The Watermelon Problem, is also the title of chapter five in the book. The chapter asks, essentially, why do we waste our time on social media, when there is a beautiful real world to experience?

Much of Burkeman’s book consists of name dropping, and the paraphrasing of passages from self-help works. It is divided into two sections. The first, Choosing to Choose, is further divided into six chapters, and looks at how people can act to determine their future. The second, Beyond Control, has eight chapters, and has more about chance.

Burkeman begins his book, by looking at Lewis Mumford (1895 – 1990 = 4919 weeks), Technics and Civilization ( 1934) and a modern concept of time, defined as “an independent world of mathematically measurable sequences.” The industrial revolution was more dependent on the clock, than the steam engine. Burkeman wonders if this attitude toward time sets up a rigged game. One cannot simply live a life unfolding in time. Instead, each moment is judged according to its usefulness in achieving future goals. This will ultimately backfire, because “[I]t wrenches us out of the present, … experiencing everything in terms of some later, hoped-for benefit…” Because of this, deep time, with its vividness of reality, becomes unachievable.

In the second chapter, the Busytown series by Richard Scarry (1919 – 1994 = 3908 weeks) is mentioned. This is because the residents of Busytown, while busy, are not overwhelmed, unlike almost everyone else in modern society. Contemporary life is an extreme version of a law expressed in Parkinson’s Law (1957), “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion,” developed by C. Northcote Parkinson (1909 – 1993 = 4362 weeks).

Thus, people are ever engaged in futile activities that reduce labour, and max out convenience. In the words of Burkeman, “Convenience culture seduces us into imagining that we might find room for everything important by eliminating only life’s tedious tasks. But it’s a lie. You have to choose a few things, sacrifice everything else, and deal with the inevitable sense of loss that results.”

Martin Hägglund (1976 – , 2334 weeks) and This Life (2019), his book on secular faith and spiritual freedom, presented in chapter three, Facing Finitude, resonated. Given infinite time, there is no need to prioritize.

Mortals constantly need to choose, or as stated in the fourth chapter, “The good procrastinator accepts the fact that she can’t get everything done, then decides as wisely as possible what tasks to focus on and what to neglect.” This chapter contains three principles. First, if an activity really matters, the only way to be sure it will happen is to do some of it today and no matter how many other activities may be demanding attention. Second,  limit the number of works in progress. The third principle is better described than named. Make a list of the top twenty-five things one wants out of life, then arrange them in order, from the most important to the least. Prioritize the top five. Actively avoid the others. They are insufficiently important to be part of a core, but seductive enough to be distracting.

This leads to Robert Goodin (1950 – , = 3690 weeks) and On Settling (2012) involves accepting something that is less than ideal. This can apply to a romantic partner as well as a job, and much more, including: numerous categories of physical objects. Personally and initially, I thought of houses, cars and computing devices. However, it can apply to almost anything, and in a second round, seconds after the first, I thought of sailboats, clothing and tools.

In the second section, life is described as an ever flowing river of time that is always flowing. It is expressed in the the title of chapter seven, We Never Really Have Time. Here, Douglas Hofstadter (1945 – , 3993 weeks) is famous for Hofstadter’s Law: every task will always take longer than you expect, even when Hofstadter’s Law is taken into account. David Cain (1941 – , 4164 weeks) notes that people never have time in the same sense that they have cash in their wallets or shoes on their feet. A claim to having time, is simply an expectation of it. 

Hofstadter is an important writer for computer scientists, and others, because of his book Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid (1979). Wikipedia describes it, “By exploring common themes in the lives and works of logician Kurt Gödel [1906 – 1978, 3742 weeks], artist M. C. Escher [1898 – 1972, 3849 weeks] and composer Johann Sebastian Bach [1685 – 1750, 3407 weeks], the book expounds concepts fundamental to mathematics, symmetry, and intelligence. Through short stories, illustrations, and analysis, the book discusses how systems can acquire meaningful context despite being made of “meaningless” elements.”

In Chapter 8, You Are Here, people are told that much of life is preparation for something else. At one point he quotes Alan Watts (1915 – 1973, 3071 weeks) “Take education. What a hoax. As a child, you are sent to nursery school. In nursery school, they say you are getting ready to go on to kindergarten. And then first grade is coming up and second grade and third grade…In high school, they tell you you’re getting ready for college. And in college you’re getting ready to go out into the business world…[People are] like donkeys running after carrots that are hanging in front of their faces from sticks attached to their own collars. They are never here. They never get there. They are never alive.” Eastern Living, Modern Life (2006) p. 109-10.

In terms of a return on investment, there is little point in reading beyond this point. In fact, others may have given up much earlier. Rather than reading, it might be time for everyone to make a plan of what they want to prioritize in this life. This will most often be age dependent. As an older person, I see some neglected interests re-emerging from earlier parts of my life – working with electronics and with sound, for example. Other aspects of it do not hold the same appeal – with boating the best example. In terms of travel, I have an interest in connecting with family and friends, select places in North America and the Nordic countries.

I also see a need for five year plans, where a window of opportunity encourage a focus on a limited range of activities. My personality does not encourage pursuing the same activity throughout a lifetime. I prefer the short or medium-term to the long-term. Currently, I am nearing the end of a phase of concentration on building construction. Initially, it was more rewarding, and I intend to finish off certain aspects of it. However, I am now drawn to other activities. This contrasts with my significant other. Textiles and music were her interests when I first met her. Textiles are still important to her. If a hearing disability had not intervened, I imagine music would have been one of her life-long interests, as well. Unfortunately, that was not to be.

Note: In this weblog post only, the birth and death dates of deceased people are followed with their lifespan measured in weeks. For living persons, their life is given in weeks from their birth to the date of publication of this weblog post, 2021-08-28. Round numbers may indicate that the exact date of birth/ death is unknown. This very situation includes Oliver Burkeman.

Linux: 30 Years Old

Today, Linux is 30 years old, unless it is 51, 44, 38, 35, 34 or 29 years old. Some might even say 25, just to be difficult.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to determine start dates. Take the average person. The exact time of conception may be difficult to know. Thus, it may be easier to use some other event as a proxy for the start of life, such as a person’s birth. Even if a child has no recollection of her/ his own birth, this is an event most mothers will remember.

Something similar has happened with Linux. There have been a lot of different start dates proposed. In part, this is because an operating system is complex, consisting of many different but integrated parts. Linux has a tendency to borrow these components from other projects, including/ especially Unix. Thus, the very first start could have been a day in 1970 when Ken Thompson (1943 – ) and Dennis Ritchie (1941 – 2011) started their Unix project. It could have been a day in 1977, when the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) was developed by the Computer Systems Research Group (CSRG) at the University of California, at Berkeley.

If you prefer the 1980s, there are several more dates to choose from. In 1983, Richard Stallman (1953 – ) started the GNU project to make a free Unix-like operating system. He wants Linux to be called GNU, but is willing to compromise on GNU-Linux. Others might prefer 1986, when Maurice J. Bach (1952 – ) published The Design of the UNIX Operating System, a basic source of Unix information. Many computer science students at the time would recognize 1987, and MINIX, a Unix-like system released by Andrew S. Tanenbaum (1944 – ) based on principles found in, Operating Systems: Design and Implementation (1987) by Tanenbaum and Albert Woodhull.

Appropriately, people have concentrated on 1991-08-25, and an announcement by Linus Torvalds (1969 – ), about an operating system kernel, based on Minix principles, but free of Minix code. The launch date of Linux was 1991-09-17. However, even Torvalds refers to 1992 when the X Window System (not to be confused with the Microsoft Windows operating system) was ported to Linux by Orest Zborowski, which allowed Linux to support a graphical user interface (GUI) for the first time. By 1996, Linux came of age, having its own brand identity in the form of the penguin, Tux. The term mascot is discouraged because, while there were three competitions to find a mascot, Tux won none of them!

Linux is not an entire operating system. Rather, it is just the kernel, as developed by Torvalds. Some corporations and communities build their own operating systems directly on top of the kernel. This applies to Red Hat, Debian, Suse, Arch and other distributions who have each independently chosen the software that is to make up their operating system, above the kernel. Other companies/ groups build distributions, such as Fedora, Ubuntu, openSuse Tumbleweed and EndevourOS, on top of these, respectively. Several iterations of building can take place. Linus Mint is built on top of Ubuntu, which is built on top of Debian, for example. In the Linux world it is easier to modify something that exists, rather than to start from scratch. This is allowed, because of the Linux licencing conditions, that permit development forks, that is development branches. This also means that most Linux operating system distributions resemble one another, but in many different ways. Most of these distributions comes bundled with a variety of open-source applications, although the number and specific applications included vary.

BSD is organized differently. BSD is both a kernel and a complete operating system. Both are maintained as a single project. That said, much of the software on top of the Linux kernel by the many distributions, is the same software as used on BSD. It is often more correct to refer to Linux and BSD operating systems as Unix-like operating systems. Linux and BSD have different lineages, resulting in the use of somewhat different components.

The first Linux distribution I used was Mandrake, developed by Gaël Duval (1973 – ), and released in 1998. It was based on Red Hat Linux and the K Desktop Environment (KDE). Its current reincarnation as Mageia is fondly, but possibly irrationally, regarded by this writer. More recently, I have supported Gaël Duval in his development of /e/, a privacy-oriented fork of the Android-based LineageOS, with some online services, part of the E Foundation since 2018, Android, itself, could be considered a Linux variant, as it was based on a modified Linux kernel.

Linux Mint 20.2 Uma, is my current daily drive. Since 2014, Mint has been a community-driven Linux distribution. Almost all distributions used on tablets, laptops and desktops have a GUI desktop environment. The standard one with Mint is Cinnamon. It works appropriately, and without issues. Similarly, there are other applications that are used more than others in a wide variety of distributions. For example, the office package used here at Cliff Cottage is LibreOffice. Firefox is used as a web browser.

Looking no further than across the kitchen table, there are many different types of people who want distinctly different things from their operating systems. One person is content with her 2016 model Asus Zenbook laptop that for the past couple of years runs Linux Mint, and the other programs mentioned. She has no desire to replace the machine, for that would mean adapting to something new. As long as there are no hardware issues with the machine, then it is probably good enough to last until at least 2026. Another, older user, who does almost nothing more than read The Guardian newspaper with a Firefox browser, and writes a few weblog posts, using WordPress, still finds excuses to own several machines, most currently running Linux Mint, at least, most of the time. Another, younger user regularly uses four computers. These are a work-supplied Acer Swift running Windows 10, a personal Asus TUF gaming laptop, and two (2) scratch built gaming rigs, each filling their rather large tower with an assortment of fans. Each of these last three run Linux Mint.

However, there may be changes ahead at Cliff Cottage. While Mint is user friendly, it updates on a two year-cycle. For many people, especially the gamer and de facto support person, this is not fast enough. Enter Arch Linus, first released in 2002. While not trying to be all things to all people, it does aim to be simple, modern, pragmatic, user centric and versatile. It succeeds at some of these, but is probably more complicated and less user centric, than its adherents want to admit. However, it uses a rolling (rather than fixed) update cycle, which means that it is considerably more up to date than Mint. It also provides excellent documentation.

EndeavourOS is a rolling release Linux distribution, based on Arch Linux. Setup is much easier than that of the Arch base. It is currently installed on Eerie, our experimental Ryzen 7 desktop machine. After further testing, it will probably be deployed as a replacement for Linux Mint. Because so much of operating system activities is related to the specific desktop environment being used, it is probably advantageous to retain Cinnamon. During testing several other desktop environments were tried, but offered no apparent advantage. The main challenge with Cinnamon is a lack of appropriate documentation. LibreOffice, Firefox, and many other programs used regularly, will also be retained. Any transition to EndeavourOS has to be close to invisible, for at least one (and potentially two) of the Linux Mint users, as the ageing process makes accepting changes more difficult.

On 2021-06-24, Microsoft announced Windows 11, which will probably be released late in 2021, although preview versions are available now. The main disadvantage of Windows 11, is that it only runs on devices with a Trusted Platform Module 2.0 security coprocessor, which offers protection against firmware and hardware attacks. In addition, virtualization-based security (VBS), hypervisor-protected code integrity (HVCI), and Secure Boot must be built-in and enabled by default. This means that devices as recent as 2019, may not be able to run Windows 11. In the short-term this will not be a problem, because they will be able to run Windows 10. However, most versions of Windows 10 will loose support on 2025-10-14. After this date, they should not be used online, for security reasons.

One way to future proof an older system is to install a Linux distribution along with Windows 10, in a dual-boot configuration. This allows the machine to use both operating systems. It will also give users about four years to become accustomed to a Linux operating system, should they choose to go that route. Currently, people are encouraged to use EndeavourOS (or Linux Mint) with a Cinnamon desktop environment, if they want any meaningful help from this user.

While Microsoft Windows is demanding in terms of processor speeds, random access memory (RAM) size and other features, Linux is more accepting. It is possible to thrive with Linux installed on ten year old, limited capacity equipment. Many distributions flourish with 4 GB of RAM, some even less.

At Cliff Cottage we use a variety of special purpose operating systems. The large screen some people might mistake for a television, runs the Kodi media player on LibreELEC = Libre Embedded Linux Entertainment Center on an Asus PN40. Yet, not all of our open-source operating systems are Linux systems. Server equipment is often BSD based. The reason for this is that we want our network attached storage (NAS) server to use ZFS = Zettabyte File System, (its name in a previous life). Some Linux distributions handle this adequately, but BSD is designed to use it. Another advantage of BSD is its ports system. which provides a way of installing software packages by compiling them from their original software source. Packages can also be installed from pre-compiled binaries, if that is preferred.

There are situations where Linux is not the answer. Real-time operating systems (RTOS) are used in environments where a large number of events must be processed quickly. An example would be the control of your neighbourhood nuclear power plant. When a hazardous situation occurs, you want the operating system to respond immediately and appropriately. Linux, typically, does not respond fast and consistently enough to be used in demanding control situations. Part of the problem here, is that the Linux kernel is bloated. An upcoming weblog post will discuss RTOS in more detail.

More generally, there are legitimate criticisms of desktop Linux, including: an excessively large number of choices of distributions; poor open source support for some hardware, in particular drivers for 3D graphics chips; and, the failure of software providers such as Adobe and Microsoft to provide Linux versions of widely used commercial applications. Sometimes this can be solved by running the Windows versions of these programs through a virtual machine, a software version of a physical computer, or by using Wine, an open-source compatibility layer that allows application programs, including computer games, developed for Microsoft Windows to run on Linux.

Returning to the kitchen table, the Acer Zenbook user would probably be happy with Windows XP, and content with Windows 7. Problems arose with Windows 10, when Microsoft demanded more control than the lady (or was it the lady’s husband?) was willing to give. In addition, her support team had already migrated to Linux, and were not particularly helpful solving her Windows 10 related challenges. In the end, she had no choice but to reluctantly go over to Linux, herself.

Today, is the day many have chosen to acknowledge 30 years with Linux. For some it will be a celebration. For many others it will only be a statement of fact. While few use it on their personal computers (estimates are 2% or lower), Linux based distributions are at the heart of servers: All of the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers run on Linux; Of the most popular 25 websites in the world, only 2 aren’t using Linux; about 95% of the world’s server activity is run on Linux; while; 90% of all cloud infrastructure operates on Linux; 85% of smartphones are based on Linux.

There are many sources of information about Linux: Wikipedia can be a good place to begin, with links to other sources. Distro Watch allows people to discover new and exciting, as well as old and boring, distributions.

Heart Aerospace ES-19

The Heart ES-19 Regional Airliner. Photo: https://heartaerospace.com/

Heart Aerospace is a Swedish startup company developing an electric aircraft, the ES-19, a 19-passenger regional airliner, with four propellers. The ES-19 is planned to have a range of 400 kilometers, and to be able to recharge in less than 40 minutes. Heart plans to fly the aircraft in 2024 and have it certified by the end of 2026.

In 2021-03 Heart signed a letter of interest with Finnair which would allow the airline to purchase up to 20 ES-19 aircraft. In 2021-07 United Airlines and their sometime partner, Mesa Airlines, announced their intention to purchase 100 ES-19 aircraft, each.

Heart Aerospace is based in Göteborg, Sweden. It also has offices in Stockholm, Sweden and Palo Alto, California. Originally, it was part of the Electric Air Travel in Sweden (ELISE) project. It has funding from Sweden’s Vinnova innovation agency. For the ES-19 project, Heart Aerospace have backing from EQT Ventures, Breakthrough Energy Ventures (a venture fond started by Bill Gates in 2015 “to accelerate the development of sustainable energy and green technologies”), Mesa Airlines, United Airlines, and the European Innovation Council Green Deal Accelerator Programme. The governments of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Greenland have contributed about $1.4 million in funding.

While some might put the ES-19 in the same category as a de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otter, currently marketed as the Viking Air DHC-6 Twin Otter, perhaps because they carry the same number of passengers, and have a high-wing design, there are a number of differences. In addition to all-electric propulsion, the ES-19 has a modular design, with aluminium as the airframe’s base material. The fuselage has a non-cylindrical profile, to optimise internal space utilisation, with 1+1 seating. The cabin is pressurised, and the landing gear retractable. It is designed to operate from a 800 m long runway.

The Nordic Network for Electric Aviation, founded in 2019, includes national airport authorities (Avinor, Finavia and Sweavia) and five airlines (Air Greenland, Braathens Regional Airlines, Finnair, Icelandair and SAS). For example, in 2020-12 Iceland stated it plans to have carbon-free domestic flights by the end of 2029. Iceland’s compact size and short distances between population centres, makes it suitable for using first-generation electric aircraft. enthusiastic about the application of electric technology, especially in light of the island’s abundant geothermal and hydro-power green-energy resources. Swedish North Volt is also involved in battery development for the aircraft.

Distances between airports are longer in Norway and Sweden, and the number of passengers to be moved is higher. However, Norway plans to have all its domestic flights all-electric by 2040. It is considering subsidies and/ or tax incentives for individual routes.

United Airlines has stated that the aircraft can be used on about 100 different routes in USA, but none are mentioned by name.

For further information see: https://heartaerospace.com/

Pussy Riot: A tidbit

Pussy Riot Mocks Totalitarian Russia (VIDEO)

One Track: Punk Prayer (2012)

One Wikipedia Link.

Two quotations.

Anonymous participants of the Pussy Riot group who avoided prosecution for their performance published an open letter…

We are all—female separatist collective—no man can represent us either on a poster or in reality.

We belong to leftist anti-capitalist ideology—we charge no fees for viewing our artwork, all our videos are distributed freely on the web, the spectators to our performances are always spontaneous passers by, and we never sell tickets to our “shows.”

Our performances are always ‘illegal,’ staged only in unpredictable locations and public places not designed for traditional entertainment. The distribution of our clips is always through free and unrestricted media channels.

We are anonymous, because we act against any personality cult, against hierarchies implied by appearance, age and other visible social attributes. We cover our heads, because we oppose the very idea of using female face as a trademark for promoting any sort of goods or services.

The mixing of the rebel feminist punk image with the image of institutionalized defenders of prisoners’ rights, is harmful for us as collective, as well as it is harmful for the new role that Nadia and Masha have taken on.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova (aka Nadia or Nadya Tolokno, 1989 – ) and Maria Alyokhina (aka Masha, 1988 – ) who participated in a 2014-02-06 Amnesty International concert, responded …

When we were jailed, Pussy Riot immediately became very popular and widely known, and it turned from just a group to essentially an international movement. Anybody can be Pussy Riot, you just need to put on a mask and stage an active protest of something in your particular country, wherever that may be, that you consider unjust. And we’re not here as the leaders of Pussy Riot or determining what Pussy Riot is and what it does or what it says. We are just two individuals that spent two years in jail for taking part in a Pussy Riot protest action.

Clothing Colour Preferances

This story involves Richard. He tells many stories about colour and clothes, related to himself and near relatives. His grandmother did not appreciate anyone wearing green. Her reason was simple, understandable and emotional. All of her bridesmaids wore green at her wedding, and all died within a year of it. They were all victims of tuberculosis, as was Richard’s aunt, who died in childhood. His grandmother, Jane, escaped the north of England and moved to Canada in 1911, because of this disease. His grandfather had arrived a year earlier. Richard’s mother, Janet, was born in Canada in 1916.

Janet enforced Jane’s unwritten rule. Green was not worn. Richard can’t remember anyone in his family wearing green much before his grandmother’s death in 1972. The one exception was that Richard had acquired a green sweater, knit by his first flame, Joy, in 1966.

In addition, Richard remembers that he was prohibited from wearing black. Black would have been acceptable at funerals, but as a child he was not allowed to attend funerals. All of his shoes were brown, yet his dress trousers were grey. They did not seem to match, but no one else seemed to notice. This mismatch has bothered him for sixty-five years. There was also an over-abundance of powder blue in his childhood wardrobe: mostly shirts, but also sweaters and socks, and one pair of Hush Puppy shoes. He felt strangely content wearing blue shoes. He regarded their purchase as a measured act of rebellion, one that unified a wardrobe consisting of blue and grey. When he outgrew his original Hush Puppies, he was irritated that he could no longer buy blue shoes.

As he grew older, beige and brown were added to his wardrobe. With these he felt that his brown shoes were no longer so out of place.

After he completed secondary school, one of his first acts of clothing defiance was to buy a black outfit: shirt, jeans, socks and shoes. He thinks the under garments were still white. Unfortunately, the quality of these black clothes was not especially good. The shoes soon wore out, and white started to show through the jeans. This taught him that jeans were not the ideal material to project a colour preference. His next clothing adventure was to purchase what he referred to as a jazz shirt. It was black, probably synthetic, but with colourful, large geometrical patterns.

At his wedding to Trixi, he wore a light blue suit, her favourite colour. She wore an off-white gown, with purple trim, suitable for a person entering a second marriage. Afterwards, he acquired an increasing number of clothes, that Trixi made for him. In particular, he remembers the khaki leisure suits that she sewed for their adventure to Europe. Later, she helped him dye white jeans to transform them into pastel coloured jeans: mainly green, blue and yellow. Gradually, the variety and intensity of colours has increased. Through the years, Trixi has knit him innumerable sweaters, socks, tuques and other garments.

Richard’s favourite suit was tailored by Kevin & Howlin, Dublin. It was made almost thirty years ago of Donegal tweed, green with distinctive lines of red. Today, it is not worn often, so it should last another thirty years!

Richard became a late convert to a range of reddish colours, in clothing. If asked for a rational explanation, he would probably resort to mentioning something about crimson representing tests and sacrifice. He would also suggest that red is the colour of blood, a product necessary for animal life.

In his early seventies, Richard discovered All Birds, shoes that were available in a wide variety of colours. This was through the help of his daughter, Sharon, who had suggested this brand, and a few other colourful brands. He bought pink All Birds, but referred to them as salmon coloured to carnivores, or peach to vegetarians/ vegans, to make the colour more socially acceptable. He is awaiting another pair to arrive, in a deeper red.

As he aged, Richard also extended his colour preference more towards purple. He thinks of the purple trim on his bride’s wedding gown, and suspects that this too has had an influence on colour choice. Now, his favourite reds include: carmine, a saturated red, with wavelengths longer than 600 nm, close to the extreme spectral red; crimson, another deep red colour that combines some blue/ violet, so that it approaches purple; madder, named for a dye produced from plants of the genus Rubia; He would not object to any one referring to some of these colours as maroon, but tries to avoid its French chestnut origins, that emphasize the muddiness of brown.

Richard takes an interest in sports. Yet, he is not interested in playing any games, or even in being a spectator. Rather, he is interested in the symbolism, used by teams: names, logos, flags, uniforms, souvenirs and effects. In terms of soccer/ football, Richard was an enthusiastic supporter of Canada’s women’s soccer team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, held in 2021. Canada’s final game was held just hours before this post was published. In a conversation with his nephew, Brian, Richard commented on the deep red, with white, uniform of the Canadian team, that personify his current personal taste in clothing. He told Brian, “I never watch sports, because I get too emotional when the wrong team scores.” Brian replied, “I understand. It’s stressful. It’s more enjoyable sometimes when you don’t care as much.” After the game ended, giving Canada a gold medal, Brian commented, “This is one of the most entertaining/stressful games I’ve ever seen. Stephanie Labbé is a certified legend.”

Reflecting on football/ soccer in Cascadia, Richard is uncertain if he could ever be a Vancouver Southsider, a supporter of the Whitecaps, who are encouraged to wear white and/or a darkish blue to differentiate them from Seattle Sounders FC Alliance supporters, who could be encouraging people to wear lighter blues and/or lighter greens. The distinction between light and dark is important because arch rival, Portland Timbers Army use a darker green, with yellow as a contrasting colour. Rose City Riveters, and other supporters of the Portland Thorns, women’s soccer team, may want to wear red. Richard, in fact, is such a supporter. He chose the Thorns as his team based on his colour preferences. , rather than starting with a team, and then wearing their colours.

Today, Richard wears a variety of colours, including blue and even beige, but seldom grey. Yet, every time he puts on something green, he thinks of his grandmother, her loss and the ravaging of tuberculosis. He is very happy that the world has vaccines to prevent disease. With good friends who have suffered their entire lives from the effects of polio, Richard is a pro-vaxer, seeing vaccinations as a cheap and effective means of preventing misery in the world, especially now in these Covid-19 times. He is impressed at the speed with which vaccines have been developed to reduce deaths during the current pandemic.

Colour in Context

Does biology have much to say about colour preferences? While there are two genders that often show some distinctive/ differentiated colour preferences, this may be attributed more to socialization than to biology. At a more general level, people who wear a particular colour influence other people. If one identifies in some physical way (age, gender, eye/ skin/ hair colour, body size) with someone else, and that person wears particular colours, these will in some limited way become acceptable. If one differentiates oneself from that person, these colours will in some limited way become less acceptable. Fertility may play a role in encouraging some people to select colours that signal this, or give them higher visibility, although not necessarily in the form of high-vis vests.

There are also temporal issues. People are impacted by seasons and the time of day. Sometimes, even the day of the week may influence colour choice. These may be related to thermal considerations. It may be prudent to wear black, and darker colours, in a cold, snowy landscape, or white, and lighter colours, during periods of extreme heat.

Social markers are commonly used to identify a person as belonging to a particular group, for lack of a better word. Social class, education, occupation, sports and cultural interests and dozens of other affiliations may influence colour choices at particular times. Thus, the high-vis vest, previously mentioned, may be important in an occupational context. Pink is often cited as an inappropriate colour in a business context. Janet, Richard’s mother, had bought him a blue school sweater with white stripes, possibly because she liked that colour combination the best. What she seemed to have missed was that the school Richard attended had black and orange as its school colours.

In 2018, Quartz had an article about black as a fashion’s favourite shade. This title is both technically and politically correct, in that black is not a colour, but its absence. However, black has been a significant factor in the design and production of clothes.

Closing Comments on Colour and Clothing

If this weblog post has any purpose, it is to encourage people to wear colours that make them happy!

One example of a colour Richard appreciates could be described technically in any of three ways, as Hex: #7A0019; as RGB: (122,0,25); or as CMYK:(0,27,76,0). A colour picker is a tool that could help people visualize colours. On the same site, other tools are shown on the left. Color RBG, for example, allows one to input RGB colour codes, and see the result. It should be pointed out that buying fabric by colour code is a risk sport.

NRK = The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, featured a story about Hanna Breivik, from Steinkjer. Now, in 2021, she is 28, but has had serious problems with glaucoma since her birth. In addition, she has synesthesia. For most of her life she tried to remain invisible by wearing grey clothing. About five years ago, she went in a totally opposite and more colourful direction. She is now referred to as the rainbow woman.

There are a lot of questions that can be asked, regarding clothing colour and age. Do colour preferences shift/ transition with age? If they do, Why? If it is associated with other tastes and preferences, Why do tastes change? That, in turn begs the question, Why do colour tastes/ preferences emerge in the first place? How much does an individual’s childhood, culture and the imposition of arbitrary rules have to do with it? Do identical twins raised in divergent environments, develop the same colour preferences? What about non-identical twins of the same or different genders?

Note: all names in this weblog post have been changed to protect privacy.