Thursday, May 06, 2010

internet metaphors

okay, this is kind of dumb, bust since i haven't learned anything new lately, it's all i've got.

actually, i thought of this a few days ago. i was at the taekwondojang, thinking about how the classes work. (almost) every class starts the same way, regardless of who the teacher is, with a set of warmup exercises. different teachers will count a little differently, faster or slower maybe, but everyone does the same exercises. next, we start going through techniques in the lineup, and the first is always "riding stance to the left, left-hand punch". next technique will usually be "step forward front stance, low-section guarding block".

so, up to this point things are the same no matter who the instructor is, no matter what the rest of the class is going to be about. from here, things are still predictable to a point - after the low-section blocks, we'll probably do mid and high section blocks, maybe with a punch after the mid-section blocks. next, we go to fighting stance and start doing kicks, with front kick and punch first, round kick and roundhouse punch next, then sidekick with knifehand strike. it gets less and less predictable after this.

by the end of the lineup, we've probably done a couple of techniques that haven't come up in at least a week or so in other lineups. then, the rest of class will focus on a few specific techniques in some permutation of the "find a partner" game.

what this has to do with the internet is that i realized that the course of a given class could be analogized directly to a traceroute, assuming a single start location. the first few steps away from the local host are the same every time, but depending on the destination eventually the paths will diverge. the warmup and starting techniques are like the local network path out, the later techniques are like the area network, where there are a few possible large routers to choose from, and the remainder of class is like the ultimate path and network destination. kind of.

really, you could apply this structure to all sorts of things, where the first few steps are the same, but eventually there's a divergence and then different paths to disparate destinations. in a lot of ways that's how the brain works, how distribution networks of all kinds operate, etc.

like i said, not too interesting, but it's all i've got for now.

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