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so… I met a Feng Shui Master yesterday.

seriously.

people that follow the principles of Feng Shui believe the color pink means something. and, it’s related to Victoria Secret. so, Feng Shui isn’t necessarily arcane by it’s nature.

however, according to the Ballard Poll (I’ll stand in refusal to, otherwise, cite it, here), people that take the position of being serious about Feng Shui are typically self-entitled, a bit (well… more than a bit) snotty, bossy, and overly neat.

I’m bossy. and, I’ll toss in opinionated. I don’t know if I’m snotty. but, I do put on an unreasonable air of superiority, now-and-again.

in any event, I have found that, generally speaking, people that thrust upon us follow Feng Shui, bug me. that master (of his own domain) certainly did. he had a limp handshake and wore a cardigan. so, I’ll likely follow the aforementioned poll and hold “fengers” in a measure of disdain. If I knew many that could demonstrate that their practice(s) some how give them a clear advantage, I might surrender myself, more often, to said structure.

I’m neat in my own cluttered way. I have eclectic tastes when it comes to decor – as well as activities. I have a “Fenger” in our offices, often. and, she gets agitated by fast moving (and thinking) people. she is always trying to arrange things objects in my office. I think it’s okay to have books piled up on the floor. and, pictures. doing things on my terms works for me. so, that’s where I pull and push my positive energy.

…never mind.

as matters stand, I’m declaring something of a victory, here. At home I’ve s defiantly (defiantly) shoved my working desk (now, according to a book that describes all things Feng Shui, by placing a Dragon on our desk, we can apparently bring the“Dragon’s Luck” to us as well as protect us from harmful energy) up against a wall with my back to a broad entryway. and, as I tap this missive into my Apple wireless keyboard (correct, I’m not currently using the Android box), I’m doing so with the grim satisfaction that I’m something of a rebel.

peace be to my brothers and sisters.

brian patrick cork

The moment was an eye-opener, to be sure, when I realized I was one of  “they”.

“They” (possibly, also known as “others”) say that your income is the average of the five people that you spend the most time with (outside of your family).

This helps make my Grandad’s point when he often said: “If you must judge a man, do it by those around him”.

The thinking around this post is not driven by statistics. And, this is some what unusual for me. I’ll typically make my point with hard data to support them – all of them.

However, here, I’m making a statement that I believe is true. This belief is driven by instinct. And, I trust my instincts. I will be investigating my theory. But, in the meantime, your own gut will follow my position.

Don’t bother attempting to defy or debate me. I’ve reached a higher plane.

This may not make you part of the solution. But, it’s a start. A big part of our job should be making money. It’s okay to do that. Really. I’ll write you a note.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

Evil might be over-rated. At least when it comes to intent.

I’m pondering what it means to: “do the devils work”. I believe innocent people can do evil things – just like evil can happen to good people.

Meanwhile, as most of you know I don’t lay claim to being a Christian. There are many good examples of those people in our world. But, there are likely an equal number of them that aren’t – just like any faith, and especially religion.. But, that’s all a matter of perspective, as well.

God likely dropped discernment in most of our DNA and allows that to help sort matters out.

Today is Thanksgiving, and I’m doing that very thing. My heart is open and I’m looking around myself and seeing a great deal of inspiration. So, ironically, I’ll include some effort from the Bible, here. Some call it the Word, others a rule book. For the most part I find that it covers a lot of common sense witnessed and reinforced by many generations of people that realize the worst mistakes your can make are the ones you repeat.

The point I’m trying to make, here is: A word of love can make a world of difference.

According to the Bible, God calls us to love one another, which requires living in a way that is for one another – because love apparently puts others first. Throughout the Bible, we are called to put others first, and live in a way that blesses other people.

For example, God calls us to be devoted to and honor one another (Romans 12:10); to live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16); to love one another (Romans 13:8; 1 John 4:11; John 13:34-35); to accept one another (Romans 15:14); to care for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25); to serve one another (Galatians 5:12); to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving to one another (Ephesians 4:32); and to bear with one another (Colossians 3:13).

Putting another before yourself – that is, loving other people, can possibly  transform us because an act of love has the power to change lives.

I don’t know if Christ rose from the dead to make God’s point. But, I do know He set the stage for change and that message impacts us all daily, and only for the better. There’s the thinking of a Heterodox, for you.

I can’t find it, but I think the Bible offers some passages around the notion (wording?) that God “spoke” his word of love in the form of Jesus into the world. It was, thusly, transformed.

I’m listening  to John Lennon, today – and, his song: Love. I’ve done that before. I’ll do it again. And, I’ll share a video of that live effort for you as well (sorry about Yoko; so say we all):

I’ll trust you all to have a Happy Thanksgiving.

“Love is real. Real is Love”.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

So… Today’s words might be “box” and “paradigm”.

Most of you know what a box is. And, others think they understand the concept of paradigm. However, just to nudge things along here is a definition:

par·a·digm  (pr-dm, -dm)

n. 

1. One that serves as a pattern or model.

2. A set or list of all the inflectional forms of a word or of one of its grammatical categories: the paradigm of an irregular verb.

3. A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.

…what’s that? who’s insufferable?

In any event, I was involved in a multi-voiced electronic conversation (Cisco has some real bad-ass communication technology) late yesterday morning – to accommodate the West Coast, when, while commenting on my photo on my business website,  AG said: “Cork appears to be crouching in a box”. And, in response, SJ quickly retorted: “No box could possibly hold Brian Cork”.

I reasonably certain more was said, especially with those two. But, I lost track of it all as that box comment sent my thinking down an entirely different path.

I’ve never subscribed to the idea of: “thinking outside the box”. Being the contrarian and Heterodox that I am, I would often say things like: “box?”, “what box”. But, looking back, I feel that was all rather sophomoric, now.

But, circling back to what you know, and what you think you know, I believe I do know that most information, money and power are in the hands of a minority. And, I don’t believe “they” think  or see outside of any box. Instead, what if we took the position that being in a box, and possibly an VERY LARGE CLEAR box gave a select few a 360 degree view of everything and everyone?

Stand back, you. Say’s, I.

I’m calling this the Big Box Theory.

The less inspired amongst you might be thinking: “yeah… but, that means everyone can see you and there is a loss of advantage”. However, the masses can’t read my heart. They’ll only realize my actions. Much of it what I choose, and want them to see.

The media is very much like this.

My box is bigger every day. And, its clear – as in transparent. But, as it spins both fast and slow, as I decide, I can view, gaze upon, consider and ponder everything around me and choose my own course and path. The collective outside is left to gaze in and wonder as that shiny object catches their attention.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

Warning… Epic Blogpost alert, here.

If you’ve been following this Blog – and, of course, you have – you know that I’m enthralled with the idea of using Android on desktop and laptop computers. We have it working on two HP’s now. More about that to be sure. But, there is more to all of this this than most of you are aware.

The above tantalizing preamble above aside, allow me to get you moving in the right direction with this thought: If you have super powers then use them for good, says I.

And now for the really interesting part…

Google is now part of the evil empire. So, I have to evaluate whether it’s in the best interest of my own shareholders, and that of the world, at large, itself, to keep them as clients. I once had a similar dilemma with WebMD (insider information concerns, and then of course, the situation with the burning house) back around 2001, and another company I can’t name (but, in 2004 they were the largest website development company on the East Coast).

…what? Larry Page, himself, clearly dictated years ago that Google will “do no evil”.

As many faithful readers of this Blog are fully aware, and – don’t bother even trying to deny it, I had a Padawan on my hands named Nicholas Johnson who is a rabid Google and Android fan. He kept me on my toes and would go after me (and Steve Jobs) regarding all things relative to Google and the Android platform.

He did good, in that regard.

It’s certainly because of Nicholas that I now use an HTC EVO 4G cellular telephone that also happens to be an Android device (this will change, at some point. But, for the moment, I’m using it to experiment with, and learn). And, part of that entails putting Android on certain devices in a manner that could possibly unhinge Microsoft. I won’t bother pointing to a prior post about this. Just scroll down. Do it!

In any event, about six weeks ago he (Nicholas) came up with some market share numbers that had the Android platform making significant ground on Apple’s iOS. There is no doubt that one day the iPhone will likely be an also ran. And, that is fine, even by me. Apple sets the stage, if not consistently commanding it. And, they will pioneer and forge ever more promising technology advancements. And, Android will help prove Apple right. And, as a shareholder, I could never complain. And, by the way… You might be aware of the fact that Verizon just picked-up the iPad (even before the iPhone (that’s coming soon). So, that re[presents something of a paradigm (think SKYPE-ish) and how the world might lean into the Apple iOS.

As I mentioned above, I recently picked up the HTC EVO 4G handset offered through Sprint. Once again I was fed up with the awful service we have to suffer at the hands of AT&T. Mind you, I’m convinced it’s not the iPhone, as a hand-set. The AT&T infrastructure is clearly over-loaded. So,  this is really a great excuse for me to continue my open-minded quest for wicked-cool gear. Along the way, it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of HTC, itself. They make great hand-sets used by almost all of the mobile service providers (including Apple). I’m not going to offer a review of the HTC EVO 4G, here. Suffice to say that it’s working great. I got used to the Android platform while using my NexusOne (now in the able hands of my eight year old who has upgraded to an HTC HERO). NOTE: I think the HTC EVO 4G is (was?) the first to use Android 2.2. Feel free to correct that information if I happen to be mistaken (but, it’s what Sprint says on all the promotional collateral). And, I’m not dropping any calls, yet. I’m told the voice quality is much better (by my wife any way).

Just in case you want some verification that HTC is onto something, don’t worry about my opinion. Do your own research and focus on consumer reports like the following:

http://reviews.cnet.com/best-cell-phones/

http://www.phonerated.com/menu.php?topic=best+phones+by+category

However, my point might not be what you are warming up to, thus far. So, go ahead and get ready.

…here it comes.

If I am going to preach being open-minded, then I need to make that my stand as well. Always. So, this might mean being in league with Google, other than them being a client of mine.

So, we are going to clear up some information, or even misinformation…

To wit… The battle between Apple and Google in the mobile space has been heating up, to be sure. But, new market share numbers from research firm Nielsen show the race isn’t even particularly close.

According to a recent report released, that compares the fourth quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2010, Apple’s iPhone OS has more than triple the market share Google’s Android operating system. Nielsen puts the iPhone OS market share at twenty-eight percent (28%), while Android’s is at nine percent (9%). The numbers also put Apple in second place behind BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIMM), which has a thirty-five percent (35%) share, and remains the leader in business utilization with a very loyal user base (but, keep watching Verizon – because their adoption of iOS gadgets is a game-changer). In third place is Microsoft Windows Mobile with nineteen percent (19%), followed by Google (not sure what this means, to be candid), Palm four percent(4%), Linux three percent (3%) [this could be interesting in terms of the actual {not Android} emerging open-source community], and Symbian two percent (2%). And, with recent Apple numbers now in-hand, we know that Apple is now selling more units than Blackberry. So, the business world is catching on… So, as to be expected, it’s going to be all about Apple and Google. That’s cool by me because I(and, those that follow me) own both stocks.

NOTE: Apple and Google both moved up by two percent (2%) in the first quarter of 2010. In the same period, RIM and Microsoft both lost two percent (2%) market share. And, this probably reflects the iPad that is changing everything. And, counts as mobile, certainly. I feel compelled to point-out that the iPad numbers failed to meet expectations this quarter. But, this is, ironically, Apple eating itself. What I mean by this is the iPad has everyone thinking twice about what type of mobile computer to purchase. Laptop sales are off as people consider buying an iPad instead – or, possibly the Android-powered tablet. But, the screen size will end up being an issue. And, again, Verizon will facilitate smart business people like John Adamski leveraging that platform to build platforms that also change the world. HINT: A company to watch is: eSenseRetail Corporation.

It should be also noted that when it comes to the mobility wars, Apple’s iPhone (jailbroken units aside) is only sold through exclusive service providers in key markets, whereas Android handsets are sold prolifically by almost all the service providers. To keep things in perspective, it takes multiple service providers and handset configurations combined to compete with Apple that might be setting the standard.

Might?

Pause for a moment and consider this as an abstract perception… Apple’s are not for everyone. But, Android devices are for everyone else. As long as Apple keeps it’s valuation, what else really matters?

Well… My point is that HTC can also set a quality standard. The Android OS is still unrefined. However, the quality of the hardware is outstanding. And, yes, as I’ve mentioned, HTC has it’s hand in building the iPhone. Hardware plus software plays are part of the formula for making money – both commercially and in stock ownership.

By the way… Just to further demonstrate that I’m not biased, my personal opinion is that Blackberry’s (I used the 8900 for awhile) might have the best voice quality. But, that simply won’t matter, soon enough.

Also… Chinese mobile phones are also in demand because they can be had cheap (it’s all relative, eh) and are often better knock-off’s (not only are three cups of tea important in China, but they have three separate levels of manufacturing quality – and, that is crucial in terms of understanding how to do business in-and-around China) than the original manufacturer. For example, six months ago, no one had heard of of G five mobile which was only founded in 2003, and they are now number ten in the world with a focus on China and India.

Swinging this bloated post around…

And, the epic nature of this post will broaden with the harsh reality that Google Inc.’s methods for recommending websites are being reviewed by Texas’ attorney general in an investigation spurred by complaints that the company has abused its power as the Internet’s dominant search engine.

So, get your collective heads around the emerging reality that, despite Serg’s and Larry’s best intentions (and, I know they were sincere because I saw their eyes twelve years ago), Google has grown up, and must needs act like a company corporation more concerned for the best interests of shareholders (profits) than altruistic interests.

Thusly, this will herald a strong likelihood that Google has joined the ranks of Microsoft as evil empire, despite it’s aforementioned credo of “do no evil”.

There is more (so much more) you didn’t know…

It’s not commonly understood that Google does not actually make anything. They buy almost everything. Back in July 2005, when Google seemed to have so much money it didn’t know what to do with, it quietly went about buying up a load of start-up companies. Some of these never really saw the light of day: for instance, Dodgeball, a service that allowed you to text a group of friends in a similar way to Twitter, has never really appeared anywhere in Google’s stable. Don’t just take my word for it. Read more, here (do it!): http://www.techradar.com/news/phone-and-communications/mobile-phones/a-complete-history-of-android-470327#ixzz14tk1w6bM.

This includes the Android Operating system. This makes for a vital difference between them, and companies that are true innovators, like Apple. It actually makes Google more like Microsoft, doesn’t it?

The antitrust inquiry carefully disclosed by Google about a month ago (you probably did not read the fine print of their 10-Q, and the media made little too-doo over it)  is just the latest sign of the intensifying scrutiny facing the company as it enters its adolescence.

Since its inception in a Silicon Valley garage twelve years ago, Google has gone from a quirky startup to one of the world’s most influential businesses with annual revenue approaching thirty billion ($30 lots of 0’s).

The review appears to be focused on whether Google is manipulating its search results to (gasp) stifle competition.

FACT: The pecking order of those results can make or break websites because Google’s search engine processes about two-thirds of the search requests in the United States, and handles even more volume in other parts of the world.

QUESTION: Does the Google generation want to acknowledge this? Perhaps of greater interest (to me anyway) is, do they care? And, does it matter?

…no… probably not… yes.

This fascinates me. And, this is why I get to be the “Cultural Architect”.

That aforementioned (I’ll trust your tracking with me, here) dominance, as perpetrated by Google for the benefit of people that pay them (altruism be damned, Larry), means a website ranking high on the first page of Google’s results will likely attract more traffic, and generate more revenue – either from ads or merchandise sales. That is influence. And, manipulation. So, there is Machiavelli raising his head – and, Microsoft that better be ducking theirs (keep reading).

On the flip side, being buried in the back pages of the results, or even at the bottom of the first page, can be financially devastating and, in extreme cases, has been blamed for ruining some Internet companies. That is also influence.

Influence is power. And, Machiavelli wrote the book on that subject: The Prince, in fact (see also The Art of War – and, it’s apropos).

What most of you certainly won’t know, and thank the North American media, for that, is European regulators already have been investigating complaints alleging that Google has been favoring its own services in its results instead of rival websites.

Meanwhile, let’s not forget that Google might pride itself on a pledge to maintain open architecture. But, quality will suffer for a long time. And, that is another vital difference between itself and Apple. So, there is Google being a bit more corporate, while Apple continues to lead the way both in terms of its pledge to be the best, and keep it fresh and, altruistic – while also being profitable. Genius, at naught but it’s very best.

Never mind the Adobe FLASH issue. That’s all a feint. Trust me. And, guess what? The end will justify the means, there. That makes sense if you are doing your home work, here.

There is nothing, ultimately sophomoric, about lessons learned at the feet of Machiavelli. That’s another thing Dr. Nick Pappas taught some of us at Radford University.

So… Microsoft could never match the “feel” of Apple (I’ve been using Windows 7 now for five weeks just to research this very point and to avoid any opportunity to be a hypocrite, or uninformed). Google has had it’s shot, but might be facing a big miss, here.

And… Google, not satisfied to let any and all coders into its Android app store (oh, those Babylonian whores), has invited non-coders alike to invent mobile apps of their own with a simple building-block system that, it claims, anyone can use (and, they are).

Did you know that Facebook developer Joe Hewitt isn’t buying Android creator Andy Rubin’s definition of what “open” means. I’ll not add a link to either Facbook or Mr. Hewitt. My daughter uses Facebook. And, I’m convinced it’s all a tragedy if not a plot realized by true terrorists to unhinge our community.

The promise, unrealized as yet, is to let every person who bores their friends talking about what a great idea they have for an app to build the thing and be done with it. Those that are sophomoric, and unrefined will think this is appropriate and fair. But, I’ll take them to task with an admonition that they don’t understand quality and accountability (although some Google apps are certainly great and cool and solid, to be sure).

Bear with me for a bit, this is a bit of a geek fest. You may be rolling your eyes (but if you are I bet you are also concerned about finances), but I’m having fun, with all of this.

Last month Jobs attacked Google’s Android smart phone operating system, arguing there are so many different versions of the software it’s hard to argue the software is accessible to users and developers as Apple’s iOS.

Shortly after that  Andy Rubin (the guy who actually coded Android, acquired by Google) replied, via Twitter, posting a computer command that would allow a developer to download and play with Google’s Android operating system. The message: “open’ means being able to play with the code”.

…Geek me with a spoon.

To help Mr. Hewitt’s point along, however, Android isn’t as open as, say, Linux (i.e. Ubuntu (not to be confused with the African tribal ethical philosophy) – something I use more and more (the operating system, not the philosophy [well… some times], and other open source projects, where anyone can add to the project before each official ‘release.’

Google App Inventor platform for Android demonstrates how markedly Google’s philosophy differs from Apple’s, whose app model it copied emulated to a great extent. Apple wants a velvet rope to keep sub-par developers out, but Google just sent them an engraved invitation, potentially opening the floodgates for exactly the type of deluge of unsophisticated apps that Apple seems so eager to avoid.

To wit…

“App Inventor requires no programming knowledge,” reads the Google’s description of the program, currently in a closed beta. “This is because instead of writing code, you visually design the way the app looks and use blocks to specify the app’s behavior.” That reads cool. But, the result might not be. And, I like knowing. It’s what you don’t know, understand, or can see that can and will kill you first.

In summary, when all things relevant to mobility, handsets, platforms, and service are said and done, I only really care about best-of-class and quality. So, right now HTC appears to make the best quality handsets, and Sprint might be the best cellular service provider, and Apple might be the standard for excellence that drives all of them mad with the passion to innovate, compete and improve.

And, as I’ve mentioned in a prior post, I love it, because the death-knell for Microsoft is booming. Apple is leading Google right down Microsoft’s throat, and they are going to choke on all of it.

Apple will come and go. Perhaps like the old Bell Labs. Google has seen it’s day. Few people will be millionaires now because of it’s stock. And, that reality has also changed it’s culture – just like what happened at Microsoft. Interestingly, employees can still build wealth by owning shares of Apple.

All of that is a good thing. Because we all win. Especially if you understand: The Way Things Work.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

Most people read the same books  – as opposed to living the sort of lives that people write books about, or doing the sort of things worth immortalizing in print.

So…

Perhaps reading the same book, or books, is another example of, if not a definition of, mediocrity.

I do value books extolling great things, events, people, or deeds. But, all too often the book of the month, or on the national best-sellers list, is popular because it inspires the masses as a direct result of their own lack of inspiration (or perspiration).

And, it’s only just occurred to me that this might be a great conversation to have with my Haley Anne and what happens in Middle School (and, the concern of many girls when it comes to fitting in or being like other people – as opposed to being something like, well… happy).

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

Readers of this Blog appear to track, enjoy, and possibly value, my transparency. So, it’s no surprise, here, that my earthly father surrendered his soul to God back in 1986, on the eve of my birthday.

I’ve chosen some words carefully in that preamble because I’m evaluating the difference in terms of how we define suicide.

Background Perspective: I have a client that I’ve coached for years that happens to be a fairly well known Congressman and has always feared the path of “political suicide” often realized by all too many of his fellows.

Although I have to good-naturedly roll my eyes with that, it recently raised some thoughts in my head around how we spin things to make them work within the complicated confines of our society – to include faith and community.

Here we go…

Shortly after my Dad’s body was discovered (today that still feels strange to both write and read), slumped over a Zane Grey (apropos, says I) novel in his garage, his secretary tearfully advised me that he was bound for hell. I was a younger man in both body and mind, at the time, and this decree almost floored me. Dad was a genuine hero. And, he was… Well, my Dad. And, he loved my Mom. Together, they set the bar and standard for me in terms of how to be a parent to my own Daughters, and love people in your life. He was a pillar of strength (even when he had his fourth martini after a grueling Day maintaing peace as a Military Officer during a relentless Cold War era), always there for my younger brother and me. He was some times an enigma, mind you. But always smart, witty and resolute. Read my post: do not miss your Chance to blow it for perspective. Dot It! How could such a man face the abyss?

My first thought when told Dad was going to hell was that he had carefully considered his options and rolled the dice hoping to get back to Mom quicker. Selfishly, maybe, I often have this picture in my head of Mom and Dad in their early 40’s – sun-tanned, holding hands and smiling. This is also a reminder that Mom had died the year before (here is some additional background), and Dad was simply never the same after that. So… You can; and, I think you should, read my prior Blog post that explores some of that here: My Dad: Story 22 – Married for Life.

So… With all that said, what is the difference in someone taking their own life, or giving their life back to God? There is a paradox at work, here, because a potential juxtaposition includes (or, is) considerations around soldiers taking life (possibly in the name of God), and giving (as in dedicating) your life to God. My Dad was a soldier that absolutely did take lives under a national flag that was founded with God in mind (just ask Thomas Jefferson who is likely spinning in his grave enough these days to send the planet off it’s axis). He was a model citizen by any definition. And, in the his final hour I feel he gave his life back to God, and Mom was his reward for a life well-lived.

NOTE: I’m choosing to take the Bible out of the evaluative formula and going with discernment – perhaps the greatest tool God has issued to us to help me work through this process. The Bible, I feel, in this case, and of course many others, stymies broad thinking and open-mindedness (have you ever tried to debate a Christian and seen them not get heated, and more often than not, nasty?). Once you make not referencing the Bible part of the process, creative thinking that draws upon all of mankind’s marvelous experience and theory can now come into play for informed decision-making.

I’m tempted to drop a poll into this Blog post to capture your collective opinion. However, I’m only marginally interested in that. So, I’ll invite you to comment. I can’t promise to approve it. But, I might. And, I will respond in one form or another, to be certain.

So, engage me. Help me. Walk with me. Help me realize the Authentic Life.

If suicide is a path to another place that just might be a reward, as opposed to a punishment, why wouldn’t you take it? Is this an example of Kobayashi Maru?

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

what’s all this about?

I can’t explain what that damn tree means - or, if it might stand for something.

However, here I do discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman.

brian cork by John Campbell

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about this particular Theme:

I'll warn you now that Tarski is theme of this blog created by Benedict Eastaugh and Chris Sternal-Johnson. It is named for the logician Alfred Tarski. I'll recommend his papers ‘The Concept of Truth in Formalized Languages’ and ‘On the Concept of Logical Consequence’, both of which can be found in the collection Logic, Semantics, Metamathematics.