Ideas and boiling liquids

How do you capture and subsequently flesh out thoughts/ideas that  come to your mind? After all, they are like boiling liquids, i.e., vaporize unless you manage to capture them. This is one of the problems I have wrestled with quite often. Lots of interesting thoughts come to my mind, especially at odd times (while traveling, before going to sleep etc), of which quite a few should have ended up on the blog.

The problem has been sustaining the thoughts and then giving them a more comprehensible form which can be shared with others. After all, not every thought is going to lead to Archimedes’ Eureka moment, and such means of propagating ideas can be more or less ruled out. It is also too bad that we cannot collect our thoughts directly into a pensieve and experience them later.

So what choices are we left with to condense and collect the ideas before they vaporize entirely leaving no residue behind? Well, there are quite a lot of ways we can put down our thoughts, ranging from recording voice messages on the phone, making notes on some electronic device (phone/PDA/computer) to just going for the simple, cost effective pen and paper method. However, this only gives my thoughts an added degree of permanence, and not the form in which they can be readily shared. They are still too abstract (something like bullet points) to be readily comprehensible to others.

Thought cycle

The final mile (putting everything together in a coherent fashion) is probably the hardest, and this is what ultimately determines the fate of the thought – whether it gets published in the blog (or any other equivalent sharing medium) or remains confined to the draft bin. Of course, depending on the kind of thought/idea there may be a tougher journey ahead whereby it gets realized or implemented, but that’s another story altogether.

So, in effect, the thought cycle is quite a lot like oil exploration. A thought which passing through your mind is similar to striking oil, with a lot of initial enthusiasm. Then you need to drill down further to explore (put down your thoughts) or just ignore the occurrence. If you do drill down, you then have to extract and purify so that it can be distributed (as petrol, diesel etc in case of oil).

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Than vs then usage

This has been one question that has been striking my mind in recent times while going through various blogs and comments. The usage of “then” instead of “than” in many articles used to strike me as odd, but doing Google searches to clear up the grammatically correct usage didn’t turn up any results. However, I finally found an answer through a Lifehacker post which directs to a wikiHow page that clears up the issue. To put it simply, than is used to indicate comparison while then is to indicate time.