Cognitive dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is well described on Wikipedia as the uncomfortable tension that comes from holding two conflicting thoughts at the same time. Usually we are aware of the phenomenon through experiencing it. Sometimes a hint of it reminds us how much cognitive dissonance we can cope with, since it seems to be all around.

I ride a bike. When riding, my feet are higher than my butt.
Cognitive dissonance!
This picture might help. You probably knew I ride a recumbent from reading this blog.
More cognitive dissonance (at least for the worried reader): why am I not wearing a helmet in this photo? Rest assured that I always do ... this photo was my first mini-ride just on the driveway when I first brought the bike home. However, I get that cognitive dissonance feeling whenever I see a cyclist without a helmet - what are they doing!? To take it further, because of the shape of my bike seat (effectively a bucket seat), when I start on a ride I often think "seat belt ... you didn't do your seat belt".

Venture Cycling cognitive dissonance was covered obliquely in an earlier post of mine.

Cognitive dissonance is all around, and we deal with it a lot. Here are two numeric keypads:

Notice one is top-to-bottom, the other is bottom-to-top. The left hand keypad is laid out like every telephone and the right hand keypad like every calculator and computer keyboard. Somehow we manage.

How about addresses. Telephone numbers are kind of like addresses - they start with a country, then an area or city, then an exchange and then a number - Sigma Partners is at country (1), area (617), exchange (330), number (7872). Our mailing address, using this convention would be:

20 Customhouse Street
Suite 830
Sigma Partners

However, we know it is really the other way up. Why is that?

For the techies among us we know that an IP address reads like a phone number (most specific on the right): means the 12th host in the 13th subnet in the 101st net on the 27th major net circuit. However, domain names resolve the other way: (most specific on the left: computer called "www" on network "sigmapartners" in the top-level domain "com"). Most annoying in this arena is sub-domain addressing versus sub-directory addressing. We can imagine both these addresses pointing to the same webpage:

You see, we can cope with a fair amount of cognitive dissonance... So, who is buying a hannukah bush this year?

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