So I read about a paper co-authored by Natalie Portman (who played Padme in Star Wars and the girl in V for Vendetta) under her True Name of Natalie Hershlag.

I figured that had to be worth a click, and found Frontal Lobe Activation during Object Permanence: Data from Near-Infrared Spectroscopy. They used strong near infrared light as a non-invasive way to detect blood flow in the prefrontal cortex, and showed that where infants are able to track things that they can’t see any more, the PFC is developed and active. Quite on topic! Then I reached this image:

I mean… come on:

Then it occurred to me that we can explain a lot of tales of mysterious, spooky intuitive consciousness with the idea that the full range of PFC functionality is not available to most of the people most of the time. A Jedi Master would probably be interested in monitoring a padawan’s PFC function. So Ms. Hershlag would be quite entitled to claim her apparatus really is a primitive padawan’s hat, thank you very much!

I tried to program by not thinking once. You know - like Tommy and Luke Skywalker. I was really tired and there was just one thing left to do. I had to convert an integer to an appendix designation. It’s horrible and not like proper counting. The first appendix is “A”, then “B”, through “Z”. Then it goes “AA” through “AZ”, “BA” through “BZ” and so on. The carries are all wrong. (And it might have actually mattered in service. Someone could reasonably collate a large amount of evidential material as lots of appendices.)

I didn’t have the mental stamina left to compose by iterating juxtapositional and focussed attention as I normally would, so I brought to mind the recursive printf(3) definition and went for it:

string PcmProposalImp::MakeAppendixDesignation(int Order)
{
   return(((Order / 26) > 0 ? MakeAppendixDesignation((Order / 26) - 1)
                            : string("")) +
                              char('A' + (Order % 26)));
}

It worked. How spooky is that? I don’t advocate programming with eyes closed in general, but it might just be that my PFC in juxtapositional mode is actually better at all the Obi Wan gotchas in there than my PFC in focussed mode is. I usually get that stuff exactly wrong, even when I remember I always get it exactly wrong.

Phew. Reached the end without mentioning Attack of the Clones.

D’oh!