Wednesday, December 31, 2003
It's sad that advertisers aren't more daring. The few advertisements I see like this don't nearly make up for the hundreds of boring and repetitive ads I forget seeing in every magazine, TV show, and website. One should make bold strides in art, even one so poorly directed and pathetically sychophantic as product marketing.
I'm not sure how I shall spend my new years, even with it yawning before me. I guess it really isn't that important. Carrie is back in town, but she seems to have plans that don't include me, so I'm left without compelling alternatives. Perhaps I'll simply have a quiet holiday. I haven't been very social these last few months, so i've been trying ot make up for it during the holiday break. Thus far, I have met with mixed success. Seeing Carrie again is very bittersweet, as expected, and I have fewer parties and people to meet with when I'm attempting to than I would have thought. I suppose I should be more outgoing. Eris only knows how many people in my immediate environment I don't know, or haven't bothered to meet. Communication is a skill, one that I must be better at, if I am to do well.
Maybe social recreational opportunities isn't the best metric for this, but it does signify something. Perhaps I'm spending less time nowadays on keeping up frivolous associations. A nice thought, from some perspective.
Writing on a submission for the Imminst.org Book Project continues. Even if I can't get it into the book it's been an interesting process. Research with a specific near term goal is so satisfying. Quite unlike long-range planning.
Be safe on New Years.
Tuesday, December 30, 2003
Hollidays and breaks are good for the soul, they allow you to concentrate on what you want to, and permit some laxity of focus in normally puritan moral idealizations of 'productivity'.
On the other hand, they don't lend themselves well to finishing up odds and ends of projects that you anticipate being able to do.
Thursday, December 25, 2003
Merry Newtonmas. On this day, in 1642, was born a great man. A scientist, whose discoveries and publications forwarded the human condition, and understanding. But for his heroic stature in the history of science, it is important to remember that he was just a man. He was known for having poor interpersonal skills, and for moods and rages. He was a product of his times, and he loved and hated much we might decry today.
Such is progress.
May we advance so much that our current enlightenment is also thus seen as a stepping stone to true wisdom.
To one million more.
Saturday, December 20, 2003
Thursday, December 18, 2003
I've decided to take a few classes at this community college to counter-act my distressing lack of knowledge in certain areas. Given my past experiences with school, this may or may not be a good idea, but we'll see how it goes this semester.
Wish me luck truth and knowledge, eh?
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
Interesting that South Korea is doing so well in this area. I can certainly believe that an up and coming country may embrace the internet faster than the US, which has an entrenched culture, even if we did drive internet development.
As things become more computerized, we'll see more things like this. And more interesting occupations. Once mobile computing becomes more widespread, this kind of thing becomes VEERRY interesting indeed.
Monday, December 08, 2003
I'm sure it will do absolutely no good. I signed it anyway.
Speaking of lost beauty:
I'm just now back from california. I had to attend a memorial service, for my friend Dorothy.
Dorothy was a friend of the family for almost as long as I can remember. I spent a lot of time at their house, and talking to them. When Al (her husband) died some time ago, Dorothy kind of started to fade. Prior to this it was difficult to believe she had been born in 1906. She and Al were very vibrant folk, who traveled, kept up extensive property, and maintained many friends and volunteer positions. She began to show her age after the death of Al, but continued her work in local groups and friends. A local cat strayed into her house one day, and never left, she perked up a great deal after that. Sadly, this year the cat died of diabetes. Dorothy fell ill soon after, and died. The service was very nice. I will miss them both very much.
Dorothy and Al were the oldest people I knew, though I rarely thought of them this way. some people, even as young as sixty often seemed far older, weakened, unclear, pathetic. Al was maintaining his paths and property up to his death, and Dorothy was a great communicator with an excellent memory and storytelling facility, even in the hospital.
She liked to brag about her age. She once approached an ancient piano player in a restaurant to see how old he was, and informed him he had twenty years to go before he was old. She described her life as a bridge between horses and spaceships.
Al told me once that when he was a boy, children dreamed of going as far away as europe. When he was fifty, they dreamed of going to the moon. And when I was a child, in the twighlight of his life, they dreamed of going to europe. He wasn't sure what happened, but he felt that we as people were waiting for something to change, so our dreams could grow again. He wanted to see that change. Dorothy was very religious, and had her answer. But he was unsure what exactly was missing. He died wondering. She now has followed him.
Ninety-six years were not enough. She felt she had more to do, more to see, and more to experience. Despite living in the most tumultous times we have ever known, they never seemed to fear for the future. Perhaps it was my childish perception, but they seemed to grow with their age, while many adults had diminished. They seemed capable and wise, even during my teen years, when I was learning the most about frailties and mistakes, and was at my most suspicious.
Dorothy had a face-life when she was seventy, which was a daring time, even for younger, more tolerant cultures. Cosmetic surgery really has become far more acceptable as time goes on, but it was a process she never failed to recommend, but not "until you really need it" after "about sixty-five". She remained a terrible flirt, and would embarass waiters, male friends, and a certain sensitive teen with equal abandon. Dorothy and Al were the first adults I saw kissing with passion(in person, anyway).
Dorothy was particularly active in the International Society of the Kings Daughters and Sons. She even wrote a book about their history, up to 1970.
They leave behind a beautiful home north of San Francisco, with it's intricately maintained paths and trees and gardens. Sadly, the land has already been diminished by development, and will likely be sold for new housing. It was once eight acres of nature and path, which was quite something at it's inception, and had only become more so throughout the years.
To Dorothy Ellison, a good friend.
May there be one million more like her, and may the rest of us make up for all the people she had yet to enchant.
Thursday, December 04, 2003
I have entirely too many T shirts. I was cleaning out the closet the other day, looking for formalware, (I have to go to a memorial service) and I realized that Tshirts are vastly over represented proportionally to other clothing items.
I began worrying whether I had too many because I was falling victim to marketing, as Tshirt sellers are wide and more numerous than vendors of other clothingstuffs. But upon reflection, most of my shirts were obtained for free or from friends/family.
I'm often worried that I'm not spending money or time properly, and check and recheck my past actions and expenditures, though I'm rarely ever surprised or ashamed at what I find. I suppose if I had more free time, or discretionary money, the purchases that made less sense would begin to occur more. As it is, about the only thing I do too much of is drive around. Gas is expensive.
I have been planning for some time, to move to a different city, but things keep being pushed back. I'm trying to achieve some measure of financial independence so I can spend more time doing things I prefer to. I'm also auditing some math courses at the local college, to try and plug my stunning ignorance in this area.
I suppose I shouldn't feel that it's time wasted, I'm still pretty young, and need to learn and establish in order to be more effective. But setup is tedious. And learning is fun, but somewhat depressing occasionally, as learning sometimes consists mostly of mapping the area and depth of your ignorance. Useful information, but still unhappy.
I may never be good at exploratory coding, but it won't be for lack of trying.
Sunday, November 30, 2003
There are such interesting things to be found on the internet. Note that the title is a little misleading. Inertial Electrostatic Confinement devices generally produce very little fusion, and generally low power levels. It's as a theoretical technology that it is interesting. I'm not aware of any IEC devices with cores much above a meter in diameter. There's just no money in it, at the moment. Everybody wants to make pebble-bed fission reactors and tokomak fusion reactors, at the moment.
It is perhaps unfortunate that IEC devices can be built so small. If the boundaries to entry were higher, we might see more funding and research in it. Sadly, 'real scientists' rarely have time to experiment with things within the reach of common man. Even though a proper IEC device would need to be enormous to reach the break-even point, the fact that small versions can be built by ordinary mortals may have poisoned the concept for serious investigation. It is similar to the great gulf that exists between commercial aerospace and amateur designs. You have essentially Estes rockets, large Estes rockets, custom large Estes rockets, and then a great gulf of nothing, until the large expensive commercial, government and military launch vehicles. Little research gets done on the gulf between them, and no bridging technologies are created. Some of this is being rectified, by the relatively new Xprize efforts, and new entities like SeaLaunch, but it's still very stratified. And uptake of new technologies is minimal. Anything from the amateur end is badly integrated, and deemed useless. Anything from the government end is so expensive and mired in existing systems, it never achieves a useful genericity.
But, I suppose there are vested interests in making developed technology seem arcane and complex, to justify research expenditures. And amateurs are hard pressed to develop general technologies.
Were I an idealist, I would say that the amateurs will be the ones to close the gap. As open-source internet communities spread from software to hardware, they'll embrace and extend out to large scale technological development.
But the scaling between a software project and something with a few hundred thousand moving parts, and spanning several scientific and/or engineering disciplines is daunting.
And amateurs seem far better suited to immerse themselves in psuedoscientific stupors, building and rebuilding half-imagined perpetual motion machines, antigravity generators, and historical replicas. Interesting that lots of people in this vein seem to refer back to the research of Nikolai Tesla. I've become increasingly of the opinion that he's become even more of a personage of borrowed authority than Einstein and Galileo, these days. There's no easier path to renegade science respectability than conjuring an analogy between your downtrodden theories and Tesla's mad and fantastic electronic designs.
If I see one more design based on a fundamental misunderstanding of angular momentum involving magnets or electricity, I may give up entirely.
I'm of the opinion that some sort of organized effort would be necessary. Some forceful extension of amateur science into the realm of real exploratory research. Sadly(or happily) our social and technological situation is hardly stable, and things continue to change rapidly. So such a movement may occur or be obsoleted without much forewarning.
Friday, November 28, 2003
I have to say, this AT&T cellphone I have is the worst user experience I've ever had. The coverage is terrible, the phone is cheap, and the access sporadic. I would encourage folk to look elsewhere.
I've also had reports that AT&T's data service is not as fast as advertised, showing little advantage over the frontrunner of mobile data, Sprint Vision.
It's good to know someone else feels my pain.
happy thanksgiving, enjoy your obesity-risk activities.
For those who celebrate christmas, prepare your shopping lists.
Tuesday, November 18, 2003
and I have seen them taken.
No, not taken, denied.
Dragged wailing into day's light
left to die in harsh contrast to waking life.
I have seen great cities,
unknown, rising from the plain
growing new before my eyes.
Towers and spires, none the same
telling a tale of lives I cannot follow.
I have woken to dawn,
fading visions into memories I curse,
hating them for hints of loss.
Wanting to wake again, back
back where loss is memory.
There are no roads back
no paths to follow
only failing memory.
Only fading hopes.
I have lived great triumphs,
victories without war,
friends I never lose.
My influence spread gently,
designs and ideas accepted,
my plans writ large upon the world.
Plans and triumphs that grow
live, dance, and change.
Giving me great surprise,
children grown beyond intent.
Joy and Satisfaction.
I have seen my plans of triumph fade
obsoleted, grown past.
My memories of them poisoned
by new eyes, seeking every flaw.
Nothing left but hints
marking old mistakes.
These things I remember
like glances of stories
too fast and light to hold them,
only scents of their meaning left.
I curse my memory in both directions.
I cannot hold my past self fast
the younger man who dreamed great things
the details slip and splotch
even two days past I struggle to contain
the tiny pieces of my lost dreams.
I cannot quite lie
that nothing of me dies with them.
But these memories burn me.
Better to be nothing,
than remember enough to regret,
than to feel enough to weep for loss.
I would rip past days from me
deny my past, forget my dreams
to live in peace
free of comparison.
Both paths are denied.
I lose myself in fading memories,
my past dreams and old hopes tatter and are gone.
Left are memories of memories
just holes that held something, their shapes hinting at the loss,
the blackness there telling me
telling me I too am gone, in measure.
Yesterday's dreamer is dead.
I am all that remain.
So today too, I will dream.
I will dream great dreams,
I will see great cities,
I will live great triumphs,
and I will remember them,
failingly, haltingly, in tattered record
to pass them to tomorrow.
So he too will despair,
and he too will worry that something of who he was
lives in those fading things.
There is another hope
It does not visit me in visions.
but lies above them.
Today I am upon a hill
I climbed part of it yesterday
tomorrow I will climb another.
And I must dream, must hope
each hill brings me closer
to where it comes from.
That each day's dying
and each day's steps trace a direction
a path of lives and plans
that points to a man
a man wearing something like my face
with something like my name
who carries some dim piece of me
a man who needs not fear memory
who fears no dream of fairer places.
a man who has come home.
Sunday, November 16, 2003
My friend Loren has a child, healthy and good thus far. An early problem with jaundice has been averted with modern technology(a UV lamp). I am very happy for him and Liz, and simultaneously very discomfited by the association of age this brings up. I am not that old yet.
Great fun this week watching Kasparov battle the top computer chess program again. The final battle will be on Tuesday. watch at x3dchess website here. Good chess commentary on the match archives too.
Interesting things happening in the Go world too, as you can see at Gobase.org. The male and female holders of the Honinbo title are getting married! and Japan lost the first Internet Japan-China match. Get on IGS, for good internet play, certainly better than I can handle.
on the IRC side, we at #immortal on irc.lucifer.com got to talk to a guest speaker today, Mike Treder, the Executive Director of the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology. Mr. Treder was very gracious in answering questions and exploring interesting ideas. the log should be available on the main page of the Imminst.org website. It was very interesting, and quite a lot of fun. The CRN publication to read is the new nanofactory feasibility study at jetpress.
er, ah, and, yeah.
I'm doing okay. In an interesting side note, I started taking Strattera a few days ago, some subjective difference, we'll see how a month or two of trials go, and I'll submit a more detailed report then.
Oh, and everybody is required to go to the library and get the book "Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the way we make things" or you can just buy it here.
Tuesday, November 04, 2003
You know, wierd things like this give me the willies. It's a measure of how chaotic the world is that even a seemingly stable situation like the market for computer hardware can surprise you like this.
Raise your hand if you would have thought five years ago that not only would Apple be using open source software, not only would IBM be making their chips, not only would they be making geek headlines, but that they would produce the third fastest supercomputer on the planet, and that it would be one of the cheapest computer hardware solutions in the history of supercomputers?
Apple? supercomputers? cheap? Unix-based? what? Macintosh = price-competitive? I don't.. yaa.
I suppose this effect is easy to see, from a certain perspective. Constant sameness of any kind dulls your perceptions, and the absence of an answer grates on your intuitions. You begin to look beyond your original assumptions for satisfaction. It is perhaps like a failed relationship, as the unsatisfied partner's eyes begin to wander outside their original scope. That is too apt an analogy, too easy. Also, both images wound me. Too much identification.
You know, not that long ago, I would have said that there is no such thing as a comforting lie. That the truth is preferable to anything else, under all circumstances, even from an emotional standpoint. I'm not certain that it's not, but I've come much closer to considering it. Sometimes the truth can tax my enthusiasm for being right.
There is a small list now, of things I'd almost rather not know. Sometimes I wish for some confusing information, just so I'd have to reevaluate my current best guesses about the world. A good hallucination, or improbable event. A thermodynamic miracle, a coffee cup leaping back together.
But intelligence eventually imparts one with a flawed but functional intuition as to the shape of reality. A kind of reflexive recognition of the character of truth. It gets to the point where you begin seeing similar imprints at the bottom of each story. Not that this doesn't present it's own problems. Recognizing truth in this manner has the same kinds of hazards. False positives are just as, or more dangerous. Sometimes the old plodding way of confirming reality is still the safest. But intuitions of this nature allow interesting conclusions to be drawn. What if there is a certain design similarity between all truths? Would this be real physics? Real math? A mysterious teleological uncaused Cause? No, I don't' think so. But I'm hardly qualified to make an educated guess. Or even a wild speculative guess. It seems like any such similarity is because of reality, rather than the cause of it. But it's difficult the separate the two possibilities.
Maybe I'm just frustrated. A year of little discernible accomplishment IRL. Great strides in my understanding do little to mollify a personality that I built of ambition and personal accomplishment. Learning feels like no great thing, because previously, all learning was easy, a non-subject. I could learn whatever I pointed myself at. Now, I'm either decaying or aiming at targets much higher than before. I prefer and assume the latter. The former is a haunting possibility. I wish, not for the first time, for a return to earlier days. A letter to send to my younger self. "Concentrate here instead". Maybe more time, practice or neural plasticity would result in what I lack thus far. A breakthrough of some kind. A result.
Perhaps my expectation of a result is in itself misguided. I have long noted the anthropomorphic expectation that all important discoveries fit within a simplifying abstraction that in turn fits neatly within human short term memory. Perhaps greatly powerful heuristics lie just outside easily manipulated formulae sizes. There is no way to know for sure. But there is no reason to assume the answers lie outside human ability. The complexity barrier has yet to begin to rear it's ugly head. At least practically. Already, we have hit limits in theoretical knowledge in math. How many other areas conceal such nasty surprises?
I don't like to think about such things. They're unsettling and hard to resolve, emotionally. They remind me of another sore spot, my poor memory. Oh, culturally relative I have a great memory, but in general, a horrible one. I can barely remember my own thoughts of a mere hour ago. My personality of a year ago is assuredly not preserved in full. For someone still gripped by a sense of mortality and self, there is no more horrifying realization than the fact that a few years from today, only the grossest approximation of myself today will still exist. Not even in my own memory will I be fairly represented. I will always be filtered through my future self, and imperfect recollection.
You know, some time ago, my journals and notes of most of my past life before 2001 were lost to me. I can't describe the sense of loss inherent in that. My poor memory seemed more secure with physical hooks to goad it into accuracy. Now whatever I did, or accomplished or began lives just as I remember it today. And even that poor testament will degrade as time passes. Justins past fade into reinterpreted mist. This is not all sad. Much deserves to be forgotten. But I wont' get to choose which is and isn't. I already remember unpleasant social events more vividly than my first kiss, my first book, my first love. I can't remember the first time I understood rationalism. The first time I proved a math.
For a while, I was paralyzed in fear of losing my notes again. And then, after a while I was afraid to take notes. What was the point? I rarely reviewed them after a week or so. And I would lose them again. For the first time in a while, computers became less interesting to me. Most of my childhood and young adulthood I considered them tools primarily for writing. An impression I only recently began to change. I was stymied. I couldn't rely on them anymore. Gradually I began to realize that this was no different than anything else. I can't place sole trust in anything.
These aren't bad realizations. They are useful, to me. But this post has grown, and reading over it, I find little that could be useful to a reader. Little even useful to me. It has little structure, little predictive value. It wanders, and it makes no great conclusion.
I find I am afraid of change, even as I work towards it. I'm afraid of a lot of things. But fear doesn't motivate me as much as desire. Though I do fear that balance reflects nothing so much as genes and environment. I don't know how many thoughts I have that can be described that way. I just have to test each one as much as I can think to, I suppose.
One's optimism or pessimism can be determined by who you want to be, over who you are. And whether the differential is larger or smaller than your ambition and hope. That relationship will be different tomorrow. And I'm not sure what the answer even is today. I guess I can approximate based on whether I think that is encouraging or not.
Today someone accused me of being unscientific. I was surprised how much it stung, particularly given the medium, (just IRC) and the source (some person I don't know, and who doesn't know me). the fact that anyone would get such an impression reflects badly on me, I think. But I can't say they're entirely wrong. I am unscientific, I am irrational. I'm far too emotive, and I'm unstable in several dimensions. Further, I am of limited value in certain endeavors. But I aspire not to be. And that my efforts in this were unrecognized, hurts me. Even from one with little vision. I would like to think that I appear to be trying, at least. But perhaps this is too much to ask from outside opinion. Or perhaps I'm overrating myself.
I like asking a lot of questions. I think good ones point you in better directions than good answers, no matter how useful.
"In the end? You should know, nothing ever ends"
--Dr. Osteoman, "Watchmen"
Thursday, October 30, 2003
Sunday, October 26, 2003
Once upon a time, I spent some time on this thing, But couldn't really spend the obsessive amount of time neccesary to stay active. Many of my posts have been replaced or deleted, but a few remain, and the site as a whole has grown. It's full of strange and interesting facts and lies, and artistic diversions. A good place to waste some time, a bizarre cousin to wikipedia.
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
I hate having to write bios of myself. It strikes me as disingenous and too close to simple self-gratification.
But on the other hand, who else will or can write detailed or accurate information about me? If I was a celebrity or had umbrella-loads of literarily inclined friends, I could avoid it. But as it is, I don't see any way around it.
I used to solve this problem by using false modesty. But I found that doesn't work out well either, and it obscures useful information. So I'm left with the unhappy medium between writing as many verifiable facts as possible, and presenting myself as I want to be seen.
I guess it will have to do until I can introduce myself personally to everyone.
Sunday, October 12, 2003
This is an anime, for those who haven't cringed in terror already. The premise of the anime is largely that there are two kinds of people, those weak, confused, gullible and insane/self-loathing, and/or those who build labrynthine plots to exploit the former in mysterious and seemingly counter-productive ways. Confused at that last sentence? The tangled participles and fragments are a tiny candle against the horrifying bonfire of continuity errors and irrationalities this anime will introduce to you. Your main character is Shinji a lovable young boy, who... Well, we love him for no apparent reason, it's a given. And he doesn't really do anything. In fact, upon reflection, he doesn't do a single thing he isn't guilted or forced into by aforementioned plotters and such. But, um, he's a very sympathetic character! See, he is very emotional. These emotions seem to have no basis in reality, or the events that occur to him, and vary wildly in strength in no relationship to external stimuli. He is essentially a non-character, who reacts randomly. Roll 1d6, 1-3, guilty and useless; 4, angry and useless; 5 insane and useful; 6 nearly catatonic and/or happy. That's pretty much it for shinji. Basically his role is to soak up abuse. We're not supposed to notice that his gross incompetence and self-destructive tendencies only let him act when it's either harmful to him, or necessary to preserve the existence of the very world that the anime exists upon. And even the latter isn't always a given.
Shinji, sadly enough is an apt analogy for the audience of this anime. We're either dumb or don't know better, and keep bashing ourselves over the head with more episodes in ill-aimed enthusiasm, or because we're hoping against hope that things will make sense in the end. Both Shinji and anime enthusiasts could stand to learn to pattern match better.
The shape of the overall series follows the same shape as the individual episodes. Occasional stunning visual treats boxed in by an author's pathological desire to twist, misquote, and bastardize mythology, religion, history, techno-babble, and conspiracy theory into some not quite revealed labrynthine plot that never quite gets off the ground. We learn a bit about the characters, and reinforce the initial stereotypes they were shoved into. No growth really occurs, except in exceptional cases, such as those character lucky enough to die before the end of the series.
If you're thinking of watching this series for the first time, don't. Instead, just watch the penultimate dvd offering "Death and Rebirth". It minimizes the annoying mythological/religious name-dropping, as most of the beginning is a visual/thematic overview of the more legible plot points thus far. It also stars Kaoru Nagisa in a wonderful speaking role that is so lucid and easy to understand that I'm convinced a rogue animator inserted it after the author had ran screaming into the night during post-production. You get a decent idea of what the series is about while not having to actually slog though it. Also, "Rebirth" takes basically the most interesting and legible section of the "End of Evangelion", cutting off all the hallucinogenic and toxic crap at the end. Still, "Death and Rebirth" is a little on the long side, and adjust your glasses, unless you know japanese. The English cast in the DVD edition is pretty okay, and they've done a lot of work on translation and paraphrase. In some cases inserting meaning where there was none before. But nothing quite gets you there as watching Shinji cringe, Rei vamp, and Gendo not explain a damn thing in their native language.
There is a certain perverse joy in playing connect the dots in Evangelion. Identifying which myth or religious concept the author has totally ripped off and fucked out of recognizability is a never ending job. Similarly, it's fun to see how we're supposed to care about these stupid blind gullible characters, and dislike these cold, aloof psychopaths that we never learn anything about. And identifying the mixing between the two. Occassionally a puller of strings becomes a victim, or a victim is revealed to have their own ill-advised schemes behind the scenes. But in the end it's difficult to have any emotions but those that are pounded into you by the jackhammer of visual agony. The real strength of this anime is it's art. And "Death and Rebirth" seems to realize that. Shunning some dialog for visuals and atmosphere building. They still yap incessantly about things that don't make sense, but it's better than the others, trust me.
This is probably worth seeing, if only for the few interesting ideas and great great scenes to watch. The artists' conception of Tokyo3 is unique insofar as I am aware, and quite spell-binding in certain situations. The art is subtle, gross, exciting, and big big big. Giant Robots have never been so personable or scary.
So, for those who have seen this anime, specifically "Death and Rebirth" you notice how Kaoru keeps calling humans the 'lillin'? an apellation later confirmed by scenes in Central Dogma in "End of Evangelion". Of course, all you at home are familiar with the story of Lillith, right? The first wife of Adam who rejected him, and left the garden of Eden because he would not treat her as an equal? Yeah, so ignoring the biblical problems with our descent from such a person, I'll not that in classical theory, the only person Lillith is known to have messed around with other than Adam is the Adversary(that's Satan, in poorly transliterated phonetic hebrew). Implications? Other than problems with the holy generations listed in the bible, it implies that humans are not infact the creations of god. We're the children of the first rebels against him. And it's not clear exactly what happened to the original mankind, if we supplanted them. Luckily, the author of Evangelion is not tracking dependencies or consequences on any level, so we dont' have to worry about the actual implications of any of the ideas in these episodes. But the strange thing is that the insanity of the author actually sparks thought amongst his disbelieving and horrified audiences. Perhaps the ideas that fly off him, poorly executed though they may be, are original enough and novel enough to be worth absorbing and considering. And all things considered, I would much rather be the spawn of the Morningstar than a child of that tool Abraham.
I know what you're thinking, Lucifer = bad. But do that math people. the Morningstar was God's most powerful creation. His most beautiful, intelligent, and loving child. But Lucifer wanted to bring the Knowledge of good and evil, as well as the Fruit of Life unto men, whose lives where short, and vision clouded. But that cut in on God's franchise, so he smote his former most beloved child into a cursed creature. And never ever did Morningstar relent, nor shall he ever, according to the Talmud and bible. So here we have the most intelligent, powerful, loving, beautiful being in the whole universe, cursed throughout all eternity for our sakes. Championing Consideration, Knowledge, and Eternal Life is not the best way to earn God's trust. The choice between the two seems simple.
Hmm, back to the anime.
This anime is wierd, and confusing. Don't watch the whole thing looking for answers, more details merely give you more points to quibble over and memorize. "Death and Rebirth" sad as it is, is pretty much the clearest the series ever gets. And it has the best action. The visual of a tiny boy floating in mid air, hands in pockets, sneakers bobbin up and down, as giant fucking robots fight to stop him from destroying the world is one I will not forget. Watch it. Then go watch a sports anime, like Hikaru No Go, or Hajime no Ippo. And luxuriate in the clear plot and semi-realistic characters. Then go pump your head, and never ever look at a pre-teen in 'ho clothes again.
You antisocial pedophile.
Monday, October 06, 2003
As time goes on, and things develop further, I am constantly struck by the perversity and short-sightedness of human cultural design. More and more, I am of the opinion that humans actually lie beneath the critereon of sapient beings. The level that unthinking reaction and habit tend to affect all levels of human endeavor seems to bespeak of a mental design more opportunistic than exploratory, and more exploitative than creative.
The fault is internal to humans, I must assume. There are enough theoretical societies and structures without the horrid irregularities around us that I must hope at least one of them is viable, minus the strange predilectations we have as humans towards social situations.
Mental landscapes are so poorly integrated that one often finds mutually contradictory goals held within the same person, and a single course of action can have wildly divergent inspirations and content amongst a simple population of supposed co-operatives. The simple amount of contradictory actions people take despite avowed beliefs or goals makes one reconsider whether or not we're accurately classified as individuals at all.
I find the most galling evidence within myself, as the exemplar of humanity most amenable to examination. My attempts to resolve the inconsistencies have met with failure. My attempt to mitigate them remains a mixed success. The ultimate irony may lie within the particular opportunistic nature of evolution. Intelligence is an advantage, to a genotype. But it remains a genotype first, and intelligence second. Did any short steps towards rationality and clarity die quick unreproductive deaths during the rapid rise of intelligence in the hominid line? We may be leashed 'intentionally' inasmuch as such a term can apply to a blind process. Intelligence is all well and good, the evolutionary record might say. But when it threatens productivity within a genotype, it won't last long. So the intelligences that outcompeted the others are leashed, as it were, to impulses and desires that ensure success. That turn intelligence into a tool of the underlying goals.
Such things are badly integrated, blind impulse and instinct being poor doorwardens for intellect. We happily continue having sex, with contraceptions in place. We retain our lust for social status, when such prizes no longer guarentee simply best selection in mates and food, but more subtle authorities and responsibilities. The impulses remain, and do provide for portions of what we like to call our personalities. But often they remain independent of our thoughts and goals. We ascribe great mystery to them, because they must indeed be powerful to move us so greatly. This is the largest reason for over-estimation of the role of 'emotions' and irrational processes.
In an interesting way, such emotions and drives and instincts can be thought of as group characteristics. They are the overarching similarities that keep us so similar to each other. They are better understood as environmental variables, however, seperate from the private, learned and grown portions of ourselves that makes us unique. Everyone has emotions, and they all react largely the same way, when they can be isolated. More interesting and individual are those opinions, dreams, and desires most removed from the common human experience. The real part of the person, you might say. The part that wasn't built in by blind chance and heredity, right?
No. This isn't what I think. But it's an easy, and strangely romantic way of looking at things. There is no easy way to seperate any portion of the human mental landscape, no pure intellect chained to the meat and evolutionary baggage of our forefathers. But it's a viewpoint that shows up distressingly often in the world of transhumanists, intellectuals, and navel-gazers of the new scientific bent. It's a simplistic solution that appeals greatly to those who wish to transcend personal weakness and hardship by 'unlinking' some percieved dead weight. The truth is never that easy. You can't have a human minus his hormones and have a human unchanged. You are left with a dead human. Nonfunction. There is no simple essence to intelligence. We (personally) are our fears and eyes, and legs and limbic reactions. There can't be a separations that way. Growing up isn't that easy.
Wednesday, October 01, 2003
Somebody win this for me. I was hopeful, but python got taken off of the list of languages, so I'd have to compete in C++ or Java, neither of which I'm very good at. But I want to know what Google corporate headquarters is like, and anybody could use the cash prizes they offer.
1st place ten grand
2nd place five grand
3rd place three thousand five hundred
4rth place one thousand two hundred fifty
dollars my friends.
now go, and may the slack be with you.
I mean, yesterday I ended up watching Television, because anything else was too strenous. I eventually managed to drag myself to the computer, but couldn't accomplish anything because the sickness keeps me from thinking even.
Today I'm doing better, on the computer, some writing, some reading. must go now, and eat and dose myself with medicines.
It's sad that such troubles still sidelines me so completely. I think that a major benefit of advanced biology will be consistency, perhaps even more than upgraded capability. the ability to know exactly what you're capable of, without having to track health, diet, environmental factors, sleep, that would really add to my self-predictive capabiliyt, and enable me to get more work done. and more fun done too.
Thursday, September 25, 2003
C'mon, who else has done something like this to a less than gifted member of society?
I don't feel guilty about it neither. She deserved it. If god didn't want me making obscure private jokes at the expense of others, he shouldn't have made me so smart and mean.
Sunday, September 21, 2003
okay, nerd rpg moment over.
I saw this movie today. It's legal issues aside,(they're being sued by White Wolf Publishing for copyright infringement), it's an okay action movie. It features, as per usual, a hard to swallow instant romance. But that's okay, we don't pay for emotional development in our characters, do we?
Sadly, most of what this movie inspired in me was a little introspection, and the thought that most of our entertainment is just enumeration of inter-tribal and intra-tribal conflicts. This movie is a particularly bad example with warring 'species' which consist of basically small, tribe size groups trying to exterminate each other over percieved slights, and mutual claimed territory. It gets worse when the story starts to 'justify' the conflicts between them, with one side (invariably the one the heroes are on) turning out to be 'in the right' and the other side being revealed as unspeakably evil.
On the other hand, this movie has some really interesting plot choices, that, sadly aren't executed particularly well. But the storyline and background world are kind of interesting.
Oh, and this post has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with my last post. nope nope, nothing at all.
Saturday, September 20, 2003
So, Kill Bill is looking a little bit better now, with this new trailer. I have to admit I was apprehensive about this one, but it's starting to look like less of a mistake to have cast Uma Thurman in an action role. I still have no real explanation for the preponderance of skinny starved chicks in action movies, or even movies in general.
I blame the fashion industry. My theory is that gay male fashion designers pick models without blatant feminine features (ie, the skinny, breast/hipless, heroin chic girls like kate moss), and also pick bland, uninteresting poles to focus attention on their clothing styles. These two dynamics combine with the image driven and derivative nature of entertainment industries to support themselves, and spawn to different contexts, like TV and movies.
this is of course, a profoundly flawed theory that has little to do with reality, but it makes me feel better to think there is a reason all these unattractive and ineffectual girls get parts in movies that should know better.
That being said, Kill Bill seems a little better than most. But that's not saying much. Someday a successful action movie from hollywood will feature a big strong girl, with big hands, calluses, and a steely glare, and on that day I'll be a happy man.
Until then we'll watch bony chicks be pulled around on wires and smash trick objects with lightened prop weapons. Ah well.
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
2 "There isn't one."
1 "Oh. I thought there might be."
1 "what about, that word that means that you know for sure that something has just happened and you will try the rest of your life to forget it, despite the fact that it changes a lot of things you should probably try to keep track of?"
2 "Theres no word for that either"
1 "what about the word that means you've just realized that you'll never kiss someone because they know how you feel about them, and while they're not opposed to the idea, the fact that you liked them before they liked you will always poison any feelings that might arise?"
2 "there isn't a single word for that moment"
1 "what about, when you know that something will never ever ever happen again?"
2 "that's 'over'"
1 "Yeah, I was afraid that might be it."
apologies to Sandman
Monday, September 15, 2003
"An Erisian Hymn
by Rev. Dr. Mungojerry Grindlebone, KOB
Episkopos, THE RAYVILLE APPLE PANTHERS
Onwards Christian Soldiers,
Onwards Buddhist Priests.
Onward, Fruits of Islam,
Fight till you're deceased.
Fight your little battles.
Join in thickest fray;
For the Greater Glory,
Yah, yah, yah,
Yah, yah, yah, yah.
Sunday, September 14, 2003
Here's an interesting thread on talking to people. It focuses overly much on religion. And i'll state again, for anybody who hasn't heard it yet:
I have no religious opinion. I have learned that talking about something that you have no evidence about is a bad idea, and religion is too general a topic with too little to grab on to. Once, I was pretty sure, but I've since moved on.
But let me make clear, whenever I have something specific to discuss, I'm ripready to go. And almost every person I've ever met has a God that doesn't work out. People hold beliefs that are glaringly inconsistent, illfounded, or nonsensical. I have no issues and little difficulty saying to these people, your god does not exist, and you are an idiot. Specific instances don't prove the general rule, but I can work with what I have.
So I'll continue on my way, and when things come up, I'll examine them as carefully as I can. All I want is the truth.
Saturday, September 13, 2003
Wednesday, September 03, 2003
Not to mention they both react much faster to new hardware, new security issues, and new software availability. About the only issue is games. Some people love their games, some of which are windows-only. For these people, I recommend Tribes 2, and the upcoming Doom3, both of which are released natively for linux. And if you absolutely must have all mainstream games, buy a Macintosh. At least they have a reliable software platform.
A great deal of backbiting has always plagued the world striding colossus that is Microsoft. From the very beginning, people have disliked MS' approach, from their purchasing of MSDOS to their blatant Macintosh emulation. And as the internet changes and surges into new areas, Microsoft seems determined to grasp it's mode of operation and force the internet into it.
The internet and it's quick market reaction may be the only reason Microsoft is still around. The sensitive barometer of software development builds tools for what people use, because otherwise software initiatives die. Even the strange and unique world of open-source development builds windows binaries often as not. This continuiing reaction to the user base has giving microsoft a continuing validation by forces that might rather it die a quick death.
And this is a good thing. Regardless of philosophical differences, I believe that total progress is the goal. And Microsoft still has something to offer us. It's massive budget and scare-mongering tactics may earn it the ire of many, but it also spends money like a wino on french holiday trying to grow the computer market. And the computer market should be grown. It's too useful of a tool to remain the province of the rich and geeky. So it helps us. But it's also a huge corporation that in the end has only legal and pricing considerations. So it doesn't act in what we can call a moral manner. But neither does any other large corporation. They can't afford to, and it's not their job. Accountants aren't paid to be moral, lawyers aren't paid to be moral, and all the others in MS are simply there to do a job. They do their job, and the end result is immoral behavior. Where does the buck stop? Arguably the owners of microsoft are not doing a job, and can be expected to support moral behavior. But the simple fact is that corporate ownership is seen as a form of investment, so it is in fact a special kind of job. another one whose only requirement is return on said investment.
So perhaps expecting moral behavior is too much from a large corporation. There is, as we have found, no single agent that can impart a moral sense to their actions. This is not a very good state of events, but it's what we have. I would hope that Microsoft either acknowledges this fact, or rectifies it. Or dies a quick death. It's not to my advantage to have immoral actors around.
It is an occasionally useful maxim of mine that standardization cuts two ways. It decreases variety and increases volume, almost without exception. The sometimes counter-intuitive result of standardization is an increase in human variety. The development of TCP/IP vastly reduced the kinds of interaction between computers while simultaneously multiplying the amount of information exchanged. Humans used this new volume for a dizzing array of webpages, services, games and most importantly organization of these kinds of information. Search engines are webpages, but in certain ways, they are above them. You go to webpages for specific content, even if of a dynamic kind. Search engines are fundamentally different, and belong in a different kind of category. services like finger and ssh are similar. They provide information about other services, or provide increased levels of interopability. They transcend simple transaction, but operate on the same mechanical level.
These specialized kinds of variety all operate on a single level from the standpoint of the computer, packets of information with particular addressing and content. This similarity allows the computer to transmit with impunity the great array of ideosyncratic creations that we call the internet. The key is that the standardization exists on a transparent level to the computer. If the english language or picture color balance were standardized, little increased volume would result. Because a computer lacks the ability to take advantage of the regularities in such standardization. Without extra potential volume, little new variety would result, and the standardization process would be a useless venture, from the standpoint of computers. Teaching english and photography may be easier in that hypothetical case.
If software was several orders of magnitude smarter, regularities in english and picture color balance, might be tractable to increased natural language parsing, and intelligent search of photos. But I digress.
The key is to provide increased potential usable volume by reducing underlying complexity up to the point of transparency. the encroaching standardization can never get in the way of human variety. This key point explains why standards that work with TCP/IP work up to a point. html, XML, dynamic content, standard port addresses, IPv6, these are all good things and useful to many people. But technologies like OS specific net connectivity, social exchange technologies, and even tiny simple things like standard quoting rules in forums and email lists fail miserably or just lead to balkinization.
But standards on the edge of human variety and machine parsibility is where the exciting ideas are. The question of which side of the line a technology falls under is an open question that often depends on effort, cleverness and popular interest. A wonderful example is the above 'success story' of XML. XML is another child of a larger technology called SGML. This miserably complex, highly disordered description framework had hundreds of interpretations which were almost entirely opaque to one another. But the central concept was such a good one that clever folks were compelled to snip usable portions of it into nice sub technologies that enjoyed much more success, like html, certain vector graphics formats, and document description frameworks. Enter some years later, faster computers, more complex software environment. XML, a specification that's nearly as powerful as SGML, and in many ways just as opaque is a runaway success. The line of machine-useful information is higher, and the human variety imparted to XML applications is truly stunning. Almost all SGML applications are now ported to XML(affirming their equivalency, though XML has a much greater ease-of use and cleverness factor). The difference is very slight, but enough for the differential of widely used and deprecated.
The moving line of standardization vs. human variety has reached new heights with the advent of complex software and UIs that reach into complimentary arenas and make available the unions to their users. The above link is a software project that may or may not succeed, but shows the approximate position of what kinds of information may be succeptable to machine organization for human benefit.
I was surprised by the possiblities and the sheer pleasure of interacting with a UI like this. It's pleasant surprises and steady advances that make me hopeful for informational technology like this. None of the underlying technologies are new. IMs, Emails, websites, text searching. But treating these superficially different services as a standardized commodity brings new potential USABLE volume to the table. It's theoretically possible to have infinite webpages, but only a small finite amount are useful. technologies like google and haystack bring that usable amount much higher, and haystack links that usable volume to other usable volumes, like private correspondence and personal data. The resulting human variety from this standardization may be used for... well, whatever you want to use it for :-)
Saturday, August 30, 2003
You should run through this simple and helpful series of websites everyday. I have it on my personal homepage along with the webcomics I read to destroy my mind. It costs little of your time, and boosting their traffic both helps directly, and encourages other charities to help out.
It's rare that it costs so little to make a positive difference, but this is really almost something for nothing. Advertising revenue is supported by the traffic through the site, and as the traffic increases, so does the revenue. And the higher the numbers, the more advertisers are attracted to it. Such displays of created wealth almost make one forget all the horrible travesties that capitalism creates. But we must do what we can.
Thursday, August 28, 2003
very rarely am I impressed, but this guy has a pretty slick campaign and he manages to be in favor of both helpful government AND privacy. He promises to make a point of repealing anti-terrorist legislation (PATRIOT and friends) and reinforcing individual rights, and withdrawing from WTO and NAFTA, while actually paying attention to the treaties we sign with other countries.
If you've gotta vote for someone, vote for this guy.
Wednesday, August 27, 2003
It's come to my attention recently that a lot of people have dubious opinions of romance. To these people I say that romance is an enduring thing. People keep and inflate what is important to them, and so romance grows. People investigate and practive what is interesting to them, and so romance grows more skillful. And people make mistakes and so romance grows more thoughtful.
Romance is both a function of biological imperatives and information theory. Suppose you have an intelligence, who looks around, and tries to figure out why things act the way they do. And suppose there is another intelligence who does the same thing. What do you think will happen? They begin to pay attention to each other. As intelligences they are some of the complex AND unpredictable behavior in their local environment. And as they learn, they become more complex. Becoming more complex forces the other intelligence to try harder to understand, growing itself. And so these two happily spend ever increasing proportions of their time on each other, growing and learning. A simple story, of love? Love is the story of two people growing together, but it seems like more than that. But weakly, already we begin to see a basis for fascination with other within even simple expressions of people.
Love is not an emergent thing, but it is something that has great basis in our identity as thinking beings, and as such, it will endure so long as that remains so. Love is important to people now for a wild variety of reasons, the greatest of which is emotional. But important and beautiful things are preserved, even through great change. So we can expect love to outlast our simple emotions in some form or another. As we grow up, we only lose those things we no longer want or need.
Saturday, August 23, 2003
At least, attempt.
Tuesday, August 19, 2003
So, what a summer it's been. My limbic system is still roiling from losing a girlfriend of two years, so the last two weeks have been a little sub-optimal. But work continues in saving the world. More and more, I'm discovering what a complicated place we live in. Longtime readers may remember a Threats file I wrote. Unfortunately due to some negative reader experience and other factors, it's not available online despite my usual views that more information is better. But the act of researching the document has lead to me spending most of this year expanding Threats-ish information about our local environment.
People ask me, if I'm not an altruist, why I care or spend time on improving the lot of others. So, let's suppose you're a member of a fairly specific population, say, legally blind people who live independently in the US. Now, individually, these people may not be very similar to each other, but their situation makes them a specific and known population. You're one of these people, and you note that legislation is about to go through that will legally restrict the activities legally blind people can embark on unaided. You obviously grab your stuff and try and stop this legislation. Why? The primary beneficiaries, in and ultimate sense, will not be you, but other people. But the attack is against a set of people whom you are a part of, and any threat against this group of poeple is a threat against you. It's only common sense.
That's the logical justification, in a crude sense, of my efforts to help people out. Improvements to the group that I belong to(humanity) are improvements to my situation. My fate is for better or for worse inextricably entangled with the present and future of humanity. We're interdependent, and very very fragile. So to survive, I must view myself as a part of a larger situation. And every little bit helps.
Now, this is all very good, but it's obviously not the initial reason I help people. I am not a rational person yet, and I dont' plan all my actions to my full predictive horizon. I am not an altruist, in an ultimate sense, because I don't feel I need to help people. But sometimes I want to. Becuase I was born into a horrific situation. Lots of people die every day, lots of people are involuntarily subjected to things every day, craploads of complexity is lost every day, wonderful novels go unwritted every day because their possible author is starving or working for food, or being beaten or shot at. This is a situation that demands rectification, even from relatively uninterested bystanders, much less orphans born in the middle of the war zone. It is entirely likely that after a successful uplift of humanity, I won't spend much time helping people out or crusading for good causes. Well, maybe, but habits die hard. And child abuse is known to instill certain repetitive behaviors in human-like minds.
So, I may not be a philosophical altruist, but I help people anyway. You can take your simple characterizations and shove them. Pragmatism may not be a pretty philosophy, but sometimes it leads to nice morally uplifting results, particularly when pragmatism is at best a weak characterization of tiny differences from human standard, rather than some big ivory formal system that outputs actions. But you already knew that. I am a pragmatist because it works. Much like I'm a rationalist because I get better results from it. They also seem to conform to a pattern of relationships I've come to associate with 'truth'. A pattern, I hasten to add, that I'm not very good at recognizing yet, but I try.
Anyway, that question aside, My work this year has been very private, which bothers me. Privacy concentrates productivity into a single point of failure, much as I hate to view myself as a risk. So little outlets like this blog, or my chatting on IRC, or emails to other people help me keep my privacy to a managable level. But of course, it's not enough. What I would really like is to be in a position where privacy was not an option. Unfortunately, given my position, so far it's the only option. So that's probably what I'll be doing the end of this year. Working on ways for my side-projects to be less private. That means, hopefully, some of my CAD designs will be going online permenantly, rather than just emailed to people. As well as some theses and other wonderful stuff. Stay tuned.
Wednesday, July 23, 2003
it's nice. nice and hot. and humid, and no air conditioning.
and no internet access.
i saw the school of athens by raffaello. that was cool.
i am now surfing internet madly to get a fix before i leave this hotel and go back into the great unwashed.
thank god for laptops.
Wednesday, July 02, 2003
Monday, June 23, 2003
Saturday, June 21, 2003
For some time now I've been working on ways of making my situation more stable, more tractable, providing myself with some measure of security. I have put together some semblance of a company, which I expect to help me financially. I have provided myself with a meager education, to replace the entirely useless one I was force-fed by well-meaning public personages. I have come up with some tiny flashlight of a map into the surrounding world, getting some idea of who I am, where that is, and the limits and advantages thereof.
These whistlings in the dark don't change much, though. I remain in the same situation, and will remain much the same until further notice. That's not altogether a bad thing, I enjoy certain aspects of my position very much, as a human being, it would be hard not to. I am the perfect sort of mind to appreciate sunrises and beautiful women, good food, the joy of discovery. It is what I do, or can do. But some things are a part of my world that are not pretty. Natural, timeless, always things that I don't like, and can't accept. Changing those things (or planning to) distinguishes Transhumanists from most others. Humanists say that Man is the measure of all things. As well you should say, it's true, from at least this perspective. Transhumanists say the same, but not the same way. Man is not a static picture of values and states. You cannot learn all that there is of transhumanism from Cicero or even Roussau. Because we change, our world changes. Our minds change. I am a moving target. I know more today than yesterday, am different from the Justin that woke up. I am a stream of Justins, each different from the last, I would like to think each better than the last. I cling to that belief. That I do more with less neurons, less time, less speed. It would be a mistake to judge me by my younger self, just as it is to use a frozen vew of men to judge them all. Transhumanism is about changing values and evaluators. Nothing is a given. Nothing is accepted.
It may be that this is a colder universe than the warm timeworn humanism. It's filled with mistakes and tragedy and wasted lives. You cannot explain death or disease away as man's lot. You begin to see alternatives, like a man who sleeps in a clean house, and cannot stand to return to a hovel. For some time after I encountered transhumanists, I was a wreck, with emotions sandpapered down to bare nerves. I would cry for hours at things I accepted before. I began to care for minor characters in stories nonfictional and fiction. Sometimes I still do. Every loss is keener in a worldview so expanded. When something might be saved, you regret not doing so.
Objectively, it seems that that raising of my horizons is a great positive act, bringing untold possiblities and joys within reach of my imaginitation. I have no doubt that it is so. Subjectively, it feels like falling a great distance. Your situation is geometrically less of the best possible world. It makes even the best and most powerful plans seem weak and small.
My thoughts these past two years are some of the most ambitious I've ever had. Some of the best and most detailed too. They have all been fatally flawed, with mistakes I find obvious and stupid, sometimes only a few days of learning later. This is progress. I am better positioned now, than I have been in my life. Even fatefully flawed, my plans and ideas have carried me far, much further than if I had not recognized their shortcomings, in fact.
But it bothers me, it eats at me still. My plans are not good enough. They fall very short of the vaulted ceiling that is my desires. Very short of my imaginary best of all possible worlds. Once, in search of some surcease from sorrow, I built a best case scenario. Assuming assuming a modest budget of some several billion dollars available to me, and the cooperation of a small crew of some thousands I could not ensure my success. There were too many variables. I had to settle for a good path some distance from the best of all possible worlds. It taught me that power is little without adequate direction. It is the specific knowledges and details that is so difficult about creating the future. It's the plans that take the most effort.
Wednesday, June 11, 2003
Monday, May 26, 2003
Wednesday, May 21, 2003
I think that knowing more makes it more difficult to make decisions for good simple reasons in some cases, and vastly easier in others. The deciding environmental factor appears to be whether the decision regards a finite deterministic plan, or a creative unbounded one. Creative tasks actually get harder the more information you're trying to include. Engineering gets easier because your bag of preset tricks is larger.
So what's the solution? If competence leads to problems in creativity, and anticompetence leads to issues with design, is it simply a two directional tradeoff, with no shortcuts?
Well, things aren't that simple. But one good way to keep yourself from becoming too competent, is to learn in new areas. increasing your total bag of tricks, whilst making you magically a rank newbie in some area. This doesn't solve the underlying problem, but it helps psychologically to have something you can do.
Real creativity is of course, out of the picture for humans. We are neural creatures, and our 'creativity' consists of misapplying pattern to object. We can't generate from principles, or come up with de novo patterns effectively. Perhaps there is some way around this, but that is why more information retards our creativity. A more aptly designed intelligence would not have this problem, I suspect.
Real design is more likely, but it has problems. Because our scientific method are so primitive, we have very few really solved design problems, we have preferred solutions, but few things have been optimized to a point where re-use is the simplest and best option. So design becomes a creative endeavor on some levels. So it's difficult to seperate too much, and not enough information. See above.
Psychologically the problem becomes even more complex, because in order to design and create well, we need confidence, attitudal differential , a sense of place, certain environmental factors must be invariant, etc. Providing yourself with a good working state can be more difficult than the work itself, sometimes. Which is frustrating, exaberating the problem.
unfortunately, this is another one of those areas where a few million years of development would come in handy. If we had more history, we might have optimized strategies for dealing with situations like this. But we're a young species, so you'll just have to work it out on your own. If you do, let me know, and we'll try and get the word out. On how NOT to do it, if nothing else.
On the other hand, maybe not. But the comics are still fun, and the shows are still amusing.
Tuesday, May 20, 2003
Friday, May 16, 2003
Strange, how taking yourself seriously can screw a sequel. X2 stayed comic book, and was better than it's predecessor, and...
I'm going to leave this one alone for a few days, perhaps someone hasn't seen it yet.
Wednesday, May 14, 2003
I have too much drama still in me from my teen years, I guess. But it's strange to see yourself on someone elses website like that, it makes one think of social rank, and dream of selecting only the very best mates....
I jest, but it is nice to be noticed.
If anyone comes to this lil infrequent blog because of that article, welcome, and sorry i'm not more prolific. If I spent as much time as I liked on any one thing I do, I wouldn't get anything done.
But, ain't that always the way.
A friend of mine here in Utah says that immortality would be required just to master being human, much less go beyond. I think he's probably right. At least if your immortal you have time to perfect the little things you dream about, like throwing cards like bullseye, or talking in metaphor like Ricky Jay. Of course, Ricky Jay throws cards too. He wrote a book called "throwing cards as a martial art" before his illustrious career as an actor.
For those of you still wondering what the hell I'm talking about, google: ricky jay, actor, stage magician, or throwing cards.
Thursday, May 01, 2003
Tuesday, April 22, 2003
Thursday, April 17, 2003
Tuesday, April 08, 2003
all I can do is approximate planning on best current information.
that being said, let me say what I'm currently doing, so people can stay informed, and I can feel i'm using this blog to self organize effectively.
-running customjobz.com (projects and maintinence, with some xml authoring for good measure)
-gathering articles and features for Mad Scientist Magazine v1
-writing a python version of CopyCat(a spare time affair)
-writing a Threats file (basically a state of the world essay, with all major risks and problems detailed largely for a transhumanist/singularitian audience within the US)
-drawing.(another spare time affair, unfortunately)
-research (this includes a lot of things, but my research schedule is a little crowded and slow)
-hopefully working out (this should happend more often)
-sanity retention activities(this includes movies, friends, and girlfriend time)
-shadowrun(this should really be in the above category, but it's been taking up a decent amount of time lately)
this list is in the order of realpolitik priority. That order which is neccesary to stay alive and all that rot. ideally of course, this list would look much different. But we'll see.
good luck in your struggles
Friday, March 28, 2003
Tuesday, March 25, 2003
Thursday, March 20, 2003
Another point to remember is that lots of people are dying. Be sad, say a prayer, or just step up your plans to make the world a better place.
"No, a finer world is a small thing to ask." ~The Midnighter
Saturday, March 15, 2003
Monday, March 10, 2003
new interest seems to be sparking in the polyphase sleep schedule, so I'll probably post some of my experiences in this vein as well. At some point.
Friday, February 28, 2003
Monday, February 17, 2003
LISP is an eminently interesting language. I've been reading lots of it (as one would suspect) and I haven't had much occasion to before.
go to lisp.org for some introductory information.
the obligatory slashdot discussion about lisp.
an interesting insight and term in the last,
"The reason why it's not hyped is because Lisp HAD a hype in its history whose decline happened to the same time (and was mostly induced by) the AI winter."
very true, lisp is a great language, but it gets the reputation of 'deadness' because of it's association with AI. which is 'in the past'.
The 'AI winter', a nifty way to describe the terrible drought, doubt, and despair over the heads of the AI community....
Friday, February 14, 2003
I'm both happy to be efficient, and creeped out by the implications. Both annoyed by my responsibility to the government, and happy to be using the internet, which seems like a freedom enhancing thing to me.
It's like talking to your oppressor over PGP or something, a mixing of metaphors and associations that isn't quite unpleasant, but not good either. coffee that's just been poured over ice cubes, and it's both hot and cold.
but, I also get a tax return soon :-)
Monday, February 10, 2003
Hey, remember the USA Patriot Act? Sure you do. After all, you're an informed, aware citizen attuned to the news of the nation.
Well, guess what boys? The USA Patriot Act is back and it's bad, and it's gearing up for a twelve-city reunion tour. Introducing "USA Patriot Act 2: XTREME PATRIOTISM," apparently now percolating in the damp nether regions of the Justice Department. This bill draft is so patriotic that the paper it's written is reflective red, white and blue, and when you touch it it shoots off a fusillade of miniature fireworks that explode in the rhythm of the song "God Bless America" and destroy any nearby flag burners with powerful hippie-seeking lasers. Hardcore.
--Reposted from Machall.com cause it's a good description
Friday, February 07, 2003
programming on a palm device is insanely annoying when you have to type in significant amounts of code. So initial generation is out, but i've found that debugging is actually quite pleasant and simple. You write or download your code to the palm pilot as a .pdb, load it into pippy(a palm IDLE equivalent) and spend some time sitting under a tree in a park, or lazed out on the sofa, or in a restaurant/cafe formatting, organizing and correcting the code.
It's really upped my enthusiasm for debugging, which is generally low.
This is too bad, but it's not unexpected.
Thus, I embark on my next great programming task. I'll be reading the Python Libary reference, and going through all the extant CopyCat documentation, then determining feasibility, schedule, and whether or not I'll be recruiting other helpers. Anyone interested can of course contact mehere.
On the way, hopefully I'll find out a bit more about MetaCat and other hofstadter-esque material. I think that it's a very pimpressive programmatic accomplishment, and hope monsieur hofstadter doesn't mind me attempting to duplicate it in another language. no response to emails yet(cross fingers).
This is largely a way for me to ramp up to really interesting programming in a meaningful way. Anybody out there who thinks this is a profoundly bad idea, or has something else more useful they think I could do, is welcome to try and convince me.
Wednesday, February 05, 2003
My girlfriend doesn't trust the PDA I bought her anymore(it's crashed and lost data twice) so she gave it to me to play with. I just loaded it up with tools and fun things, including:
-DOC compression support
-"How to Think Like a Computer Scientist" fulltext
-"MIT Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science" fulltext
-"Creating Friendly AI", and "General Intelligence and Seed AI" fulltexts
-"Levels of Organization in General Intelligence" fulltext
-"The Physician's Desk Reference" fulltext
-"Best of Psychology Today 1995-2000" excerpts
-"Wordnet dictionary database" extended text with annotations
-"New Scientist" website subscription(updated with each issue)
-"AnandTech" website subscription(updated daily)
plus a few more texts for fun, the strongest palm chess program and Go programs in existence, and maps, phone books and other amusing databases. I have no memory left on it at all.. (just 50k left) but there is so much reference and capability in my hand right now...
-"The Complete Sherlock Holmes" fulltext
-All the python documentation, and craploads of python code I've found useful or interesting in the past
Monday, February 03, 2003
I have to admit, this plan is in the very early stages, and may change substantially. But It seems a worthwhile and useful endeavor to add to my list of activities.
. . Which, to be vain, include...:
:Writing a short film script
:Producing and Directing said script
:Organizing a Company
:Applying for licenses and taxy things for said company
:Working towards a new fitness goal(an hour a day, optimum
:Programmatic Study(application, languages)
:Girlfriend Time(very important)
:Money Time(money is unpleasant and unhelpful, down with capitalism)
:Art Time(must learn to draw better)
:Food Time(but enjoyable)
:Downtime(this largely consists of books and games to keep my head from exploding)
And blogging, to organize and analyze my life. :-)
By no means does this mean my financial house of cards is rebuilt. Nay, I am still in the throes of monetary agony, and won't be in the positive column for some time. You can be sure to know when it's all solved because my first act of solvency(after new food) will be to bring my good friend Eliezer up to SLC. I owe him a visit and a donation to his org, the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence.
You should donate too.
Also, on the table is of course, FLENSER. He's coming along nicely, with this modular weapon system all designed, and a basic module interface worked out. It's too bad BattleBots has pussy rules like 'no projectiles', 'no acids', 'no electrical arc weapons' and such, because I've come up with all sorts of illegal weapon modules. I guess they'll have to wait for the revolution to see their day in the sun. :-)
Thursday, January 02, 2003
This, I am confident, is the year I shall remember as a starting point for many important projects that will remain defining in my life for a long time. I've spent the last few years learning at the expense of doing. And I'm finally in a position to change that. This year is going to be all acting, with little reaction or passivity.
And that, is good.