Saturday, June 26, 2004

Funny Stuff - Occupational Funnies - Mad Mathematicians

What if our emotions were closer to the edges of human accomplishment, rather than ancestral problems?

What kind of TV shows would we watch? What kinds of sports would be interesting to us?

We watch football and enjoy martial arts movies because they speak to primal places to us. We watch romantic comedies and tragedies because they are stories we have lived and told since time immemorial.

I honestly don't know what will happen, if we gain even the smallest rudest ability to redirect our interests and emotions. Perhaps we'll all be off like shots, laughing our heads off at incomprehensible jokes, and watching entertainment that revolves around increasingly complicated central premises.

Or perhaps we'll continue to be shaped by our human directionality, and we'll simply get team sports doing ever more interesting things, and other elaborations of human-space entertainment.

It's strange. When one contemplates great change and great possibility, I get an odd rush of protectiveness about the way I am now, and think about staying in this space for a while to really appreciate it, before running off and doing odd things willy-nilly. This tendency has grown stronger, the more I delve into futurism.

My conception of 'staying around this space' is quite different than most, I imagine.

"You can have all the bananas you want, but that's not the point." someone once said. Well, perhaps not. But I would still like to take this opportunity to enjoy the kinds of bananas I haven't heretofore been able to get, before rocketing to whatever destination I find interesting eventually.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

The Easy Way to Write Programs in Perl

Another reason not to like perl.

amusing math.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004


oh yeah.

I think it's instructive to reflect on our blessings as hackers in this bright season of plenty. Now every major OS has a commandline, except Windows, Apple is building supercomputers, laptops today are more powerful than desktops two years ago, software tools are being developed faster than I can index them, and google is on it's way to having global personal information searches.

It is truly an inspiring time to be a hacker, as our keystrokes grow ever weightier.

and we can give thanks with ancient chant:

Y0, Father, who 0wnz heaven, j00 r0ck!
May all 0ur base someday belong to you!
May j00 0wn earth just like j00 0wn heaven.
Give us this day our warez and mp3z thru a phat pipe.
And cut us some slack when we act like n00b lamerz,
just as we give n00bz a learnin when they r lame 2 us.
Plz don't let us Own sOme pOOr d00d'z boxen
when we're too pi-ssed off 2 think about what's right and wrong,
and if you could keep the G off our backs, we'd appreciate it
For j00 0wn all our b0x3n 4ever and ever,@&$NO CARRIER...

Monday, June 21, 2004

Well, the launch was wonderful. I'm sure you can all find better coverage of it elsewhere.

For me, these kinds of landmarks just drive home how intelligence acts as a lever to achieve what nothing else can. Very little was spent, relative to the kinds of sums we spend every day on piddling things, in order to build, test, and launch this spaceplane. It was the intelligence of the design, the foresight of the engineers, and the vision of it's planners that was showcased, and that sets it apart from almost any other space venture that has yet flown. This was not a gross display of national power, or grim flexing of military research dollars. There were few speeches about the purpose, or message meant to drive home.

That's why, as I stood on the desert playa, and squinted into the sun as the contrails climbed into the stratosphere, I could enjoy the moment, as pure unadulterated accomplishment, and promise.

What a time to be.

I had best get back to work, though. Rocketeers are not the only ones working in basements, on shoestring budgets, for great promise. One can't let Rutan have all the headlines, after all.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Well, the plans are set.

I'll be up in Mojave on monday morning to watch the first suborbital launch of SpaceShipOne.

I have to tell you. I'm very excited about this. Space is a place we should have been trying much harder to get to. I've wanted to be there since I was very young. It's where we'll really grow up, once we can leave the gentle nursery of our Earth.

Burt Rutan has been at the forefront of airframe experimentation for a while now, and with the backing of Paul Allen, I think he'll do it again.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Well, another day, another day.

I have to admit, I was a little dissapointed with what I got done today. Now, unlike many days, I had very specific and achievable goals, which I did complete. But I felt as if I was muddling along, being distracted and unfocused, wasting cycles by having unclear strategy.

I've tried many things, to be more effective. I've tried task scheduling, I've tried various self-management techniques. I have tried over-organization, tried emotional ties, tried self-reward, aversive training, combinations of the above... etc etc.

I am effective. I do a lot in an average day, though to many outside it does not seem so. I know that I have trouble renormalizing my priorities with what many consider standard. Things that fail some personal criterion fall very low, sometimes to my detriment. I know I'll never be terribly good at managing money, for example, and I have some understanding of where the holes in my competence are, and for various reasons, am not planning to try to rectify it too strongly. Entangled factors. There is also the conservation of inertia. It's hard enough to change yourself, it's best to direct what will I have into areas that are more pressing, and more rewarding.

But, as things go, I have somewhat complicated ways of motivating, ordering, and planning for my various initiatives. They work, to a greater or lesser extent.

But today showed me more flaws in it. So I'm tearing many of them out, and starting afresh. I have a new system, which I'll need to drill into myself with various minders, and a new set of tricks. Hopefully, en total, I'll get more performance per mental unit of effort. We'll see.

I'll note details of my system as they get worked out more clearly. And also as they get deprecated or raised based on experience.

But the experiment, I think, will be at least interesting, and I hypothesize, effective.

A raised glass to all you self-analyzers and mind-hackers out there. May you be more of who you are.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Well, a bit of a run, and a bit of progress.

went running this afternoon with louise and josh, found a decently fun little park with a series of exercises along a path, called a parcourse. I used to see these kinds of things in cincinnati in public areas, didn't think much of them, but today, being in an excercise-ish mood, I went through the course.

It wasn't too bad. I may go back. We'll see.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Well, yesterday Alexis went back to Texas with Marni, his girlfriend.

Sadly, Alexis won't be joining our merry band here at A2I2, but I hope the best for him. The weekend was quite interesting regardless, and did remind me of what an interesting setup we have here. Nothing like presenting your life to a stranger to make you aware of it's ideosyncrasies.

And it's benefits. I know that I'm lucky to have such a job, where my personal ambitions mesh so well with the mandate and ambitions of others. It's too bad that everyone can't have such situations. I guess it's another argument for entreprenuer-ship, which I was planning to have to do myself when this came along. But some people, myself included, are not well suited for such things.

I have many talents but financial sense is not one of them, and not one I'm particularly interested in developing.

hmph. back to work. I do so enjoy being busy without being desperate.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Alexis Kostibas, a young man I know not at all, is visiting us here in sunny LA.

Here's here to face the inquisition, to run the deadly gauntlet to be employed at a2i2.

well, we're not quite that picky. But the job has it's own filters. Almost nobody is actually interested in this stuff to this degree. Fewer have opinions that are compatible, much less similar on the subject. And fewer still can move out and become a monk of AI, for the promise of success, and possible deferred riches, and not much over that.

I enjoy it when people come out. I remember Josh's visit. Paul's, Jeff's, have been privy to a few of the applicants that have bounced off michael.

It reminds me of when I came out here, which was really the first time I met transhumanists in person, having been an internetter entire. I got to talk in person to people about things I've largely been writing to myself about for a long time. It was a really nice time. I enjoyed it, and it was a real turning point in my year, as you can expect.

I can hope that it's just as fun and influential for Alexis, whether he gets the job or not.

I here quote Jakita Wagner, of WildStorm's perfect "Planetary"

"These are the moments I live for. I put up with all the other crap just to get seconds like this. The moments when you know the world is a better place than advertised."
"Aside from a few yarns my boss tells after four bottles of sake, I had no idea the world was other than advertised."
"I envy you, Mr. Wilder. You're about to discover the depth of the strangeness and beauty the world holds."

Tuesday, June 08, 2004


I'm back in the world of the internet. I just spend the weekend in SLC, being disconnected, seeing friends, hanging out with Crystal, and generally having a good time.

The backlog of emails upon my return was truly horrifying, but I soldier on.

I also get to work on my very interesting tasks here at a2i2 again. You know you have it bad when you miss your job when you're dozing in the arms of a beautiful girl. I actually took notes on some ideas I had whilst away, and upon getting back, tried implementing them. Note to self, don't trust yourself when away from a computer. Really, my quality of ideas when I can't google, can't check the codebase, can't easily experiment is much reduced. Perhaps this points towards the need for a laptop? I don't know. I have a relatively old laptop here, but it has a failed battery, and I'm reluctant to spend any money getting it working.

Ah, the sea, I missed it.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Home / Mono

Um, Holy fucking shit.

.NET is the thing that Microsoft is counting on to lock developers into using Windows.

Mono is an attempt to build a free implementation of the .NET Development Framework.

I repeat, Holy fucking shit. If they succeed in this, they could have completely invalidated everything Microsoft is trying to do here. A free open source implementation would lay all their advantages to use by anyone who can spare the programmers to adapt it for whatever platform they please.

You could run anything you have the code for on.. say, OSX, or even Solaris. Or Win98. Why hasn't this project been nuked from orbit yet? Have they already faced the legal challenge?

This is something real, and something dangerous. This is bigger than linux getting a better windows manager, bigger than OSX going up a few points in mindshare. bigger than iPods, bigger than anything I can think of.

Why is this website still up?