Sunday, December 20, 2015
I have never been a big fan of blade dependent wind turbines. At the very least they are low density power generation precisely because of the limits of blade surface area with which to receive air molecules, and thus to translate their kinetic energy to a drive shaft. This post from Gizmag.com illustrates what thinking outside of the blade can come up with (be sure to check out the related wind power links on the same page).
Monday, December 14, 2015
This article from medium.com's Backchannel portal is one of those descriptions of new creative effort you just have let simmer in your head for a while.
This is the one, of course, that chronicled Alexander Mordvintsev's inspired idea of letting convolutional neural nets go off on their own exploration of visual input, instead of simply trying to arrange the complex set of synaptic weighting, and eventual neuron firing, that would allow the whole to correctly identify desired image elements. To say that the results are stunning is to hardly do them justice at all.
Please do give this a read. It is fascinating, as well as stimulating a good number of delightful questions.
Thursday, December 10, 2015
A bit of powerful emotion about the bereft of meaning in our world. Mr. Simon called it the sound of silence but I'd like to think of it as the lack of meaningful connection. Enjoy.
Disturbed "Sounds of Silence" cover
Monday, November 30, 2015
With all of the discordant rhetoric, and disturbing imagery, I thought it would be appropriate to reflect back on a giant of radio, and recorded sound: Ken Nordine.
To say this guy was amazing is to hardly even begin to scratch the surface of what he could create with his voice, and vivid imagination. I urge you to check his stuff out. You won't be disappointed.
Are You a Cosmolosophist?
First and foremost, understand that this is just an idea. An arrangement of meanings that will hopefully have inner, as well as outer, relevance as you plot your course through existence. As such, resist whatever temptation there may be in making rigid orthodoxy out of anything I suggest here. Remember that meanings are always temporary arrangements of things that make sense in both a practical, as well as heartfelt context.
Sentience is a fundamental part of the bigger context that it exists in. This is so because there must be object for there to be boundaries, and so there must also be systems of objectification. But object and boundary themselves are not enough without something to make, and hold, meaning of the gaps between each; meanings which automatically imply connection. With connection then comes the linkages that make for held structure, and the possibility to start layering collected objectification upon collected objectification.
In this process there must be observation, and so an observer, utilizing a singular point of reference to establish relative demarcations of where one thing ends and another begins, as well as to then, through the process of experience association, begin to understand the practical significance of juxtaposed things, both in terms of counts, and what might be there to count in the first place.
But even as sentience gains greater skill in counting, and better tools to count with, it must not be forgotten that the observer, as well as the tools utilized, are part of what is being observed, and that the very act of observing, as well as the choices made in making the observation, cannot avoid affecting the results; which is no more than to say that truly objective observation has its limits. It follows, then, that from this we must also concede that objective meaning also has it limits.
What else, then, do we ascribe to the power of connection, and the fundamental requirement that things, however objectified, come together and exchange?
It is here, of course, that our form of sentience has always had a great deal of trouble with; the intangible, that we feel in various ways, made worse by the ignorance of our infancy as a sentient species. Evolution has given us not only the ability to objectify and question, but to also know fear, lust, nurture, unmet need, and all forms of deprivation thus engendered. And so we invented myths and deities, and all manner of rites, and belief systems to go with them. Structured cooperation was essential for survival certainly, but also so susceptible to not only outright corruption, but the rigidity inherent in the social inertia of any organization made by sentient beings. One set of beliefs becomes orthodoxy. The hierarchy of power relationships becomes fixed, and suddenly it is blasphemy to question any obvious contradiction of orthodoxy. And those in power can throw down retribution without limit.
So for now, and subject to individual interpretation, let us agree on something approximating the following:
1. The Elemental Embrace, or Love, depending on your point of view, or scale of consideration, is one half of what makes the entirety.
2. Mind, or the fact of objectification, observer and meaning processing, is the other half.
3. The purpose of these two fundamentals, as far as a Cosmolosophist is concerned, is the creation of thoughtful, loving structure so that more of the entirety can be observed, known, and appreciated, to the best degree possible. A purpose that is essential for any reality to walk the path between completely unstructured interaction and absolute entropy
4. In this sentient beings must aspire to work a balance between objective, and subjective, truth; keeping in mind that there is a place for both the rational and irrational in all interactions. That faith and spirit walk hand in hand with proof, and the practical considerations there of.
5. The entirety may, or may not, be a recursive question answer engine, with each answer automatically forming the next question, but the essential assumption ought to remain that there is more to the connective power of meaning than what can be quantified within it; as well as more channels to mediate these links than we may be able to perceive at any given moment. Something that does not require any form of deity, even as it continues to allow for the possibility of same.
6. Anything is possible. That is the both the curse and the boon that we exist within. There is always inertia to consider, and everything will always have to deal with relative probabilities, but make no mistake. Sentient beings are fundamentally involved in how the entirety evolves. We can make every kind of hell, and every kind of heaven, that we can imagine. It just seems to me that neither extreme ought to have that much appeal to us.
7. Be a Warrior of the Heart, but choose your weapons, and how you use them, carefully. Just as a pen can be mightier than the sword, an idea can be more destructive than any bomb. And keep in mind the fact that strength can be expressed in so many more ways than mere muscle, or its extensions, can encompass. As such, never acquire power merely for the sake of power itself, nor hold on to it whether needed or not.
8. As you would treat others as you would have them treat you, always question yourself as you would question others as well. And always consider your own possibility of being wrong.
9. Try to find balance in both being and becoming, as well as doing for yourself, and doing for others. In both cases, both are important and neither completely outweighs the other.
10. Tolerance and cooperation. Cooperation and tolerance. These are essential to the survival of our species. Recognize that there will always be modes of thought, and living that will seem anywhere from wrong, to unconscionable, to one group, as opposed to another. The difficulty here, as anything is possible, especially when it comes to uncertainty, is that no one group will ever never know exactly when it is right to take action against others, even when the way the others live becomes extremely objectionable. Sometimes action must be taken, and sometimes it must not. In this violence to stop violence must be considered in only the most dire circumstances, precisely for what is at stake. At the end of the day, every group, or individual, must be very clear on what they risk in either taking, or not taking action, and why they feel the need to do so in the first place. In my view, if people can vote with their feet at the very least, then any situation that people might find themselves in has a non interventionist solution. And in that the offended group can always provide aid. If others choose to remain in that situation then the offended must give great weight to restraint.
11. People have the right to be stupid, and even destructive to at least a certain extent, because you cannot eliminate such modes of thought, or behavior by force alone; and even if you could you would risk becoming what you loath most to do it. Not only is what constitutes "stupid" subjective, but where what is helpful ends, and where what is "destructive" begins, is also subjective. Curing what we find offensive can be a fool's errand if taken too far. And That's only for starters, as history is abundant with examples of how evil came to be inherent in the organized efforts to crush whatever one belief system found offensive in another.
12, Stepping out to the stars is mandatory not only because the universe needs to be observed, and appreciated, but also because different ways of being need distance from each other so as to lessen the natural irritation those differences engender. In this Earth needs to become a no conflict zone, whatever our differences, so that we may all work together towards making that big step possible.
The Visionary art of Mark Henion: Please do check out his work.
Saturday, November 28, 2015
The Butterfly Effect if the Lovely Little thing were wielding the Mark 8 version of the "BFG" from Doom
Let's be clear here. The LHC is one amazing machine. It is a marvelous example of advanced engineering, as well as systems integration. And no gadget geek worth his salt wouldn't be impressed by it. As well as to say one can only admire the minds that came together to make such a construct possible.
Saying that, however, does not change the fact that these marvelously creative people still don't know the full implications of what pursuing inquiry via this method might entail.
I know I'm a broken record on this point but I feel very strongly that it should be repeated, even if there is good chance that I am completely wrong. The simple fact remains that, even at a quite low level of probability, the risks involved are too great.
The whole point here is that it may well not matter in the least that nature itself already creates such interactions as a matter of course in the play of expansion since the singularity first expressed its infinite mass. What we're talking about here is the potential difference it might make when a sentient meaning processor chooses to measure quantifiable events based on the arbitrary discharge of what is essentially a weapon. To be sure, a weapon that works at very, very small time scales precisely because of the tremendous energies applied to equally small bits of ammunition. The fact remains that the bottom line here is two fold in the troubling questions it ought to ask.
First, of course, is the basic notion of uncertainty in the first place; as with how you go about measuring light and what that can fundamentally change in the nature of outcomes between different choices. The second, however, ought to be more concerning as this is, as I have already stated, the most complex system we will ever encounter. Despite it being quite counter intuitive, our choice in firing off this weapon, after a certain point in the energy levels, may be initiative affects into the larger system, across channels of interaction we may not of have even dreamed of yet, that will have consequence far beyond the mere clouds of debris they ponder the tracks of now.
That's the crux of it. And however low the probability is, as one who's livelihood made him appreciated just how capricious even the most basic of complex systems can be, the continued use of this machine worries me greatly.
Thursday, November 26, 2015
This article in The Guardian reminds us of how fascinating the interrelationship of motion and mass is. You need only reconsider mass from a slightly altered perspective to see why.
Any significant mass, as in the case of a planet, or even a gravitational singularity, can be thought of, it seems to me, as simply a concentration of encapsulated motion objects. Motion and interaction within motion and interaction. The question then becomes what happens to the fabric of space time when such accumulations occur? It certainly must be related to relativistic mass or why would there also be time dilation between an observer going relatively faster than another observer; especially when the first observer approaches a significant percentage of the speed of light?
You also have to keep in mind the way we measure time in the first place, as with the number of oscillations of particular atoms. Simply more movement and interaction within what we have calculated to be the count of such regular movements within arbitrary notations of interval. It seems to me that interval in such systems really is "the space in duration," but space in tension or compression of a sort we haven't figured out quite yet. Or perhaps a consideration of space as something a great deal more complex than simply individual points in a Cartesian coordinate arrangement of more than three or four dimensions.
For me, as well as my philosophy, a reality is a vector of movement, and interaction, association, which starts from a singular reference point, creating a physical meaning space; which also has to coexist, in some fashion, with the inner meaning space of meaning processors, or sentient beings of one form or another. In this context the entirety is only one thing, with no external boundary. In essence an unbounded process of infinite potential, or infinite inner boundaries, and interactions. A reality vector creates space and interval simply because association along a vector has to be sequential by definition, and the sets of meanings (or new bits of bounded interaction) created along the way, at each arbitrary quantum moment, never go away, they simply allow for the expansion of new meanings. Space is still the one infinite thing it always has been, the only difference is between the meaning sets from quantum moment to quantum moment, along an arbitrary vector, and the limit of information transfer to keep meaning processors interactive with them.
In any case, though, this sort of new evidence serves, once again, to suggest to me that we ought to be spending more money looking into relativistic mass (away from our planet), and a lot less on bashing away at sub atomic particles with ever greater energies. We need to be out in space in a big way anyway, and there is still, in my admittedly non expert opinion, significant question as to the real efficacy, not to mention potential morality, of an approach to inquiry based on violence. The entirety will be the most complex system we will ever come up against and we simply have no right to assume that our very small inputs with colliders will not have large effects we cannot even guess at yet.
Sunday, November 22, 2015
The answer to this Pacific Standard essay is, in my view of things, quite simple: For the same reason we keep asking "Why" in the first place: The need to question.
It is precisely why one of the main tenets of Cosmolosophy is the idea that the entirety can be thought of as an unimaginably immense question answer engine. An iterative process where the output forms the new input, and thus, more fodder to continue on indefinitely.
This essay, though, adds some lovely perspective to the underlying elements and I do recommend giving it a read, especially as it relates to preliterate times and how literacy gave us a sense of linear time; something any serious student of Marshal McLuhan would recognize immediately.
For my part, however, I think we were questioning things well before we had literacy, though probably not before we had established languages. Language itself, in my view, was a critical component in allowing for full sentience, as it is the very fact of objectification that gives us not only sense of the difference between inner, and out experience, but a sense of self in the first place, as well as a point of specific reference with which to experience from. You need only check out this other recent essay in Nautilus to understand just how important language is in that regard.
This is also why Mind, as well as the Elemental Embrace, form the two essential processes that make up the unimaginable question answer engine. Without mind (or meaning processor) there would be no objectification, and thus language, in the first place. As well as for there to be something for everything else to be relative to.
On the Right: What Happens When You Can’t Talk to Yourself?
Friday, November 13, 2015
Aeon has provided us with another lovely article that I would recommend everyone read. "The Story Trap" by Philip Ball is a fascinating venture into both why we need narrative, and the pitfalls inherent there in.
Even when we see simple geometric shapes move about on a white background with no other informative ques we tend to ascribe an interpretive description in terms that make some kind of sense to the overall sequence. To some this might have emotional overtones, to others it might suggest formalistic behaviors responding to stimuli we have limited indications of.
And of course, such events don't need to be only visual, they can be purely auditory as well. Some people might listen to a passage of music and see suggestions of specific physical occurrences, and others would only feel the emotions tied to the experiences of life.
Even as Mr. Ball wonders at why we have this need for sequence explanation, he interprets this tendency towards a explanatory narrative to be fraught with error. For myself, however, the why, as well as the error probability, are quite understandable.
If you've had the chance to read the work of Robert Ornstein (most especially "The Evolution of Consciousness," to name a few) you know that he sees the way our brain works as the play of inner black boxes he calls simpletons. Areas of the brain that evolution has developed for the fast, and automatic, abstraction of exterior occurrence. We thus make quick guesses on boundaries (or the end of one thing and the beginning of another), as well as to the changes between these boundaries. The brain had to, of course, in order to survive. This is one of the reasons that optical illusions fool us.
As we have become more objectified with the advent of language, creating ever more layers of abstraction between what we experience, and how we interpret that experience, it is only to be expected that explanation for event sequences would become more complex; to the point even of an entire story line, complete of characters, motivations, and an outcome consistent of those motivations.
The bottom line here is that we are meaning processors. We have to make a sense of things for that is an inherent aspect of being a singular perceiver maintaining a shared grip, amongst other perceivers, on a reality peppered as it may be with errors. The interesting thing for me, however, is the degree to which the choices we make in perception, or interpretation, where the lines are drawn, and the boundaries made, have on reality itself. In a quantum world, after all, how you go about the measure of a thing affects how the thing will be ultimately determined.
Think on that and then consider: Might there be a possibility of errors in the physics narrative created by the bashing away at very small scales, with ever larger energies? Or are they simply creating a reality of violence.
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
I have another web site I want to endorse. I believe it is important for the same reason I believe women need to fight this horrible notion that their leakage needs to be characterized as "discharge." The site in question is @menstrual.blood, an Instragram account devoted to de-shaming something that absolutely needs to be celebrated (difficult physically though it can be for you guys).
Blood is primal. Blood is spiritual (after all, Catholics drink the figurative blood of Christ). And do we even need to mention the "hot blood of sex?"
I have always relished going down on the women I have loved, not to mention merely engaging in vaginal penetration, while they were menstruating. Not only is a woman more likely to be more sexually sensitive, and or desirous of sex, then, what could be more evocative of the surrender to your inner animal than covering yourself (to whatever degree) with her blood? We already revel in her lubricant after all. Why the hell should blood be any different?
More importantly, though, is the part this blood plays in the whole cycle of creative potential. We are animals, and we are more than animals. We can experience both the animal passion inherent in the need to propagate the species, but we can also contemplate the larger aspects of what coming together and mingling what are essential aspects of our being. In this you surrender yourself to more than just the inner animal. You surrender to the total involvement with another; to the remix of self containing what you were with what you will become as you internalize some of how they see and feel the world. Which is, of course, integral to how you want them to now see and feel you. Then you add the potential of creating another sentient life which is the physical mix of both of you; something you will share in the nurturing and teaching of. Something that your love and passion just makes essential.
How can the idea of blood, as well as the reality, not be a part of this? How can a certain amount of paganism not remain within the act of celebrating our physical need for connection, as well as our emotional need for same. For me, it's all part of keeping some sense of wonder and awe alive in an ever more objectified, and abstracted world.
Friday, October 30, 2015
Where is the fool
when everything is foolish.
can he make
a gap about,
as he was,
once upon a hill,
and all the vales
where others would want
no more than to make
Meanings that might
change the stage
and the acts
that we have paid
to have hold of us now.
The lines we draw
now, between and upon,
what once kept us
bonds that could
even as other
meanings could not,
have made the part
the actors on
the page where
the subtext isn't
a farce, and
the last stage
to play any part upon.
We are now
the Relative States
Can meanings vary
and still allow for
a common ground
upon which a republic
can still stand?
Not if abstractions
are all we deal in;
and other people paying
are all we work for.
Thoughtful, loving life
is not made
only of costs
to be avoided
and net gain
to be maximized.
It is effort that should be
shared, so that
can be appreciated
by everyone, and
in the first place;
as well as the joys.
I like going left.
You like going right.
And that is
as will be.
It does not change
that we all have
to mange ups
and to navigate downs
at times as well.
Making common cause
out of smoothing
seems to this fool
to be simple practicality.
Speaking practically, though,
maybe that's the essence
of our new absurdity.
Sunday, September 27, 2015
Here's an open source Idea for you.
Suppose you were to create a very large, say 20 to 30 meters inside diameter, wire mesh tube. And suppose further that the wire used would be carbon nano tube conductors coiled around one of the new magnetic materials being worked on now. Wouldn't what you ended up with be an electromagnetic tunnel?
Let us then continue speculating what you might do with this electromagnet tunnel.
Suppose you used however many hot air lifting bodies it might require to lift this tunnel up to as high as such atmospheric buoyancy might allow. And once at that altitude you then powered it up to be the longest electromagnet tunnel ever created. If you then put a platform in side with its own electromagnets in it, but with an opposite polarity, wouldn't it be possible to create your own vertical, linear accelerator?
If you could, and you could get this thing to hang at at least 20 kilometers, or more, wouldn't you also be able to launch some very significant payloads into orbit? Or, on another tact, wouldn't such an electromagnet mesh pipe be the perfect way to make a space elevator out of?
You materials and engineering gurus out there need to start thinking about how you might go about making this mesh. Maybe with some 3D printing on a whole new scale?
Monday, August 24, 2015
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
This is another intriguing indication that different languages provide for different mind spaces, the the resultant reorganization of meaning interdependency.
Saturday, August 1, 2015
No comment necessary here.
As this Salon article makes clear, Reconstructionism is something we need to be aware of. This is Theocracy in its most extreme form.
I have always believed that faith is fundamentaly important to the human condition. And if having a deity involved is a must with your sense of how faith should work then have at it. I would no more dictate to you how you live your faith than I would have you dictate yours to me.
This country, however, was most definitely not formed as a Theocracy. It wasn't because the founders didn't want any one religion to be able to dictate what everyone should believe, any more than that religion's set of scriptures should be the last word in all social rules. They wanted a nation run by the rule of law; where the laws of the land were enacted by majority rule. And laws should certainly be formed as an adjunct to our collective sense of morality, but that in no way should suggest that any particular religious texts should be taken literally as the only arbiter of what our morality should be formed of.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
beyond the counting,
like the stars
so much bigger
seeming, even as they point
out the experience
of your expansion
into an abyss
and the recoil
of distant times
and the traces
left of places.
the raging passions
of the whole,
as to still be
breathing at all.
on the soul,
can what they illuminated,
to harder parts,
still reach you.
certain mind posts
alone the way.
your one candle
to keep the dark
so many uncertainties,
so many fears,
or value or
the possibility of progression,
to any point of understanding.
who will I become
20 years from now.
will he hate
what I missed
or took advantage of.
All of the mistakes
and the pain
of not always
owning the shame.
at an arbitrary
page of age,
do you still
yearn for another volume?
Do you quake
or flame on
or just flip a coin?
If you have to ask
you already know
The trees stand
what we take
as the measure
and getting some
how or where
in the space
of what boards
in their calm
approach to growing.
for a presence
that just knows.
An easy faith
that what is needed
as water rises
to their expectations.
And the wind
to give them their voice.
What the wise will
hear as a hush.
For what you say
is as much
you hold forth
on what you can feel.
For you should
have such limbs
to hold up in
and so much
life to climb upon.
As well as
of every molecule
that abounds you.
you make the cuts
to stay the burn
of what you waste
that it is your own
legs you chop
away from any
ground with the roots
to make a stand on.
Monday, July 27, 2015
In the right mind even a rubber band has power.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Monday, July 6, 2015
I have to admit that I was not a big fan of "The Dead." They had a few songs I like a lot of course, but I was always more of a split personality music wise between folk and folk derivatives, and straight forward rock in the form of both the Southern Boys (Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Almond Brothers, the Georgia Satellites etc.) and a host of other regional sounds (Bachman Turner Overdrive, Three Dog Night, Styx, Little Feet etc). With regular forays with the Brits into everything from Pink Floyd, The Who and Ten Years After.
The Dead were, after all, a band best appreciated as a live performance group as each was a thing unto itself, something my cousins were always trying to impress upon me. The one thing, though, that you really had to admire about them was their "Wall of sound." Something matched only, if at all, by Pink Floyd when they played the King Dome in Seattle back in the eighties (defying the notorious bad acoustics to a degree not thought possible until then).
In any case, though, I celebrate their 50 year anniversary with the true "Dead Heads" everywhere if, for no other reason, than the fact that even ordinary rockers, or folk singer wanna-be's, appreciate pumping out the big sound, regardless of the genera behind it.
Monday, June 22, 2015
I wanted to make note of the fact that I neglected to be as precise about the way I ended the original post as I should have been.
Specifically, I ended this last post by indicating my astonishment concerning the fact that natural systems would create meaning processors, with choice being a very important design requirement.
What I didn't make clear here is the difference between how and why. The how, as was the main thrust of the post, was already established in the contention that any level of complexity could be obtained by conditional iteration starting from simple rules. The why, however, is something else again.
And let us not forget that it was "choice" in the human context. Why would a natural system find that in any way advantageous?
One would think that a purely rationally oriented meaning processing system designed make choices would have no less amount of adaptive advantage, even if it were not better at it. Could there be something in much larger time scales, and/or across significant percentages of the many possible realities, as they play out in those time scales, that makes choice in the human sense, in some way better?
I would like to think that it has something to do with how an ever shifting balance of both the rational, and the subjective, does more than provide simple survival. The real game, as far as the ultimate "Big Picture" is concerned is to walk the fine line between the pure heat of undifferentiated, and constant change, as opposed to a final, and absolutely frozen entropy. That's the only way the questions and answers will keep going.
And make no mistake, In my view, it is all of the frailties of what constitutes the human condition that are what contribute here. The fact that we know fear viscerally, and not for just the self, but for significant others. The fact that we can appreciate something called beauty, whatever that is ultimately. The fact that tones, in various combinations, can create joy, sorrow, and exultation; as well as the fact that cooperation can be a harmony both literally and figuratively.
All of these, in addition to imagination, empathy, and the ability to ponder all things in the abstract, make a choice context a "reasoning engine" will never be able to match. And if we go beyond mere reasoning engines?
The trick there will be in how we set up not only the associating, meaning mechanisms, in these new meaning processing systems, but how we go about nurturing the same kinds of frailties.
Doing that while maintaining effective monitoring and feedback channels in entities that will process millions of times faster than we do may well be a challenge we really ought to think long and hard on before we go any further with it.
The contrast between "A New Kind of Science," and Cosmolosophy
Sunday, June 21, 2015
If you ever want to get an idea of what real genius is listen to the presentation by Stephan Wolfram I've linked below. And if you haven't already, get his book “A New Kind of Science.” You probably won't understand all of it; I know I certainly didn't, especially when it came to all of the proofs he provides with the full explorations of some of the many simple rules he posits. It takes more math than only getting through Algebra II, as I have, to have the tools necessary, and I suspect that, even with more advanced tools at your disposal, it's still a stretch.
Still, the sheer depth and breadth of what he took on to get this book written is astonishing. I can remember very clearly how humbled I felt looking at what someone with truly serious intellectual chops could do with a mind toy I only had deep feelings about. And of course, in this I am referring to “Cellular Automata.”
Back in the early to mid eighties, you see, even after two years at Green River Community college as a transfer student intending to major in English and Communications, and completing another two year program at Highline Community College to get an Associate in Science degree in Data Process, I was still of the mind that I was going to be a writer of fiction. I say “even after” because I did a year at Boeing by this time as a “COBOL” mainframe programmer because an income was required, and I had a facility for programming. The problem was I hated it; especially as it was formalized (understandably) within the Boeing bureaucracy.
While I was applying myself quite doggedly to be better at fiction (without much success), a part of me was still fascinated by the process of conditional iteration. And when IBM, as well as the Tandy Corporation, came out with the first truly commercial personal computers, I was able to indulge my self in exploring what such machines could do. And as the graphical possibilities were the most immediately apparent, I went with the Tandy 2000; one of the very first color PC's to hit the market.
Let me just say, if there is a better incentive to get a person motivated to delve into the intricacies of both the hardware, and software, of a personal computer, than creating conditional structures to create interesting patterns on a screen, I am certainly not aware of it. And no where was this more established than with the community surrounding “Cellular Automata.” Starting with the game of life, and its myriad variations, “core wars,” and most especially the truly amazing Mandelbrot routine that was first published in Scientific American.
When I saw that first depiction on the magazine's cover of what you could create by arbitrarily assigning colors to count groups of an iterative calculation (involving an imaginary number, as well as the X,Y coordinates of the pixel array) that took the results of each run as the input of the next, and where another arbitrary limit was set to indicate that it was going towards infinity, so that the color black would be used, I was blown away. The hours I poured away into coding, and waiting for those first CPU's to crank out results, would have done any rabid gamer, or programmer, of today quite proud.
I mention all of this as a way to emphasize how getting a visceral feeling for the power of conditional iteration was established in me at the very beginning of the PC revolution. The interesting thing here, as I finally came to understand that I was nowhere near ready to write fiction yet, was that educating myself in all things PC would not only provide me an new income source, it would lead me not so much into considering complexity itself, as to trying integrate my love of words, with process, expression, and what meaning itself was; and this against the backdrop of the mess that our social processes have become, and the lack of meaning each of us seems to have the more complicated our social operating system became.
When Mr. Wolfram's book finally came out in 2003 I was already several years along in the overt expression of my critique of our current economic system, and the need for an alternative. The Old Softy Concerns web site had been running for nearly 3 years by then and I was just beginning to understand the need for a formalized philosophical foundation to support the change in sensibility that I felt was part and parcel of not only the mind set this alternative was meant to satisfy, but for which a holistic, systems view of the cosmos demanded. In this, it is safe to say, his book had a big influence.
What interests me now, though, in looking back, is not only the commonality of what is in Cosmolosophy and what is in “A New Kind of Science,” but what is different.
To review, Cosmolosophy posits that the entirety is an inconceivably big, iterative, question answer engine. The simple primitives involved here are the elemental embrace (or love) and mind. These are expressed in an infinite array of vectors of association which I like to call “Reality Ray Tracing.” The idea here is that each answer is simply the creation of the next question, and in this context, the question revolves around the nexus of “what does it mean,” “what did it mean,” and “what will it mean.”
The primitives come into the mix as, first, the need to interact and exchange, and second, the need to objectify in the first place. Time, of course, is expressed as the various vectors of association, Space is the tension field automatically created by having objects, and objects the result of meaning applied to an interaction interpreted from a singular frame of reference. In this, as a consequence, is the inherent requirement of meaning processing systems, which are then able to make choices based on those meanings. From this as well then comes the layering upon layer of abstraction that formalizes structure of whatever complexity you care to contemplate.
Mr. Wolfram's tenets of “Computational Equivalency,” “Computational Irreducibility,” as well as an iterative model based on simple rules, certainly doesn't contradict anything in Cosmolosophy, even if it may only be tangentially supportive of it at best. What I do think is an important distinction, however, is where the emphasis is placed.
Mr. Wolfram is primarily concerned with establishing that complexity does not require complex explanation; whether that be unbelievably complex mathematical models that can never quite seem to balance the macro with the micro, or just as unbelievably absurd intelligent agencies in control of all aspects of life, save the choices we make, and yet only too willing to punish us for those choices in a realm far beyond the consequences endured in the here and now.
His emphasis allows for “free will” but sees no specialness in the human species. “Meaning processing systems,” in his view are an aspect of complexity that any simple computational system can achieve, and he may well be right. The fine line here is where a “reasoning engine” ends and a self aware intelligence, that can imagine, empathize, and routinely benefit from the intuitive leap, begins. Ray Kurtzwiel, another genius way beyond my pay scale, has been way too enthusiastic in embracing the inevitability of bridging that fine line; not to mention blithely ignoring what the consequences may be to for the rest of us along the way.
It seems to me that “choice” in the current human sense is a truly breath taking aspect of what one might expect from a natural system; especially if one allows that such systems start from very simple rules. Cosmolosophy is an attempt to provide a basis for appreciating what are the important aspects in those simple rules that we need to apply in balance if we wish to preserve human choice, and the kind of structure that makes better human choices possible.
My hope, in presenting this contrast, is that not only will Cosmolosophy become more understandable, but that the reader will take away a new appreciation of the importance of finding a better social operating system.
Friday, June 19, 2015
Before I begin let me first state that I am quite aware of the possibility that this particular bit of pondering has already been postulated, and perhaps even laid to rest already. I did do some Googling on it and came up empty, but even so, I can only hope that those of you a good deal more informed than I am will forgive the conceit of my presenting it here as if it were anything new at all. As Captain Picard once said “It may be a conceit but it's a healthy one.” Or at least I hope so.
Try as I might to be well informed, there will always be things I will miss. One can only do the best they can with what they have and then hope that they will, from time to time, be lucky enough to stumble over something worth while. In my view it is better to try and fail, no matter how much you might embarrass yourself, than to not try anything at all.
With that out of the way, let us begin. Here is what I hope is a conjecture for you that is just full of interesting questions.
Suppose you have two galaxies. Let's further suppose that both are fairly big as galaxies go, having already done some intersecting with other, smaller galaxies, and have accumulated a lot of solar systems as a result. They both also have, as a result, quite large, mass singularities at their centers, and because of that, as well as all of the intersecting having already occurred, some of the solar systems inside are now moving around the mass singularity at a significant percentage of the speed of light. As such, relative to the singularity, as well as more than a few fellow solar systems, time moves a lot slower for them.
With me so far? Good.
So... Let's now suppose that galaxy A is separated from galaxy B by more than the event horizon formed of both the rate of overall universe expansion and the inherent limits of the speed of light. As such nothing, beyond what they could both get in common before that separation occurred, can translate in the ordinary fashion through space time between our two fast moving solar systems. My first question, then, is what is the time relationship between the two? In other words, would they be in the same rate of time if they were moving around their respective mass singularities at similar speeds, and even if they were, would the synchronization they had relative to the common point of origin (that is, after all, why an atom in one part of the cosmos is supposed to do the same things in another) still hold? Does synchronization at all, in this context, have any applicability in the first place?
Let's take the conjecture further. Let us suppose that both fast moving solar systems have life, and evolved sentients to the point that they have a science that is at the level of where we are today. Let us then allow that they have been observing the cosmos that they can observe, and smashing bits at the quantum level, just as we have done. As such they would obviously, then, be formulating conclusions based upon the separate bubble snapshots of the cosmos, as the light now streaming to them would allow them to perceive. What do you suppose might be the same in their conclusions, and what might be different?
On the face of it you might conclude that the smashing part of their inquiries would yield similar results, but would that necessarily be true? They are both now expanding in an isolated realm of their own vector of time. Not only that, but we cannot be certain that their very small inputs in the quantum world will not have quite unexpected affects on their bit of macro; as we already know that small inputs into very complex systems can yield results far surpassing the scale of the trigger. And then there would also be the random variations of how each set of scientists went about their smashing; with something even a simple as the mind set of the different groups might be applicable here.
Would both solar system groups conclude that there wasn't enough mass to account for the cosmos they perceived? Or that there would be an energy not directly observable now effecting expansion? Might they be right for the wrong reasons? Or just wrong?
Is one of the basic problems here that we are making observations, and forming conclusions, without a proper regard for our own time scale bias? Or, in other words, trying to deduce relationships that can only be truly understood after, say, at least ten thousand years of observation? Or even orders of magnitude more? Does the amount of energy in absolute vacuum disagree with theory precisely because of such bias, let alone the possibility that expansion itself is regionally variable?
And then you throw in the idea of worm holes, as well as quantum entanglement. A pathway to circumvent ordinary space time? And a meaning link irrespective of distance, at the very least, and maybe of time as well?
Hoo boy! My head is sure spinning. I do love it though. Even if this is nothing new to the real brianiacs out there in science land it sure is fun for me to think about.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
It always amazes me how much one can stumble over by chance on the internet. The sheer, vastly random, nature of what people choose to put into it guarantees a wondrous, as well as appalling, depth and breadth, of content.
I mention this because, just by accident, I fell into a marvelous bit of filtering delivered to me via YouTube.
You know how this can work sometimes. The boffins behind the algorithm of anticipation, working to present you what you might be interested in, have a great deal of result that I feel they could be certainly be proud of, but also quite surprised at. You pick at one thing because of a link you found by chance, and from that, suddenly, you are presented with a wholly unexpected content theme.
Case in point, the view, as expressed by the British, of the differences between the States and the U.K. Quite illuminating I can assure you; especially if you listen to every day Brits, as well as their luminaries. For the purposes of this post, however, I would like to start with the latter. And there are few better to do this with than Stephan Fry. If you aspire to be well read, quite reasonably intelligent and articulate, you could hardly do better than use Mr. Fry as a role model.
One thing that he seems to emphasize in interviews (as culled from my limited sampling) is the American sense of optimism, and the willingness to take risks. And of course that got me to wondering, are we still an optimistic people?
Quite by chance again, however, I started clicking on British and American comedians doing standup on the various differences and, of course, making great fun of the various stereotypes and cliches that operate on both sides of the pond. And therein one inevitably gets to the ridiculous extremes of religion we manifest here (beyond the guns, crass commercialism, and obesity we are also noted for). Which also got me to wondering. Where does religion fit into the idea of optimism? Or more fundamentally, where does faith itself fit it?
If you ask yourself: are the overtly religious optimistic? You would probably have to scratch your head and think... well, maybe, but then... maybe not. After all, a lot of American religious belief starts with the notion that we are born sinners and are held over the fires of hell by an angry god all too ready to let us fall to our virtually assured judgment. Only by the most arduous of commitments to piety, denials of the temptations of the flesh, and perhaps most important of all, an absolute, unquestioning acceptance of scripture, which is the word of god, can we even begin to hope for salvation.
Other religions don't go to quite such extremes of course, but they still put significant amounts of dogma towards the idea that the word of god is supreme, and salvation comes only from giving your life over to those words, as well as unquestioning belief in him, and/or his son.
The bottom line here is this: just how optimistic can you be when so much of human nature goes against what is purported to be the word of god? And it's not just that evolution has made us hard wired to want sex, or to be fear based in so many of our emotions (where the loss of love, self worth or meaning creates the lions share of our passions). We've ended up with a brain that demands curiosity. That is built to question. How can such a being believe in anything unquestioningly?
Going down this road then gets one to thinking on how faith and optimism are related. For it certainly seems to me that faith and hope are related. To be hopeful for a better day tomorrow, one would think, ought to mean that one has a certain faith in the means to achieve it. Unless, of course, one is talking about blind faith. Which, unfortunately, is kind of like talking about evil. Everyone might agree that, at the very least, evil exists in the abstract. The problem comes in when, and how, the term gets applied.
I mention all of this because one of the other things one gets from the above mentioned comedians, as they make fun of religious extremes, is that Atheism isn't very optimistic at all. In fact, one of my takeaways from Mr. Fry is that it is precisely the denial of faith inherent in Empiricism, and scientific rationalism in general, that forms the foundation of British pessimism; where this opposite of optimism is formed in the cold realities of fixed cause and effect. The exact opposite of wonder, magic and the notion that anything is possible.
Where does all of this leave us?
Well, for one thing, I don't believe that this is an optimistic country any more; at least as one gets a general sense of it from the popular cultural, religious, and commercial expressions one sees currently predominant. Apocalyptic movies, end of days sermons, and a market mentality that grows ever more fearful of risk every year hardly makes a good case for an optimistic nation. Sectors in changing areas of demographics, and/or geography, still retain various amounts of optimism certainly, but the overall environment doesn't seem conducive to the preservation of this important sense of spirit and mind set.
The problem for me, and for which I have already written about (see “Cosmolosophy: Why is Faith Important“), is that good people on the one hand, having become disgusted with the obvious shortcomings of extreme religious belief, have given up on the idea that faith can still have great value. And on the other hand, other good people have forgotten that blind faith is not only possible, but that any adherence to it is not really faith at all (as the essence of faith is belief within the framework of the doubt of a questioning mind).
The thing these two groups have in common is certainty. In the former group this manifests itself in the certainty of the absolute truth of empiricism, numbers, and logic. In the latter group it is the certainty that something written down by generation after generation of men and women is the literal word of one or another deities.
To start with, let's be clear on one thing. Empiricism, numbers and logic, can be very powerful indicators of the truth. We have come to rely on a great many relationships revealed to us in this way. Relationships that have provided huge boosts of improvement to every aspect of our lives. The problem there however, as we delve into trying to understand ever more complex systems, is that the application of the empirical method becomes ever more tricky. And this is precisely because it is human beings who attempt to do it; the very entities whose frailties, and proclivity towards subjective thinking (where everything from outright wish fulfillment, to subconscious desires, run rampant), make them imperfect creators of objective tests and measurements. Whereupon we now have reoccurring commitments to all things “double blind,” as well as rigorous numeric proof.
This becomes even more so when you begin to cross ever greater scales of consideration; especially when the scales cross down to higher energies, and much shorter time frames. Not only do you come to the fringes of what can constitute effective instrumentality, you begin to question the nature of objectification at its most fundamental level. This is precisely why the “Grand Unification” of quantum theory and general relativity have been so difficult.
I believe, and I want to emphasize that it is a belief, that we will face a fundamental limit on what can be measured, or tested, objectively exactly for the reason that what we test with, and the choices made in testing, are part and parcel of the very thing being tested, or measured. In other words, the outcome of the test will ultimately be significantly caused by the test itself, and there will be nothing we can do to change that. And make no mistake. This has been established experimentally (see “Let's hear it for sentient measurers”).
The danger that I see here is that we test or measure at one scale, and then extrapolate what we find there for application at other scales altogether. Not fully appreciating the one thing that very complex systems are notorious for; hiding channels of feedback, or even feed forward, for which cascade events can occur out of what always seems like nowhere. And in the case of an entirety that might be made up of an infinite number of quantum varied realities, you are guaranteed to have a lot of unexpected channels, and a completely new concept of what “coming out of nowhere” might entail.
On the other side of the equation, however, is recognizing the fundamental importance of faith. Without faith, it seems to me, one cannon keep a sense that anything is possible. Faith based at the very least in the notion that infinite complexity ensures that there will always be possible e channels for transfer, and translation, that we do not yet know of; avenues of affect that will always resist specific objectification and predictability. The thing to always keep in mind with this is to simply accept that somethings will also still be a great deal more, or less, probable than others.
With that in mind, I think, is it possible to keep a balance between reason and wonder; logic and magic. With that in mind we can dream the impossible dream. We can aspire towards a reach that exceeds our grasp. But we can also stay mindful of what is probable this moment and of the next few. Of what practicality demands because of what we love, and cherish and feel responsibility towards each moment to the next.
The whole point of love, it seems to me, is that your faith in what you feel from this other is why you take the emotional risk of integrating them into your sense of yourself, and your being, as you make choices in the great dance of being and becoming. Likewise, how can you love life at all if you have no faith in what you feel, or faith in larger than logic possibilities of what you can accomplish when honest effort is applied. The benefits of effort after all are seldom foreseen in high fidelity. What may seem impossible now, after working towards something, and taking on some risks, may seem a great deal more possible further on down the road, and from combinations of factors and occurrences that would have been unthinkable beforehand.
Failure is a fact of life of course. And it can be painful beyond expression. How we deal with that pain, and the facts of the failure, are always a choice however. Just as what we perceive as a worthy goal is a choice. As well as what constitutes being successful is. The fact of the matter is that, some times what we want must yield to what is most probable, and then find a way to make the best of it. Having said that however cannot be allowed to dissuade as many of us as possible to dream beyond our grasp, for that is certainly what the entirety requires of us; for in no other way will we rise to the task of fully appraising and appreciating its vastness otherwise. A task that can never be fully completed but one that is essential none the less. Because it is only by our appreciation and understanding, as well as our application of love of life, and creating loving structure, that keeps it going. Something that I have great faith in.
Monday, June 15, 2015
yourself with abstractions
only, the fiction
of ones and zeros
in switches thrown
for the state
their programs require.
Occupy your own
lives, and spaces
to make what you will
of what you love
and what is
loved in you.
It is not a street
on which their power moves,
and from seizing
can you dam them
up, to make them
pay you attention.
with what your are
where you are.
to any work where
you don't fully own
Go to your neighbors
cooperation in redefining
just what ownership is;
sharing the responsibility
as well as the benefits.
Take away what counts
by not counting
on counters any more.
of the charging
The new exchange
will be the revolution
and what they count on
won't count at all
Saturday, June 13, 2015
I have been quite taken up of late wondering about relativistic mass.
Mass and mass in motion. From a systems perspective it sure gets interesting.
On the one hand, you have to accept the idea that, though any object, or quanta, has a perceived unity of meaning, and therefore a consistent solidity of boundary properties, it is still an abstracted unit of process. One for which contained motion is prominent. The inner workings of other, lower scaled, abstractions, each with their own set of boundary properties, interacting with each other, present to us a new, self sustaining abstraction.
In our scale of things then, when we imagine, or actually initiate, various external forces to this already encapsulated bit of meaning, we imply to it motion relative to us that it did not heretofore have. In doing that we create a new set of meaning considerations. Though the intrinsic initial mass does not change, the overall meaning must because there is now the total kinetic energy of the object. Mass and energy are two sides of the same coin, of course, so, whatever the rest mass may have been, the object now has a mass that includes the imparted velocity; something that is, in one sense a potential, but in another a thing already realized as any attempt to increase its velocity takes even more energy; a process that steadily yields diminishing returns as this potential/real mass increases. Wherein lies the inherent limit of the speed of light.
It seems to me, then, that all mass is, in a sense, relative. Already encapsulated bits don't change relative to us because all of the bits of meaning around us, and of us, started from the same point of reference. And we now exist in a synchronized vector of meaning interaction. Which is nothing more than to say a system where the boundary resolutions at particular scales of consideration have been set so that fundamental process abstractions remain constant relative to our vector of association.
One can then consider the system as a three dimensional white board that must expand so as to allow for more meanings to begin to collect as the excitement of birth cools down and basic interactions create more abstractions to allow for even more complex interactions to follow. Just as more words must have more pages for which to allow them expression.
Through out all of this, I think, is a certain synchronicity that remains at various scales so that meaning can have consistency over space and duration. Complexity, however, has a habit of throwing ever more uncertainty into total system process. This would have to become especially vexing for a system where motion, and the differential of observed, and observer, as regards duration and the space therein, comes into play.
To my mind everything in this overall, more complexly expanded, system is relativistic mass to one degree or another; especially when one begins to consider the biggest of singular concentrations of encapsulated motion. They seemingly begin and they end without ever actually creating or destroying anything, even as they deny any outgoing information. One then has to wonder just how consistent synchronicity can remain.
We believe we see only so much ordinarily encapsulated meaning in the cosmos but it is not nearly enough to account for how overall expansion has proceeded with the structures thus revealed so far. And now we also detect that expansion is actually accelerating, though the mass/energy repression that would account for this is also not directly observable.
Those previously mentioned concentrations of meaning, representing a speed of process, or conversely, so much accumulated meaning, that it cannot communicate in any ordinary sense within our vector of association, still seem to evaporate in some fashion. But to where, and how? Conversely objects at a certain scale can become meaning entangled, and remain so, regardless of distance. But does that necessarily hold true for time as well?
What I am suggesting here is that causality, and thus the transfer of meaning, is a great deal more complex than we currently realize. And one of the important aspects of this is the fact that observations, and the meanings derived from them, need to be handled with a great deal more circumspection, as well as skepticism, when they cross large spans of scale. As such, taking a measurement at one scale and then using the results to deduce conclusions at another, may be problematic at best, and perhaps more invasive, or deterministic—either as a cause or an effect, than we realize as well.
I can only hope that those who have credibility in the sciences are already considering these aspects a great deal more deeply than I am able to.