She's a Beautiful Mystery

Tragedy strategy

So everyone agrees that selective breeding works, right? So isn't it easy to realize that the selection process doesn't require a conscious selector (e.g., farmer)? Farmers carry out an artificial selection, when choosing mates, individuals are performing sexual selection, and when the cold cruel world's limited resources put a strain on the number of creatures that can survive in a given environment, it is nature that is doing the selecting, thus natural selection. We might call genetic engineering yet another form of selection, perhaps direct genetic selection(?). And maybe other methods of selection apply as well. But where is the controversy in this idea? (Keep in mind, I am not a biologist, these ideas simply aren't complicated on the face of it. A real biologist however might take offense to some of my language, and know better the appropriate terminology.)

"Can you hear me hear you now?"

Ugh, puke guns?
Here is some evidence that we're all screwed.

I went surfing once, with my cousin's husband, who's pretty passionate about surfing and I think probably pretty good, he taught me what to do, but after catching two waves, and failing to pop up both times, I was too exhausted to continue. The waves were sort of big for me (they weren't huge, but bigger than the typical east coast waves I've encountered), maybe 3 or 4 feet at the most (maybe even smaller, am I exaggerating?). And yet, they really push you around. I can't imagine what it's like when a wave the size of a building falls on you.

My apparent discomfort with ambiguity is in direct contradiction to the great degree of ambiguity with which I tend to express myself typically.

"Whoa, this is wrinkling my brain!" Somewhere I read about a drug that induces a sort of mild, trait-specific amnesia, and interestingly enough it was being used to treat a post-traumatic-stress sort of problem. If I remember correctly, the experiment involved the patient taking the drug, and then recalling the memory and focusing on it. I think the hypothesis was that when your brain recalled a memory, it actually cuts it out of memory and "thinks" about it. Then afterwards it re-records the information back into memory. This drug prevented your brain from re-recording the fear aspect, I think. Or at least that was idea. So now I'm thinking about deja vu again, and I'm wondering, if your brain cuts something out of memory, and holds it in consciousness, and then puts it back in memory, it must be at some point also be storing information about the context of that memory (related memories, especially memories indicating some historical context, like year or day or week or event). If this is the case, then deja vu could very easily be the mechanism that contains the context, malfunctioning. It even seems likely that a very simple mechanism (and corresponding failure) could result in these conditions. For instance, imagine a very simple archival system, where whenever a document is removed from the archive, a switch is flipped on, to indicate that the file was taken from archives. When it is replaced back into archives, the switch is flipped off again. When new files are introduced to the archive, the switch is normally off. But in deja vu, the switch is accidentally switched on (especially easy to imagine when you consider our brain, our feelings, indeed our entire conscious experience is dictated by extremely fragile electrochemical reactions—a tiny bit of one neurotransmitter or another released in the wrong place or at the wrong time, or not taken up correctly, and BAM! your switch is flipped. And what is perception besides these chemicals? As A.C. Grayling pointed out in that debate, "if you want to investigate the relationship of consciousness to matter, and in particular the brain, just take a heavy blunt instrument and bash yourself over the head and see which bits of thinking you can no longer do."

"It sure is hard, to dance across, the room when you've got, one foot on the floor …and one foot, outside the door.
I want nothing more, than to dance with you. I want nothing more, than to float with you." —Laura Veirs (is awesome).

"The unconsidered life, is not worth living."
"Logic is new and necessary reasoning [—Aristotle]. New because you learn what you don't know, and necessary because conclusions are inescapable!"
If the flower's petals could only betray his emotion.
"There is an old german saying: 'if you want to learn something go on a journey.' "
She is empty. She won't give more.

I should aim to be a logician of sorts. Except how does my interest in the general notion of phase transitions mesh with that? I am interested in the criteria that define the kind of state a collection of elements forms. That is, under some conditions, fluids like water will flow smoothly (laminar flow), and beyond those conditions, it becomes chaotic (turbulent flow). Interestingly, the general notion of a problems seems to follow this form. If I give you 1000 songs, and each song is exactly 2, 3, 4 or 5 minutes long, then you can split the playlist into two equal length playlists. But if I just took 1000 real songs, at random, with lengths defined down to say a 100th of a second, chances are overwhelming that you could not tell me if there were a way to split them into two equal playlists or not, even if you converted the whole universe into a computer and ran it for billions of years. Because the number of ways to split 1000 songs into two sub-lists is inconceivably enormous. So ridiculously unimaginably enormous that there aren't even good ways of describing how enormous it is. If every atom in the whole universe was given an equal number of these sub-playlists, the number each atom contains would still be too large to imagine! Now isn't it interesting that water (or any fluid) will transition from this smooth to chaotic flow, and likewise the playlist problem transitions at some point (depending on how 'nice' the songs are), between easy and entirely intractable?! It is a beautiful mystery, one which could occupy my life, provided the opportunity.

I'm pretty much indifferent to whether or not they find the Higgs Boson, but recently a dark matter experiment failed to find a significant result supporting DM. It certainly doesn't qualify as falsifying DM, but it also failed to support it, and I do have a slight vested interest in the failure of DM experiments.

"I'd much rather be a rising monkey, than a fallen angel."
-Terry Pratchett

Well, my internet has been disconnected. 649 GB transferred in November. Thats 109 GB more than we went over last time we got in trouble, and 399 GB more than we were allotted. Well, screw you Comcast. It seems mighty dumb of you to track your customer's usage, but not disconnect it when they exceed your limit. We can't track our usage, how do you expect us to have any clue? It seems a little bit unfair that you expect us to obey some limit but give us no tools to monitor that limit.

"Can I call you mine? You can call me yours."

Or are you as cold as you seem?

"Cause it's bad to do what's easy, just cause it's easy, and I want to do what pleases me, but I can't."

"Your body still remembers things you told it to forget."
"Why must we return to this place?"

"And it turned out to be Julia."

"Before I pine away."

If you plug the temperature of the CMB into the Hawking-radiation temperature equation for black holes, you get about one order of magnitude less than the sun. Unfortunately, this isn't clearly meaningful in any way (at least not that I can tell).

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