She's Uncomputable

Holly Walsh vs The Smoking Ban.
Ah, thats right, I've been emailing myself links like mad.

Don't you take the blame.

The better angels of our nature.

When a swindler swindles the swindled, who should we blame? Obviously in many circumstances, "blaming the victim" is a cold, compassionless stance, certainly rejected by a large majority of civilization. (Very few people would blame the burgled (not a word) over the burglar.) But simultaneously there are clear instances in which sympathy is very difficult to sustain, because the victim has displayed such supreme ignorance, such negligence that "blame the victim" might seem acceptable. This is the sentiment captured in the saying "fool me once, shame on you, fool me 8 or more times, shame on me."

I have no need for that hypothesis.

What exactly happens when an element (or molecule) reflects a photon? How does that work? And how is it that we can make a surface smooth enough to reflect light in a nice clear way? After all, every mirror is made up of a bunch of little atoms, which at some level would be bumpy. Why is it that photons can end up so uniformly reflected that we can see a clear image?

We draw all these lines, pushing us around, us and them. We put everyone and ourselves in little boxes that are easy to categorize and then it is easy to know what we think and mean and want and dislike. And there is some use to this all, it does help to be able to generalize; without generalization problems can rapidly become

So if Lisi is right, the only remaining question may be... why is the universe built on E8? Maybe he, or someone else, already has an answer for that, but I don't know it yet. And if he were proven correct, that'd be my first question. Also, it's exciting that his model appears to be making predictions, it appears falsifiable, which is a nice change of pace from string theory, which seems maybe too flexible to be invalidated. Or would the specific values still be open questions? (I.e. masses, constants, etc.)

NEVER stand still.

Matt sent me this video of Jack Conte at something called Wonderfest. It's very enjoyable.

Bunt, hunt, runt, punt, dunt, aunt! (I only found dunt because I was looking.)

Robert Wright talking about optimism at TED.

Robert Wright interviewing Daniel Dennett. Dennett is so wonderfully well thought out.
"Well it seemed like a good idea at the time."
"After all the reason we die is that our parts break."

OK Go on treadmills. How'd I miss this before?

I never got it working, some day I'll get back to it. It's pretty awesome:Droste effect video 1. Droste effect video 2. Some Droste-effect photos.

My kind of wedding.
and skateboarder fail. I kept this because it is an excellent example of an elastic collision, probably in part due to his body reflexively recoiling from the collison.

Movies like The Mist and Knowing have far darker endings than I ever would have imagined (certainly The Mist blows Knowing out of the water in this sense), especially given that they are major studio films (and major genres). Makes me wonder if we can expect our society to take a darker turn in entertainment, at least as a genre, and as far as acceptability is concerned.

This question made me laugh audibly (I think because the last option fits me so well):
"Your 3-year old son is extremely timid, and has been hypersensitive about- and a bit fearful of- new places and people virtually since he was born. What do you do?
-Accept that he has a shy temperament and think of ways to shelter him from situations that would upset him
-Take him to a child psychologist for help
-Purposely expose him to lots of new people and places so he can get over his fear
-Engineer an ongoing series of challenging but manageable experiences that will teach him that he can handle new people and places

Bill Hicks on war and freedom
Bernard sent me this 8-bit trip. It's pretty awesome.

We can't help but tell ourselves the truth.

Heads will roll.

Bernard sent me this hilarious story.

Integrate and fire.


I know it's a lot more complicated than this, but for a moment it seemed as though conservatives were people who had a cynical outlook about the future, and liberals were people with an optimistic outlook. But I know there is a lot more going on.

So I was just watching some match moving software do it's thing (holy crap!) and I was thinking about how easily our brains do what appears to take the computer a lot of effort. And probably this is largely due to the algorithm we use, as well as the fact that our brain has evolved around this sort of purpose, whereas computers have not. Which got me thinking, there might be some insight to be gained by understanding how the brain performs this task, which might be possible by imaging the brain as it performs this sort of task. The same would be true of Go. But maybe brain imaging, such as MRIs are difficult in such circumstances, I don't know.

Haven't watched this but it sounds fun.
This is sort of bizarre to see...

I love Weinberg's quote, "with or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion" but I think it overlooks a few things... for instance, religion seems to distort our sense of right and wrong not just to allow good people to do evil, but also to label good work as evil; that is, religion causes people to perceive good things as evil things (pretty much anything related to sex being the archetypical example, the condom being a particularly brutal example of the catholic church's criminal offense).

How awesome does this sound?

Stein's movie claims that the Nazi's work was based on Darwin's ideas. Which, even if true, is no more indicting than saying nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles are based on Newton's work regarding gravity.

The Great Rift.
Practice random kindness.
Demand more joy.
Cut to ribbons.
Thems fightin' words!

An engineer, a physicist, and a mathematician find themselves in an anecdote,
indeed an anecdote quite similar to many that you have no doubt already
heard. After some observations and rough calculations the engineer realizes
the situation and starts laughing. A few minutes later the physicist understands
too and chuckles to himself happily, as he now has enough experimental evidence
to publish a paper. This leaves the mathematician somewhat perplexed, as he had observed right away that he was the subject of an anecdote and deduced quite rapidly the presence of humor from similar anecdotes, but considers this anecdote to be too trivial a corollary to be significant, let alone funny.

So "one-way functions exist" implies P ≠ NP, but I would guess that "one-way functions do not exist" does not imply that P=NP, right?

I should finish watching this lecture on the physics of computation at some point, but probably won't.

If I ever found myself on the run, and needed to communicate with informed colleagues, I'm confident I could write in some pretty obscure math and to prevent law enforcement from intercepting my communications. Though I suppose they'd just search around for someone capable of translating it.
It'd probably be very interesting, and exciting, to try to evade law enforcement on a national scale. Granted, the likelihood of finding yourself in a situation both where national law enforcement is pursuing you, and it is in your best interest to not cooperate, but to evade them, is vanishingly small.

Slay the dreamer.
"What I cannot create, I do not understand"
written on Richard Feynman's chalkboard at the time of his death.
I only learn in light of feedback indicating where I went wrong.

This was superb.

9·9·09 Oooh, 9-9-9! It's the devils number upside down! As if the arbitrary symbols and timing we assigned actually meant something!

It always amazes me when famous people turn out to be surprisingly talented, though it shouldn't really be surprising—they are, after all, successful, famous, people.

"You can be as mad as a mad dog at the way things went. You can swear, curse the fates. But when it comes to the end you have to let go."

"A vile promise I have absolutely no intention of keeping."
"Dig, once you get used to it, insanity can be the most normal thing in the world, you know?"

Brilliant idea: introduce periodic cataclysm to genetic programming. Just like in the history of the world, where periodic mass extinctions have opened the door to new classes of animals dominating the environment. Better idea:

Based on a discussion with Matt: could depression be the result of a more fundamental behavioral tendency to sacrifice oneself for group benefit?

People are fond of saying, "I am willing to follow the evidence wherever it leads." I would like to encourage some introspection about that statement; if the evidence leads to a definitive answer that god does not exist, are you willing to follow? If the evidence were to lead to something truly sinister, like a complete lack of purpose in our existence, can you accept that? I am. And I'd argue that you should too, though I doubt most people are for the most part. Those defenses people provide, "you can't be moral without god", "a purposeless existence would mean rape and murder aren't wrong", etc., and also stances such as belief in belief, all boil down to a fear of the unknown, (in my opinion). Most people haven't considered what a world without purpose, or a world without belief, or a world without a creator, really truly implies. All that it implies, is that the properties of the world we live in are entirely dependent on US. That there is no grand authority, there are no rules, and whether we live a happy life, or a miserable one, whether we live a guilt free or burdened existence, whether we treat each other with respect, or take advantage of one another, is entirely dependent on us.

If we visualize the solution landscape as being populated by our solutions, and that breeding solutions connects distant solutions to one another, creating offspring at some midpoint, (maybe not the real midpoint), plus an offset due to mutation. Then is it useful to ask the program what extrapolating between two solutions is as well, rather than just interpolating? In other words, look at offspring both between two healthy solutions, and offspring that lies adjacent to the healthy solutions. Also, what about perturbing the solutions and using the difference between very near solutions to specify the direction of mutation?
The subtitles mentioned how too much mutation and too little mutation both lead to sub-optimal results, and how natural selection tunes mutation for maximum competitiveness, right? How great is that idea?!

Ha, maybe the uncertainty principle, and probabilistic nature of the universe, is equivalent to the sort of decimal to binary to decimal conversion errors we have with computers!

So I'll want to make some assumption about the distribution of energies the vacuum is able to produce, and based on that give some prediction about the distribution of H, He, Li, D that would be created over long periods of time.

Wait, could the attraction of gravity be interpreted as the borrowed energy? So the vacuum has some energy fluctuation, producing a positive energy and a negative energy in some limited vicinity; the positive energy becomes a massive particle, and the negative energy becomes the attractive quality of gravity? Am I just going completely insane? I need a mathematical framework to describe this and make predictions. I must learn more about spin, and what a spin 2 particle really means...

It has always bothered me when people say we don't understand gravity yet, or that Newton explained how gravity behaved, but not what it was. It bothers me because at a fundamental level, you are not familiar with anything. Why does gravity mystify people anymore than the electromagnetic force? Or so called "mechanical" forces in general? Do you know why your arm moves? Because your muscles contract, and how does that happen? Because there are molecules making up the muscle cells that can actually change shape in response to stimuli (e.g. a signal from your brain, hopefully), and how are those molecules working? They're all the electromagnetic force! For some reason people think that they understand, say, scissors, or a seesaw, or a wheelbarrow or hammer or pulley system or ramp, simply because these simple machines are all mechanistic. But the atoms never touch one another! When I shove you, the atoms in my hands are getting so close to the atoms in your body that the electromagnetic force is transferring force! So all of mechanics (as well as chemistry that makes all those molecules; remember, atoms keep their hands to themselves), is really the result of the electromagnetic force! And the electromagnetic force is awfully similar to the force of gravity (at least on the macroscopic scale; the main difference being that EM has positive and negative charge, leading to both attractive and repulsive forces, whereas gravity is always attractive ;-) So why is it that everyone is always complaining about gravity but not EM? Okay, enough complaining for one day.

As Russell is quoted, "[electricity] is not a thing, like St. Paul's Cathedral; it is a way in which things behave. When we have told how things behave when there are electrified and under what circumstances they are electrified we have told all there is to tell... Electricity is not like red paint, a substance that can be put on to the electron and taken off again; it is merely a convenient name for certain physical laws".

Is there an explanation for the fundamental quantities of H, He, Li and Deuterium, (and the nature of the spectrum), based on the idea that the CMB is random noise? (My cosmology!) Also, why are we more comfortable postulating these strange distributions of matter and energy most of which cannot be seen, instead of postulating that conservation of energy doesn't quite hold on cosmic scales?

Amorous (like in polyamory), and don't forget reification!

Oh crap, you screwed up the differentiation of the Lagrangian. When you take (d/dt) make sure to correctly differentiate! (I.e., xdot*thetadot becomes xdotdot*thetadot + xdot*thetadotdot.)

Okay, and a ton of links:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckingham_%CF%80_theorem#Significance AMAZING!
http://michaelnielsen.org/blog/a-modest-proposal/ reminds me: should we make a "religion" of science? It's only dogma could be anti-dogmatism!
http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/reify This this the problem I have with our concept of self?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myelin (innovative electronics in our nervous system)
(dimensionality, august 2nd)

Of course there are another 50 in my browser right now. I think maybe the part of my brain that recognizes whether something is valuable or not, is completely broken.