"Truth is a very very, hard thing to find, except in, local empirical circumstances. Much much more significant than that is rationality. And the word rationality is a very interesting one. The first part of it, ratio, is about proportioning evidence to the conclusions that you derive from it. It means being guided by your very best exploration of the evidence, your very best, most responsible reasonings, and submitting things to public test and debate. Rationality is the key. To behave, to think, and to believe, rationally, on the basis of evidence, that is the surest path towards truth. You have to remember what Voltaire said, 'I will defend with my life the person who is seeking the truth, but I will not be so keen on the person who claims to have it.' Finally, there is one big difference between Richard Dawkins and myself on the question of the 6.5, and agnosticism. I am not one little bit agnostic about fairies, or pixies, or goblins, and so on for all the other super natural agencies that might be invoked… And for exactly the same kind of rational, I hope, reasons, I'm not agnostic about deities and gods and goddesses and the rest of it." —AC Grayling
Moments of Grief.
The Chromoscope is pretty sweet.
"The sky really has fallen on some civilizations."
"Passion is the enemy of precision."
He liked studying the physical world, he added, but, "I have neither the natural ability nor the experience to deal with human beings."Read more.
Would you care to join me?
I know most people wouldn't believe me, but I think a lot of what makes "me" me is an inability to understand other people. On (at least) two levels. Often times it's difficult for me to understand, (simply comprehend), either the words, or meaning, people are trying to convey. Also, it's difficult sometimes to pay attention to them.
"What are you looking for?" Does that mean, "what is the object of your search", or "what is the motivation for searching for such an object"? Why look? I must be going completely insane. I gotta get out more. "Lets go out. Lets get going."
"I think I might miss you enough to say so. I think I already did."
"You can't buy silence, you can only rent it."—Zero Effect
"Everything I say is true, so theres nothing we can do, 'then what the hell', I say to you, let me have one dance with you."
Suddenly the movie "Million Dollar Hotel" popped into my head.
start a website: calling out powerful ignorants
make a comprehensive list of politicians and leaders who:
Maybe other topics too?
As a kid, in school, I never gave too much thought to the American Civil War. I mean, I got by in history class, and I paid some attention, and learned some things. But suddenly, looking at the numbers, it strikes me how devastating a time that must have been for what (in my life time) is a very stable (feeling) country. The very idea of a battle on American soil seems like ancient history, and maybe it is now, with the ridiculous technology we have. But at the time, the war might have been as devastating as any modern war is now. Can you imagine such lunacy? Fully 10 percent of the southern population was a soldier, yet they were still out numbered by the north 2-to-1. And yet now, the views that caused such a drastic divide are very nearly extinct. Do you think the internet would have been enough to get people to quit? Or the nightly news, with images of American bodies, frozen in their last moments? Six hundred and twenty thousand dead, more than four hundred thousand wounded. What sort of pressures can cause humans to act so irrationally?
"Is solitude indeed the cure, for loneliness? No I don't think so."
"All dolled up in straps, all colored in…My head plays it over and over."
Then the next goal would be to make decisions about how best to guide the evolutionary algorithm. That is, can we characterize the landscape, in terms of it's graininess? And the features of the landscape; are there sharp divisions with drastically different fitness? Or does it smoothly change? (Probably the former on large scales, the latter on smaller scales.) Does the landscape have islands of good solutions? We want to cast our net over the islands, and as the scale of the features of the landscape changes, we want to use different sized nets. (Originally we may want large mutations, but as we hone in on a solution, we may want to keep all candidate solutions fairly similar to one another.) Seems like some sort of power-law distribution should govern changes in our search method.
Oh! Also, if we have a jar, with an infinite number of balls in it, how many events can we sample before the jar is empty? Answer: the jar is never empty! Even with an infinite number of events being withdrawn at each infinitesimal interval, we're still left with an infinity of balls in the jar!
Let the "balls" be analogous to a space-time event in relativity, and we encounter a new problem: the time-like interval surrounding an event grows very rapidly with time!
There are far too many quotes in this post.
So far, most of the essays I've read claim the internet has not changed the way the author thinks. Lisa Randall seems to have a slightly more interesting view: she points out that we don't really know how we think in the first place.
But how about we consider this from a more general viewpoint. I'd like to argue that the internet changes the way people think in a way analogous to how the industrial revolution changed the way people owned things. The industrial revolution was an abrupt acceleration of technological progress, and ultimately it introduced certain physical luxuries to the broader population, (whereas those luxuries were previously reserved for only the very well endowed). Generally this is what technology has always done: it has enabled more people to do [blank]--either by making it easier or cheaper to produce, consume, distribute, etc. Just think of the internet as an industrial revolution for information, or communication, where information and communication have previously been commodities held by one privileged class or another. (Communication typically limited to governments, or in the 20th century, media conglomerates, and information traditionally held by either the authorities, or to a degree, the academic and broader intellectual communities.) If there is any worth in this viewpoint, it might explain why the many intellectuals who are writing these essays don't feel much of an influence on the way they think---all it has done is accelerated the rate of information aggregation. I dunno, I'm back to not knowing.
for leaving the light on
so I could find my way home.
for meeting me half way
from the curb to the door-way."
It's an addictive certainty, that computer science provides. Both new, and necessary.
"The sleep of reason produces monsters."
Put me on the brink of the abyss please.