inthenoosphere
I see a strong parallel between the evolution of robot intelligence and the biological intelligence that preceded it. The largest nervous systems doubled in size about every fifteen million years since the Cambrian explosion 550 million years ago. Robot controllers double in complexity (processing power) every year or two. They are now barely at the lower range of vertebrate complexity, but should catch up with us within a half century.
Hans Moravec (via inthenoosphere)
astronomnomy

Seven tips for (Physics) Freshers: Things to Keep in Mind As You Begin Your Journey

astronomnomy:

Congratulations for picking a really fun and satisfying subject to study! As someone who’s been through it all already (MSci Theo Phys and am in the midst of an Astro PhD) I thought, in honour of the first day of term, I would impart some old-people wisdom for those just starting their first classes - mistakes I made so you don’t have to…

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via Quanta MagazineBy: Natalie Wolchover    September 17, 2013Illustration by Andy Gilmore

Physicists have discovered a jewel-like geometric object that dramatically simplifies calculations of particle interactions and challenges the notion that space and time are fundamental components of reality.
“This is completely new and very much simpler than anything that has been done before,” said Andrew Hodges, a mathematical physicist at Oxford University …The revelation that particle interactions, the most basic events in nature, may be consequences of geometry significantly advances a decades-long effort to reformulate quantum field theory, the body of laws describing elementary particles and their interactions.
…

THIS IS (POSSIBLY) EXTREMELY IMPORTANT.
TL;DR: An idea that might help unify nearly a century of knowledge. A clue as to what may comprise everything in the universe as-known-to-date. HUGE. Read. Share.

via Quanta Magazine
By: Natalie Wolchover   
September 17, 2013
Illustration by Andy Gilmore

Physicists have discovered a jewel-like geometric object that dramatically simplifies calculations of particle interactions and challenges the notion that space and time are fundamental components of reality.

“This is completely new and very much simpler than anything that has been done before,” said Andrew Hodges, a mathematical physicist at Oxford University …

The revelation that particle interactions, the most basic events in nature, may be consequences of geometry significantly advances a decades-long effort to reformulate quantum field theory, the body of laws describing elementary particles and their interactions.


THIS IS (POSSIBLY) EXTREMELY IMPORTANT.

TL;DR: An idea that might help unify nearly a century of knowledge. A clue as to what may comprise everything in the universe as-known-to-date. HUGE. Read. Share.

qsalms

Some people may like to see themselves as having an illness because it conveys a certain level of suffering, and that it is not something they are choosing but rather something that happens to them. In this way some may find it is quite validating of the level of distress or confusion they at times experience.

In an individualistic society people who fail are often blamed for their failures, to be ill means you can seek some refuge from this blame. On the other hand, the other side to this exemption from blame is that the identity of being ill can lead people to feel helpless in the face of their emotional and social difficulties.

When we represent a group of connections by a closed and coherent set of concepts, axioms, definitions and laws which in turn is represented by a mathematical scheme, we have in fact isolated and idealized this group of connections with the purpose of clarification.

But even if complete clarity has been achieved in this way, it is not known how accurately the set of concepts describes reality.

Heisenberg, Werner
Physics and Philosophy

Continued:

These idealizations may be called a part of the human language that has been formed from the interplay between the world and ourselves, a human response to the challenge of nature. In this respect they may be compared to the different styles of art, say of architecture or music.

A style of art can also be defined by a set of formal rules which are applied to the material of this special art. These rules can perhaps not be represented in a strict sense by a set of mathematical concepts and equations, but their fundamental elements are very closely related to the essential elements of mathematics.

Equality and inequality, repetition and symmetry, certain group structures play the fundamental role both in art and in mathematics. Usually the work of several generations is needed to develop that formal system which later is called the style of the art, from its simple beginning to the wealth of elaborate forms which characterize its completion.

… the question of how far the formal rules of the style represent that reality of life which is meant by the art, cannot be decided from the formal rules. Art is always an idealization; the ideal is different from reality — at least from the reality of the shadows, as Plato would have put it — but idealization is necessary for understanding.

This comparison between the different sets of concepts in natural science with different styles of art may seem very far from the truth to those who consider the different styles of art as rather arbitrary products of the human mind. They would argue that in natural science these different sets of concepts represent objective reality, have been taught to us by nature, are therefore by no means arbitrary, and are a necessary consequence of our gradually increasing experimental knowledge of nature. About these points most scientists would agree; but are the different styles of art an arbitrary product of the human mind?

Here again we must not be misled by the Cartesian partition. The style arises out of the interplay between the world and ourselves, or more specifically between the spirit of the time and the artist. The spirit of a time [(Zeitgeist)] is probably a fact as objective as any fact in natural science, and this spirit brings out certain features of the world which are even independent of time, and are in this sense eternal. The artist tries by his work to make these features understandable, and in this attempt he is led to the forms of the style in which he works.

Therefore, the two processes, that of science and that of art, are not very different. Both science and art form in the course of the centuries a human language by which we can speak about the more remote parts of reality …”

Thanks for understanding, Heisenberg.

Artists, designers, art students, and other people who can’t figure out how to do what you love what’s important:

Stop hitting yourself, why do you keep hitting yourself?

James Victore answers:

Q: I work at a job doing design I hate, I can never seem to find time to do the work I want to do, and I am constantly frustrated with myself. I wasn’t able to go to a great art program because of financial reasons so my BA was wasted. I don’t know what to do. I want to quit my job to become an amazing motion graphics designer but I’m scared. I’m in LA and it’s expensive and I don’t have anyone to fall back on. I have some money saved, but still I’m scared. I’m 26 and I see my thirties just ahead. I want to do what I love, not just waste time.


••••••

Victore can be a little intense sometimes. (Especially when I think of people who can’t make a decision so easily — for example, say, immigrant mothers who have to think of their children before throwing caution to the wind and doing what they love. But that’s a question of What do you love more?)

But there are great things to take away from this video, regardless of your career. A few:

  1. Again, figure out what’s most important. Right now? In the future? Pursue that. Protect and secure that. (Victore doesn’t explicitly say this.)

  2. Be kind to your future self. Save $$. Set up your path. It might change, but at least you have some kind of foundation. Save your health, too.

  3. Everybody’s afraid. For me, the question is, But what’s scarier? Think about living in your current circumstances for the rest of your life. If it doesn’t make your skin crawl, then do nothing.

    I graduated with an art degree 2 years ago. I’m now about to go back to school for something that’s A. one of the most difficult things one can do and B. going to take me at least 10 years to complete. I’ll likely be well into my 30’s before I get where I want to be, older than most of the youngsters in Grad programs, and less of a genius than most of them. That’s scary. What about money? What if I fail — how embarrassing. But the thought of not trying is even worse.

  4. Do not leave your education up to other people. It’s up to you to work hard, get scholarships, take the best classes, take extra classes, learn online, etc. etc. etc.

    All my life, whenever I did something other than what people thought I was good at, I got asked the same question: “Why would you choose a photography concentration?” “Why aren’t you an illustration major if you’re so good at it?” “What does that class have to do with art?” “How come you haven’t done any art in a while?”

    Same answer to all: To learn something new. To invest time in something I’m not good at, rather than remaining comfortable and not failing at something I am. Because in the end, that gives me a stronger foundation, more ways of seeing the world, and thus more nodes to connect and build into something that never could’ve existed had I tunneled through on the fast track. Synergy.

  5. You’ll probably “waste” some time. Bite it and work hard. Notice how “10 years” looks like nothing in a biography, but feels like a century when it’s ahead of you?

    Recently, some strangers commented on a photo and caption of “me”: a nameless, context-less image. They said things like “her parents are obviously rich” and my favorite, “I’m envious that she can just do whatever she wants, and never had to work for a few years to support herself” etc. Wow. What a load of bullshit. Few people are that lucky — don’t let glossy success stories allow you to think otherwise. SEE ALSO.

    Victore wouldn’t say this, but sometimes you have to do something you don’t like for some time (work, school, even sell out), to secure a foundation for yourself. Understand this. You can complain, but deep down, understand what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and have a plan of action.


TL;DR: Happiness doesn’t mean feeling good or smiling all the time.

wildcat2030

jkottke:

Old people, like those who live to be older than 30, didn’t exist in great numbers until about 30,000 years ago. Why is that? Anthropologist Rachel Caspari speculates that around that time, enough people were living long enough to function as a shared cultural hard drive for humans, a living…

Sorry Tony & Elon,
Gesture Interfaces are NOT “The Future” — for a damn good reason.

People have been trying to develop gesturing-interfaces since the 1980’s. The reason that after three decades no attempt to create such an interface has seen commercial success is because of a phenomenon known in tech-jargon as “gorilla arm”. Our human bodies were never intended to be able to execute fine finger and hand motions, while holding our arms up/out in front of us, for an extended period of time. It doesn’t take too many minutes of doing this before a user’s back, shoulder, neck and arm muscles start aching. As people observed at the time, “you start looking like a gorilla using it and feel like one when you’re done”.
In years past, the gesturing-interface was taught in the engineering classroom as a case study in non-ergonomic design.  I guess that was one of the class-days that Elon Musk must have skipped.
– wildiris

Sorry Tony & Elon,

Gesture Interfaces are NOT “The Future” — for a damn good reason.

People have been trying to develop gesturing-interfaces since the 1980’s. The reason that after three decades no attempt to create such an interface has seen commercial success is because of a phenomenon known in tech-jargon as “gorilla arm”. Our human bodies were never intended to be able to execute fine finger and hand motions, while holding our arms up/out in front of us, for an extended period of time. It doesn’t take too many minutes of doing this before a user’s back, shoulder, neck and arm muscles start aching. As people observed at the time, “you start looking like a gorilla using it and feel like one when you’re done”.

In years past, the gesturing-interface was taught in the engineering classroom as a case study in non-ergonomic design. I guess that was one of the class-days that Elon Musk must have skipped.

wildiris