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…

qsalms
Obviously, the faster we process information, the more rich and complex our models or glosses — our reality-tunnels — will become. Resistance to new information, however, has a strong neurological foundation in all animals, as indicated by studies of imprinting and conditioning. Most animals, including most domesticated primates (humans) show a truly staggering ability to “ignore” certain kinds of information — that which does not “fit” their imprinted/conditioned reality-tunnel. We generally call this “conservatism” or “stupidity”, but it appears in all parts of the political spectrum, and in learned societies as well as in the Ku Klux Klan.
Robert Anton Wilson, Quantum Psychology (via liberumarbitriumindifferentiae)
acalc
acalc:

How Netflix is turning viewers into puppets
Does the prospect of being a puppet make you uncomfortable? It does me. The article talks about the almost unimaginable amount of data Netflix collects and analyzes based on your activities for the purpose of capitalizing. Their House of Cards is an initial result of that ‘algorithmic focus group’. And the article hints at how this is becoming more and more prevalent across all of society. After reading this, it’s obvious that traditional TV fiction is done. It’s over. Time to go home. The future is the Internet, and it starts with Netflix.
But, all in all, it’s kind of depressing what this thick, data-driven approach portends. What good are movies, shows, video games, and other modern media if they’re increasingly created—directly or indirectly—from empirical observations of endless data? Where goes the potential of art? How do you transform as an individual by being constantly accommodated—even if it’s a niche accommodation—and not being challenged? In prior times, some of these things could be made with an appreciable amount of creative risk and freedom, and they were unexpected, spoke to something in the collective consciousness. But if the end game is to know the audience so thoroughly that you can creatively anticipate and accommodate their every whim and desire, the possibility of art ceases. If accommodation becomes the norm, people will lose the desire to seek out the experimental and adventurous things generated from minds incompatible with their catered kingdom.
That’s one aspect of the modern Internet that I have always kind of loathed: the physics at work that makes us the rulers of our own skull-sized kingdoms, to paraphrase David Foster Wallace. And to paraphrase another person, we continue to paradoxically spend our time together but alone.

Yes,
But Netflix is not a place for art, just as TV is not a place for art (was it ever?), just as any regular movie theater is not a place for art. We have to remember that.
This isn’t about the internet — there are other places online and “out there” to find real, creative work that has nothing to do with targeting, etc.
Corporations will always do what they do (until pretty soon when, you know, they can’t because we’re all fucked over and out of resources), but I don’t agree that “If accommodation becomes the norm, people will lose the desire to seek out the experimental and adventurous things …”. 
Every day, someone out there tries to cater to me. How many times have I pressed the “No, this Ad is not relevant” button on Hulu? Countless. And Hulu will never understand that anything they throw at me, I will not find relevant, because I don’t give a shit about any of it.
That’s the point and role of art, and the artist. By nature the artist is a contrarian, by nature art defies accommodation.
But that’s the artist. The real problem is { teaching others the value of art }, and propagating the notion that they should go look for things that make them uncomfortable. Hasn’t that long been the problem, even prior to this “information age”?

acalc:

How Netflix is turning viewers into puppets

Does the prospect of being a puppet make you uncomfortable? It does me. The article talks about the almost unimaginable amount of data Netflix collects and analyzes based on your activities for the purpose of capitalizing. Their House of Cards is an initial result of that ‘algorithmic focus group’. And the article hints at how this is becoming more and more prevalent across all of society. After reading this, it’s obvious that traditional TV fiction is done. It’s over. Time to go home. The future is the Internet, and it starts with Netflix.

But, all in all, it’s kind of depressing what this thick, data-driven approach portends. What good are movies, shows, video games, and other modern media if they’re increasingly created—directly or indirectly—from empirical observations of endless data? Where goes the potential of art? How do you transform as an individual by being constantly accommodated—even if it’s a niche accommodation—and not being challenged? In prior times, some of these things could be made with an appreciable amount of creative risk and freedom, and they were unexpected, spoke to something in the collective consciousness. But if the end game is to know the audience so thoroughly that you can creatively anticipate and accommodate their every whim and desire, the possibility of art ceases. If accommodation becomes the norm, people will lose the desire to seek out the experimental and adventurous things generated from minds incompatible with their catered kingdom.

That’s one aspect of the modern Internet that I have always kind of loathed: the physics at work that makes us the rulers of our own skull-sized kingdoms, to paraphrase David Foster Wallace. And to paraphrase another person, we continue to paradoxically spend our time together but alone.

Yes,

But Netflix is not a place for art, just as TV is not a place for art (was it ever?), just as any regular movie theater is not a place for art. We have to remember that.

This isn’t about the internet — there are other places online and “out there” to find real, creative work that has nothing to do with targeting, etc.

Corporations will always do what they do (until pretty soon when, you know, they can’t because we’re all fucked over and out of resources), but I don’t agree that “If accommodation becomes the norm, people will lose the desire to seek out the experimental and adventurous things …”.

Every day, someone out there tries to cater to me. How many times have I pressed the “No, this Ad is not relevant” button on Hulu? Countless. And Hulu will never understand that anything they throw at me, I will not find relevant, because I don’t give a shit about any of it.

That’s the point and role of art, and the artist. By nature the artist is a contrarian, by nature art defies accommodation.

But that’s the artist. The real problem is { teaching others the value of art }, and propagating the notion that they should go look for things that make them uncomfortable. Hasn’t that long been the problem, even prior to this “information age”?

[Artificial Intelligence] may well be the most vital of all commodities, surpassing water, food, heat and light. Without it, we will certainly not survive as a species.

One of our problems is data - masses of it. A few hundred years of scientific inquiry and the invention of the data-generating and sharing mechanism that is the internet has left reams of crucial information unused and unanalysed.

AI is not about sentient robots, but machines that mimic our organic intelligence by adapting to, as well as recognising, patterns in data. AI is about making machines understand.
Jamie Carter / Peter Cochrane, { South China Morning Post }
Art by { dvdp }
THE PHYSICS OF SPIRALS?

Perhaps someone with more experience in math & physics can give some insight about this:
I’ve subscribed to a weekly newsletter from { Kurzweil AI } (Many of you might find it interesting; it covers futurism, technology, science, etc.) Recently, there were two consecutive articles about spiral shapes that I found curious:
{ Pasta-shaped radio waves beamed across Venice }

A group of Italian and Swedish researchers may have solved the problem of radio congestion by cleverly twisting radio waves into the shape of fusilli pasta, allowing a potentially infinite number of channels to be broadcast and received.

& { Scientists twist light to send data at more than 2 terabits per second }

A multinational team led by USC with researchers in the U.S., China, Pakistan, and Israel has developed a system of transmitting data using twisted beams of light at ultra-high speeds — up to 2.56 terabits per second.
Broadband cable supports up to about 30 megabits per second. The twisted-light system transmits about 85,000 times more data per second.

Is there something inherent to spiral shapes that allows them to hold more “information”? (I’m using the word info. in a general way, like if we think of the universe as a system of variously configured “bits” of info.) Is the relationship — in terms of information — between these technologies and natural constructs like DNA and galaxies more than an aesthetic correlation? If it’s true that spirals “hold more”, why is this?
P.S.I’ve also asked this question at { Udacity }, if any of you are enrolled in Intro to Physics. I’ll re-post answers here if anyone answers there, and vice versa.
••••••
ANSWERS:
{ memeengine }:

olena:

THE PHYSICS OF SPIRALS?
…

I’ve heard a little about that second item - use of “twisted” light in optic cables.  If you read my blog, you’ll know I’m no physicist, but I can offer my limited understanding…
Physically, I’m not sure if we’re talking about photons forming a spiral shape as they move.  It may have something to do with the polarity of the photons.  However, I think that what allows more information to be crammed in is something like different channels.
Even if it’s not completely accurate, I think that color is a good way for us amateurs to understand it.  You may know that white light contains all the colors of the rainbow (ie all frequencies of visible light).  Imagine if instead of sending one message in the white light, many messages could be encoded among the individual colors (frequencies) within the light.  So there could be a “red message”, a “green message”, etc.
The idea of twisting the light may have something to do with teasing apart the different frequencies, or channels so the individual messages can all be read.  Clearly, this has a multiplicative effect on the information that can be sent.
I think some of this research also looks at laying “meta-messages” on top of the normal light pulses.  Imagine if the rate at which the light pulses are sent were marginally slowed down or sped up.  This too can send information, and in theory, none of the original information from the pulses is lost (only perhaps marginally slowed).  Think of sending morse code by switching from intervals of slow pulses to intervals of quick pulses.
I know I’m not close to having a handle on this story in terms of the physics, but I think the above pseudo-examples capture the ideas of the more tightly packed information.  Hope this helps!

OS re: { memeengine }:
Thanks for answering! I wonder if DVDP's image inspired that explanation? :D

Light can be twisted like a corkscrew around its axis of travel.
{ Optical Vortex }

It seems that just the actual wave, as it travels, is made to rotate as if it were going around the outside of a tube. I don’t know if that contradicts what you said —

"…I’m not sure if we’re talking about photons forming a spiral shape as they move…"

•••
Thyrm at { Udacity }:


Well, I can tell you that DNA coiled up can hold more information because its structure maximizes surface area while decreasing the volume that it occupies. If you were to uncoil DNA then it be about a meter long. If you unwrapped the two strands, then it’d be twice as long. Mind you, this is with one molecule of DNA that can easily fit inside the tiniest organelles of one of your cells. The geometry involved in that is beyond me. I am sure somebody else has a better answer.
Another amazing material that has a lot of surface area is activated carbon. Its surface area is absolutely insane, at about 500 sq. meters per gram.
Also, you might be interested in this: { http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menger_sponge }



•••
{ hpgal3 }:

It could be something to do with the surface area. I remember seeing something on “Through the Wormhole” about the surface area of an object being where it holds most of its information (not its volume). This is true in biology as well, yes. Especially in folds, like your mitochondria and intestines. You just have more room.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbRvHbtB9AQ
Starts around 27:27

Art by { dvdp }

THE PHYSICS OF SPIRALS?

Perhaps someone with more experience in math & physics can give some insight about this:

I’ve subscribed to a weekly newsletter from { Kurzweil AI } (Many of you might find it interesting; it covers futurism, technology, science, etc.) Recently, there were two consecutive articles about spiral shapes that I found curious:

{ Pasta-shaped radio waves beamed across Venice }

A group of Italian and Swedish researchers may have solved the problem of radio congestion by cleverly twisting radio waves into the shape of fusilli pasta, allowing a potentially infinite number of channels to be broadcast and received.

& { Scientists twist light to send data at more than 2 terabits per second }

A multinational team led by USC with researchers in the U.S., China, Pakistan, and Israel has developed a system of transmitting data using twisted beams of light at ultra-high speeds — up to 2.56 terabits per second.

Broadband cable supports up to about 30 megabits per second. The twisted-light system transmits about 85,000 times more data per second.

Is there something inherent to spiral shapes that allows them to hold more “information”? (I’m using the word info. in a general way, like if we think of the universe as a system of variously configured “bits” of info.) Is the relationship — in terms of information — between these technologies and natural constructs like DNA and galaxies more than an aesthetic correlation? If it’s true that spirals “hold more”, why is this?

P.S.
I’ve also asked this question at { Udacity }, if any of you are enrolled in Intro to Physics. I’ll re-post answers here if anyone answers there, and vice versa.

••••••

ANSWERS:

{ memeengine }:

olena:

THE PHYSICS OF SPIRALS?

I’ve heard a little about that second item - use of “twisted” light in optic cables.  If you read my blog, you’ll know I’m no physicist, but I can offer my limited understanding…

Physically, I’m not sure if we’re talking about photons forming a spiral shape as they move.  It may have something to do with the polarity of the photons.  However, I think that what allows more information to be crammed in is something like different channels.

Even if it’s not completely accurate, I think that color is a good way for us amateurs to understand it.  You may know that white light contains all the colors of the rainbow (ie all frequencies of visible light).  Imagine if instead of sending one message in the white light, many messages could be encoded among the individual colors (frequencies) within the light.  So there could be a “red message”, a “green message”, etc.

The idea of twisting the light may have something to do with teasing apart the different frequencies, or channels so the individual messages can all be read.  Clearly, this has a multiplicative effect on the information that can be sent.

I think some of this research also looks at laying “meta-messages” on top of the normal light pulses.  Imagine if the rate at which the light pulses are sent were marginally slowed down or sped up.  This too can send information, and in theory, none of the original information from the pulses is lost (only perhaps marginally slowed).  Think of sending morse code by switching from intervals of slow pulses to intervals of quick pulses.

I know I’m not close to having a handle on this story in terms of the physics, but I think the above pseudo-examples capture the ideas of the more tightly packed information.  Hope this helps!

OS re: { memeengine }:

Thanks for answering! I wonder if DVDP's image inspired that explanation? :D

Light can be twisted like a corkscrew around its axis of travel.

Optical Vortex }

It seems that just the actual wave, as it travels, is made to rotate as if it were going around the outside of a tube. I don’t know if that contradicts what you said —

"…I’m not sure if we’re talking about photons forming a spiral shape as they move…"

•••

Thyrm at { Udacity }:

Well, I can tell you that DNA coiled up can hold more information because its structure maximizes surface area while decreasing the volume that it occupies. If you were to uncoil DNA then it be about a meter long. If you unwrapped the two strands, then it’d be twice as long. Mind you, this is with one molecule of DNA that can easily fit inside the tiniest organelles of one of your cells. The geometry involved in that is beyond me. I am sure somebody else has a better answer.

Another amazing material that has a lot of surface area is activated carbon. Its surface area is absolutely insane, at about 500 sq. meters per gram.

Also, you might be interested in this: { http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menger_sponge }

•••

{ hpgal3 }:

It could be something to do with the surface area. I remember seeing something on “Through the Wormhole” about the surface area of an object being where it holds most of its information (not its volume). This is true in biology as well, yes. Especially in folds, like your mitochondria and intestines. You just have more room.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbRvHbtB9AQ

Starts around 27:27

…real sharing is conscious sharing, a recommendation to read or not to read something rather than a data exhaust pipe of mental activity.

…what’s at stake is “intellectual privacy,” [Richards’] term for the idea that records of our reading and movie watching deserve special protection compared to other kinds of personal information.

“The films we watch, the books we read, and the websites we visit are essential to the ways we try to understand the world we live in,” he says.”

“Intellectual privacy protects our ability to think for ourselves, without worrying that other people might judge us based on what we read. It allows us to explore ideas that other people might not approve of, and to figure out our politics, sexuality and personal values, among other things.

Neil M. Richards
JD, privacy law expert and professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis.
via { Privacy perils of social reading }
May 11, 2012

••••••

I’ve been struggling with this, in some form, since first publishing artworks online in the early 2000’s. How much of the “data exhaust pipe of mental activity” do I want to publish? How much is necessary, desired, safe? Where’s the line between my self and my public avatar?

When Twitter and Foursquare were born, I declined altogether — I have no desire for people to know what my physical self is doing and thinking and where I’m doing and thinking it, every minute on the minute, no matter how non-private or mundane or benign the activity is anyway. The fact that there are now services, like Klout, that measure the amount of data any given person excretes, comparatively rates them based on that, and that this rating can apparently { have an effect } on one’s social/professional standing is sort of alarming.

Balance. Every “submit” or “create post” or “like” is considered. Certainly there are some intellectual properties I’d rather keep to myself, but I’ve also found comfort in time-stamped publishing: for a content creator, it can be a source of protection if used correctly.

Eventually we’ll just walk around and go “Oh god no, not more beautiful poetry! I’ve already read too much today!”

Chris Impey, professor of Astronomy and author of How it Ends and How it Began

during “Alpha: Where does it begin?”, Part 1 of a roundtable titled “The Alpha and the Omega: Beginning and Ending” at The Helix Center for Interdisciplinary Investigation—a division of the New York Psychoanalytic Society & Institute.

••••••

OS:
Isn’t it already like that? For example, just scrolling down Tumblr. We’re already there… we’re already over-saturated with information of all kinds. You have to be really really choosy these days. Unless you’re disconnected and far away, so someone else has chosen for you and you get whatever tricked down.

Notes from The Quark and the Jaguar: Concepts

My notes from Murray Gell-Mann’s The Quark and the Jaguar.

see also: Notes from The Q&J: { Questions }

••••••

08
elementary particles have no individuality
individuality comes from compilations of information,
rises with complexity, travels with the arrow of time

09
Complex Adaptive Systems:
systems of compiled information (networks) which function as “wholes”, adaptively behaving within their environments (learning).

12
condition of early universe —› quantum mechanical histories —› complexities of macroscopic world

14
"[My brother] Ben and I wanted to understand the world and enjoy it, not slice it up [arbitrarily]…"

18
"If you are training a dog, you are watching a complex adaptive system in operation and you are functioning as one as well…"

19
Culture is a structure for keeping learned, non-instinctive behaviors.
Complex Adaptive Systems generate further C.A.S.s

 27
Simplicity refers to the absence (or near-absence) of Complexity. Whereas the former word is derived from an expression meaning “once folded,” the latter comes from an expression meaning “braided together.”

28
"What is really meant by the opposing terms simplicity and complexity? In what sense is Einsteinian gravitation simple while a goldfish is complex?"
—› it’s important to use and think of both terms relative to their contexts.

The application of Coarse Graining and Fine Graining when observing systems on multiple levels is to select the level of detail one observes (but this is not cherry-picking: some details can safely be ignored when Coarse Graining because their affects, if accounted for, cancel each other out — this is called decoherence.)

29
Algorithmic Information Content:
The length of the shortest program that will output a message string and stop computing.

A good definition from Ivan Marsic, { AIC for Software Engineering }:

4.4.1 Algorithmic Information Content

I already mentioned that our abstractions are unavoidably approximate. The term often used is “coarse graining,” which means that we are blurring detail in the world picture and single out only the phenomena we believe are relevant to the problem at hand. Hence, when defining complexity it is always necessary to specify the level of detail up to which the system is described, with finer details being ignored.

One way of defining the complexity of a program or system is by means of its description, that is,the length of the description. I discussed above the merits of using size metrics as a complexity measure. Some problems mentioned above include: size could be measured differently; it depends on the language in which the program code (or any other accurate description of it) is written; and, the program description can be unnecessarily stuffed to make it appear complex. Away out is to ignore the language issue and define complexity in terms of the description length.

Suppose that two persons wish to communicate a system description at distance. Assume they are employing language, knowledge, and understanding that both parties share (and know they share)beforehand. The crude complexity of the system can be defined as the length of the shortest message that one party needs to employ to describe the system, at a given level of coarse graining, to the distant party.

A well-known such measure is called algorithmic information content, which was introduced in1960s independently by Andrei N. Kolmogorov, Gregory Chaitin, and Ray Solomonoff. Assume an idealized general-purpose computer with an infinite storage capacity. Consider a particular message string, such as “aaaaabbbbbbbbbb.” We want to know: what is the shortest possible program that will print out that string and then stop computing? Algorithmic information content (AIC) is defined as the length of the shortest possible program that prints out a given string. For the example string, the program may look something like: P a{5}b{10}, which means “Print ‘a’ five times and ‘b’ ten times.

38
AIC != Information
"Information is concerned with a selection from alternatives, and it is most simply expressed if those alternatives can be reduced to a sequence of binary choices, each of which is between two equally probable alternatives."

39
AIC is Uncomputable: (it’s impossible to know which bit strings are certainly random)
—› There can always be some unknown theorem/algorithm that would permit further compression. Greg Chaitin proved that there is no procedure for finding all the theorems permitting further compression.

Similarly, Kurt Godel showed that it’s impossible to formulate a series of consistent axioms that could be used to test the truth of mathematical propositions. (Undecidables.)

44
Two meanings of Random:
Incompressible: “so irregular that no way can be found to express it in shorter form.”
Stochastic: generated by a random process, but compressible. (A coin toss can produce a regular string, like one of all heads).

46
Pseudorandom:
"A pseudorandom process is a process that appears to be random but is not. Pseudorandom sequences typically exhibit statistical randomness while being generated by an entirely deterministic causal process. Such a process is easier to produce than a genuinely random one, and has the benefit that it can be used again and again to produce exactly the same numbers - useful for testing and fixing software." (Wiki)

A pseudorandom sequence is generated by a computer following a rule that mimics irregularity / a chance process.

50
An example: Proverbial Shakespeare-Typing Monkey AIC > Shakespeare AIC
—› Monkey AIC is typed randomly (stochastically), whereas Shakespeare wrote according to rules, and the content is compressible.

Effective Complexity is then related to the description of the regularities of a system by a complex adaptive system that is observing it.”

53
The “first characteristic of a Complex Adaptive System”: “compress[ing] certain regularities identified in a body of experience into a schema…”

57
It’s possible that mythologies come from mistaking random strings to be regularities in an insufficiently long sequence of data.

59
Effective Complexity is highest when AIC is in the mid range — somewhere between order and disorder, regularity and randomness.

64
It’s important to distinguish between the variation in life (heritable and subject to natural selection) as opposed to the lack thereof in non-life.
And important to understand the meaning of variation in this context —›
significant information processing; compression of regularities.

74
"Now consider, in contrast to a robot [like MIT’s six-legged robot] that learns a few useful properties of the terrain it needs to traverse, a complex adaptive system exploring the general properties, as well as a host of detailed features, of a much grander terrain, namely the whole universe.”

86
A mention of Thomas Kuhn and The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
—› paradigm shifts.

89
Pattern Recognition:
"Pattern recognition comes naturally to us humans; we are, after all, complex adaptive systems ourselves. It is in our nature, by biological inheritance and also through the transmission of culture, to see patterns, to identify regularities, to construct schemata in our minds. However, those schemata are often promoted or demoted, accepted or rejected, in response to selection pressures that are far different from those operating in the sciences, where agreement with observation is so critical.

—› Unsicentific cultural selection pressures lead to the construction of oft incorrect models of understanding (I.E. Sympathetic Magic, like rain dances).

90
"Merely Theoretical"
It’s paramount to distinguish between what a word (like “Theory” or “Observation”) means in science (or more specifically, what it means within a given field) vs what it means otherwise, and not to confuse the two.

93
Phenomenological or Empirical Theory:
A theory describing patterns we don’t understand yet.

98
"Self-Organized Criticality"
I.E. the critical value of the slope of a sand pile — no more sand can be added, or the pile will self-adjust.

100
Self-Organized Criticality & Emergence —› Universe. Complex Operating Systems.
"Scientists … are trying hard to understand the ways in which structures arise without the imposition of special requirements from the outside. In an astonishing variety of contexts, apparently complex structures or behaviors emerge from systems characterized by very simple rules. These systems are said to be self-organized and their properties are said to be emergent. The grandest example is the universe itself, the full complexity of which emerges from simple rules plus the operation of chance.

101
Depth & Crypticity
Depth
: difficulty of a program / compressed schema to be decompressed into a full-blown description of a system.
Crypticity: vice-versa.

103
Depth, Probability, & Time
"When a system occurring in nature has a great deal of depth, that is an indication that it took a long time to evolve or that it stems from something that took a long time to evolve.”
Depth = Avg. run time / program lengths, with the avg. weighted to emphasize shorter programs.

112
The Structure —› The System / “Reductionism
"…while the various sciences do occupy different levels [of "magnification"], they form part of a single connected structure. [Its] unity is cemented by the relations among the parts. A science of a given level encompasses the laws of a less fundamental science at a level above. But the latter, being more special, requires further information in addition to the laws of the former."

113-114
Life
"…living systems on this planet … may differ widely from many of the diverse complex adaptive systems that surely exist on planets revolving around distant stars in various parts of the universe. On some of those planets, perhaps the only complex adaptive systems are ones that we would not necessarily describe as alive if we encountered them. … Even the rule that genes must be made up of the four nucleotides abbreviated A, C, G, and T, which seems to be true of all life on our planet today, may not be universal on a cosmic scale of space and time.”

112, 116-117
Top-Down and Bottom-Up study / consideration (between levels of scientific fields) is important. (As with psychology, biology, & neuroscience.)

118
Popularization of Roger Sperry’s brain hemisphere studies has wrongly emphasized the “separate” functions of each hemisphere while ignoring “Sperry’s cautionary remark that ‘the two hemispheres in the normal intact brain tend regularly to function closely together as a unit…’”

119-120
How do “yin” & “yang” conditions across levels of science produce life as we know it?
"One of the great challenges of contemporary science is to trace the mix of simplicity and complexity, regularity and randomness, order and disorder up the ladder from elementary particle physics and cosmology to the realm of complex adaptive systems."

—› “…what role is played by the unified theory of elementary particles, the initial condition of the universe, the indeterminacies of quantum mechanics, and the vagaries of classical chaos in producing the patterns of regularity and randomness in the universe within which complex adaptive systems have been able to evolve”?

124
Fermions: “obey the Pauli Exclusion Principle: no two particles of the same kind can occupy the same state at the same time.” (I.E.: Electrons)

Bosons: “obey a kind of Antiexclusion principle: two or more particles of the same kind exhibit a preference for being in the same state at the same time.” (I.E.: Photons —› LASERS)

Bosons are quanta of classical fields (“packets” of energy; I.E. the quantum of the electromagnetic field is the photon.)

125
“Now, [Because the U.S. House of Representatives scrapped the Superconducting Supercollider — a high-energy particle accelerator that was to be built in Texas] the only hope for verification of fundamental theoretical ideas lies in the lower energy accelerator … at CERN [the LHC] … Unfortunately, its energy may be too low.

126
“In his old age, Einstein published a set of equations that claimed to accomplish [the task of unifying general-relativistic gravitation with Maxwell’s electromagnetism], but unfortunately their appeal was purely mathematical — they did not describe plausible physical interactions of gravitation and electromagnetism.”

127
a description of Einstein’s failures in consideration when formulating his unifying equations:
• Ignored the existence of other fields besides gravitational & electromagnetic.
• Did not discuss Fermions; believed, I.E., the electron would emerge from his equations.
• Never accepted the validity of Quantum Mechanics.

128
Bootstrap Principle: a system that gives rise to itself. (the man who could pull himself up by his own bootstraps)

Superstring Theory “grew out of … the bootstrap principle. …a set of elementary particles could be treated as if composed in a self-consistent manner of combinations of those same particles. All of the particles would serve as constituents … as quanta for force fields … and … would appear as bound states of the constituents.”

Earliest form of superstring theory proposed by: John Schwartz, Andre Neveu, & Pierre Ramond; 1971.

129
Theory of Everything?
Superstring Theory “cannot, by itself, tell us all there is to know about the universe and the matter it contains.”

131
Past & Future are arbitrary names given to the directions of time.
There is asymmetry between past & future.

131-132
Instead of Everything, Just Probabilities for Histories

"The fundamental laws of physics allow, in principle, only the calculation of probabilities for various alternative histories of the universe that describe different ways events could play themselves out given the initial condition. Information about which of those sequences of events is actually occurring can be gathered only from observation, and is supplementary to the fundamental laws themselves. There is no way the fundamental laws can supply a theory of everything.

The probabilistic nature of quantum theory can be illustrated by a simple example”: half-life.

134
Frozen Accidents
:
"…chance events of which the particular outcomes have a multiplicity of long-term consequences, all related by their own ancestry."
"The character of the whole universe was affected by accidents occurring near the beginning of its expansion. … A law of geology, biology, or human psychology may stem from one or more amplified quantum events, each of which could have turned out differently. The amplifications can occur through a variety of mechanisms, including the phenomenon of chaos, which introduces, in certain situations indefinitely large sensitivities of outcome to input.”

138
On Hugh Everett's “Many Worlds" theory:
"…his interpretation is often described in terms of ‘many worlds,’ whereas we believe that 'many alternative histories of the universe' is what is really meant. … the many worlds are described as being 'all equally real,' whereas we believe it is less confusing to speak of ‘many histories, all treated alike by the theory except for their different probabilities.’ To use [this recommended] language is to address the familiar notion that a given system can have different possible histories, each with its own probability; it is not necessary to become queasy trying to conceive of many ‘parallel universes,’ all equally real.”

140
Quantum State of the Universe:
"The universe as a whole may be in a pure quantum state."
[Hartle & Hawking have proposed this idea, as well as “a particular form for the pure state that existed near the beginning of the expansion of the universe.”

142
For alternative histories of the universe, a quantity D is given to describe the probability of the pair, such as: [Probability] D of [History] A & [History] B —› D(A,B)

143-144
Fine Graining:
"Completely fine-grained histories of the universe are histories that give as complete a description as possible of the entire universe at every moment of time."

—› This is not even possible for us, for our whole universe, now. /Yet?.
But I think it wouldn’t be incorrect to say that this is exactly what the universe does: observes itself, at all moments, at every possible level. Via its experiencing itself, it so “chooses” a history, the way that particles in an experiment “choose” an outcome once they are observed (once something interacts with them. Interaction = Observation. Not magical-seeing-without-touching. That latter doesn’t exist, in our world — we only have that idea because that’s the way we experience it at our own crude magnification, without considering what’s working underneath.

& Coarse Graining
"…typically means following only certain things at certain times and only to a certain level of detail."
Whatever happens at a “finer” level is “summed over” — like the meeting of a trough & peak, it cancels out.

See also: { Umwelt }
"The world as it is experienced by a particular organism."

Our perception of our “direct” experience is the coarse version.

147
Entanglement & Decoherence
"Take the famous experiment in which a photon from a tiny source can pass freely through either of two slits in a screen on its way to a given point on a detector — those two histories interfere and cannot be assigned probabilities. It is meaningless to say what slit the photon came through.

150
The Tree of
Histories:
"The tree-like structure of alternative decohering coarse-grained histories of the universe is different from evolutionary trees like those for human languages or for biological species. In the case of evolutionary trees, all the branches are present in the same historical record. … By contrast, the branches of the tree of alternative decohering histories are mutually exclusive, and only one branch is accessible to an observer."

150-151
Nearly Classical Behavior

See also, essay: { Quasiclassical Coarse Graining and Thermodynamic Entropy }
Gell-Mann & Hartle, 2007

153
Schrodinger’s Cat
Is a Bullshit analogy because quasiclassical objects (cats, cats in boxes, etc.) are such coarse systems that they decohere.
"No quasiclassical object can exhibit such behavior because interaction with the rest of the universe will lead to decoherence of the alternatives."
Essentially, because a cat is not a quantum particle but a collection thereof, always interacting, he is forced into a single world history. A particle is not a “thing” like a cat, so itneeds to interact with other particles before it becomes part of a certain history, which is not a problem since all particles do so by way of their existing herein.

155
IGUS: Information Gathering & Utilizing System
(A Complex Adaptive System as Observer)

"An observation [in the context of physics] means a kind of pruning of the tree of branching histories."

160
Individual Objects
"When a planet absorbs a meteorite or a cat breathes, the identity of the planet or the cat is not altered."

From our point of view, at least. Over time, a planet and cat who have interacted with their environment are indeed changed into something else, or cease to be “cat” & “planet” and their particles are recycled into other “things”.

"But how is individuality to be measured?"

164-165
Home for Complex Adaptive Systems
"A great deal of what is followed by one IGUS could not be apprehended directly by [another]." (Umwelt.)

"Could an observer utilizing one domain really become aware that other domains, with their own sets of branching histories and their own observers, were available as alternative descriptions of the possible histories of the universe?"
!

••••••

To Be Continued…

Ivan Marsic, AIC for Software Engineering:

4.4.1 Algorithmic Information Content
I already mentioned that our abstractions are unavoidably approximate. The term often used is“coarse graining,” which means that we are blurring detail in the world picture and single out only the phenomena we believe are relevant to the problem at hand. Hence, when defining complexity it is always necessary to specify the level of detail up to which the system is described, with finer details being ignored.

One way of defining the complexity of a program or system is by means of its description, that is,the length of the description. I discussed above the merits of using size metrics as a complexity measure. Some problems mentioned above include: size could be measured differently; it depends on the language in which the program code (or any other accurate description of it) is written; and, the program description can be unnecessarily stuffed to make it appear complex. Away out is to ignore the language issue and define complexity in terms of the description length.

Suppose that two persons wish to communicate a system description at distance. Assume they are employing language, knowledge, and understanding that both parties share (and know they share)beforehand. The crude complexity of the system can be defined as the length of the shortest message that one party needs to employ to describe the system, at a given level of coarse graining, to the distant party.

A well-known such measure is called algorithmic information content, which was introduced in1960s independently by Andrei N. Kolmogorov, Gregory Chaitin, and Ray Solomonoff. Assume an idealized general-purpose computer with an infinite storage capacity. Consider a particular message string, such as “aaaaabbbbbbbbbb.” We want to know: what is the shortest possible program that will print out that string and then stop computing? Algorithmic information content (AIC) is defined as the length of the shortest possible program that prints out a given string. For the example string, the program may look something like: P a{5}b{10}, which means “Print ‘a’ five times and ‘b’ ten times.

Imagine:

If wherever we encountered new information, sentence by sentence, frame by frame, we could easily know the best thinking on it.

If we had confidence that this represented the combined wisdom of the most informed people—not as anointed by editors, but as weighed over time by our peers, objectively, statistically and transparently.

If this created a powerful incentive for people to ensure that their works met a higher standard, and made it perceptibly harder to spread information that didn’t meet that standard.

These goals are possible with today’s technologies.

They are the objectives of Hypothes.is.

wildcat2030
The idea of edges, of separateness, is antithetical to the web, which as a hypermedium dissolves all boundaries, renders implicit connections explicit. Indeed, much of the power and usefulness of the web as a technology derives from the way it destroys all forms of containment and turns everything it subsumes into a part of a greater, ever shifting, amorphous whole. The web is an assembly not of things but of shards, of snippets, of bits and pieces. An electronic book is therefore a contradiction in terms. To move the words of a book onto the screen of a networked computer is to engineer a collision between two contradictory technological, and aesthetic, forces. Something’s got to give. Either the web gains edges, or the book loses them.

Rough Type: Nicholas Carr’s Blog: The remains of the book (via infoneer-pulse)

••••••

In that way — maybe, in a metaphorical way — the web is like a macroscopic simulation of the universe. If we can understand that nothing on the web is an isolated “thing”, maybe we can begin to understand it about our “physical” world as well, and experience it in a new way through that understanding.

wildcat2030

We are not only eating ‘materials’, we are also eating ‘information’

in a new study, Chen-Yu Zhang’s group at Nanjing university present a rather striking finding that plant miRNAs could make into the host blood and tissues via the route of food-intake. Moreover, once inside the host, they can elicit functions by regulating host “target” genes and thus regulate host physiology. MicroRNAs are a class of 19-24 nucleotide non-coding RNAs that do not code for proteins. MicroRNAs bind to target messenger RNAs to inhibit protein translation. In previous studies, the same group has demonstrated that stable microRNAs (miRNAs) in mammalian serum and plasma are actively secreted from tissues and cells and can serve as a novel class of biomarkers for disease and act as signaling molecules in intercellular communication. Here, they report the surprising finding that exogenous plant miRNAs are present in the sera and tissues of various animals and that these exogenous plant miRNAs are primarily acquired orally, through food intake. MIR168a is abundant in rice and is one of the most highly enriched exogenous plant miRNAs in the sera of Chinese subjects. Functional studies in vitro and in vivo demonstrated that MIR168a could bind to the human/mouse low density lipoprotein receptor adapter protein 1 (LDLRAP1) mRNA, inhibit LDLRAP1 expression in liver, and consequently decrease LDL removal from mouse plasma. These findings demonstrate that exogenous plant miRNAs in food can regulate the expression of target genes in and thus physiology of mammals.

screenprint by Eduardo Paolozzi via { Sci-Fi-O-Rama }
{ The Local-Global Flip }, or, “The Lanier Effect”A Conversation with Jaron Lanier [8.29.11]
Jaron Lanier discusses economy in the internet era — what has value become, what it can and should be, information as power, the dwindling of the middle class and its possible restoration, problems created by powerful .coms, and what people can do once robots have taken over our day jobs…
Insightful, hilarious, and a bit scathing at times; E.g.:

…a purely driverless car, where you just get in a robot taxi and you  say, “Take me to the airport”, and it says, “Okay, airport”, and then we  go (Makes Zooming Sound), and then it shows you ads along the way, or  forces you to drive by billboards, or forces you to a particular  convenience store if you need to pick up something, or whatever the scam  is that would come about from a Google-driven car.

screenprint by Eduardo Paolozzi
via { Sci-Fi-O-Rama }

{ The Local-Global Flip }, or, “The Lanier Effect”
A Conversation with Jaron Lanier [8.29.11]

Jaron Lanier discusses economy in the internet era — what has value become, what it can and should be, information as power, the dwindling of the middle class and its possible restoration, problems created by powerful .coms, and what people can do once robots have taken over our day jobs…

Insightful, hilarious, and a bit scathing at times; E.g.:

…a purely driverless car, where you just get in a robot taxi and you say, “Take me to the airport”, and it says, “Okay, airport”, and then we go (Makes Zooming Sound), and then it shows you ads along the way, or forces you to drive by billboards, or forces you to a particular convenience store if you need to pick up something, or whatever the scam is that would come about from a Google-driven car.

The Local-Global Flip

{ The Local-Global Flip }, or, “The Lanier Effect”
A Conversation with Jaron Lanier [8.29.11]

How Silicon Valley fucked up the prospect for a middle class empowered by free information, via the web:

Ted [Nelson]’s idea was that there would be a universal market place where people could buy and sell bits from each other, where information would be paid for, and then you’d have a future where people could make a living and earn money from what they did with their hearts and heads in an information system, the Internet, thereby solving this problem of how to have a middle class, and how to have liberty. To expect liberty from democracy without a middle class is hopeless because without a middle class you can’t have democracy. The whole thing falls apart.

I remember when I first met Ted as a teenager, we talked about how you need to have some system like this where people are making a living with their hearts and heads, and trading online, and this was before the word “online” even existed in the way we know it today. It’s the only way to have a future of liberty.

Silicon Valley totally screwed up on this.

… instead of the personal computer model where people own their own information, and everybody can be a creator as well as a consumer, we’re moving towards this iPad, iPhone model where it’s not as adequate for media creation as the real media creation tools, and even though you can become a seller over the network, you have to pass through Apple’s gate to accept what you do, and your chances of doing well are very small, and it’s not a person to person thing, it’s a business through a hub, through Apple to others, and it doesn’t create a middle class, it creates a new kind of upper class.

Google has done something that might even be more destructive of the middle class, which is they’ve said, “Well, since Moore’s law makes computation really cheap, let’s just give away the computation, but keep the data.” And that’s a disaster.

What’s happened now is that we’ve created this new regimen where the bigger your computer servers are, the more smart mathematicians you have working for you, and the more connected you are, the more powerful and rich you are. (Unless you own an oil field, which is the old way.) I benefit from it because I’m close to the big servers, but basically wealth is measured by how close you are to one of the big servers, and the servers have started to act like private spying agencies, essentially.