Sunday, October 23, 2005

Fallacious derivation of self worth

All too often in this culture, and perhaps others, self worth is defined and derived from externally donated sources. It seems to be defined in terms of skills, position and status, personal characteristics and social roles. This strategy is immediately effective until circumstances change that alter those skills, status, or perceived characteristics. For example, changing jobs that make ones skills obsolete, changing friends that see one in a different way. Under these circumstances, the source of self worth evaporates setting in motion a cyclical problem where one is having to replace these previously prided characteristics with new ones at a time when they are most difficult to appreciate. This process is a fool's errand. Self worth, if the term is to mean anything, is derived from being. One has value because one is. This forms a foundation that is impervious to the ephemeral tide of circumstance.
And yet, in the often tempestuous din of identity formation, the bulk of identity is derived externally for us guided by accident and flimsy intention. Throughout this process, the currency of fallacious value is the validation we receive externally. Yet validation, though apparently necessary, does not fully penetrate the mire of character, achievement, skill, and all the other imagined extensions of being. Because it never fully penetrates to the core of being, no amount of validation ever seems to be enough and thus a never ending pursuit of validation serves only to stymie. Effort, futility, false presentation and other chasing of the wind thus dominate the human pathology.
Worth derived from being rather than the effects of being, is one the penetrates from the inside out. It is stormproof, it is not bound to changing circumstances and fickle external reflections. It forms the foundation from which positive and fruitful evaluation can take place. It forms a sanctum of peace and stability in which one can recharge for a minute before returning once more to the brink. When worth is derrived from being, it is divorced from individuality and the ego that often tempts false worth. But the effects of being are flashy and easily seen while being itself is so omnipresent it is practically hidden from one's attenuation. To hack through the lianas of the obvious attributes of self to finally arrive at the unadulterated self is the path towards freedom from doubt.

Monday, October 17, 2005


I will be returning to Saskatoon on wed oct 19. And so I am searching for a place to live again (I renew my objections to this loathesome task!) Alas, the price one pays for being adventurous! Oh well, it has been a lovely couple of months here but the end has amicably come. "Not too soon for me to see the stars of home " said a Romulan Captain once. You all shall see me when you least suspect, I expect.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

see two posts ago for explanation

OK I'm getting too carried away with this but I'm tired and laughing myself into hysterics. From the tangled mind of google, prognosticator and greatest life consellor among the wise, here is what Tracy needs:

Tracy needs to withdraw VA bid
Tracy needs wins to get back in title battle
Tracy needs to make the most of these cycles
Tracy needs to step off the soapbox and tell stories
Tracy needs the Dodgers
Tracy needs to be gently coaxed through the process
Tracy needs affordable housing
Tracy needs an additional water supply to meet water demand
Tracy needs to be taken to task a little
Tracy needs to testify against Big Boy.

There you have it miss Thompson. Its a big list but I'm confidant you can handle it. I would talk to a lawyer before you testify against "Big Boy" though.

oh, blessed google! How I cut & paste you with joy

well, I just had to find out what Aja needs, so here it is curtesy google:

AJA needs to be forced by ProIO Control Panel
Aja needs to go to town on your nerves.
AJA needs educational policies.
Aja needs to stop whining about being stronger and writing songs
Aja needs a serious reality check
Aja needs to start school somewhere
Aja needs you

dave needs

I was reading a blog (smutzie or something(linked from starcat)) and they encouraged me to google my name needs and then cut and paste all the matching results, so here it is. Life has direction! As it turns out, I need:

Dave needs plywood
Dave needs some advice
Dave needs a vacation
Dave needs a kidney
Dave needs to work one of these into his live appearances
Dave needs to get back into form and get his hair cut
Dave needs to understand the seriousness of his position

Not sure what to do with the plywood.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

scarce resources

I've been reading LOTR to Aja at night. We're almost finished book one and its been very enjoyable although it is surprisingly exhausting. Its difficult for me to actually force myself to pronounce all the proper nouns that when I'm reading in my head, I just look at as a block or symbol more than I actually sound out the name and "say" it in my head. I guess I discovered that I'm a lazy reader, or perhaps this is normal, I'm not sure. Anyway, I've also noticed that some of the good dialogue is ten times better when spoken aloud with the gusto it deserves. I'm not really doing seperate voices but I'm trying to say the dialogue with the correct emotion which takes some doing on the fly. If I recall, a few regular readers have also read the trilogy aloud. I would be interested in their recollections of the process.
Fantastic turn of fate: one of Aja's friends has to get ride of her roomate or her cat (one is allergic to the other) and based on contribution towards rent, the cat is now installed in our home until the end of the school year. Its really wonderfull as I absolutly adore cats. He's quite pretty, older and docile and has already quared off with me in a battle for my computer chair. Indeed life is a continuous struggle for scarce resources.

Friday, October 07, 2005

semantic imortality

(I) was thinking that nobody dies anymore. They die of something. Over the last hundred years or so, we have catelogued most every kind of death into a nomenclature of problems and diseases. So what? Well, I wonder what this has done to the way we think about death. Of course we hardly do that anyway but listen: Once upon a time people died of old age (and probably a colourful variety of fancifully named maladies) which perhaps has an air of naturalness to it (whatever that means and feel free to remove the value from this valur-laden term.) Because we generally know why people die, death is transforming from a vague naturalness to a problem-which as we know, problems can be fixed, or by extension problems should be fixed. I'm not advocating anything here I'm just observing. Of course most everyone would chose to be cured of what ails them if they can, I just think there may be an emerging cultural meme that is subtly altering our most abstract thoughts about the endtime. Which led me to wonder that if someday cancer, heart disease, and say a couple other biggies are no longer a problem, will we still without question throw the vast resources of heath care research and spending at whatever kills us now that cancer and heart disease are not dropping us? Also I wonder if we have somehow vaguely substituted the inevitability of death with the glimmering hope that a 'problem' offers. In other words, the mighty sword of modernity may not stave off death but its chances are better against a disease. Are we substituting the inevitable for something less inevitable? Okay, I'm rambling around something here and as always, I'm not sure what it is yet because I don't feel particularly eloquent at the moment. Anyway, another not-really thought out idea, but its what I'm thinking about at the moment.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

complexity & non-synthetic models Part II:peculiarities

(I) couldn't sleep last night. I was tossing and turning as I considered my answer of 200Gb/cm3. Its a real curiosity that the scale of the units actually determines the answer sort of. This is kind of unique. If one is determining a density, the mass per volume ratio will always be the same regardless if one uses say cm3 or m3 because the mass will change accordingly. However in this calcaulation, this is not the case. This is owing to the peculiar fact that reality has different ratios of surface area to volume. The larger the volume, the smaller the ratio of surface area to volume. This ratio follows a parabolic curve where at say km3 its a small ratio getting larger and then smaller again at the mm3 scale. This is due of course to the more non-stuff that a large(km3) volume contains. The question that arises is: does the non-stuff in reality contain information?
For example, let us suppose that we hold a coffee cup at a distance D such that it occupies 10 degrees of vision. We can calculate the information that is contained by the cup but if we stray to say 11 degrees, we are looking through nothing but eventually our eye falls on something behind the nothing, say like the wall in front of me. In this sense, there is no such thing as nothing as far as the visual field is concerned. Does this mean that one no longer need concern themselves with scale issues of surface area to volume ratios? I think the answer is yes because what emerges here is the peculiar notion that the information in the visual field is actually a 2 dimensional field that is wrapped around a 3 dimensional matrix. Put another way, it is a 2 dimensional construct that folds in upon itself. But says the mathematician, you still have the same problem, clearly cm3 of a flat table top folds less than say a m3 of say jungle where the surface area to volume is much higher.
This problem can be encapsulated by T (time.) At any discrete value of T, the visual field can be considered entirely 2 dimensional like a picture. Remembering the coffee cup where essentially there was no discrimination between stuff and non stuff. At discrete values of T, the visual field's unfolded componants contribute no information. Our brain interprets this data into a 3d representation. During interaction (interaction implies T1,T2,Tn) with stuff, we experience the 2d visual field folded in on itself but that is while T= T1+Tn. The value of 200 GB/cm3 then is only valid at the cm3 scale. If we wish to make a calculation that is valid at any scale, we must change cm3 to cm2 and then multiply by T. In this way one is capturing the 2d world streatched over the 3d matrix. Additionaly, T respresents minimum disernable quanta of time which is problematic if not outright existentially impossible. However, its also a potential since visual data at T1 may in fact be the same as T2 so we need not tie ourselves in a knot about time but instead use as a value the saccade rate. Putting all this together, we have now closely translated how the 2d visual field unfolds itself from its pan dimensional state without the problem of a high variance in surface to volume ratios. I was thinking of this in bed so I havn't done the math yet to see what this new answer is. I hope this silly thought experiment and this silly update is good for a laugh if not a strange idea or two.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

complexity & non-synthetic modeling

(I've) been thinking much about eukaryotic evolution lately. Discovered that I left among the many important titles, Dan Dennett and so I shelled out for another copy and re-read it. This time around I found myself nearly paralyzed with the awe of representation. A common sight around the house was me in a rocking chair, book in lap staring out into space trying to come to terms with my own representation of the world. It looks so real and its hard not to think that your looking through the 'thickness of reality' as opposed to an elaborate and mysterious series of internal? representations of near perfect correspondence (from a subjective, utility perspective). Anyway, this attempt of internal phenomenology produced an overload of awe which at least has born some interesting thought fruit.
For example: I naturally began to be awed at the evolution of our brain and I got thinking that (a la Braitenberg) determining operations from behaviors is really hard and I wondered what kind of computing power would be required to make a synthetic evolutionary model? I knew that it would require a computing scale far beyond that which is attainable for decades. I wondered though how much information would have to be available to make such a model work? Which led me to the most curious question:
How much information does reality contain? in say GB/cm3 (on average)
I worked on this problem for the better part of a week and wrote about 15 pages of thought-clarifying drivel in attempting to solve the problem. Just sorting out the assumptions is quite trying. Of the many interesting sub-problems that emerged from this was the following. Lets say that we're using par example: a cup of coffee. If we try to describe the visual information and reduce it to bits we discover that volume is irrelevant since we don't experience the inside of anything (except if we pick it up in which case its density contributes to the possible experiences we can have but that forms part of the interactive data) As far as the visual world goes, all the information is a summation of surface areas. How curious that reality is 3D, we represent it 3D, and yet the information that describes it is 2D! I don't know why this intrigues me so much but it does. Anyway, after calculating the info inherent to any object plus the object -generated info (ex in different light the object appears different and therefore has info generating capacity), also considering the resolution of the eye(.12mm/.10 degree) determines the scale surface area resolution, plus the colour and hue maximum discriminations, also considering contributing information in tactile interaction both directly (temperature conductivity, texture) and indirectly, plus a bunch of other stuff, I have arrived at the following:

Reality contains on average, 200 GB/cm3 of information(as it pertains to potential human interaction, excluding man-made artifacts, at a given time T)

(what a truly absurd but cool statement!!)

Those wishing to challenge this figure are most welcome to present their own calculations and/or inquire about the methodology not included for brevity.

So the upshot of this was that if we take this number and multiply it by the size of the habitable environment and times the population of eukaryotic life over the 50 million iterations of its evolutionary history, and you've got a number that is bigger than the number of particles in the known universe. Which means that as a computational science problem, an accurate and complete model of eukaryotic evolution is impossible (of course.) Which made me appreciate the 'computing power of nature.' If we imagine evolutionary history as a design solution to a massive computational science problem, we see that problems with information scale impossibilities can be solved by using the massive information contained in things rather than the paltry information generated by virtual things. Very Douglas Adam-sish. I was then just beginning to imagine how one could take advantage of the information and complexity scale advantages of having a computer interact with hunks of stuff when the limit of the thinkable had been breached and my head shut off.

Well, that's what I was thinking about in the Penny last week. Hope anyone who waded through this will have an interesting thought or two about something or other.