Monday, December 31, 2007

mad world...

no, not tears for fears, or donny darko - no, the sci fi story i just remembered after someone commented that URI's have feelings too - fred pohl (I think) once described a future where science was based on electron psychology....mainly so he could get away with saying how impossible it would be for someone from the 20th century to understand. of course, we are from the 21st century, where nothing is incomprehensible, and everything is accelerando...

frankly, my pohl, after string theory, I am prepared to believe in electron fenh shui, if it passes occam's razor...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

combat reductionism! [1]

bl**dy g**gle are banin on about capturing all of human thought in things called "knowl"s - obviously meant to sound like atoms of irreducible knowl-edge - but, as we all know, much really useful knowledge is holistic, and therefore not reducable to some sort of lego ball and spoke trivial model

i dunno, really!

[1] after the Marx paper, Combat Liberalism, a rant about how all liberals turn into bourgeois irrelevances)

Friday, December 14, 2007

spam from pluto

I recently gathered a large body of spam recently and sent it into the SETI@home project, and it turns out, you know what, it is from an extra-terrestrial source. Yes, Asimov was right, but not about jokes. Spam is from approximately 100 light years away - it turns out friendly aliens heard Marconi's early broadcast SOS message across the Atlantic
and realized that earthlings needed help, and so they cooked up lots of useful things like viagra and low cost loans of 25M pounds of gold from Sierra Leone, and sent off messages immediately on how to get these

the only reason that people don't get the thing they want, when they reply to spam, is that we havn't connected the internet to the Intra-Galactic Internet yet....real soon now, when the Interplanetary Internet reaches Pluto, we will be able to respond to the right email addresses and web sites - then the health and welath of the planet will be assured for the unforeseeable future.

Then you will here "this is the voice of the mysterons" coming over your skype connection loud and clear.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

computer scientist + coffee => code - for example, carbon copy offsetting...

not sure that this is quite what they meant...

anyhow, too much coffee, and bjorn scheuermannn and I came up with the idea of a carbon copy tax - well he did with soem friends, but then I thought of a use for it...

I call it carbon copy offsetting(*)

the loss of privacy, just as with the (temporary) loss of identity is not
a simple black&white matter - for example, I have a bunch of cards/devices that let me pay
electronically for various things, but only work in limited domains and have limits
on the amount of credit they can be topped up with - so while someone masqerading as me
can do some damage to me with them, it is a (roughly) known quantity

so rather than saying to the government:
"do not hold this data because you don't know how to do it"
say to the government:
"here's some escrow rules for holding this data"

i.e. say I trust a bank some level X to not reveal my bak account information -
X is likely high because the bank has reputation to lose in its primary business area.
I am likely to trust other agencies much less with the same information,
as their incentives are not setup right to take due care with the information.

So instead of taking them to task legally after they screw up and
instead of preventing them from potentially usefully doing somethign with my data,
I ask them to offset the higher risk by putting some money in escrow somewhere, that,
in the event of a leak, accrues to me

so for example, if they screwup with my bank account, I can use money to get on with
life while the bank fixes things up. if they screwup with passport or other ID, I get
some compensation without having to do anything ...

if the escrow schemes are run by 3rd parties,
then we just let the market set the prices....

its a bit like the government wanted all my keys in escrow
because they didnt trust me
but the boot is on the other foot...

[(*) originally the idea was to do with spam, hence "carbon copy"]

Monday, December 10, 2007

five degrees of seperation - make it so

so someone on facebook is trying to reach everyone else to run a "complete"
six degrees of seperation experiment (given the original experiement only counted people that answered and used postage, both of these guys are severeely misled if they think they aer doing science - ever heard of random samples, or control groups, guys?)

anyhow, my goal is one better. social scientists tell us that since time immemorial, humans have gathered in grooming groups (tribes, clades, etc) of around 150 members. But now we have technology, we could make the _degree_ that a given person can handle much much higher - already, electronic address books let us handle, remember, and outcast far more people than in olden days with long tedious letter writing by candlelight, smoke signals, or even (god forbid) sunday afternoon tea.

So I want to start tht "five degrees" of seperation movement- we will bring the world one step closer together - this will, of course, bring about prosperity and world peave and banish hunger, ignorance, and english weather along with most illnesses.

cambridge high fives

s i got given two nice books for a recent birthday - the cambridge quintet, a sort of phantasy intellectual foorball match with Haldane, Wittgenstein, Turing, CP Snow, schroedinger et al, asking and trying to answer the big old "Hard AI" question...
the other was the re-issue of the Night Climbers of Cambridge, about the boys-own derring-dos of a bunch of mad students scaling the physical rather than intellectual heights of colleges and other buildings

I wont say which was more enjoyable....

Monday, December 03, 2007

social networks of social network researchers?

everyone's talking about social nets -but we've been here before several times - the
original fancy 6 degrees of separation of milgram and axelrod and social games, and even nash. then the out-of-work theoretical physicists bored with too many string theories, started to look at the degree distribution of the AS level of the internet and the linkages in the web, and even the encounters and popularity of nodes in cellular and Wi-Fi nets. now we are trying to put it all together in some sort of network science (which has obvious bio/medical applications as well as anti-terrorism, economics, and transport planning).....

so how long is it before someone decides to do a bibliometric study of social network
papers/authors? surely we can see where the gaps are and choose those as alliances to form to probvide for more robust research groupings (mixnets by design)...

post human auto-uploading

so reading more posthuman (upload mind to swarm computer embedded at qumatum level in matter throughout solar system) speculative literature, there are appear to be a few missing considerations
1. not only do you need enough MIPS and storage to run a virtual human (and their sensorum) you need logging and backup
2. latency is going to be a major question - maybe one would replicate the virtualised person across multiple sites and run them in paralelle, and then synch them up every now and then - interesting problems with consistency (and reconciling differences) would then occur
3. one would need a "virtual human hosting" economy

indeed, many of the ideas conceived in the Xen (oh, server) work would apply equally well in this world - perhaps the Sci Fi writers who write this kindah stuff are not quite as hip as they think, even though they do cite Scottish Samba Punk bands:)
(come to think of it, the Spider SYstems folks in Bloco Vomit is a very very old story too:)

alas, alackaday, that we now see "retrospective" speculative, extropian literature:)