Wire & String 27.11.2013
It is exactly as though the old, inefficient breed of
humanity had fallen asleep on an anthill and found,
when the new breed awoke,
that the ants had crept into its bloodstream,
making it move frantically ever since,
unable to shake off that rotten feeling
of antlike industry.
- Robert Musil, The Man Without Qualities
Some community favorites:
Why do we feel guilty for not working?
How do we shake off our antlike industry? What would you have in your bloodstream?
What are you avoiding?
When was the last time you were truly still?
What is behind the white slit?
Take Time - The Books
Wire & String 7.11.2013
I must study politics and war, that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain. - John Adams, Letter to Abigail Adams 12 May 1780
During certain hours, at certain years in our lives, we see
ourselves as remnants from the earlier generations that
were destroyed. So our job becomes to keep peace with
enemy camps, eliminate the chaos at the end of Jacobean
tragedies, and with ‘the mercy of distance’ write the
histories. - Michael Ondaatje
Jacob Peter Gowy, Daedalus and Icarus, 1636-7
Andy Warhol’s screen tests (family portraits)
Lou Reed’s last tweet was a photo:
Pa Pa Loves Baby>
Wire & String 24.10.2013
And every science, when we understand it not as an instrument of power and domination but as an adventure in knowledge pursued by our species across the ages, is nothing but this harmony, more or less vast, more or less rich from one epoch to another, which unfurls over the course of generations and centuries, by the delicate counterpoint of all the themes appearing in turn, as if summoned from the void.
The Regulated Internet: or How I learned to start worrying and distrust the internet
Seeking both like-minded concern and critical disagreement about the following issue(s):
If Lavabit lost its appeal to the F.I.S.C.R., and still refused to cooperate, it would run a serious risk of being found in contempt; that’s how most courts punish those who disobey its orders. The FISA court is no different. According to the court’s rules of procedure, a party may be held in contempt for defying its orders. The secret court may consider many punishments—secret fines for each day of noncompliance, or even secret jail time for executives. The idea behind civil contempt is that “you hold the key to your own cell.” If you comply, the punishment stops. But hold out long enough and your contempt may be criminal, and your compliance will not end the jail sentence or displace the fine.
- How are you responding to these policies?
- What groups do you know of that are responding?
- Who is organizing around this issue, how could one even protest?
- What legal arguments can be deployed, on either side?
- What will cut off the development of the surveillance-industrial complex?
Terror of the noonstruck by day,
cryptogam of each nightly bridable. But, to
speak broken heaventalk, is he? Who is he?
This Article has proposed that the Court follow the lead of Internet users themselves and choose to treat information disclosed only to automated systems as private, as no different from personal items stored in a locker, or kept in a rented apartment.
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world
Is lighten’d:—that serene and blessed mood,
In which the affections gently lead us on,
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame,
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul:
While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things.”
On the back part of the step, toward the right, I saw a small iridescent sphere of almost unbearable brilliance. At first I thought it was revolving; then I realised that this movement was an illusion created by the dizzying world it bounded. The Aleph’s diameter was probably little more than an inch, but all space was there, actual and undiminished. Each thing (a mirror’s face, let us say) was infinite things, since I distinctly saw it from every angle of the universe. I saw the teeming sea; I saw daybreak and nightfall; I saw the multitudes of America; I saw a silvery cobweb in the center of a black pyramid; I saw a splintered labyrinth (it was London); I saw, close up, unending eyes watching themselves in me as in a mirror; I saw all the mirrors on earth and none of them reflected me; I saw in a backyard of Soler Street the same tiles that thirty years before I’d seen in the entrance of a house in Fray Bentos; I saw bunches of grapes, snow, tobacco, lodes of metal, steam…
I wanted to present a version of what The Aleph might look like now, designed as an endless stream of descriptive passages pulled from the web.
Random polygons evolved with facial recognition software. Do it live at Pareidoloop.
We (algorithms) have contextual time complexity.
A publication system needs to provide two basic functions
“The current system of publishing in the biological sciences is notable for its redundancy, inconsistency, sluggishness, and opacity. These problems persist, and grow worse, because the peer review system remains focused on deciding whether or not to publish a paper in a particular journal rather than providing (1) a high-quality evaluation of scientific merit and (2) the information necessary to organize and prioritize the literature. Online access has eliminated the need for journals as distribution channels, so their primary current role is to provide authors with feedback prior to publication and a quick way for other researchers to prioritize the literature based on which journal publishes a paper. However, the feedback provided by reviewers is not focused on scientific merit but on whether to publish in a particular journal, which is generally of little use to authors and an opaque and noisy basis for prioritizing the literature. Further, each submission of a rejected manuscript requires the entire machinery of peer review to creak to life anew. This redundancy incurs delays, inconsistency, and increased burdens on authors, reviewers, and editors. Finally, reviewers have no real incentive to review well or quickly, as their performance is not tracked, let alone rewarded. One of the consistent suggestions for modifying the current peer review system is the introduction of some form of post-publication reception, and the development of a marketplace where the priority of a paper rises and falls based on its reception from the field (see other articles in this special topics). However, the information that accompanies a paper into the marketplace is as important as the marketplace’s mechanics. Beyond suggestions concerning the mechanisms of reception, we propose an update to the system of publishing in which publication is guaranteed, but pre-publication peer review still occurs, giving the authors the opportunity to revise their work following a mini pre-reception from the field. This step also provides a consistent set of rankings and reviews to the marketplace, allowing for early prioritization and stabilizing its early dynamics. We further propose to improve the general quality of reviewing by providing tangible rewards to those who do it well.”
In future news, “Restless thoughts, like a deadly swarm of hornets arm’d, no sooner found alone, but rush upon me thronging.”
Quick update from Penn GRASP Laboratory.
Results of a category theory exam:
Mathematics is not the rigid and rigidity-producing schema that the layman thinks it is; rather, in it we find ourselves at that meeting point of constraint and freedom that is the very essence of human nature.
- Hermann Weyl
A topos theory for the foundations of physics. (Part 1) - Doering and Isham
A mixed (superpositioned?) state of buzz among those working in quantum foundations over a new paper by Matt Pusey asserting that quantum states are real physical objects and not simply statistical probability distributions. Matt Leifer does a balanced contextualization and explication. A giddy article in nature news and David Wallace support and summarize.
This type of reasoning, seeking to develop experimental tests to rule out certain interpretations (and accompanying metaphysical baggage) of quantum theory, follows in the footsteps of the famous Bell’s Theorem, which rules out certain kinds of hidden-variable theories. This new paper by Pusey, et. al. asserts that what is commonly referred to as the Copenhagen interpretation (i.e. quantum mechanics is merely a way of describing the things in our head that we know about the system) is untenable.
Here are some more rapidly developing encapsulations and generalizations to the original Pusey, et. al. result. Grain of salt reminder: terms like “physically real”, “physical property”, and “statistical property” need to be read carefully within how they are defined (or not well defined) within each paper. On-going discussion at shetl-optimized.