January 29th, 2004

Semiformalishmaybe

Dolphin Cave

The dolphin swims .. desperate for air... it has gone too far from thesurface, it needs to breathe... but cannot go back in time.. so itdesperately forges forward, hoping... panic begins to set in.. butit's not logical, does not help. Safety is gone, no fallbacks..Another minute passes, things begin to turn red.. and some strange thoughtsenter its head... a cloud... parts of the mind wander... did you know thatdolphins can sleep half of their brain at a time? Can humans with acallosotomy do the same? And it still moves forward... and then... aglimmer.. that special shine of diffraction.. the dolphin swims upward,in its mind, inside a larger dolphin, head of a parade, perhaps...it breaks the surface... dazed, and sanity slowly returns. A pocket ofair, a dolphin cave... it's there for the dolphin's eyes... and afterits head clears and it catches it's breath.. it moves on, a newhome base, back with a safety net again.

Safety nets, the knowledge that despite our temporary ventures and theirpossibility of failure, we'll be ok and life will go on if we fail, if wejust give a signal or make a turn and return to smooth living, they'revery important, I think, for living a normal life.. when they're cut,and we're in that other mode, we might behave very differently, beingmore fragile, more fierce, a lion made of glass. We can extend our safetynet to our housepets, make them part of the smooth path we can make forourselves.. 'do or die' is something a lot of us may never experience,or remember when we do, an unpleasant sensation of urine trickling downthe leg, but it's ok .. no, it's not ok, but it doesn't matter right now.Life outside the domes.... when people step outside justice, or into adangerous area, kidnapped, or facing the harshest sides of humanity.

In my psych class today, we talked about ways of getting detailed informationon problem-solving.. particularly, detailed semi-subjective methods.One set of methods is described in a book called Protocol Analysis,suggesting having people speak their thoughts as they perform their tasks,and this is shown to eliminate most of the subjective effects for nonspatialtypes of tasks. I had an idea for another method -- subject to selectionbias and limits of knowledge of the human brain's limits, it may be possibleto ask programmers to, given a restrictive programming language designed to belike the mind, program the task in the most natural way possible. I'd need todevelop it further before I could try it, but it's interesting that methodscould be developed and tested in mostly the same way that hypotheses can..

We also end up using something called E-prime. It's a goodsystem to do some types of experiments, but it's incredibly expensive. I'dlike to make an open-source clone (gnu-Prime, maybe?).. Looking at it,the nontrivial, nonsystem things it does are syncing to video refresh ratesand possibly interacting with custom hardware. To clone, we'd want gnuPrime tobe able to run ePrime scripts... The language appears to be a BASIC variant,and I do have enough sample scripts that, even lacking a language reference,I could probably write an interpreter. I wonder if anyone's done this yet.

I recently had my memory of Mitochondria, from high-school biology, popinto my head.. Two interesting things.. first, they have their own DNA, andsecondly and consequently, they're effectively seperate but necessary symbiotesthat live in all animal cells. In most animals, including humans, duringconception, the egg cells destroy the mitochondria from the sperm cell,giving rise to an unbroken line in most species of unbroken female heredity,and thus the concept of (human and otherwise)Mitochondrial Eve.

Here's a guide to slacking. Be lazy and don't read it.Apparently, the conclusion of most inspectors is that Iraq lacked theweapons the U.S. invaded it to save people from. Of course,as it's a national pride issue, and a political face issue, BushJr is unableto just say oops, and so has been hastily been moving to other, weaker reasonsto have invaded Iraq. No, BushJr, you don't get to do that. If you call someonea liar, and give them a timeframe to turn over evidence they have something, andinvade when they don't turn up evidence that they did it, and depose them,no, you don't get to call it a victory when it turns out that they were honestall along, and the big deal you were making over them lying and having thestuff was simply wrong. It doesn't matter if he was a rotten guy -- you gaveus your reasons, and you don't get to change them later out of politicalconvenience. Let everyone remember why the war was fought, and the standoffbefore it over weapons inspections not finding anything. More than that, let'srealize what kind of weaseling is happening now. Remember too, that AlQueda is unrelated to and far more dangerous than Hussein. Iraq, I believe,never posed a threat to the United States.

Here's some LoTR silliness.It reminds me of MC Hawking.I think Hawking really must have an interesting life -- I read a bio of himat one point, but thinking about it, I think his illness, as unfortunate asit is, has made him a huge figure in the public mind, as much as his workhas done so. From his appearances on Conan to his popular books andMC Hawking, he's brought a good name to science, and is, I think, respectedby academes/intellectuals and others alike.

Oh, and just so you know, Limecat is not pleased.

I came across this interesting Christian to Muslim conversion story.It seems substantially similar in content to what a lot of people go throughwhen they're born again. Is it just the Abrahamic religions that havethis kind of tense conversions? What do Buddhist conversions look like?Wiccan? They're 'softer' religions, so I suspect their kind of conversionis shaped differently.

Semiformalishmaybe

Green thumb means Green Toes

An impression: a thick cover of snow, with a frozen top. Walking over it...The most interesting sensation... the initial crackle of the ice on topshattering, and the initial resistance, and then the feet sink into theprogressively softer snow beneath. It pleases me. It pleases me greatly.

I finally went through the trouble of upgrading my laptop to the fedorakernel just now -- I was running a very old kernel from a beta of redhat 9.1,and had since upgraded the rest of the system to Fedora 1, but was wary of thekernel upgrade because the driverloader thingy I need to make my wirelessethernet work does weird things that I don't understand, and because I couldn'tmake ACPI work. I recently remembered that I need to add "acpi=on" to thekernel boot string for the fedora kernels (Which is dumb), so I tweaked/etc/grub.conf to do that, and having verified that that worked by rebootinginto the kernel and making sure the ACPI actually was still working, I tweakeddriverloader until I made it happy. Yay.

I have what I need to start my other BLOG properly now, so within the nextfew days, Isa will have her first entry. I might need to pause later tofill some stuff in, but that's ok.

I think you'll enjoy this comic.