Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Drumbeat of recess

I woke up this morning with a splitting headache, and was ratherlate to work because I waited for it to die down before I left thehouse. It might just be another of my regular headaches, but it doesseem stronger.. maybe it's my body's reaction to absorbing so muchcigarette smoke after so long a hiatus (Outland is *very* smoky)..It actually was kind of disgusting -- only after this morning's shower(yesterday's didn't do it) am I free of the cigarette smell.. Ugh.I don't think outland would be as cool of a place if they bannedalcohol and cigarettes.. lots of the interesting people wouldn't show up,and the nonclear air does add to the ambiance of the place, but it stillputs my system through a lot of unfun stuff when I'm there (I rememberoccasionally needing to go outside and let my eyes tear up to expel thepainful smoking residue from them, back when I went there often)..Actually, it might just be my body's reaction to driving 7 hours overthe weekend..

A conversation with someone I know online floats to mind -- he was verykeen to apply the 'insane' word to Islamists, and I was irritated thathe couldn't put himself in their head, and adopt their values just fora second.. if he did, he'd see they're not insane, they're just verydifferent, in ways that lead to irreconcilable differences. If you can'tput yourself into your opponent's head, you really arn't making much ofan effort at being a good political activist. I think what it is is that peoplehave trouble putting themselves above their opponent if they understand them,and without claiming the moral high ground, they're reluctant to act.

I recently had an interesting conversation with a psychologist who happened bymy tabble at Coffee Tree -- we talked about a number of topics in psychology,finally settling on free will, where we went back and forth for quite sometime. I like taking a defensive role in arguments, largely because I find thatpeople generally have pretty common attacks, and because of my exposure toa wide swathe of the sciences, I can generally field all their attacks. Itreally does help to be well-read on a lot of the sciences, and contrary towhat a former mentor in AI suggested to me, I do think that Computer Sciencedoes give very practical insight into deep, layered abstractions that is notas accessible elsewhere. I think a dual-major in psychology and CS really isprobably the best predecessor of graduate studies in Cog Sci, as well asdefense of science against the ignorant and the religious.

Oh, this paper is really interesting -- it suggests that, by abusing networks inclever, innocuous ways, specially-designed computers might be able to keepstate on other computers because of the way internet standards are written.It suggests a few decently clever ways to do so, although I can think of afew that are much more clever.. Still, clever as it is, it's a very bad idea,and to be discouraged as strongly as possible. If I ever noticed this, I wouldmake tweaks to the software running on systems I control to intentionallypervert the data.. the thing is, this is exactly the same thing as a callto notice that the commons are open, so why not take as much as possible..If everyone did this, all it would do is slow down the net and overburdenservers everywhere, and those who are abusing would be equally abused.To quote that old Rowan and Martin's laugh-in show,"Very Interesting, but Stupid" ...

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I have two things left to write about, but I want to get back to work. Break'sover -- maybe later.

Tags: philosophy, politics, tech

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