Noticed with cats: Affection, grooming is a trade. Having two, I can see that they do seem to (at times) enjoy each other's company, but when they do affection, it's a roughly even trade. Cat-human affection, by contrast, is assumed. When a cat grooms/kisses another cat, it's expected that in 2-3 minutes, the favour will be returned, while they're very unlikely to reciprocate unless asked by a human (and not for as long). This may be because we don't have fur - maybe it's more tiring or less pleasant to share these things with bare-skinned creatures. I wonder how life differs for hairless cats.
Been thinking more about dream and supposition virtualisation. I don't remember if I've blogged about this before (maybe I have extensively, in which case this will be boring and repetative rather than just boring) We're tempted to imagine dreams and suppositions as isolated realities, maybe we even have some protections built into our brain to allow us to do that (perhaps the mechanisms by which we forget our dreams and those that let us think "what if?" without building strong new associations are similar?). Are these theoreticals really deeply isolated from our world-outlook? To the person who asks, as part of a discussion about morality and animal rights, "Say I kill your cat in $SITUATION, ...", are we secure from thinking ill of them in the real world as a result of exploring those theoreticals? I wonder - I think the answer is (usually) grossly yes, but probably not completely yes - I have the impression that occasionally, the mental state (particularly emotional assocations) from my supposes bleeds over into my real-world world-outlook. This is easily spotted in dreams - occasionally one might wake up and feel that someone is appealing (or unappealing) where one felt differently about them before. I think it can also presumably be used in debate, particularly the less intellectual debate where emotional manipulation is the primary content. Kind of related, it's not uncommon for "low" debate to have content where one says "suppose X", go on a long exploration of the world with that supposition, and never get back to justifying or recognising the supposition as such. In theory, we should be turned off by that as much as a good coding editor with a set of mismatched parenths, but in practice we do best with external structure (argument maps, blackboards, notecards, etc) to help us navigate the woods of a prolonged discussion.
I don't know if there are aides like that to help us cope with a flawed supposition capability - given that it's a fundamental part of human intelligence, we can't simply kvetch (say, to Intel) that "your virtualisation is broken - fix it or we won't use it". Should we be careful what we imagine? We certanly can't do that in dreams....
What transition is it when we "suspend disbelief" in the TV or videogame sense? Are we more at risk of modifying our real worldview rather than our suppositional shadow of it? Also, perhaps to push the analogy too far, is suppositional knowledge copy-on-write?
Recently updated my OLPC to Fedora 11-spin, which automates something I occasionally did manually - reverting to a standard Linux desktop on the thing (replacing sugarwm and various other system components with mainline Fedora11 versions). This makes it much more useful but much less interesting; having the icons to swap between modes is very handy though. Instead of swapping immediately to Windowmaker, I played with GNOME and was impressed at how easy wireless stuff is with the default environment. I may try to figure out how to get that stuff working on my main laptop - right now whenever I want to do wireless, I do
- open a terminal
- run a script I wrote to:
- service NetworkManager stop
- attempt to disable the stupid "hardware radio kill switch" function on my keyboard (this doesn't work - I should figure out how to make it work)
- copy a static resolv.conf in and chattr it +i (some places I access the internet have bad DNS - either OpenDNS which is horrid, or DNS-based ad-serving obnoxiousness for anything starting with www, which is worse)
- Bring up the interface
- Set the requested AP to a known bad value
- I then do an iwlist to figure out the networks, and an iwconfig to manually associate
- dhclient manually to connect
- (often) use ssh to do socks proxying to a machine at home or work for a bit more privacy (I should really write scripts to reconfigure firefox and pidgin accordingly)
Been feeling pretty reclusive recently, occasional dizzy spells. Spent most of the last weekend doing work things - I really wish we didn't have this custom OSImage infrastructure in Emulab; it means if somebody really wants a new image running Fooix, it's a pain in the butt actually getting Fooix into an image (nevermind customising Fooix to work with the Emulab client components, which often requires some involved scriptitude and advanced system wizardry). Meh, I probably wouldn't be doing anything more interesting with my weekend anyhow, and the weather is moving from being unpleasantly cold to inhospitably cold, reminding me again how drafty my apartment is. Sandwich experiment is a success though, to the extent that I may save money by bringing a bagged lunch to work most days. Hmm...
I wonder if the future might involve more symbiotic bacteria than actual genetic and cybernetic manipulation of humans. I imagine it's lower hanging fruit..
It's pretty irritating that the OpenVPN developers have made it so hard to find the opensource version of their software - feels almost the same as how Adobe tends to hide the free Acrobat Reader among all the adverts for the commercial cousins on their site... worse yet because OpenVPN is actually a nice and open piece of software.
Recently did enough research to understand the "climategate" thing - despite my initial impression (that there was some serious misconduct at the institution, but climate change is (obviously) still a real and very dangerous threat to the biosphere), it looks like the most quoted emails only appear conspiratorial because some of the standard language of the field is easy to misunderstand - I would need to do more research yet to be sure, but it looks to me that this is entirely a manufactured controversy fueled by some loud and fast-talking manipulators of the sort that are running the tea party mess. I think it's a sign that America has severely neglected education for far too long that this kind of thing is happening. It may be self-serving, but I think having a very strong, comprehensive educational system, funded entirely by the state (meaning the federal government), manditory through high school and highly recommended through university, with continuing education for the rest of one's life available and expected, would be good for society and would make people better citizens. An uneducated demos makes civil society very difficult. It may lead to us being like Canada, where many highly educated people have oddly unskilled jobs (from our perspective), but this is a far better thing than having large numbers of ignorant people (particularly when they vote). If our $less_skilled_labour_person happens to have a degree in astronomy or maths, that's not really a problem - we'd like everyone in society to have some highly developed skills as well as the broad education universities provide. Eventually, it'd be nice to be able to mix jobs a bit more, having people routinely work maybe two 15-hour jobs, one skilled and one unskilled, I think, and have people generally work somewhat fewer hours - we'd have more of a structured transition between jobs, unemployment, etc, people would be more vested in the intellectual life of society (in ways beyond hobbies and volunteer work), etc.
Probably: Dinner at IG, tea at Té Café. I really should get out of town one of these weekends, maybe to go snowboarding if I can find anyone I know who'd like to come along (and ideally provide transit).