All posts for the month November, 2002

Spiral Linking. Whilst investigating back-linking options the issue of exponentially increasing links that link to each other has been bugging me for several weeks. Some recursive web that might explode to consume all the web resources in some unstoppable nightmare – I’ve seen it happen on mail servers with automated replies anyway. This particular story featuring Moen’s Law of Bicycles (classic bad-money / good-money economics anyway BTW) is about breaking such a chain – (!) pun unintended.
[via Oblomovka, via Jorn – different Danny and Seb, not to be confused.]

[Basically if we set up a web page that automatically updates itself with links to pages that link to itself, and in the course of doing so it creates a link to a page with the same feature, where does the nonsense stop ? Scary. Just occurred to me too that this is the semantic web equivalent of a rumour based on some minor piece of misinformation getting out there – like a meme – and establishing an unfounded urban myth – metaphor, chaos, cellular automata – aaaaagggghhh!!!!.]

Given the number of figures and stats quoted by economists and economic commentators, it is refreshing to find one (Gavin Davies of the Beeb speaking on More or Less yesterday) who recognises that what matters is telling a good (convincing) story – irrespective of the figures. No economist worth his salt believes the numbers etc. He quoted a reference to a 1998 publication called The Rhetoric of Economics by Deirdre McCloskey. (Pretty close to Argyris’ “Budgetary Games” “Creative Accounting” organisational behaviour stuff.)

The Memory of Water. The office chat around here is last night’s Beeb programme on Homeopathy, and several mentions of the 1984 Jacques Benvensita theory on “The Memory of Water” . The dilution levels at finite numbers of molecules of active agents per unit volume of solution makes it seem preposterous that a sample further diluted can have any amount of the active ingredient present in a physical sense. All sorts of issues with truly controllable, repeatable test conditions to prove homeopathic benefit, not to mention timescale and overlap issues with all the previous “contaminants” any part of any body of water may have been in contact since …. well, coming into existence / condensing from vapour ?

In any other light I’d have to count myself as a total sceptic on homeopathy …… however could the homeopathic property be some quantum non-locality effect of the contaminant and an emergent macro property chaotically determined by the micro component ? Perhaps worth a brief contemplation and then again perhaps not.[Homourous homeopathic antidote here.] [Many a true word here.]

…. in the BBC “Great Britons” poll. Well I’d like to have voted for an original genius thinker with an important legacy, given my current line of research, but I have to say the Brits in the top 100, all seemed a bit “derivative” of others. Our “revolution” never quite went the way of the French or the US. Is it part of the British Disease that I can’t quite hold Newton and Darwin to be the creators of important new ideas, however Newtonian and Darwinian the world Brunel operated in ?

Zen River Crossing. Nice one from Gimbo. I voted for Brunel (came 2nd) WTF ? Anyway Zen, bridges and Klogging, I couldn’t resist this one. [Quote] Interesting… I’d always thought of the Second Severn Crossing as just another suspension bridge (like the first one), but it is in fact a “cable-stayed” bridge. I think I always had a dull realisation in my mind that it was unlike other suspension bridges I’d crossed, but in that zen-like state we all drive in, I never really thought hard enough about it. *shrug* [Unquote] – Driving in a zen-like state – another one right from my “many a true word” thread.