All posts for the month March, 2004

Butterflies and Wheels [via Ray Girvan] Butterflies and Wheels is “fighting fashionable nonsense” (particularly pseudoscience driven by political ideology). There’s currently a dig at cultural relativism and at the charge of elitism (is it elitist to strive for excellence, and why does no-one ever cry “elitism” over those given special treatment to foster their sporting talent?). Includes collection of rhetorical argumentation moves by Julian Baggini – fascinating.

This and the previous three posts blogged from the hotel broadband link in Aotou, People’s Republic of China. Like last time in January, the travel has given me reading time, and the hotel evenings blogging time. Fourth visit, so the local place names are beginning to stick – Dayawan, Anhui, Aotou, Danshui, Huiyang, Huizhou. Also love the way the main routes are named after the first (of two) syllables of the main place names at either end – Shenzen [“ShenShan”] Shantou. Neat.

Difference this time is I have a cold – throat, head, nose, the lot – bad news in this Guangdong / Hong-Kong region. Practically lost my (oral) voice, so I stayed in the hotel yesterday and am now cooped up here for the weekend. Still, it’s an ill wind.

Synthesia. A blog by Watford-based Julian Elve, not one I’d seen before. Looks interesting contentwise and he seems to have got himself organised catogory-wise using MT. Must return to that particular task soon.

Has has a thread on Action Research (a la Argyris ?) which I must take a look at, and another on Pattern Synchronicity – intriguing.

Julian also links to TheObvious blog by Euan Semple (also Watford-based). Another interesting set of links and posts.

Also just read Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point, which by comparison with Capra is a crushing bore. Yes, certain small things can have disproportionate non-intuitive effects. Yes ideas spread like contagion. Yes it helps if the idea “sticks” and is transmitted to the next generation of communicators. Yes communication is more than words. Zero-tolerance. Look after the pennies. Intentions matter. Yes it helps if the environment (context) supports the idea. No, really ?

This is memetics – just ask Darwin, Dawkins and Blackmore. (None of whom get even a reference). The fact that Tipping Point is an acclaimed best-seller proves its own point. Sh*t sticks.

I exaggerate of course. It’s not wrong, just unoriginal packaged as groundbreaking – the one thing sure fire to wind me up. Athropology is what humans do. Whether its the fashion business or business fashions. The rules of 7 and 150. Crossing Geoffery Moore’s chasm. It’s 50 / 50 in the genes and in social peer behaviour, and practically nil in rationalised messages, rules and intents of parents, educators, managers, directors, authorities or governments. It’s game theory in practice, and we’re all part of the same athropological game of life. I’d have quoted Pinker’s analysis, Gladwell quotes Judith Harris directly.

Life is the name of the game, and I want to play the game with you (or not as the case may be) – after Brucie.

No denying the evidence of Tipping Point’s success proves its own message. Oh well. Nothing new under the sun – again. Rats!

1976 book by Frijtof Capra (with 1992 updated afterword). Written slightly after, but published slightly before, Michael Talbot’s Mysticism and the New Physics (Blogged earlier and originally read even earlier.)

Excellent books both of them. Capra is a best-seller which has a surprisingly detailed description of state-of-the-art particle physics, together with a summary of the parallels with many threads of Buddhist, Hindu and Tao world views. Compelling parallels even if it remains humanly hard to conceive as to how the sub-atomic scale can really relate to the human scale in anything but metaphors. Like Talbot, the homing in on Holography / Holochory as the technology which brings the same “whole is in the part” quantum information view into the real world. Like many writers in this space (Northrop, Talbot, Dupuy, Pinker), Capra sees world-scale significance this “new” philosophy being overlooked, and greater expression of knowledge in art and literature than in classical science. Human conscioussness must indeed be a part of any true model of the real world and must therefore be linked to quantum information effects.

Henry Stapp and Geoffery Chew get many mentions, along with the heroic Heisenberg and Einstein. (Brian Josephson, my reference for Stapp, does not.) Many references in common with Northrop too, including Mexican(?) Carlos Castaneda / Don Juan.

On the subjects of modern physics, eastern philosphies and the ancient links with pre-Socratic greek philosophy this book is practically a reference work in its own right, before one considers the enormity of the message in the parallels.

Must look out for Turning Point and Uncommon Sense.

Had several people make comments recently about Google not being what it was, about how search results are swamped with disguised commercially sponsored links ?

Can’t see it myself. As a blogger, I personally find Google amazing in the speed and depth of indexing, including my own pages – as if by magic, with no commercial input from myself. As far as I can see the sponsored links are pretty obviously advertised as such, so I don’t see these as a big blockage. What do you think ?

Spiral Model for Knowledge Acquisition. “Spiral” metaphor contrasted with “Waterfall” metaphor. Iterative vs Sequential. Right first time is wrong (sets wrong expectation), lots of parallel working and recycle is better. (IBM “Rational” approach for managing S/W development uses this concept if not the same metaphor.) No brainer, common sense. [Here in a psychology context too.] [In knowledge context it comes from Nonaka and Takeuchi 1995]
[Interesting search hit on my blog.]