All posts for the month May, 2005

Open Sauce Live is a marketing blog to which Johnnie Moore contributes. Some interesting quotes on the front page …

Rupert Murdoch “What I worry about much more is News Corps ability to make the necessary cultural changes to meet the new demands of the digital native.”

The Economist “The less control a company has over its marketing message, the greater its credibility.” This latter is an example of the rational plans achieving the opposite of their intent. Which begs questions about whether any cynical deception / game theory strategies could ever counter it ?

Another quote, not really related to my agenda, just Joe Public amateur interest – “the challenge is not awareness, it’s engagement” Slick marketing may attract attention and entertain, and sow brand awareness and linked associations, but does it ever do anything at all to make a potential customer believe in (buy into) the product. The awareness is of the brand marketing values, not the product qualities, and as a human, you can tell the difference.

A review by Josh McHugh in Wired of a paper by Peter Lynds “Time and Classical and Quantum Mechanics: Indeterminacy vs. Continuity”. [via Leon] Really is just a review. Wheeler gets a namecheck, Everett doesn’t, Hawking is dismissed as “off”, but David Deutsch is the “godfather”. Typical Wired racey overview. Ominous news is “Lynds has a literary agent, Heide Lange, who also represents Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code. That’s the kind of firepower that practically assures publication – and serious marketing” … whatever the quailty … “Lynds can be Dan Brown to Hawking’s Umberto Eco”. In the review, the jury is out on the multiverse – but the conclusion is the current one – time doesn’t flow anywhere, it’s just a sequence (network?) of events.

(Review also mentions different cultural views of time flowing forwards or backwards, from or to the future, etc, treated at length by many writers, Pirsig included. Social anthropology or evolutionary psychology, again.)

Spotted somewhere earlier, and made a mental note but failed to link to [Piers at Monkey Magic - thanks] an article on the etymology of author and authority. Anyway noticed a post from Johnnie Moore remarking that we no longer look for any “authority” independent of our own view of a source.

I see he is facilitating / presenting at “Blogging – A Real Conversation” over at Knowledge for the Digital Economy.

Review in the Times by David Lodge of “What Good Are The Arts” by a certain John Carey, brought to notice by Platt over on MoQ-Discuss.

If the only tool you are prepared to use is Occam’s Razor (or Aristotle’s “analytic machete”), then you can hardly conlude anything other than art is worthless – fortunately the alternative conclusion is the knife of objective analysis is too blunt an instrument to explain anything of value anyway. (See previous blog on quality computer programming.)

[HT - Preston & West Ham remain goalless, North End getting on top after Hammers early domination.]

Just one on many interesting remarks in the blog from Grumpy Old Programmer [link from Leon by e-mail]. I can’t argue – everything is evolutionary psychlogy – is a recurring mantra.

Don’t know who GOP is / are, but I sympathise with the general thrust – objective quantification misses anything worthwhile by a mile – “vain attempts to de-skill” – architecture is more important than perfection in design.

As a result of a legacy of blogs going back four years, migrated most recently from Blogger to WordPress, my permalinks are a bit of a mess.

In the WordPress set up I simply defaulted the permalink style – an index number for individual posts and a month-year format for each archive page. That has worked great except for a significant proportion of my earlier Blogger posts, where I put the source link in the header, rather than in the body text or a separate RSS tagged link field. For those posts my permalinks no longer contain links to the post itself, but rather to the referenced source piece, which is darned fustrating.

Doesn’t seem to phase Google in the slightest though. I noticed that within two days of migrating to WordPress – same home page URL, but without any index.html and every individual post and archive re-named with a new URL, Google could hit any of my content instantly. I’m constantly amazed – even when I seem to have found a hole in the indexing, it always seems to be my memory (or spelling at the time of posting, playing tricks.) Seems Google can only index what I posted, not what I actually meant to post. Never fails to impress though.

Full text appears invariably better than imperfect structure. Weird.

[Less than 15 minutes to the play-off final KO. Come on Preston.]

Not really kept an eye on XHTML, having been an early convert to XML with standard reference libraries of Schema and Schema fragments, as the basis of sharing semantics – on the web or however. This update on XHTML2 is interesting … in the words of a comment on “[of XHTML] Simple functionality and common sense appear – at least temporarily – to have triumphed over byzantine theological imperatives.” Hmm, yes, data modelling committees, I remember those.

Interesting too, for reasons not immediately apparent, that it includes a couple of snippets from Joyce’s Ulysses, but that might explain why Jorn picked up on it.

As Jorn says, this interview of Bono on meeting the great and the good makes interesting reading. About Dubya, he says “As a man, I believed him .. I believed him. Listen, I couldn’t come from a more different place, politically, socially, geographically, but … you don’t have to be harmonious on everything — just one thing — to get along with someone.”

Lost touch with a Michael Anderson in Cambridge a couple of years ago, and keep getting cross hits from this different one. He’s involved with the Active Logic, Metacognitive Computation and Mind Research Group whose aim is “to design and implement common sense in a computer”.

Anyway the reason I captured the link, apart from an interest in the subject, is that I notice one of his forthcoming papers is co-authored with a certain Gregg Rosenberg – is that the same one to which I already have a link ? Yup it is, AI Centre at Georgia Univ, and author of “A Place For Consciousness“, which confusingly, but correctly I originally found referenced by someone whose surname was Gregg.

I’m prompted here by a cross-search, that hit on a three year old post of mine referring to Sean Gould. Like me he’s a western engineer, and of a similar age, living in the far-east, in his case Thailand, and unlike myself, it seems he’s been there continuously for several years – his domain remains “.th” anyway (he doesn’t give away too much other personal info.) I only mention that preamble, because when I first linked to him, I noted the same aspects – an “amateur academic” with interest in philosophy and evolution beyond his “professional practitioner” remit. I must have said a hundred times myself, that “evolutionary psychology” appears to the core subject in explaining the world as we can know it, and interesting to see noted here too (with my Pirsig hat on) that he can explain the secular evolution of morality.

I’ve discussed with Chris at Enlightened Caveman – the drawbacks to getting yourself taken seriously and published from outside an academic arena. Well Sean has managed to get one book published and has a second on its way, both relating to a New Model for Evolution. Amateur no more ?

A Theory of Options
The Missing Algorithm

Both look interesting – the former has some serious reviews at Amazon, the latter reads convincingly in draft, even if I can’t yet claim to understand more than 10% of it from a brief read. If I get his point, he’s suggesting genes face a trade off in quantity of replication, vs (say) a greater quantity at lower fidelity. He uses his argument to explain “cooperative strategies” that “anticipate” change and increase survival flexibility. Of course since Dawkins, intentional language has dogged understanding of true genetic behaviour, and it’s no different here – caveat metaphor – as Sean says “genes of course, are inanimate; they do not want with intent to do anything. These [metaphors and algorithms] are only rules that help model how evolution works.” Very important not to forget that, as we well know.

Didn’t notice any memetic references – but one aspect of criticism of memetic models is the general lack of hi-fidelity in the copying. I wonder.

Shows what can be done, and who knows maybe the content really is valid or even as novel and important as it seems. More additions to my reading list.

Blogged about this originally last year. For rare “out of copyright” books ditributed around the worlds major academic libraries you can see there is still an element of needing to “reward” those who’ve maintained custodianship, even if they have no publishing copyrights – but at the same time, would these books ever see widespread light of day, if an intiative like this didn’t scan them onto the web.

Perhaps a small subscription fee should be fed back to reward the institutions that allow this to happen. Provided all the actual cost is borne by the Google initiative, those institutions have no need for compensation, there would be negligible income from simply holding their copies in the current situation, would there ? It can only be win-win surely.

Puritan Dream Part III (or is it VI ?). We get the films we deserve says this review by Anthony Lane in the New Yorker. Break me a fucking give. Hold on, Kermit, run that past me one more time. Brilliant.

Thanks to Rivets for pointing it out, and for several other gems (obsessed with games and google maps at present), but this rang bells Clasification of Small Things, with a nod to E O Wilson. Reminded me I’d also just read this reference by Dana Boyd [Apophenia] to a Eureka article about categorisation being bad for your memory ?!? Must read and digest.

Good word by the way – apophenia. (Leading to a William Gibson Connection ?)
Related to synchronicity I guess.

Following recent recovery from my 10 days of blog downtime, I’ve been browsing a few dozen blogs I’ve ignored recently – The Armadillo spoof of the spoof Amarillo. [via Johnny Moore]. As Johnny says “the joy of sharing” – what a heart warming story.

Johnny also picks up on this “Tie Down All Loose Objects Before Looping the Loop” – a genuine surprise moment if you’ve not seen it. [Via Adam Curry]