All posts for the month August, 2005

Microsoft that is hard on the heels of Google following in Skype’s footsteps. By acquisition of Teleo in this case. No mention of Skype in the news story.

Messenger has all the components in place already I guess. VoiP has been easy for ages. All Skype brought to it was Kazaa’s P2P networking, and a neat user application.

Interesting too, this Creative / Apple iPod “Zen” patent story. I told you so I guess. The main innovation with iPod MP3’s was not the compact portable storage format, but the really neat UI. I’ve never yet owned one, but I’m always impressed with it when I see people using it. Good to see they patented the right thing.

Is the working title of Sam Norton’s book. Sam provided a link to the drafts of chapters 1 and 2, and I’ve written a commentary so far, and posted it here.

I guess the reason Sam suggested I read it is that is covers a lot of material I’ve blogged about. I remember in a previous exchange with Sam in the “Eudaimonia” thread I concluded by saying we’d be better off starting with a blank sheet of paper than with analysis of lots of existing work we don’t actually agree with, and risk talking past each other attributing quotes as assertions. I have the same unsatisfying view of this draft and review so far – but it’s full of the key issues – so lots to build on. Just need to find those static latches.

I’ve no wish to clutter up Sam’s blog with my atheist comments, so I’ve brought the link here to make my comment.

OK OK you win, I have to read Wittgenstein :-)

Sam Says [Quote] In Remarks on Colour, §317, Wittgenstein writes: “When someone who believes in God looks around him and asks ‘Where did everything that I see come from?’ ‘Where did everything come from?’, he is not asking for a (causal) explanation; and the point of his question is that it is the expression of such a request. Thus, he is expressing an attitude towards all explanations.”

In other words: this is meaningful. Asking the question is an expression of its meaning, not a query about the meaning. [Unquote]

I would point out that Wittgenstein’s point is applied to “someone who believes in God”. However I doubt the statement is true even with that caveat. Yes asking a question has some value in it’s own right – for some of the askings it may indeed be the primary, only value – rhetorical questions for a start. But it can scarcely be the only reason anyone would ask that question.

Wittgenstein’s quote actually contains many other useful points, but accepting that causality itself is somewhat mysterious, there are also pragmatic reasons to ask such a question and apply an understanding of any possible causal answers to decisions affecting the future. So yet again, I buy god-like analogies for the wonder of the workings of the world, but cannot buy any causal involvement (in any intentional, purposeful intellegent entity sense) beyond “natural causes”.

Good news is that “explanation” is the focus again.

Met two MoQ’ers last week, Horse (custodian of MoQ-Discuss) and Sam (Elizaphanian Blog).

With Horse, discussed the state and politics of MoQ discuss, (post the MoQ Conference and the “Loggins” hoax), and mainly his plans to update the technology to allow individuals to manage their subscription profiles, and work with multiple forum areas for different discussion topic areas.

With Sam, covered much more philosophical ground, whilst at a great rustic sea-food shack in West Mersea, where we broke bread and drank wine. Apart from discovering my second-hand reading of Wittgenstein is pretty close to Sam’s first-hand reading, the main areas of interest were;

The nebulous “experience” aspect of Pirsig’s Quality, which I attribute to an incomplete model of consciousness;

The causal, intentional god-like analogies to Dynamic Quality, which I currently reject in favour of a more arbitrary view of dynamism (as per neo-Darwinian evolution); and

Better descriptions of the intellectual level of the MoQ, which we both see as being closer to Bo’s “SOLAQI” view as described, and therefore incomplete – SOM is simply the lowest layer of the intellectual level, the first (or second) kind of reasoning to have evolved (so far).

Link to a movie I’d not heard of, picked up from Ronelle in the Sam Harris “Politics of Ignorance” discussion thread. (In fact I see Sam Harris has some commercial involvement in the film, and Dawkins provides a commentary too. Can’t see what the existence or otherwise of Jesus has to do with it, mind – ah I see, it’s the mythos again, personification of the myth, see the final comment below.)

Ronelle says

President Bush, I fear, may intentionally be kicking off a zero-sum game of “Armageddon” and the “Rapture.” I don’t believe in this but he certainly does.

Not usually my kinda conspiracy theory stuff either, but did pick up on that Bush & Armageddon thread a couple of years ago.

Ronelle also quotes

As Carl Sagan pointed out in The Demon Haunted World it is more dangerous today for society to tolerate and promote any pseudo-scientific belief – like ID and Creationism – than any previous time in history. Those fanatics had no A Bomb back then and the unimaginable eradication of human life on earth could not have been accomplished with spears, or even, cannons and guns. Our technology has advanced way beyond our capability to let go of childish mythology which is the basis of all religion. Irrational thinking of how the world really operates will probably be the downfall of our technologically advanced society.

Too true. I’m not sure it’s the weapons that make it the urgent issue “of our times”, but the ubiquity of information technology, that allows ignorance to spread like wild-fire. It’s not the “childish mythology” but the religion that’s the problem, the mythos is merely the basis for misuse by the latter.

Why would Google want to get into this messaging / telephony / VOIP space ?

I’m a big fan of Google as you know, but puzzled by Google’s recent round of financing – putting up more shares for sale, not just to finance development but also operating expenses the story read. So despite being the world’s largest media company, are they just one huge bubble ? Careful guys, we need you.

Their targetted, sponsored advertising in the low graphic search pages and even more so in the G-Mail pages are quite spectacular, spooky even, in how focussed they are, but I have to say they tend to say more to me about the people prepared to pay to promote their wares, than the value in the wares offered. With a lot of “philosophical” subject matter in my e-mails, it’s interesting to see how many paid ads there are out there for people SELLING “intelligent designer creationist” crap and the like.

As I was in the Opposite Aphorisms post below … here is a link to Steve Johnson’s latest book “Why Everything Bad Is Good For You“, linked from Euan Semple’s blog.

I assume this is the same Steve Johnson as in Lakoff and Johnson ?
Looks worth a look. Looks like pure Dynamic Quality.
Almost all change produces some good – is this any more than every cloud has a silver lining ?

Thanks to Euan also for this link. Like him I say “You’re not bloody kidding”. I’ve posted several times in the past month about the poisonous meme that is “intelligent designer creationism”. It needs to be stopped, by force of intellect over culture. I like the Trojan Horse metaphor, also picked-up by one of the commenters. Interestingly Barbara Tuchman uses it as the archetype for governmental cock-ups everywhere. Where is the Mythos when you need it ?