"But that's ridiculous."
"Oh, you know."
"I don't know why you put up with it."
"Well, he has been pretty successful, after all."
"Come on, that's --"
"I know, it might have nothing to do with it.
Maybe he's succeeded for some other reason entirely.
But I'm willing to play along for awhile and see."
"You're way too easy."
"It's one of the great tragedies of human existence."
"Each of us lives for such a short time, we don't really
get to try out very many different things.
And except in a few tiny cases we're not very good at
passing our experiences along.
So we only make progress once in a long while, when
someone finally says 'Hey, you know, a million people
have tried this for a century now and it hasn't worked;
maybe we should stop doing it'."
"Yeah, and when we finally do say that and stop, things have
changed enough that if we'd only kept doing it a little
longer, it might finally have worked."
"And I thought I was being depressing..."
(We have a new washing machine now and it works just fine;
thanks for asking!)
I am so tired!
Time is so full of things.
The washing machine broke
and there was water all over the floor
(apparently some big part had rusted
through as it was like fifteen years old), and the guy said
that we'd probably be best off buying a new one, and today
they delivered the new one and took the old one away, but
the new one leaks and when I tipped it up and looked underneath
it looks like there's this big plastic tub inside, and the
tub has a crack in it, and there's water all over
(At least it's plastic and can't rust, har har har!)
And by the time we discovered this they were closed,
so we left a message on their answering machine but
who knows when they'll get around to calling back,
much less doing anything about it,
so the average dirtiness of our clothes is increasing
(and the basement floor is pretty wet, and the
vast mounds of unknown objects stacked everywhere
in the basement are to some extent wet, and
that might turn out years from now to have
been a bad thing, say).
And we're going to have to make sure someone's
around to let them in when they come to do
something about it.
(Oh and arg come to think of it the big
wet/dry vac is still sitting down there
with lots of water and general ick in it
and I should do something about that.)
And we had a mouse (a couple of mice) and so all
the stuff (pots and pans and miscellany) that's
usually in the cabinet where the mouse was living
is now piled up in the back room on chairs and
the table and stuff and generally being in
the way (and some more of it is piled up next
to the kitchen sink in the drying rack
threatening to clatter unnervingly down
some dark midnight).
And there's this pile of mail sitting here waiting
for me, and some child might want to make brownies
and we had to buy yet another new power cord for
one of the iBooks (notebook powercords must be
Apple's most-hated product; you'd think they'd
fix them) and La Strada just came from Netflixxxx
but fnord knows when I'm going to have a chance
to watch it, and I hardly ever write in my
weblog anymore and we're almost out of Miracle
Whip for the little daughter's sandwiches and
and and and...
And I'm puzzled by Red Pine's interpretation
of the Diamond Sutra, which is that Subhuti
is all Lesser Path and limited in his understanding,
and that Buddha is correcting him and exemplifying
the Greater Path, whereas I don't see that in the
actual text at all and it's always seemed to me
that the two are more or less playing a symphony
here, and it'd be neat to like talk about that
with someone but again who has the time and who
would I talk about it with anyway?
So anyway I have to go empty out the vacuum device
and change the stacking of the mail and maybe mop
the floor some more and stuff now, but at least
I've written in my weblog...
On the ongoing fever, a doubting reader writes:
Hmm. "FEMA" doesn't seem to be on the WNYC playlist. I suspect you're making this up. Or hallucinating.
Make me do work, will you?
It wasn't a song as such, it was a small fragment of a song
played as part of a story;
story I'm pretty sure.
So there. *8)
A reader who perhaps thinks that I should stop running
so many items from readers writes:
You should fear the grimey masses who splatter words like
giblets into your otherwise well sponged web log.
Is it a soft warm sponge?
With maybe some fragrant oils?
Another reader or something writes:
I must confuses your site is really cool!!!
Great site, great idea, just all round great work, everyone.
Like the similar unaccountable input we mentioned the other
day, this one seems both completely pointless (payloadless),
and also very
Explanations most welcome.
So we've been very meta so far today, haven't we?
People who aren't long-time readers, and who get here by following
links from other places, or while searching for Iris Chacon
Pictures or Hack Yahoo Webcam will be terribly confused.
We feel for them, but there's only so much we can do.
Cosma Shalizi (to whom we look constantly up for his
and his understandings of things that we
think look interesting but don't understand) is posting
Lecture Notes on Stochastic Processes
(Advanced Probability II) to the Web
(speaking of things that we think look interesting but
See also Causal
Architecture, Complexity, and Self-Organization in Time Series and
Slang o' the Day: ZOMG.
Patent application o' the day (tx to
through walls training system.
Notable among patent applications for (among many other things)
the sentence "The woman who gave me the statue told me
that he would walk miles and miles each day to visit the poor."
Solving the Symbol
Grounding Problem: a Critical Review of Fifteen Years of Research.
The Symbol Grounding Problem is interesting, at least at a meta-level,
in that I can't quite decide whether there's actually a problem there
The problem is figuring out how symbols get grounded; how they
come to have meaning and all.
The thing I can't decide is whether or not there's some additional
problem here besides the question of (1) how beings like us come to
behave as they do with respect to symbols (a scientific and
empirical question that, while very hard, doesn't seem to
pose any deep philosophical puzzles) and (2) how our
subjective consciousness comes to be properly attached to the
world (which is known to be very
hard, but isn't primarily about symbol grounding).
The Critical Review of Fifteen Years of Research is somewhat
disappointing, in that it seems to put strange and arbitrary
restrictions on what kinds of experiments with artificial
symbol-understanders would Count. F'rinstance:
"... it is already clear that, by adopting the Q-learning algorithm,
the intentional model is importing from the outside the very condition
that allows CLARION to semanticise, since tasks, goals, success,
failure, rewards and punishments are all established by the programmer.
The semantical commitment could not be more explicit."
The absurdity may not be clear out of context like this, but
essentially what he's saying is that if some entity sets up
a (real or virtual) universe for systems to evolve in, and
some of them come to use and understand symbols, they don't
really get credit for it, since the creator of the universe
set up the evolutionary fitness conditions, and therefore
smuggled "semantics" illegitimately into the situation.
(The author says this even more explicitly when he dismisses
artifical evolution as similarly having a disallowed
But if that's not allowed, then what's being asked for is a
way for systems to come to make and have and understand
symbols without any incentive or contraints whatsoever:
no training, no surrounding external environment with an
implicit or explicit fitness function, no physical laws
imposing conditions on existence, etc, etc.
And why would anyone expect that to be possible?
We don't have any evidence it's ever happened.
Shows Bush Warned Before Katrina Hit (and
At the August 28th briefing, the president was told exactly what to expect:
- The chief scientist of the National Hurricane Center
warned that a major levee breach was "obviously a very,
very grave concern." Bush lied to the entire nation about
this point just 5 days later.
- Michael Brown told the president that if New Orleans
flooded the Superdome emergency shelter would likely be
under water and short on supplies, creating a "catastrophe
within a catastrophe."
- Experts and officials implored the President
to prepare for, as the AP described it, "devastation
of historic proportions."
President Bush didn't ask a single question during the briefing. In the next two days he campaigned, attended birthday parties and played guitar while the worst natural disaster in American history killed over 1,300 people and displaced hundreds of thousands.
Inquiring readers want to know
cheats for sims 2 how to make meadow thayer to grow up
The simplest way to make Meadow (a popular teen ingenue in the game;
seen for instance looking appalled or something
here) grow up is to
send her off to college, if you have the University
She'll immediately become a Young Adult, and then when
she graduates (or otherwise leaves) she'll become a normal
If you don't have, or don't want to bother with, college,
and you don't mind hacks, see the
which can both cause anyone you like to appear on the current
lot, and can also cause them to become part of the family.
So you could teleport Meadow into your favorite household,
and then magically make her part of the family, and
she'd starting aging and growing up normally.
Of course hacks are dangerous; use at your own risk,
and back up constantly.
In other boring hackery, I've upgraded from the old
NVIDIA GeForce 4000 MX (AGP 8X 64MB) to a brand-new
NVIDIA GeForce 6200 (AGP 8X 256MB).
(Have to remember to send in those fifty $US worth
of rebate forms that came with it.)
This was so a game that the little boy really wanted
would work; as a side-effect we can now see the
cinematic cut-scenes in The Sims 2 (which is nice),
and the pillows in The Sims 2 tend to turn
actinic purple and green (less nice, or at least
Bugs in virtual worlds are so odd!
Found while googling on "Vingian singularity" to check the spelling
the other week, but apparently a member of our extended ontogroup:
inanis et vacua.
(Another one not to have the time to read.)
And I've just finished doing the taxes (ewwww ewww ewwww ewwww).
So now I'm going to collapse somewhere for awhile.
(Oh! And I went to an actual Party (with grownups!) in
New York City last night, and that was great, but I don't
feel cogent enough to say anything about it right now.
I hope to visit a city again someday.)