a barbarian journal

August 1997
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
march, april, may,june, july, index

'The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
Conveniently low;
And all the little Oysters stood
and waited in a row.

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
and whether pigs have wings."'

It is my brother edgar's birthday today. and also his son daniel's. they seem to be doing pretty well. weird computer problems.

today i helped take some sheetrock down from the basement. it reminds me of the time in summer of '84 that i helped edgar take apart a house for the materials. it's good to hold a crowbar in my hands again. back then i got my own crowbar, and i needed a cane because of a bad knee, and i could use the crowbar as a cane. i was pretty weird back then as well. In those days edgar let me drive his corvette to the place where the house was, zipping on 280. prolly going too fast.

princess diana's car was going too fast. she's dead. I don't really like celebrity worship. But how many actual princesses are there today? it really bothers me. And i already don't like paparazzi. now i have something i can point to as an excuse to crack some head. There is that whole chelsea thing. she is the closest thing we got here to a princess. whatever. di was a real fairy story. and she could have been used a few more times. a woman who can still have kids is too young to die. And she was pretty nice, if not a great person.

acting out on anger just makes you more angry. worrying helps you prepare for difficult situations, but you can get stuck worrying because thinking about it makes you feel a little better and thus can be self-propagating, but if you don't find a solution you can get stuck endlessly thinking about stuff that doesn't help

i was down to 159# today, so maybe it won't be so bad. way too many snack foods still left over.

so there is a bypass in the brain through which information can affect the emotions even before the brain processes it into perceptions. Sensory information goes from the eyes and ears, through the thalamus and usually up to the neocortex for processing and perception before going to the amygdala where emotion significance is attached. But there is a path straight from the thalamus to the amygdala, so it is possible for some simple kinds of emotional reactions to occur before we have totally figured out the situation. This kind of reaction could account for some of the deep emotional reactions that i have talked about.

that virtual dreaming approach to falling asleep seems to work. i tend to think about stuff that i don't dream about, but when i switch to something more dreamlike, i went right out.


I just finished a book An Unquiet Mind by Dr. Kay Jamison, a kind of autobiographical account of her manic-depressive illness. She is some kind of academic clinical psychology professor, and has co-authored a textbook on manic depression and she sees patients or something, writes lots of articles. and she's a failed suicide--i just don't respect that-- something about taking a lot of lithium, but, being confused, answering the phone when it rang. she kept going off lithium and never lost her job. and she sounded like slut. but crazy people can be like that. One intriguing thing she mentioned was some difficulty with recognizing faces and some spatial perception. I was wondering how that can happen, because it's unlikely that brain areas handling mood would even be related to the face recognition stuff. But since the problem is genetic, it could be that gene setting up the mood structure also gets used to set up the other stuff, or there are genes that are simply near each other in the dna. It might be that the one brain area might be used for mood and the other stuff, but it seems unlikely that it would then be limited to those things. It made me think that maybe i should be doing academic research, but i feel i should be trying to make real money doing real things.

i think that when things settle down (ie. discounting history), a greater proportion of doctors will women than men, just from a standpoint of temperament. Medicine is about caring for people, which seems more of a female thing. maybe the problem was that women were always considered stupid, or it was so competitive. There is still that fraternity-like hazing they go through. For comparison, engineering seems to be a real guy thing. sure they are plenty of chicks involved and glad to have them (unlike, say, me). but it doesn't seem to be moving toward and equal mix.

there is a robotics project (brooks) where a bug learns how to walk starting from random leg movements. My question would be, do bugs actually have to figure out how to walk? i mean, don't little alligators and turtle crawl immediately out of their shells? i guess the example they used to get funding and what makes it reasonable to them is that babies don't know how to walk and have to learn. But i think it's been established that babies are born underdeveloped so they can get out without killing the mom. they brains are small. And it's amazing to see the videos, but newborns can swim (which is one thing that makes me think wading on the coast was part of our evolution).

in gi jane, demi finally started living in the guy's barracks, but they arrange for her to use the head and shower seperately. it just started to bother me. if none of the other differences are important, why stick with this one? i mean she really has to be close to the guys on her team, and she shouldn't have a problem being naked with them. what's she going to do it the woods? it's just a societal convention. it's another way we have decided to remain savages. it actually made me question the need for seperate bathrooms.

the thing that can really get you to move is when you believe you have no choice, you simply think you have to do this. I am always aware of lots of options, so i never really think i have to do something. but i guess stupid people don't know any better, and they can be very active. It reminds me of sun-tzu, when he says that backing your troops into a corner is the best way to motivate them.

there is a mental mechanism that gets you to do everything. the whole brain in general is about thinking of things to do, but somehow it has to be decided what is actually going to be done, and that action has to be set up and let go. The other parts of the brain have to be given control somehow, and that control has to guided by some kind of gate. This gate controls the flow from parts of the brain that can think of actions to the places that actually do them. I would think that each part of the brain that suggests some action also evaluates what kind of results it expects (how good, how much effort needed etc) and passes that on to the gatekeeper, which decides who to let through.to have access. Not every action is external of course, what we think also has to controlled. The operation of this gate is pretty important, and it is probably not all powerful, and there are possibly many gates. What is called a mood may just be a different level of operation of this gate, how many actions it lets through. How the gate decides what to let pass seems important, but it probably more depends on the signals from the action modules themselves. We have the model from that movie Awakenings with the people who had no ability to initiate action. that sounds like some part in that system.

a custom for a world in which we are not savage, but living harmoniously together: once a day everyone should be touched in a way that would today be considered a private spot, by someone who is not an intimate, as a gesture of our common humanity. There should be some type of polite request before, like 'would you touch me?' or 'may i touch you?' but since it should be limited there should be no shame in saying no or being denied. personal boundaries are a savage relic.

i went to fry's to get the dictation program, but, as i should have suspected, it requires a more powerful computer than mine. a pentium 100 at least. so now i need to really consider upgrading. i have a reason now.

i also went to see naked chicks. what makes sex motivating? i guess you want to be attractive and to be attractive you need to be successful. but what if you are married and you have a committed partner that can't get away? does it continue to be a motivation, or does it merely work out that you have internalized the motivations to be successful. or maybe it's a matter of needing to keep what you have. once you have kids, a whole new motivation to take care of them takes over. i tend to think of different drives in a tag-team fashion like that. one drive will set up a situation and a different drive will take over based on that situation, with no central mechanism or common control that decides first this then that. We have lots of little pieces that just react to the situation in front of us, and not some complicate control scheme leading from on action to another (in general). So looking at a naked chick is a thing in itself, strangely devoid of any consideration that you aren't going to do anything.

i saw G.I. Jane. it was fairly good. i like seeing seal training stuff. i think it's inspiring. i might start doing one-hand pushups again. but it's got bunches of crap. and i think there is a problem about women not being strong enough, but i don't know. there was the interesting statement that in israeli, the sight of blown up women was too distracting. but women probably could do combat. it didn't look like demi was quite up to it though. And that was just a crime for her to cut off that hair. The experience was kind of interesting, because the sound was off for most of the first fifteen minutes and everyone left but me. and then like 3 minutes after that they left the sound was fine. And its not like any of the setup or plot was important. i thought the writing and setup was just bogus, and i'm glad the actual navy didn't cooperate with this farce. But we got demi naked again, and shaving her head, and commando training just like in Wayne World.

i'm up to #169. but my mom is gone, and i can go back on a diet.

last night highlander 2, but i didn't watch it. i think this is the worst movie ever made (well, maybe just hi-budget, but maybe not). It helped me understand a whole new way movies can be bad. Luckily i have completely forgetten the plot, except that it was stupid. But what really bothered me was that it was a sequel to a good movie, highlander, and after i saw this sequel, i didn't like the first movie any. it was so bad that it's badness spilled over and ruined a totally innocent movie. that's pretty bad.

actually, for me there is another movie sort of in this class for me. Return of the Jedi, while fairly tolerable in itself (one beautiful princess in a gold bikini goes a long way) really distressed me because it destroys one of the possible interpretations of the other two movies, and makes it impossible to have the really epic 9 piece story. The idea was that obi-wan (ob1), vader, luke (and boba fet) were all clones of the emperor. But lucas decided not to go that way, which is fair enough because few people would have appreciated the great epic tale-- it would have been more of an art film and not the wonderful family piece it is. i really wanted the clones, though. now we can't have clone wars that really relate to these original ones, and i don't know what kind of story lucas is working on. he is going on to make something, but no so grand vision. If i ever get proper funding or the technology becomes cheap enough. I'd like to remake 'Revenge of the Jedi' as it really should be, using a single actor to play the parts of all the cloned characters. And by all means i'd like to retain the love triangle of leia, luke, and han solo-- i thought it was just so weak how it was eliminated with just a swipe of the pen. As i see it, see goes with han solo, which pisses luke off, and he uses his spiritual powers offensively once too often to ever be the good man. And boba fett doesn't get eaten.

and then i went down to the beach.

i don't know if there are any old techniques to control and build your motivation. something like yoga or meditation, which generally serve to calm people down. I mean i don't think there was much need in old primitive societies for and individual to increase his personal motivation because until recently the tools open to any individual were pretty limited, especially information tools like books and things. But today its possible for a sufficiently motivated single person to do huge amounts of significant work, what with computers and all. just one guy could blow up a building, or make weapons of mass destruction (i've seen stuff that would enable a motivated person to build an atomic bomb from ore). i don't mean to be negative, destroying is always easier. But individuals can create whole disciplines. In physics you have newton and einstein, should we just settle for flukes? I'm not sure why this area seems to be so empty. all we have is people living in a van down by the river. i'm guessing that really the lazy-assed people we have now have been good enough.

i'm not sure on this one, but it seems like a lot of really boring people go in for really exciting (adrenaline rush) recreation. then again maybe everyone seems boring to me.

it doesn't seem possible to consciously control drives directly, that just isn't how we're wired up. and there's a problem with indirectly controlling. If you try to reward youself for some third thing, it seems like you have pressure to just skip the third thing and just take the reward. That's the problem if you are in control of the rewarding, that's why its always important to keep something external in the loop. If you tie a horse to another horse (like controlling part of yourself with another part of yourself) it can still run away.

one real snag i have hit. i find that my motivations are just to complicated to keep track of in my head at once, so i'm going to need some type of tool or notation to understand and control them properly

actually the deal is that i don't feel so self-nullifying, but i am not quite yet motivated, and i still have some fairly large external obstacles.

"please allow me to introduce myself"

blowing winds make a tree stronger. the stress and bending cause it to grow thicker. it's all chemical signalling.

i saw a bug with 5 legs and a stub.

science is a system to limit uncertainty. there is in addition the natural drive to find out more about the world, and science is just a tool to guide this curiosity.

there is a reserach area called reasoning under uncertainty and some guy is trying to get together a newsgroup. it includes fuzzy logic and probabilistic reasoning. but i think this area is just part of a more useful idea of multivalued logic which by treating facts as more than black and white, you are using more information in general. the idea of cutting things into true and false is just a way to make things simple and more reliable when you have really large amounts of information, but when you only have a little, you shouldn't throw large pieces of it away.

"i met a gin-soaked barroom queen in memphis"

the goal in conversation is to see if the other person has any goals that you can benefit from to your advantage, that is maybe they want something that's easy for you to give while they can get you something easily that you want. and you can trade in some way. barter negotiations. Always. of course it isn't always anything tangible. maybe you just want them to be nice to you. But in order for it to work, you have to build up and keep models of what kinds of things people want, and what kinds of different people want different things, and what kind of person you are dealing with now. You have to have have all this knowledge before you come to a conversation, and that has to be in addition to the actual knowledge referred to by the actual conversation. And it seems that natural language programmers miss this big part of the conversation and focus on the words. One thing that people can do that helps, though is that can try to think what they themselves would want in the situation (in addition to trying to 'think like the other guy' which is actual modelling).

i feel significantly better, but it's a realization that, to my surprise, i don't want to write about here. i hope this doesn't mean i've lost hope in this journal as a place for totally free self-expression, but there it is.

something icky happened, though. a dude on ISPE gave a kind of wisdom quiz. a multiple choice test with a bunch of pithy bits of wisdom. But it suddenly made me very disgusted with what people count as wisdom, to the point that i am questioning whether wisdom is really a good thing. That is, i thought the "essence" of wisdom to be an ugly, superficial social concept. Sort of like saying the ideal of humanity is the smart-ass. Typically, it seemed to me, what counts as a wise statement is something that has some cutesiness to it, maybe something poetry, and it sounds paradoxical, but somehow there is some kind of nifty interpretation to the paradoxical elements that makes them interesting or useful. The problem is that the statement itself doesn't present the wisdom, you have to already be wise in order to understand it. But if you are already wise, then the statement won't help, and probably will just be confusing. In any case, its generally just a matter of saying something vague, and you can make up your own joke. bullshit passing itself off as something real.

but i'm not quite out of the woods

the meaning of life. hmm. meaning is a property of an interpretation, which belongs to a person. also meanings come from goal systems, which develop in an interactive process of the individual reacting to the enviroment. there tend to be conventional pressures moving people toward certain common goals and understandings, but it is pretty flexible, and people can end up with pretty diverse understandings. overall, though, there is a strong pressure toward as simple (elegant) a meaning as possible.

something to have faith in, smart people make life better fro them and others.

there was an article in Science about a reconciliation between religion and science. yeah right. it mention the anthropocentric theory of why this universe supports life. The theory is that there are lots of universes and we just happen to be on one that supports intelligent life. I personally thought that this was obvious, but the religious freaks seem to think that this is the only universe. Personally i think that every black hole creates a new universe. so already we have all those. plus i think probably hyperintelligent creature create designer universes. but that's the problem with religious freaks, really limited imaginations. ghosts? is that the best you can do?

then again, scientists can be as arrogant as religious freaks. and a lot of scientists as so focused that they have fairly limited imaginations too. A lot of scientists also don't have the psychological or instrospective depth to even be aware of so called "spiritual" issues. A little more compassion, please.

The extropians are into having computers increase there brain power. but it would be a lot cooler to just increase the intelligence of dogs so they could talk and we could talk to them. Dogs are already our friends.

there is a principle for introspection to work. we can't just directly sense what is going on to cause us to think and do what we do. but the things that cause what we do also affect what will happen when we pretend or imagine doing something. from seeing how we react to things we can at best deduce what caused us to act a certain way. Introspection is thus a very weak mechanism, and you have to have other theories about what makes you act a certain way. but it is fairly cheap, if not reliable.

a weird thing occured to me in a dream. i started imagining or sort of composing and hearing in my head really complicated and interesting music. It was far more vivid than anything i could imagine when i was awake. And i guess the dream was semi-lucid because i realized that i must be thinking of these tunes while i was sleeping, because it was way too vivid. A rich kind of jazz harmony. Now i have nother fun reason to persue lucid dreaming. unfortunately, like i said, the tunage was too complicated for me to imagine or remember while im awake. Of course, like a lot of dream stuff, it probably just was that when asleep i merely thought it was good, but in any case, i did enjoy it. inspiring, almost.

slow day today.

i'm getting tired of my empty life.

"step inside love"

i never had my wisdom teeth out because i didn't expect to live this long, that and hating dentists. I once had what i thought was a toothache, but was actually just a bad cold sore on my gums. I still might not make it much longer.

i'm going to try to get some dictation software, i spend too much time typing, and the thinking of what to write seems to slow down the typing a whole lot.

there is an actual tradition that women will stay away from a guy (or tell him not to come around) in order not to hurt him. I've always been curious about the ways women use there power over men, and i think its interesting that they exercise caution. I am not aware that guys are at all caring in this way.

it was weird this morning. i woke up somewhat early and felt really kind of blue. but i sleep for a couple of hours extra and i was great, not my usual gloomy self. maybe i should started sleeping a lot again.

maybe people haven't been so nice to me because i am too ugly

curiosity killed the smelly cat. there's this song smelly cat on friends and in the story its written by phoebe, but that's a fictional character. if you wanted to perform it, whom would you send the royalties?

shai said they weren't interested in me. i didn't have what they wanted, whatever it was.

i saw the movie 'Ulee's gold'. There's talk of peter fonda getting an oscar for best actor. It's pretty real, i knew some farmers that were like that. Ulysses Jackson is this beekeeper with a son in jail and a daughter-in-law he dries out. it's pretty sweet, a little too for my tastes. but its fairly real, for a movie. There is a lot of talk about tupelo honey, which is a fine grade or something. My dad kept bees, but all he ever got was darker stuff. it was ok, intense acting, but i care little for rednecks.

the van morrison tune which they play at the end of Ulee's gold has a special significance for me, and its on one of the few tapes i have. Normally i would only buy and listen to cds, but playing cds in the car has gotten to be too much trouble, or i've been too lazy to set it up. Anyway, so i've been playing the few tapes (maybe 5) that i have. One tape is a relic from before when i had a cd player. And one is a tape from the band of some friends from college. The other's though, i bought because of some girls ive known. their favorite songs, at least when i asked them. some of them i didn't know so i wanted to get a copy. but for just one song, i got it on tape because it was cheaper. So now i have these memories with me.

i saw weird signs after i left ulee. I was at a bookstore, and it struck me at one that i was surrounded by chicks (this doesn't sound like much, but signs can be like that), and then i was driving and i passsed a car just like mine with the hood up and guy bent over working at it. And then at safeway, there was this chick who seemed to stand out, and at one point her face did this weird thing that reminded me of that bug alien wearing the guys skin. well, it seemed weird to me.

so i guess some of it was my early zen experience. this stuff about seeing the real person underneath the robot-like masks that people wear. When i left my pursuit of zen, i had an understanding about the real goals in enlightenment--freedom from the learned controls of society and a return to a kind of natural action, more in harmony with nature in general and personal nature in particular. A state of being free from guilt and fear and anger and frustration. How does this have to do the real person inside hiding behind conventional behavior? Well, we learn safe and easy ways to act in particular situations so we don't have to expose or disturb the deep, important parts of ourselves. Our real feelings aren't even touched in almost all of our reactions, and we don't stretch ourselves at all. Only our protective rubber casing deflects under the normal pressures of the world.

But occasionally, if something weird happens, there won't be a fitting pre-canned response, and a person will have to go back to some core part of themselves to see what they really think. This really is the point of koans, which aren't supposed to have any simple answer that you can learn, but are supposed to break you off from the conventional thought processes. I personally cultivate a kind of weirdness, such that occasionally people are disarmed and can't just use their well-learned politesse.

"you know i know when it's a dream"

so i have the iron and lead medical insurance. and it isn't just a matter of money. I'd just rather shoot myself in the head than let those bastards get their hooks in me. I mean doctors have gone way beyond being soulless robots. They have created a whole elitist subculture of lying, greedy, numb, cold soulless automata. And that might even be livable if they actually knew what they were doing instead of just trying to act like they do.

and i wonder if its even worth living. many seem to be mindlessly living, like it was thrust upon them and like animals unquestioningly holding on. not choosing to live but just letting it happen to them or stubborning clinging to it for lack of a better alternative. If death isn't an option then you haven't chosen to live, then it is just being forced on you. The burden may be light, but a cage is still a cage. And there is a logical consequence to accepting life passively. People also just accept death instead of railing against it with all there power. The extropians have an attitude that they don't really need to accept death, and they are interested in using technology to increase lifespan, but they seem to me to be accepting life pretty blindly, as it were. why not just die? To me, i can't see the value in anyone's life, so i have long advocated killing everyone. but that's just me.

I was thinking about distinguishing real ideas with stuff from cranks. Sometimes a person will come up with some idea that explains everything. It can take a bunch of observations of things and explain them. But a really theory explains something things about the world specifically, says whats going to happen for something you didn't already when making the theory and then you go out find out that things really do happen that way.

A theory is a relation (something like a mathematical function) between observed properties that keeps happening.

speaking, in the robot-like sense i keep yammering about, is a lot like calculating which words to use from some recipe applied to a certain situation. You have a certain list of goals that you are expected to have in a particular situations, and you pick words that match up with the current subsequence of subgoals. The turing test of determining intelligence in a conversation is about seeing if the system can recognize the appropriate goals and match up the proper words in a sequence. I also like to use converstation to get at this "real person" in their, which must be a particular variation in the turing test. I would guess that i am trying to eliminate the socially defined goal-behaviors that a computer could persumably pick up just by working in society, and to subtract that stuff out to reveal the essentially human goals and the specifically individual ones. So really for me, this stuff does apply to my ai project.

if you were to try to understand someone, what things about them should you consider? what events to consider? should you think about their past? stuff that happened to them during the day? their habits? their goals? dreams? their vision of the world? what food they've eaten? The times they've fucked? What really is helpful in understanding another person? I'm thinking of trying to read Ulysses i usually find it tedious and pointless so i never get very far.

here's a blast from the past: i'm listening to 1999. the cd was buried somewhere in my car and i found it when i was cleaning it out. i still aspire to getting a corvette, and there was my brother's (gold, not red) which was with me when i got into some trouble with a certain person. i wonder if my old tape of electric ladyland is still in it.

i saw conspiracy theory, with julia roberts, mel gibson, and patrick stewart. mel gibson plays this paranoid wacko with a 'zine who gets into gov't trouble for something,. he is obsessed with julia roberts (i found that idea disturbingly familiar) who for some reason puts up with him (which i can't relate to). captain picard is a cool evil spook. It was mildly entertaining, but generally wasn't believable. mel is almost a clown.

I also saw event horizon. i try to support science fiction where i can. Unfortunately the only science fiction was in goobledegook explanations and the space settings. Although everyone in the crew does complain that faster than light travel is impossible, which is neat. Folded space? i got yer folded space right here, buddy. Gratuitous nudity, gimme a break. It'd be neat if some space movie just let the people in stasis be naked and everyone treats maturely, no big deal. Lots of really sick gore shots. Irritatingly noticeable computer generated shots of floating objects. It turns out as not sci-fi at all, but a horror flick in a space setting, obviously borrowing from aliens. but at least that was a good movie to borrow from.

i got more than 300 miles on this tank, which i haven't gotten in a while.

nothing before
nothing after
just nothing

it still gets me, the speech acts explanation of "this sentence is false". it's so lucid. The idea is that when you say any sentence, you are implicitly saying that that sentence is true. Saying "It is raining" is the same as saying "It is true that it is raining." or "The sentence 'It is raining' is true." So "This sentence is false" is actually just false because it says it is both true (implied) and false. contradictory.

It was muggy today. that's really weird for around here. and strange blobs of fluid fell from the sky. and you couldn't see the sun. Strangeness afoot.

I think i might start collecting autographs for some people. But only autographs obtained by other people, so they could have people coming up to them and asking for their autographs. Of course i'll have to spend some money for them, and it might be interesting to see if it will generate any real value. At some point it's like that they might stop giving autographs, which naturally would increase the value. And its a way to redistribute wealth, and it indicates that a person's time and attention are intrinsically valuable.

somebody has a scam to sell property on mars. jeesh.

i had an interview at SHAI. It was kind of strange to me, but pretty cool. The two main people, andrea henke and dick stottler, were real ai people, but they weren't happy with what big industry wanted as ai programming (database stuff), and wanted to do real ai stuff. So that's what this group is about. There emphasis is on real problems that and useful ai, with case based reasoning and tutoring stuff, etc. I learned a lot about them, but they didn't seem to learn much about me, and unfortunately i don't think i established that i was especially interested in what they are doing, and im not sure i especially established that i could do/have done what they are doing, even though i think i can do it and am interested. I spoke with Andrea, and she said they are interested in new ideas, but i threw out a bunch of stuff she hadn't even heard of that im looking at, when obviously i needed to be a little more in touch with what they actually do. so im sure i hurt myself with that. oops. I can talk about myself all day when really they want to know that im right for them. hmm. I spoke with a programming manager, jeff, about programming i've been doing. i don't know how it sounded to him, but it didn't seem too impressive or definitely convincing. that is, i didn't seem to really communicate what i can do. live and learn. I was supposed to talk to Dick, but he couldn't make it or something (which seemed ominous, was i just being blown off?) and there was something i wanted to ask him about from one of their projects, which andrea said was more his area (and i forgot what it was).

i did a mock interview today on videotape. I hate the way i look on videotape, but my voice didn't seem as goofy as i remember. I need black socks. and i thought i could be a lot lighter and more upbeat, but i did focus on skills and didn't take anything personally, and mostly talked about stuff that would matter to them. But i spoke rather haltingly and a lot of stops. it wouldn't have cut it for marketing, but might be ok for a programmer. I could use more energy and excitement.

science news talked about attachment, and how important your relationship with your mother is in how you deal with romantic relationships as an adult. Part of emotional bonding with a mate is related to the model we form as a baby of what a nurturing relationship is like. The conjecture is that an unreliably supportive mother will cause you to prefer to be serially monagamous as an adult. (personally i hate that behavior). I am up to #163 with my mom around, my eating habits are messed up. Im used to eating as much as i can once a day. so i try to eat as much as i can whenever i eat, but she's got me eating twice a day instead of once.

And the car is doing well

The plants growing on the lawn from last year are radishes, and their seeds are in a little pod that looks like a bean, so i thought they were beans. They sure made a lot of them. But they will probably get mown down, soon. We have sizable grapes this year, thought the birds will probably get them. The sunflowers are next to the grape vine trunks, so they are getting more water, maybe.

I've been doing some quick studying on ai stuff. Norvig has an othello program, and i might try putting it in java. I've been meaning to do some general setup for board games so i put up puzzles and stuff. Something like the stuff in 11th hour.

people have set up this big pyramid scheme, the world

juggling goals is one of the biggest thing that a brain does. we have goals and subgoals, and they interact and some of them are easier to get to and they interfere and have different priorities. It's a huge confused mess. The size of working memory (7 +/- 2) must have something to do with how many goals we can compared together at one time, because they will all need to be compared to each other and sorted quickly. And i guess the sorting will more often have to do with deciding what needs to come first, rather than what is most important. I need X to do Y, kind of interdependencies are the most important to sort out, and to juggle that you need to be able to switch all the pieces around loosely. Once you have a solid bit of action or scene that wordks as a group, it can be chunked together as one group. There are a lot more goals than 7, so they need to be grouped together conveniently, and each action will have subactions.

marilyn recommended a technique for falling asleeep, virtual dreaming. roughly you just think something similar to what you would dream about. There is a kind of dream-like reverie that people have when just falling asleep, and you imitate that.

one think about mom that i don't like is treating food as a pleasure instead of as a means to live. but a lot of people seem to be like that and its natural i guess. but a lot of people are fat. i don't really like sugary stuff.

There are supposedly a lot of people in the world and the world is very big. But if you count the number of people that you have actually seen reveal the inner parts of themselves, that have shown that they are not merely soulless automata and robots, then the number of people in the world becomes quite small. You do not count the dead bodies to see how many people there are.

One of the big ways i seem to deceive myself is that i am not usually aware of what my real goals are. i usually tell myself that i have some simpler, easier to reach goal, when i am not even aware that what i really want is much harder (and a lot better).

my mom made some danishes. i didn't see her making it. and i had wanted to do it myself, which was why she did it. it doesn't sound too hard. The turned out pretty good, no topping or glaze, just some raisins and nuts, so it wasn't quite an ideal danish (i like the red ones the best.) but it was a great first effort, and i'm inspired to make my own.

the neighbors have some goats. the have a cry that sounds a lot like a baby. kids

We all went to carmel. what a tourist hole. We shopped for a painting for a wedding gift for my cousin karsten. (he did finally finish his phd) I don't think my money was ready to pay what actual paintings cost. And i ate a raspberry danish on the beach. But overall i didn't like the pace of the excursion and i probably won't go with them to san francisco.

There were these bushy tailed rats on the shore at 17-mile drive.

humor is about thinking you are better than that, whatever it is. but that's a reason for me to not like it generally. its generally just an illusion and it has that element of hate and divisiveness, that we aren't all together.
smile more. laugh less.

actors always want to direct. i guess it's kind of the way engineers always become managers. maybe it looks easy. maybe they just want the extra money.

i saw In the company of men. i really liked it, but it is a specific kind of program that i like, i found it inspiring, or at least it showed a kind of nietzscean pure way of living. It really is kind of a parable about how the strong, who could be sense as perverse, can manipulate people for fun and profit. Sort of warrior stuff, which used to be an interest of mine. And it's funny too. It also shows how supposedly "nice" people handle things (or not) by believing in fantasy, which can fall apart. I probably should see it again, although im kind of out the movie habit. cool

the whole idea that people can deceive themselves is intriguing. maybe fascinating. i mean shouldn't a self know everything that it knows? The only reasonable solution is that there really is no such thing as a self. its just a poor metaphor. in fact there are all sorts of separate things running around in the brain. maybe hundreds or millions of things. maybe there is limited value in breaking it into pieces at all because everything interacts with everything else. But we people have to break stuff up into at most ~7 pieces to understand stuff. That almost certainly isn't enough to capture the real complexity in a "mind" (another bad metaphor). So not only do we deceive our selves because we just can't understand ourselves, we don't even have selves, other than an illusion that we do.

Elvis is long dead.

my mom threw some of my old t-shirts away. relics. stuff i've had for a really long time. and i still wore them. the material was worn thin and great for summer. One of them was a blue-thunder t-shirt. Attack helicopter. so much for personal attachments.

Today we cleaned my car. i could get it fully clean and now the paint on the hood is rough. My mom was satisfied a pretty unfinished job. But maybe next time i can do it better.

I was watching monty python and the holy grail, and i saw the scottish wizard tim. I love his spitting. And there is that thing about scottish engineers (like in star trek), which i guess could get translated back to a scottish wizard.

a smart machine wouldn't necessarily have goals on its own. intelligence is just a tool for achieving goals needed by some other part of the system.

jenny mccarthy replied to the saying "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" with "two what? hands?"

we don't have prosentences (something like pronouns), words that stand for complete previous sentences. but the phrase "that is true" does that job. For example if someone says "it is raining" then you could say "that is true" which then is the same as also saying "it is raining". There is a theory of truth (i forget the guy's name), that says that really there is no truth, but that there is only something like that usage of prosentences.

It seems there is a certain type of affection that people have for each other (maybe one of the many things called love) in which one person will take some pleasure in bugging the other person. i don't quite get this. personally i think i would go for a more john/yoko single unit kind of love. fusion.

i don't think my mom really loves me. she doesn't even know me. she has all these personal needs of her own that she must be trying to use me to satisfy. i just don't care. One deep separating even that made me feel emotional distance. One time, feeling that there was something more going on, i asked her to give me some money, maybe a dollar, i forget, and she wanted to know what it was for, i just said it was for me. She never gave it to me. It take it that it never really was about me, anyway. and now i just don't care.

One of the sunflowers is about 7 feet tall, though the next is only around 6 feet.

the lady from shai called back, Actually i got tired of waiting and called her. I said tuesday and they gave me another week than i expected. An it turns out that i need it because it isn't merely an interview, it is three hours with three different people, probably hardcore code jockeys, and i'm going to need to study. But i can see it as three times the opportunity to impress someone. I get the feeling they have a hard time finding people. I gotta really review that stuff.

We have no way to prove that we are not surrounded by intelligent, perhaps microscopic, aliens. All they would have to do would be to avoid microscopes to avoid detection. I mean, i've seen some stuff happen that just doesn't make any sense, that i couldn't attribute to just blind chance, or subtle causes, and i'm hard pressed to attribute it to the human tendency to see patterns where there aren't necessarily patterns. It's just too funny not to be somebody's practical joke, and there must be something else going on. Welcome to the show, boys

[qv]It isn't really necessary to concede that nanotechnology is possible to consider a really hyper-intelligent beast. Part of my contention was that long before you had a jupiter-sized brain, previous generations of big thinking machine would have devised other exotic technologies. People for a while have been talking about barriers to Moore's law about elctronic element size shrinking in half every couple years, such as the wavelength of light used in photomasks which isn't turning out to be a barrier. You know that people assume that eventually it will hit the wall as elements shrink to atomic size, and that from there all they can hope for is parallelism. But already we have proposed quantum devices which are sort of subatomic in nature. /
And you don't even need to go semiconductor to find hyperintelligence. It should be possible to culture an artificial brain using some type of genetic engineering, having maybe a hundred pound brain instead of a three-and-a have pound brain, possible retaining a lot of the human-like characteristics of thought and language. Of course, maybe size doesn't matter so much for intelligence. It might be possible to prune out the unneeded dna to make it more efficient, or optimize the function in various ways, but neurons do have a pretty good power characteristic, and power issues tend to be the main restriction in big processor designs (the big reason why chips are still 2-d instead of 3-d)./
really, though, i'm wondering what the nature of that kind of thought would be, just as i wonder about the nature of the thinking in really really smart people. Just as a sort of simple question, (not even requiring a brain the size of one of the smaller planets) is what would happen if we had a human-like intelligence but with a lot more working memory, instead of 7 +/- 2 chunks at a time, we could handle 30 or a million? This would tend to make for some extremely long and complex sentences, which to us regular humans wouldn't even be comprehensible. And i'm sure all the other factors in intelligence would have their own weird effects on comprehensibility. And would their be anything that complex that was useful to think about?

i have this feeling of being trapped under the ice. and i can sort of see people through the ice, but i can get to them

pregnancy is an unusual sexually transmitted disease, creating a tumor that continues to grow when removed after it reaches a certain size. spontaneous remission is common.

if not a good life then a good death.

it's happening way too often that i'll send an e-mail when i'm somewhat upset, and then a reply will come back and i really kind of regret having sent the first one, and i don't want to read the reply. yuck. That step of having to put it in an envelope and walk it to the mail box is pretty valuable.

i have found that i can write with a comb. I have this aluminum comb, which is a relic, something i've had since i was maybe 13. one of the few possessions i have from as far back as that. Anyway, i scraped one of the edgesalong a piece of paper, and i found that i makes a mark, pretty faint perhaps, but definitely there. i find that i can actuallly write stuff with it, i think its cool, but im afraid that if someone saw me writing with it, it would be too faint for them at a distance to see that it was actually making marks. I filled out the comments form from the conference in comb.

And that's what i did today, i went to the Extro3 conference. It was the second day of two, but the stuff on the first day seemed boring. they were doing some ai things, and minsky was supposed to be there. I didn't get to use my minsky story. One time minsky took time out of his busy schedule to reply to a comp.ai.philosophy post of mind and say that i was wrong. Actually he did seem pretty bitter at the conference.

I met all kinds of people. Russell was there, somebody from high school. more friends with cliff and tark then and now, but roughly in my circle at the time. He is actually a heavy hitter in the extropian stuff and knows everyone and introduced me to a few. Including max moore, who ran the conference. I actually saw him on some show that was about life extension. (The series with that x-files babe narrating). russell also introduced me to ralph merkle, who is a big shot, thinking that he might help on the nanocomputer project, but i sure did talk it up enough to get anywhere. That's just not my area. But i did come across people from the nanocomputer project, including darrell parfitt and will willis, having talked to both of them on irc for the meetings. they had flown in from the other coast. It was a room full of (NT) geeks, but there were actually some babes. max's babe natasha i remeber from the aforementioned show. they're health nuts, so she is bodacious. But russell actually introduced me to a couple of chicks, friends of his, regina and romana. I actually sat next to romana for one of the talks and she seemed pretty cool, drinking coffee, i was thinking how much the caffeine seemed to help her out. we shared some of her witty thought about the presentation with me, sort of in that way talkative strangers do. An he man was doing these cute possesive thinks with her, dog pissing on a fence kinds of things.

one guy talked about how there are many different causes for aging, and that its really going to be a tough problem. a cool word used by chris peterson was biophiliac. Extropians have the idea of a singularity, when smart machines can structure the world completely at an atomic level. One guy talked about a legal system heavily modelled on computer transaction managing stuff, a kind of self enforcing contract system, with lots of virtual layering and such. one guy, sasha, a russkie talked about cyborgs and people as cyborgs, and as fyborgs (functional cyborgs), but he seemed to say almost anyone using tools is a cyborg. He also had the idea that identity is variable and changes all the time. he showed a picture of what romana called a "swiss army organism" . russian has no word for "identity" (is that when they are both the same size?). The only part of you that stays the same is your goals

there was an AI panel (one of whom was minsky). 4 type of ai in decreasing difficulty: 1)human upload 2)humanoids 3)turing test machines 4)engineering idiot-savant, say, without social abilities or whatever. We can get to singularity if they make improvements to themselves faster than people do, fast acceleration. Minsky talked about how neural networks were an obvious fad, since thousands of people are working on them but only a couple new things are developed per year (minsky helped crush them in the 60s) but he mentioned that neural nets are dyadic and semantic nets are triadic, 2 inputs instead of three. Still waiting on that book, marvin. Common sense reasoning is a field with greater potential, with no people working there. And bug bots were abandoned in the 50s. lemmings. Misky also said that with the right program probably a 286 could be intelligent, we just don't know how the brain does it (this was an idea that i have held, that it probably can be done simply). some questions i thought of, but was too chicken to go up and ask. what about qualia? what about fractal modelling of brain structure (since dna does something like that) how about automatic model generation as the goal for fake brains? what about the ethical problems of enslaving intelligences?. william calvin the cerebral code was recommended

[qv]i was just at a conference where they mentioned jupiter sized brains. that is, an artificially intelligent, nanotechological, machine, made with all the matter from, say, jupiter. Not that we could know for sure, but i find it interesting to speculate what they it would think about. This is related to astronomical questions why we don't find dyson spheres and no critter has taken over the galaxy or the universe already. There is the problem that a bigger machine is limited by the speed of light for the communication so it might not be any advantage to a bigger system.

Anyway, as for what a growing brain would think about, It would be my guess that long before the computer becomes planet-sized, it would design a computer using sub-nuclear size particles which will ameliorate the speed of like restriction. Or quantum computing technology. Actually, my feeling is that it would probably create its own private universes with physical laws of its own choose, to satisfy whatever goals it has. That is, if the beast really wants to become more and more powerful, it won't just get bigger and bigger like as primitive technologists envision. It would probably go in a complete right angle.

took a long drive. aroung santa cruz and through the mountains. The car seemed to miss on acceration at first. Im hoping it's just fuel injector problems, but it could still be problems they didn't fix.

nothing good

i am way too distracted right now.

Sometimes it happens that people are punished for being honest.

i'm sitting here, my mom is watching soap operas. i'm getting a little concerned about her time being something of a waste. retirement. ugh.

"knocking on heaven's door" click on the radio. It makes me think of a flaw in some of the christian theology. If god is good and all powerful, why wouldn't everything be good, and would wouldn't everyone get into heaven. The idea of eternal damnation is inconsistent with the idea of a benevolent god. So people who talk about hell may add a new twist to the concept of made in god's image. Their god obviously excersizes his capacity for evil.

It 's makes a lot more sense to say there is no god. but people who say that typically don't see that the question doesn't really end there. They need to understand the aspect of our psychology which makes it actually better for us to believe something false. And they have the responsibility to find a solution to the whatever the problem is that gets solved by such a belief. Maybe their is social aspects that make such a belief valuable too. Being able to be sure based on what someone says is an important ability in any society. I'm sure religion is the same mental thing that draws people to celebrities.

The shai people want to interview me for job. They seem nice about it, but they caught me in a rough week, with the car, and mom visiting, and me giving up irc for the duration. Emotionally it's been tough. My whole little life i had going has been ripped out and now most of my day is out of my control. it sucks.

There are blackberries at the bus stop, That's pretty nice. possibly a snack or treat. Although one time i got pricked. a lot of them still mostly red.

I had a realization when i was talking on IRC. it wasn't an epiphany or moment of clarity It made me think of when you're out, and you see the sun rise. And your head is a little foggy, but the reality and earthiness of the day hits you, when you just had the fantasy and shadows of the night in full measure. to see what is fantasy and what is real.

what is the difference between fantasy and reality? fantasy actually exists. It was the fantasy, and i'm getting tired of fantasy. illusions, pretending, insincerity (to use the great pumpkinist term) some people seem to be living a fantasy, they have no reality to grip.

i have this concept of signs. there are lots of ways that you might think something, but you don't quite see how important it is. occasionally, something will happen, maybe something disturbing and maybe something that's just sort of random that doesn't really have to do with you, but it makes you think about something that you aren't clear on. sort of an opportunity to think when you need to think about something, or perhaps better, a time to feel when you need to see how you feel.

long day in santa cruz. job people. i wrote down 10:30 and it was 10:00, argh.

i've been thinking that much morality depends on people interacting with the same people over and over. you need to become consistently trustworthy. Now people have to deal with a lot of different people and there has to be an ethic of the isolated encounter. In game theory, prisoners' dilemma, the interesting question was how to play an iterated version, where the same two players keep interacting for several transactions. In computer simulations, the best stratgey was tit-for-tat. First be nice, the do whatever the other person just did, (if he was nice you be nice too, if he's bad, be bad back. If he's nice again, be nice. This strategy calls for quick revenge but quick forgiveness. The possibilities are 1) both people can be good 2) one can rip the other off 3) both could be ripping each other off. If there are no consequences, it will often be better for you just to rip the other guy off, but in a repeated

But what if you only get the one shot? How can you change the system where it is in everybody's best interest to be nice on a one shot deal. Threats like police or something external might work for big stuff, but in little ordinary transactions that's not really reliable. Making it easy to always give everything your best shot could help, because you won't lose much if you put everything in and the other guy doesn't. You need to devalue the loss from you trying hard and the other guy ripping off your effort and not giving back. So the ideal would be to set it up such that you give tremendous benefit to everyone you transact with, with little cost to you such that you get a great benefit when others act well towards you, but you do not lose when they take but don't give.

This situation of gain without loss can't work for transactions involving material objects, the traditional transaction, in which you physically stand to lose things, but it can work when information is being exchanged because you don't lose the information when you share it with someone else. A world where things aren't important (say, they were easily create by machines) could naturally become one where its in the best interests of people to be nice all the time. A somparable situation is in the emotional interaction between people. It seems like it would be most rationally valuable to be nice to everyone all the time, since it needn't hurt much if you are friendly and they take advantage of you but aren't friendly in return (i guess there is an emotional cost, but like any reaction, it can be unlearned)

One other important possibility to improve one-shot interactions is to have some ability to predict how the other will react. "tells". There was a woman sitting on the other side of the bus, a little bit back, and she was looking out the window, forward, such that in the reflection in the glass she was looking right at me, like a ghost peering into my soul. wistful, tired, another bus ride. birkenstocks. But when i got onto the bus, her loving man had riding on his bike, and given her a brown bag, lunch perhaps, and she looked so happy to see him and they hugged. he got off the bus though. looking through the window, she seemed like the rest of the day could only be down from there. And the ghost was haunting.

its important to desimplify some models. the prisoners dilemma stuff i was looking at was a little too simple, the idea of a clean transaction is wrong, every interaction has many different pieces and there's more than just being good and ripping off, possibly from the quantity of different smaller pieces.

still no car, ouch. this big problem that the mechanics messed with was that they didn't tighten a bolt holding on the ground wire, so it was loose, but if you pulled the wires away, it sort of made a tighter mechanical connection. Something they didn't see, though. The alternator isn't working, and that's my current problem. It had an intermittant problem before, but now it seems to be fully gone. It could be a connection, but an alternator is just a long wire, its more likely the expensive repair. I've had it replaced at least once.

It was really hot today, i really wanted to go down to the beach.

Tomorrow, im gonna have to ride the bus

I did fix my version of the nanocad stuff. its almost done. will found a distributed program toolkit for java, so it looks like he's going to do the whole thing by himself after all. Im sure that's fine with the boys, they just want it to be done, even though they have a problem if they want to take credit for it. It's an ethical problem and i'm sure they aren't worried about stuff like that

so i've blown off people that have called me. I probably should have bought another car already.

it would have been nice to go see sabeena this weekend

trippy day today. The mechanic finished with the car but it has and electric problem they couldn't fix (being mechanics). They did figure out that you could pull the wires back and it would work and it took them a while to give the car back to me i guess because they were trying this. But i only got about five miles before it gave out completely and i couldn't get it working again. The good thing though was that they wanted less money than i expected. I towed it to here and maybe i can fix it. Its just a wire or connection, sounds like an important one, because it will click relays if it's oriented wrong.

And the people from shai called to arrange an interview, and the machine cut them off once and they called back. Argh.

My favorite drink is grape gatorade. I had to quit drinking it because i drank enough to gain weight from the sugar. i mean gallons. Its made with natural grape flavors, not the distinctly fake stuff of most grape drinks. And i generally like gatorade, i don't find it salty. But this stuff. i like it better than actual grape juice (or anything else) because it is so smooth without all the solids that stick in your throat.. I was at the store, and was looking to get some gatorade, but i got the feeling something was missing. no grape! the best one. They did have the packages of powder in grape, so i got some of that. I don't know for sure what's in it, but i like it.

meeting with the nanocad people. will ware was there. im ripping off his program. there wasn't too much to talk about though, really. he left when the conversation was pretty much over. The other folk don't seem to be interested in developing nanotechnology so much as making use of whatever other people do with it. so they might be hopeless.

working on this program, and learning stuff about java, although what im doing it pretty mindless

I have found a solution for not having much documentation on java. I can look at the source files for everything in the language, so i can see exactly how things work.

the big monitor on this computer died, so im using my little one. it's not the same.

so i don't think there's so much a problem with rejection from people. I just find talking to them to be very discouraging, like i'm just a poor choice of words away from finding they are electromechanical zombies.

People decide how things are and you should make an effort to treat the the world so as to make it a good place

there could be a science of things spiritual, some beliefs really work because of the way we are, and we would do better to study it. There are typically hidden values in science, that not everyone is interested in. We could find out what are some read good values and beliefs to have instead of arbitrarily picking them. Really understand takes discipline, and not just wandering around the same old venues.

clearly false beliefs can be helpful and scientifically encourage. for example visualization of a beach is completely fake, but it can make you feel better. A little science could make this work really well.

I seems to get a lot fewer errors where the compiler tells me there needs to be a semicolon. it actually gets confused about that. i had always felt that if it new a semicolon needed to be there i shouldn't have to put one there

i wonder who the carpenter could be?

with luck i could have my car back today, which would be helpful to my continued existence.

i think i went all of july without going down to the beach. what a waste.

with a new month, i get a new opportunity to try to change things for the better. a lot of times you just need something to focus on or something that gives you a chance to make a decision to act.