Thursday, May 29, 2014

From some random notes:

Eventually we will be living in a world of disposable intelligent beings that can be copied and deleted, more-or-less, at will. A thinking machine could be subjected to extreme horrors and summarily deleted and destroyed without consequence for any that didn't know it. I'm not even sure if that's terrible or not. It's basically the situation in the Matrix films both before the rebellion of the machines and after. The machines, after the creation of AI, could be made and recycled on assembly lines and the machines basically did the same to humans after the rebellion. The key thing about these films isn't the man versus machine epic that gets easy play in Hollywood. It's the fact that what the machines did to the humans was no worse than what the humans did to the machines: it was every bit as horrific.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

I'm finally getting geppetto installed so that I have something to work with on this project. I understand that it may be unreasonable to have every developer running the full project on his machine, but I need a way to get a feel for this project rather than just being the data guy. It's a fucking simulation project and I've run exactly zero simulations from the project itself.

So far things are going well. Geppetto core built without a hitch.

Friday, May 23, 2014

I'm amazed by the depth in Final Fantasy 8. They put so much effort into details some players never even see! Like in Dollet, the bar owner is an avid card player. If you beat him he takes you to his room where there are some books. In one of the piles you can read his journals. The first describes how he meets his wife by playing cards with her (and losing). The second describes his daughter and how he loses his wife when she saves her daughter from drowning. This is way too intense for a video game side story.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The First Borg

I'd like to read the history of the Borg. Who were the first Borg? Before the implants, did they have the same ethos of cultural and technological assimilation? Did the Borg ever value independent expression on the level of single organisms? Did any one group design the Borg hive mind system or did it evolve over time?

The Borg were a race considered to be "evil" in the Star Trek universe largely because they did not value autonomy individual sentient beings. Naturally, the species, like humans, which were predisposed to act as individuals would fear and oppose the Borg. I can't recall what else the Borg did which would merit being called evil.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Women in science

In the past I've read that some people, mostly men, think women are not cut out to make discoveries in scientific fields. I decided to make a list of female scientists who made major contributions to their fields as determined by their peers. I'm making this list not because there aren't any such lists but because these are the ones I've actually read about (and thus, should be able to recall when I have reason to).
Julia Platt - an embryologist credited with discovering that neural crest cells formed the jaw cartilage and tooth dentine of the salamander.
Alicia Boole Stott - introduced the term 'polytope' to English mathematicians.
This list will grow as I read more.
EDIT: I've decided that future additions will be made as individual blog posts so it's easier to follow rather than editing this single post.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

From a conversation with my aunt:

My acceptance of some scientific theories is based on my assumption that most researchers are, at least, not likely to lie about their results. I also hope that not a few act with consideration of the ethics of reporting research. Then, it seems unlikely, from my perspective, that so many scientists would not agree on something if it weren't independently observable, testable, verifiable. I also assume that those people who make up the majority of their fields are actual scientists when I accept a theory.

I must emphasize, however, that like in the classic quote where Sherlock Holmes declares that he couldn't care less if the earth revolved around the sun, many of the theories I encounter can be true or false and it wouldn't have any bearing on my day-to-day. In particular, if evolution isn't the explanation for the diversity of earth life, it doesn't hurt me now to assume that it is the explanation, and I know that taking evolution as a base permits some useful science to be done. Other theories, because they are theories, can be tested by me with the appropriate equipment to either confirm or disconfirm the theory with sufficient rigor to satisfy my own sense of what is true about the world. That is what separates the acceptance of a theory from belief. Beliefs are those assumptions which cannot be tested, but a theory offers a means, even if that offer is never taken advantage of, to base your assumptions on ones that are more sure.