📖 Read pages 30-43 of Complexity and the Economy by W. Brian Arthur

📖 Read pages 30-43 of Complexity and the Economy by W. Brian Arthur

Chapter 2 is a nice piece on the El Farol Problem which is a paradox which “represented a decision problem where expectations (forecasts) that many would attend [the El Farol bar] would lead to few attending, and expectations that few would attend would lead to many attending: expectations would lead to outcomes that would negate these expectations.”

Zhang and Challet generalized this problem into the Minority Game in game theoretic form.

Page 31:

There are two reasons for perfect or deductive rationality to break down under complication. The obvious one is that beyond a certain level of of complexity human logical capacity ceases to cope–human rationality is bounded. The other is that in interactive situations of complication, agents cannot rely upon the other agents they are dealing with to behave under perfect rationality, and so they are forced to guess their behavior. This lands them in a world of subjective beliefs and subjective beliefs about subjective beliefs. Objective, well-defined, shared assumptions then cease to apply. In turn, rational, deductive reasoning (deriving a conclusion by perfect logical processes from well-defined premises) itself cannot apply. The problem becomes ill-defined.

This passage, though in an economics text, seems to be a perfect statement about part of the problem of governing in the United States at the moment. I have a thesis that Donald Trump is a system 1 thinker and is generally incapable of system 2 level thought, thus he has no ability to discern the overall complexity of the situations in which he finds himself (or in which the United States finds itself). As a result, he’s unable to effectively lead. From a complexity and game theoretic standpoint, he feels he’s able to perfectly play and win any game. His problem is that he feels like he’s playing tic-tac-toe, while many see at least a game as complex as checkers. In reality, he’s playing a game far more complex than either chess or go.

The overall problem laid out in this chapter is an interesting one vis-a-vis the issues many restaurant startups face, particularly in large cities. How can they best maximize their attendance not only presently, but in the long term while staying afloat in very crowded market places.

Page 38:

The level at which humans can apply perfect rationality is surprisingly modest. Yet it has not been clear how to deal with imperfect or bounded rationality.

Chapter 3 takes a similar problem as Chapter 2 and ups the complexity of the problem somewhat substantially. While I understand that at the time these problems may have seemed cutting edge and incomprehensible to most, I find myself wondering how they didn’t see it all from the beginning.

Complexity and the Economy by W. Brian Arthur
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📗 Read pages i – xxix of An Introduction to Transfer Entropy: Information Flow in Complex Systems

📗 Read pages i – xxix of An Introduction to Transfer Entropy: Information Flow in Complex Systems by Terry Bossomaier, Lionel Barnett, Michael Harré, and Joseph T. Lizier

From page vi:

The structure of the book is a bit like stone fruit, with a soft wrapping of a hard core, …

Transfer entropy is hard to calculate from real data.

I love that they provide a “List of Key Ideas”, a “List of Open Research Questions”, and a “List of Key Results” in the opening along with the traditional sections of symbols used, acronyms, list of tables, etc. More texts of all stripes should be doing this!

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📖 Read pages 57-103 of Professional WordPress: Design and Development 3rd Edition by Brad Williams, David Damstra, and Hal Stern

📖 Read pages 57-103 of Professional WordPress: Design and Development 3rd Edition by Brad Williams, David Damstra, and Hal Stern

The review of core had some resources I’m sure I knew about and have even used before, but somehow forgotten from long disuse. The quick review of the loop was useful to have again particularly as I delve into some themeing work these past few weeks.

The examples they provide are pretty solid from a pedagogic standpoint.

Professional WordPress: Design and Development 3rd Edition by Brad Williams, David Damstra, and Hal Stern
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Reading my Facebook and Instagram Streams again via RSS

I’ve really been loving reading my Facebook and Instagram streams on my own website using Ryan Barrett’s versions of Facebook Atom and Instagram Atom webapps.

Twitter is coming next, but I need to tweak some lists to pare things down.

This feels so 2008, and I mean that in the best way.

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📖 Read Loc 1-261 of 6508 of The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires by Tim Wu

📖 Read Loc 1-261 of 6508 of The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires by Tim Wu

So you think that you control what you read, watch, and listen to? Better take a closer look…

Many will know and understand the outline of the argument here, but it’s important to read the details of the case studies so we can help break “The Cycle”, an aptly named problem.

In some sense, this is a microcosm of governments over the past 12,000+ years when looked at from a Big History perspective.

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📖 7.44% done with American Amnesia by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson

📖 Read loc 685-963 of 12932 (7.44%) of American Amnesia by Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson

Slow progress, but there’s some great material here. At times I wish there was actually more underlying material that I know they could have included to increase the strength of their arguments. I’m already seeing some anecdotal evidence that could be bolstered. It’s still very interesting.

📖 Read pages 55 – 86 of 776 of Learning PHP, MySQL & JavaScript with JQUERY, CSS & HTML5 by Robin Nixon

📖 Read pages 55 – 86 of 776 of Learning PHP, MySQL & JavaScript with JQUERY, CSS & HTML5 by Robin Nixon

I’ve been promising myself that I would do some brushing up on programming skills this year and this seems like a fairly reasonable text with some simple examples.

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📕 Finished reading A Riddle in Ruby by Kent Davis

📕 Finished reading A Riddle in Ruby by Kent Davis

Alas, this seemed like it was finally going to go somewhere, but it quickly ran out of runway to have a satisfying ending as a standalone novel. Admittedly it is part of a multi-part series (three perhaps?) but it could have had a more satisfying ending by itself.

Ruby’s motivations were all too self-centered and she didn’t take the logical steps at any point in the book even when they were given to her on a platter, which makes it seem a bit too stilted. This is sad because the author creates an interesting world, has some generally interesting characters, and a wonderful way with words.

I’m torn thinking about whether to continue on in the series or just stopping here. Perhaps if I can get e-book copies of the next two once the third is released in November later this year I may continue.

 

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