Long ago a high school friend wanted to connect through Classmates.com. We fell out of touch, but Classmates did not. It kept spamming me with stuff about my long-dead high school until I got it, somehow, to stop. Now I just got a mail from Classmates.com tempting me to know more about a classmate of mine from "Calabasas Academy Calabasas, CA Attended ’95-’99." Classmates' marketing robot calls me Jim and has a mailbox for me (see the image to the right) containing three promotional emails from itself. My high school was at the other end of the country, and I graduated in 1965.
Another day passed. And another. Go to some meetings, do some work. Another day. It's not that I was trying to do nothing. I just couldn't think of anything that felt fulfilling. This was a couple months ago. In fact, even today I listened to a song and for a gleaming 15 seconds or so, I felt completely lit up from the inside, in a this-is-why-life-is-worth-living kind of overwhelming inspiration feeling.
I can certainly identify with portions of this. She’s going back and asking many of the same types of questions the ancient Greeks did.Syndicated copies to:
The archival Web—the one you see through the protocol HTTP—will soon be condemned, cordoned off behind Google's police tape, labeled "insecure" on every current Chrome browser. For some perspective on this, imagine if suddenly all the national parks in the world became forbidden zones because nature created them before they could only be seen through crypto eyeglasses. Every legacy website, nearly all of which were created with no malice, commit no fraud and distribute no malware, will become haunted houses: still there, but too scary for most people to visit. It's easy to imagine, and Google wants you to imagine it.
I've now read Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury twice, and have seen nothing in the news since the book went to bed (last November) that has me doubting what's in it. Even if not a single thing in it is factually accurate, all of it rings true. See, what Michael wrote is a portrait, not a photograph. And it's an artful one, since Michael is a helluva good writer. He's also the best media critic we've got. And Trump is, above all, a media character. So are, or were, all the many characters who surrounded Trump in the book's story of the administration's first eleven months. Now only three of those characters are left: Kellyanne Conway, John Kelly and the dual entity Steve Bannon calls Jarvanka.
Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia
our existence can succinctly be described as “information that can replicate itself,” the immediate follow-up question is, “Where did this information come from?”
from an information perspective, only the first step in life is difficult. The rest is just a matter of time.
Through decades of work by legions of scientists, we now know that the process of Darwinian evolution tends to lead to an increase in the information coded in genes. That this must happen on average is not difficult to see. Imagine I start out with a genome encoding n bits of information. In an evolutionary process, mutations occur on the many representatives of this information in a population. The mutations can change the amount of information, or they can leave the information unchanged. If the information changes, it can increase or decrease. But very different fates befall those two different changes. The mutation that caused a decrease in information will generally lead to lower fitness, as the information stored in our genes is used to build the organism and survive. If you know less than your competitors about how to do this, you are unlikely to thrive as well as they do. If, on the other hand, you mutate towards more information—meaning better prediction—you are likely to use that information to have an edge in survival.
There are some plants with huge amounts of DNA compared to their “peers”–perhaps these would be interesting test cases for potential experimentation of this?Syndicated copies to:
The passing of the great physicist Stephen Hawking today at the age of 76 fills me with sadness for many different reasons. On the one hand, it was inspiring to witness that, seemingly, the power of will and intellect can hold such a serious illness at bay for so long. On the other hand, I am also sad that I never got to talk to him, and perhaps explain to him my take on his great body of work.
h/t to Christoph Adami
Remembering Stephen Hawking. My short tribute. https://t.co/2aJH8EsAiK
— Chris Adami (@ChristophAdami) March 15, 2018
Bookmarked on March 14, 2018 at 06:36PMSyndicated copies to:
The ability to integrate information in the brain is considered to be an essential property for cognition and consciousness. Integrated Information Theory (IIT) hypothesizes that the amount of integrated information ( Φ ) in the brain is related to the level of consciousness. IIT proposes that, to quantify information integration in a system as a whole, integrated information should be measured across the partition of the system at which information loss caused by partitioning is minimized, called the Minimum Information Partition (MIP). The computational cost for exhaustively searching for the MIP grows exponentially with system size, making it difficult to apply IIT to real neural data. It has been previously shown that, if a measure of Φ satisfies a mathematical property, submodularity, the MIP can be found in a polynomial order by an optimization algorithm. However, although the first version of Φ is submodular, the later versions are not. In this study, we empirically explore to what extent the algorithm can be applied to the non-submodular measures of Φ by evaluating the accuracy of the algorithm in simulated data and real neural data. We find that the algorithm identifies the MIP in a nearly perfect manner even for the non-submodular measures. Our results show that the algorithm allows us to measure Φ in large systems within a practical amount of time.
QUANTUM gravitational effects are usually ignored in calculations of the formation and evolution of black holes. The justification for this is that the radius of curvature of space-time outside the event horizon is very large compared to the Planck length (Għ/c3)1/2 ≈ 10−33 cm, the length scale on which quantum fluctuations of the metric are expected to be of order unity. This means that the energy density of particles created by the gravitational field is small compared to the space-time curvature. Even though quantum effects may be small locally, they may still, however, add up to produce a significant effect over the lifetime of the Universe ≈ 1017 s which is very long compared to the Planck time ≈ 10−43 s. The purpose of this letter is to show that this indeed may be the case: it seems that any black hole will create and emit particles such as neutrinos or photons at just the rate that one would expect if the black hole was a body with a temperature of (κ/2π) (ħ/2k) ≈ 10−6 (M⊙/M)K where κ is the surface gravity of the black hole1. As a black hole emits this thermal radiation one would expect it to lose mass. This in turn would increase the surface gravity and so increase the rate of emission. The black hole would therefore have a finite life of the order of 1071 (M⊙/M)−3 s. For a black hole of solar mass this is much longer than the age of the Universe. There might, however, be much smaller black holes which were formed by fluctuations in the early Universe2. Any such black hole of mass less than 1015 g would have evaporated by now. Near the end of its life the rate of emission would be very high and about 1030 erg would be released in the last 0.1 s. This is a fairly small explosion by astronomical standards but it is equivalent to about 1 million 1 Mton hydrogen bombs.
In honor of pi day and the passing of Stephen Hawking, here’s one of his seminal papers published just before I was born.Syndicated copies to: