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Mon, Feb. 2nd, 2009, 02:39 am
Gradual Goonification

Something Awful: PYF Quote Thread, selection:

bitterandtwisted posted:
"if a conservative is a liberal mugged by reality, the tragedy is that the victim was so traumatized by the experience as to be unable to ever face his assailant again"

- scientician

The Artificial Kid posted:
There is a persistent myth that the stars can be seen in daylight when one stands at the bottom of a well. I don't know whether that's true or not because I'm better versed in well-avoidance than Little Timmy ever was. I can tell you why the myth appeals, though. It's because it's only when you feel like everything in your life is completely fucked that you come face to face with the core of things. It's a great wall of ice, buried at the bottom of the swamp. It stretches to infinity. It is your mortality, your brutal, utter insignificance. It is existence stripped of every surface thing you ever thought made existence good. Facing it, you realize that it has an austere beauty, that stripped of all the trappings that make life bearable, even existence itself is a miraculous thing.

Others never find it, flail inches from it in the mud their whole lives, hover above the ice on a veneer of lies and cutting or die before they reach it. They go to the bottom of the well only to drown.

Don't give up, don't cave in. Don't confuse the surface with the core. You have one gift, greater than any other and eternal. Nothing bad matters.

Adaptive Systems posted:
Some of us are destined to never find companionship, never find lasting solace in the arms of another, and the sooner we accept this, the sooner a new world of previously unimagined dangers opens up to us.

In the exploration of these dangers, we become living testaments to the virtues of struggle, and gain a stamina that others shall never have the privilege to know.

Rather than drift into slumber in the bed of an eternal stranger, we seek a bed of flames, and with no partner, no pair, no twin, we attain a singular uniqueness and inflict upon ourselves a solitude that is the unhealing wound from which all our strength flows.

We alone know that all flesh is grass, that all promises are fantasies, that all dreams are narcotics.

We alone live without lies, without the need to enslave or to be enslaved.

We write the stories of our lives patiently, and from the other side of death. The realm of eternity is ours alone.

Wed, Nov. 19th, 2008, 11:26 pm
Iceland, Continued...


Woke up later than I wanted (what with all the "cannot sleep" I ran into. Nothing terribly eventful that day; went to Fanfest, walked around that part of the city some - The Microsoft and Apple locations in Reykjavik are basically across the street from eachother; also, there are these truck-sized installations dotted about that are small geothermal plants. Just sitting around the city. Kinda nifty, no?

After Fanfest + food we returned to downtown Reykjavik, to do the Icelandic thing again. Woo! Bit more lively night as well; more people (and not from Fanfest) out and about.

Also, Nonni's!

Again, couldn't really sleep, but about an hour better than the night before. Maybe.

This day was fun.

There were some folks from a UK corp playing "Guns and Cash" (you'll know it if you see it; it has foam guns), which is an excellent game, there was the demo for "Walking In Stations", which is pretty nifty but not going to be seen in EVE for a while; but they have some /really/ cool tech lined up for the thing. (One of EVE's selling points is that it's pretty. This will make the insides of stations really, really amazing visually, and very easily customizable.)

Also, after dinner, house party at one of the lead developer's houses.

So... I learned a thing that night. Three, things, really.
"Pour me one too!" is a very dangerous thing to say, and should likely be avoided.
"It's not working yet, pour me another" is a /worse/ thing to say.
When the world *wants* to be spinning, it will do when you close your eyes.

The alcohol didn't have a chance to "get me", since the vertigo-induced naseau got there first. : P

Ian and I stumble vageuly homewards, exceptionally drunk, stopping along the way for Icelandic hotdogs, which were good hotdogs with a different set of condiments than you'd get in the states (such as, to my joy, honey mustard).

So, then we're home, and we need to spend a couple of hours drinking water to prevent the hangover the next day - and, well, when you're drunk, in Iceland, at home, chugging water, what do you do?

You drunk dial friends and family via Skype!
That was fun. And I can't wait to hear about it at Thanksgiving. Because my family rocks and we have weird senses of humor.

However - to my annoyance: Okay, so, I'm so drunk that if I close my eyes I spin around and fall over, right? You'd think I'd be drunk enough to quickly pass out into an exceedingly inebriated sleep, right? WRONG, dammit.(Recent other partying is leading me to believe that I really do metabolize alcohol into energy, because I got rather tipsy (but not plastered), and couldn't sleep then, either)

Yay, no hangover! (I may not be able to sleep, but I also seem impervious to those)
Make it over to Fanfest (later than we'd like, but eh), stick around, eat, and then return for the party. Which was kind of awesome, even tho it was a sausage fest.

First up was an "eh" DJ, while everyone milled around, drank, talked and otherwise had a convention party. Then the CCP Band (made from employees), got up and played a fair amount. Not the sort of stuff I like to dance to, but there was enough enthusiasm (crowd favorites, etc) that I got into it. After that, tho, we had Kitty (I think,maybe Kiki), who, while also an EVE developer, is also one of Iceland's premier DJs - and she was incredible.

After about the second hour of rather... frenetic? energetic? aerobic? seizurely? dancing, I wondered - How am I still able to stand? I should falling over from exhaustion!

Oh, right! Icelanders like to mix their Vodka with energy drinks! I'd had about three "Vodka-Cult"s, which are a can of energy drink (I think about half the strength of Red Bull?), and a shot of vodka.

Yeah, didn't really sleep that night, either.

More later! Probably.

Mon, Nov. 17th, 2008, 04:12 pm


Big, heavy flakes, and they're pouring out of the sky.

Sat, Nov. 15th, 2008, 02:45 am
Iceland Trip Quick Run! Part 1

Teusday, Nov 4th:

Wee hours: I have finished packing. My flight to Reykjavik leaves around 8PM, from Boston. I am not entirely sure how I am getting to Boston. Plan calls for a Bus.

Morning Hours: Bus. Success!

Early Afternoon: Waiting for Icelandair to open their ticket counter so I can check my bag and wander around Boston

Late Afternoon/Dinner: I /like/ Boston. It just has a feel that I like, different from San Fransisco and much nicer than New York. Also, Sandman FTW.

~7:00 PM: At the airport terminal, playing "Spot the Nerd!" Seriously, 80% or so of the flight was heading to Fanfest.

Plane: At some hazy point, transitions to Wednesday, Nov 5th. Also, the only thing I can see out the window is the plane's wing, but I can see it with perfect clarity, as if there is nothing else in the world.

Wednesday, Nov 5th:

~7:00 AM (Iceland Time): Business, Pleasure, or Fanfest? (seriously!). Also, prior to landing, the plane announces the victory of Obama to much rejoicing.

Bus ride to Reykjavik from the Airport:
Half-glimpses of the volcanic terrain in the pre-dawn light.
We drive past a kilometer long warehouse, where they smelt aluminum mined around the world.

~8:00 AM, in Reykjavik, finding Ian's house. The air here is *really* nice - it's refreshingly cold ("chipper"), there's the occasional breeze, and it's stupendously clean.

~9:00 AM, having picked up some frozen pizzas from the local convenience store, I lay down for a quick nap....

~5:00 PM ... and re-acheive consciousness. Waitaminute...

~6:00 PM: To my interest, I discover that in the rest of the world, you eat hamburgers with a knife and fork. Because the top bun had mustard in the usual place, the burger was juicy, and the top bun was skewered to it upside down.

~7:00 PM: Out on the town, Iceland style! This means drinking. Lots of drinking. I note with joy that, due to the currency drop, this is cheaper here than it is at home (pretty much everything is "more expensive" "relatively", because Iceland has to import most everything.

Remember, kids: In Iceland, the only flavor of Vodka is Vodka.

~Stumble O'Clock: NONNI'S. It's.. er, well, there's meat and stuff between two long pieces of bread, it's perfect when you're drunk, quick to make, filling... Nonni's gets nearly all of it's business at this time of night.


Tune in later for Thursday and onwards!

Fri, Aug. 15th, 2008, 02:18 am
Accelerando Ups Spin Moar - AKA, Clearly, He Must Be On Drugs

(I am getting closer to writing these in internal shorthand, which will be interesting) Regardless, available punctuation bandwidth is unsatisfactory. (Grammar and editing; otherwise refered to as multiple parses; may be developed as way to alleviate bandwidth issues?)

Ally Mack wants me to come up with questions to ask, on various grounds mostly likely having to do with spurring conversation, but I have a problem

1) All the good questions I have personal answers for
2) All the questions I actually care about are either:
a) Not deep. (What do I want to do come October? What should /I/ want to do?)
b) Not applicable to normal people - which brings me to

Thought of the night:

What will I be come near singularity?

I mean, alright, so, I'm lying here, thinking about what the hell this thing is (that's presented in this book) that I am wanting to bring about, and whether or not I think I could hack it, or whether I think I would want to hack it...

I mean, even now, my mind feels noisy. Is that, however, a symptom of processor? Of architexture? A system design feature? Will I always care that my mind is noisy? (I think, based upon ulterior ideals, that I would not have a problem with considering the comfortable norm to be "noisy" and to then ... Well, sidetracked.

Anyway, bringing back to original query:
Normal people ask "What am I? What is 'me'? What is a 'me'?"

I'm currently more concerned & interested about "What will (what is a "me") become?", which then gets reflexive as I attempt to answer via classic channels; ie, what do I want (what is a "me") to become?

Well, I suppose that does go deep, in a very sciency way, I mean, isn't what I'm asking in many ways, what is the fundamental thing that makes it possible for me to be "a me"? And that's something many people have been asking for a very long time, and I want to respond with:

Does it matter? Start from the outside; does it look like a me?

Spinning down. We'll see if I output more tonight.

(Can anyone else make sense of that /at all/?)

Mon, Aug. 11th, 2008, 12:30 am
Had a Thought

Why am I excited about the Singularity? Why do I want to be part of what makes it?

Leads me to:

Th singularity is like the imagined and hopeful heroic moment; after this, nothing is the same - but the crucial thing that struck me long, long ago about the Hero Moment is that, well, in a ll honesty, what did you do to deserve it?

Classic example: How often have you hoped for something to happen from someone so you could save them from it; the classic damsel in distress, knight to the rescue, true love ever after?

Only, the hero, in the stories that actually have length, never realizes that moment in which they become the hero. The concept of having a fate to be a hero always struck me as odd: heroes aren't fated to become it; they are simply unable to do anything else and remain who they wish to be. Gandhi wasn't dragged along by an unseen hand; he stood there one day and said, I will do this, for to not do it is to become something abhorrent. And yet we could say it was fate, and really, how can you tell the difference? (On a side note, I am currently unconvinced that it's possible to determine what model of time we exist in, although I can see on the horizon some tests that might pan out)

Which segues back nicely to the original topic of the singularity; that theoretical moment after which we cannot predict, thought to be brough about by the advent of strong AI - Intelligence capable of making a more intelligent version of itself.

Only, and here's a thought - don't we already do that? Or, rather, try? If you assume (or only measure those places at which) we are getting better at educating our children, we are then strong AI - we are created more intelligent versions of ourselves (Which leads to the idea that perhaps the "trigger" for the singularity is an intelligence who is either only capable of making a more intelligent version of itself - since we do seem so good at going "downhill" so to speak - or at least one that, most of the time, produces something more intelligent than itself, recursively, which leads nicely into - ). In one sense, haven't we been doing that since day one? The classic interpretation of "evolution" is that it results in intelligent life (Tau takes issue with this, and I'm inclined to trust him); more intelligent = more evolved (which is a fallacy - perhaps diversity results in intelligence); one could then model the singularity as occurring once there is an intelligent entity capable of reproduction such that entities more capable of making more intelligent versions of themselves are selected for - So, if we make nerds our sex symbols, do we have the singularity?

And on another note - If we start with the thought that perhaps "singularity" is a misnomer, we either go someplace interesting or have a better idea of what it really means - I have trouble imagining a point in time at which you cannot predict what the next moment will bring, especially if we assume it's universal (that is, no intelligence taking part in the singularity will be able to see past it), I don't know... I just can't imagine that, but maybe later...

It also doesn't make a lot of sense if we take my position that the singularity actually occurred eons ago, when humanity first started irrevocably becoming more intelligent, but it does present the interesting idea that perhaps the singularity is an entity-local phenomenon - I don't think my grandmother can really predict what the next ten years will bring (Hell, I have doubts that I could), so for her you might say the singularity has occurred.

So, think about the horizon. That's what we're talking about, really. The horizon is the point past which you cannot see, and the singularity is when the distance to the horizon is zero. Only, that can't ever happen - which means, we can never really reach the singularity.

Even including transtemporal effects! Information from the future is only as accurate as it is testable, and I can't currently think of a way to avoid using non-transtemporal effects to do that testing.

This thought is less interesting than I at first supposed, and in the end I think I just the option of reversible immortality, which is really me having this issue with the reality that I only live one life.

(Ahhh, good insanity is really when your model of reality fits all available data, and other people don't share that model. I could assume that this life is the life I'm living so that I know what it's like not to know I've lived more lives, and you'd call me crazy. But you couldn't disprove it.)

Fri, Aug. 8th, 2008, 12:18 am

I am neither tired, nor are my hands still raw, from climbing today. I do miss not being able to tie my shoelaces, but I think maybe on Monday I'll be able to make to the underneath part of the bouldering room. Past that.. dunno.

Mon, Jul. 28th, 2008, 11:17 pm

When you have long hair,

and a fan at the head of your bed,

Do not set the fan to "exhaust".

Fri, Jul. 18th, 2008, 01:06 am

So, this is kinda the beginning of a possible awesome:

From LightSailor:

Some geek is running for state rep in Kansas. You MUST read this, for the lulz. And maybe some of you have $8.34 to spare for him.


Wed, Jul. 9th, 2008, 06:20 pm

So, here's a thought -

Is one of the defining differences between the creativity of engineering and the creativity of art, that engineering relies on external evaluation (mostly) for quality? An artist goes; "I have made good art!", and ignores critics. An engineer goes, "I have made a good design!" and looks at data and evaluations to confirm... Internal vs. external evaluation.

I'm not actually sure I can tell you what inspired the thought, given NDA.

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