Thursday, January 05, 2006

Darned Armenians!
They've even spread their myths and lies on Wikipedia!
And surprise, surprise, it's all about population:
'The map of the Soviet Azerbaijan, where it is indicated with green color that Armenians made the majority in regions outside of the Nagorno Karbagh is absurd and inaccurate. Kelbajar and Lachin regions of Azerbaijan, the green color indicates as being mainly Armenian populated is worng. ALmost 99 percent of the population of both these regions were Azerbaijanis, untill they were expelled by Armenian barbars, fundamentalists and fascists. Therefore, I storngly suggest the elimination of that map from the page. Sooner it is done, the accuracy of Wikipedia will be ensured. For more information about this issue, visit —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) 19:12, 18 December 2005.
Interesting meta-comments about the role of Wikipedia. Maybe it's really a blog.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

This post on Gene Expression had some interesting speculation, invoking the god Stephen Wolfram, whom I don't worship but admire from afar:
In the near future Google will determine what we "know" or "believe". Asking the Internet will be as easy as asking our own memory and the answers will be more reliable. We won't "know" why; we will only know that the Google answers are right. Google will be the modern oracle.

Perhaps we can avoid this fate by expanding human intelligence and consciousness. Or perhaps a complex universe just won't fit into a human brain.
So I had to add:
A New Kind of Science is immensely thought-provoking, perhaps mostly because it doesn't draw any conclusions! Just as space robots can explore where man cannot go and UV sensors can see what human eyes can't, it strikes me that a superbrain could come up with and consider philosophical questions men couldn't even dream of. And then perhaps it can tell us those few simple answers that happen to apply to our deprived less-conscious lives, while keeping the good stuff to itself! Now I'm depressed.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

This post on Gene Expression, containing this enigmatic statement:
When the End of Insight comes, the nature of explanation in science will change forever. We'll be stuck in an age of authoritarianism, except it'll no longer be coming from politics or religious dogma, but from science itself."
elicited this comment from me:
We are so used to thinking of consciousness as something attached to a man-sized brain with two eyes, two ears, a nose and touch and taste sensors that I don't know if it would be possible for us to empathize with or understand the consciousness that could reside within a computer perhaps a million times larger than one man's brain, with hundreds of sensors of every kind, from telescopic to microscopic, from ultraviolet to infrared. Would we and IT even be able to consider the same question in the same way?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

First impressions
Just a few pages in to The Victory of Reason, I like it. One instance of "her or him" annoys me but I can ignore that warning signal for now, since the book is published by Random House. The author got his PhD at Berkeley and teaches at Baylor, so he has obviously had a lot of practice at ignoring political correctness! So far the big insight is how thoroughly I've been imbued with the idea that classical civilization was "lost" after the fall of the Roman Empire, survived as a dim spark in the monasteries and in Islamic lands, and came back to Europe at the Renaissance. I've always known that scenario left too many unanswered questions, but to see it challenged directly is somewhat disorienting.
Another related revelation is how easily I accept challenges to my dominant preconceptions. Too easily, perhaps? Is the ease with which I jumped on the Armenian non-massacre bandwagon and the non-AIDS idea a warning signal that I'm either a flittertigibett (is there really such a word?) or that I don't examine my ideas often and closely enough. In any event, what better time than the New Year to reexamine the old and explore the new?
The Media rattles its sabers
Judging by the comments, this story has got the BDS-ers knickers all in a twist. Yet what's the provenance?:
The United States government reportedly began coordinating with NATO its plans for a possible military attack against Iran. The German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel collected various reports from the German media indicating that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are examining the prospects of such a strike.
One news outlet quoting another, quoting lots of others? Where's the good old red-blooded war-hungry American beef? Strikes me it would be an excellent, Rovian idea for this story to get out there and then be denied. Good cop, bad cop, anyone? And guess who's the bad cop? The lefty media! Eine Meistertuch!