Friday, February 27, 2004

Bill Seitz has problems with his Thinking Space including "no structured data".

I wonder what this means?

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Graham is thinking about free-will

I would have posted this to his blog comments, but it was too long :

At the moment, it seems to me that if you want to escape from determinism, you have to turn this question on it's head.

The question is *why* we believe that the universe is nothing but deterministic laws? Because we find things very like laws when we look for them.

Alternatively you can go the way of my (and Margaret Thatcher's!) favourite philosopher : Popper, summed up by his slogan "All Clocks are Clouds".

He points out that we certainly know of *some* apparently law-like things which really are stochastic abstractions on top of a lower level, more disordered reality ... for example, gas laws.

Why should we assume the universe is Newtonian, made of things like F=ma, rather than made of things like PV/T = constant?

This isn't chaos theory as usually understood (it's much older.) But you can see how understanding the way a massively disorderd substrate can support emergent order, fits right in with it.

Popper got very excited by quantum indeterminacy too, but you don't need the indeterminacy to be at the quantum level to make this kind of argument. It just has to be *somewhere* down at the bottom.

ThoughtStorms: WittgensteinVsShannon
Advice to a new wiki : Get rid of all TheUsualFrontPageRubbish. Tell us what you want your wiki to be about ;-)

eronj's wiki

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Thursday, February 12, 2004

segusoLand looks an interesting innovative UI.

via Graham
Notice that is for sale!?

Hmm. Well, it's my fault I suppose. I decided to try and economise by trying to move it from Easily, but I thought the smart thing to do was wait for it to expire and then pick it up again by buying it through Hostway, maybe the next day. It's not that easily aren't a good service, I've been very happy with them. It's just that 30 quid seemed a lot of money for domain name parking at the time.

What I didn't realize was that there was a 60 day cooling off period, after my account with easily had expired, when the name wasn't available for buying. And the only way to force a transfer was to pay easily the 30 quid to renew the account.

So I waited, and, well, basically, I forgot. Now carpetbaggers have blagged my domain name.

The name itself, I'm not bothered about. I've got which I was thinking of emphasizing anyway. And I'm kind of bored with the name "synaesmedia".

But there are a lot of links breaking now :-(

Zack Lynch looks into Participatory economics and asks what connection it could have with emergent democracy.

Brain Waves: Emergent Democracy, Participatory Economics and Social Software

via Ross Mayfield via Bill Seitz

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

A good interview with Microsoft's in-house sociologist.

Shows how Microsoft are data mining patterns of postings on Usenet and email to try to find useful information.

What are P * Models?

The p* family of models developed by Wasserman and Pattison (1996), Pattison and Wasserman (1999), and Robins, Pattison, and Wasserman (1999) are based on the pathbreaking Markov spatial interaction models for random graphs of Frank and Strauss (1986) and Strauss and Ikeda (1990). These models allow researchers to break free of the severe independence assumptions of earlier statistical models for social networks, permitting a very general dependence structure for the network quantities. Further, the p* formulation allows network measurements to be viewed in a standard response/explanatory variables setting in which the response variable is the log odds of the probability that a relational tie is present. The explanatory variables can be quite general, including network structural properties like the tendency towards mutuality or transitivity; nominal, discrete or continuous actor attributes, as well as the interactions between these elements.

p* Home Page
Excellent, there's now a Wiki tribe : The Wiki Way

Sunday, February 08, 2004

John Robb : The lesson of 9/11 - Iraq was not lost on bin Laden. If they can sucker the US into Saudi Arabia (there are a couple ways to do this that are very counter-intuitive), we will have truly lost.

John Robb's Weblog
Dare Obasanjo : XML is a lousy format for most of the things it is used for. The one benefit it has is that it is widely supported and a guaranteed way to interoperate in a cross-platform manner. By tampering with this the W3C is effectively diluting one of the few benefits of using XML.

Dare Obasanjo aka Carnage4Life - XML 1.1: The W3C Gets It Wrong

via Dave Winer

Dave Winer : Microsoft culture, even though it's PFU, has always been open to other points of view. It's part of the genetic coding. You want to give us free ideas? Sure thing, says Billg's guys and gals.

Scripting News: 2/8/2004
John Robb : This points to a bigger problem. It was common to pick up a book in the eighties (and even earlier) and find smart writers pointing to the coming boom in information service jobs. I don't see that type of forward thinking today as information service jobs are under pressure. What's next? I don't buy into the idea that inward looking jobs (just selling to Americans) are the wave of the future. We need something we can sell to the rest of the world.

One inadvertant strategy (that may be in process) is that we plunge the world in chaos and sell them corporate mercenary services, weapons, and more.

John Robb's Weblog
Dave Winer : The Dean campaign taught us that you can't use the Internet to launch into a successful television campaign to win primaries. By raising money to run ads you play into the gatekeepers, who for obvious financial reasons, have a lot at stake in the money continuing to flow through their bank accounts. At some point he wouldn't need them. If Dean didn't get it, they did. So they proved that in 2004 at least, they still get a veto on who runs for President.

DaveNet : Howard Dean is not a soap bar
What Usability Tsars listen to when we're chillin'.

HCI Rap!

Friday, February 06, 2004

My friend Jason writes : And what's with the nooranch business? I assume this is nooranch as in noosphere, a ranch of ideas or something? Are you going to chase herds of majestic ideas across the pampas and corral them at night?

Well, that's about the size of it. And well put.

Jason also informs me how profitable his online poker playing is turning out to be, as he's won around $4000 since December.

It's an activity that is so crazy and unjustifiable and unhelpful to the world that there's a sick kind of beauty to it. Plus when the hourly rate is a lot better than what you make at your "real" job, you start to ask yourself scary questions.

Indeed. Clearly writing blogs and wikis is the wrong online game to be in.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Aparently there is Marxist Methodological Individualism
Maybe I should try solar webhosting
I've yet to find any good blogs about AI / ALife / Evolutionary Robotics etc. I wonder why?

Is it because

a) good AI / ALife / computational neuroscience researchers don't have the time / inclination to blog?

(Why not, damn you? To all my friends still in academia, why aren't you writing something about your research? How the hell am I supposed to know what's going on?)

b) AI / ALife are dead!

Anyway, I'll be watching Mechanical Spirit to see if it's any good. (And whether the author will get a clue about web-design)

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

BBC NEWS | Brazil falls in love with Linux
Infiltration of files seen as extensive says the Boston Globe.

Build your own cathedral! What are you waiting for?

Don Justo's Self-Built Cathedral: metaphoric learnings for contemporary alternative initiatives


via Anthony Judge (who looks interesting, but daunting to come to terms with)

via Ming
If you plant a bomb in the shopping centre, it's no excuse to say that you didn't intend harm to anyone in particular, because you had no specific target in mind.

ThoughtStorms: TheBombInTheShoppingCentre
Graham : Both the UK and the US entertain the limbo area, in which we are being constantly exposed to hints and clues as to how we could be happy, but in a constant state of frustration and disappointment. ...

One plausible explanation for the outrage is that it took place in a nation that has been "educated" into thinking that sex is fine, so long as the actuality - the most natural and inoffensive parts - is to be constantly avoided.

eXmosis [contains mild violence and copious american stupidity]

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

This wiki spits out RDF metadata from simple wiki markup. The authors also have a paper.

Intriguing idea ...

via Bill Seitz
Rather than try to convince users to start "registering" for Google, why not piggyback on one of the most viral fads going around: a social network application? And, for added effect, make it an invite only system so that you feel special once you're invited.

Jeremy Zawodny's blog: Why Google needs Orkut

via TeledyN

Also ThoughtStorms:TheUserIsThePlatform

Monday, February 02, 2004

Human selfishness is the big question when doing simulations : do you build it in as an axiomatic assumption, and give the game to the right? Or do you leave it out as an axiomatic assumption, and risk people dismissing the work as irrelevant?

What I need is some uncontroversial, plausible, underlying behavioural axioms that can give rise to emergent selfishness in some circumstances, but not in others.

Hilan has a good intuition that it's to do with security : the more secure you feel about the future, the more generous you can afford to be, and the less you horde.

But I'm still working on a way of representing this.


No panic then! BBC NEWS | Earth 'shook off' ancient warming

Just takes about 150,000 years ...