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#467301 06/14/02 09:35 AM
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Has anyone bought this book yet?

I managed to get through chapter 1, and I'm already looking at the world differently.

The Principle of Computational Equivalence is pretty groovy. Kinda puts things in perspective.


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#467302 06/14/02 09:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Curve Dominant:
Has anyone bought this book yet?

I managed to get through chapter 1, and I'm already looking at the world differently.

The Principle of Computational Equivalence is pretty groovy. Kinda puts things in perspective.
(I've got no time at all, but)

Are you talking about the book Steven Wolfram was supposed to be coming out with "forever" ago? Makes everything in existance into a sort of von Neuman machine from a computational logic perspective? There was a thing on him in Scientific American a few years ago, and a lot of what he said made sense in a simply obvious way I thought. Occam's razor as applied to increasingly reduced scale while continuing to ignore aspects of the mechanics of reality - just putting a name on things like "the weak force" and etc. while trying to quantify a seemingly infinite supply of new particles and variations with even more names ("charmed" "up/down") - and make it all come together has to be fundamentally flawed. Physicists aren't explaining anything anymore, they're just naming observed phenomena.

(actually, I know you're talking about Wolfram, because weren't you talking about Mathematica a few months ago?). I hope it's out and it's not hyper-expensive to buy....


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#467303 06/14/02 03:17 PM
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I read the review of this book last weekend and vowed to buy it the next time I'm in town.

Many think that Mathematica is a much better program than the current fave, MatLab, and is also, incidentally, the platform of choice for Duane Wise's work on the MDW EQ.

How bad could the book be?

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#467304 06/14/02 06:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chip McDonald:
Quote:
Originally posted by Curve Dominant:
Has anyone bought this book yet?

I managed to get through chapter 1, and I'm already looking at the world differently.

The Principle of Computational Equivalence is pretty groovy. Kinda puts things in perspective.
(I've got no time at all, but)

Are you talking about the book Steven Wolfram was supposed to be coming out with "forever" ago? Makes everything in existance into a sort of von Neuman machine from a computational logic perspective? There was a thing on him in Scientific American a few years ago, and a lot of what he said made sense in a simply obvious way I thought. Occam's razor as applied to increasingly reduced scale while continuing to ignore aspects of the mechanics of reality - just putting a name on things like "the weak force" and etc. while trying to quantify a seemingly infinite supply of new particles and variations with even more names ("charmed" "up/down") - and make it all come together has to be fundamentally flawed. Physicists aren't explaining anything anymore, they're just naming observed phenomena.

(actually, I know you're talking about Wolfram, because weren't you talking about Mathematica a few months ago?). I hope it's out and it's not hyper-expensive to buy....
Can't help a quick comment about this cos it's something I think a lot about. I agree that the never ending prediction and discovery cycle of the partical physics fraternity smacks of an exponential fall towards total confusion and seems not to describe reality - for me at least. What is interesting is that some of the stuff that these guy's routinely deal with (i.e. duality, entanglement etc) is stranger than magic from an outsider's perspective. But despite all this much of it actually works and is in evidence (or can be tested) in the 'real world'.
I personally feel that actual absolute reality is rather more complex (and even completely different) than all this stuff and we are only scratching the surface and discovering properties of some even more bizarre system we don't understand yet.
I can't help thinking that what all this is telling us is that the fact that something appears to work for us within our own paradigm does not necessarily prove that its a 'truth' about any absolute reality at all. In fact absolute reality may not even exist at all beyond our concept of it?
We could at the limit of imagination be actually making a version of reality within our human science that is explained within the same framework - a sort of self-fulfilling persuit - it works but it's only a construct. In other words, nature will tolerate our science as a valid interpretation running within a wider reality, but it does not describe that reality in itself. A bit like a valid program running fine on a computer operating system and platform, but not describing the whole system at all.

What we feel about reality is actually a human interpretation of what we can glean from the world around us and what we can find out from our logical approaches to scientific discovery and how we can equate these within the bounds of our imaginations. I therefore don't imagine that some other thought process such as the Computational Equivalence principle is more likely to be an absolute truth than any other theory - even if it does appear to be an acceptable proposition from a human perspective.

I remember ages ago reading a book called The Tao of Modern Physics by Fritzoff Capra, where he as a physicist, in awe of the complexity and illogical inferences of the science he was doing, had been prompted to consider that reality was possibly more of a religious entity than a concept we could completely understand. I remember feeling elated after reading it and thinking that finally someone had come up with some truth. But as always, a few weeks later in the cold light of day I had discounted it all as yet another reflection of human awe rather than any more feasible description of reality.

#467305 06/14/02 07:22 PM
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Thanks Paul!

This reality business seems quite exempt from Occam's razor- it's the messiest most convoluted business I know of.
Ted


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#467306 06/14/02 08:02 PM
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Paul Frindle wrote:
"nature will tolerate our science as a valid interpretation running within a wider reality..."

Oh Lord, you are so huge. So...BIG.

#467307 06/14/02 09:29 PM
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Yeah the prediction and discovery of an endless stream of new particles does seem to imply a lack of understanding of something much more fundamental.

However, we need to discover all this detail in order to construct from the observations a more fundamental concept of what is really going on. The physicists aren't off the trail- they are just not at the end of the hike yet. We need to grope through the chaos in order to stumble on the higher order view of what's really happening.

Even Einstein used emperical observations to shape his views - although he also pushed the envelope by suggesting a theory with significant implications that had not yet been observed.

Regarding the book "The Toa of Physics" by Frijit Capra. Great book. As I recall it's main poiint was not the subjectivity of reality but the degree to which eastern religious concepts tended to have direct counter parts in the world of advance physics. The subjectivity of reality was just one example amongst many.


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#467308 06/14/02 09:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Paul Frindle:
[QBI can't help thinking that what all this is telling us is that the fact that something appears to work for us within our own paradigm does not necessarily prove that its a 'truth' about any absolute reality at all. In fact absolute reality may not even exist at all beyond our concept of it?[/QB]
Was "The Matrix"...just a cool movie or...?


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#467309 06/14/02 11:50 PM
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GM,

Thanks for the feedback about Mathematica; I would like to get this for the Curve Lab (after we raise $$$ for the 20 other things that are before it on my lab requisition). But, yeah, get the book, you'll love it. Even if he doesn't re-invent all of science as he claims to, it's still a very interesting read.

Quote:
posted by Kendrix:
However, we need to discover all this detail in order to construct from the observations a more fundamental concept of what is really going on. The physicists aren't off the trail- they are just not at the end of the hike yet. We need to grope through the chaos in order to stumble on the higher order view of what's really happening.
Wolfram claims mainstream physicists are not simply off the trail, rather they are headed totally in the wrong direction. I have a nagging suspicioun he's right, although I really would like delve more into his book before I start trying to explain it here (it's 1200+ pages, by the way).

But at first glance, it seems Wolfram is going back, to find the simple beginnings of complex systems for explainations, rather than continuing the ongoing search for observing the end results of those processes (which is endless, hence Computational Equivalence). For example, normally physicists would seek to explain to us their finest possible observations of thermodynamic behavior; Wolfram claims to explain how it arises in the first place (I haven't gotten to that chapter yet, so don't ask); furthermore, Wolfram claims his techniques for this discovery can be applied to all scientific fields, from molecular biology to astrophysics.

Chip,

ANKOS is $45US, beautifully printed and bound. There was just one printer - in Canada actually, Toronto I think - that Wolfram trusted to accurately print his illustrations of the cellular automata experiments. They did a fantastic job, IMO. Every 1200+ page is of a semi-glossy fine resolution paper, and the highly detailed diagrams and illutrations are very clear. And it took him 15 years to write it, so $45 is cheap for this book, but Wolfram became a millionaire off of Mathematica, so he probably was feeling generous or something.

Paul, you wrote:
Quote:
We could at the limit of imagination be actually making a version of reality within our human science that is explained within the same framework - a sort of self-fulfilling persuit - it works but it's only a construct. In other words, nature will tolerate our science as a valid interpretation running within a wider reality, but it does not describe that reality in itself. A bit like a valid program running fine on a computer operating system and platform, but not describing the whole system at all.
Like I stated earlier I should read further, but it seems you and Wolfram are on the same page in this regard; he terms this the "irreducibility" of complex systems.


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#467310 06/15/02 03:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by miroslav:
Quote:
Originally posted by Paul Frindle:
[QBI can't help thinking that what all this is telling us is that the fact that something appears to work for us within our own paradigm does not necessarily prove that its a 'truth' about any absolute reality at all. In fact absolute reality may not even exist at all beyond our concept of it?
Was "The Matrix"...just a cool movie or...? [/QB]
Guy's I'm going to have to admit my ignorance, I've never seen The Matrix and I didn't know that Wolfram had written anything other than computer programs (BTW I fiddle around with Mathmatica too). However I would like to get this book if I can find it - fascinating stuff it seems.

For whoever it was that mentioned Einstein and the importance of continuing the pursuit of classical science - I couldn't agree more. Our science is an absolutely essential and indispensible tool for us and I have immense respect for both it and those that push the boundaries.
IMVHO the real genius of Einstein (and co) was to force the barriers of our understanding beyond what seemed logical and 'real' by working with new concepts, despite the fact that they seemed so counter intuitive. It was surely this work that first exposed us to the fragility of our common view of reality by demonstrating another modified version that was crucially both derived and substantiated by the use of our own logical processes. IMO relativity and the unsettling ramifications of it was the turning point that instilled a higher level of thought amongst us all and established a new kind of intellectual dimension. It was the bombshell that challenged our confidence in reality and inspired the intense need to re-establish a 'reality of everything' on our own terms, which fuels the efforts we are questioning here.
Whats most interesting about this in hindsight is that the fundamental concept behind it was so simple - but it took a genius to 'run' with the idea to its conclusion - because it ran counter to a common human view of reality. I suppose what troubles me about this most is that I perceive that we humans have a kind of love of complexity in which we seem to derive comfort from constructing ever more complex models and systems within the bounds of the principles we have discovered - as if we need to in some measure conquer each concept and make it our own. We do this quite naturally but basically it's an introspective activity that can serve to obscure the wider picture and could therefore be viewed as reductionist, despite being highly intellectually challenging.
But to install another completely different concept seems inordinately difficult - even if it is intellectually simple in comparison with what we are doing everyday. I think this illustrates a kind of 'blinker' on common human intelligence that restricts us. Therefore IMO what defines genius is the ability to breach this barrier and imagine that something relatively simple (or even apparently trivial) but beyond our current understanding could imply something of great importance - however uncomfortable (and unpopular) that concept may be.

#467311 06/15/02 05:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Paul Frindle:
…I've never seen The Matrix…
“The Matrix” in a nutshell…
Perceived human reality is just a computer program (the matrix), generated by machines.

I think you would enjoy the movie…great FX…I believe there is a follow-up in the making.

Quote:
I suppose what troubles me about this most is that I perceive that we humans have a kind of love of complexity in which we seem to derive comfort from constructing ever more complex models and systems within the bounds of the principles we have discovered - as if we need to in some measure conquer each concept and make it our own. We do this quite naturally but basically it's an introspective activity that can serve to obscure the wider picture and could therefore be viewed as reductionist, despite being highly intellectually challenging.
Do you think our (human) intelligence might actually be an impediment toward this wider picture…the classic “can't see the forest for the trees” syndrome?

I wonder if animals are actually ahead of us in this area…not that anyone really knows what they are thinking about…but they don't appear to be burdened with concepts of ever increasing complexity. And, it appears that to them, some of the most basic concepts of reality…life and death…are not even part of their thought process…at least from what we humans can tell anyway…

Quote:
Therefore IMO what defines genius is the ability to breach this barrier and imagine that something relatively simple (or even apparently trivial) but beyond our current understanding could imply something of great importance - however uncomfortable (and unpopular) that concept may be.
Something as simple as the monolith in “Space Odyssey 2001 and 2010”...?

Is it possible that science will NOT be able to provide the final answers…but through philosophy and religion…and I have no clue which religion….maybe the Buddhists are on to something, I don't know…my faith is actually anchored mostly in science.

It might even be a bit comforting accepting the reality that science will probably not be able to provide any answers during my conscious lifetime…it kind of frees up the mind to pursue more immediate goals.

Just the concept that space folds back onto itself is enough to completely twist your mind and reality!
Does “time” even exist outside of our reality. Eternity might be just a millisecond that never ends…?


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#467312 06/15/02 06:15 AM
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Sounds like an interesting book Curvish. What fascintes me is not what we see but what makes us see WHAT we see. For instance, if you were looking through a telescope with a frosted lens and all the telescopes in the world were made that way you would have a lot different idea of the universe than someone who has access to The Hubble Telescope. What I'm saying is, what if our perception of the world is somehow impaired or unrefined and........

Fuck it. Let's crank up our amps and jam.

#467313 06/15/02 06:29 AM
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Quote:
posted by Paul Frindle:
Guy's I'm going to have to admit my ignorance, I've never seen The Matrix and I didn't know that Wolfram had written anything other than computer programs (BTW I fiddle around with Mathmatica too). However I would like to get this book if I can find it - fascinating stuff it seems.
Paul,

First off, I predict you will enjoy reading Wolfram's book. From the sketchy impressions I have of it so far, compared to what you've been posting, I have a strong feeling that you and Wolfram are standing firmly on the same ground. Here's why...and again I quote you:

Quote:
IMVHO the real genius of Einstein (and co) was to force the barriers of our understanding beyond what seemed logical and 'real' by working with new concepts, despite the fact that they seemed so counter intuitive. It was surely this work that first exposed us to the fragility of our common view of reality by demonstrating another modified version that was crucially both derived and substantiated by the use of our own logical processes. IMO relativity and the unsettling ramifications of it was the turning point that instilled a higher level of thought amongst us all and established a new kind of intellectual dimension. It was the bombshell that challenged our confidence in reality and inspired the intense need to re-establish a 'reality of everything' on our own terms, which fuels the efforts we are questioning here.
Wolfram's contention is equally counter-intuitive to common assumptions of "reality," and yet has an obviousness about it that seems to show how we previously couldn't "see the trees for the forrest" with our previous paradigm of thinking about, percieving and analysing nature in all of its "percieved" complexity. This is what seems to me to be at the heart of the Principle of Computational Equivalence: complex systems seem complex only because our perceptual and analytical systems of measuring them is equally complex.

Quote:
Whats most interesting about this in hindsight is that the fundamental concept behind it was so simple - but it took a genius to 'run' with the idea to its conclusion - because it ran counter to a common human view of reality. I suppose what troubles me about this most is that I perceive that we humans have a kind of love of complexity in which we seem to derive comfort from constructing ever more complex models and systems within the bounds of the principles we have discovered - as if we need to in some measure conquer each concept and make it our own. We do this quite naturally but basically it's an introspective activity that can serve to obscure the wider picture and could therefore be viewed as reductionist, despite being highly intellectually challenging.
Wolfram claims to have done an "end-run" around and above (or behind...fill in your choice of analogy here ___ ) the natural and common human tendancy to establish complexity. He went searching for the simple roots of complex systems...Actually no, he stumbled upon it, (and makes this clear in the first chapter of ANKOS); then he went searching for it, and apparently found it. This was achieved through his experiments with cellular automata. He ran a simple cellular automata program that should have revealed a simple result, but instead yielded a highly complex and random result, which lead to his suspicion that complex systems have simple beginnings. He then took that ball and ran with it, for 15 years, running cellular automata experiments to explore this discovery. It's all in the book, which like I've stated, I haven't read in its entirety yet.

(A note to those of you lurking: Stephen Wolfram is...correction: one of several pioneers in the field of complex systems studies; apologies to Teller for insulting his intelligence.)

Quote:
But to install another completely different concept seems inordinately difficult - even if it is intellectually simple in comparison with what we are doing everyday. I think this illustrates a kind of 'blinker' on common human intelligence that restricts us. Therefore IMO what defines genius is the ability to breach this barrier and imagine that something relatively simple (or even apparently trivial) but beyond our current understanding could imply something of great importance - however uncomfortable (and unpopular) that concept may be.
Well, yes, inordinately difficult...it took him 15 years, but Wolfram claims to have done just that, and has proclaimed so brashly, and yet fully acknowledging how uncomfortable and unpopular his discoveries will be recieved as. There is already a sort of Maginot Line forming in the scientific community over his theories. Once the theologists start getting the drift...look out. At least Einstein deferred to "God" by saying "He doesn't play dice..." Wolfram, on the other hand, holds no quarter for "God." Or for any other previously held scientific assumption, for that matter.

Personally, I find Wolfram's discoveries quite liberating. There's a certain joy in seeing the world as an assymetrical and chaotic result of simple beginnings. I look at trees as an example: when I bike through Fairmount Park now, I look at the trees in succesion as I'm biking by them; no two look alike, but viewed in succesion over time, a symmetry emerges.

As such with human nature: over time, patterns emerge. Free will takes on a new meaning. If we are the complex result of a simple program, then logically, simple adjustments to our behavior will lead to complex changes in our destiny - Computational Equivalence. Pretty groovy, if you ask The Curve.

An aside...

It's interesting that Wolfram wrote Mathematica, and then used it as a platform for his discoveries. All of his cellular automata experiments were done in his own program, which is a world-standard for computational math - kinda like ProTools! (OOH! I know I'm going to get flamed for that!)

All that having been said, there's nothing a bottle of good 10y/o cabernet sauvingon won't solve...

Happy reading!


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#467314 06/15/02 04:42 PM
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I don't know if the book proposes something new or is the work of a plagiarist. This book has generated so much controversy that I want to get my hands on it at some point.

Here's Ray Kurzweil's review of the book.

Wired's June 2002 review of A New Kind of Science.

Curve, have you read any works by Mandelbrot, James Gleick, Ian Stewart...?

If you're interested in CA and Chaos Theory, check out Rudy Rucker\'s website .

Cool CA site here .

Quote:
(A note to those of you lurking: Stephen Wolfram practically invented the field of complex systems studies; for more info, search Google for Stephen Wolfram.)
Surely, You're Joking, Mr. Dominant! for more info, search Google for John von Neumann, Stanislaw Ulam, John Horton Conway, Richard Feynman, Poincare, Benoit Mandelbrot, Seth Lloyd...

Quote:
Wolfram's contention is equally counter-intuitive to common assumptions of "reality," and yet has an obviousness about it that seems to show how we previously couldn't "see the trees for the forrest" with our previous paradigm of thinking about, percieving and analysing nature in all of its "percieved" complexity. This is what seems to me to be at the heart of the Principle of Computational Equivalence:
Is this really such a new idea?


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#467315 06/15/02 08:27 PM
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"IMVHO the real genius of Einstein (and co) was to force the barriers of our understanding beyond what seemed logical and 'real' by working with new concepts, despite the fact that they seemed so counter intuitive. "

That's just pure balls is what that is! :p
I agree, Paul, that is a big precedent, and as I tend to be the type to follow my vision to the limit, and let the naysayers fall by the wayside, I follow this precedent too. I have to think that someone like John Coltrane was emboldened by this example to pursue his vision as far as it would take him, regardless of what anyone thought about it!
Geez, with you around I sure don't have to add much.
Ted


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#467316 06/15/02 09:16 PM
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Just thinking a bit further on the whole “matrix” scenario…

Could it be the ultimately it will be machines that actually discover human “reality”?
I don't mean specifically like in the movie…but we are building more powerful computer systems every day…to the ultimate possibility that true artificial intelligence will one day be created.

At that point, this new artificial intelligence, unbound by human emotion and irrationality, possibly without any sense of “self' as we humans have…might discover the more simpler, wider picture of our human reality…or at least point us in a new direction…


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#467317 06/16/02 11:57 AM
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the further you look inwards and and the further you look outwards, when out returns to in, you figure it all out.... how many tangents you take determines how long that journey may be.

looking foward to reading this. thanks curve.


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#467318 06/17/02 12:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by miroslav:
Just thinking a bit further on the whole “matrix” scenario…

Could it be the ultimately it will be machines that actually discover human “reality”?
I don't mean specifically like in the movie…but we are building more powerful computer systems every day…to the ultimate possibility that true artificial intelligence will one day be created.

At that point, this new artificial intelligence, unbound by human emotion and irrationality, possibly without any sense of “self' as we humans have…might discover the more simpler, wider picture of our human reality…or at least point us in a new direction…
Even the things my dog can do make the most powerful computers seem light years away from profound AI. I look at all the objects on my desk of different color and texture and consider how quickly I can analyze them in various contexts, how I can look up into a forest full of trees and distinguish small birds from rustling leaves - I think about athletes performing instant trajectory calculations, accurately accounting for wind, their own current motion, managing physics in a split second that they probably don't even consciously know the basis of, and them my DAW can't find a plug-in and can't even tell which damn one is missing I'm not significantly impressed yet.

Like the guy said, "they promised us flying cars - where are the flying cars?".


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well now they're saying the speed of light is not a constant. if true, that kind of puts a lot of physics in the crapper...

-d. gauss

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Quote:
Originally posted by Curve Dominant:
Quote:
posted by Paul Frindle:
Guy's I'm going to have to admit my ignorance, I've never seen The Matrix and I didn't know that Wolfram had written anything other than computer programs (BTW I fiddle around with Mathmatica too). However I would like to get this book if I can find it - fascinating stuff it seems.
Paul,

All that having been said, there's nothing a bottle of good 10y/o cabernet sauvingon won't solve...

Happy reading!
Dear Curve.

Thanks for all this - fascinating stuff that has been making me think in my spare moments for the last 2 days. Although my thinking is a bit suspect at the moment cos a broken rib has prevented me sleeping in a bed for 1 week now! Anyway 2 things in your post stand out in my mind and ring loud bells for me.

Quote:
Personally, I find Wolfram's discoveries quite liberating. There's a certain joy in seeing the world as an assymetrical and chaotic result of simple beginnings. I look at trees as an example: when I bike through Fairmount Park now, I look at the trees in succesion as I'm biking by them; no two look alike, but viewed in succesion over time, a symmetry emerges.
Yes!!

First of all the hoo-ha surrounding chaos theory around 10years back, as the scientific fraternity reacted with disdain at the idea that unpredictable behaviour could result from amazingly simple systems. IMHO A good illustration of our 'expected' human perception that says (quite wrongly) that the more complex a system is the more prone to choatic behaviour it is. And of course the flotilla of books on chaos that quickly followed this - serving to concretise the idea that we understand it all again - honest guy's really we do.

This also goes along with the notion that the more we research something and the more we describe it in human terms the more we understand it. Not so IME, the addition of human constructs onto a phenomenon can actually serve to give the impression that we 'know it' without any actual fundamental understanding of how or why it happens. We analyse and use it but thats not the same as truly understanding it. Language doesn't help us much in this either because the apportioning of words and terms to a subject invokes a feeling of comfort and understanding which may not be justified. How many times have we come across Hi-Fi buffs who use the correct language and jargon and convey the idea that they know their subject with confidence, but to any informed person they are talking utter clap-trap?

The other (IMVHO) terribly important concept you mention is the emerging pattern in the trees passed on your way to work. Yes and yes again! I have gone on about stuff at this level before in another post and won't repeat myself here (enough people think I'm crazy already), but there is really something there IMO and not just there either. Go somewhere really quiet for an afternoon and look around at all this and search deep within yourself to unearth what you really feel about it all - if you can strip away the dross of a lifetime of human interpretation, suggestion and 'noise':-)

Yep I am a looney and a good bottle of Merlot would probably do me some good too.

#467321 06/17/02 03:09 AM
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or a good strong dose of acid \:D


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#467322 06/17/02 03:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by = stevepow =:
...I'm not significantly impressed yet.

Like the guy said, "they promised us flying cars - where are the flying cars?".
Hehehe...yeah, when I was a kid...I use to think about what was going to be possible by the year 2000...flying cars...but of course!!!

And now here we are...no flying cars.

I said, ultimately it might be machines,...but that could be 100 or 1000 years from now, if we don't exterminate ourselves off the planet...I'll never see it.

Yeah alpha,

During my youth, many a night and/or day were spent with my buddies "expanding" our minds...and then contemplating life, the cosmos...and how to get into "Suzy's" pants...

...and back then...we never figured out any of it... ;\)


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#467323 06/17/02 04:29 AM
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well did ya at least get in suzy's pants?


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"if god is truly just, i tremble for the fate of my country" -thomas jefferson
#467324 06/17/02 06:59 AM
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Did you spike the water supply again alphajerk...


-soundphaRm studios-
#467325 06/17/02 03:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by alphajerk:
well did ya at least get in suzy's pants?
"Suzy" will always be "the one that got away"...

... but it's good to have a few of those...keeps the imagination active! :p


miroslav - miroslavmusic.com

"Just because it happened to you, it doesn't mean it's important."
#467326 06/17/02 05:36 PM
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Paul, you're killing me! \:D
My mama always told me, "a wise man knows how much he doesn't know."
Another quote I like, from Morris West: "Faith is what makes mystery tolerable."
Well I must have some faith, because I love living in, to quote a friend's lyrics, "my own unfolding world of mystery.."

I went to Crater Lake, and immediately was lost in contemplation of the unknowable.
All the National Parks types were busy quantifying like nuts, telling us how deep the lake was to the inch (right, with all that shifting silt down there :rolleyes: ) and why it was so blue (which explanation had been repeated so many times it simply did not follow!).
Everybody goes there, has this religious experience of wonder and awe, and they try their damnedest to explain it away!
Effective antidote: Blow trumpet off the cliff edge and listen to the echoes...

I have an unusual masonry stove in my house, a kachelofen, designed by the only guy in the States who can design such wonders with each a unique design. Quite a trick, the smoke goes up, DOWN, thirty two feet flat on the floor, and then up the chimney, instead of one foot straight out the open firebox door. Totally passive, only moving part is the door.
The Germans have tried to come up with computer models of the proportions of working ones, but no dice, it must be engineered by a human, in this case no paper involved, the human sitting on a cement bucket smoking a j, wearing a railroad engineer's cap backwards, to show that he does backwards engineering.
He told me it's a sense of proportion like a human body, a leg so big compared to an arm, a million possible variations but you know when it's right or when the proportions are off.
Ted


A WOP BOP A LU BOP, A LOP BAM BOOM!

"There is nothing I regret so much as my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well?" -Henry David Thoreau
#467327 06/17/02 07:41 PM
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Hofstadter's "Godel, Escher, Bach", written in the late 70s, contains many of the same insights Wolfram seems to be talking about. What all 3 of the titular figures' work have in common is the building of complex, self-referential, paradoxical structures from simple elements. Godel established that any formal system (i.e. a logical symbolic language) that can represent basic facts of number theory, by that power, can be used to create unresolvable self-references, i.e. paradox.

To me the real question is not "is Wolfram right?" but "what has prevented this line of research from being pursued in the past 20 years?"

As for the speculation that this may be some transcendental paradigm shift, (which always appeals to intuitive/creative thinkers) I'm inclined to reserve judgement until at least one appreciably subtle, complex system has been created based on this groundwork.
--za

#467328 06/18/02 01:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by alphajerk:
or a good strong dose of acid \:D
LOL! Yeah I could sure do with some mind/pain numbing stuff now!

#467329 06/18/02 01:45 AM
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Ted,

You have a Kachelofen? Holy cow!! You ARE my spiritual twin! Those things RULE! And the best part is you can burn kindling in it... so when you get old you don't have to chop wood. \:\)

My dream is to build an underground house and heat it with a kachelofen. You can build a bread oven into them too.

Ted, you rock.

--Lee

#467330 06/18/02 11:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lee Flier:
Ted,

You have a Kachelofen? Holy cow!! You ARE my spiritual twin! Those things RULE! And the best part is you can burn kindling in it... so when you get old you don't have to chop wood. \:\)

My dream is to build an underground house and heat it with a kachelofen. You can build a bread oven into them too.

Ted, you rock.

--Lee
And I think he plays the drums - whoaaaaaa


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