Integration and derivation

I'm coming one step closer to understanding the mysterious (to me) concepts of integration and differentiation/derivation.

For many years, I associated integration with learning. Today I may know why.

In the nervous system, nerve cells remember their state across several combinations of circuits. Through this basic learning step repeated across rows and layers of connected cells, sensory input data is synthesized, summarized, generalized, classified, matched into hierarchical structures, modules.

Humour on the Web

More than anywhere else, humour on the Web is constructed socially: an initial utterance is responded to, and so on in a chain that builds up the joke.

Witness Slashdot for some hilarious commenting activity where the initial article, the seed information, only serves to elicit the responses from the community. Responses are typically orthogonal to the original article and experienced commenters answer each other, building up the humorous threads of response.

Network obsessions

Graph theory is the study of networks (or is it?)

Networks are the most generic tool to model information (or are they?)

Networks/graphs and databases

SQL is a language to query relational databases (i.e. graphs?) however the relational part is not expressive enough to allow complex multi-relational queries. Graph databases such as neo4j address that problem, but introduce a whole new language of data retrieval that has its own inefficiencies.

The perfect information

A man [M] was given information by a supreme intelligence [A], via an emissary [J]. This man relayed this information to his peers [P] by oral recitation. Over decades, these oral recitations were collected in a book [Q].

Is the book a perfect replica of the original information?
A -> J -> M -> P -> Q (-> Publishing -> Us)

The law of diminishing information stipulates that the original information diminishes at each step, or at most remains the same.

Kandinsky? Da Vinci?


The missing link

Mutation is often cited as the main driver of evolution's diversification (last paragraph). But as a problem-solving tool, mutation is extremely inefficient, being equivalent to random guesses about every problem, regardless of experience.

There is a missing link between the evolution of the species and its adaptation to the environment. For the DNA of a species to evolve to have certain characteristics that are adapted to its current environment, there has to be a change that is introduced to the DNA.

Some serious blasphemy

According to this translation of the Quran:


Without (belief in) God, life is torment within torment, intellect is pure retribution, ambitions are pure pain, attainments are losses, union is separation, love is suffering, pleasure is distress, and knowledge is whim. He is the cure for the afflicted, and the remedy for wounded hearts. Hearts attain peace and come to rest by remembering and mentioning Him.

Self-replicating Linux


I often wonder whether computers will one day be alive... is this a serious condition Doctor? This of course begs the question of what life is, something that we don't have a simple answer for. We can certainly talk about the features of being alive, as far as we can see.

One of them is self-replication. The ability of living cells (of any size) to expand geographically by creating copies of themselves that colonize the neighbourhood. Scary, but true.

Well, what if Linux could self-replicate?

Business -1: Linux flavours

The power of Linux comes from its adaptability (to the will of the system administrator). That's what Windows and MacOS X cannot offer. Instead, they offer a one-size-fits-all solution. Linux, on the other hand, offers a multitude of distros (cf DistroWatch

The problem is that it takes a long time and/or a lot of experience to achieve the customization of Linux needed for one's evolving needs, let alone a whole society's. If we want the Linux userbase to grow, all users shouldn't be required to be system administrators.

My home entertainment system (actual and ideal)

I care about my entertainment system. I'm looking for flexibility and extensibility.

Usage scenarios


  • Watching a video on DVD
  • Watching a video on computer file
  • Watching an online video
  • Watching a cable/satellite channel


  • Listening to shuffled audio stream
  • Listening to thematically shuffled audio stream
  • Listening to a specific audio track/album


  • Watching a thematic stream of online pictures
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