Elements of a cosmogony

  • The probability of a universe with evolution baked in must be very rare indeed. The rarer the event, the higher its complexity (or so says the computational complexity paradigm). Therefore, we live in a highly complex universe.
  • Our grasp of this complexity, in other words our awareness of it, is slowly building. But our current assessment is that awareness can still grow indefinitely, maybe infinitely, more. Therefore, the complexity of the universe is currently beyond our awareness.

All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace - Adam Curtis 2011 ⍟⍟⍟⍟⍟

Ayn Rand's demise started when she was unable to uphold her own philosophy, collapsing in front of her lover Nathaniel Branden and accusing him of immorality for leaving her for a younger woman. Wasn't he acting out of "rational" self-interest?

Chronicle (2012) - Josh Trank ✩✩✩

Surprisingly good movie. The new breed of sci-fi introduces a single extraordinary element and explores the logical repercussions in today's world. In this case, superhuman telekinetic power is used by 3 high-school seniors in progressively more dramatic situations, caused by their social-psychological context.

Believability is for me a key element of a movie. I feel willing to suspend my disbelief for extraordinary elements - those that do not fit our daily experience - as long as:

  • The extraordinary element is localized, easily graspable

الساحر (٢٠٠١) - رضوان الكاشف ✩✩✩✩


Movie with Mahmoud Abdel-Aziz, Menna Shalabi, Gamil Ratib, Sari El-Naggar, Mika. From my karass :-)

Information overload

Dealing with information overload: optimize the usage of signs.
Processing information means extracting it, transforming it, storing it and indexing it for later retrieval.
Indexing means referring to an information set via a key. This key is a sign to the original information.


Semantic hijacking for mass manipulation

One core tenet of media is "the more you repeat something, the more people will believe it." This is why we are bombarded with advertising - so that the brand name occupies a larger region of our minds.

Unfortunately, whereas advertising is simply driven by the desire for profit, other applications of media are even less commendable. I am referring to the political uses of media, that have given us among others the first tragedy of the 21st century, 9/11, as the century had just been born.

How does media - the discipline - manage such success?

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.

Kandinsky? Da Vinci?


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 burning question


The burning question on everyone's mind should be: is there something we can smoke that's actually good for us?