Notes from NOVA: What are dreams?

This documentary examines the question whether dreams are meaningful or not, from a scientific point of view.

It turns out that sleep is a process that proceeds in stages from wakefulness to the deepest level of sleep, level 4. Sleep cycles among those stages:

* Dreams occur during all stages, but they differ in quality. REM dreams are the longest, and the most complex.

arabic internet acronyms

Is there an Arabic equivalent to English Internet acronyms, such as the ones listed here?

Here are the ones I use:

  • AFAIK - as far as I know - على حد علمي او على قدر علمي - ع ح ع لو ع ق ع
  • IIRC - if i recall correctly - ان كانت ذاكرتي صحيحة او على ما اتذكر - ان ك ص او ع م ا
  • IMO - in my opinion - في رأيي - ف ر
  • WYSIWYG - what you see is what you get - anyone?

Please help out on a live site!

Can we open source the whole economy? This book claims to show how!

Now that's a book I want to read:

Christian Siefkes.
From Exchange to Contributions: Generalizing Peer Production into the Physical World.

The netizen's duty as cybrarian

The netizen's civic duty is to contribute to the information stored on the Internet. Preferably with accurate, relevant, and generally high quality content.

In order to contribute information constructively, one needs to find the relevant online systems that will store this new information. That is, online systems that accept submissions from arbitrary users as part of its main data - the equivalent of "crowdsourced" systems.

Arabic verbal forms

NOTE: Please excuse the poor quality of Arabic typography. It is not trivial in the open source world.

By verbal forms I mean syntactic variations on the 3-letter roots that generate both new verbs and new nouns. These variations are used by convention among Arabic speakers.

Such forms qualify the root verb, its primary actors (the subject and the object), and how they relate to the web of facts. In Arabic, "verb" translates as فـﹺـعل literally the "deed" or "action". The relationships between the actors and the facts (places, things, states) are altered in each verbal form.

Prime factors

Like many people, I am obsessed with prime numbers. To understand more about them, I plotted a 2D diagram of the natural numbers, showing for each the prime factors and where they occur. I was astonished to find obvious regularities that, in hindsight, make sense, but that I had never encountered before.

Here's the diagram, made manually on a spreadsheet. I'd love to hear your observations.

Here are mine:

The evolution of God

Early humans considered everything around them as gods: rain, fire, the sun, the moon, animals, you name it. As humans came to understand, one by one, each of these things, the awe they originally felt towards them faded, because understanding is grasping, almost controlling.

All material things thus lost their perceived god-like quality. But still, the **designs** of these things were beyond human understanding: rain, for example, was given by a god to whom one should show reverence in order to obtain rain. When science explained rain, we stopped rain-dancing.

The Gödel question of human psychology

I feel like all the layers are being peeled off
one by one, each dimension resolving into its simplest form, nothingness,
because they all converge towards the same core.

What is art but the expression of our upheaved emotions,
and science but a problem-solving tool, extended into the real world by technology.

Reality itself is malleable, we mold it into what we want, need, desire, indeed will.

The Great Copyright Holder


We are pillaging the universe's intellectual property without a hint of remorse. Did the universe come with a non-reverse-engineering clause? Did we ever bother to ask? Who can we ask?

The hippies tell you it's public domain, while the fundies enforce God's alleged claim. The greedies take it for free and sell it for a profit.

Fractal genes


Fingernails are a small but remarkable part of the human features. Over the years, I've been noticing repeating patterns of fingernails, distributed seemingly randomly among individuals. There are maybe a half-dozen types of fingernail shapes, and individual hands exhibit instances of these types, with feature details more or less emphasized. Individual hands can sometimes even exhibit combinations of different types.

Similarly to morphological features, we can discuss psychological features using patterns.