Monday, July 19, 2010

You know...

You know you're well off when your train of thought leads to thoughts such as this...

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Thanks Mum!

So I really just work better when I am well fed. I was brought up being fed homemade food for the vast majority of my meals, and learning a bit about cooking for myself in the process. This is mostly due to my dear mummy staying at home on a regular basis and spending a fair chunk of time in the kitchen making breakfast, lunch, and dinner for three boys and my dad.

So: Thanks Mum! For staying at home and cooking on a regular basis, and not going out and doing something silly like getting a highly paid job as is your right as an equal citizen. I appreciate this more than anything else, and feel like it is the best thing you could have done for me. I respect you more for this than if you were a published physicist or a successful activist or a rich CEO.

(There's actually another letter like this that I need to write. It's exactly the same as this except it says thank you for: taking me hiking and orienteering and camping, and limiting the access I had to a computer and tv.)

Friday, June 18, 2010


A dollar now is worth less than a dollar 100 years ago. (It can buy less bread)

A Canadian dollar in Canada is worth less than a Canadian dollar in Africa. (It can buy less bread)

A dollar coin in Canada is worth more than a dollar coin in England. (I england I can't buy any bread with a Canadian dollar, I have to exchange it at specialized locations like money exchanges)

Usually, a dollar coin is worth the same as 100 pennies, but:
If I'm in need of a heavy weight, the 100 pennies is worth more than the single dollar coin.

When I'm walking in south Glasgow, and it's getting late, and I need to get home quickly:
9 British pounds in change is worth much more than a 10 pound bill. As I can only get a bus fare with the coins. This means that I am happy to give someone the 10 pound bill for the 9 pounds of change.

Of course, this doesn't just extend to coins and bills. It also applies to anything else.
10 gazillion barrels of oil has a value that depends on it's precise location.
If it's inside a strong pipe, on it's way to a refinery, then it's a very nice thing to be the named owner of. It's worth a lot.

But if it is outside that pipe - hardly more than a couple meters away - seeping into the ocean then it's a very, very bad thing to have in your name.
It could cost you your job.

Friday, May 21, 2010

a script to tweet my experiences into memories

so I started by watching a TED talk on the differences between the 'experiencing self' and the 'remembering self'. The general distinction made was that every moment of you life is interpreted, and responded to, by the part of you that experiences things - while the remembering self if composed of your memories.

So, for example, if your doctor asks you if you can feel anything when she taps your knee, she's talking to your experiencing self. Whereas if she asks how your knee felt after you ran a marathon last weekend, she's talking to your remembering self.

There is some interesting fuzzyness that pops up if you accept this distinction. Example fuzzyness: your decisions in the moment are based on your experiences in the past (you can't say you knee hurts if you don't know what hurting feels like, and if you don't know what your knee usually feels like), and your memories are interpreted and built by your experiences as they happen (everything that is a memory is an experience first).

Anyhoo, I was thinking about this, and then I wanted to post a link to the video to my facebook page. Which immediately struck me as an attempt of my experiencing self (me watching something on the computer) to save/remember/permanentize the experience into my memory (my facebook page, which holds a variable collection of thoughts that I think are worth holding onto and sharing). Thus I saw me and my online presence enacting what the talk was talking about.

The fact that the remembering side of things has been computerized by using facebook ( you could also use files or myspace or twitter) leads me to wonder if the 'deciding what to save' portion could also be computerized. Could write a computer program or script to: evaluate my experiences as they happen, give everything a value, and then post the most 'valued' ones on twitter? It seems at least possible to me with my current ability and experience.

Would this script rely on the memories to evaluate future sets of inputs?
Could the 'experiencing self' be analogous to the environment/program that runs the script in that it just interprets the script line by line and has no real long term memory outside the files it saves (ie it's memories)?
would something like this be some sort of artificial intelligence?