MikeA

MikeA

  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    > which offers the trivial solution of a centrifuge. Of course the decades of maintenance and supply of spare parts is also trivial. Indeed it is. A rotating ship is itself a centrifuge. What extra maintenance and spare parts do...
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    That scenario is entirely artificial Sure. That's why I said that in this case you can simply reject the assumptions. But remember -- it is only an analogue of the actual problem, intended to show its shape without getting swamped...
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    There would seem to be much confusion about Penrose's argument. Fortunately, the difficulty he (and yes, Lucas too) is tying to point out, can be illustrated on a lovely analogue of Goedel's sentence G, due to Raymond Smullyan. It goes...
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    No, I am NOT referring to those, but to FAR more advanced modelling techniques. In such a case you will need to enlighten me as to what you do mean....
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    > but I do wonder how many languages would accept that construction these days??? C does. In fact, perhaps because of my mathematical background, I much prefer *(array + n) to array[n]. To my mind it's somehow more intuitively transparent....
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    Better methods than brute force were known in the 1960s, and sometimes used Sure, various ad-hoc heuristics with backtracking and ways of pruning search trees. Been there, done that. :-) Essentially, we do not disagree, it's just that you put...
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    When it comes to higher-level functions, including consciousness, imagination, abstraction and genuine intelligence, we still don't have a clue. The claims that computers have shown signs of such things are, at best, wishful thinking. Go aficionados tend to disagree. Some...
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    Implications: you can't send shaved apes interstellar without taking a pocket-sized black hole with you, or maybe a big-ass generation ship. Of course, you would have to hand-wave away the Equivalence Principle, which offers the trivial solution of a centrifuge....
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    Well, yeas and no, Yer Honour! :-) Yes, human brains have been stupendously optimised by evolution, but it probably is a stupendously optimised mess -- because, as you say, evolution cannot backtrack (except by chance) and will continue elaborating existing...
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    Yes. He said that in the Emperor's New Drivel. Ah, OK. I confess I just leafed through that, having come across Shadows first. I have bought a cheap copy of Shadows I'd better dig out my copy. :-) It's been...
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    His blithering about quantum gravity is simply bullshitting - we don't know how they interact, and there is absolutely NO evidence the brain operates non-classically, let alone in a way such a subtle effect could make a difference - also,...
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    One possible problem is the "it must be quantum" argument. That's a separate issue. Penrose's argument that human mind must be non-algorithmic has nothing to do with his subsequent suggestion of some unspecified non-algorithmic quantum magic happening in microtubules. If...
  • Commented on "It'll all be over by Christmas" (Part 2)
    I looked through the Emperor's New Drivel, to see what argument he supplied for claiming that the human mind was not subject to a Goedel/Turing limit, and found it (misquoted from memory, in its completeness): Because the human mind is...
  • Commented on Cough Cough
    Just breaking cover very briefly, in support of Elderly Cynic. I worked for many years as a statistician and an IT expert with a biology/genetics/bionformatics crowd and I can confirm that population-specific variations of immunity are scientifically entirely uncontroversial. A...
  • Commented on Yet another novel I will no longer write
    Like all analogies, it only goes so far, and that change was at least as drastic as the evolution of the eukaryote cell. Indeed. But it does not have to be drastic. On small, subtle scales it goes on all...
  • Commented on Yet another novel I will no longer write
    Actually, water DOES shape the landscape Sure. Which is why I said "in ways which water cannot possibly do". An extreme example: once early life poisoned itself with oxygen, this upended the evolutionary landscape good and proper, in ways which...
  • Commented on Yet another novel I will no longer write
    For what it's worth the orange headed sewage-for-brains running this country as decided that the middle of a pandemic is the perfect time to stop contributing to funding for the World Health Organization. I wonder how much of a kickback...
  • Commented on Yet another novel I will no longer write
    The downhill/water analogy is *way* more intuitive than the more common one of hill climbing. But both have the same snag in ignoring the fact that evolution is both shaped by the evolutionary landscape (as water running downhill) but also...
  • Commented on Infomercial Interlude
    Re The Last Bug... Good, but you cannot beat The Story of Mel for it nostalgia. :-) http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/story-of-mel.html...
  • Commented on So you think you can be a reality TV producer
    The WashPost responded to the EU GDPR by basically blocking all readers in the EU (and UK) because they didn't want to observe our legally-mandated privacy rights. You surprise me. I read WashPost nearly daily, having paid the modest annual...
  • Commented on Introducing Dead Lies Dreaming
    Graydon, Just curious? Why don't you publish your books on Smashwords? It doesn't cost anything and I know somebody who had a *much* better result through them than through Amazon. With your consent they will distribute your books to other...
  • Commented on Artificial Intelligence: Threat or Menace?
    While I agree entirely with the overall drift of that analysis, I don't think the problem is all that new. We already have plenty of "black box" components in our IT systems. I may have a notion of the general...
  • Commented on The obligatory general election discussion post
    Knowing a fair amount of Russian, he joined the Czech crowds and yelled at the tank crews. My parents were Russian emigrees so I was (still am) fluent in both Czech and Russian. I wound up talking to Russian soldiers,...
  • Commented on The obligatory general election discussion post
    Then we agree. I've lost count of my attempts to explain to people (amateur philosophers in particular, though some professionals too) that mathematics took flight roughly in mid-19C, generalising from numbers to higher abstract levels. It irritates me no end...
  • Commented on The obligatory general election discussion post
    >968 in Prague -- do I need to say more? Oh, my goodness. I've read stories, yes. 'Distracting' is as mild a word as could be used. Let's say it was an interesting time. :-) And in the end as...
  • Commented on The obligatory general election discussion post
    For my money the whole "unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics" line of reasoning is misconceived. (NB: mathematics and physics were my academic subjects, prior to a career in IT.) One can build excellent scale models of real life buildings out of...
  • Commented on The obligatory general election discussion post
    > Incidentally dowsing works Oh yeah? You claim personal testimony - observation or claiming your self? Well, I *do* claiming it as a personal testimony. Having started out as a sceptic, experience persuaded me otherwise. We did quite a bit...
  • Commented on The obligatory general election discussion post
    The WHOLE OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY rests on that "assumption":"As yesterday, so today & again tomorrow" And more generally, there is the Duhem-Quine Thesis: "All observation is theory laden". See e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duhem%E2%80%93Quine_thesis...
  • Commented on The obligatory general election discussion post
    Verlinde's entropic gravity requires anti-de Sitter space, which our space-time ain't. Consequently it is entirely unclear whether it has anything to do with what we know as gravity....
  • Commented on The obligatory general election discussion post
    I was lucky that I got a phone number that's a string in pi. Same here, but probably no luck involved. Pi is generally believed to be a "normal" number (as are almost all real numbers). If so, any string...
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