Archive for June, 2016

Event driven NNs, the internet, meh

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

So, I was watching vihart’s channel, and I came across

I didn’t make it all the way through the video. Perhaps at some point I will. I’m not really over being sad about all the horrific things that have been happening lately – it seems like when I decided to stop following the news, the news decided to start following me. Everyone on facebook feels duty bound to make facebook not the news feed of what my friends and family are up to, but the alternative news feed about what the world is up to. And yet, in the hopes of seeing little bits of contact from my friends I feel I speak to far too little and spend far too little time talking to, I keep feeling drawn to it.

That’s not what I’m here to talk about today.

I recently brought up the idea that we are neural networks, and neural networks are event driven, and thusly the concrete existence of guns may generate what I would refer to as ‘gun events’ in our minds and thusly fuel shooting. I’m also thinking that with the internet in general, and facebook in particular, we’re perpetually stuck in what I’ll call ‘tragedy events’. And so my mind is constantly reacting to the fact that, really, there are awful things happening all over the place all the time.

After I watched about half of that video, I was reminded both that vihart would likely automatically hate me if she knew me, and that we’ve built a really broken system. We’ve got all these concepts flying around that as they merge together, more or less guarantee misery for all. I could spend some time identifying them, and perhaps I will do so later, but right now I’m feeling too miserable to put my finger on them, other than to comment that perhaps the womens and the mens should contemplate that both sides are made equally miserable by the current battle of the sexes. I am sure there are many female types who would assert that in fact the men have it all their way and the women have nothing and are downtrodden but I don’t agree. I think both sides are not getting what they want and need. Of course, I could probably identify the same situation with republicans and democrats. And very likely with the 99% and the 1%. And just about anywhere things get broken into ‘us’ and ‘them’, both ‘us’ and ‘them’ are getting the shaft one way or another.

And I wonder, if I could manage to put facebook down.. just put it down, walk away, and not come back, how much of this would stop hurting me? And, would something else rise to take it’s place? Is my mind just geared to experience a certain amount of hurt no matter what I do, and there’s nothing that can be done about it?

I mostly need to just not think about 49 people shot in Orlando. It’s yet another horrific thing I can’t do anything about. I read Deadly Passage by Erik Larson and felt odd tuggings of wanting to buy a gun. Even though I know the very last thing I want to own is a gun. I do not want a tool for making bad decisions very quickly. I’m kind of in the mood that the NRA probably fears the most.. where I would take the guns away from everyone if I could. Even the police. Perhaps especially the police, actually.

But back to the neural network thing. So, neural networks are event driven, I’ve mentioned. Not entirely event driven in the case of NNNs, but largely event driven. Those of you who go out and buy guns, who shoot guns, who spend time defending the right to carry, you’re generating gun events. You’re helping the gunnish part of your mind pump iron. For this reason, I don’t find it that surprising that the number of shootings and the number of guns out there are more or less linear. And, you can talk about responsibility and whatnot all you like but I’m starting to suspect that to a certain extent we’re just bumpers in a pinball machine. We get free will, yes, but not as much as we think. We’re not free to do anything at any time, because the mechanics of our physical neural networks won’t let us. We can only think inside the box defined by our hardware. This feels a little calvinist, and I am not sure it’s really what I think – maybe it’s just what I think right now. Just the delusion I happen to be riding at the moment.

And if we were talking mechanical semiautomatics with a fair amount of lag time between each shot, that might not be so awful. But exhaust gas powered semiautomatics that can shoot 30 rounds in 3 seconds are a thing. And I wish they weren’t a thing. If I could just not be affected when I hear news of tens or hundreds of people being gunned down for no reason..

I worry a lot that we’re finding the failure modes for humanity. Global warming, water shortages, mass shootings, starvation, hoarding, nuclear weapons, I could go on for a while, but there’s so much negative stuff to negative on if you’ve got a mind to. I try to stay positive – after all, thus far, most of this stuff only affects me insofar as it hurts when I read about it on various news sources. I do wonder, if I hide my head in the sand completely, what would the results be? After all, as I’ve pointed out many times, it’s not like there’s anything I can *do* about these things.

One of my .. I hesitate to use the word friend though that’s what I wish he was.. acquaintances, I suppose.. thinks that I’m what causes mass shootings. That the world would be safer if I were in jail. He might have just said that in a moment of anger. Or he might have really, deeply meant it. I’m not really inclined to talk to him about it. I figure in a few years maybe he’ll figure out what a jackass he was being. Or maybe not. I do wonder if some of what resulted in this comment from him was me talking about bullet control – he’s a fan of the gun. I am not. I was kicking his sacred cow.

I just had a whole series of thoughts about how perhaps it’s both male entitlement and female entitlement that lead to so much unhappiness, but I lack the energy to write them down and they’re probably extremely politically incorrect anyway. Maybe at some later date.


Sunday, June 19th, 2016

So, I had a thought the other day about the recent epidemic of autism – and mind you, this is definitely tinfoil hat territory.

I think it’s possible autism is enhanced – made to be a more prominent trait – by standardized testing.

So, the basic thesis works like this. Natural Neural networks are always adapting to whatever load is placed on them. Standardized testing encourages them to develop more black-and-white thinking. I think professional educators often forget that the minds of the students are still adapting during the test itself – that the test itself is causing them to learn something, but it’s probably not anything you’d call good.

And, of course, we run our children through many, many standardized tests these days. I think it’d be really interesting to run some large advanced ANNs through standardized testing and looking to see what happens to the structure of a mind that is adapting to standardized testing.

This is really kind of cool

Sunday, June 12th, 2016

I’m not a huge fan of Abrahamic religions. But increasingly, I see people growing beyond the horror and hate of religion, and embracing the idea of love, tolerance, acceptance, and the like. In the midst of the dark, fear, and dystopia, every ray of love, life, acceptance, and hope is appreciated.

Bernie Sanders and the prisoner’s delimma

Sunday, June 12th, 2016

Bernie does a very good job of underlining one of the basic problems with a two party system with a third party attempting to break in.

Those of you who are students of history will remember that Clinton won his first term partially because of a man named Perot, who was also a independent with some interesting ideas. Of course, Clinton was running against Bush – and, insane as this sounds, lately we’ve had cause to feel nostalgia towards Bush. Bush was maybe not the president I would elect, but he wasn’t much of a heel (in the faces and heels speak of WWF) – he was a moderate, and is repeatedly on record as saying things which are mostly pretty reasonable.

In the meantime, this year, our election is between moderate capitolist conservitive Clinton, insane reality TV star Trump, and democratic socialist Sanders. So, another three way race. However, unlike our last three way race, in this one, the split is between Clinton (who, much as we don’t want to admit it, we can mostly live with) and Sanders (who many of us would love to have as he represents real tangible progress on a number of fronts). Meaning, if half of us vote for Clinton and half for Sanders, Trump wins.

Now, if you’re a Trump fan, I don’t really know what to say other than, why exactly do you want WWIII? But, let’s leave them out of the discussion for the moment and talk about those of us who aren’t fans of building walls and evicting people because we don’t like their religion.

If Bernie gets on the ticket somehow – either as a independent or on the Green Party or, really, any way other than by getting the Democratic nomination, we’ve got a real problem.

The problem is remarkably similar to the Prisoner’s Dilemma. I think most of us could agree that either Bernie or Clinton would be better than Trump, but we have to find some way to agree, en masse, who we’re going to vote for.

We also have to find some way to verify that we really voted for this person. In essence, I do not think the US voting network is secure or trustworthy or believable, so I want to go out on a limb here. I am suggesting we perform something not usually done. I am suggesting *every one of us* photograph our ballots and upload them all to a central repository. We’re going to have to put together something that can handle this, ideally in some decentralized (blockchains? peer to peer) manner. We are going to have to build a reliable voting network as a system for verifying that the current voting network is reliable

I also am suggesting that one way or another, if both Bernie and Hil are on the ticket, we need to all agree which direction we’re going beforehand. The very last thing we want is a 50/50 split between Hil and Bernie winning the election for Trump. At the same time, we don’t want Bernie to step down, because the things he’s saying are the things that need to be said.

More on this later.

Side note – It’s easy to see one feature we *really* should have built into the voting network – the ability to list candidates in order of preference. This would facilitate indicating that you both like Hil and Bernie better than Trump, while indicating which you would rather have elected. However, my hunch is that the whole thing is a bit of a show – just like WWF – and that in fact the powers that be run the place using entirely different methods, while keeping us distracted with the faces and heels.