22 NOV 2017 by ideonexus

 Top-Down Engineering of AI

The philosophers’ fascination with propositions was mirrored in good old-fashioned AI, the AI of John McCarthy, early Marvin Minsky, and Allen Newell, Herbert Simon, and Cliff Shaw. It was the idea that the way to make an intelligent agent was from the top down. You have a set of propositions in some proprietary formulation. It’s not going to be English—well, maybe LISP or something like that, where you define all the predicates and the operators. Then, you have this huge database that ...
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22 NOV 2017 by ideonexus

 Get Away from the Metaphorical Understanding of Meaning

Propositions are supposed to be idealizations, rather like numbers or vectors or some other abstract formulation. It looks at first very powerful, and for some purposes it’s very useful. But it takes you away from enlightenment because it gives you this false sense that you haven’t understood something really until you’ve figured out how to articulate, how to point to, how to identify the proposition that a particular meaningful event has. No. There are all kinds of meaningful events th...
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22 NOV 2017 by ideonexus

 Removing Prepositions in Defining Thought

Having turned my back on propositions, I thought, what am I going to do about this? The area where it really comes up is when you start looking at the contents of consciousness, which is my number one topic. I like to quote Maynard Keynes on this. He was once asked, “Do you think in words or pictures?” to which he responded, “I think in thoughts.” It was a wonderful answer, but also wonderfully uninformative. What the hell’s a thought then? How does it carry information? Is it like ...
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21 NOV 2017 by ideonexus

 The Increasing Chemical Complexity of the Cosmos

The ancient origins of stars, planets and life may be viewed as a sequence of emergent events, each of which added to the chemical complexity of the cosmos. Stars, which formed from the primordial hydrogen of the Big Bang, underwent nucleosynthesis to produce all the elements of the Periodic Table. Those elements were dispersed during supernova events and provided the raw materials for planets and all their mineralogical diversity. Chemical evolution on Earth (and perhaps countless other plan...
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21 NOV 2017 by ideonexus

 Urban Communities as Post-Apocalyptic Settings

As far as Brown is concerned, many abandoned urban communities are postapocalyptic in nature. Such places are rife for community-born transformation. "If you look at cities in the US right now, there are cities or communities in apocalyptic situations," says Brown. She references challenged areas in New York City, New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina, Cincinnati, and her new home, Detroit. "Detroit used to be this booming industry town. This used to be a big, booming factory town. You coul...
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21 NOV 2017 by ideonexus

 Anecdote of Shamans Responding to Star Trek

DI for documenting his journey to shamanism in the 1994 book Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic, and Initiation in the Life of African Shaman. He writes about the proverbial dive into the rabbit hole as he was studying with the elders of his community and balancing his newfound wisdom with his Western education. Some paints a picture of a different path to knowledge that contradicts the norms of Western conventions. According to him. the Dagara have no word for the supernatural. "For us, ...
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21 NOV 2017 by ideonexus

 African Americans are the Descendants of Alien Abductees

Dery identified the parallels in "Black to the Future" as 'African Americans are, in a very real sense, the descendanmt of alien abductees," Dery writes. He compares the atrocities of racism experienced by blacks in the United States to "a sci-fi nightmare in which unseen but no less impassable force fields intolerance frustrate their movement; official histories undo what has been done; and technology is too often brought to bear on black bodies (branding, forced sterilization, the Tuskegee ...
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21 NOV 2017 by ideonexus

 Cosplay as Empowerment

"Cosplay is a form of empowerment for all children and adults," says Stanford Carpenter, president and cofounder of the Institute for Comics Studies, who says that he used to be dismissive of cosplay. But after attending dozens of ComicCons, he witnessed the dress-up affair changing masked heroes indefinitely. "It's about empowerment. It's about the possibility of what you can be or what you can do. And when you see people in underrepresented groups, it takes on the empowerment fantasy of not...
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21 NOV 2017 by ideonexus

 Being Geek from Outcast to Success Story

More than just a hipster fashion statement where big glasses, tight suits, and high-water pants are the norm, the black geek phenomenon normalizes all things formally couched as geeky. Science lovers, space dreamers, comic book fans, techies, or anyone who relishes super-high-level analysis just for the fun of it could be a geek, according to conventional wisdom. Today, such interests are cool, functional, and often necessary—or at least there's a larger world where those of like minds can ...
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21 NOV 2017 by ideonexus

 Evolutionary History Through Macro and Micro Observations

Everything in the cosmos has a history. The old dichotomy between the "historical" sciences (like geology, paleontology and evolutionary biology) and the (for want of a better term) "functional" sciences (like physics and chemistry—some would call them the "real sciences") was always supposed to be that fields like physics study dynamic processes and discover immutable laws of interaction among particles composing the cosmos—while the historical sciences study, well, history—the suppose...
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