10 FEB 2018 by ideonexus

 The Volumetric Approach to History

You will be thinking that we are coming to the end of this book: we’ve dealt with eight centuries, so there are only two to go. You may be surprised to learn, therefore, that in historical terms we are not even halfway. The reason for this discrepancy is that history is not time, and time is not history. History is not the study of the past per se; it is about people in the past. Time, separated from humanity, is purely a matter for scientists and star-gazers. If a previously unknown uninha...
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20 JUL 2017 by ideonexus

 Old CRPGs are Unplayable for Modern Gamers

They had five days to play (Ultima IV), and I asked them to make as much progress as they could in that time. When we gathered to debrief in class, a few students explained how they’d overcome some of their difficulties, but the vast majority was utterly flummoxed by the game. As one of them put it, “I’d say for gamers of our generation, an RPG like Ultima IV is boring and pretty much unplayable.” After removing the arrow from my chest, I asked them to explain why. It mostly came dow...
Folksonomies: gaming preservation history
Folksonomies: gaming preservation history
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15 JUN 2016 by ideonexus

 The Singularity of the Human Species

The singularity of the human species, 1 the study and defence of which form the plan of this work, stands out principally in the actual characteristics of what we shall call in these pages the Noosphere (or thinking envelope) of the earth. But just because, forming a true singularity (and not a simple irregularity) in evolutionary matter, humanity is born not by an accident but from the prolonged play of the forces of cosmogenesis, its roots must theoretically be recognisable (as in fact they...
Folksonomies: evolution science culture
Folksonomies: evolution science culture
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05 FEB 2016 by ideonexus

 Ways to Tackle a Problem

If a problem seems familiar, try reasoning by Analogy.  If you solved a similar one in the past, and can adapt to thedifferences, you may be able to re-use that solution.  If the problem still seems too hard, divide it into several parts.  Every difference you recognize may suggest a separate subproblem to solve. If it seems unfamiliar, change how you’re describing it. Find a different description that highlights more relevant information. If you get too many ideas, then focus on ...
Folksonomies: problem solving
Folksonomies: problem solving
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09 NOV 2015 by ideonexus

 MySpace Destroyed History

MySpace, in a rush to relaunch and rebrand itself, made inaccessible the blogs of all of its users. There could be no movement to preserve this record of the past, as it happened so suddenly. Millions of contributions, critical records of events of a decade or so ago, lost in the blink of an eye. It’s similar to the destruction of something like Penn station: a website that was run by user-generated content, that was a central hub of Internet traffic, and that meant something to multiple mi...
Folksonomies: history internet history
Folksonomies: history internet history
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30 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Violence Must be Considered Proportionally When Compared ...

In absolute numbers, of course, civilized societies are matchless in the destruction they have wreaked. But should we look at absolute numbers, or at relative numbers, calculated as a proportion of the populations? The choice confronts us with the moral imponderable of whether it is worse for 50 percent of a population of one hundred to be killed or 1 percent of a population of one billion. In one frame of mind, one could say that a person who is tortured or killed suffers to the same degree ...
Folksonomies: violence quantification
Folksonomies: violence quantification
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29 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 The Past is a Brutally Foreign Place

If the past is a foreign country, it is a shockingly violent one. It is easy to forget how dangerous life used to be, how deeply brutality was once woven into the fabric of daily existence. Cultural memory pacifies the past, leaving us with pale souvenirs whose bloody origins have been bleached away. A woman donning a cross seldom reflects that this instrument of torture was a common punishment in the ancient world; nor does a person who speaks of a whipping boy ponder the old practice of flo...
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19 MAR 2015 by ideonexus

 The Wormcam

It was possible now to look back into time and read off a complete DNA sequence from any moment in an individual’s life. And it was possible to download a copy of that person’s mind and, by putting the two together, regenerated body and downloaded mind, to restore her … We live on Mars, the moons of the outer planets, and we’re heading for the stars. There have even been experiments to download human minds into the quantum foam … We intend to restore all human souls, back to the beg...
Folksonomies: futurism
Folksonomies: futurism
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02 JAN 2014 by ideonexus

 Ontological paradox

Because of the possibility of influencing the past while time traveling, one way of explaining why history does not change is by saying that whatever has happened was meant to happen. A time traveler attempting to alter the past in this model, intentionally or not, would only be fulfilling his role in creating history, not changing it. The Novikov self-consistency principle proposes that contradictory causal loops cannot form, but that consistent ones can. This theory, however, only makes sen...
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A paradox of time-travel. If a person takes information back in time and gives it to someone, who becomes the originator of that information, then where did the information originate?

24 DEC 2013 by ideonexus

 How Physicians Were Once Like Today's Economists

The moral game of blame attribution is only one subtype of misattribution arbitrage. For example, epidemiologists estimate that it was not until 1905 that you were better off going to a physician. (Ignaz Semelweiss noticed that doctors doubled the mortality rate of mothers at delivery.) The role of the physician predated its rational function for thousands of years, so why were there physicians? Economists, forecasters, and professional portfolio managers typically do no better than chance, y...
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John Tooby describes a past when you were more likely to die from seeing a physician and likens it to economics and other forecasters who do no better than chance.