02 MAR 2019 by ideonexus

 Hawking Considers Computer Viruses Life

A living being like you or me usually has two elements: a set of instructions that tell the system how to keep going and how to reproduce itself, and a mechanism to carry out the instructions. In biology, these two parts are called genes and metabolism. But it is worth emphasising that there need be nothing biological about them. For example, a computer virus is a program that will make copies of itself in the memory of a computer, and will transfer itself to other computers. Thus it fits the...
Folksonomies: life
Folksonomies: life
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25 OCT 2017 by ideonexus

 Canons and Fugues

The idea of a canon is that one single theme is played against itself. This is done by having "copies" of the theme played by the various participating voices. But there are means' ways to do this. The most straightforward of all canons is the round, such as "Three Blind Mice", "Row, Row, Row Your Boat", or " Frere Jacques". Here, the theme enters in the first voice and, after a fixed time-delay, a "copy" of it enters, in precisely the same key. After the same fixed time-delay in the second v...
Folksonomies: puzzles math music mathematics
Folksonomies: puzzles math music mathematics
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Bach left his Musical Offering unfinished as puzzles for King Frederick to figure out.

22 SEP 2017 by ideonexus

 Outsourcing our Thinking to Algorithms and Those Who Engi...

...even as an algorithm mindlessly implements its procedures – and even as it learns to see new patterns in the data – it reflects the minds of its creators, the motives of its trainers. Amazon and Netflix use algorithms to make recommendations about books and films. (One-third of purchases on Amazon come from these recommendations.) These algorithms seek to understand our tastes, and the tastes of like-minded consumers of culture. Yet the algorithms make fundamentally different recommend...
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02 MAY 2013 by ideonexus

 Stand Alone Complex

Laughing Man: Who knew that copies could still be produced despite the absence of the original? If you had to give a name to this phenomenon, what would you label it? Motoko: It would be "Stand Alone Complex" Laughing Man: Yes, it's the stand alone complex. From the start the very nature of our current social system has contained the mechanisms to trigger such an amazing occurrence. Personally however, I feel this marks the beginning of a new era of despair. What's your opinion? Motoko: I ...
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The concept of many people getting the same idea, giving the appearance of either coordination or copycat behavior, but there is no originating even to copy.

08 MAY 2011 by ideonexus

 William Tyndale Translates the New Testament into English

In the sixteenth century the scholar William Tyndale had the temerity to contemplate translating the New Testament into English. But if people could actually read the Bible in their own language instead of arcane Latin, they could form their own, independent religious views. They might conceive of their own private unintermediated line to God. This was a challenge to the job security of Roman Catholic priests. When Tyndale tried to publish his translation, he was hounded and pursued all over ...
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...and was met with stiff resistance by the church.

08 FEB 2011 by ideonexus

 Good Replicators have Fidelity, Fecundity, and Longevity

Effective memes will be those that cause high fidelity, long-lasting memory. Memes may be successful at spreading largely because they are memorable rather than because they are important or useful. Wrong theories in science may spread simply because they are comprehensible and fit easilty with existing theories, and bad books may sell more copies because you can remember the title when you get to the bookshop -- though, of course, we do have strategies for overcoming these biases. An importa...
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Since memes rely on memory, and memory is not digital, how effective are they as a replicator in our brains?