Tuesday, September 16, 2014

is Math discovered?

Is math discovered or not?

Actually, it is both discovered and created, as we find with all human endeavors which are embedded in the natural systems. The problem has been where the demarcation line ought to be placed (fuzzy existence). In an operational sense, many of the choices taken to resolve the problem work. Of course, some better than others.

A larger ramification? When choices have a large sphere of influence, then more care is needed. Unfortunately, we have gotten to the point where "care" is not part of the model (lots to discuss in this regard).


Beside pointing to the quasi-empirical issues, we'll weigh in, soon, with a novel approach, on the question in the title of the post.


In the meantime, see the recent renewal of faith.

... in the works

Remarks:  Modified: 09/16/2014

09/16/2014 --

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The best

The post is motivated by the fact that the most-read post is "Best and brightest of what?" from almost a year ago (10/03/2013).  There has been much change in the world since then that ought to be of interest to the theme.

Let's recap a few of these changes:
  • We had the Olympics in Russia. Despite some infrastructural problems, things happened enough to allow the record books to continue. Yet, right after, the Ukraine became a hotspot. 
  • There was a loss of an airliner (777, which has had no major crashes during the program's long life - kudos to engineering) which has never been explained. Then, another plane was lost to a ground-to-air missile over the Ukraine. 
  • We now have solidification of an Islamic-based organization and society to contend with. If you have to ask, it's ISIS (lots to discuss regard this emergence). 
  • Janet has seen to it that savers (flayed to the bone, if you would) are still the fall guy. The ca-pital-sino rages along nicely due to a continual filling (spiking) of the punch bowl. Yes, QE is easing; the coo-coo (goo-goo) talk has not (yes, they need a continuation of the soft-handling - and do not even think of removing the training wheels from the bike). 
  • Google said that creativity and other attributes trump that which leads to good (and perfect) SAT scores. The theme will continue (many reasons - best of what?). 
  • Early responders (9/11) are reporting after-effects related to health. 
  • ... 

One thing of interest will be to look at the posts from early on. The problems are still there, not having been resolved by the political wags (leveraging is up, dark pools are seen as necessary, ..., a very, very long litany whose elucidation attempt might be a worthy expenditure of time and energy).

Remarks:  Modified: 09/11/2014

09/11/2014 -- 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Over the years, we have had many opinions of Finance (see Remarks at this post on how it goes toward non-realistic models - how is it to not get so entrapped, given funny money is our norm?) Now, let's stop and look at FAME. In short, Finance and Accounting MEmos.

                      See, fame-jagazine.com.

Nice, like the business model which expends the effort to condense, summarize academic papers in order to present these little overviews in a coherent form. And, on-line access is free. The printed copy requires one to come up with money.

To date, there have been two publications. These will be the source for coming posts.

We will have to give a nod to editors and supporters. Great idea.


As an aside, CALPERS seems to want to downplay equities. Perhaps, they're seeing that the aerated property causes things like the Minsky dump.

Remarks:  Modified: 08/12/2014

08/12/2014 -- 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Content vs configuraton

It's natural for the user to think of the former. Actually, running a business demands that. Too, if you spend time and money getting some process going, you would like to keep it running as long as feasible. A couple of years ago, we saw a transition that jumbled some lives as people woke up to the fact of their process being overlaid on something that was disappearing.

This year, we had a similar when ancestry announced that myfamily was going away. Many genealogical sites made use of myfamily as did people who wanted to stay in touch with their wide-spread family and friends. To where ought one go for a replacement? There are several alternatives, but, let's look at what is involved with getting the data out of myfamily.

At first, there was an offer of doing an export. Turns out that the export was not complete and offered cumbersome formats. At that early state, some had access to the database and offered to do extractions in an intelligent manner.

But, of late, the database was turned off disallowing access except for browser mode. Too, those who thought of scraping were told that such activities was a violation of policy. The proverbial catch-22?


Earlier, we talked about a Magna Charta for computer users. One thing of importance would be some semblance of requirements.

Too, myfamily did allow users until Sept. But, anyone building a process will need to do some risk analysis and consider what to do to maintain the process when things shake up a bit. None of that is easy, but the effort ought to be more than some minimal amount.


I was surprised to read comments about all of the people who had built their business methods upon the earlier environment that went away. But, then, it made sense to them at the time. Except, buried in all of the legal jargon of the policy agreement would have been something about terminations and other types of end conditions.

Remarks:   Modified: 08/02/2014

08/02/2014 --

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Magna Charta

Recently, Facebook, with some academic cohorts, did an experiment on FB users. As in, manipulating them without their knowing what is going on.

Sound sophomoric? Well, with young guys in charge, I ask, what do you expect? "Lord of the Flies" comes to mind. Some point to Orwell (one of the Georges).

But, we do not have to invoke fiction. We have the reality of the Magna Charta and the times thereof. Starting in 1215, with the first sealing, the King went through cycles of agreeing and then disagreeing (more than 45 times).

About what? The rights of anyone besides himself. You see, Barons of the time wanted constraints on the king (who claimed divine right). But, those Barons were, for the most part, cousins of the king. And, they held, in bonds, oodles of serfs and others.

Yet, many claim that the Constitution was enabled by the machinations of the Barons (who were looking out for their own self-interest).

Was anyone looking out for the rights of the little people? Well, some priests and nuns and others (like Saint Margaret), I would suppose, who took Christ's admonitions to heart.


Andreessen and sarcasm
So, come to the present and FB. This behavior shows a provider stomping on the rights of users. But, who speaks for users? What are their rights?

Well, we can point back to the Magna Charta. The modern analogs is that the provider role leads people to think like kings/barons (as do corporate bosses). The users are equivalent to the old barons who know that they need to stand up for their rights.

Also, we have the issue of the layers of cognitive ability. The cognitive elites might be (not all, as some of us are wise) considered as the kings/barons. The rest along the cognitive scale are the barons/serfs, of old, who tolerate the "jerkiness."


What does truth engineering have to do with this? Lots. Firstly, the whole computational framework rests on shaky grounds. Then, when we add in the predilections of humans, we get a messy affair which is not outside of control. But, we do have a lot to learn; some of the issues are age-old (and, our 100+ years of experience pales in terms of the magnitude). Secondly, recognizing that there is a problem is essential. Even then, though, the mind baffles. ... Rich makes smart (Smart and its money)?

Remarks:   Modified: 07/03/2014

07/03/2014 --

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Made w/ code

Much in the news, the past couple of days (example, Huffington), is Made w/ Code which is a Google initiative (project blog) which is trying to encourage, in part, more female participation in technology.

I had commented in another blog (thomasgardnerofsalem) that deals, in part, with technical issues. There, I mentioned that I had female cohorts all along the way. Some of whom were better than their male peers, in my mind.

The post here is motivated by seeing the post at the Computer Science Teacher site. It will be interesting, as Alfred wrote, to watch this unfold. If thrusts, such as this, can get people interested in computing, that will be a great step forward.


At one time, computer science was generally interesting to the younger folks. Let's say, a couple of decades ago.

Then, finance came to fore (to my puzzlement, at the time). That is, this was true until that last crash (do you remember?) brought reality back to everyone's mind. As things crashed and the dust settled (is still doing so), we all had a chance to look more closely at what went down. For instance, consider the pay differential that we saw between finance and, what might be considered, more critical work.

Aside: Did we really learn from the machinations of those times? The computer proved to be problematic (one of a very huge set of examples) and will continue to be so. For example, the issues raised by Minsky are multiplied when computers are involved.

One thing that turned people off about computing was the tedium which may have been a reaction to the difficulties and complications that one can face. Too, large systems can be very hard to do and to keep running; but, tools have always been the clever adaptation to handling such requirements. There were other things that caused negative reactions.

Aside: A world of a zillion little apps is not any major improvement. Those issues that faced us before are still around.


Yes, code is (can be) fun especially if you're in the driver's seat (yeah, Zuck). If the requirements are being imposed upon you by others, then it's really a process oriented affair that has a much different flavor. This goes beyond the bazaar/cathedral discussions. What? Yes, discussions about truth are pending.


Blockly seems interesting. Perhaps, it can lift the discussion, at some point, beyond code (as in, coding at what level?) to where we can start to "truth engineer" as needed and to get peoples' rights, in so far as they deal with computing, to the fore (we're coming up on the 800th of the (first) Magna Charta signing).

Aside: In a sense, everyone ought to code. And, there are many layers of code. Those who deep dive (yeah, wizards, I mean you of the power) have no greater claim to the truth of the computational experience. On the other hand, many of the upper echelons would not dirty their hands (ah, how do we get them out of their sheltered world?) thereby showing their lack of respect for truth (ah, this can be demonstrated).

Remarks:   Modified: 06/22/2014

06/22/2014 -- I would be impressed if I heard that Sheryl would deign (or stoop) to coding. Without a code sense, how does one handle truth (yes, mathematicians, you, too)?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Cognitive elitism

I have been looking at what intelligence is (might be), for a bit. One obvious answer to the question would be, like the Gump quote, intelligence is as it does. However, tests abound (we might say, starting with the military's need when first faced with scores of new entrants - the Army General Classification Test (by the way, look at Ballantyne's work that is quoted in the Wikipedia article) ensued); as well, arguments about what it is seem to be of a non-ending sort.

Then, we have the schools that favor the cognitive elite (see Hsu) and that filter out those not intelligent (in a sense). This whole thing of testing can be troublesome (many smart people do not test well - we will get to that).

Aside: In the meantime, to put Harvard in its place in these discussions (as it is the epitome, somewhat), let me invoke the early years (yes, we'll need to recap, in a deep, broad manner the whole unfolding of the institution, from the beginning while, at the same time, looking at its influence (good, bad, and not) upon the society as a whole).


Today's post came from seeing that Hsu had a post with this title: If you're so smart, why aren't you rich? Now, his post was dated November 19, 2009. And, just a few hours ago, I had a post (Smart and its money) in which I referred to an earlier post: If you're so smart ... (from when? how about Tuesday, August 14, 2007). Of course, the phrase was used then, two years prior to Hsu's usage.

Aside: I used the phrase, in 2007, while recalling its use from the '60s. It would be interesting to trace down the original use of the smart-arse'd comment. Were the youngsters, of the '60s, quoting from something they had seen earlier?

Aside: During that whole period (2007 - onward), I was castigating the financial idiots (having awakened, like old Rip, and having found that they had screwed up the world - requiring, first, Ben and, then, Janet to coddle their little systems -- the result? inflationary state of those markets, Janet). Still am as we have not learned the proper lessons (I know them?, yes, indeed).


Cognitive elite? Ah, so many ways to characterize the group, but I'll desist for now. This post is just to mark the discovery, today, of the growing use (Google search).

Why g Matters: The Complexity ofEveryday Life
Linda S. Gottfredson
University of Delaware
Wait! I can say one thing: a society of only the cognitive elite or that only respects that class (ilk) would be a hopeless bunch unable to feed themselves (and a whole lot of other things would be beyond their grasp).

Here's another: my version of a proper elite would have post-doc educational attainments but, at the same time, would be able to tear down an engine and assemble it back to a workable state (or any number of real, existential events, of a very large variety, that I am prepared to itemize and discuss).


The discussion, of supreme interest to truth engineering, could start with the paper by Linda S. Gottfredson. But, there is much, much more to look at.

Remarks:   Modified: 07/03/2014

06/09/2014 -- In this whole context, consider pre-Harvard times, namely Dorchester Company. In the post, see the third bullet about a book: Farmers and Fishermen (The Making of an American Thinking Class). Ah, so much to discuss in this regard, to boot; those of the church ilk were not only querulous, they were a clamorous bunch (causing God to turn a deaf ear?). ... Where is there the proper appreciation of those who can think, work, and praise (even doing so simultaneously)? And, social media'd distraction, even if abetted by robotic'd assistance, is not it (to be discussed; hint: get a grip on being).

06/12/2014 -- Intelligence, value and truth. Also, examples: 50 smartest teenagers. And, links for further reading: Nice thoughts on a dissertation about race and IQ, Controversy, ...

06/24/2014 -- Howard Gardner on Multiple Intelligences: The First Thirty Years and How Apps are shaping a generation.

07/03/2014 -- The Magna Charta is a wonderful example for us to apply to provider (king)/user (baron) issues.