Friday, September 4, 2015


For now, a collection of links:

Remarks:   Modified: 09/04/2015

09/04/2015 --

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wayback machine

I was looking for an old web page, yesterday, and thinking of the changes that we have seen. You know what, not all of them have been good. Early on, we had mostly hand-crafted pages. Some of these may have used a fancy editor but not all of them. I am still using a rudimentary HTML editor, myself.

Of course, all of the slick methods have run rampant. This summer I have run across several bots that have been problematic. In fact, one of these encounters was today. Too, there is more of an emphasis on databases that is warranted.

So, we have fluidity, everywhere, with little structure. Unfortunately, this is bosh as we find structure in nature; the whole thing of relativistic-ally attuned mayhem in presentation is troublesome, to say the least.

Be that as it may, we will see how things are five and ten years from now. I will suggest that structure will get some respect (papers on advanced subjects are skirting around this subject).


One of my interests is "intelligence" which is an important subject for several reasons. One reason is that we ought to know what it is, or might be, if we're going to argue for an artificial type. Too, testing, thereof, is currently a partitioning scheme that can be unsettling; the ramifications from misuse impacts everyone  (see testing example, AGCT on Wikipedia). Of course, there will be more on that.

Wayback look on the left
Newer format on the right
Now, one type of test is the academic filtering type. I ran across this page while looking for ACT to SAT mappings. This page is done by a tutor (coach); of course, one goal of this role is to improve scores. I really liked this history, though which comes up to 2013, even though the format is old.

I went to the home page of the site and found this comparison of the page found in Wayback. It tickled me, for several reasons. One can imagine all of the possible formats that could be done with the newest, latest iterations of the editors and page creators.

Remarks:   Modified: 08/12/2015

08/12/2015 --

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


The following is a question, and my answer to start the discussion. It was posted on a forum which came back with this: "The question Why has no one asked about (or even mentioned) quasi-empiricism? was marked as possibly insincere. 45m ago"

This was similar to what I got with another question. In this case, it was published but marked. The former question was bounced. Again, I took it off, albeit the question did sit there a few days.

The use of quasi-empirical, in this blog, has been there from the beginning (2007). I knew that there would be an uphill trek; yet, does not anyone even think of these things?

-------- Question ---------

Why has no one asked about (or even mentioned) quasi-empiricism?"

Starting with Eugene Wigner. ... Would this @question's subject be amenable to the Answer Wiki method here? ...


Not long after posting, there was this response.
    CJ -- 1 vote by John M. Switlik
    I think you'll need to expand before you can expect answers.  Not having a context topic, asking an ambiguous question, then requiring people to read through two dense links before answering may not be the path to mutually edifying discussion, and definitely won't get you any answers from people with math professors or philosophy professors (I'm still not sure which you'd rather hear from.)
At that point, I added this Introduction.
    We all have marveled at the results of the growing prowess evident from scientific and engineering efforts. At the same time, some (many?) can identify, and discuss, the downside of the prowess. And, as time goes along, effects keep rolling on from the prowess, seemingly without end and definitely without control (hubris, itself, rages). What gives? 
    Too, the STEM thrust has come about as a direct consequence of people trying to capture what they understand from observing the better practitioners at work into a set of practices and skills. Along with that thrust, we see a strong notion that all knowledge can be encapsulated in computational modes which are inherently supported by mathematics. Those modes can be thought of as being very broad, leading to worries by some (of late - name the technical celebrity), to wit: singularities, dystopian situations, and more. 
    Many have sought to understand the capabilities that underlie progress. In 1960, Eugene Wigner published his reflective article: The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences. Letting Wigner's article speak for itself: The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning.
    In 1980, Richard Hamming provided some thoughts on Wigner's theme. He pointed to humans being primed by evolution as a factor. Others have commented, as well. Of late, Max Tegmark argues thus: Our external physical reality is a mathematical structure. 
    Much like attitudes about Pascal's later thinking which led to his Wager, many ignore Wigner's ruminations. However, given the rapidity of technology's advancement and the growing awareness of the pitfalls thereof, one might expect that the quasi-empirical discussions would be of extreme interest. One inhibitor could be that these issues have not been addressed in a universally available medium. 
---- My (seeding) answer to start the discussion -----
    John M. Switlik, Timeless autodidact

      Why? Why? 

      Does that sound like a 2/3-year old? Mature, successful adults learn to suppress a lot of their inquisitiveness. Too, pressures keep people in line when they may want to relapse (up to, even, peer-reviewed journals) as if inquisitiveness were bad in itself.

      Success, for the most part, comes to those who apply the current state of knowledge in a useful (to some one or ones (why else the remuneration?) manner. But, at every point, some have to be thinking forwardly, and tinkering (which, again, for the most part, is the effective means), in order to advance what is the current situation (status quo, in other words). For the most part, advances come via perturbations, hopefully controlled, to the established basis. 

      But, sometimes, we get jolts that are disruptive (though, the effects might be a long-time coming to many folks - there are others who being at the center of the change feel the impact very soon - comparatively). 

      At any of the shared points of experience, do we know how things are going to pan out? Well, it's like they say with the markets, past performance does not guarantee future returns (paraphrase). Yet, this applies to science, to boot, which is supposed to be provisional, etc. 

      One might ask, how does this strong belief (all ways to characterize, so punting, for now) come about? In fact, many feel certain-ness, in their situations, though uncertainty is the reality (again, punting). 


      That little bit leads us to the following list which will be part of the discussion. We have to ask how people know if they are heads-in-the-sand types. "know" implies a whole lot about effective action based upon knowledge and rationality (again, a punt).  

      Aside: Everyone is like an ostrich when dealing with things outside of their expertise - yes, of course, ... -> chemists --> physicists --> mathematicians --> (?) -- I will not give them the credit of talking to God (not in mathematics, anyway). One might say, from this we see the imperative nature and emergence of the autodidact (again, not a know-it-all).

      Let's end by listing a few ways to know. 

      By authority (impression) - That is, someone (or something) provides the means to making choices, including, many times, forcing behavior (ah, so many youngsters drugged to get them in line). In this bucket, throw loved ones, heroes, stars (as in, the faces on the screen - what I call, talking heads). Enumeration is required ().

      By rationality (reason) - Some make this claim. We can let them talk for themselves. In many cases, they are using the advances associated with the original question (by Wigner, who was pondering the glee being raised by some - oh yes, we can now pollute in ways that are unfathomable to grasp). Based upon what? Oh, Russell said that, Frege said this, whoever said that, ... Circularity (well, tautology, okay?). ... We have to ask, how the heck can this conglomeration of wetware, ourselves (even Spock), rise above the swamp creatures that we are (lizard brains, one Quora guy, says here). Again, let us count the ways ().

      Knowing-ness (differs from the first and second bullets, in this sense - let's say, autodidact - independent and wise - knows the gamut). This implies the ability of which we see the effect of without knowing how to affect that state (so desired by many - but which is right outside the grasping fingers?). Too, note that there are all sorts of knowing types that we have to address (the more sensitive thinkers have, at least, opened their eyes a little).

      This list can be extended in the Wiki piece (via Answers, remember the rules). In fact, a look at the categorizations that have come about is about due, except we're not writing a book here. Outlining one, perhaps. 
Remarks:   Modified: 08/11/2015

08/11/2015 -- First posted on 8/7; Quasi-empiricism has been a constant theme in this blog. So, there is no insincerity.


This post claims this concept. It's use precedes the Internet. There have been many usages of it over the past 20 years. Example (this is a capture of a controversial forum at anglefire - there are oodles more).

Search on psychether now, and you will not find my usage (all sorts of reasons). So, the claim is precedence, only. Plus, I intend here (and at another site) to lay out the motivations, usages, and ramifications for this concept.

Briefly, the psyche part is well known but little understood despite all sorts of efforts to explain the thing. Well, we do not have to understand (just as John v N said of mathematics), we get used to it. Well, the mind is known to all cogitating humans. That is a large group. There are ways for us, now, to experiment such as to observe and document effects. Is this bordering on metaphysics. No, see next? Anytime someone does broach that, it's their right. Okay? But, it is not necessary.

Now, Ether is the key. I have all sorts of things to discuss here and will get to it. But, a good analog to consider is that which mind (psyche, and more) can influence (warp) similar to what we see matter do with space-time. Some claim that it's related to energy (that's not wrong; it's incomplete). ... The solution is to have an operational framework. Now, whether someone accepts the work or not is immaterial if there are results that can be observed (no trickery).


What took so long? I have been at this since the '60s, working alone, essentially. But, I have been fortunate enough to have been involved with advanced computing dealing with real problems of a very complicated nature. Too, I have known, and worked with, amazing individuals (who are not on anyone's radar - talking heads jabber, confound, entertain, ...). That whole stream of experiences honed the basis. I have been retired for 10 years now, again working alone which is what the autodidact does. Too, this past decade has run the gamut (lessons to learn on all sides). But, the web both evolved and devolved within that time frame. And, so, guess what is one row that needs to be hoed (sorry, I'm an old guy)? Truth engineering.


Cosmology and relativistic physics and quantum views? Yes, they will all come into play. Thought experiments can go a long way. But, at some point, results are necessary. That is the current stage; bringing privately measured results (not all) out to public review which is the bailiwick of science.

Remarks: Modified 08/14/2015

08/11/2015 -- 08/11/2015 -- On a quick review of digital files, first reference (talking dynamics) was in the late 80s, early 90s time frame, Manual notes are older (will get to this at some point). The fact of precedence can be supported (will look at way back).

Found this older site (Scholars) with mid-1990s entry  into a database (retrieved 2006):

08/13/2015 -- For those on Quora, go to my blog and look up G. Metanomski with whom I had discussed his work in physics related to AE and Infeld. This post was only to set the originality and temporal aspects in order (on the ever-changing web/cloud/...).

08/14/2015 -- Another view, similar theme.  Good reviews in Quora.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Know one, know them all

The following is a question, and my answer to start the discussion. It was posted on a forum (guess where?) which bounced it back, twice, for reasons that bear some discussion. ... Rather than run down that path, it is being posted here.

The thing is that someone that is fluent in one computer language can pick up another. Where the difficulty comes in is with nuances (arguable points), add-ons (the whole bit of frameworks, etc., tuned for the language), with libraries (say, specific implementation of functions, lots to discuss there), and more.

In brief, the 80-20 (or any other ratio) rule comes into play. In regard to the "cloud" and things of this nature, are we not under siege by those who want to create havoc? Ah, the decisions that were made are haunting us.

-------- Question ---------

Who has applied "know one, know them all?"
    Of late, we see all sorts of emphasis on specifics in job requests, many of these related to details. Now, some of that is HR trying to make it easy on themselves. Some of it is just glorifying code and the wizards, thereof.

    My motto, from decades of experience: Know one, know them all.

    Let me tell you a story. I took an old engineer, gave him a little tutorial, and he did this (believe it or not): converted a lisp-based system (okay, a small portion of it, but non-trivial) to Pascal. Now, here's the key: he did it essentially by writing the new code without an IDE (that is for folks who are hung up on their tool - which, think of it, is a link to the ring on your nose pulled by the vendor)  by hand. I typed it in, and things worked.

    I can hear the whole chorus going off on me. Let me rephrase. The complexity in systems is what is represented in code, not the code itself. And, some things (domains) get complicated real quickly. However, we have had fifty some-odd years to try to make it better. Anyone even care?

    Well-specified frameworks (et al, as this implies a whole lot of stuff) and other practices hide complexity. Wait! Every generation (and I've seen plenty, folks) has to re-write from the get-go. Therein, we see some of the problem.

    If the focus was on specification (let's say, executable), then one could map to the delivery system. And, done right, the approach could be as exciting to use as getting into advanced games. In fact, rather than chasing about in a fictional situation, going nowhere, the whole of the space(s) could represent aspects of problems, etc.

    That type of thing would work for the IDE experience, to boot.

    Before I leave, sure, getting people to understand OO (and other advanced notions) can take time. But, again, we took engineers and taught them this; they then did their own coding and, as needed, used help from people who could debug, etc.

    Motto: It is more effective, at times (when?), to teach a domain person to code in order to solve their problems, then it is to try to teach a coder (yes, guys/gals) the intricacies of a domain.

    Ah, next up, would be discussing domain-oriented tools.
---- My (seeding) answer to start the discussion -----
    John M. Switlik, Timeless autodidact

    There are several problems that come to fore in the described approach.

    For one, the IT/CS types might start to feel like servants; yes, the brain work is being done by the domain expert (some used to use, subject matter expert). In this case, let IT/CS dabble in the domain (there is no worse hell than a lifetime working with things from that below-the-floor view).

    Too, those who are the experts might get bogged down by the drudgery of the coding/testing/etc. Put effort into building domain assists (actually, that would be one thing that could give the IT/CS people their jollies).

    So, meet in the middle which is how real-world problems are solved by effective teams. Say what? Yes, for one example, think top-down meeting bottom-up. But, the axis does not have to be oriented that way.

    I used TD to BU (think of the middle as a floor with an upper and lower bifurcation - all of this movable, as a feast) as I can tell all sorts of tales in this regard (as could anyone working on advanced systems (inclusive use) that solve/resolve things that other than what we see being offered to the public). One solution is having teams that cover the perspectives through the various talents actually working together (as opposed to what? all sorts of examples, but let's say, in this context, people stupidly glaring at a screen in order to see (what?) code - all day, no wonder there is such an interest in zombies) and resolving conflict, etc. BTW, agile does not cut it in this regard unless there is a step away from the code as the focus in order to allow some type of persistence of the specs (tests as specs, in the aggregate - don't think so, incomplete, for one thing - in regard to knowledge which is the realm of the human expert - notwithstanding the hoopla about big-daddy data).

    You see, for some reason, the computer has taken precedence. When the heck did that happen, folks? I'll tell you. When what became the cloud (ah, to me, insidious stuff) took people's touchiness away. When you deal with the whole of it (which truth engineering says is necessary), then you have better intuitive grasps (the cloud, people, takes away your control - ah, managers/bosses/money people - did you do this little shenanigan on purpose? well, that would require better insight than is actually there).

    To teams, the key thing is trying to get some balance in a multi-dimensional space, of which some of the factors relate to convergence (not to be thought of as a simple fixed-point issue - for now, think metaphorically) toward something that is unknown (and hard to know). Enough on that, as it can be expanded elsewhere.

Remarks:   Modified: 08/11/2015

08/11/2015 -- This was originally posted on 8/07; there are rules for questions that I'll post, if they are public. This one could be broken into parts. But, we have the total thing here, for whatever review might be done.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Quora com

I am interposing a post between the "Many truths" and the followup. Why? To get back in touch with the world of computing as seen by the younger set and everyone else.

You see, I have mentioned Codecademy, Khan Academy, and others. Yet, none of these pulled me in. Recently, I looked more closely at Quora. I had run across it earlier and liked some of the answers of which many were in a good tone.

In other words, the questions and answers, many times, depicted some bit of awareness and intelligence. You see, I had been working Wikipedia, but there are the constraints (neutral point of view, no original work, etc.). Quora has none of that though there are some rules.

In particular, topics in Quora bear directly to what I am (have been) doing here. In fact, my monologue (ongoing, tedious) can now be beefed up. I'll start by looking at two questions, by category.


Coding - All sorts of questions deal with this subject. For one of them, many answers to what master programmers need to know (best-kept secrets of the great), were too low level. They were from a CS viewpoint, as in from the lowest view that one could take (thinking that CS rests upon computer and electrical engineering, okay?). But, domain, and higher-order, thinking does not slough along in lower-level code. No, we need domain tools, etc. And, those who might want to strut around because they can code might also want to consider that problem solving consists of more than what might be computed. Best answer (to be discussed).

Truth - The breadth of the questions is astounding. And, the answers, again, many times are wonderful within a wide range. Best answer (to be discussed) to "What is truth?"


There are many other questions of note. We will get to those, say intelligence, mathematics, science, and such.

What took the old man so long? I had to follow my own autodidact quest even if it was within my own infinite space as from there I could observe.

As an aside: a dream from 30 years ago is apropos to the theme (running across Quora resolved the quandary).

Remarks:   Modified: 08/04/2015

08/01/2015 -- My Quora Profile.

08/03/2015 -- George as inspiration of computing and existentialism.

08/04/2015 -- Georges M. Autodidact Extraordinaire. [From this am: Had started to add Georges Metanomski as an encourager. Left a post in an incomplete state (reminders: on links, put spaces to keep from activating - as a human could close it if they wanted; too, figure some minimum amount of words to leave - as in, go from the digital world of wannabes, to the real world of being, ...). Quora deleted this which was pointed to from FB; and, sent a warning about spam (stupid bot as a human would see that I loathe the commercialization - there, I said it - of the web/cloud). ... Either, they'll return things to normal, or I'll work another method after recapping my 1 week experience.]

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Many truths

One motivation for this post was seeing this headline for an article (WSJ): 'Smart Cities' Will Know Everything About You. The other motivation has to do with talents that get ignored in the modern age which we must discuss and keep in focus.

First, I must mention my reaction to the article. After seeing the headline, I thought, oh no, we have not even, properly, handled issues that relate to "undecidability" (note, please, usage beyond that associated with Turing). Then, the next thought was that this type of thinking is what is behind the growing, insidiously so, cloud that is falling as a mesh on our future and freedoms (and that of our progeny).

Finally, while reading the article, I saw that the ugly crowd called "marketers" kept coming up; yes, those who buy data in order to manipulate people (in finance, this means the gaming of the ca-pital-sino). The article does touch upon the issues, such as privacy, lack of control, and such.

In the end, the writer says that things would not be Orwellian "if businesses act responsibly" (pigs fly?).


We have grown dependent upon the engineering/technology viewpoint as it has been known to get things done; progress requires this type of applied science. But, how many modern advances have had deleterious results far beyond any benefit that might have ensued (ah, consider why we need to worry about the enmeshing)? As well, we do have people who sell. In fact, some feel that the economy is mostly made up by consumer activity. Too, some of the Beats (below) pushed financial schemes. Too, we have the artists who support marketing and public relations (respectable, of course - if they behave - who defines the rules?). Then, we have the big pockets (I have left out several classes - say, labor, and many more) who pull things together (some like to coin themselves as capitalists, though they are really oligarchs).


Now, let’s get to the other motivation. My cognitive framework is so wrapped around truth engineering's particulars for several reasons. As such, a balanced view is important (we will establish this part of the requirement); balance looks at all sides, even the counterculture (below). And, while reading things like the-above article, the "Beats" come to mind due to the specific time frame of that phenomenon (though, the early American experience had nonconformists, too; actually, the main intent of the emigres was to remove themselves from something to which they could not conform). So, we can use the Beats as the point of origin; post the Beats, we had the Free Speech activities, Civil Rights workings, Hippies lolling about, ..., and, of late, the conglomeration named Occupy Wall Street. In other words, that which has a strong element of iconoclastic-ness and nonconformity has been a continual presence in a not-small part of the population for 60+ years.

Activism, as well, comes to mind; in that case, there are as many variations as there are truths that we need to engineer. Unfortunately, “activism” includes things like hedge funds trying to force businesses to make decisions that maximize the return for their (the hedge fund’s) investors (so much to say there).


One thing that needs immediate attention: truth and what it is. People get puzzled about truth, especially about the need for "truth" engineering. I asked a scientist to define truth, without mentioning whether I meant the big or little one (as in "T" or "t"). He, to my surprise, went to the big side without blinking an eye.

You see, science is not (supposed to be) of that ilk (except, is it that Truth and Science are equivalent? - pun). Science deals with a whole lot of little "t's" (though the cosmologists like to browbeat everyone into accepting their "itty bitty" views about the largeness of Creation (intentional big "C" which is at this point unqualified; people have grappled with these things for eons - the new factor deals with computers, networks, and insidious stuff like the cloud - so, we're starting from scratch here - or, taking a constructive approach, if you would) as that worldview of science is supposed to be provisional (very hard for humans to do). Yet, engineers have to firm things up in order to work, so right there is a quandary (engineering as applied science – which tends toward Scientism in too many cases).


Recently, I got reminded of an old friend, namely Charles Sander Peirce. You see, his work (as well as that of many others) gives us part of our prowess in abductive approaches. We'll get back to that, for sure.


But, to continue on about truth: how many truths are there? Some claim that there are as many as there are people. But, one can bring in situational truths, to boot. Let's just say this, even the big "T" side of things is multiple. Why? For one thing, we have issues of interpretation (which, for the most part, come from free will – yes, how about the neuropeptidergic bag?).


And, as we know, a lot of truth has to do with power (all sorts, even that of politicos). That is, overbearing-ness is a common human trait (oh Lord, deliver us). But, of that power ilk, those who score highly on tests  (yes, the so-called best-and-brightest) are of the worst variety (see below).

That is, so what that they can solve problems with a laser-like focus and do so quickly? Consider: is the sum total of all of the possible laser foci reality (yes, that is not a misstatement - look at topology, please)? Well, some seem to think so. Too, are the sum total of all people's views reality?

Aside1: Humans, please, get over yourselves (and your selfies) - that which is called "Pluto" was there long before we became aware of such. The world was here long before your entrance glorified the realm of existence.

Aside2: Yet, were we not made in the Image (purposefully left dangling)?


Since people are so involved in truth, and what it is, we can look at categories. For starters, we can take two. On the one side are those who excel at STEM. Now, mind you, some of these are the best-and-brightest. But, no, not all of the b-and-b are good at mathematics. STEMers, for a large part, might do well since they can focus and filter without expending much energy. Others might be more like the turtle (however, in some cases, slow and thorough beats quick and dirty). For instance, some types of dyslexia make it hard to handle things like numbers. There are other examples. Engineers, by design of the discipline, do STEM.

Now, what is the other side? Before we look at that, please be aware that some who are of this ilk can do STEM, too (The blogger – he will quote Von Neumann who said that we do not understand mathematics, we get used to it.  True, operationally. But, mathematics is more discovered than created). So, what is it about this non-STEM side that is of essence? Intuition, for the most part (that which is behind creativity and other great talents).

There is much to discuss, here. But, poets, painters, and others demonstrate the facility. In this case, we will use the Beats as the example of a type of truth processing. The reasons for this choice will be apparent when the discussion continues with a later post.

Remarks:   Modified: 07/27/2015

07/19/2015 -- This post was done using a professional editor implying that a new process will be put into place.

07/27/2015 -- Another poster boy popped up the other day.