Thursday, March 03, 2011

Toward a hand-waving Theory of Everything

Let's say Heisenberg Uncertainty, Pauli Exclusion and Entropy are three sides of the same coin and observe that to be present implies necessarily not only place but time. Obviously, minimal presence is defined by the zero-point energy equation and greater presences must be discrete or quantized. Matter that is stationary, which is to say without momentum, within a reference frame exhibits maximal place, whereas propagating electromagnetism exhibits always the same minimum. I leave the rest as an exercise to the reader.

Favor: One more for the vocabulary of prestige, authorship and influence

It might be most basic to say we want favor and/or favors. Over the long run, we seek credit or attribution for actions done and things made. But credit accrues toward prestige; and arguably prestige exerts its influence as the basis for writing a kind of check on the bank in which we've accrued it. The checks underwrite favorable transactions with strangers. Alternatively, we can secure favor through the issue of private scrip, as when we invite a person to "Do me a favor," in the absence of sufficient prestige or holdings at a bank that person recognizes.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Things I ought to have learned from my dog, if not as a child

Is it really so bad to have your tail yanked or to be given a bath? No. One growls and bites because it's scary; and what does this have to do with our relationship anyway? Well, if it's kin inflicting it, then it can't be lethal, and those treats are my favorite. We've got a deal.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Mysticism: The way brains sniff glue?

Struck me that trance and mystic mental states in general are a kind of high one learns to enjoy from an ordinarily noxious cognitive dissonance--such as between "the everything" and "the one." That can't be healthy. On the other hand, it does seem like what William James had in mind when he called prayer the "sovereign cure for worry" (allegedly, I can't find the reference). Through prayer we can envision circumventing the ineluctable, see how good may come of bad and construe what things mean as what they don't.
By the way, let me second my occasional phronesisaical colleague helmut's grave recommendation of this article on the political influence of a publicly little known group of extreme-conservative, mystically-minded Christians.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

"The current administration has committed war crimes" U.S. General says.

Now retired, the general who investigated Abu Ghraib quoted in McClatchy:

"After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes," Taguba wrote. "The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The best stories aren't true

The best story tellers are journalists.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Witness to the Creation of the Net's First Node

We didn’t even have a camera or a tape recorder or a written record of that event. I mean, who noticed? Nobody did. Nineteen sixty-nine was quite a year. Man on the moon. Woodstock. Mets won the World Series. Charles Manson starts killing these people here in Los Angeles. And the Internet was born. Well, the first four everybody knew about. Nobody knew about the Internet.

Leonard Kleinrock in How the Web Was Won, Keenan Mayo and Peter Newcomb's story in Vanity Fair.