Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Unabridged, Unedited Conversation with YVXQXJJ

Monikers have been replaced with anagrams to protect the insane.

(21:32:55) PLZNYFGDJ: good grief

(21:52:04) YVXQXJJ: hi

(21:56:13) PLZNYFGDJ: how was your day

(21:57:14) YVXQXJJ: not bad. had the day off. we got customer approval on a project I worked all weekend on, so I told the boss I needed a day to refresh. how about you?

(21:57:24) YVXQXJJ: and what was the "good grief" for? :)

(21:57:58) PLZNYFGDJ: my exasperation over people who are illogical

(21:58:32) PLZNYFGDJ: logic just says you don't have a contradiction - it otherwise never places any constraints on how crazy your axioms can be

(21:59:22) PLZNYFGDJ: there are 4 types of people: crazy but logical - great! crazy but illogical - eek. sane but logical - yawn. sane but illogical - good grief

(22:00:11) YVXQXJJ: lol

(22:00:47) YVXQXJJ: my last ex - for all of a month - was the 2nd type.

(22:02:36) PLZNYFGDJ: I just IMed some woman who as far as I know is sane -- hasn't killed anyone yet.

(22:05:25) PLZNYFGDJ: But she got into some cockamamie claptrap about how we all have choice (she doesn't believe in determinism). Okay, I disagree with free-willists, but I enjoy their nonsense so long as they're using logic (and it's one of those philosophical stalemates where two good philosophers, one supporting free-will, one supporting determinism, can never find a fallacy in the other's statements)

(22:06:31) PLZNYFGDJ: So, I decided to egg her on by stating that, well, how come I'm not the prince of england, since I would've chosen to have been born as one

(22:07:34) PLZNYFGDJ: now, this is where she went from just screwball humorous (but otherwise logical) to illogical. She claims that she believes that we do decide whom we're born as, and at some level I wanted to be born as I was

(22:07:47) PLZNYFGDJ: now, on the surface of things, there's nothing illogical about what she siad

(22:08:18) PLZNYFGDJ: however, and I mentioned this to her, the consequences of what she said lend way to contradiction, disproving her premise. The consequences are as follows:

(22:08:48) PLZNYFGDJ: that means more spirits are deciding today to be born, since we have a global population of 7billion and growing

(22:10:03) PLZNYFGDJ: more spirits prefer to live impoverished lives with a 90% certainty of dying of starvation than to be born into a middle-class family (hooray for free-will!)

(22:11:57) PLZNYFGDJ: And, the clincher --- I can envision a hypothetical evil genius who controls trillions upon trillions of human embryos in a matrix, and can decide on the flip of a switch to fertilize them all and can decide just as easily in another flip of the switch to flush them into an abyss. It's against reason that trillions of spirits would decide at a single moment to infuse life into cells just to be flushed moments later.

(22:12:10) PLZNYFGDJ: Those are trillions of retarded spirits, in which case.

(22:13:55) YVXQXJJ: well, yes. most people are retarded.

(22:14:33) PLZNYFGDJ: bleh

(22:14:38) PLZNYFGDJ: defies logic

(22:14:49) PLZNYFGDJ: at least free-will philosophers employ logic

(22:15:20) PLZNYFGDJ: unlike people who "believe" and can't reason their way about why an even number plus an even number cannot be odd

(22:16:05) YVXQXJJ: philosophy - and philosophers - confuse me.

(22:16:17) PLZNYFGDJ: nah, they're fun folk

(22:16:27) YVXQXJJ: heh

(22:16:39) PLZNYFGDJ: they're basically mathematicans but with dumb/inconsequential axioms

(22:17:15) PLZNYFGDJ: but as any mathematican, logician, or philosopher will agree, whether or not an axiom is valid is only determined by whether or not you can infer a contradiction

(22:17:31) PLZNYFGDJ: so long as the system is consistent, you can have two separate systems with opposite axioms

(22:18:18) PLZNYFGDJ: e.g one system where the axiom says "God exists" and another where it says "No god exists" can be completely valid systems within which no contradiction can be inferred

(22:19:05) PLZNYFGDJ: mathematicians just pick more useful axioms, like "Given a Euclidean space (defined by 10axioms), a triangle's inner angles sum to 180"

(22:20:04) PLZNYFGDJ: a philosopher would pick, "suppose our bodies were merely mental projection with no tangible component, ..."

(22:20:39) YVXQXJJ: that's more or less it. one matters, the other does not.

(22:20:59) PLZNYFGDJ: In fact, philosophers so often picked insane axioms that instead of having to prove a contradiction, it was agreed upon that "reductio ad absurdum" was a valid enough counter-example to stop philosophizing over it

(22:21:34) PLZNYFGDJ: essentially, reductio ad absurdum states that if you prove that philosophy is unnecessary, then stop! Change your axiom before we philosophize again!

(22:21:52) YVXQXJJ: the world would cease functioning without math. philosophy... eh. some college profs would be out of a job, and some publishers would take a hit on their profits, but I'm otherwise not affected.

(22:22:03) PLZNYFGDJ: E.g. "what if the universe were created just this instant, with all its atoms and molecules arranged as they are and animated just now..."

(22:22:32) PLZNYFGDJ: that's a famous philosopher's dilemma -- there's no way to prove it's not true -- the universe may very well have been created just now!

(22:22:52) YVXQXJJ: my counter to that is they think too much.

(22:23:10) PLZNYFGDJ: However, if it has been created just now, then all this philosophizing we've been doing hasn't been philosophizing at all -- you and I were just created this instant with the illusion of having had a conversation

(22:23:16) PLZNYFGDJ: In which case, reductio ad absurdum!

(22:23:48) PLZNYFGDJ: Which is quite different from saying the axiom is wrong. Reductio ad absurdum does not say it's wrong -- it just says it's absurd! It's not worth talking about

(22:24:22) PLZNYFGDJ: If the very nature of talking is undermined under the axioms, then it's not worth talking anymore

(22:24:41) PLZNYFGDJ: beautiful, huh? Took thousands of years of bickering to come up with that one gem

(22:24:43) YVXQXJJ: right. my version of that is usually "shut up, quit talking. I don't have time for you, I have email accounts to fix and users to edumacate."

(22:25:56) PLZNYFGDJ: philosophy is a good exercise of logic, sort like bicycling is an exercise for the calves

(22:26:19) PLZNYFGDJ: but otherwise, yeah, it's inconsequential

(22:26:59) PLZNYFGDJ: exercising logic is pretty good though -- it helped usher in the age of enlightenment and all that

(22:28:30) YVXQXJJ: *nods* I've never been interested in philosophy or anything related. I think I've got logic down enough for what I do. I don't need to focus on it - if I don't have moments without logic, my mind breaks.

(22:31:09) PLZNYFGDJ: I need logic, not necessarily sanity, but definitely logic. For example, SG-1 adventures to new planets and everyone seems to speak english yet everyone seems to have mutually incomprehensible written language. Okay, bizarre, but it's not illogical. It's just an axiom of this fictional world, and it doesn't contradict anything! I like bizarre, as long as no contradictions arise

(22:32:31) YVXQXJJ: I just imagine that SGC somehow developed the universal translator and neglected to tell anyone about it.

(22:32:42) PLZNYFGDJ: heh

(22:33:14) PLZNYFGDJ: See, if the authors tried to explain why everyone spoke english (as you just did) rather than it being an axiom, then they might create some contradictions in all that complexity required to explain it.

(22:33:37) PLZNYFGDJ: For example, by trying to explain it with a universal translator, you just created several contradictions!

(22:34:01) PLZNYFGDJ: e.g. then why do they need Daniel Jackson to keep translating all these written works if they have a universal translator

(22:34:46) PLZNYFGDJ: a universal translator is illogical. Leaving it unanswered why they can verbally communicate is the best answer

(22:35:13) PLZNYFGDJ: trying to explain these things just creates inconsistency, and inconsistency is doom for any Sci-Fi would-be story

(22:36:30) YVXQXJJ: it can't translate written documents because the project went over-budget, so something had to be scrapped.

(22:36:54) PLZNYFGDJ: pfft. heh, see you're just adding more complexity and creating even more paradoxes!

(22:38:00) PLZNYFGDJ: Simplicity is key. Only add complexity when you're sure you've thought it through and it makes sense within the rules you define

(22:39:39) YVXQXJJ: something tells me you would hate certain Neil Gaiman novels.

(22:39:53) PLZNYFGDJ: you can define baseball, you can define chess, you can define any fair game and people will like to play with you -- if you create a game where the 2nd player always loses, you've made a pretty lousy game, and a system with a contradiction is a pretty lousy universe to set your fictional story in

(22:40:41) PLZNYFGDJ: it's broken. it's buggy. it's like m$ windows =)

(22:43:06) PLZNYFGDJ: fyi - when I said "the 2nd player always loses", I'm talking about the 'perfect-play', i.e. the players are both trying to win. You can obviously still win as a 2nd player in games where the 1st player must win under perfect play if the 1st player purposefully throws the game

(22:44:00) PLZNYFGDJ: And some bad sci-fi reads like a broken game where some player must win under perfect-player, but the characters are so dimwitted they still manage to bungle and almost-lose if not lose completely.

(22:44:39) PLZNYFGDJ: e.g. in Harry Potter, I near banged my head on a wall when Hermione used a time-travel device. WORST IDEA EVER. Bad, Bad JK Rowling!

(22:45:20) PLZNYFGDJ: I know she wanted to introduce the idea to little children, but she should've mentioned it as a device long ago that was destroyed because it was too powerful. Instead, she gives it to a 10th grader! Ugh

(22:46:23) PLZNYFGDJ: And then she quietly forgets about it. Dumbledore's dead? Time travel back and fix it! Something bad happened? Time travel back and fix it! See, the time-traveller is guaranteed to win under perfect-play! That kills the story.

(22:47:04) PLZNYFGDJ: proper time-travel is like how Sliders portrayed it, where you travel back to an alternate past, not your own past.

(22:48:04) PLZNYFGDJ: and that's also proper multiverse tiling according to Hawking-Penrose models of spacetime

(22:48:17) PLZNYFGDJ: anyhoot. I ranted

(22:48:39) PLZNYFGDJ: thanks for being the anonymous half-listener =)

(22:48:46) YVXQXJJ: lol.. no problem

Friday, February 17, 2006

Odyssey into the terrifying world of one Ms. Recipient's messy and overpopulated Inbox

This email began with the ambling keystrokes of one Mr. Sender, pressed through the telltale precision of a ten digit wielding writer with vacuous chasms for a brain. No thoughts could churn upstairs, so this email is poorly devoid of worthwhile content. All the same, it occupies space, and oh what space it occupies! Letters and words and sentences, all lined up in sequence in an overt attempt at being meaningful while still without meaning.

If this email could tell its story, it would tell of its communion with the digital gods as it hurdled past scrutinizing network devices, shedded off its outer TCP layers in a desperate attempt at passing on its seminal data to the next transport layer. It would, if it could, tell of its ordeal through Bayesian spam filters and the harsh interrogations thereafter of its header. Oh, if only it could tell these things and more!

This email, however, is quite silent, as all its strength to reveal its odyssey was drained by the very odyssey itself and the maddening hours it spent enveloped in solitude, awaiting deliverance. It clings, nonetheless, with the last ounce of its spirit before it decays into your post-read trashbin, to solemnly deliver, as any duty-bound email would, the laconic message of its author. Therefore, with this email's dying breath, it reveals unto you, oh most valued deity of the Inbox, these words:

Yo, it's me.

'sup? You weren’t online. Msg me when you’re back.


Friday, February 03, 2006

Towels: What Walks with Three Legs at Night

“Sir, how did you get here?” a boy in rags asked in cautious tone. “Sir? Are you…”

Heaps of towels sloppily providing the comfort of a blanket began to rustle until they were abruptly tossed off, revealing a disheveled, gaunt man beneath. He sat up with a few groans and then faced the boy with his head leaned back so his grizzly white beard protruded and his long flowing locks of white hair kept away from his eyes. Squinting judgingly, he began measuring the boy up before discourse.

“I am Ethikos. What business have you with me?” The message was delivered loud and forcefully but a few ensuing wheezes and phlegmy coughs quickly diminished any effect of grandeur. Without giving a pause and for seemingly no reason, the man, Ethikos, reassembled those stained towels of his and slipped under them again, unconcerned.

“Sir…” the boy spoke with a quiver, puzzled and uncertain how to proceed. “We met a few hours ago. I was thrown in this cell…” but before completing, Ethikos jumped up and shouted.

“Vagrant! Thief!” Ethikos pointed accusingly with a mess of towels now abound and one towel, uncertain how to fall, flapped indecisively on his outstretched arm.

“No… please, sir, try to remember - it’s not like that… don't you remember?”

“How dare they shove a criminal in with me!”

“Please, sir, try to remember, I’m innocent as you are.”

“Lies! Treacherous lies!”

“Sir, you’ve been here a long time… today they put everyone in prisons…”

“Everyone?” Suddenly and unpredictably, Ethikos turned calm. “Yes, they are the sorts to devolve into something devious like this. Imprisoning everyone… as I suspected! No one listened. No one ever listens.” Ethikos reclined and, while still mumbling, groped the adjacent ground for his towels and slowly buried himself in them once more.