Thursday, October 6, 2005

Science fiction & meta-hypotheses

It occurred to me this morning that science fiction is really about the generation of meta-hypotheses. That is, the writer has a hypothesis about what the future will be like, and constructs a meta-hypothesis about the implications of his initial hypothesis being correct.

This is sort of interesting, because meta-hypotheses are important in regular science in terms of evaluating whether or not pursuing certain lines of research is ethical. In short, it's meta-hypotheses that create the current furor over stem-cell research and other controversial branches of scientific exploration. If one were able to prove or disprove such meta-hypotheses in absence of proof of the foundational hypothesis, it would provide a good heuristic for the direction of scientific research.

Friday, May 20, 2005

A new quote

This is one of the best things I've ever read as part of the whole human cloning debate. So much eloquence in a single line of text.

Life began three billion yrs ago and has continued ever since. The rearrangment of DNA that happens at "conception" is merely a bud to a new branch on the ever expanding tree that is life.

We Americans are being left behind by the growth of science, held back by blind religiosity. In South Korea, scientists have successfully created "personalized" stem cells using a human cloning process and harvesting the stem cells from the embryonic clone.

Just as predicted, Bush's religiously guided policy of cutting off all federal funding to scientific institutions that pursue any embryonic stem cell research is forcing important innovation overseas. Kansas is attempting to re-define science. I don't know why religious conservatives are so intent upon bringing down a new dark age upon the U.S., but the march of anti-progress seems more inexorable each day.

Perhaps it's time to start learning Chinese.

Monday, May 2, 2005

More to check out

It's been a while since I've posted, obviously. There just hasn't been that much interesting happening.

Something I want to read.

Thursday, March 24, 2005


A search engine that focuses specifically upon individuals and their resumes? ZoomInfo is pretty interesting.

Just got back from a week in Key West, having had one of the nicest tropical breaks I can remember. Perhaps it was simply that it's been a long time since I've had a real vacation with Samantha, and one was sorely needed.

Of course, we did end up spending far more money than we intended, but hopefully not enough to hurt. What *will* hurt is the $4k it will cost to get to Australia in the fall!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Observation of the day

I just realized that I can't read with my peripheral vision.

Stupid how long it's taken for me to figure that out. But the fact does have some pretty interesting implications for automated pattern recognition.

Thinking about a short story based upon this idea - perhaps "God Training" or "The Learning Curve".

Friday, March 4, 2005


It is an astonishingly beautiful day outside. Of course, that's perhaps a bit worrisome since it's only the fourth of March and unlike most years (where a week of subzero temps in February is the norm) it hasn't been below freezing in a month.

Still a beautiful day for a ride, though.

Spring even seems to have come to lovely old Barbelith, whence I've taken this snippet of music suggestion with which I hope to at some point educate myself:

Katie Meluah's new album has bvarely been off my iPod. Also, Jamie Cullum and Amy Winehouse have been doing some very exciting things. There's a young turk called Michael Buble who does some great standards, also.

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Surprise! You have an exam today!

...was the sensation I was greeted with as I walked into class this morning. What with worrying about the precarious business venture my in-laws have attempted to involve me in and a number of projects competing for my attention at work, the fact that this was happening somehow completely escaped my memory.

Fortunately, it turned out not to be too terrible of an exam. As I was riding back from it I realized that I'd missed a shift/reduce conflict in my answer to the last question, but it shouldn't be a critical error.

My first rattan bow is just about finished!

Sunday, February 6, 2005


So, my father and I have just received a shipment of six bows that belonged to my grandfather, my father and his brothers. A number of these bows are in mediocre condition, so I've been investigating how to attempt their restoration.

Some interesting and relevant links:

A long and eloquent article on bowmaking

Rattan kids' bows for Kiana and Faith???

A collection of interesting newsgroup posts