Saturday, April 25, 2015

World's Smallest Electronic Brain

World's Smallest Electronic Brain

Herein presented is a Do-It-Yourself plan for constructing a computer that will answer questions not resolvable by any other computing machine. Among its many advantages, MINIAC is (1) small enough to be carried in one's pocket; (2) inexpensive; (3) infallible; (4) easy to build; (5) often times found on the ground or sidewalk; (6) child's play to operate. 

To build a MINIAC: 
  1. Obtain a penny. 
  2. Write the words YES or NO on two pieces of paper and glue one to each side of the penny. Or mentally substitute Heads for YES and Tails for NO, or visa versa. 
To operate MINIAC: 
  1. Hold MINIAC on the thumb and forefinger and ask it a question (e.g., Will it rain today?") 
  2. Flip MINIAC and allow it to come to a rest
  3. Note the answer, either YES or NO
Now MINIAC has given us either a true answer or a false answer. To determine which: 
  1. Hold MINIAC as in operating instructions 1, ask the question: "Will your present answer have the same truth-value as your previous answer?" and flip
  2. Note the answer, either YES or NO
  • Suppose MINIAC's answer to the second question is YES. 
  • This is either a true answer or a false answer. 
  • If true, then it is true that the answer to the first question has the same truth-value as the answer to the second question, hence the answer to the first question was a true answer; if false, then it is false that the answer to the first question has the same truth-value as the answer to the second question, hence the answer to the first question was a true answer. 
  • In either case, if MINIAC answers YES to the second question, then its answer to the first question was a true answer. 
  • If MINIAC answers the second question with NO, a similar line of reasoning shows that its answer to the first question was a false answer. 

The electronic character of MINIAC is obvious from the fact that there are two free electrons in the outer shell of the copper atom. 

Vicious Circles and Infinity: A Panoply of Paradoxes, Patrick Hughes and George Brecht

Please Ignore This Post

Not-Quite Paradox

To do as the title of this post says, you must not have done as it says. Contradictions such as the "Please Ignore This Post" variety go round in a circle, but they don't go round and round. One might say that they are paradoxical, but that they are not paradoxes. 

Circular contradictions are not paradoxes as they lack circularity. Here are a few examples: 

All rules have exceptions

Never say never

It is forbidden to forbid 
(wall in Paris, May 1968)

An exchange from N. F. Simpson's play

Mr. Characterson: 

I wonder - if I might just put a supplementary question, Dr. Whinby - I wonder whether you would mind telling me - simply for the record - if there is any question you think might possibly come up in the foreseeable future to which you would reply unhesitatingly in the negative? 

James Whinby: (without hesitation)

Quite definitely not!  

A Narração de Filectas, 1887
Rodolpho Amoedo (1857-1941)
Rio de Janeiro, Museu Nacional de Belas Artes

Eubulides, the Megarian sixth century (the Megarian school of philosophy, which flourished in the 4th century BCE, was founded by Euclid of Megara, one of the pupils of Socrates) Greek philosopher and successor to Euclid, invented the paradox of the liar. 

In this paradox Epimenides, the Cretan, says, "All Cretans are liars." 

If he is telling the truth he is lying; and if he is lying, he is telling the truth. In the simpler form "I am lying" this paradox was known to the ancients as a pseudomenon. 

Relief-moulded black Megarian bowl
c. 225 - 175 BCE

Some variations of this form include: 

This sentence is false

Socrates: "What Plato is about to say is false."
Plato: "Socrates has just spoken truly."

Many more of these paradoxes and not-quite paradoxes can be found in Vicious Circles and Infinity: A panoply of paradoxes by Patrick Hughes and George Brecht. Of this book Isaac Asimov wrote: 

I enjoyed this enormously. It exercises the mind and, if one is not careful, puts one into a rat race consisting of 'Of course - and yet - and on the other hand - ' which leads, by definition of paradox, to no possible conclusion in a finite time and therefore gives infinite pleasure to those who like mental exercise. Of course, if they also like a triumphant solution, their pleasure will be infinitely delayed. And yet if they expect that eventually there may be a triumphant solution, the pleasure of anticipation will be infinite, and they won't know there won't be a triumphant solution till - 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

What I learn from blogging

I have been blogging since April 17th, 2011, nearly four years. Each year I examine what people are reading.

Happy Thoughts Travel Fast (HTTF) has received the following traffic: 

18,983:  Occupy Christmas is a friendly call to action to celebrate life now... a moderate amount of emotion provoking drives this post, which advocates for the spirit or sentiments associated with giving back.

15,081:  Positive Thought Experiments is a lighthearted self-examination of the effort inherent in turning lemons into lemonade, a demonstration of positively directed earnestness

11,820:  1980s Ditto is a nostalgically charming romp through that which we keep as intellectual companions, i.e., our memories

10,821:  Etch A Sketch Art crosses multiple generations and offers relevant historical facts  

10,512:  Raising Funny Kids advocates humor as a way to establish trust from which children (people) naturally relax and connect (our brains expand/learn when we connect with others)

Minecraft Lesson Plans was initially published in a separate blog, but it was conceived of with the same "joie de vivre" as the articles in HTTF. 

173,541:  Minecraft Lesson Plans connects video games with learning theories


Discrepancies exist in blogger statistics:


Minecraft Lesson Plans has consistently received the most pageviews in the four years since I began blogging. I wrote this article in response to a conversation I had with my son on the value of his receiving more time to play games than I was giving him. 

In the conversation my son persuaded me that the strategy he was utilizing to create the geometry of his environment was one that was in direct relation to the abstract concepts he wished to explore. I further noted his continual modification to the geometry in direct relation to the consequences, questions, and propositions he formulated. I also noted his mastery over the system and its consequents. 

Given that information continually changes from generation to generation, I wondered if learning had more to do with the wellspring of creativity that arises when we are actively engaged with a concept that requires our interaction more than it has to do with any given subject we're studying. 

Putting this experimental learning theory to the test I considered playing Minecraft as a backward induction and strategically interdependent decision making activity and examined it in relation to basic game theory concepts and found that activities within the game could be understood according to this framework. 

Gaming is not a vestige of a mindless past, no wellspring of creativity is needed to play the game (unless one wishes to play well). In short games are not enemies of the intellect. 

The intellect is designed to relinquish control of biases so that all subjects may serve as guarantors of its offers, promises, and threats against falsehood. The apparent firewall between games and learning theories is not an ineluctable part of the architecture of the brain; the mind's programmed ability to deliberately intellectualize information is its greatest guarantor. The subject need not provide the guarantee. Herein resides the substantiation to relinquish our attraction to past theories and newly examine games in relation to brain development. 

Articles relating to Minecraft were a trending topic between April 2012 and 2013. The pageviews on this article dropped dramatically following the release of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Dragon Age:Inquisition, Watchdogs, MIddle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, and The Elder Scrolls. 

Shelf-life (getting bored) and new product development (getting excited) are notably two consumer motivators. 

Independent in what motivated this article or what it conveys, this article has received more pageviews than my other posts telling me that the keyword game receives more hits than any of the other subjects about which I write combined. 

My conclusion: 

People like to play games.  

Arthur Koestler wrote in The Act of Creation that “we can discuss Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo in terms of (a) historical significance, (b) military strategy, (c) the condition of his liver, (d) the constellation of his planets.” 

By way of meaning we can examine the human behavior of playing video games and notably find evidence of intelligence propagating itself. Activities that are processed in the brain as entertaining or engaging can be examined in relation to brain development and learning. 


Occupy Christmas has received the most pageviews, though barely. This article's pageviews grow at a constant rate each year, with the most pageviews occurring between the months of November and December. Good hearted, authentic, genuine ... those are the keywords people search driving traffic to this post. During the holidays more people are online connecting and reaching out. The rise in sentiment and generosity of spirit is no doubt a driving force motivating Readers to seek out this post. 

Positive Thought Experiments has its ups and downs, but has grown steadily in pageviews since its publication. This tells me that each year more people are searching for coping or excelling methods by which they can self-soothe or self-motivate, respectively. I consider this trend a reflection of the autodidactic generation (multiple generations who are actively engaged with technology as a way of life).

1980s Ditto and Etch A Sketch Art received about the same number of hits. When an educational website links to Etch A Sketch Art an initial uptick in pageviews occurs, which slowly decreases over time. Traffic to 1980s Ditto is often times due to a keyword "blooper" ... 1980s Disco. 

Presumably this article represents the demographical mean in readership, Readers between the ages of 35-55. It makes sense that Raising Funny Kids comes in next, as many Readers in this age range are parents who grew up in the 80s and probably received an Etch A Sketch in their Christmas Stocking or under the tree as a gift. Of course there are those millennials who remember Sketch from Toy Story. 

  • celebrate 
  • life
  • spirit
  • positively
  • directed
  • earnestness
  • intellectual
  • companions
  • memories
  • crosses
  • multiple
  • generations
  • relevant
  • historical
  • facts
  • advocates 
  • humor
  • establish
  • trust
  • video 
  • games
  • learning
  • theories
Based on these keywords, I presume HTTF is primarily visited by: 
  • people who enjoy intellectualizing
  • people who are naturally curious 
  • people who are mostly nostalgic 
  • people who interact with multiple generations 
  • people who incline toward sound reasoning 
  • people who are flexible of mind
  • people who have a good sense of humor
  • people who mistake this blog for something else
  • people who have an affinity for the language, concepts, and images utilized herein
  • people who have an appreciation for play
  • people who enjoy learning 
  • people who question the validity of theories 

Irregardless of Reader motivation, on behalf of the author, i.e., "me" ... thank you for visiting HTTF. 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Beauty of Apples

One of the greatest fairy tale controversies is the dispute over whether or not the apple was evil. If Snow White was inherently good, then it was not (apple) evil that lulled this fairy princess to sleep, it was her own desire, her mesmerization with the possession of goodness, personified in the beauty of the apple. 

The softest of human tendency is quietude, being quiet with oneself allows one to notice the insideness of all things. When this fairy princess gazes at a bunny rabbit, a bird, or an apple, she is seeing it for its inherent goodness, a reflection of her own internal affinity or appreciation for such. 

Snow White looks deeper into the apple to get to know the apple. She recognizes an inherent difference between this apple as compared to other apples. She knows this before she bites into the apple. What happens next is a combination of the inherent properties of the apple in conjunction with Snow White's willingness to give herself permission to bite into the apple, the persistency to bite that comes from her desirous attraction to certain conditions as exhibited by the apple, and her preparedness or present disposition of mind, otherwise called her openness or innocence toward that which is she perceives as good or beautiful.

As said Diotima in Plato's Symposium, 'the happy are made happy by the acquisition of good things. Nor is there any need to ask why a man desires happiness; the answer is already final.' 

Desire is common to all, replies Socrates.
The apple is delicious, responds Snow.

Malcontents insist that the apple is evil, whereas defenders of beauty and goodness adhere to the notion that the apple itself is inherently beautiful and that it is not merely the apple but the combined effect with the princess' own desirous nature that lulls her into the slumber. 

In other words, Snow White's slumber is the effect of her natural desire combined with the apple's inherent beauty or goodness.

Zealous provocateurs place blame on fruit when in reality effects are a result of collective conditions. Fairy tale aficionados understand that happily ever only comes true when one recognizes combined goodness or beauty in all things, even in so-called poisoned apples. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Where Shall Inspiration Be Found?

When the world grows disenchanted with seeking inspiration outside itself, it turns inward - in search of wisdom, meaning, recovery, or inspiration. Those who seek inspiration usually find it. Like with counter-intuitive statistics puzzles, once someone has grown weary of that new living room set behind door number one, they begin wondering what's behind the other doors. Unlike game shows with limited doors and opportunities, there seem to be an endless number of doors one can open within oneself. 

Some doors offer wisdom and insight, some offer memories and impressions, others offer new thoughts or ideas that when followed produce new experiences, resulting in the construction of many new doors to open and explore. 

Inspiration works a little like that ... inspiration is just the process of making a deal with oneself to continue opening a bunch of doors until you actually find that which inspires. 

Novelty is what expands the brain forward, without it the brain begins opening old doors, taking leisurely strolls through one's life and thoughts. Depending upon one's mood at the time, those strolls can be igniting or they can be heavy. A common tendency is to associate the veracity of a memory with the sensations it produces. For example, if one remembers a door in a certain way and one is feeling similarly, one can open a door to a corresponding sensation-recorded memory and find all sorts of new information to fuel the sensation and indulge the mind, a cerebral feast for whatever emotion wants to be fed. 

That's not always a good thing especially if those thoughts, truthful as they are perceived, fail to produce productive output. Unless one's aim is to revisit a specific sensation, there are other more exciting doors to open. 

The door most seek is the one that offers the most happiness. Though like anything, if the brain opens this door too often it grows weary, the novelty wears off. Eventually people realize that it is not the shiny new car they seek, it is the sensation of novelty from which inspiration arises. 

Approaching new thoughts with old processing systems rarely produces new thoughts. The key to finding inspiration lies in exploring totally unrelated thoughts to see what new thoughts they produce. Those thoughts or perspectives can then be applied to training, skill, or talent, unleashing new perspectives, insights, and approaches. Once we see our world anew, we find the inspiration we seek. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Caulfieldian Philosophy

Caulfieldian Philosophy is a 'nautralistic' or 'external' perspective concerning the rationale of the behavior of others by exposing the underlining moral belief. Considering the psychology behind rationale and behavior, Caulfield claims that he can expose the differences between truth and wisdom through the mechanisms of kindness and meanness. 

According to Caulfield, it is through his own goodness that he recognizes meanness, and thus through his own meanness by which he recognizes goodness. The mirrorability of truth is seen as two sides of a similarly perceived coin.

If It is a perceived "truth," the fact that It is perceived as a truth, irrespective that truth, is a form of truth. Caulfield states that his "epiphany" arose while reading Gulliver's Travels ... 

"Gulliver's Travels," Caulfield explains, "reminds us that anyone who complains, anyone who exposes, anyone who admits their notion of truth is simultaneously claiming to be in possession of a truth, of an ability to ascertain truth that is higher than the truth of others by nature of its existence.

This is called a belief. If we believe that we have perspective on an external event and that our perspective is an authentic perspective, we assign authentic value to those thoughts which we associate as validating our perspective. 

Human beings have a psychological tendency to believe in the veracity of their thoughts. This is how they can tell when they are lying to others.  "If we can lie to others, who is to say we cannot lie to ourselves?" ... Caulfield continues, "and who can we believe?"

"The authenticity of our perspective merely heightens 
the intensity of the veracity of it for ourselves." 

"No other person," he explains, can understand our truth "the way we understand our truth." 

All disgracers of the press in prose and verse condemned to eat nothing but their own cotton, and quench their thirst with their own ink. 

In other words:

In this respect: Everyone's truth is a version of a truth, and thus an aspect of truth. If we were in 480 BCE Athens, Caulfield explains, "Alatheia (Truth), the daughter of Zeus, with her right hand upraised, would be simultaneously shielding us from the reproach of a pledge broken and a friend's dues dishonored (Pindar, Olympian Ode 11.6).

Every truth carrier is loaded with libels and keys, reflections and memoirs, accusations and answers. We are those careless carriers who confound the times, mistake the dates, and confuse the stories so that the authors of such stories, including themselves in later years, are wholly a stranger to their words.

Such are the stories we Yahoos tell themselves, and accordingly have great reason to complain. The languages that others use are not proper in their parts. They learned to speak differently. These other Yahoos, their dialect so altered, could hardly understand us if they tried. Yahoos are not able to perceive our conceptions in a manner intelligible to our truth.

But who is to say they should?

Truths are but personal complaints and compliments. Caulfieldian Philosophy instructs one to consider that each individual's rationale, even their own, is a component of truth - and upon that allowance for possible truth, one should follow each subsequent proposition according to the initial principle to determine whether the effects are a truth claim stemming from the belief in the previous proposition. Thus truth lies in a prior correlation to a perception of truth. 

Caulfieldian Philosophy is the theory that one's natural perspective of truth cannot be validated or disproved externally. As such, all thoughts are both true and simultaneously untrue. But that is a paradox. If paradoxes cannot exist in nature, neither can truth. 

Thus all is perception. 

Change the perception.
Change the truth. 
"Therein lies the truth,"
according to Caulfield.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bologna for Breakfast

Guaranteed to get Perfect Results Every Time*

In a world filled with bologna for breakfast, no one succeeds like the bologna manufacturer. I mean the person whose very existence is constituted from making bologna. Consider the bologna exec whose entire function is to craft and then endorse the bologna mission statement for his company. Whatever the company does, it does. But then some very clever pro-bologna employee adds the imprimatur of The Mission, which says of what was done that it was done so that the company will be "world class." The pro-bologna union applauds the association, which serves as the locus of value of the acts of the company. Absent the pro-bologna association, this employee would not have a job. Fortunately the association of the company to bologna replaced what would have otherwise been measured against genuine value. The pseudo-value that the association inheres gives value simply for having been done. Going forward whatever the company does is simply that which the ritual claim denotes is done for the mission. 

Let us consider another meal ... 

Each morning, if we are lucky, we each wake up. Greeting the day with rays of sunshine, torrential rains, or intermittent weather changes, each of these conditions in turn affect the underlining mood, which gives rise to targeted thoughts associated with the Life Mission. The committee in charge of generating sentiment and their corresponding thoughts submits input to the Evaluation Committee each day. In turn the Evaluation Committee, who monitors sentiments and thoughts, and evaluates them according to the Life Mission, assigns a weighted value to each sentiment and thought. Once the Evaluation Committee has determined the hierarchy of the sentiments and their corresponding thoughts, directions are then conveyed to the Execution Team, those agents tasked with executing commands. 

Our problem is not that a world filled with bologna for breakfast is unfit for consumption, but precisely that it is inherently consumable. If every employee-customer, thought-sentiment, Evaluation Committee-Execution Team interaction was an instance of good relations because the bologna pledge of satisfaction proclaims it so, then disrupting this situation is very difficult. Evaluation Committee Members, who began only by asking for something more from the team executing the decisions, come to be seen as subject to "dissatisfaction," which conflicts with the Very Little Incentive Program the Execution Team receives for their efforts. 

Suppose, however, that you do not care for bologna. Are there any other breakfast choices? If, for example, you have just embraced a Vegan lifestyle, you may be simultaneously wondering how you're going to live without your comforting bologna breakfast. Imagine, if you will, that your delicious, vegetarian quiche is far tastier and more satisfying than bologna, but that you still secretly crave bologna. This is the bologna gambit: We will offer a breakfast alternative that is bologna-free and does a better job than your vegetarian quiche of presenting a bologna-free lifestyle. Here bologna comes full circle: By self-consciously flouting the conventions of bologna and making it clear that bologna-free bologna is not bologna - and yet doing a better job at revealing that bologna, the Pro-bologna advocates remind us what those conventions were for and reveals something about how they've been altered for consumption. Bologna advocates in creating faux bologna are notable for their lack of good for you nutrients. In a world where many people serve themselves bologna for breakfast (and sometimes again for lunch and dinner), good for you nutrients become the sincerest form of sustenance, the only form of sustenance that can cut right through bologna. 

But, what if bologna or good for you nutrients are for you an insufficiently inspiring pair of breakfast choices. Suppose you would like more granola or croissants than the bologna-free committee and the pro-bologna union offer. I can only think of one option. Consider the company mission statement and imagine writing one that you actually like. Imagine that you genuinely believe that in light of your current breakfast choices higher nutrition needs to be reconsidered. You might have questions such as these in mind: Is it possible to export bologna to parts of the world in which croissants are generally preferred for breakfast, in the words of the Declaration of Bologna, "bologna is created by our Citizens, deriving its flavor from the consent of the consumers"? Or, given that the principles of higher nutrition have derived, since the eighteenth century, from Sustenance ideals, can we either recover Sustenance ideals we endorse or reorient higher nutrition in a post-Sustenance world? 

Crafted with such questions in mind, a Life Mission statement would not look like an Evaluation Committee pledge to serve the ideal breakfast. It would seriously have to enunciate a new cultural mission for higher nutrition and seek to make that mission both palatable and possible for our citizens. If we cannot sincerely endorse currently culturally available breakfast choices, then we must fundamentally rethink those choices. If we lack the courage or the ability to do that, then all we are left with, and all we deserve, is bologna.