Dragonlance gods and the Ancient Greeks

I just had a thought – the gods in Dragonlance are a lot less irritating and a bit more interesting if you view them as modern fantasy versions of the Ancient Greek gods – their attendant flaws, virtues and very presence provides insight into the whole world view and cultural archetypes of that time. They’re also a personification of the morality of the strong. I have to remember to read Martha Nussbaum on this.

Intrinsicality, symbols, self-organisation and gradual transformation

In his thesis, he discusses the use of hierarchical grouping self-organising maps to get symbols to self-organise. I can’t decide whether i feel as though self-organization is intrinsic to intrinsicality or not, but it definitely feels as though the two are somewhat intertwined, esp. in the brain

The second thing is that such self-organising symbols are gradually transformable – to illustrate what is meant by this, consider C++ source code. If you imagine that source code is a genotype (though this point applies to learning in general and not just to genetic algorithms), and you mutate it slightly or combine the first half with another piece of source code and see how well it performs at your chosen task, then chances are that it will be completely broken. C++ source code is not gradually transformable. Genotypes and neural networks, on the other hand, are gradually transformable. This, i think, is what allows them to learn by self-organizing, and is somehow key to the whole intrinsicality business. Because self-organizing systems can morph gradually as a function of changes or experiences in their environment, they are inextricably tied to it, and form intrinsic representations of it

– from a message to Stephen Larson

P.S. Is it a coincidence that both types of systems represent things in the universal language of vectors???


file-sharing is stealing, plain and simple, authenticised, masked, justified and guilt-free, authenticised by its seeming anonymity, the fact that genuinely millions of people are doing, the bullshit myth that the recording companies are somehow evil, the refusal to consider that the industry cannot survive if no one pays for music, spurious arguments about borrowing your neighbour’s tools, and because it has a nice windows interface

Plato was clearly wrong when he said that no man would willingly do evil

Atheists and foxholes

religion is a decision of the viscera – if my body can be happy as an atheist i will continue to be so. if it needs more, i will follow it into christianity. i am content now. my belief system feels noble, rational, and supports me contentedly through my daily existence. they say that in war, there are no atheists. if the vagaries of this world bludgeon my resistance sufficiently, i expect i will yield to faith, what amounts to an ardent hope in God, so needy and so pure, that i can will him into psychological existence, and he in turn will answer my prayers.

Semantic network hyper-reference of the brain

Why isn’t there a massive intricately hyperlinked semantic network brain encyclopaedia? I think I’d even pay for it to be constantly updated. Organised at the top level neuroanatomically, but with lots of functional information and links to articles, e.g.

Brain area
Brodmann number
other names and abbreviations
areas it’s a part of
areas which are part of it
inputs from
projects to
backprojections to/from
brief introduction/description
possible functions
homologues in primates, rats
links to lengthier summary articles
annotated bibliography

See the visual thesaurus, Wordnet or the brain for online examples of semantic networks.