Anacyclosis and OODA Loops

by Limbic on December 7, 2014

[Continuing on the purge of my drafts folder, here are the notes for another post whose point and purpose are long forgotten, from June 2009]

# Monarchy – tribal rule based on brute force

# Kingship – virtuous rule by one man

# Tyranny – wicked rule by one man

# Aristocracy – virtuous rule by a few men

# Oligarchy – wicked rule by a few men

# Democracy – virtuous rule by the many

# Ochlocracy – wicked rule by the many (mob rule)

via The Ring of Truth « The Committee of Public Safety.

[Sadly this blog is also now gone, but there is an archive at archive.org]

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Kevin Kelly on design and the Scientific Method

by Limbic on December 7, 2014

[I noticed I had 36 posts in the drafts folder some dating back years. It can be quite fascinating to see what had your attention years ago. This one, last edited in March 2009, is just collection of notes for a post, but there were some gems from Kevin Kelly]

Totally engrossed in the subject of resources and pipeline management, information design, intermediate technology and dashboard design

“n-Dimentional gigantic hypercube of all the possible solutions to how to design the things and we are just wondering around trying to find the best one.” –  Stack Overflow podcast

How do committees invent?

In a discussion on Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Kevin Kelly made this observation:

Consider a parallel with software design:

* Statement of requirements
* [ architect/design
* [ implement/test
* deliver

That is, Scientific Method consists of a statement of the
problem, followed by a repetition of: generate hypotheses
and perform experiments to test hypotheses, followed by
From Pirsig’s description of Scientific Method:

* Statement of problem
* [ hypothesis
* [ experiment
* conclusion

a conclusion. Software design can be considered to be a
Statement of requirements, followed by a repetition of:
generate a proposed design then implement and test it;
followed by delivery of the final system.

Now, Pirsig goes into the fact that what seems like it
should be the hardest part–generating viable hypotheses–
in practice turns out to be the easiest. In fact, there’s
no end to them; the act of exploring one hypothesis brings
to mind a multitude of others. The harder you look, the
more you find. It is an open, not a closed, system.

I would suggest that this correspondence holds: that
the set of possible designs to meet the requirements is
infinite; that the act of generating a design brings to
mind multiple alternatives; that generating a design
increases, rather than decreases, the set of possible
alternative designs.

This is argument by analogy and therefore not particularly
forceful, but I feel certain, myself, that it holds. It
certainly feels right, intuitively. I think it ties in
with Goedel’s work on decidability: that any sufficiently
complex system–which any programming language is–is able
to say more than it can prove. Thus there’s always another
hypothesis that might give better answers; there’s always
another design that might solve the problem better. There’s
always room for an architect that can pull the magic out
of the clouds.

That last bit ties in to a point I’d like to expand on. That
is, that all formalisms, or design methodologies, are in
some way limiting. By adhering strictly to a particular
design process, you forego the gains that come from
inventing a new, better process.

Admittedly, you also ‘forego’ the time lost on ideas
that don’t work out.

Process or methodology is a means of getting a Ratchet Effect,
or Holding The Gains. It’s a way of applying
a pattern of development to other, related, projects.
There needs to be a way of allowing for new developments
and ideas, though.

“There’s no one more qualified to modify a system than
the last person to work on it”. That seems counter-
intuitive; one would think that the people that created
it understand it best. However, they’ve moved on to
other things, while the later maintainers got the
benefit of all the original designers’ work plus,
in addition, all that was later learned about the
system, such as how it reacts to the customers, and
how it responds to maintenance.

Software design is made up partly of flashing new insights,
and partly of routine solutions that have been invented over
and over again. Codifying patterns is a way of ratcheting
the whole community up to near the level of the leaders, at
least in terms of the routine solutions.

It’s still necessary to allow for the insights, though. A
lot of the big-company emphasis on process ignores this, assuming
that nothing is ever new, and that the answers of yesterday
are good enough for tomorrow.

(this is turning into a pretty good rant, but I think I’ll
cut it off for now)

— KevinKelley – http://clublet.com/why?ZenAndTheArtOfMotorcycleMaintenance

[Dec 2014: Sadly Clublet.com is not working, and archive.org has no archive of this page]

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Listening is an act of compassion

by Limbic on December 7, 2014

Studs Terkel,  the oral historian on This American Life and Public Radio Redux, was a lovely person.

I really like this On Being piece, “Life, Faith and Death“.

See also:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studs_Terkel

http://studsterkel.org/

 

 

 

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Evolution speeding up

by Limbic on December 6, 2014

Last-Minute Changes – Scientific orthodoxy says that human evolution stopped a long time ago. Did it? – http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123440723977275883.html

10,000 Year Explosion – http://www.2blowhards.com/archives/2009/01/a_week_with_gre_2.html

Howard Bloom – http://howardbloom.net/instant_evolution.htm

And, of course A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History by Nicholas Wade

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Atomic Overlook by Clay Lipsky

by Limbic on October 4, 2014

clay-lipsky-3
Via I Need a Guide and BoingBoing

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Judas Goat

by Limbic on October 1, 2014

Heard about these curious creatures on RadioLab’s Galapagos feature.

According to Wikipedia:

A Judas goat is a trained goat used in general animal herding. The Judas goat is trained to associate with sheep or cattle, leading them to a specific destination. In stockyards, a Judas goat will lead sheep to slaughter, while its own life is spared. Judas goats are also used to lead other animals to specific pens and onto trucks.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judas_goat

One of the most effective uses of Judas Goats was in the Galapagos islands, where they were trying to eradicate them as an invasive species. They did so by shooting the goats from helicopters…

After endless planning and meetings, we commenced project Isabella…In under a year, through an aerial attack [by helicopter], we ended up wiping out 90 percent of the goats on Isabela. But to give an example of the nature of this business, its relatively easy to remove 90 percent of a goat population from an island. As they become rarer and rarer, they become harder to detect. The become educated. So the goats start hiding. You end up flying around in an expensive helicopter not finding any goats.

So the way we deal with that is an interesting technique called Judas goats. Goats are gregarious and like being in groups. They’re herd animals. The technique we would use was you fire up the helicopter, capture goats live, take them back to base camp, unload them, put a radio collar on them, and then throw them back on the island. Instinctively, that goat will go find other goats. A week, two weeks go by. You fire up the helicopter and…start tracking the Judas goats until you spot it with other goats. And then everyone gets shot except the Judas goat. And then they do it again. Every two weeks for a year.

From:  http://onward.nationalgeographic.com/2014/09/02/on-the-galapagos-the-betrayal-of-judas-goats/

 

 

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Digital Militias

by Limbic on October 1, 2014

The term digital militias is usually used to refer to online social media fighters, often paid, who agitate on behalf of their chosen cause.

Every conflict has cadres representing both sides who slug it out in forums, on twitter and Facebook .

I have another idea about digital militias. It stems from my observation that ordinary end-users do not stand much of a chance against contemporary online threat actors.

There are so many attack vectors, so many software vulnerabilities, such well resourced criminals with cleverly designed social engineering campaigns. The ordinary tech unsavy user is wide open to compromise, exploitation,  blackmail, data and identity theft.

What I see happening us that they  tend to seek out a lord of their technical domain. Someone to help and protect them. Someone to troubleshoot, clean up viruses and advise on technical matters.

Like so many professional and journeyman technologists, I find myself in this role. I am responsible for a host of computer, tablets and phones belonging to family, friends and neighbours. It goes beyond helping elderly parents with technical support. I host their websites on my server. I harden and maintain their computers and devices. I clean up the mess when they nailed by bad guys. They call me when they have a suspect a link, or need help when stumped by a technical problem.

Of course I do this all completely for free. It is a pleasure to help friends and family in this way. I almost see it as a duty. In a sense I am a one man digital militia protecting and fighting back where law enforcement is completely absent. I have often wondered where this might end up. Maybe people will start to pool resources to defend themselves online. Entire neighbourhoods who have a pooled network with a firewall and paid system administrator patrolling the virtual wall.

We’ll see. maybe the wild west days of the internet are over. The bad guys have had such an advantage for so long, one imagines there must be a corrective due. Until them, the vulnerable will huddle under the protection of the (relatively) strong but as dozens of hacked celebrities embarrassingly discovered, no one is safe.

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Two quotes via Satya Nadella

by Limbic on September 26, 2014

WP_20140213_001

“The future enters into us, in order to transform itself in us, long before it happens.” – Rainer Maria Rilke

“[we must have] courage in the face of reality.”- Nietzsche

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Religion_for_Atheists___Alain_de_BottonReligion for Atheists by Alain De Botton

Waking_Up__A_Guide_to_Spirituality_Without_Religion__Sam_Harris__9781451636017__Amazon_com__Books
Waking Up by Sam Harris

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Three great books on Moral Philosophy and Ethics

by Limbic on September 26, 2014

These three books go brilliantly together. Here is the order I read them in. The images link to Amazon.com kindle editions.

The_Righteous_Mind__Why_Good_People_Are_Divided_by_Politics_and_Religion_-_Kindle_edition_by_Jonathan_Haidt__Politics___Social_Sciences_Kindle_eBooks___Amazon_com_
The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt

Amazon_com__Moral_Tribes__Emotion__Reason__and_the_Gap_Between_Us_and_Them__9781594202605___Joshua_Greene__Books
Moral Tribes by Joshua Greene

The_Quest_for_a_Moral_Compass__A_Global_History_of_Ethics__Kenan_Malik__9781612194035__Amazon_com__Books
The Quest for a Moral Compass by Kenan Malik

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