Saturday, May 31, 2003

Three days after the trip, I am finally getting around to labeling my pictures of Angels Landing and Zion's National Park. (Over Memorial Day, I took a trip to Saint George.

Oddly enough, the people I visited wanted to see Matrix Reloaded. Making Morpheus a cult figure and Neo a prophet took a little bit away from the experience. However, the movie did a good job in capturing the ideal of a system architect. That is a system architect is a self absorbed jerk. The movie fits in well with the image of Plato's Philosopher King. The king works on a higher meta level, has no compunction about killing millions, and really is a source of misery for all concerned.

Anyway, the pictures of Angels landing turned out well, and I need to get more exercise.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

We ended up with an unexpected guest in Salt Lake. The guest had a friend she wanted to visit in Hurricane, Utah. So I took an unexpected trip to Saint George and Zion's National Park over Memorial Day week end. I usually try to avoid camping trips on the busiest day of the year. We were lucking and found a camping spot.

If I can find my compact card reader, I will upload the pictures from the trip when I do. The discouraging thing: When I got home I found 1654 spams awaiting deletion (I have multiple domains, I get a great deal of spam for bad addressess.)

Lets see...The message header of one of the spams was about how you can make money through big time spamming. Another had a deck of cards with pictures of 54 people who opposed the Iraq mindless hicks can play the fantasy game of seeking out and killing people who are smarter them and who think independently.

Personally, I still have hopes that the US's good intentions will shine through and that the US is not simply trying its superpower hand at 21st century imperialism. Yet I am more worried about the acts of the US right now than the acts of the Arabs.

The Arabs, after all, are people infected with a bunch of mindless hicks who've been handing out decks of playing cards with the names of all Arabs who want peace.

Friday, May 16, 2003 Home Page says "By 2000, there was enough space to have a page of data for every 3.5 minutes of each life."

Today we are probably already into being able to have a page per second. This five minutes used to add to this blog didn't even scratch the surface of my allotted time. Of course InfoUSA knows who I am, and that I spent five minutes writing in a blog. that is a bit scary.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

I made a few good improvements to Al's Infinite Hotel. The conclusion does a pretty good job of showing that the different approaches either end up doubling up guests in a room or leaving one guest in a hall.

The hardest argument is against the idea of a simultaneous shift between rooms. However a rules based system clearly would prevent such a shift. If the rule is that two people cannot occupy the same room, then you can derive the rule that a person cannot shift to the right unless the room to the right is empty. Since the infinite hotel is full by definition, then no-one can shift to the right.

Despite Hilbert's best efforts, n+1 is still greater than n.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Mill Creek

Last night I had dinner at Log Haven in Millcreek canyon with
Jim Dorn of the Cato Institute. He seems to like Utah's wilderness. I am in line line with the greater part of libertarian thinking, but fall short when it comes to development of the last wilderness in America.

I am not of the opinion that Government needs to control everything, but believe strongly that these last bits of wilderness should be left alone. The wildlands of Utah and Idaho simply do not need to be part of the economy. There is no great rush to put every last asset of the nation into the burner. Some assets should be held for the future.

It was a fun dinner. The total bill was more than my websites make in a month, but I guess that is the way relative values work in an economy. See, my greatest fear is that the deflation that has rocked the tech sector will work its way through the rest of the economy. Mr. Dorn does not think so. As computer engineers take dish washing jobs in restaurants, the economy will just shift.

Inflation and deflation is simply the product of monetary policy.

Being in the tech sector, I still fear that we could get in to a situation where the technology starts to gnaw at wages. If the big drop in employment is accompanied by big drop in wages then we will start seeing millions of people lose their foot hold in the economy and become destitute.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

I just added an article Al's Infinite Hotel to Descriptive Mathematics. I realized today that for the infinite hotel model to work, there must be a logical sequence that works backwards from infinity. This is probably common knowledge, but it fits well within my refutation of the Diagonal Method

Monday, May 12, 2003

The Register reports that Google is considering the removal of blogs. The problem isn't blog v. nonblog, the real problem is distinguishing authorative from non authorative sources of information.

There is a large number of non-authorative sources of information like link lists and affiliate programs. The truth of the matter is that that there needs to be a mechanism for denoting the type of information.

For that matter, the most part of what appears in newspapers is not authorative is a reprint of an article that appeared on the news wire.

For the Net to really thrive, there needs to be auditable mechanisms that report the type of information. For example, something should be marked as an ad, an opinion, a researched article, etc..

I feel that the best mechanism for such an event would be a human edited source like Zeal or DMOZ.
I wrote a keyword tracking program that I am adding to my sites. I noticed I am getting hits on the education of a philosopher king; so I did a quick editing session to fix some awkward sentences and added the rating bar.

I wonder what people think of the story. It is a total jab at Plato's ideal of a society ruled by a philosopher king and Machiavelli's Prince...both are favorite reads by today's academia.

Sunday, May 11, 2003

Connie is in town. She is going on a book tour for "Walking Without Footprints." Her first stop is Grand Junction of all places. She will then head through Denver then to points east.

When paying off my Discover bill I was pleased to see the company finally has a no-paper option. That gets rids my life of another piece of scrappy paper. While at I-Link, I argued unsuccessfully for the company to move to totally electronic billing and save postage. Why waste the earth printing paper things that we are going to toss out?

Saturday, May 10, 2003

Am I clever or what? Last night I was thinking of ways to porting my rate engine from Salt Lake Sites to my short story page. Then I realized that all I needed to do was copy the rating link. So I will be doing this will all my stories.

Here are a few of the stories:

  • Brainwashing is my attempt at serious fiction. It is the tale of a janitor who gradually turns his back on the society that rejected him and reaches toward niravana in his cleaning.

  • The Detectometer is an entertaining piece of sci-fi. A doughnut eating cop places his skills against a forensic probe. It has a few good lines in it.

Friday, May 09, 2003

I added an HTML Cheat Sheet to my PHP/MySQL course. I intend to link it to the different forum programs and documentation programs I have in the work.

Come to think of it, it would be a valuable resource for it shows the html that you are most likely to use in a blog. Hmmm...

Thursday, May 08, 2003

My waste a day project is to make my online PHP/HTML course valid to xhtml strict. To be quite frank, I think the arrogant snits at W3C are doing the world a grave disservice with their pretentious little pronunciation of what is good or bad HTML. For example, you are suppose to end lines with a <br /> instead of a <br>. Image tags have to have a </img> and other rules that do nothing but makes it harder for people to hand code HTML.

The goal is to remove web page design from the common man and into the hands of the ruling elite. IMHO, the cool thing about the web is that it provides the underdog a chance to be heard. Who cares if the tags are in caps or lower case.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Professor Matthew Pamental spoke at the Intelligent Inquiry Educational Society meeting. The discussion brought up different methods of democracy and focused primarily on Dewey's thoughts on deliberative democracy.

Pamental used the Utah initiative No More Homeless Pets as a demonstrative example of deliberative democracy in work. Basically, a group of animal rights activists, and concerned pet owners have gotten together to reduce the euthanasia of unwanted pets. Using principles of deliberative democracy, the different groups had been able to overcome many of their personal political views on the subject, and came up with a mixed bag of solutions that is making a dramatic difference in the number of pets that get put down in Utah. One of their activities is Strut Your Mutt.

The principles of deliberative democracy does a good job of showing how groups can get over their personal conflicts and get down to work. It also does a good job of showing how smaller community groups can have a bigger, positive impact that national initiatives and laws. The smaller groups do a better job of involving the people in the group, and allow people to make concise deliberative steps. Professor Pamental agreed that he now sees local actions as a better way to solve difficult problems than federal action.

However, the ideal falls apart when you try to apply them to other problems. Many of the big problems of our day involve bigger groups than the pet activist crowd. When you deal with larger problems you suddenly have  a system with hundreds of different groups with different methodologies interacting. Group A and Group B may have deliberative processes, but the two groups are likely to come up with different solutions to problems and will end up being in conflict.

You can't just morph the solutions of two different groups without changing the entire balance of both groups.

Pamental blasted George Bush as the ultimate example of non-deliberative democracy. Personally, I disagreed with the war for oil. However, it is not an issue of deliberative v. non-deliberative activities. Bush is famous for his ability to build coalitions. He had received substantially more international support for the invasion than one would have expected. The only true hurdle were parties that would opposed dramatic action regardless. There were other voices that wanted to sucker the US into all sorts of things like increased grants.

The truth of what happened with the Iraq War was that Bush realized that the UN was not designed as a deliberative he went elsewhere. He was dealing with the problem of interaction of groups.

No More Homeless Pets showed the same kind of initiative in their organization. The Utah Legislature is the legitimate authority for establishing social policy. Organizations like PETA lobby the legislature for action. No More Homeless Pets realized that it is a dysfunctional forum for true they worked outside the legitimate channels and built its own contingency. By working outside the legislative channel, they are able to have a more profound impact.

The frustrating thing about Dewey is that he developed this silly putty approach to logic to make his arguments impenetrable. There are no faults to Dewey's work...because the silly putty arguments are self sealing, and would warp around any criticism. The Dewey scholar is above all else, and has the tools to switch positions as politics dictate. Any thought that leads to a less than popular conclusion would glossed over...Dewey is very much the founders of politically correct thought.

The better conclusion from Dewey's work on deliberative democracy is not to say that it is an ideal that we should seek to attain, but to use it in descriptive terms. We can look at different groups and say if they are a deliberative democracy or if they could benefit from adopting a more deliberative paradigm...but it does not work well as a filter of ideals.

Saturday, May 03, 2003

Big news. My order from just arrived. I got a new PCMCIA Network Interface Card (to replace the one that got broken on my mother's laptop.) It is a 3Com card with an x-jack adapter. Hopefully it will last longer than the Linksys self destructing dongle cards. I had been using a USB NIC on my laptop...So I put the USB NIC on my parent's machine, and will use the PCMCIA card. (I like to make things complicated).

The other thing in the box was an CD Writer. For those of you who have been deligently following my computer woes. My laptop has been suffering from bad clusters. All of the bad clusters are at the end of the drive. With the CD Writer, I am finally able to create secure back I made back ups of all my photo files, deleted the lot and did a defrag. Hopefully, I can get a few more months from this worn tired laptop.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Last night I crashed the business to business expo sponsored by the Salt Lake Chamber. I pretended that Salt Lake Sites was a business, when in fact it is really just a big waste of time. I was surprised, they offered free wine (this is Utah after all) and a lot of great free food. Hmmm, so this is what marketers get to do with their days while programmers work 80 hours a week in dimly lit space. No wonder no one in their right minds enters computer science and engineering in the US.

It is fun having a project that I can pretend is a business. I hope they have more of these shin digs.