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Showing posts from March, 2017

notable emanations

WORM (adj.): Write Once, Read Many (times). A particular use pattern in databases, that allows for faster but less safe NoSQL systems.
bitterant (n.): bitter chemical, applied to things like antifreeze to stop children and other animals eating them.
bruxism (n.): excessive grinding of teeth. Apparently it is not painful, but still horrendous to me.
relevance engineer (n.): A data scientist focussing on search or recommendation. (I note keenly the shifts in terminology which imply any devaluation of the hot and silly coin in my pocket, "data science"; on the recent StackOverflow survey a large chunk of people responded "machine learning specialist".)
incentive compatibility: One of the most important ideas in economics, but I never learned the name in 4 years of indifferent study. "I don't agree with him at all, but we are incentive-compatible."
to die in harness (v.): Melodramatic version of death in service. It is the official termin Indian government, in…

incentive compatibility

We live together: you dislike mess more than you dislike cleaning; I dislike cleaning more than I dislike mess. Mess happens: obligate social grooming rears a silent scowling face.

A current account runs to deficit: cogwheels backlash. I could offer you money for doing my part, if I was stupid; or if you were a different species. As you are this is a grave insult: cleaning you undertake yourself is home-making, comfort behaviour, preening, an act conceived in freedom and ease. Receiving money for it makes you a cleaner: low-status. Offering you money called you low status: I signalled superior wealth. Negotiations sour: you don't hear my offer instead to cook, or do the bins. But we are grown men; there must be a solution.

Yes: I skip the lease under cover of night, free-riding the axle of a Scania bound for the orient. In the morning: notes stuffed under your door.

standard repertoire in computer science

Don Knuth at his home organ

A trained musician knows hundreds of pieces, many of them from "standard repertoire", a list of classics. I'm getting by in a statistical / computer scientific career, despite not being trained per se in either. What's in the computer science / IT / hacker repertory?

Here is a list of things you should be able to use or define by the end of a good computer science undergraduate degree. (Starred are ones which will enhance your life most, whether with hundreds of thousands of pounds, or hundreds of hours, or a larger practical-ethical expansion. Career improving ones are pretty obvious, but in computing the divide between the fascinating or improving, and the employable, is narrower than elsewhere.)

Get into DIY, in its grand philosophical sense: create, not just consume.** Portfolio, not resume! Demystification of tech.** ...and thus participation in the defining activity and mindset of the age.* ...and thus scepticism about t…

to be led out

You start to learn something. You don't know what to google. You don't know the luminaries. You don't know what are stupid questions. You don't know which are the good books, and they are all £90. You might not know a good book when you saw it, except that it seems to make sense to you, where others are demeaning slammed doors. You don't know enough to just get started and incrementally improve at any rate at all.

Education is artificial enclosures and screens on this terrifying commons: ignore those cliffs, forget that vertiginous sky, stay in here, you will be safe to get strong, here is a nice story. StackExchange is a chain of lifeboats on the open sea of research, vanishing to the horizon.

Most educated people never leave the enclosures, and mistake the limits of the curriculum for the limits of the world. (In this way, it's possible that the American general education philosophy - so admirable, so civic - could narrow minds.) In economics this "…

notable labiodentals

E/N site (n.): An "Everything/Nothing" site. (As in, "means everything to the person who's writing it, and nothing to everyone else".) The 90s word for blog.
Greek life (US n.): Amusing Ivy League slang for the frat / sorority system. Gives rise to excellent shite like this:
...After nearly three decades of operating in the shadows, the Greek organizations could find themselves under the University's regulatory oversight or banished altogether, President Tilghman said May 5.

"At the moment I am keeping an open mind about all options," including retaining the University's existing policy of non-recognition, Tilghman said in an e-mail to PAW. One way to ban Greek life, she said, would be to require matriculating students to pledge not to join fraternities or sororities...

decompensation (medical n.): a system's eventual failure (after adapting to a disorder). Something Greek about it.
cadastral (n.): by taxable value; used exclusively for offic…

London on £25 a day

£0.02 : earplugs£16: room in a flatshare with 3 others in far East London.£1.50 : power smoothie breakfast£3 : Tesco lunch£1.50 : Peter Special dinner£1 : Misc (toiletries, friends, whatevs)£0.40 : supplements (amortized)£0.40 : bike maintenance (2 x 6 miles per day commute is hard on it) (amortized)£0.30 : charity shop clothes (amortized)£0.20 : internet£0.00 : council tax (included in rent)£0.00 : library books£0.10 : electricity£0.00 : heating. it's London.

This isn't a minimal per diem - you could live in a car, or benefit from nepotism of some sort - but pretty optimal in 4D nutrition/comfort/employability/thrift space.

slingshot akrasia

Everything on this site was written in the glow and shadow of other things I should have been doing.

This is a further great benefit of work, formal study, and love alike: they pressurise my life. They give me a structure to defy and be inspired by, a gravity assist. I am happiest when laden with obligations, when the set of tasks that is my life flies just out of control, when deadlines tighten. I haven't crunched the data yet (that is, modelled my output vs my obligations) but I am 80% confident that taking on more improves mood and productivity, up to some threshold I haven't found yet.

(To give this vague grandiosity some substance: I'm currently working full-time in a technical field that is new to me, finishing a part-time maths degree, in an intense long-distance relationship, working on four or five software side projects, completing twolongish MOOC specialisations, and reading three books.)


I often wonder what kind of person I would be if I had be…

entrée Noûs

The brain is constructed entirely of ingested matter.Knowledge inheres in the brain.*So knowledge inheres in (metabolised) food.Food, like all matter, is noumenal, of the external world.So the mind inheres in the external world.So there is no metaphysical barrier between mind and world.**So there is no high-level puzzle about knowledge.***

* Yes, not just in the brain, but this suffices.

** Clearly this does not defeat the radical sceptic in her original, Cartesian internalist problematic. But the best candidate for a philosophical fact is: nothing can. Their simple, hard-reset reply is just: "it's an epistemic barrier, not a metaphysical one".

*** All this leaves to solve are the smaller titanic mysteries of consciousness, phenomenal binding, meaning, apriority, most of the highly unfinished fields neuroscience, cognitive science, behavioural genetics ...

notable denoters

Advanced Persistent Threat (infosec n.): In cybersecurity, the worst foe. These people are 'Advanced' relative to a script kiddie or a skilled troll. Better funded, more patient, able and willing to try several different avenues of attack. A state actor (or a corporate black operator in a cyberpunk book). They will get in: the question is if you notice, and how much damage they do when they do. A conventional hacker or criminal isn't interested in any particular target. He wants a thousand credit card numbers for fraud, or to break into an account and turn it into a zombie, or whatever. Security against this sort of attacker is relative; as long as you're more secure than almost everyone else, the attackers will go after other people, not you. An APT is different; it's an attacker who -- for whatever reason -- wants to attack you. Against this sort of attacker, the absolute level of your security is what's important. It doesn't matter how secure you are co…

Done in February 2017

Sat an IQ test. Pride: 1, irrationally * Maths assignment #5, Jacobians and Fourier analysis. Pride: 3. Started making SymPy uni notes. Pride: 4 Big idea: an Age of Em visualisation. Pride:Wrote about learning but not internalising. Pride: 3. Wrote a snarky little bit about the qualitative and quantitative. Pride: 1 Wrote about Pi and Tau. Pride: 2. Wrote again about the maximum wage. Pride: 1 Fixed the pipeline (not my job) with bash and long hours. Pride: 3.

* I once argued with a gay friend about what I saw as misuse of the concept "pride" in world Pride events. You should only be proud of things you have actually done, not just proud of who you are.** I insisted that the broader concept they're looking for - in conducting an intentional, public valuation to counter ancient and systematic degradation - is "esteem".

In the general population, I argued, this confusion is one cause of the vast and hollow parade of achievement-free self-promotion and cel…

notable Worten sind Taten

nut 'graph or nut graf (n.): That ugly, mise-en-scene opening paragraph in every news article ever. Tries to answer who, what, why, when, where in two sentences.
vanity shingle (US pej. n.): a small film production company founded by a celebrity for projects starring themselves. Incorporates shingle: archaic metonym for a small company, via the chalked signboard showing its name outside; or the set clapperboard?
bomb-ass: exemplary; highly laudable; successful, op. cit.
gaggle (US n.): an off-camera press conference with the White House Spokesman. Fairly routine, but recently made sinister by selectivity.
to calque (v.): to translate word for word, or to give an etymology, instead of actual contextual usage. e.g. this clumsy note from Arrival.
garnishment (US n.): an ongoing, court-ordered deduction from your wages. To pay fines or debts. Something about the sound is sinister.
erfi (n): the imaginary error function. One day I might stop encountering conventional maths symbols I have ne…