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notable nota bene

  • revert (n.): a convert to Islam. We "revert" to it, however, because we reportedly already agreed to follow Allah's rules before we were born.

  • tulpa (n.): Tibetan spirit familiar / alter-ego / imaginary friend. More recently used for pretend, voluntary dissociation. Workflowy and this site are my tulpas.

  • contrafactum (n.): a cover of a song with different words. For instance, my mate called this a 'parody' of 'Hallelujah', but it is not a parody, because it is not making fun of the original.

  • hyperprior (philosophy n.): Andy Clark's term for the cognitive conditions of learning anything about the world (e.g. sensory co-ordination, object permanence, "the world is in one determinate state"). Previously called synthetic a priori judgments, or conditions of possibility, but unlike Kant Clark is willing to imagine that they might not be innate and/or logically necessary, but actually learned from sense data in infancy. Which is why babies are idiots.

    (We actually have mathematically proven that at least one hyperprior must be innate, 'bias-free learning is impossible'. This would be something like "regularities exist" or "x is your default prediction")

  • inverse care law (n.): healthcare resources tend to be concentrated in the areas of least need (this goes for both geographical and clinical specialism areas). A pun!

  • epizootic (n.): an outbreak of disease among nonhumans. Often met with mass culling, millions mown down ("destroyed" as the special usage has it) with carbon dioxide or foam suffocation. An epizootic is a vast fire doused brutally, where we can, in all but one animal.

  • the meat cloud (computing n.): 1) the large support team required to support traditional on-site servers; 2) the millions of people who form the traditional analysis and decision-making apparatus of the earth: "people who pull reports into Excel and make emotional decisions"; 3) A weird, noxious smell that hangs around the New York Times building.

  • parasitic load (engineering n.): lost electrical power; the output of the generator minus power available for external load. Not to be confused with parasite load, your ambient level of infection.

  • orthologue (biology n.): a gene sequence found in multiple species, showing their common descent.

  • data pond (IT n.): a failed data lake; not complete, not large, not fresh, not used.

  • entity resolution (n.): working out if two bits of data refer to the same thing. AKA merge/purge processing (in enterprise IT); record linkage (among statisticians/historians); the object identity problem (in CS); deduplication; reconciliation. Foiling data linkage is the key to modern privacy - and it is as simple as stopping cookies and VPNing.

  • skid (hacker n.): Script kiddie; an incompetent, pretend hacker who uses others' work.

  • no-distribute scanner (hacker n.): illegal malware detector, that doesn't send its results to the central white hat repos.

  • to derole (pretentious drama v.): to come out of character; to "recover" oneself.

  • self-unemployment (n.): slapping your boss. A Spoonerism of mine.

  • algorithmic weakening (n.): the process of using simpler and simpler learners because you have more and more data to throw at the problem, because data beats cleverness (and because we want speed more than optimal performance). Marching into a beautiful linearized future.

  • tameness (CS n.): A set A is tame if there is a polynomial p that makes the minimum value of {the set of real numbers that can be expressed as the sum of 2^n terms from A} greater than 1 / exp(p(n)). Coined on MathOverflow <3 <3. Complexity-zoo computer science is the most exciting field that there is zero hype about.