Saturday, October 20, 2007

Sea Shells and Wolfram's Cellular Automaton

Ah, Southern California!

If you've read Wanderer lately, you know about my time out in the drink. But I wanted to elaborate a little on the sea shells I was looking at as I sat in the surf and let the Pacific wash over me.

I have been reading Kurzweil's The Singularity Is Near. I don't want to touch so much on the cult fetish about the singularity (although I will say it, I am in fact a Singulatarian), as much as I want to talk about one of the ideas presented in the book about complexity. The idea is about the intuitive notion that to generate complexity in a system, you need to have complicated initial conditions. Kurzweil cites Wolfram's study of Cellular Automaton. Wolfram demonstrates that with a very simple algorithm, patterns can emerge with more complexity than the deterministic rules of the algorithm can account for.

For instance, our genome can hold about 750 MB of information. But look at us as individuals--we would need a hell of a lot more information than that to produce a simulacrum of ourselves with any sort of fidelity.

With this simple idea in mind, I sat in the ocean studying these simple shells. They were eerily like the output of something out of Wolfram's rule 30. At the time I had this visceral experience that the whole of the ocean was this piece of hardware that was running a program, our collective DNA as its software, and the output was life. That what we are isn't this stuff we are made of--that gets recycled every seven years--but that we are a coherent pattern of information (and perhaps our health is the level of coherence), and that is expressed in matter.

Like the very ocean I was surfing on... I am riding the energy that moves through it, not the water molecules that transmit it. Don't mistake the finger for the moon kind of thing.

I know this is a vast simplification (and possible abuse of) Wolfram's ideas, but none-the-less it catalyzed this emotion in me... one of impossible connection to everything, and that perhaps, consciousness is a natural exponent of the Universe. That everything is setup to encourage more and more information encoding (atoms to molecules to DNA to neurological systems to memories to technology... yes props to Kurzweil) and more and more self-consciousness.

Dave out.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Rentry in 5... 4... 3... 2... 1...

what the hell is that? who knows, but it sure is exponential.

Wow. So I'm back after being gone for a couple of years! I have gone from working at the VA Medical Center in Portland, OR to working tech support for a small software company in downtown. And now I'm leaving that job too--to travel around the world. You will be able to read what I'm up to here.

In the meantime, I will post new thoughts on the my opinion of the impending Technological Singularity, as it has been coined, as well the other vagrancies of a mind left to simmer in too much latte.

Best, and more to come.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

So how are we gonna get there?

Here's a good expose from detailing NASA's philosophy for getting us back to the moon:

Building on the best of Apollo and shuttle technology, NASA's creating a 21st
century exploration system that will be affordable, reliable, versatile, and

Personally, I think it is a great idea to 'use what we've got' as it were, instead of trying to build heavylift and exploration vehicles from scratch--especially in these times of economic insanity...

Either way, with all the recent hooplah about advances in nanotube production, I'm wondering why I'm not hearing more about space elevators.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Spaceship Earth is in Trouble!

Whew! Has it really been that long since a post?

Well we (as in my friends and I) have all been talking about global warming and Katrina for some time now--so here are some web resources that some may find interesting:,8599,1099102,00.html

It makes perfect sense that an increase in ocean surface temperature would increase both the ferocity and frequency of hurricanes in the coming years.

What is even scarier is when I think about how rapidly we are approaching the "knee" of the exponential global climate curve, and the ramifications that has for rapid ecosystem change. It has been projected that within the next few decades much of the Siberian tundra and the Arctic will be thawed--releasing billions of metric tonnes of methane into our atmosphere.

I have a friend Dave who owns a tropical fish tank. When that puppy goes off in temperature a couple of degrees, or if the chemical balance is off on some miniscule scale, stuff starts dying. So think about the rest of the planet! When we start killing off life on planet Earth in a more exponential (versus "linear") fashion, what is going to be around to produce the necessary and sufficient conditions for life to go on sustaining itself? The Earth isn't just inhabitable to life... It is made that way by life.

Friday, August 12, 2005

I love you Russia

I have just had a religious experience. Somewhere in the bleary ether of casual Friday, I awoke to find myself (incredibly) sitting upright reading and taking my daily tea... and then i saw it: Private Voyage to the Moon – US$100 million per seat.

It was if a warm and comforting light shone upon me--despite the sweat pants I didn't even mind the erection...

There will be a privately funded mission to the moon... Flown in a Soyuz capsule, two ridiculously rich (and lucky) fucks will be blasted where only a few have ever gone.

Oh to be a rich fuck.

I always knew it would happen, and it is so damn great to see it being planned for. Here is the link to the blessed company that'll send you there. And here is a link to my paypal account so that you can donate to my moon fund--'cause I know you're just dyin' to get me off the planet.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Great Debut...

So here i am.

But for those of you not in the know, here is the backstory.

On one uncommonly mild December night, whilst the songbirds cooed their nighttime coos, and the earthworms snuggled in their earthen abodes… And in fact when all diametrically opposing forces in the universe were enjoying a categorical harmony, the slumbering city streets of a purpled and even’time huntington beach, california paused for a moment—the blessed moment of my birth. and then there was me.

And I was good.

The rest, is largely history—lived in long beach, moved to the beautiful mountain playground of mammoth lakes, california; moseyed to a sleepy lil’town in so. oregon named myrtle creek; finally finding myself in Portland, Oregon for my tenure at Lewis & Clark college and my opening debut into ‘The Real World.’

Then i started reading blogs.
Then sending articles.
Then ranting to my friends.

And so refer to my first statement.

Introductions aside, the purpose of this blog is x-fold (which is an oblique was of saying I really don't know yet); so let me define x=1: to rant about where i see science and technology taking us as a species in the coming years--if not decades.

So stay tuned... The ride should prove interesting.