Friday 4th April 2008

(in which i elaborate)

at some point in our past we had to deal with fundamental threats to survival. i mean it, profoundly fundamental: take away every comfort you know, remove yourself from the surety of your next meal, hide alternately from the snow and the sun, sleep in the midst of animals with sharp teeth, oh and while all this is going on you also have to make little copies of yourself and do your best to keep them alive as well. rinse, repeat.

under this continuous pressure, it was absolutely assured that we were always comprised of the toughest stuff possible. those with a fortunate allocation of genes departed at a lower rate than those without. over time simple probability distilled the genome.

now we're reaping the benefits of our inherited capability: as a species we're doing well. we've pretty much figured out what to do in order to avoid dying. to this end we've perfected space heaters and crop rotation and vaccines and a hundred thousand other things, and have twice that number of things in development. we have learned to modify our surroundings to suppress the bad stuff, and create environments capable of providing all of our needs. again, we truly can't be blamed for doing so—our deepest, most primal genetic mandate is to keep living, so we'll do what it takes.

but in succeeding so astonishingly, we have removed the very thing that got us here in the first place: pressure.

it's inevitable that little genetic ripples appear. in the beginning they were the cause of our success because they are occasionally beneficial—those that were not eventually corrected themselves through attrition. but with all the cushions we've placed beneath ourselves, with every safety net our large brains and modern life can afford, there is no longer any mechanism to keep these flaws out, so they accumulate.

i believe there will come a point where we will ultimately buckle under the weight. for centuries now we've been moving away from an equilibrium. we've become stagnant and inflated, and a correction is inevitable.

Monday 19th March 2007

exploding bishops

to a regular chess game, add ninety-six additional squares and two additional players. mix with infuriating randomness. heat until simmering with rage; serve cold.

this double-variant of chess is perhaps the awesomest thing, ever. four players, and insane strategy-breaking cards. chess is to this … this beast as whack-a-mole is to global thermonuclear war.

oh, did i mention we built the board from legos? we are infinitely adaptable, you see.

posted by mAtt @ 21.00 (gmt+0000)
to /entertainment/happiness/insoluble

Wednesday 9th February 2005

no common thread

oron formally undecidable propositions of blogger and related systems
or meaningless symbols acquire meaning despite themselves
or I am you and what I see is me
or quining and whining
or open other end
or [alt+255]

again, sorry it's been a while. not that you care. it's healthy that you don't.

it is telling when the emails I write myself to remind me of thus-and-such give me ads for 1) nonlinear regression software, 2) air filtration, 3) cutlery. discuss.

we're moving! (the A student will note that I've just used the exclamation mark; this is the most concise commentary possible on precisely how I feel about the subject.) finally we'll have a place with a room able to hold our massive california king bed, which is currently flying in a holding pattern, fittingly, in california. anyway. it follows that we'll be gradually transplanting our junk over the course of the next week or so. long ago we both arranged to take valentine's day off but now I suppose we'll use it for different reasons, SINGLE SIBLING unread this sentence immediately.

ceci n'est pas une list.
0. 'is a sentence fragment' is a sentence fragment. / "is a sentence' is a sentence' is a sentence.
1. 'yields falsehood when quined' yields falsehood when quined.
2. 'est une expression qui, quand elle est precedee de sa traduction, mise entre guillemets, dans la langue provenant de l'autre cote te la manche, cree une faussete' is an expression which, when it is preceded by its translation, placed in quotation marks, into the language preceding on the other side of the channel, yields a falsehood.'
3. there do not exist numbers a and a' such that both (1) they form a tnt-proof-pair, and (2) a' is the arithmoquinification of u.
4. the sentence 'the sentence 'the sentence '…' is infinitely long' is infinitely long' is infinitely long.

apologies to douglas hofstadter for his beautiful book. beautiful in the sense that, in a certain doubleplus ungood way, global thermonuclear war would be beautiful.

recently I discovered something about myself. I discovered this thing last friday as I sat in the passenger seat speaking (cellularly) to my mum whilst the driver backed onto a relatively crowded street with a parked car trying to turn into the space we were at that moment efforting to occupy. as this occurred, my mother's voice faded into utter gibberish, and I felt the fingers of vertigo squeezing my brain just behind the eyeballs. the thing that I discovered about myself was this: I cannot simultaneously process information of bodily motion and information of sound. there is no good explanation for this but it's consistent with other phenomena I've noticed, i.e. when driving in strong wind I must have all sources of music off. maybe it's a problem of bandwidth, which I hope is the case as I'm planning on someday updating my brain's software to GreyMatter 2.0 (Executive Limited Platinum Professional Edition) in which the bandwidth and other embarrassing problems (pointless efficiency-killing headaches, selective memory, ocd, social awkwardness, need for computer games) are solved.

someone had better tell my pineal gland that he better start showing up to work on time or he'll get sacked, and soon. well I probably shouldn't sack him but he isn't exactly up for any sort of promotion. if you know what I mean.

the simultaneous robustness and fragility of life astounds me. check that: life astounds me. there is, quite honestly, nothing like it anywhere on earth.

p.s. does not contain an implementation of the lzw algorithm.

posted by antimAtt @ 23.37 (gmt+0000)
to /geek/happiness/visibleman