Lapidarium RSS

Amira's favorite quotes

"Everything you can imagine is real."— Pablo Picasso

Lapidarium notes

Tags:

Ancient
Age of information
Anthropology
Art
Artificial intelligence
Astronomy
Atheism
Beauty
Biography
Books
Buddism
China
Christianity
Civilization
Cognition, relativity
Cognitive science
Collective intelligence
Communication
Consciousness
Creativity
Culture
Curiosity
Cyberspace
Definitions
Democracy
Documentary
Drawing
Earth
Economy
Evolution
Friendship
Funny
Genetics
Globalization
Greek & Latin
Happiness
History
Human being
Illustrations
Imagination
Individualism
Information
Inspiration
Internet
Knowledge
Language
Learning
Life
Literature
Logic
Love
Mathematics
Media
Metaphor
Mind & Brain
Morality
Multiculturalism
Music
Networks
Neuroscience
Painting
Paradoxes
Patterns
Philosophy
Poetry
Politics
Physics
Psychology
Rationalism
Reading
Religions
Science
Science & Art
Self improvement
Semantics
Singularity
Society
Sociology
Storytelling
Technology
The other
Time
Traveling
USA
Unconsciousness
Universe
Writing
Video
Violence
Visualization


Pensieri a caso
Photography
A Box Of Stories
Homepage

Twitter
Facebook

Contact

Archive

Nov
2nd
Sat
permalink
Apr
4th
Thu
permalink
Most people aren’t trained to want to face the process of re-understanding a subject they already know. One must obtain not just literacy, but deep involvement and re-understanding.
Charles Eames, American designer, who worked in and made major contributions to modern architecture and furniture (1907–1978), cited in Charles Eames in 15 Quotes for His 105th Birthday
Mar
3rd
Sun
permalink
'News is to the mind what sugar is to the body'

“Afraid you will miss “something important”? From my experience, if something really important happens, you will hear about it, even if you live in a cocoon that protects you from the news. Friends and colleagues will tell you about relevant events far more reliably than any news organization. They will fill you in with the added benefit of meta-information, since they know your priorities and you know how they think. You will learn far more about really important events and societal shifts by reading about them in specialized journals, in-depth magazines or good books and by talking to the people who know. (…)

The more “news factoids” you digest, the less of the big picture you will understand. (…)

Thinking requires concentration. Concentration requires uninterrupted time. News items are like free-floating radicals that interfere with clear thinking. News pieces are specifically engineered to interrupt you. They are like viruses that steal attention for their own purposes. (…)

[F]ewer than 10% of the news stories are original. Less than 1% are truly investigative. And only once every 50 years do journalists uncover a Watergate. (…) The copying and the copying of the copies multiply the flaws in the stories and their irrelevance.” “
Rolf Dobelli, Swiss novelist, writer, entrepreneur and curator of zurich.minds, ☞ Rolf Fobelli: News is to the mind what sugar is to the body, Lapidarium notes
Feb
23rd
Sat
permalink
The middle ages did not care much for alphabetical order, because they were committed to rational order. To the medieval mind, the universe [is] a harmonious whole whose parts are related to one another. It was the responsibility of the author or scholar to discern these rational relationships — of hierarchy, or of chronology, or of similarities and differences, and so forth.
Matthew Battles, a senior researcher with metaLAB (at) Harvard, Library: An Unquiet History, W. W. Norton & Company, 2004.
Jan
22nd
Tue
permalink
If things can be seen that differently, how many ways can they be seen differently? Try to get people to stop waiting for the president to enlighten them. Stop waiting for history and the stream of historical events to make itself clear to you.

You have to take seriously the notion that understanding the universe is your responsibility, because the only understanding of the universe that will be useful to you is your own understanding. It doesn’t do you any good to know that somewhere in some computer there are equations that perfectly model or perfectly don’t model something that is going on. We have all tended to give ourselves away to official ideologies and to say, ‘Well I may not understand, but someone understands.’

The fact of the matter is that only your own understanding is any good to you. Because it’s you that you’re going to live with and it’s you that you’re going to die with. As the song says, the last dance, you dance alone.
Terence McKenna, an American ethnobotanist, philosopher, psychonaut, writer, (1946-2000), True hallucinations: and, the archaic revival, MJF Books, 1998, p. 88.
Jan
21st
Mon
permalink
A database can be listed; a human mind has to be stimulated.
Dave Snowden is a Welsh academic, consultant, and researcher in the field of knowledge management, The Ashen Model, (pdf), p.4. (tnx johntropea)
Dec
27th
Thu
permalink
David Deutsch on Artificial Intelligence

“What is needed is nothing less than a breakthrough in philosophy, a theory that explains how brains create explanations. (…)

What distinguishes human brains from all other physical systems is qualitatively different from all other functionalities, and cannot be specified in the way that all other attributes of computer programs can be. It cannot be programmed by any of the techniques that suffice for writing any other type of program. Nor can it be achieved merely by improving their performance at tasks that they currently do perform, no matter by how much. Why? I call the core functionality in question creativity: the ability to produce new explanations. (…)

What is needed is nothing less than a breakthrough in philosophy, a new epistemological theory that explains how brains create explanatory knowledge and hence defines, in principle, without ever running them as programs, which algorithms possess that functionality and which do not. (…)

The truth is that knowledge consists of conjectured explanations — guesses about what really is (or really should be, or might be) out there in all those worlds. Even in the hard sciences, these guesses have no foundations and don’t need justification. Why? Because genuine knowledge, though by definition it does contain truth, almost always contains error as well. So it is not ‘true’ in the sense studied in mathematics and logic. Thinking consists of criticising and correcting partially true guesses with the intention of locating and eliminating the errors and misconceptions in them, not generating or justifying extrapolations from sense data. And therefore, attempts to work towards creating an AGI that would do the latter are just as doomed as an attempt to bring life to Mars by praying for a Creation event to happen there. (…)

Present-day software developers could straightforwardly program a computer to have ‘self-awareness’ if they wanted to. But it is a fairly useless ability.” “
David Deutsch, British physicist at the University of Oxford, Creative blocks, aeon, Oct 3, 2012.
See also: ☞ David Deutsch: A new way to explain explanation, Lapidarium notes
Dec
7th
Fri
permalink

“Through this demonstration we learn that neither light, nor eye, nor brain, alone or in association, can see. But rather, we see only through the total coordination of human experiences; and even then, it is our own conceived image, and not really the actual object which we perceive. We learn, therefore, that we see by creative ability and not by mechanical reproduction.” “
Frederick Kiesler, Austrian-American sculptor, theater designer, artist, theoretician and architect (1890-1965), Vision Machine,  ”…seeing the act of looking “ (tnx the-rx)
Oct
24th
Wed
permalink
“The essence of quantum physics is unpredictability. At every instant, the objects in our physical environment—the atoms in our lungs and the light in our eyes—are making unpredictable choices, deciding what to do next. According to Everett and Deutsch, the multiverse contains a universe for every combination of choices. There are so many universes that every possible sequence of choices occurs in at least one of them. Each universe is constantly splitting into many alternative universes, and the alternatives are recombining when they arrive at the same final state by different routes. The multiverse is a huge network of possible histories diverging and reconverging as time goes on. The “quantum weirdness” that we observe in the behavior of atoms, the “spooky action at a distance” that Einstein famously disliked, is the result of universes recombining in unexpected ways.

According to Deutsch, each of us exists in the multiverse as a crowd of almost identical creatures, traveling together through time along closely related histories, splitting and recombining constantly like the atoms of which we are composed. He does not claim to have an answer to the question “Why does the multiverse exist?” or to the easier question “What is the nature of consciousness?” He sees ahead of us a long future of slow exploration, answering philosophical questions that we do not yet know how to ask. One of the questions that we know how to ask but not to answer is: “Does quantum computing play an essential role in our consciousness?” For Deutsch, the physics of quantum computing is the most promising clue that may lead us to a deeper understanding of our existence. He theorizes, Holt tells us, that “all the different parallel universes in the multiverse” could “be coaxed into collaborating on a single computation.
Freeman Dyson, a British-born American theoretical physicist and mathematician, famous for his work in quantum electrodynamics, solid-state physics, astronomy and nuclear engineering, What Can You Really Know?, The New York Review of Books, Nov 10, 2011.
Aug
9th
Thu
permalink
‘It is obvious,’ says Hadamard, ‘that invention or discovery, be it in mathematics or anywhere else, takes place by combining ideas. (…)

The Latin verb cogito for ‘to think’ etymologically means ‘to shake together.’ St. Augustine had already noticed that and also observed that intelligo means ‘to select among.’

The ‘ripeness’ of a culture for a new synthesis is reflected in the recurrent phenomenon of multiple discovery.
Arthur Koestler, Hungarian-British author and journalist (1905-1983), The Act Of Creation, The Macmillan Company, 1964. 
Jun
11th
Mon
permalink
There is at least one philosophical problem in which all thinking men are interested: the problem of understanding the world in which we live; and thus ourselves (who are part of that world) and our knowledge of it. All science is cosmology, I believe, and for me the interest of philosophy, no less than of science, lies solely in its bold attempt to add to our knowledge of the world, and to theory of our knowledge of the world. I am interested in Wittgenstein, for example, not because of his linguistic philosophy, but because his Tractatus was a cosmological treatise (although a crude one), and because his theory of knowledge was closely linked with his cosmology.

For me, both philosophy and science lose all their attraction when they give up that pursuit - when they become specialisms and cease to see, and to wonder at, the riddles of our world. Specialization may be a great temptation for the scientist. For the philosopher it is the mortal sin.
Karl Popper, Austro-British philosopher and professor at the London School of Economics (1902-1994), The World of Parmenides: Essays on the Presocratic Enlightenment, Routledge, 2012, p. 8.
May
20th
Sun
permalink
In the era of the Internet facts are not bricks but networks

“The existence of hyperlinks is enough to convince even the most stubborn positivist that there is always another side to the story. And on the web, fringe believers can always find each other and marinate in their own illusions. The “web world” is too big to ever know. There is always another link. In the era of the Internet, Weinberger argues, facts are not bricks. They are networks. (…)

Human beings (or rather “Dasein,” “being-in-the-world”) are always thrown into a particular context, existing within already existing language structures and pre-determined meanings. In other words, the world is like the web, and we, Dasein, live inside the links. (…)

If knowledge has always been networked knowledge, than facts have never had stable containers. Most of the time, though, we more or less act as if they do. (…) Black boxes emerge out of actually-existing knowledge networks, stabilize for a time, and unravel, and our goal as thinkers and scholars ought to be understanding how these nodes emerge and disappear. (…)

Done well, digital realism can sensitize us to the fact that all networked knowledge systems eventually become brick walls, that these brick walls are maintained through technological, political, cultural, economic, and organizational forms of power. (…) Our job is to understand how the wall gets built, and how we might try to build it differently.” “
C.W. Anderson, Ph.D, an assistant professor in the Department of Media Culture at the College of Staten Island (CUNY), researcher at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, ☞ The Difference Between Online Knowledge and Truly Open Knowledge, The Atlantic, Feb 3, 2012.
permalink
I think the Net generation is beginning to see knowledge in a way that is closer to the truth about knowledge. (…) Knowing looks less like capturing truths in books than engaging in never-settled networks of discussion and argument. (…) This new topology of knowledge reflects the topology of the Net. The Net (and especially the Web) is constructed quite literally out of links, each of which expresses some human interest. (…) And that’s the sense in which I think networked knowledge is more “natural.” (…)

To make a smart room — a knowledge network — you have to have just enough diversity. (…) There is no longer an imperative to squeeze the world into small, self-contained boxes. Hyperlinks remove the limitations that objectivity was invented to address.
—  David Weinberger, Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, American technologist, professional speaker, and commentator, interviewed by Rebecca J. Rosen, What the Internet Means for How We Think About the World, The Atlantic, Jan 5 2012.
See also: ☞ The Difference Between Online Knowledge and Truly Open Knowledge. In the era of the Internet facts are not bricks but networks
Apr
14th
Sat
permalink
“As fiendish little gadgets conspire to track our movements and record our activities wherever we go, producing a barrage of pictures of everything we’re doing and saying, our lives will unroll as one long instant replay.

There will be fewer and fewer of what Virginia Woolf called “moments of being,” intense sensations that stand apart from the “cotton wool of daily life.”

In the future, not getting any imagery or story line or content is going to be the equivalent of silence because people are so filled up now with streaming video,” said Ed Schlossberg, the artist, author and designer who runs ESI Design. “Paying attention to anything will be the missing commodity in future life. You think you’ll miss nothing, but you’ll probably miss everything.”

Schlossberg said that, for a long time, art provided the boundary for silence, “but now art, in some cases, is so distracting and intense and faceted, it’s hard to step into a moment. Especially when you’re always carrying a microcamera and a screen all the time, both recording and playing back constantly rather than allowing moments of composition and stillness when your brain can go into a reverie.” (…)

[Michel Hazanavicius]: “I compare it to the zero in mathematics. People think it’s nothing, but actually it’s not. It can be very powerful.” “
Apr
10th
Tue
permalink
The internet makes dumb people dumber and smart people smarter. (…) Just as globalization and de-unionization have been major drivers of the growth of income inequality over the past few decades, the internet is now a major driver of the growth of cognitive inequality.
Kevin Drum, American political blogger and columnist, The Internet Is a Major Driver of the Growth of Cognitive Inequality, Mother Jones, Feb 17, 2012