Monday, April 06, 2020

So it really was 5G after all

We're often reminded that Isaac Newton did some of his best work whilst Cambridge University was closed during the plague year of 1665. But has anyone considered that we have not done our causal inference correctly. What if plagues are actually caused by an excess density of information? And it was that excess information that led Newton to discover gravity and calculus, written on the wind. So the Black Death of 1346-1353 was really the result of the impending wide availability of books to the great unwashed public. And the Spanish flu was a symptom of the incurably informed,  due to the forthcoming advent of radio broadcasts of news. The later avian and swine flu epidemics were no such thing as cross-species transmission of viruses: these were a side effect of the Internet. Of course, if we regard information as a form of life, then this should be unsurprising, since life is a form of information, and both spread virally in any case whether by syzygy or other means.

Coming back to the present, has anyone checked? Maybe Wuhan was the first city in china to have 5G deployed? But I'm not talking about the network - I'm talking about the handsets. Let's do some numbers. The mean life of a smart phone in the developed world is about two and a half years which is about 900 days. in the UK there are 65M people, so that means new handsets are arriving at the rate of about 70,000 a day. now what if the handset manufacturer didn't employ enough telephone sanitisers? What if they'd all gone home because of Brexit - maybe like fruit pickers, telephone sanitisers are like, seasonal zero hour contract workers. So there's your vector - 5G handsets. I know what you're saying: what about countries without any cellular networks yet, or precious little Internet, or poor satellite coverage? You'll note I've already discussed that above in earlier events. A high enough density of information in  the near future is sufficient to disrupt things in the present. The very idea that there may be very ideas coming over the horizon is worse than the early warning of an earthquake so well known to alert even the dumbest of our pets.

If only we'd been on the B-Ark, the telephone sanitisers, all this tragic loss would have been averted. Remember, people - be careful out there - too much knowledge can make you ill. Wisdom is often fatal, especially for the elderly, just when they've acquired so much of it - no coincidence there.

Sunday, April 05, 2020

six of one

it was fifty fifty whether the relationship would outlast the lockdown, until the Discontinuity Girl came on the scene. The scion of a long line of breakups, she couldn't help it. It just happened everywhere she went, whatever the weather. And she wasn't a weather girl either.

What made it curious was that no-one could remember why, or even recall her much either. It was like she was a really strange attractor, once fallen for, then twice forgotten. Her orbit was too narrow, or else she came in on the ecliptic, and then went polar. It was hard to say - people were too upset with their broken lives.

One day, she got work in the film industry working for the London Film Makers Cooperative, and she never looked back. Mind you, she hadn't look back before, which could be the source of her secret sauce.

Some people say she came for the stars, but she didn't.

Saturday, April 04, 2020

unreel

i've been trying to read. i usually get through novels in a couple of days. they're mostly some form of escapism - SF, Tec, or writers that have imagination - jeanette winterson, kate atkinson, thomas pynchon, you know...

so i first noticed the problem watching tv - in the ad break - usually we fast forward but this was streaming service that didn't let you. and all the people on the street, kids running to the new car, playing in the park - friends meeting, greeting, hugging kissing in bars, going cafe to caberet, like she sang. it reminded me of olden days, when all the guys like that would take out a cigarette, and act like bogart, offer it and a light to the girl. she'd be lauren bacall. long, cool, calm in a crisis. we don't see that any more.

i want to scream at the screen - that is so unreal. I reel. i can't take it. so i go to bed and try to read a book. and if it isn't 10,000 years in the future, or 1000 years in the past, i can't believe it. writers who were so convincing now describe fantasy scenes that make Avengers Assemble look like a walk in the park. literally. not figuratively, literally.

this is harder than i expected.

Friday, April 03, 2020

Leaky time time.

Frank K woke up with a start. it was dark. he didn't usualy nap this long in the lab. he looked over at his lap top, and noticed the dashboard showed his cloud app was still using 80% of Azure's global compute resources. including FPGAs. and GPUs. and RDMA NICS. omg. what could it still be working on? he had all sorts of resource threshold kill switches - why was it still going.

hours later, having dismantled several data centers he was still none the wiser.
and where was his missing evening and half the night? that was another mystery.

he called up his old mate Mills - Dave was the ultimate clockmeister - he'd be able to figure it out.

he shared the dashboard window over zoom, and said "i'm stumped - what is it? where did all the  time go?"

dave asked him  to point his camera at the DAGv7 boards connected to the bus boys.

"there's your problem" dave said - "you've got counterfeit clocks running off FTL Italian Neutrinos."
"so what does that do" asked frank, ever humble at the feet and feats of the bearded guru.
"well, you know about space leaks, of course - thing of  the past now we write all our systems in rust. but that doesn't stop what we now call a time leak. but in this case, the measurement device has coupled the processing to a quantum clock which has altered the local manifold, so that time is slowed right down on the board, but speedup everywhere else nearby - its like offload, only the opposite. thank heavens you didn't wire it the other way, or there'd be very little left to do til we get to the big bang again. Next time, call me earlier" he offered, expansively.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

On the same page

In my land we have this saying: Are you on the same page as us? This goes back a very long time to when the priests used to warn us about going too near the edge of the world. "Do not stray too far from the spine", they would adjure. "When the day is done, and we turn to the night, you may be swept off the shelf, and woe betide if you fall into on another land. You will never be able to find your way back to your loved ones."

Of course we believed the priests, then. Now we know better. Indeed, we have another saying: My life is an open book.  Perhaps it would be better if we said: Our lives are open books.

How did we ever manage to escape from that silo or hidebound past to this rich present in which every day can bring a whole new experience?

This is the story of the early libronauts, the brave adventurers who refused to be blindsided by the constraining view that we must all remain on this narrow journey where each and everyone of us progresses day by day, page by page through our life. As the page turns, we all move through night to the morning on a new page very little different from the previous one. Pages days away are dimly remembers. Pages days or weeks ahead in the future are hard to predict, and somewhat opaque to us. There was only one true book.

At first, Jay and his friends braved the lands far from the spine, and towards the end of the day, when a turn was sure to come. At first, their sin was known as the unbinding. The hierophants accused them of risking everything for all of us. But as it became clear that nothing bad happened to them, even if they remained right on the edge of the page as it turned, they became braver. They decided to attempt to visit pages before we had even turned to them. Not only did they seek to remind themselves how things had been, but they wished to read ahead. And they bought back stories that made it clear that things were not as the faith had told us.

And one day, they met people who came from another world, a wholly different book, with a different story. It was then that we realised there was a whole firmament out there. We could not only leaf through our pages, past, present and future, but visit other lands near and far, skipping from page to page, from book to book, from world to world.

We were truly unbound.

Sunday, February 09, 2020

Robots and AI (no, not that sort of AI:-)

A colleague once joked about AI saying he was an expert as he'd been bought up on a cattle farm.
Reading Kate Devlin' Excellent book on Science, Sex and Robots, i think the joke is actually a missing piece from that study - there's no obvious reason why robots could not be proxies and surrogates, both for artificial insemination, and for carrying artificial wombs. There are plenty of people who might benefit from a less clinical, and a less emotionally fraught approach to these two important ways to help people have kids who have difficulties for whatever reasons.

The opposite case is already a thing - we make robots and robots make robots (the chip running the AI (artifical intelligence) isn't all designed or built by people any more - it's too complicated and fiddly for impatient, pesky people to be able any more). But robots helping make people seems like an obvious step along the path from passive sex toys, through shared intimacy.

Of course, there are a few ethical challenges to be discussed... ... ...

Saturday, January 25, 2020

the rock inquisition has 2 methods of torture...


the rock inquisition has 2 methods of torture...

changing all the strings on your electric guitar,
and having 1/4 guitar jacks that need the lead re-soldering,
and FX pedals with flat batteries..

no wait the rock inqusition has 3 methods of torture
changing all the strings on your electric guitar,
and having 1/4 guitar jacks that need the lead re-soldering,
and FX pedals with flat batteries..
and having to carry a bass stack so heavy  up a narrow flight of stairs to the gig, so you cant play after for an hour

no wait the rock inqusition has 4 methods of torture
changing all the strings on your electric guitar,
and having 1/4 guitar jacks that need the lead re-soldering,
and FX pedals with flat batteries..
and having to carry a bass stack so heavy  up a narrow flight of stairs to the gig, so you cant play after for an hour
and having a drummer with a car, but who can't keep time

no wait the rock inqusition has 4 methods of torture
changing all the strings on your electric guitar,
and having 1/4 guitar jacks that need the lead re-soldering,
and FX pedals with flat batteries..
and having to carry a bass stack so heavy  up a narrow flight of stairs to the gig, so you cant play after for an hour
and having a drummer with a car, but who can't keep time
and a keyboard player with a fender rhodes that's slightly out of tune

no wait the rock inqusition has 5 methods of torture
changing all the strings on your electric guitar,
and having 1/4 guitar jacks that need the lead re-soldering,
and FX pedals with flat batteries..
and having to carry a bass stack so heavy  up a narrow flight of stairs to the gig, so you cant play after for an hour
and having a drummer with a car, but who can't keep time
and a keyboard player with a fender rhodes that's slightly out of tune
and a bald singer...