Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Policy, Pachyderms, Cogs and Monsters

Reading about economics, which i certainly don't pretend to understand, i'm constantly surprised at the long running influence that it has, as a collection of schools of thought, on policy and government, despite its many troubles. 

This especially so in a world where it is increasingly obvious that simply, and verifiable disciplines like epidemiology and climatology are essential, and yet, still encounter doubt&even outright denial or resistance from those in power (i.e. people making up policy and implementing/applying it).

Why should the invisible hand have more sway than the sadly palpable megadeath or megastorm? How can we afford the former the stature of temples and gods when nearly everyone knows someone who died or was ruined by pandemic or flood or drought, or will do soon?

I'm not proposing abandoning the attempt to understand or even manage economies. I'm just worried that the people who depend on those attempts appear unable to factor in things that are pretty basic, and allegedly quite a bit better understood, and that means that the elephant in the room isn't the relative merits of these theories. It is the doubt one must have about policy makers understandings if they adopt the more complex, less certain, over the more well found. What is going on in the minds of such people? I'm not sure it passes for understanding.

Friday, November 18, 2022

neoliberals, sociopaths and crypto

It seems that the blockchain world is populated by an amazing zoo of people for whom backstabbing (by backdooring, or just by ponzi) is just seen as a normal part of life.

Socially, one might observe that people who think there's "no such thing as society" or that the institutions of civilisation should be torn down (defund the police, the BBC, the health service etc etc) are the sorts of people that wouldn't have survived long in a hunter gather tight knit, cooperative society, even less in the mutual aid world of pre-industrial farming (collective barn raising, savings&loans through credit mutuals etc ) - so this distrust or hatred of those sorts of organisations suggest people that don't trust other people. It is a short step from that, to some sort of solipsistic philosophy (no, not the bomb in Dark Star - or maybe, yes...). So then the "i'll just take the money and run", seems unsurprising. 

This is not to say that I don't believe the value of decentralised systems, but when it comes to stores of value and means of exchange, in the end, humans live in the physical world, where food, housing, even entertainment are experienced through something somehow undoubtable. I would actually go the opposite direction from cryptocurrencies, and rather advocate barter and other social constructs - indeed, Graeber's work on debt, the first 5000 years suggests that any notion of money (fiat or otherwise) is a tiny fraction of the ways humans have done business with each other over most of history, in many cultures.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Superficial Sophistication, Fundamentally Vulnerable...

 There's a lot of chaterati theories about brexit, so let me join in with mine...

I think the brits fell victim to their own over-inflated idea of media savvy. The advertising/media industry has long treated the UK as an experimental space for campaigns, think : Gordons gin adverts without any mention of the actual brand, or self-deprecating memes, or the traditional tight-knit social spaces like sports where you can find all the targets in one place (Guinness used this at cricket pitches, of old).

So how does this chime with my pet theory of why we fell, against almost all of our better interests, for the Brexit stories?

Well, the other side of the coin is that the majority of brits are pig-ignorant of the real world., despite going on hols in the costa brava - we have no idea who the president of France, or the minister for informatics of Greece is - by contrast, if you ask people in most of mainland Europe about such matters (i've tried) they know - they know details about our government and economics, and their own, and each others'. It is amazing, until you recall, they didn't politicise and under fund their state education systems.

So caught between these two clutch plates of clver marketing ("oh, yeah, can't fool me") and reality ("don't know about experts:), the population is easily fooled, even if it takes double bluffs.

So what to do next time? Well, let's take one concrete example - the leave campaign was good at memes - including epithets for their opponents ("remoaners") and the opposite cases being made ("Project Fear").

Of course, recently, a long piece in the Telegraph admitted that it now turns out most of Project Fear has come true. So what should the European Remain Group (to steal a Three Letter Acronym from its Arch Enemies) have done?

They should have embraced sophisticated marketing - Project Fear should have used images from Terminator and Mad Max and Blade Runner to show what was going to happen (Skynet would take over the markets in the UK, feral kids on motorbikes would scour the sewage drowned streets for gas, because it wasn't affordable, people would be huddled around fires burning books because they had no heat at home, and so on).

Next time, we will tell the truth, only better.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

i don't think they understand the gravity of the situation...

 scientists are searching for dark data and dark communications because otherwise, in their current thinking, the internet does not make sense - they'd like to think it is expanding at a certain rate of acceleration because of the big bang, but the observed rate and early phases of the internet do not add up - there must be missing masses of information, and communication that were unaccounted for.

but in the entropic theory, all we need to propose is more or less randomness in the extrema of the distribution. and this is observed empirically often - as Professor Pratchett noted here - this is also known in folk theories - some people are inordinately lucky, while others seem to encounter Murphy's Law far more often than you would reasonably expect. This it seems the internet is slightly more organised, where it is structured, than expected, and slightly more random, where it is truly random, than you might think.

This very weak effect has an influence over time and space as the Internet grows, and gradually, this comes to dominate over the stronger, but shorter range forces of data cohesion.

Thus, we can replace the search for the dark interweb with a simple theory of luck.

This may also apply to cosmology, although I suspect respectable physicists will shy away from the idea, because it might undermine their funding chances.

Saturday, September 03, 2022

Tavernas/restaurants of Paleochora, aug/sep 2022

my criteria are (roughly evenly applied):

a) food b) location c) price d) service


1. The Little Angel - quiet corner - food (a very special moussaka this time, with some interesting herbs in) - 

excellent prices - went again. had lamb kleftiko still very good!

2. Christos - great service, super reliable food, view, and very good value - great dorade, for example, also classics like lamb in oven with lemon potatoes, goat tsigoridis etc

3= El Greco - food italian (pizza, pasta) all reliable -- upstairs area is great with amazing view - pricing good, 

3=.Olaya - new kid on the block - asian fusion - excellent starters (prawns & rolls etc), good service, mains a bit big (or in one case small) but good flavour - decent pricing, good service

3=  Third Eye - a matter of taste - deserts will probably suit all - I like it - had a very good sweet potato ragaile (fruit!), some don't - usually people could steer away from heavier vegan dishes (bean burger) will find plenty to like - service ace - interestingly, only has "posh" retsina instead of usual mass produced stuff - also nice house wine

3= Methexis - very busy, but we went a second time, and got a very classy meal for a surprisingly good price, so went right up in my estimation (95 euro for 7 people including starters and wine!)

4.  Marias - always great smiles, and solid, reliable, and super affordable - mostly greek taverna standards

5= Pantelis  - shame they reduced their menu, but still very nice quieter location, and decent food/price 

6 Oriental bay - reliable, affordable - now it is more open, less mosquitoes - decent view....music too loud:-

7. Castro - some good ideas and good greek wine list - a bit pricey...views amazing - plus cocktail bar up stairs very decent

Note, these are ALL worth going to:-) most on google maps (you may want to learn to read greek)


pricing depending on if you have starters & main and wine, somewhere in 20-35 euro per person roughly

Things I still miss in Paleochora

1/ The Pelican

2/ the open air Sinema where we saw the Flintstones (starts with them driving to an open air cinema) and the Athens Olympics ceremonies!

3/ the Sea Urchins

Thursday, August 04, 2022

time, ladies and gentlemen, please.

 Time travel works. In fact, it is remarkably common. However, 

it doesn't do what everyone thought it did.

The ubiquitous mistake was to assume that time is another dimension

(I blame Einstein and Dr Who); that you could move in that dimension

in the same way that you could move in space, left, right, up, down, forwards, backwards, past, 

and future. Of course this was nonsense, and many scientists had a field day pointing out that just because you could write Maxwell's equations for electromagnetism in four vector, relativistic invariant form, that didn't mean much to anyone on the top of the clapham omnibus stuck in bad traffic. Nor did any of them get a Fields medal for saying so.

So how does time travel really work?

Essentially, it is time that travels, not you. Think of time as collection of instants (temporal quanta). 

Each of those instants can be experienced in many orders, including repetitions.

However, instants are unique (the "no cloning" theorem of quantum time theory applies), 

so how do the repetitions occur to time? They don't. Time travels from one place in the sequence to another.

Thing of those moments when a smell "transports" you to another time - perhaps the smell of a plant (even Thyme) reminds you completely of all the other times that you were in the presence of that resonant experience. That isn't what happens. What is actually occurring is that those other "times" are traveling to you. and then back again. You just tick along as usual, thinking the world is made of some

endless reel of film unrolling from the past to the future, holding your delusional beliefs that somebody may build a machine that lets you skip back to some earlier stage of the reel, or unroll it so you can jump forward to some as yet unlived experience.

Of course, once this was understood, and indeed, comprehended by the great unwashed public, there was an outcry. Just as Copernicus took us out from the centre of the universe,

and Darwin's theory of evolution took us out of the pinnacle of the pyramid of species, and Relativity cast doubt amongst moral absolutists, and quantum bought us more doubt all the disinformation programs the kremlin could ever muster, Natoshi Sakamoto's brief theory of time has "bought to an end" 

causal ordering.

Time is a Pack of Cards continually being shuffled by someone or something. The rules of shuffling are as yet unclear, although certain patterns appear to be emerging, certainly not unconnected with the

the widely accepted Quantum Smell syndrome.

However, for many aspects of human life, time is running out.

How shall the law accommodate such a world, where moments are no longer unique, or organised into more than an illusory sequence of action and consequence?

Of course, for many in the metaverse, this has been understood "for some time". Shortcuts, why, even back in text only MUDs and MOOs, had been commonplace, both in between rooms, but also between events. |Be kind, rewind", had to be generalised as a piece of advice, to prevent excessive trauma for new entrants into virtual worlds. Now, it seems, there was no difference between the virtual and the real.

Not that we are living in a simulation, of course - that was a consequence of the computational complexity inherent in the Sakamoto model. We could appear to choose to leave that space, and move to the metaverse - this was not a contradiction, since anything built by meta was of necessity, of lower complexity than the Sakamoto universe, and therefore could be fit within, multiple times, if necessary.

"What next?" I hear you cry. That, I reply, is the wrong question.