Friday, October 30, 2015

Local Color XX++

Long time, sorry, I've been uninspired by life the universe and everything...


Two back-to-back only-in-NM news items have forced me out of forced retirement:
Man Beats “Zombie” Roommate To Death After Watching The Walking Dead
A New Mexico man who had been watching TV’s “The Walking Dead” says he fatally beat his friend before he could become a zombie. Grants police spokesman Moses Marquez said Sunday that 23-year-old Christopher Paquin was beaten and that 23-year-old Damon Perry is being held on a murder charge.

Sadly it appears that the above was only alcohol related rather than crank driven.

However this one is definitely ETOH^2:
Mother and daughter struck and killed [while fighting about excess drinking] on N.M. 599
 Lt. Andrea Dobyns of the Santa Fe Police Department said the two women were traveling with a female friend when they stopped their vehicle and got into an altercation that escalated to violence.

Maybe this will put me over the edge...

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Art Work

Following on from thought #1, Residue, this is thought #2 from my failed nap a couple weeks ago. If Art is always the useless bits leftover from cultural development, what comprises those bits right now? I'm not smart enough to jump the entire paradigm, but I do have this much:

Harking back to my whole schtick with the Prisoner's Dilemma where the "rational" solution -- defect -- is the "obvious" strategy which maximizes-reward and minimizes-risk over the short term. This optimizes well for evolutionary natural selection in a scarce and hostile environment, but results in a slightly less beneficial overall outcome -- versus cooperate -- for both parties over the long term.

And the long term is significant these days.

Thanks to over fitting, the Social Darwinists of the 19th century are no longer with us -- except in the guise of Libertarian economists -- but we still don't really think outside of the risk/reward box.

I recently attended an SFI talk by an evolutionary roboticist who, as an aside, complained that his evolved robots did not do so well in the long term. When I suggested that other fitness functions might be tried he pretty much dismissed the idea because they would be out-competed in the short term (in my own self-serving paraphrase of the interchange...).

But what if we try to do evolution with different utility functions?
  • What's the best option for the common good?
  • How can we all have the most fun?
  • Can I be the best improvisational drummer in the ensemble?
  • What would make the prettiest rainbows come out of my unicorn's butt?
In a our real, resource limited, and hostile environment these would be considered counter-fitness functions. However Artificial Life can evolve in a plentiful and benevolent environment of our own making. The problem is that this has no application to the 'real world' (thus far?) and so it is not of interest as a scientific research topic. (There is work on cooperation and altruism, from plants to humans, but the central question usually reverts to the basic economic risk/reward formula, "How does this wasteful behavior contribute to the improvement of the individual's position?")

If it's not Science, then what is it?


Thursday, April 30, 2015


(This is the result of not being able to nap after not being able to sleep before getting up too early...)

Art is the residue of culture on two levels.

In the first sense, art objects are the artifacts left over after all use-value has been extracted, i.e., when things have no further function they become Art. Pictures on a wall.

(Here the reader may insert an argument about design and craftsmanship and/or a counter argument about bad design.)

However in Level II of my alternate historicity, The Arts are the residue.

Lets say that Dark Ages newspapers had a monthly Arts section which covered everything from Hildegard von Bingen to Leonardo da Vinci.

Then later, during the Enlightenment, it became the Arts and Natural Philosophy page.

After which Science got it's own weekly publication, leaving us with the Art and Humanities magazine.


Until now: The Arts and Entertainment sunday supplement.

The point being that The Arts are always the residue of cultural ferment, calving off new areas of development. An interesting field of endeavor splits off and Art is left holding the spare parts bag.

Now. What if we split Entertainment off? After some bloody skirmishes, movies, TV, pop-music, yadayadayada, get their own section of the net, and The Arts gets the rest -- say Art and Culture. Opera, Symphony, Literature, Galleries, Museums, all the stuff that signifies sophistication to consummate 10%ers.

Then Culture can be excised. The historically significant art gallery and concert hall spectacles are all stuffed into convenient wallets and the surplus is renamed Arts and Ideas, where Ideas are what's left of late 20th century art.

So, ultimately Art is the leftover stew from whence Ideas bubble. When one of those New Ideas gains credence it becomes its own field leaving the unnecessary bits behind as The Arts. And without The Arts broth, New Ideas do not gestate.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Local Color XVIII+1

Two Standout Items from Today's Sheriff's Hotsheets

The case of the over-attached (ex)girlfriend:

Case # 0215002016 False Imprisonment 02-09-15

Deputy Assigned: Leonard Martinez
Commander Entering: Cpl. Edward Webb Jr.
Location: Don Bernardo(Nambe)
Arrested: Amelia Gabaldon 19 yoa female (Santa Fe)
Victim reported as he attempted to break up with his girlfriend she became upset with him and would not allow him to leave her residence. Suspect blocked her doorway and would not allow the victim to leave. After allowing victim to leave the room, suspect then sat on the hood of victim's vehicle and would not allow him to leave in his vehicle. Suspect was arrested and booked without further incident

The curious case of the unknown unknowns:

Case# 0215001992 Burglary (Residential)

Deputy Assigned:  Deputy Marvyn Jaramillo
Commander Entering:  Lieutenant Joe McLaughlin
Location:  3900 Block, Riverside Drive, Santa Fe, NM
Between an unknown time on Thursday, January 29, 2015 and an unknown time on Friday, February 6, 2015 person(s) unknown utilizing unknown menas gained entry to the rear door of a residence at the location.  Once entry was gained person(s) unknown damaged the interior of the residence.  Person(s) unknown also removed the kitchen faucet and water heater.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

(too much) Local Color XVII
Albuquerque Edition

¡¡¡all these news items in one day!!!

Sunday’s Top Morning Headlines
(from KRQE-NEWS13)

Albuquerque police are looking for the person who shot and killed a woman outside of the TGI Friday’s restaurant. They say he is Ernest Serna, 46, is responsible. He is 5 foot 2 inches tall with hazel eyes. Police say he is armed. He was last seen driving a black 2008 Dodge Ram with the license plate KFX832. It has chrome wheels and no window tint. It was seen speeding away from the scene of the shooting.

Albuquerque police say a 3-year-old boy got ahold of a gun and shot his dad and a pregnant woman. It happened at the America’s Best Value Inn off Menaul in northeast Albuquerque Saturday. A 2-year-old girl was also in the room, but was not hit. The adults are expected to be ok. The children are on a 48-hour custody hold with CYFD. The adults could face felony criminal negligence charges for having a loaded gun near children.
Albuquerque police evacuated the La Quinta near Coors Boulevard and Iliff Avenue because of a pipe bomb. Police found it outside of the building and it took it into the lobby. Officers say the bomb squad was able to detonate that bomb and the case has been turned over to the federal authorities.

Just a couple comments from the peanut gallery here...
  1. Finding a Dodge Ram with chrome wheels and NO window tint should be pretty easy here in NM.
  2. Why did the police, upon finding a bomb outside, bring it INTO the lobby of the building?

Friday, January 16, 2015


You WON'T BELIEVE what happens next!

I was starting to notice that most of the links I click on are actually lists of links to other lists, and that getting to the bottom of the stack was an exhausting process. Then, as usual, a N'Yawker article, The Virologist, 1/5/2015, cleared up the mystery. (It has also generated a sub-trending slew of ClickerBait sub-re-postings, e.g....)

The story follows the founder of a set of internet startups, re-branded, most recently, under the name, which repackages online content with catchy headlines of their own invention on their own sites with ad revenue just a quick-click away. The founder of the company got his start in 1999 with and is summed up, in summary, as saying:
The more awesome you are, the more emotion you create, the more viral it is.
The company's main functions are:
  1. Content selection using trend numbers form reddit/twitter/etal;
  2. Catchy title writing;
  3. Advertising sales.
The (curmudgeonly old media) author of the article on (the excessively awesome) new media success traced one posting down six levels of repackaging to the lowly book's authors, who received no compensation for the making of any content, viral or otherwise.

So. No actual useful information was generated in the making of this multi-million$$ opportunity -- recent round of funding, $8M -- but one of the chief investors enthuses:
I think his stuff is indicative of where digital media is headed.
I call it:

Strip Mining the Zeitgeist

So. What happens next? We believe!