Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Honest Hypocrite among the galaxies

The volunteer galaxy classifiers at Galaxy Zoo have found a galaxies that look like every letter of the alphabet.  My Galaxies let's you write any phrase in galaxies!  Here is the Honest Hypocrite in galaxies.

Go try it yourself.

(via Space.com,  I am also a proud member of Galaxy Zoo)

Friday, September 07, 2012

Doctorow and Stross discuss Revenge of the Nerds at Makerbot in Brooklyn

Amid tens of tiny author heads at Makerbot industries in Brooklyn, Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross talk about their "new" book, Revenge of the Nerds.

The book is really an updated version of two short stories about life after the Singularity with an additional story to tie up loose ends.  

Although I had to drive all the way to Brooklyn, I was still excited to see them because I had never seen Charles Stross in person before and I really like his work.  Cory Doctorow, I have seen at Philcon and at a book reading in San Francisco.

Cory seemed more comfortable speaking than Charlie though once Charlie got rolling he presented himself as almost scarily well read.  Cory also appears to have thought a lot about the implications of the technology and the Singularity lampooned in the book.

Questions from the crowd were generally earnest questions about whether their really will be a technological singularity, the philosophical implications of mind uploading.  It was more of a question and answer session than discussion.

So when Cory got a question about uploading and he went into the discussion of where identity lies and the old story that if I cut off you hand and replace it are you still you and then you progress further until you replace the whole person. It's the classic combination of Zeno's paradox and the question of when a pile of sans becomes a grain of sand.  

Charlie answered a question a bout Gnosticism which he originally heard as Narcissism.  The question was better with Narcissism.  He of course started talking about an Apollonian vs. Dionesyan view of thought, in the mind or in the senses.  I did not yell out that I refuse your false dichotomy.   While Charlie was stuck in a Cartesian duelist view of the world, Cory was stuck in a deconstructionist reductionist view of consciousness.

I did like how both Cory and Charlie tried to relate their work to its contradictory philosophical origins in Christian philosophy of original sin and post-Enlightenment thought on ever increasing progress.

SINGING in the rain

This SINGING license plate cleverly uses the I for first instead of the letter I to make their license.  No ones involved.