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Notes: The Social Contract

These are my notes from reading Rousseau’s The Social Contract for a libertarian book club meeting.

============================== Book 1. ——————————

Preamble. :quote: Born as I was, the citizen of a free state and member of its sovereign body, the very right to vote imposes on me the duty to instruct myself in public affairs, however […]

Philosophy of Computer Science: Naming

For a very long time, western culture has had a strong undercurrent about naming. Conceptually, it starts with the recognition that the ability to name a thing gives you power over it. This is reflected in many deep and ancient cultural mythologies.

The creation story in the Bible begins with:

In the beginning,…the earth […]

Dymaxion mapping.

Ok, so I’ve been away awhile. I visited the Maker Faire, and San Deigo Amphib Base (twice). Two days ago I read Benford’s Cosm, start to finish. And learned that the nucleus of heavier elements are ellipsoidal rather than spherical. Anyway, while I wait on preparing back-date posts of the aforementioned activities, I found out […]

Fortune is Fated — a short story

Once a long time ago (2003) I took an English course to satisfy UCLA’s bureaucratic notions that I should have a ‘well-rounded’ education. As part of this course we read short stories, and were required to write a mini-essay each week about those readings. The grading system was arranged such that 1 of the grades […]

Linguistics and SciFi

Ok, It’s been more than a week since I last wrote down any of my thoughts. I recently went on travel for work, and gave a presentation of the software that I’ve been working on. I was received well, and I now have a list of improvements to make. I also visited my grandparents in […]

Self-Conception

I was reading Hofstadter’s latest book, I am a Strange Loop, and encountered some rather provocative statements. Hofstadter is one of the only authors that I’ve read that is not afraid of explaining in great detail why materialism is both necessary and sufficient for all the complexity of human life.

This quote starts out on […]

True Names

Today I read TRUE NAMES by Vernor Vinge, as recommended by Andreessen.

It really is a a good novella. I’m am shocked and amazed that it was written in 1984, as it has elements not seen until much later in authors like Charles Stross (Accelerando) and David Brin (Earth). The Afterword (by Marvin Minsky) is […]

Math and Occam’s Razor

In discussion with Ben about Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I concluded that the success of mathematical elegance in solutions is a physical manifestation of Occam’s Razor. Indeed, mathematical elegance is to be held above normal logic.

As an illustration of my point consider Quantum Mech. The math at that time was new […]

Topological Fantasy

There should be a short story or mathematical fantasy book about people that can perform topological transforms on their world simply by thinking through the math. They could fight in topological wars, where quickly finding the inverse is essential to survival. The fiction should be reminiscent of Jorge Luis Borges.