Thursday, April 13, 2017

Stone House


16 comments:

  1. Paleontology story of the day:
    Teleocrater [Click]

    --Alan

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  2. I wrote this today in response to yesterday's comments about karma, and thought I'd post it here too for convenience:

    Yes, Alan, it's just the same as when people who espouse popular religion say when something goes well, "It was meant to be" and when something goes poorly, "It happened for a reason." They say as though they believe, underneath it all, that some great Power made it happen for a particular, always obscure, purpose. These are perhaps the same people who will stand on the roof of a house in floodwaters and refuse a boat or helicopter waiting for God to save them. Sigh.

    But what if there is a Higher Power in the Universe that bends towards the good, and bends towards love, and rather than waiting around for someone to bring about the good and be loving, we are invited (by being alive) to also bend toward the good and bend toward love? What if we co-create the moment and the future with that Higher Power in the Universe? I wonder what happens when people push against it. If its true that Energy and Matter are interchangeable, a push here means a bulge there. ;-)

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    1. But "It was meant to be" and "It happened for a reason" mean the same, even if the speaker doesn't realize it. In my understanding, the universe was created by a loving or at least good intelligence and all in it inherently tends towards good. That which is twisted by creatures, i.e. Man, towards evil is nonetheless ultimately reoriented by the Creator towards good; though I don't at the moment see how a ninety-foot-long bomb weighing however many megatons dropped in the mountains of Afghanistan and all the unimaginable destruction it caused can be turned toward good. But the mind of the Creator is unfathomable to the mere creature.

      Yes, Listener, in my view it is the task of Man to move with and push towards good and love. Some big cheeses that shall remain nameless don't seem capable of grasping this simple fact.

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    2. Ye-e-es, with the exception of free will. That's why we can never have a Universe in which a Higher Power calls the shots. Love freely offers free will, and there's the rub. It's like that scene in the movie Bruce Almighty in which Bruce has tried out omnipotence and says to God: "How do you make people love you?" And God responds, "Welcome to my world."

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  3. "Searching beneath anxiety, one will find fear. And beneath fear hurt will be discovered. Beneath the hurt will be guilt. Beneath the guilt lie rage and hatred. But do not stop with this, for beneath the rage lies frustrated desire. Finally, beneath and beyond desire, is love. In every feeling, look deeply. Explore without ceasing. At bottom, love is. Realizing this, need one do anything about the anxiety one feels?"
    ~ Gerald G. May, in Simply Sane, p87.
    Well respected psychiatrist and spiritual guide Gerald G. "Jerry" May died 12 years ago yesterday. I've been thinking of my old friend, Jerry May, all week. This quote, it seems to me, speaks to our current time of free-floating anxieties. This is not to say that one needn't take action. This is simply to suggest that we not succumb to fear or hatred. I'd say that Jerry's words lend credence for remaining sane in an insane situation.

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  4. Woo--the "joke" about the man in the flood was just on West Wing--in the mouth of Karl Malden. . . .

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  5. Blogger ate my posts—will try again in pieces (I saved them!)—Alan

    Part one:
    How GOP Voters Are Getting in the Way of a Medicaid Rollback[Click] Why, them thar sneaky, underhanded, conniving Demonocrats!

    That story led me to this one:
    The Six Main Arcs in Storytelling, as Identified by an A.I.[Click], which brings up Kurt Vonnegut, The University of Vermont, and M.R. James[Click]—not previously familiar to me, who in addition to his academic works is (or was) well known for his ghost stories, several of which are to be found at

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    1. Part two:

      Project Gutenberg[Click], including an audiobook version of his primary collection, Ghost Stories of an Anitquary, but not the text version. That is to be found at The University of Adelaide[Click] e-book site, which has a dandy collection![Click]

      On another note, in the early part of King Solomon’s Mines there is reference to a herd of twenty to thirty male african elephants; I thought the did not congregate in herds, but upon investigation I discovered that they do—particularly in dry years.

      On yet another note, the local strawberry harvest has begun—I noticed a berry stand open on my way to work Monday morning.

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    2. Fresh strawberries, yum! I hope you stopped to buy some.

      My understanding is that Haggard knew his stuff when it came to Africa. Maybe I should read that book again.

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    3. In a few weeks the strawberries will be much sweeter, albeit smaller. We had significant rain today, which was bad news for the strawberry farmers, but it happens from time to time, and won't set them back a lot. When the strawberries didn't come in much before Mothers Day, rain damage was rare. Far more strawberries are grown over near the coast than here, but the local ones are much better quality--family farms vs. agribusiness, basically.

      --Alan

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  6. Replies
    1. Part Two:

      AI programs exhibit racial and gender biases, research reveals[Click]

      Sweet science: Vermont maple syrup industry embraces hi-tech tricks[Click]

      Could a new approach to kill cancer at nanoscale work?[Click] This reminds me of a plan to give cancers nanoparticles of ferromagnetic particles, then warm them with radio frequency radiation. Guess that didn't pan out.

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    2. Just looking at the headline, it comes as no surprise that AI programming exhibits racial and gender bias. After all, the programming is done by fallible and biased humans. Garbage in, garbage out.

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    3. I wonder how the Three Laws of Robotics would fit into the researchers' attempt to combat the learned biases discussed in the article? It certainly seems as though they should be incorporated into the projected AI watchdog.

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    4. PhD*Son in Maine taps Daughter's maples and makes a nice batch of maple syrup each year. He loves the process, which begins over an open fire outside, and ends in a huge pan on the kitchen stove. We prefer the old fashioned way. Nice to see the article mentions that maple sugaring predates European colonists.

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    5. I hadn't known about Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics, so looked them up. I can well understand how the differences between intention and execution could provide grist for the novelist. I confess that I did not read the article carefully, figuring that it was hardly surprising, but my understand was that human language is inherently prejudiced, even if not obviously so to the users. Consider, as just one example, the differences between languages such as English which have specific personal pronouns, and languages that do not--Japanese, Chinese and at least some Amerind languages, for examples.

      --Alan

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