Sunday, August 13, 2017

Programming and Programmers

My first computer was a used IBM 709 and the language was FAP, or Fortran Assembly Programming. The input was a paper tape! Yes, boys and girls, there were such things. I used it to analyze acoustic feedback instabilities in public address systems.

Does this talent make one better? In my opinion, not really. Programmers today are labor and VCs are capital. One should go back and read Marx.

Everything is divided into labor and capital

The software engineers are labor and the VCs and management are capital

Capital needs labor, especially in Silicon Valley, to think they are paid lots so that the value of capital's assets increase, such as real estate

Capital demands labor be compliant and not rebel

However there is a natural dialectic, labor vs capital, and this is just the beginning of that Hegelian dialectic, there will be more.

Thesis is the current model of the allocation of capital and labor.

Antithesis is the recognition by labor that they are being manipulated.

Synthesis will be the revolutionary change that is inevitable in this industry.

Strange that quasi Marxists, namely the current Capitalists, are in reality playing our Marx in real life, as capitalists!

Just a thought. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny, or What Comes First, the Chicken or the Egg

In Nature there is an article where they are applying the AI worlds approaches to plant systematics. Namely the process of sorting and arranging plants. They note:

There are roughly 3,000 herbaria in the world, hosting an estimated 350 million specimens — only a fraction of which has been digitized. But the swelling data sets, along with advances in computing techniques, enticed computer scientist ... and botanist ..., to see what they could make of the data. ... team had already made progress automating plant identification through the Pl@ntNet project. It has accumulated millions of images of fresh plants — typically taken in the field by people using its smartphone app to identify specimens. Researchers trained similar algorithms on more than 260,000 scans of herbarium sheets, encompassing more than 1,000 species. The computer program eventually identified species with nearly 80% accuracy: the correct answer was within the algorithms’ top 5 picks 90% of the time. That, says Wilf, probably out-performs a human taxonomist by quite a bit.

Now having done this a few decades ago,  and still proceeding to do so with Hemerocallis, the answer is not form but simple genetics. Sequence the genes, then using a mutation hypotheses base determine how the genes evolved. The use the shapes to see the effect. As is well know this process has been around since Linnaeus and it suffers from substantial defects. Just because a form looks close to something says nothing about the genetic evolution.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Those in Glass Houses Should Not Throw Ginkgo Nuts

I grow Ginkgo trees. This is a view of this year's Ginkgo nuts, ready to drop and then off to the cooling off period before potting for next season. Ginkgo trees are ancient, one of the gymnosperms or naked seed plants. Surviving for millions of years, amongst multiple climate changes and assaults. They line the streets of New York because they thrive on pollution. Good friends for humans. I have a few dozen on my land alone.

Now seventy two years ago today my father and his shipmates were in the North Pacific preparing for an invasion of Japan. They were the survivors of the battles at Leyte, Saipan, and other places in the Pacific. They had already been given their winter gear in preparation of the invasion. They knew how bloody Okinawa was and were preparing for even worse.
The above is what they found in Manila. The Japanese did this. Thus they truly feared what they would be up against in the invasion of the islands.

Then late in the day of the 6th of August they heard about Hiroshima. They did not cheer, the cried. For they knew this this was the true beginning of the end and that they would now have a chance of seeing their children.

Thus when revisionist "historians," such as the one in the New York Times, bemoans:

The Hiroshima ginkgos, the tenacious older siblings of the tender green trees in front of our North Carolina house, were able to resist the most devastating outcome of science and technology, the splitting of the atom, a destructive power that could turn the whole planet into rubble. Those trees’ survival was a message of hope in the midst of the black rain of despair: that we could nurture life and conserve it, that we must be wary of the forces we unleash.

They fail to understand that this plant had managed a survival of even greater proportions.  Referring to the Japanese curator who introduced this writer to the tree the author states:

By then middle-aged, his body was a testament to that war crime and its aftermath. One ear was flat and mangled, his hands were gnarled, and from a finger on each grew a black fingernail.

One can vehemently object to the use of the pejorative term, "War crime", as if war itself is not the very crime he detests. The Pacific was strewn with bodies. My uncle was riddled with Japanese machine gun bullets on Okinawa, yet survived, along with his men, and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. The devastation on Okinawa was just a prelude to what would have happened on the main islands. I would take umbrage to the term "war crime". Neither the survivors nor the tree deserve such.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Guess Who Is Coming to Dinner?

Yep, it is that MIT Professor who thinks all of us out here in the real world are so stupid...Now he wants to teach us economics!

He tells us:

I’m excited to announce the launch of a new course on edX that covers Introductory Microeconomics. I’ve wanted to do a course like this for years. I have always found economics provides a terrific way to think about the world. Economics principles explain so much of what drives our everyday life: how people decide which goods to buy and how to spend their time; how firms set prices and hire workers, and whether the outcomes of markets are fair and efficient. These economics principles were inspirational to me when I first learned them as an undergraduate. I have gone on to apply to them to a set of topics I am passionate about, both as a Professor at MIT and as a policy expert for both state and local governments. Whether in the classroom, in Washington D.C., or in state capitals, I have found that basic economic principles never lead me wrong in terms of explaining important aspects of the world.

But wait, I thought we were beyond the pale, uneducateable, devoid of any intellectual merit. I guess it is like all those Shark movies, a shark can attack in any form, Zombie Shark anyone!