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Everything posted by Jamie123

  1. I just remembered coming across this a few years back:
  2. It seems to me that if we're going to have a military, the first thing that military needs to do is to be able to fight a war. It would be nice also if women, gays, transsexuals, ethnic minorities, minority religions etc are proportionally represented amongst all ranks and trades, but surely the first thing we need is soldiers who can fight, sailors who can work a ship and airmen (airpeople?) who can operate aircraft. And we need planes that fly and ships that sail properly, and aren't always being laid up with "propellor problems". We have these two super-duper carriers, and they never seem to be out of dock. OK the Prince of Wales has just set out for the NATO exercises, but a whole day late. What would happen if there was a war? "Oh dont attack us today, Mr Enemy, we're still mending the propellor on our big new boat! Come back tomorrow when we're ready!" A little more investment in the military is needed all round, and bit more emphasis on ships that work and enough sailors to man them. That's right - the Royal Navy is scrapping perfectly good warships because we can't recruit enough sailors to sail them. And a bit less emphasis on wokey-poky diversity officers who think the woker the navy is, the more likely it is to win wars! Disclaimer: I have never been in the military and haven't really a clue - so don't take me too seriously.
  3. Do we really know what "thinking" actually is? Or do we only think we know? 😆 There was a movie years ago about a computer that could "think". I forget what it was called, but Julie Christie was in it. (Nowhere in the movie was the term "think" actually defined, so that tas a bit unsatisfying. How can you know whether a machine can think unless you can define precisely what thinking actually is? In the novel of "2001 a Space Odyssey", Clarke used Turing's definition - but this never convinced me even when I first read the book at 14.) Anyway the computer somehow imprisons Julie Christie in her home and finds a way to impregnate her with its "child" - so it can make the transition to become a living being. Perhaps the true concept of "thinking" implies the capacity of self determination, of an entity choosing its own goals for its own purposes, beyond what was intended by its programmers. Of course computers do unexpected things all the time (like making money from post office branches disappear) but that is usually the result of programmer error, not any independent agenda of the computer itself. Could "agency" (for want of a better word) ever arise in a system built upon logic gates? Or does there need to be something else? I've just looked it up - the movie was called "Demon Seed".
  4. I was 16. I remember well going into town on the bus to buy it, and the excitement when I first played it. Tom Sawyer, Red Barchetta, Limelight. I loved them all at the first hearing. Oddly though, all the memorable songs for me are on Side 1 - maybe I never quite "got" Side 2. Of the early Rush albums, I like Caress of Steel best - particularly the Fountain of Lamneth. The words "Life is just a candle, and a dream must give it flame" give me a shiver. (The sentiment was echoed much later on "Hold Your Fire".) But I like all of them. I once tried to get my daughter to listen to Hemispheres when she was doing a school assignment on the cult of Dionysius- but you know what teenagers are like. Rush was "Dad stuff" and very uncool.
  5. OK all bears can climb. I've learned something else!
  6. Really? "Attack of the Zombie Flesh-Eating Pooh"? That's just not right. P.S. Is this what you're referring to?
  7. I've been thinking all afternoon about the trope of bears living in caves. I've probably missed a few, but here's my taxonomy of bears and caves: Bears who lived in caves: Yogi and Boo Boo The Hair Bear Bunch "The Three Bears" from The Beano comic. These are not to be confused with Goldillocks' three bears, who were essentially the victims of Goldilocks' house-breaking, furniture destruction and porridge thievery. The Three Bears of The Beano were scheming, gluttonous and lazy. Nearly every storyline concerned their attempts to rob the local storekeeper Hank of his wares, and ending up getting their furry backsides blasted with buckshoot. Bears who sort-of lived in caves: Winnie-the-Pooh. His "cave" was more of a hollow under a tree. He lived "under the name of Saunders", meaning that he had the sign "Mr. Saunders" fixed above his door and he lived underneath. This detail was lovingly preserved in the Walt Disney versions, though Disney did take diabolical liberties elsewhere. (Disney's "Rabbit" for example was nothing remotely like Milne's original Rabbit.) Mary Plain in the books by Gwynedd Rae . Very few people nowadays remember Mary Plain. I only know about her because my mother used to read me the stories when I was little, she having kept the books from when she was a little girl. Mary and her fellow bears lived in the "Bear Pits" in Bern, Switzerland, which I suppose must have included some artificial simulation of caves. Although Mary was definitely a bear, she had human intelligence and she could read and (somewhat) write. Her best friend was the "Owl Man". The "Bulgy Bears" in the Narnia books. Their home (or "den") wasn't so much a cave as a tree-stump. Bears who don't live in caves: Paddington. He lived in a house with the Brown family, though maybe his original home in Darkest Peru was a cave. Who knows? Rupert Bear. He lived in a house. There again, he was not so much a bear, as a boy with a bear's head. (Old joke: "Who's white and wears check trousers? Rupert the Fridge.) The Berenstain Bears. They lived in a tree of all places. I suppose pandas climb trees, and the panda is a kind of bear. But the Berenstain bears were decidedly NOT pandas*. *Neither were they koalas. The koala is not a true bear anyway but a marsupial. Yes, I know Sheldon tells Amy how much he loves "koala bears" but shame on the writers for that. No one as OCD as Sheldon Cooper would have made such a mistake as that.
  8. That reminds me of when I was at Loughborough Univertity, the following notice was posted all over campus: SEXUAL HARASSMENT USING THE OVERHEAD PROJECTOR (Actually two separate workshops)
  9. Well of course they are! They have TVs and refrigerators too, and they all disappear into the walls whenever the bears don't want them to be seen!
  10. I learned this interesting fact during our department meeting this morning. While all the blah blah blah was going on, I found myself wondering where bears live. Do they really live in caves like Yogi and Boo Boo? Well the great thing about having a smartphone is that you can use it to resolve urgent issues like where bears live, while everyone else thinks you're answering important e- mails. The answer is that some bears do and some don't. The place a bear hibernates is called a "den" and while some dens are caves, others can be hollow trees, or even abandoned buildings. Also a bear does not live in his den during the summer - he only sleeps there during the winter months.
  11. You're absolutely right. A friend told me it was April 1, and I believed her. Now I look in my diary I see that April Fool's Day is actually Easter Monday. No worries though. Some families have a tradition of MORE eggs on Easter Monday - so play the "jolly jape" then!.
  12. As you know, Easter Sunday this year falls on April Fool's day. So here's the idea. Whereas normally, on the Saturday night before Easter Sunday, you put on your Easter Bunny outfit (real or metaphorical) and hide chocolate eggs all over the house for the kids to search for on Easter morning, this time... you don't. Then in the morning, after the kids have searched fruitlessly for about an hour, you shout "April Fool!" Not only will your kids find this a "delightfully amusing" prank, you'll save money on Easter eggs too!
  13. Pussy cat buys fish from fish shop with leaves instead of banknotes:
  14. I finally watched the end of this. It's interesting that Euler made exactly the same "mistake" Mr. Mind Your Decisions objected to, but got away with it because it would be "shattering the foundations of analysis" to think otherwise. It sounds very much like an argument by appeal to consequences. Sorry to keep going back to the UK Post Office shenanigans, but I think a lot of the arguments there were won that way: "Mrs. Goggins the postmistress is a woman of impeccable honesty and integrity, but the Post Office computer says she was stealing money. If we can't trust the Post Office, who can we trust? No one, that's who, and how terrible would that be? Therefore we must find Mrs. Goggins guilty of theft and send her to prison, and confiscate her house and all her savings to repay the shortfall by a 'proceeds of crime' order." BTW I always refer to postmistresses as "Mrs. Goggins", because she was the postmistress in the popular kids' TV show Postman Pat. I have no idea whether real postmistresses find this offensive, but they shouldn't. Mrs. Goggins was a nice person, whom no one should object to being compared with. Mrs. Goggins P.S. I've just noticed the the first time...ever...that Mrs. Goggins' glasses are a different distance apart than her eyes. So how does she look through them without making herself reverse cross-eyed?
  15. I had high hopes for this video, but it doesn't really get to the nub of the problem: it only nitpicks (quite validly) at one of the intermediate steps, but proves the answer us numnuts arrived at by dumb luck happens to be correct. The major issue for me is that if i^i is 0.20787958 and also 0.000388203 (and a whole bunch of other numbers) then by the foundational axiom that if A=B and B=C then A=C we must conclude that 0.20787958=0.000388203, which is as wrong as saying that 1=-1, which was Presh Talwalkar's objection to our "numnut" approach. Now that always reminds me of... ...though no one pretends that the Trinity is anything but a mystery. The only solution I can think of is that "equality" in the statement x=i^i does not identify an equivalency, but a kind of "predicate" which applies not only to x but to other numbers as well. We use this sort of language in "big O" notation anyway for example: does not imply that f(x)=g(x). It is merely a statement about how fast the functions grow. (I've always thought big O notation was very sloppy, and I hardly ever use it.) We could define the answer as an infinite set
  16. What do you make of the multiple values of i^i?
  17. I am very interested in philosophy, though I'm not as involved with it anything like enough to call it a "hobby". When my daughter was little I used to talk about it with her. Sometimes I would read to her from Plato's Republic to see what she made of it. As she got older though, she started studying philosophy as a subject at school, and our conversations became something like this: Me: So you've been learning about Kant? Didn't he believe in dualism? Daughter: No, that was Descartes. Me: Kant believed in dualism too. The noumenal world and the phenomenal world? Wife: If you're going to disagree with her, why ask her in the first place? Me: I'm sorry, I may not know much about Kant, but I do know for a fact that Kantian dualism is a thing. I have read about it. Wife: Why do you have to argue all the time? Me: We're not arguing, we're having a conversation.
  18. Was it Snagglepuss who used to say "ridicalicalicalous"? I cannot find a single YouTube video of him saying it. (Plenty of him saying "Heavens to Murgatroyd".) I would love to be able to do a Snagglepuss voice, but it never comes out right.
  19. There used to be a TV game show called "Are You Smarter than an Eight Year Old?" where adult contestants tried to answer questions that would typically be given to eight year old kids. In one episode the contestant was given something like 20-10×0. The answer he gave was wrong anyway, but the show host told him the true answer was zero because "anything multiplied by zero gives zero". The show producers were bombarded with complaints from mathematicians, who said the answer was 20 because the multiplication should be performed first. The producers consulted the question setter - a teacher of eight- year-olds, who defended her answer by saying "eight-year-olds are taught to do their sums left to right" and the TV producers stuck to that. Which would have been fine if the show had been named "Do You Do Your Sums the Same Way as an Eight Year Old?"
  20. This is still going on with no sign of abating. The latest "thing" is that Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, should resign because he supported Paula Vennells' application to become Bishop of London. (Paula Vennells, as well as being CEO of the Post Office, was also a part-time minister in the Church of England.) https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12967021/Calls-Archbishop-Canterbury-Justin-Welby-resign-links-disgraced-Post-Office-boss-Paula-Vennells-supported-Bishop-London-despite-Horizon-scandal.html It's an absolute media circus - not because anything has changed, but because someone made a TV drama about it. Not that I'm complaining - for years I've thought it deserved a lot more publicity than it was getting.
  21. I had a very strange dream last night, which I think deserves to be recorded. It started with the Israelites, with the Ark of the Covenant. They were gathered on the edge of a great precipice, and were setting up a place to worship the Ark. All colours were very vivid, with a lot of deep greens and purples - rather like a Pre-Raphaelite painting, or the picture of Alma baptizing in the Book of Mormon. Some of the Israelites were building golden calves to decorate the area, but I thought "they mustn't do that - the Golden Calf is bad". I wasn't part of the dream at this point: it was like I was watching in in a TV documentary. Then I was in a church. It was a very old, stone church, but the sanctuary (the area where the altar is) was blocked off - either with a stone wall, or a big oak door. In front of it was a big statue of Moloch, with goats' horns, and a pentagram on his forehead. I was holding something in my hands - either a small rolled-up mat, or a wad of parchment- which I set down at the feet of Moloch. Then I had a feeling that the whole place was evil and I needed to get out. As I headed for the door, I could hear my wife's voice pleading with me to come back, saying "what does it matter about the statue?" For a moment I wondered if I was overreacting; after all, some older churches do have some strange decorations - like gargoyles and the Green Man. But I knew this was something different. I went out of the door and into the churchyard, where there well-trimmed lawns and flowerbeds and trees in leaf - but all with the same deep vivid colours I had seen earlier. The sky was dark, and seemed to be boiling with strange coloured clouds. My wife was following me at a distance telling me to come back, but I kept on walking. I shouted back at her "The Devil deceives!" Then I woke up. I don't usually remember my dreams, but on this occasion I ran through it all in my mind, which is why I can recall it now. I've a nasty feeling this has something to do with my daughter (child), and what she might have got involved with. I wonder if my offering the "scroll" (or whatever it was) to Moloch represents my attempts to accept and respect her new lifestyle - which are in any case "too little too late" as far as she (they) and my wife are concerned. I love my family, but would I really sacrifice at the feet of Moloch to please them? All rather worrying, really.
  22. Yes Zil that sounds good. There is a lot in the Book of Bormon, and my head is still spinning with a lot of it. It would be good to go back to the beginning again.
  23. I've been aware of this for nearly 3 years now. My first post about it was here: Most people in the UK are only learning about it now, thanks to the fact that they made a TV drama about it. Some people are telling me they were in tears watching it. It's caused such outrage that the government is now promising to overturn all remaining convictions en masse. (And remember the judicial branch of government are supposed to be independent of the executive branch - we have that in common with the US.) I often think the media has far too much power, but its refreshing to see that power used to champion the underdog for a change.