Monday, June 26, 2017

The Sims

Nope sorry not the game, some philosophy I've mulled over for a while.
So the Simulation argument is an interesting one to be sure, but absurd really.I recently heard the counter summed up very well;

|"A simulation so convincing that is indistinguishable from reality is, for all practical purposes, |reality to those that have consciousness in such a simulation. Besides, what would a simulated |consciousness have to compare except perhaps a simulation that it constructed with its own  |conscious "inhabitants"? Its an infinite regression." - Facebook quote

My other issue with it, is it is likely that it can never be disproved, which simply makes it a bad hypothesis at best. The reason it can't be disproved it usually put thus; if we can make a simulation that has conscious minds in it, then we are not the bottom, we could be the top, but are likely not. If we can't then we are likely the bottom. It is only really disproved on humanities demise or on our technical epitome minus consciousness creating simulations.

Another issue I have with it, is something I also like about it. The Post-hoc evidence that people "find" to prove that we live in a simulation. I like this as I can add to it and chuckle at the outcome. Things like if you have a simulation you would want to limit the processing power required, so you'd put in certain limits... like the speed of light (and information travel) being finite, or the other seemingly immutable laws. You'd have a simulation that would have a defined bit density (resolution), so the whole simulation could be stored in x number of bits... well we have that with the plank length/time being the smallest possible unit of space-time.

Regardless, I like playing around with the idea. Recently I saw the Doctor who episode  Extremis (Spoilers to follow).
Extermis is actually part of the overall story arc. Essentially revolves around the Doctor discovering he is in an Alien simulation of our universe as a way to model an easy way to take over the world. The Doctor determines he is a sub-routine and emails his findings out of the system (somehow) out to the real world and the real Doctor.

Incredibly interesting idea, each human consciousness being a subroutine. Sub-routines interact with other sub routines, but can also cause others to crash if they do the right thing. Heck a single subroutine given the right vulnerability could cause the whole OS (universe in this analogy) to crash out... fun. I guess this is basically the story of the Matrix trilogy, he's a subroutine that somehow gets super-user powers, not quite root though :)

To continue with the aforementioned post-hoc evidence for living in a simulation, I even thought of a few while writing this. You'd want your subroutines to consume the smallest amount of resources to do the job they needed to, ala you'd make consciousness occasionally stop for some period (aka sleep and varying levels of sub-conscious action), heck you might even make beings with consciousness that acts on cycles.

The other interesting thing I thought on from the Doctor Who episode Extermis, was the way they eventually determined they were in a simulation. The episode goes that a philosopher in ancient times worked out they where in a simulation by writing down some random numbers, then asking someone else to write down some numbers without seeing the list he wrote. The lists where the same. The tome this philosopher wrote was secreted away in the Vatican, as all who read it promptly commited suicide... I don't know why the committed suicide, as mentioned in my quote at the start if it feels real and you know no different, then it is real.
The Doctor explains the determination that they are in a simulation by saying, computers are generally bad at random number generation so over enough time subroutines such as these conscious ones will generate the same list of random numbers... like humans do now.

Humans are generally terrible at random generation of data, especially passwords. With something like the top few million password being used by 95% of people... So, perhaps we are living in a simulation and those with poor passwords are the subroutines given the least amount of CPU and RAM... the rest of us, might be given slightly more.
Now how do I perform some buffer overflow to get me more money :P

Peace out all, especially our future selves simulating this jalopy, or some Alien race that inadvertently simulated us when the main sim is happening light years away.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Election 2016

I put this together in late 2014, saving it for the federal election this year in 2016, it is really just some points that I picked up from looking at their policies, they may have changed since then and I will try and update.
Saw this which is a funny interlude;

Liberal: Forgetting about the narcissism displayed by having their leaders face on display 5 times on their policy page. Also in the interests of Full disclosure, I've met Malcolm Turnbull, he seemed fairly nice.
Liberals policies though aren't great; Their environment policy says they will protect the reef, yet they have allowed holes to be blown in it for new ports to be built and allowed increased shipping damaging it possibly beyond repair. Repealing the mining tax and carbon tax (didn't make electricity more expensive despite their claim it did) also doesn't make good environmental or long term economic sense.
There polices don't talk about the bad things that have been snuck in to the last budget, things that are their policies, things that are going to hurt the low-middle class, students and people who can't afford their own healthcare. No-jab no-pay is their only outright good policy.
NBN, no FTTP, but FTTN and wireless last leg... I feel like they haven't actually engaged any of their IT advisors on this one, as they would have all said nope bad idea. Fiber is infrastructure of the 21st century as rail was for the 20th, yes fixed wireless has come a long way, but it can't compete with fiber for latency and robustness.
Their infrastructure policy doesn't discuss that they are ensuring this infrastructure is sold off, including Sydney's rail and tolls on all these new roads, reducing the public transport along these corridors.
Carbon tax repeal, stupid, every major country is doing it and then using the tax to create renewable jobs. GP co-pay and cuts across the board to medicate, Terrible. I am actually paid well but I go to a bulk bill doctor as I can't afford to spend $40 on healthcare and pay for food and rent in one of the most expensive cities in the world. I have no idea how those on less that I do it. I know the Libs have abandoned cuts to some medical treatment, but there are still sweeping cuts to nurses pays and GP rates.
Stop the boats... pahlease, most refugees and non-visa holding or overstays comes via plane, those that come by boat are actually usually the most in need of asylum. I guess Labor was pretty much going to do the same thing here. Manus/Nauru island is under investigation for human rights abuse, it is a disgrace.
Terrorism... "growing terror threat", still more likely to be killed by a marauding cow than a terrorist. Waste of money. Not to mention spending billions on Sub's we don't need, and shortrange fighters in a country with the largest continuous border in the world.
Mining tax, most of the profits of the minerals mined is actually going overseas or into the hands of the super-rich. A mining tax now could be used to build infrastructure and as a rainy day fund for when the mineral good times end, and they will.
Environment at the expense of profits.

Labor: Perhaps I spoke too soon, Shorten's face is all over the ALP page. So many policies they split
it out to a separate site.
Carbon tax, yep the tax is a good idea... implementing it as a fund that goes to low-middle income earners is interesting, it will put more burden on means testing by centrelink. Either go to a universal basic income or use it to build renewable infrastructure and reduce our need for carbon emissions, reduce energy prices to low income earners.
Investing in manufacturing. The reality of this is we are not the best country for manufacture, it can be done cheaper and better elsewhere, we need to invest in Science and technology, if we want to manufacture we should be doing automated manufacture like Japan, not trying to compete with low-wage China with manual manufacture the scale just can't get there due to population.
School chaplains, yeah this is a quarter of a billion dollar waste in my opinion. Counselors are much better equipped and trained to help children, especially vulnerable and special needs kids. But I guess Libs support this too. Yes I know counselors are more expensive, but you get what you pay for.
Jobs at the expense of the Environment, this seems to be an almost running theme. Great you want employment, what are those loggers going to do when there are no old-growth left, what are the miners going to do when there is nothing left to mine. As with Liberals there doesn't seem to be a sustainable long term plan here, just enough to get elected and stay in for a term or two (this seems to be the plan of most democratic governments worldwide).
Pandering to the religious right and left, Guillard went and talked to Muslim demonstration, further funded chaplains and deemed SRE/SRI a great idea, as well as increasing funding to private religious schools. Not the best track record.
They seem to mainly be going after penalty rates and Medicare, both things that need to be protected, some of their other policies are of questionable worth.

Greens: Anti-GMO, Anti-nuclear, anti-built up housing. Running theme is environment over everything else, even science and economics. I heard of one Greens member discuss closing Australias research nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights, there would go our nucelar medicine industry.
They have had polocies previously against built-up housing which seems counter to being green, as surely it is greener to clear less land for houses and stack your humans up in apartments.
Full disclosure; I have met John Kaye and although we disagreed he was a great person. The honorable Mr Kaye recently passed away. I met him after a panel I attended, he gave me a lift in his very beat-up old hatch to the after do. I argued with him then that I like a lot of what the Greens stand for, but can't abide by the aforementioned anti-science. He argued the dangers of Nuclear energy, weapons and waste. Of course, weapons and waste are eliminated if you go Thorium, was my reply. He said why not go renewables, my reply because they will take too long to spin up, better to have a multi-pronged plan, traditional power plants (all-be-it nuclear) to handle the evening and other peak load, and then wind, solar and hydro to supplement, evidence based Nuclear is still the cleanest source of energy as there is energy wasted (and thus carbon emitted) in creating photovoltaics and wind power is not usually near centers of population. I will admit I was somewhat wrong here, a recent paper shows that renewables can supply base and peak loads for Australia fairly quickly, if government and the public push for it, still GMO and built up housing a big black marks for this party.

The Liberal Democrat party:This party gained 20 odd members in mid 2015 due to the Liberal party suppressing a conscience vote on marriage equality. So obviously they are fine with marriage equality. I am fine with some of their stances. They are however for lowering government spending, and everyone for themselves, which is very scary type of social Darwinism that Libertarians love to espouse.
Of course over-libertarian can be just as bad as over authoritarian, they oppose governments role in welfare, healthcare and schooling. Which will leave the most vulnerable behind, I think a society should be judged on how well it treats its most vulnerable.

Sex Party: Full disclosure; I have met Fiona Patten, she is incredibly nice, and extremely well spoken.
Some excellent policies there, including taxing religions that don't carry out charitable enterprises, and ending a lot of forms of discrimination. There is one specifically about making our science and research protected through election cycles. I just think there name will put a lot of people off voting for them, so while they can definitely get a few seats in the government, they will never likely lead the country. Though seeing Fiona in a debate against Family first election before last, I can say I wish she would lead the country.
That being said the old advertising example goes; SEX... now that I have your attention buy my crap. So who knows.

Pirate Party: Excellent policies, including a bill of rights, and basic income, awesome. My big issue is they are removing a heap of taxes (replacing the GST which is overly complicated with a consumption tax is OK, but it isn't enough money unless the tax goes to something like 35%) and increasing spending is not going to work. With their flatter tax the rich will get taxed more heavily, but likely just move their assets and wealth overseas to avoid this, also no mention of the mining tax which I fully support as Australia's nest egg, all-be-it this may now be too late, like someone starting to invest in their retirement at age 55... I did re-read their policies while updating this post before publishing and they have one around taxing international transfers, an interesting idea to be sure. I know it will only affect the rich, but it could also stifle investment from outside Australia and into Australia. That all being said, I really like the idea of a universal basic income and think it could drive creativity and novel solutions, and prepare us for a more automated future.

Secular Party: Full disclosure; I know a few of the founding members of this party.
Another set of excellent policies, I really like their policy that Complementary and alternative medicines that have not been proved to work will not get a medicare rebate, I also like their Taxes for the non-charitable aspects of religious institutions, and essentially a mining tax called the resource rent tax. I also like that they state explicitly that as part of policy they will investigate the viability of Nuclear.
Like the sex party I think the word secular and secularism will put people off, I know when I was young the USSR was pointed to as an example of a secular state, this made secularism in my mind as a child growing up in the 80's a dirty word.

Science Party: New one, only seemingly announced shortly before this election was called. On further investigation renamed from the FutureParty, science party is a much better name. People buy into science, to paraphrase NDT you only need to look at the religions of late to see that marketing Church of Science, and Scientology.
There policies look really good, infrastructure developments, charter city (awesome name too "Turing"), pro-nuclear, pro-renewables, pro-science obviously.
Again fair disclosure I have met at least two of their candidates.That all being said, it looks like only one of their candidates has funded their electoral deposit, hopefully they are all on the final ballot as they could get a decent turnout from varied voters.

Justice Party: One I wasn't actually going to pay any mind too. Started by Australias own Derryn Hinch, ex-current affairs show host, turned radio host.
His platform is a good one, mainly going after spousal abusers, sex offenders etc, moving for tougher sentencing. Euthanasia is a good one, so too is marriage equality. Not a huge list of policies, but they all seem good.

Special mention;
Health Australia Party: Don't let the name fool you when you vote, they are against vaccinations, and all for non-scientifically backed treatment... Oh yeah and they want a ban on chem-trails... something that there is no evidence exists. I want a ban on Leprechaun's sequestering Gold... They actually have some good policies on Gun control, Euthanasia, and energy production. Then policies that assume corruption inside scientific research, think fluoride needs to be removed from our water, and vitamins and disproved treatments be government subsudised.
I didn't want to give them bandwidth, so the link to their policy actually goes to the science parties article about them

Fair call here, there are a load of other parties, such as the Chrisitian democrats, Family first, the Kater Australia party (KAP), One Nation, the wikileaks party etc, etc. I am not likely to vote for any of these either they are single issue parties or just plain opposed to my views and like the smaller parties mentioned above none of these are likely to get more than a couple senate seats, with the exception of KAP, GLOB help us...

Saturday, January 24, 2015


Wow this blog is almost 13 years old... and it has gotten worse. Less updated and shorter posts, ah well. I have moved to posting more on the specialized topics on the right there.
I was looking back through some old posts from 2002, interesting how much I and my life has changed, two kids, still in love with Fiona, although now married, still work in IT, although focused on IT security as the blog on the right alludes.
Not much else to report, should really update this one at least every year or so :)

Oh I did see the below today, freaking awesome. I used to love my archery, always wanted a basic re-curve bow like the one used in the video, would love to try the way he shoots too.

Peace out all.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The state of the internet nation

This one is a little IT heavy, but is more an indictment on our society, so I decided to put it on my personal blog. Besides I have been blogging a fair bit at my other two blogs, links on the right.

So I was looking at the new top level domains (the current ones are .com, .gov, .net etc) that are coming out here;  and I though it was a bit interesting. There are a lot of car companies; who really needs or worse, but also who needs which was applied for by a German Car club.
But the thing that really got me, the lack of science type names in the list. There is no .lab for example, no .physics no .math. There sure are stupidly long ones like JPMORGANCHASE, NORTHWESTERNMUTUAL, and TRAVELERSINSURANCE. But no one thought a nice short multi-use one like .lab or .labs would be useful. Heck there is a discussion here, about it from 2000, 13 damn years ago.

This is why we can't have nice things, this is why the world is in a mess, because we spend money only to make money, any advancement is incidental and only made by people altruistic enough to spend their time and energy to better mankind.

Science is what made the internet, and now they are almost forgotten, which is kind of sad.

Oh and the below one is interesting, I am wondering why that applicant applied for it as Google will surely come down on them with all their might should they register

Proposed new domain name         Applicant
YOUTUBE                                  Charleston Road Registry Inc.

Peace out all, except scientifically illiterate, corporate shills...

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Google goodness and Birthday

Sometimes Google is just too cool... I saw my phone had backed up a few of my photos and it had detected these photos seemed to go together and auto stitched them together. This from Geoffrey's recent birthday. Thank you Google.

Peace out all, especially those awesome software devs and support peeps at google.
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