The Goal of Science
The goal of Science is the algorithmic compression of the universe. Whether this is possible is a lively area of inquiry.  

And: other, excessively erudite but possibly edifying discursia ...

The Analog and the Abstract - 2/21/08
One day, several years ago, my son and I were testing an audio amplifier we had built from a kit. We hooked it up to a CD player and powered it up. There was noise, mostly, but the music was barely audible. We looked around to see what the problem might be when I noticed that I had connected the amp input to the digital output of the CD player. I reconnected it to the analog output and the music came out, loud and clear. But I wondered: how could we hear any music at all from the digital output? It should’ve been nothing but noise! Then it occurred to me: of course the pattern of ones and zeros was correlated to the music waveform. Not perfectly, but enough that the music was discernible to my ear.

No one understands how the human perception apparatus perceives patterns in input. What is the algorithm for seeing a face in a noisy photo? How do we tell faces apart? What enables a cryptologist to see pattern in a code?

If we knew the algorithm, could it be deployed to crack every code ever conceived? Could it be used to scan the internet for photos of people that we know? Could we glean content from any digital format thus creating a “format agnostic” content extraction scheme?

How is information erased? - 2/12/08
I forget. If only I knew now what I knew then. 

What is a computer? - 2/8/08
There are an unlimited number of ways to physically represent data. And an equal number of ways to have representations of data interact with each other physically. The idea is to pick one that is analogous to the process being represented. It is simpler that way. But to use an actual waterfall to determine the movement of water molecules in a waterfall would be a challenge in instrumentation. Abstraction can be useful. 

Why the Novel still Matters - 1/11/08
What is truth? We hope it is deep. We want it to encompass all that we know, and so much more...
So, when we tell a story, are we telling the truth?  If our story is a reflection of human life, human feeling, suffering, passion, hope, confusion, awkwardness, etc., then, YES. Although it is a "lie" in the sense that it is "made up", a good novel tells the Truth.

The Irony of Children - 12/1/07
How to you get across to someone that you care about them and want them to prosper and to be deep and to "get it" and all of that? How about giving them someone to feel the same way about? This is what God does to us. 

How the World Will End - 7/6/07
On "Judgement Day", we, in a very real sense, judge ourselves. Everyday of our lives, we make decisions affecting our ultimate alignment with truth and goodness. This eventually becomes what we are and who we can be with. Heaven is a wonderful place (by definition) but what kind of person would actually be comfortable there?

For millenia, we have been sheathed in blissful ignorance. But now, as technology compels us into an increasingly information-sodden mileau, as more and more of our lives become recorded by digital means, from our DNA to our web-surfing to our casual encournters with GPS-enabled cell phones and diminutive video cameras, how will we escape ourselves? The mirror captures us from every turn.

. Perhaps apocalypse will be the complete dissolution of pretense and our confrontation with what we have become, as individuals and as a race.     

The Goal of Science
The goal of Science is the algorithmic compression of the universe. Whether this is possible is a lively area of inquiry.  

Flascism - 3/12/07
Pretty soon you won't be able to view a web-page (except mine) without using closed-source software from Adobe, unless I am mistaken and they have published the spec on how to write a Flash reader. 

How to Find Stuff Later
Do people live in books or do they live in houses? Should you create your artwork for the inside of a book or the inside of a house (the wall) with a frame and all? This in not a rhetorical query - I am trying to figure it out. I have a feeling that there IS a correct answer. 

The Truth is Weird
... because you don't already understand it ... how much can we know about our lack of knowledge? 

The Navels of  "Navels and Knees" - 7/4/06
... and man named the animals, and eventually named everything. entire articles are devoted to questions of naming. When is a molecule a peptide but not a protein? etc.

Why the formula for future stock prices will never be found
Why do you think you're smarter than everyone else? As soon as you find an indicator, it gets priced in.... 

The Entropy of the Human Face - 5/26/06
Why do cars resemble faces? Is it an accident of functionalism or is it due to the appeal or intrinsic aesthetic content of that gestalt? The human face may be the most expressive image in the universe. But what is the nature of the information contained. A better measure fo information is required. Perhaps one based on the "non-explicit associations" such as those developed with "neural networks" when trained. 

incompleteness and revelation
It has been shown that all logical systems are incomplete in the sense that true statements can be constructed that cannot be proved. So how can we know these things? God knows. 

A Control-Theoretic Approach to Art and Aesthetic

The pendulum, a frequency-oriented device, swings back and forth in apparent response to apparent ... But the problem has to do with perception as a group: how do we decide what is art and what is not as we wade throught the detritus of our daily lives and place thing, mentally or physically, on one seid of the equaiton or the other, the common things that we fail to see the preciousmness of are determined by executtive fiat or some italian car brand until we decide as a group like a school of fish suddenly changing direction or a group of investors going sour on a stock

The content of David Crate's Quality Slide Rules is copyright © 1998-2008 by David Crate.