physics in public policy

The Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future at Boston University will present Murray Gell-Mann, recipient of the 1969 Nobel Prize in Physics, for two lectures, December 2 and 10. The evening lectures will be held at the Boston University School of Management, 595 Commonwealth Avenue. The companion lectures, titled Regularities and Randomness in the Past and the Future, will address how an understanding of phenomena known to the world of physics – both persistent, unchanging events and random, incidental ones – can inform our development of long-lasting, broadly applicable public policies.
always interesting to hear about the theoretical underpinnings for augurs. i will of course be there.

cortical hacking

via seb paquet
In Germany, a young man named Ruediger Gamm, who is not autistic and did poorly at math in school, has trained himself to divide prime numbers to the 60th decimal point, calculate fifth roots, and raise numbers to the ninth power in his head – skills previously thought to be the lofty province of math geniuses and savants like the calculating twins. People typically use short-term memory to solve math problems, but PET scans show that Gamm has recruited areas of his long-term episodic memory – the neurological archive of his life story – to perform his lightning calculations. Brian Butterworth of the Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience in London compares what Gamm is doing to the way “computers extend the capacity of RAM by using swap space on the hard drive to create a larger ‘virtual memory.'”
maybe artificial general intelligence and cortical hacking can meet halfway?

i trade in ideas

this post is for my parents.
over the years, as they have seen me grow up, branch out, move out, move away, they have repeatedly asked what it is that i do. and my erstwhile answer, writing software, is ever more inaccurate. yes, i do write software, but i do so much more, too.
i have always been an avid reader, i love to communicate new ideas, i cheer lead things that are below the radar. at the same time, i am much more interested to start than to finish. i love the first 20%, i loathe the last 20%. i am impatient, restless, driven.
i am passionate about knowledge, networks. i freely give away. i drink from the fire hose.
serendipity is my drug, tunnel vision my kryptonite. i seek out the big ideas in every field that will reveal its treasures to my inquiries. i synthesize, recombine, mutate. infect.
as the ideaspace and the meatspace overlap in curious and intertwingled ways, as the virtual engulfs the real, i break open the floodgates for abundance where scarcity and drought prevailed.
i peddle in stigmergy, gfn, emergence, memetics, acceleration, bootstrapping, osmosis, power laws
i am a trader in ideas.

dive into dive bars

i had an awesome time in new york over the weekend after our sushi event on friday night. the cast:
paul ford
writer, XML & semantic web hacker
michael wechner
physicist, OSCOM founder, entrepreneur, XML geek
michael m. wechsler
lawyer with coding fu. scares the hell out of me. operates a community law site. p2p law?
sarah m. byers
boston-based maker of trouble and film producer
susan “sooz” kaup
event organizer (geekpride 2000 etc), reed’s law embodiment
chalu kim
zope hacker, entrepreneur, artist
paul taggart
freelance photographer
joshua darden
wunderkind typographer
a trip report is available, as are trip pictures.