Friday, March 27, 2009

Good Science, Gods, and Grey Aliens

OK, I admit I haven't seen UFO Hunters on the History Channel, but with the creationists trying to cripple teaching of evolution yesterday in Texas and today in Florida, I had just answered a post by Protsman with: "An inability to see the conflict between good science and having a magical, invisible friend probably indicts one's grasp of scientific knowledge more than a third party grouping one with creationists, IMO.

We might excuse members of the reality-based community for failing to distinguish between what appear objectively to be various self-delusions that each believer claims as virtuous faith."

Flipping over to check email, I received a request to "Tune into the History Channel on Wed April 1 to see David [a friend] wax poetically on the subject of possible Mayan "greys". Apparently, the episode is titled UFO HUNTERS "THE GREYS CONSPIRACY".

Working out reliable (if fallible) systems for producing revolutionary science is hard enough, without people deliberately muddying the waters to support their favorite fantastic imaginings…<sigh>

Scope of a Revolutionary Science Guide

It is recognized that the need for strong scope control during development of a practice standard extension for revolutionary science (ERS) derives from the application area environment, one of rapidly evolving and expanding knowledge regarding revolutionary science and scientific creativity. Controlling scope creep in such environments is a challenge, when incorporating new findings would increase the value of the ERS.


At this project's most well-defined boundary lies the scope of scientific paradigm change applicable to the ERS, which rests on a criterion test for simultaneously meeting several clear constraints. These include meeting the requirements of science, offering cognitive advantages, and reclassifying exemplars of previously developed paradigms. Concepts resulting from using ERS processes, tools and techniques will adhere to the hierarchical principles of stable conceptual structures: non-overlap, exhaustion, and inclusion.

ERS scope criteria acknowledge the continuum and interactions between transformative science and more typical research. A modern example where these complex interactions can be seen is in the invention of the computer, which led to new capabilities for simulation and design, which lead to semiconductors, which were used to design better chips, and so on in an intricate web of advance and feedback.

Scope of Work

In scope for this effort is the work necessary and sufficient for producing the ERS, and related administrative or other outputs based on generally accepted standards like the PMBOK®, such as a Lessons Learned document for PMI and other organizational and environmental requirements. The ERS will consist of additions to the PMBOK® and be similarly organized based on lessons learned from development of previous extensions. It will describe project management processes unique to revolutionary science projects.

Work Out of Scope

The ERS will not include lower level information than is generally accepted for standards of this type. Instructions on how to perform processes and guidelines remain outside the intended scope of the ERS, although a list of recommendations for this type of content future handbooks and or guidebooks is expected as an administrative output. Processes primarily associated with general science and technology research projects that are not relevant to transformative or revolutionary science will be considered out of scope.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Warning to My Friends

Here is my take on SRI's Conficker C "evolving snapshot"… The highly-organized group that developed a most-advanced Windows virus running on 2K, XP, and Vista platforms is continuing their work. The result? A Conficker C variant, discovered by SRI International on March 6th, uses the 2 x encryption and 2 x compaction security of A & B variants, adding "a significant layer of code obfuscation". C is such an upgrade that "as little as 15% of the original B code" remains, and these upgrades make the situation equivalent in WoW terms to millions of dragons running amok in villages with big fangs, impervious armor, and magical abilities to become invisible and render harmless any armies and weapons brought against them.

SRI believes the current internet addressing system could become unreliable, but based on the details, I think that horse has left the barn. There is no way to prove whether SRI's report you and I see is actually what we expect: apparently, C's "Security Product Disablement" can fool both security programs and operating system countermeasures, invisibly redirecting their calls home for antivirus definitions and program updates. It constructs ad hoc P2P networks with other victim hosts, and prevents various system safeguards, such as rollback to pre-infected restore points, disabling Windows security services, 3rd party security products, and it uses multiple cloaks… well, you get the idea. The speed of C's developers to implement countermeasures and the latest encryption is staggering.

The ability to upload and execute ANY code to millions of internet-connected computers threatens the net itself.

I'm going to do some extra backups and find my original OS discs.

Review of "Creating Scientific Concepts" for Amazon

New concepts in science result from the process of attempting to overcome specific problems, and Professor Nancy Nersessian's Creating Scientific Concepts (CSC) takes a process-focused approach, providing a gold mine of information for those interested in scientific and technological advance, or any of the many related specialty disciplines. The arguments made represent a critical milestone toward my goal: the development of a practice standard for managing creation of revolutionary science & technology paradigms, so I'm hardly a neutral reviewer.

Nersessian explains the birth of new scientific understanding, some times in laser-sharp detail and at other times with a broad strokes, such as where issues arise from "the creative reasoning practices of scientists for which cognitive research is not yet sufficient to explain."

CSC is an erudite, compelling journey through profound discoveries in physics not merely pointing to dates and useful discoveries, but actually into the minds of the researchers working to solve problems. We see the evolutionary history of scientist's concepts through their journals, correspondence, and notes. Readers investing the effort to grapple through the dense information-to-paragraph ratio will be rewarded by gaining key understanding of how conceptual models serve imaginative scientific progress. Stock up on post-it notes and get a low-bleed pen for margin scribbling.

Professor Nersessian's investigations identify 3 types of resources used in the scientific problem-solving process:
> Conceptual
> Analytical
> Material

These resource types are utilized in conceptual change during experimental observation and mathematical analysis in which 3 mental tools & techniques are integrated to produce creative solutions. These tools and techniques are:
> synthesizing analogies,
> representative imagery, and
> thought experiments

I liked that the author describes processes translatable into the lexicon of global standards from the Project Management Institute, which was developed for best managing change examples:
> Model Construction --> Initiating & Prototyping
> Abstraction --> Planning
> Simulation --> Controlling & Executing
> Evaluation --> Monitoring & Closing

Despite the edition's overly thin & smooth paper, (making rapidly flipping to p134 for Newton's Principia illustration a pain), these 251 pages of brilliance remain a useful reference; Admittedly, this page stock makes the book very portable.

CSC is a fabulous companion (sequel?) to "The Cognitive Structure of Scientific Revolutions" (CSSR). CSC includes many references to CSSR, which together provide an up-to-date and sufficiently deep understanding of the fascinating process of scientific creativity advancing the forefront of technology and human knowledge.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Change of Meaning Over Time


Hi Casey,

Definitions and boundaries for terms and especially categories will fluctuate based on individuals sense of convenience, needs, focus and priority.

Organizational definitions (such as standards) will tend to be more elaborate and precise. Different views and different levels of knowledge will alter meanings and usage between different indivituals, groups, & anything sufficiently related.

Appropriateness of Corporate Organizational Structure

In response to a post by Ray Podder, I rehash the frustration with educated elites' lack of situational awareness regarding the basic nature of capitalist corporate organizational systems.

To Ray:

The reason these (your) questions arise the way they do is because of the spectacular success of corporate propaganda.

Top-down authoritarian dominance (called "leadership" in MBA grad school), exploitation (minimizing cost), deceit and manipulation for profit (marketing), enforced scarcity (maximizing price), and unrestrained growth (increased market-share) are encoded in the corporate DNA - but with clever spin and massive investment in school textbook content, and outright ownership of text and mainstream media production, it is frighteningly easy to conceal such otherwise obvious truths. The amoral, predatory nature of capitalism - especially in the modern multinational corporate species - is one of those obvious truths recognized in the business community as vital to obscure. Others include the total societal costs of the profits appearing in corporate ledgers and in executive bank accounts, which are often paid in ignorance, misery, reduced democracy, and unfortunately all too often: in blood - including the deaths of children, and others who are "competitively weak". Huge public relations and lobbying industry segments are devoted to the "never-ending battle" to "sell" the "right view" of big business as overwhelmingly beneficial, but without alternative whenever the crimes are horrific and incontrovertible.

As an entire class of powerful entities acts consistently in breaking our oldest moral laws prohibiting the strong from preying upon the weak, asking whether "the corporate structure really makes sense for how people actually work?" is a crushing indictment of our educational systems' failure to prepare reasoned, objective situational assessments by the educated classes. Core problems remain invisible, while debate of minutiae provides a facade of choice and intellectual freedom.

The underlying assumption in your post is that self-interest in acquisitive terms of what is best for one's self, "moving ahead", "getting", etc., are assumed to be shared virtues, whether everyone would consider these good goals is beyond question. Such concept framing and newspeak hinders realization and expression of our natural desire to be loved, of value through contribution and service, leaving a better world for others rather than seeking opportunities to extract maximally from people and situations as dictated by "rational economic behavior". The parallels to religious doctrine and the cognitive crippling of followers warrant our cautious study and careful decision making.

My 2 cents...

See also:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Retweeting @NSF: Electronic Quantum Holography, Unbelievable!!

Flatland Heart

Dryly glimpsing reality's profound beauty: a mirage of perceptions across deserts of limitation...we thirst for understanding.

Echoes of creation's song seduce us in whispered perfume carried on a mistral's caress, stirring our most passionate ardor to know, to discover.

We long to reach truth, to deeply drink pure knowledge as only the strongest intellect can.

We ache for profound understanding with which we might swim through celestial depths and soar in abyssal heights with the grace of immortals, at the speed of thought.

With impassioned inquiry, we woo the universe to surrender her mysteries, and with each embrace of truth we share, our minds touch that transcendent splendor of merging with the universe - and ourselves.

Fidelity to science manifests our love of learning and devotion to truth.

Monday, March 9, 2009

How cognitive maps might harness brain structures for better learning:
Who Said Cheaters Never Win?
The lowdown on twitter:
Revolutionary Science PM Standard will help AAAS:

Poor Cubicle, Rich Life

In reply to a Wednesday, March 04, 2009 post that concerned me…describing the life context of a chess player.

It is true that increased specialization without increasing general knowledge leads to people becoming more "just another brick in the wall". Clearly, to someone who is doing this in a large, for-profit multinational, it would seem like the rest of the world is doing the same, i.e.: one would be likely to assert this world view as "contrary to...[when] job descriptions in many cases were self defining and not standard."

It is distressing to see the "free market" corporate worldview of TINA: "there is no alternative" and the capitalist doctrine of scarcity so deeply expressed. While acknowledging the virtues of motivation, industry, and self-improvement that this model embraces, in the desire for a more nuanced and better balanced view, I would assert that the internet and new media & communications, while requiring and enabling specialized skills and greater isolation, also enable the development of a more robust worldview, and much greater ability for democratic participation in, and contribution to the greater society. This is in part, why I had mixed feelings watching interviews today regarding the RMN closure.

The transformative power of our new paradigms, technologies and techniques can enable a broader scope of vision, and an unprecedented opportunity for generalized gains in virtues of wisdom, compassion, and clarity. Such virtues are not only needed to lead a just and moral life, but are likely to be essential for the long term survival of our species.