Showing posts from 2011

Steam Problems with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

I've recently been discussing problems with the Steam scheme for games on Amazon forums and product reviews.  To me, this (IMO: completely illegitimate) "digital rights" system seems almost virus-like in its intrusive and disruptive nature.

(Above: Taskbar After a Steam Update)
Debate opponents who are strong supporters claiming to "love Steam" suggest I've been unfairly targeting a great add-on, with suggestions that my computer, myself, or the Skyrim program are culprits.

 (Above: Steam hangs, neither button works)
 (Above: When internet access is limited, this immovable window
locks user out of software indefinitely.)
 (Above: Use Windows to shutdown malfunctioning Steam at your own risk!)

Unfortunately, I was unable to collect screencaps of the "Changes to hard drive loop" which appears, like so many problems, related to using Steam to handle the startup for Skyrim.  Digging into the internal functions of Steam and telling it to resync its internal…

Objectivity 1.2 - Collective Empiricism

The world is big, chaotic, and dynamically changing.  To get a grip on things, we humans put things in categories to which we refer with terms like "dog", "pastel color", "malaria", or "revolutionary scientific theory".  
To communicate ideas to others, they must be able to understand the terms we use, and have the ability to recognize when something fits a categories we are using.  To facilitate this, books have been produced for centuries which provide examples demonstrating relationships between individuals as types of a category.  What we learn about each category seems to be summed up by an archetype of that category.  
Joseph Campbell's "Power of Myth" related the interesting role culture plays in forming this archetype with a category of creature known as "the dragon".  
In Western European culture, the dragon embodies the sin of greed: amassing treasure and virgins through violence, yet neither of which he is able …

Objectivity 1.1 - Blind Sight

Chapter 1, Epistemologies of the Eye & Blind Sightopens with the claim that "Scientific objectivity has a history" and the authors proceed to distinguish this concept from the far more ancient virtues of "truth" and "certainty".  
Fascinated with the processes of thinking and understanding by which I might not just learn more, but ways to learn better and understand things otherwise unobtainable, this kind of material is irresistibly sexy.  Also, I hate to be wrong in a degree that used to be called "scrupulosity" or "obsessive concern with one's own sins and compulsive performance of religious devotion."  In my case, this means ethical science. 
Although the 3 values interact and overlap somewhat, each is distinct, different, and is an important tool for understanding.  Also, they represent evolutionary stages of collective cognitive development in scientific research. 
Daston & Galison provide historical illustrations deve…

Objectivity 0.1 - Prologue, Objectivity Shock

Objectivity by Lorraine J. Daston and Peter Galison opens with a man alone in a dark room, obsessing for years over drops of mercury and milk liquids hitting a pane of glass laid on a table.  With the strobed light from a spark, he was able to temporarily "burn" a frozen image of drops' impact on his retina and using this image, he would sketch the and later write extensively on the "perfect symmetry" produced by these splashes, the beauty of such a symmetrical form, and so on.  This was perhaps the first effort of its kind to capture instantaneous measure of a dynamic process, and use the technology to elaborate categories of outcomes, or "simplification through a pictorial taxonomy".  Trouble arose when cameras replaced eyes, and that perfect symmetry which had made such sense emotionally and mathematically, NEVER occurred in reality.  All the sketches, drawings, and text referred to something that did not exist and after 20 years, Arthur Wor…

Charity, Democracy and the Church of Capitalism

The top headline of the most important newspaper in the world, The New York Times, on May 27th, 2011 was titled: "Aid Pledge by Group of 8 Seeks to Bolster Arab Democracy".  Authored by Liz Alderman, the article tells us a great deal about the deep indoctrination and newspeak where words which previously had philosophical, political, and moral definitions which meant something are redefined into meaningless marketing double-talk.  How?  Let's take a look at the purported goal of the announcement: "democracy".

Wikipedia claims democracy as "Democracy is a form of government in which all citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives" and then goes on at length to describe other factors and considerations, notably the idea that "equality and freedom have both been identified as important characteristics of democracy since ancient times".  Equality was the goal that Adam Smith was pursuing with his plan for markets, which h…

Warp Drive Development - Introduction

Everyone familiar with the distances involved in astronomy, space science, and the search for intelligent life in the universe knows that even if we could travel in a conventional spacecraft at the impossible speed of light, significant human exploration of a tiny nearby fraction of our galaxy would not be plausible.  No sensible person, government, business, or other organization would fund it and among enthusiasts impatient for progress, a taboo topic remains unspoken: the voyage would certainly be a suicide mission – a concrete fact which would seem to block any path to realizing one of our oldest, most beautiful dreams: to sail the stars and meet other civilizations which are probably there.  Distance and time are the core constraints on achieving this goal.
Einstein’s Relativity, an exemplar of modern scientific genius and revolutionary ideas in physics, mathematically describes space and time as an integrated “continuum”, similar to a stretched rubber sheet that warps up and down…

How a Typical Liberal Supports U.S. Military Empire

In a piece in the New York Times, Gregory Johnsen demonstrates how intellectual liberals typically justify military imperialism on behalf of their own societies.  There can be little doubt that such justifications are never acceptable when invoked by others. 
The author calls attention to his position and NYT article in another blog, explaining that "the US can no longer put its momentary security interests ahead of its values in Yemen."
The author has a conception of “US values” that appears profoundly disconnected from both the long-standing US government strategic priorities and our current political realities.
In the NYT’s piece, Johnson states: “The United States and its international allies will have a limited window of opportunity to get things right in Yemen.” Note the presumption that meddling in Yemen is a responsibility of the US, as if Yemen were a vassal state. The conceptualization that the US effectively owns the world does appear deeply ingrained througho…

Impeachment for Gov. Walker Out of the Question?

Not that democrats are any better, but the naked deliberateness of this  Tea-publican deception is amazing.
The New York Times this morning carried this ad: If you like him, (as a person? I do), but the duplicity is truly astonishing in this "poll" apparently designed to prop up the billionaire Koch brothers' favorite governor in their class warfare schemes.
As a scientist, I believe in testing theories and attempting to disprove them.  In this case, my theory that this is deceptive propaganda for economic and social warfare would be disproven if the results were generally reported as "Of people who said they liked Scott Walker, X percent said they support him", or "believe unions have become to powerful", etc.
The current results of people who indicated they "like" Gov. Walker answer Question 1 as follows: Note the defensive, passive portrayal of "efforts to reduce the power".  Who could be against that?  In addition, the answers have…

Kindle DRM Sucks

I'm working hard on an important project: coordinating a network of team mates from around the world, and have bought a few books I thought likely to assist in some of the challenges.  One of these challenges is our need for intelligently selecting appropriate management techniques to attack some of the problems.  An expert on the team suggested using assessment tools from Reinventing Project Management: The Diamond Approach to Successful Growth & Innovationby Dov Dvir (Kindle Edition - Aug 14, 2007).
After purchasing and studying the book, I wanted to copy some passages for discussion with members of the team.  Kindle for PC disables your ability to do this.  I wanted to discuss this (zoomed) graph as well: Notice the blurring?  This is because Kindle translation of the original source (presumably PDFs) is buggy.   Even if I wanted to zoom the original view to overcome the minute, blurry letters on the graph, there is no zoom function on either the portable Kindle or Kind…

Historically Justified Quantum Cosmology Approaches

If we take the relatively uncontroversial position that human organs of perception (sense & cognition) evolved based on their ability to assist survival and reproductive success, it seems extremely unlikely that they would be well suited to perception of fundamental aspects of reality.  For example, our species has no innate ability capable of perceiving that we live on a planet, or even the relative size of the nearest star, our sun.  Only decades (or centuries) of careful observation and investigation revealed basics of our world that lie outside everyday experience.  We may properly conclude our senses and cognition are unlikely in the extreme to be able to directly perceive any relatively significant aspect of reality.
Our lives consist of atoms and molecules within spacetime, interacting with others based on distance, charge, gravity, energy state, relative motion, and so forth.  As we, our instruments, and everything within spacetime interacts similarly, it is quite natural f…

On this Binary Date 1/11/11: DilberTrek