zenpundit.com » adam elkus

Archive for the ‘adam elkus’ Category

Sunday surprise: Pokemon Go Go Go

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — for Adam Elkus, John Robb & JM Berger among others ]
.

Three tweets:

*

*

**

I find that last one pretty interesting, and would like to juxtapose it with a para from Michael Moore‘s piece — almost certainly the only piece of his writings I’ve actually downloaded onto my hard drive — Five Reasons Why Donald Trump Will Win:

The fire alarm that should be going off [CC: for Hillary supporters] is that while the average Bernie backer will drag him/herself to the polls that day to somewhat reluctantly vote for Hillary, it will be what’s called a “depressed vote” – meaning the voter doesn’t bring five people to vote with her. He doesn’t volunteer 10 hours in the month leading up to the election. She never talks in an excited voice when asked why she’s voting for Hillary. A depressed voter. Because, when you’re young, you have zero tolerance for phonies and BS. Returning to the Clinton/Bush era for them is like suddenly having to pay for music, or using MySpace or carrying around one of those big-ass portable phones. They’re not going to vote for Trump; some will vote third party, but many will just stay home. Hillary Clinton is going to have to do something to give them a reason to support her — and picking a moderate, bland-o, middle of the road old white guy as her running mate is not the kind of edgy move that tells millenials that their vote is important to Hillary. Having two women on the ticket – that was an exciting idea. But then Hillary got scared and has decided to play it safe. This is just one example of how she is killing the youth vote.

Department of unintended consequences and black swans:

Who’d have thought a Japoanese telephone-based game might have an influence on the demographics of democracy in the US of A?

Considering Viv, Wolfram Language, Syntience, and the GBG

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — expanding the computable to include qualitative ideation ]
.

Let’s start with Viv. It looks pretty phenomenal:

That video is almost exactly a month old, and it’s pitched at “the universe of things” with a marked tilt towards e-commerce. Fair enough.

**

It’s instructive to compare it with Wolfram Language, although here I’ve had to go with a video that’s a couple of years old:

Stephen Wolfram, the creator of both Mathematica and Wolfram Alpha, is focused on the world of numbers — and incidentally, that includes graphs of the sort I’ve been discussing in my series here On the felicities of graph-based game-board design, as you can see in the video above.

It will be interesting to see how the two of them — Viv and Wolfram — interact over time. After all, one of the purposes of these lines of development is to dissolve the “walled gardens” which serve as procrustean beds for current thinking about the nature and possibilities of the web. Do these two gardens open to each other? If so, why? If not, why not?

**

I’ve talked enough for my purposes about AlphaGo and it’s narrowly focused though impressive recent triumph, and the wider picture behind it, as expressed by Monica Anderson — and tying the two together, we have this video from Monica’s timeline, Bob Hearn: AlphaGo and the New Era of Artificial Intelligence:

Bob Hearn: AlphaGo and the New Era of Artificial Intelligence from Monica Anderson on Vimeo.

Monica’s Syntience, it seems to be, is a remarkable probing of the possibilities before us.

**

But I’m left asking — because Hermann Hesse in his Nobel-winning novel The Glass Bead Game prompts me to ask — what about the universe of concepts — and in particular for my personal tastes, the universe of musical, philosophical, religious and poetic concepts. What of the computational mapping of the imagination?

My question might well have large financial implications, but I’m asking it in a non-commercially and not only quantitative way. I believe it stands in relationship to these other endeavors, in fact, as pure mathematics stands in relation to physics, and hence also to chemistry, biology and more. And perhaps music stands in that relationship to mathematics? — but I digress.

If I’m right about the universe of concepts / Glass Bead Game project, it will be the most intellectually demanding, the least commercially obvious, and finally the most revelatory of these grand-sweep ideas..

From my POV, it’s also the one that can give the most value-add to human thinking in human minds, and to CT analysts, strategists, journos, educators, therapists, bright and playful kids — you name them all!

Seeing it in terms of counterpoint, as Hesse did — it’s the virtual music of ideas.

On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: eight

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — omega worms in science and scripture ]
.

As regular readers know, I am interested in Omega — the End, in “alpha and omega” terms — so I was naturally intrigued by this tweet, with Adam Elkus kindly put in my twitter feed and those of others who follow him:

I’m not a “worm scientist” but wanted to know what an omega turn is, so I browsed around a bit and found this diagram:

journal.pbio.1001529.g007
Donnelly et al, Monoaminergic Orchestration of Motor Programs in a Complex C. elegans Behavior

**

Now please don’t imagine I know what that means to a worm scientist — I was expecting something more like the worm in the lowest section of thIs Beatus Apocalypse:

B_Facundus_230v

or maybe this:

Beatus worm turns

from a different Beatus manuscript, where it appears the worm has turned quite a few times.

**

In the unlikely event that I should attempt a translation of St John‘s revelatory vision on the Isle of Patmos into science fiction, be assured that I shall include a reference to that image among my illustrations, with a footnote perhaps, pointing to Mark 9.48:

Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

Today, however, my appreciation for all things apocalyptic must give way to another interest of mine, that of the pervasive use of [node and edge] graphs in our contemporary world. Here again is the central column of that image:

journal.pbio.1001529.g007-middle

It interests me here as yet another illustration of the degree to which graphs serve as a fundamental substrate of our understanding of the world — and hence my continuing interest in their use in game board design — both of which I’ve been exploring in other posts in this series:

  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: preliminaries
  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: two dazzlers
  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: three
  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: four
  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: five
  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: six
  • On the felicities of graph-based game-board design: seven
  • **

    After the glamour of Beatus manuscripts and PLOS worm diagrams, it may seem almost a let down to turn to irregular polyhedra — but the move from two-dimensional graphs to their three-dimensional cousins is a short one, and since we live in what at least appears to be a (spatially) three-dimensional world, one which should also be considered in terms of game board and concept-modelling design.

    The following illustration —

    irregular_polyhedron3

    — and accompanying video, from Filip Visnjic, Irregular Polyhedron Study #1 – Vertex, edge and volume, may accordingly be of interest:

    Irregular Polyhedron Study #1 from Bjørn Gunnar Staal on Vimeo.

    How to draw a circle in a line

    Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — Robert Redford and Brad Pitt on a Berlin rooftop ]
    .

    circle on a line Spy Game rooftop
    how do you draw a circle in an entirely linear medium?

    **

    The movie is Spy Game, with Robert Redford and Brad Pitt.

    To my mind, it’s a brilliant piece of film making: director Tony Scott chose a terrific location for Nathan Muir (Redford)’s debrief reaming of Tom Bishop (Pitt), in the course of which Muir very pointedly tells Bishop:

    Listen to this, because this is important. If you’d pulled a stunt there and got nabbed, I wouldn’t come after you. You go off the reservation, I will not come after you.

    That’s the heart of the movie, right there, in negative — because the whole movie is about Bishop going off reservation in China, pulling a stunt there, and getting nabbed by the Chinese, and Muir coming after Bishop and rescuing him, with great shenanigans and flashbacks along the way.

    Scott wants to draw a circle around that point, to drive it home — but this is a movie, a totally linear sequence frames, whether celluloid or digital, so how do you draw a circle in a linear medium?

    Scott shoots the scene atop a circular roof, and before, during and after the conversation between the two men, has the camera circle the building:

    **

    I know, I stretch the limits of this blog mercilessly — and I’m spending this post on a piece of cinema technique. Let’s just say that I take Adam Elkus‘ words seriously:

    Clausewitz himself was heavily inspired by ideas from other fields and any aspiring Clausewitzian ought to mimic the dead Prussian’s habit of reading widely and promiscuously.

    I’m being promiscuous.

    **

    There are two other major points caught in Scott’s tight circle. One offers the essence of Spy Game, emphasis on the spy:

    Bishop: Okay, help me understand this one. Nathan, what are we doing here? Don’t bullshit me about the greater good.
    Muir: That’s exactly what it’s about. Because what we do is, unfortunately, very necessary.

    The other gets to the other half of the name Spy Gamegame:

    Bishop: It’s not a fucking game!
    Muir: Yes, it is. That’s exactly what it is. It’s no kid’s game, either, but a whole other game. And it’s serious, and it’s dangerous, and it’s not one you want to lose.

    So, in the gospel according to Spy Game, espionage is a deadly and death-dealing game, played unfortunately but very necessarily for the greater good. All that in three short minutes, with a circle drawn around it for emphasis.

    **

    Thus a problem in geometry is artfully transcended.

    Is claustrophobia the fear of walls — or of eyes?

    Friday, March 25th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — something’s closing in on us ]
    .

    Tablet spec escher drone

    **

    Sources:

  • Adam Elkus, I was not kidding
  • Plain Dealer, Akron Art Museum rescues M.C. Escher from his reputation

  • Switch to our mobile site