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The music of snakes and computing machines

Thursday, September 19th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — with enough joy here for all lovers of classical music, herpetology and the national pastime — but I’m stunned by one most curious herpetology-Bach crossover in particular — and more ]
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Here’s a fine DoubleQuote:

I gave you the snake first, in about as amusing a context as I could find: Now here’s the serpentine windings of a Bach melody, as tracked by musical-graphics maestro Stephen Malinowski::

The music is Bach’s Cantata 140 (Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme), performed by members of the Netherlands Bach Society (s part of their All of Bach project.

**

I think of the vaulted arches of Hermann Hesse’shundred gated cathedral of mind as places where science / technology and the arts / humanities map closely to one another — my locus classicus being the analogy between van Gogh‘s night sky and von Karman‘s vortex street, with which by now you are likely all familiar..

Far more unexpected, yet incredibly rich, it seems to me, is this close correspondence between music and snake. Does this suggest any further explorations to anyone? Ali Minai, anything this suggests for AI? Anyone?

Ada Lovelace‘s vision of the applicability of the Jacquard loom’s punched cards to Charles Babbage‘s engine is another instance, at the apex of an arch, I think — and it’s interesting to note that Lady Lovelace speculated that Babbage‘s machine

might act upon other things besides number… the Engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent

Howzzat? as we cry out in cricket.

Trump — King or Queen? A Biblical DoubleQuote

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — a gender-bender for our times, and a caution against messianic projections on all too fallible humans }
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Either way, Donald Trump:

**

To be frank, I don’t think Trump is either one — but Biblical excuses made by or on behalf of those Evangelicals who favor Trump‘s policies, and particularly his choices for the bench, are worth considering on their own merits.

King David notoriously slept with Bathsheba after sending his friend, her husband, off to die on the front lines, and yet G*d seems to have favored and used him. Similarly, Cyrus wasn’t even one of the Chosen People, yet he seems to have been one of the people chosen.

An aside — while I’m not sure if he originated the idea, it’s interesting that David Koresh, the leader of the Branch Davidians, named himself “Koresh” — “Cyrus” in Hebrew — and gave himself the title “sinful Messiah” because he felt both convinced / convicted of his sinfulness and called to a salvific, nay messianic, purpose. Esther? She was Jewish herself and beautiful, and protected the Jews from a holocaust back in the day.

David exemplifies the leader with a shady, nay adulterous and murderous, past.

Cyrus is the unbeliever in a G*d who uses him for his own purposes. And Esther is a ruler who preserves the Jewish people in a time of trouble.

Each analogy in turn has its merits — yet as regular readers here know, while I’m an enthusiast for thinking via analogies, I’m also concerned to bring critical appraisal to them. I have to admit I don’t see a Cyrus, David, or Esther here, and tend to think the long history of messianic projections by enthusiastic crowds, and messianic pretenders who came and went, should be a caution for us.

Trump looks to me like a man, is all. I wouldn’t trust him, and I don’t even trust myself.

**

Sources:

  • CBN (2016), Chaos Candidate: Is Trump a Modern-Day King Cyrus?
  • WaPo (2019), Holy Moses. Mike Pompeo thinks Trump is Queen Esther
  • City analogues and climate change 2019-2050

    Monday, August 19th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — pretty sure there will be black swans between here and 2050 ]
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    We’re beginning to see visual expressions of the implications of climate change that can perhaps help shift our awareness — comparing London, for instance, with Barcelona:

    The climate in Barcelona (right) isn’t always a good thing – the city suffered a severe drought in 2008

    **

    The thing is, Barcelona’s weather isn’t exactly desirable in all respects:

    London could suffer from the type of extreme drought that hit Barcelona in 2008 – when it was forced to import drinking water from France at a cost of £20 million.

    And London in 2050 experiencing weather conditions analogous to those of Barcelona today is a projection based on a 2? rise in temperatures globally: that’s considered “actually quite optimistic, imagining a future where action has been taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

    Ouch.

    Here’s one professor’s comment on the report:

    The University of Reading’s Professor Mike Lockwood warned about the damage that could be done to infrastructure.

    “Bringing Barcelona’s climate to London sounds like it could be a good thing – if you don’t suffer from asthma or have a heart condition, that is – except London clay shrinks and is brittle if it gets too dry and then swells and expands when very wet.

    “As ever, there is destructive and unforeseen devil in the details of climate change.”

    **

    The study, published in the journal PLOS One, suggests summers and winters in Europe will get warmer, with average increases of 3.5C and 4.7C respectively.

    It’s the equivalent to a city shifting 620 miles (1,000km) further south – with those furthest away from the equator being most affected.

    Southern California weather moves to Northern CA, Northern CA weather becomes the weather inj Northern Oregon and Washington, and on up to Canada and the once frozen north..

    And real estate values will shift accordingly.

    And transnational, climate driven migration patterns will emerge: US into Canada, and oh boy, Mexico into the US?

    **

    Well, analogues are pretty close cousins to what I’ve called DoubleQuotes, and the visual example above of London and Barcelona is joined in the BBC article I’ve been quoting from by twoi more examples:

    Edinburgh could look very different by 2050

    and:

    People say Melbourne can experience four seasons in one day – something people in Leeds might be used to

    — and since the authors of the study, Understanding climate change from a global analysis of city analogues, “found that 77% of future cities are very likely to experience a climate that is closer to that of another existing city than to its own current climate.”

    Since they examined “520 major cities of the world,” roughly 400 cities would have analogue cities, climate-wise, which I suspect means 200 would experience shifts to 200 other cities, though heaven knows, the Venn diagram might show quite a few overlaps, giving us strings like “Edinburgh will be like Paris will be like Marrakesh will be like nothing we’ve ever seen”

    **

    DoubleQuotes all. Analogues. duels and duets, climate-counter-climate, city-counter-city, point-counter-point..

    But see climate predictions, and how black swans will almost certainly distort them, and my related poem about Mecca in 2050, Mourning the lost Ka’aba

    The Magic in Advertising series — rhyming, twinning, pattern recognition

    Tuesday, May 28th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — the ability to recognize similarities across wide conceptual or memory distances is what Cindy Storer calls “magic” in analytic practice — here we examine it in terms of advertising ]
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    You could almost learn how to write poetry by watching the commercials on TV — or learn a bit more about how the ads themselves work.. come have some fun.

    Consider rhyme for a moment. There’s a rhyme between the car that’s too small for comfort and the shoe that’s too tight to fit in this ad, and there’s an analogy between the larger, more comfortable — luxurious, even — car and the wide and comfortable — “like a luxury ride for my feet” — Skechers wide fit shoes that the ad is all about:

    The rhyme here between today’s American fisherman and his Irish fisherman ancestor is stunning — and plausible. This, after all, is genetics, which is often said to rhyme from one generation to another:

    And even when the analogy between an image and the product it’s supposed to resemble (“rhyme with”) is weak, making a successful rhyme between two such images is a delight in itself, and makes the weak rhyme seem plausible. Here, a two-thirds shaved dog rhymes with a two-thirds mowed lawn:

    Allstate piles the rhymes on — drawing on powerful similarities between widely different parts of the country — in its brilliant Park Road / Street / Avenue commercial:

    Here’s a beautiful rhyme between cement and sand — it’s not so great to find you’ve stepped unexpectedly in wet cement — but what a delight to feel sand on the beach between your toes!

    Look, Exxon wants to make it’s industrial plants more closely resemble living, breathing, green plants: it’s not a bad idea, laudable really — but the rhyme is a bit of a stretch, eh?

    **

    One form of rhyme that’s worth noting falls under the heading of Opposites:

    In this case, the equation would be something like blue plus red equals unbiased. I haven’t checked the product, but the math is clean, and the divide the ad bridges is very real and quite perilous for democracy:

    So opposites can be powerful. But it’s worth considering, too, the mind-numbing effect of seeing opposing commercials:

    That’s not the kind of opposition you want if you’re Roundup, but exactly the kind of opposition you seek if you’re the legal opposition!

    **

    Rhyming — twinning — as it’s dreamed up in the creative agencies of Madison Avenue, and no doubt Madison Wisconsin too, requires horizontal, associative thinking — thinking based on pattern recognition, thinking that makes creative leaps where similarities can be found in the midst of difference. Metaphors and analogies are woven of the same kind of thinking, rhyme in poetry, graphic match or match cut in enema, canon and fugue in music — and it’s the type of thinking my HipBone Games are designed to teach and practice, until they’re strong reflexes in your intellectual arsenal.

    When readers or movie-goers, or just people watching commercials on TV, recognize patterns or rhymes — shaving a dog, then mowing a lawn, okay — it may elicit a chuckle the first time you see the ad, but you’re not sitting there to learn about dogs or lawns, or even Flonase unless you happen to need that kind of medicine. No, you’re there to see the next installment of the movie you’re watching, the next entertainment — which was almost certainly put together with less cash and care per minute or per frame than the commercials that slip into your mind almost subcutaneously.

    And analogy — this type of analogical thinking — works. Analogy is the very heart of magic:

    **

    Do you have time for another example?

    Here we have analogy across time, as we did in the case of the Donegal fisherman, but this time woven into the telling of a very simple short story: he wants a Heineken, looks in the fridge, no luck, goes out onto the street, flags down a cab, takes a short ride, steps down from his Hackney Carriage about a century earlier, and gets the Heineken he was looking for. Plus ça change!

    The Heineken’s the same — the six-pack at the end is the essence of difference!

    **

    Previous episodes in the same series:

    Advertising series 01: Music
    Eros, the Renaissance and advertising
    Authentic, spiritual magic!
    The magic of advertising or the commercialization of magic?
    Here’s magic!
    The magic of miniatures

    I imagine there will eventually be about twenty posts in the series..

    Three is a general purpose interest of embodied minds

    Friday, April 5th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — threes in knotting, braiding, math and bell ringing — in service to governance, and the recognition of pattern within complexity ]
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    One is one and all alone and ever more shall be so..
    Two is both duel and duet..
    and three:

    **

    Well, those are knots, of the Celtic variety. I cam across those images because Tony Judge pointed me to the animations in a piece he’d written, Exploring Representation of the Tao in 3D: Virtual reality clues to reconciling radical differences, global and otherwise?

    which gets me thinking about thinking in threes —

    — which has been an interest of mine for some time, see below —

    **

    And as is always the case with Judge‘s offerings, a plethora of his links called to me, and I wound up taking a look at his paper, Governance as “juggling” — Juggling as “governance”: Dynamics of braiding incommensurable insights for sustainable governance

    — incommensurable insights is another topic of considerable interest to me —

    — and that in turn brought me to this illustration of two instances of triple thinking about incommensurables from Australia — a triple helix and braiding:

    **

    Which brings us in turn to Borromean Rings and Knots:

    Now the question to consider with each and all of these illustrations of threeness is whether they trigger any thoughts about the juggling and hopefully braiding and balancing of incommensurable forces in governance.. okay?

    **

    You’ll have noted that the braiding illustration from the Australian double illustration above is a representation of a juggling pattern. Wikimedia has dozens of such patterns with various numbers of balls, heights to which they are lobbed, &c, — and they’re fascinatingly eye-catching — mesmerizing, in fact.

    Take a look at just three of them:

    Juggling trick 3b box3BallBurkesBarrage3-ball Mills mess

    Selection of animations of 3-ball juggling patterns by one juggler
    (derived from juggling patterns in Wikipedia)

    **

    I mean:

    **

    Wow, and okay:

    Now if a pattern of juggling can be represented as a pattern of braiding, we have a comparable situation to Ada Countess of Lovelace‘s brilliant cross-disciplinary leap of insight that the logical patterns Charles Babbage used to program for his proto-computing Analytical Engine could be represented in the punched cards used by Jacquard looms in the production of patterned fabrics:

  • James Essinger, Jacquard’s Web
  • **

    Am I — is Tony Judge — are we — out on a limb?

    Judge offers documentation of the mathematical side of things here:

    As indicated by Burkard Polster (The Mathematics of Juggling [excerpt], Monash University, 2003), the diagram above-right shows what the trajectories of juggling the basic 3-ball pattern look like (viewed from above). The three trajectories form the most basic braid. Braids are recognized as important mathematical objects. It has been shown that every braid can be juggled in that sense (Polster, 2003; Matthew Macauley, Braids and Juggling Patterns, 2003; Satyan Devadoss and John Mugno, Juggling braids and links, The Mathematical Intelligencer, 29, 2007). The implications have been further discussed separately (Potential cognitive implications of toroidal helical movement, 2016; Category juggling reframed through visualization dynamics, 2016).

    And again, let’s remember Tony Judge‘s reason for his interest in juggling and braiding in the first place:

    “juggling” is widely used as a metaphor to describe the challenge of responding to conflicting priorities in governance

    Judge has eighteen bibliographic supports for that assertion, including:

  • Trump Forced to Juggle Syria Response, Rage Over Mueller Probe (WSJ, 13 April 2018)
  • Trump juggling 75 pending lawsuits with a presidential campaign (CNBC, 27 October 2016)
  • The art of juggling political values and Trump (WaPo, 13 April 2018)
  • **

    Noting the correspondence between juggling — a circus-performer’s art — and braiding — not quite knitting, not quite knotting, and don’t those two words fit well together — an art associated with the decoration of hair and ribbons — I wondered whether there might not be a musical analog in counterpoint, and posted my inquiry on Twitter using this diagram of braiding:

    **

    I was fortunate: Change-ringing, surely very speedily responded to my inquiry:

    Change-ringing, surely

    The art of change-ringing in British churches and among hand-bell ringers is indeed the classic example of highly constrained and patterned musical counterpoint, so I happily Googled away in search of a change-ringing pattern comparable to my braiding patternc[left side, below], and came across the pattern [right side] in a page on the Cambridge Surprise Minor changes:

    Just Knecht, too, had some interesting observations & questions..

    **

    Metaphor, analogy, parallelism — these are avenues into the creative process in general, and threeness analogies and metaphors interrupt our usual binary cognitive processing in a way that enhances our capacity to comprehend complexity.

    I’m therefore offering this post to Ali Minai and Mike Sellers, in the hope that it will serve as a provocation to their already advanced thinking about systems dynamics. Tony Judge, obviously enough, it’s also a tribute to you…

    Previous posts of mine with threeness as a topic include

  • Of games III: Rock, Paper, Tank
  • Numbers by the numbers: three / pt 1
  • Spectacularly non-obvious, I: Elkus on strategy & games
  • Spectacularly non-obvious, 2: threeness games
  • Numbers by the numbers: three .. in Congress
  • Spectacular illustration of a game of three
  • Threeness games — some back-up materials

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