lunatechian (lunatech-ian)

one relating to, belonging to, or resembling lunatech

Ceaseless Reinvention Leads To Overlapping Solutions


The elegance of the brain lies in its inelegance.

For centuries, neuroscience attempted to neatly assign labels to the various parts of the brain: this is the area for language, this one for morality, this for tool use, color detection, face recognition, and so on. This search for an orderly brain map started off as a viable endeavor, but turned out to be misguided.

The deep and beautiful trick of the brain is more interesting: it possesses multiple, overlapping ways of dealing with the world. It is a machine built of conflicting parts. It is a representative democracy that functions by competition among parties who all believe they know the right way to solve the problem.

..... And consider the different systems involved in decision making: some are fast, automatic and below the surface of conscious awareness; others are slow, cognitive, and conscious. And there's no reason to assume there are only two systems; there may well be a spectrum. Some networks in the brain are implicated in long-term decisions, others in short-term impulses (and there may be a fleet of medium-term biases as well).

... On a larger anatomical scale, the two hemispheres of the brain, left and right, can be understood as overlapping systems that compete. We know this from patients whose hemispheres are disconnected: they essentially function with two independent brains. For example, put a pencil in each hand, and they can simultaneously draw incompatible figures such as a circle and a triangle. The two hemispheres function differently in the domains of language, abstract thinking, story construction, inference, memory, gambling strategies, and so on. The two halves constitute a team of rivals: agents with the same goals but slightly different ways of going about it.

Part of the importance of discovering elegant solutions is capitalizing on them. The neural democracy model may be just the thing to dislodge artificial intelligence. We human programmers still approach a problem by assuming there's a best way to solve it, or that there's a way it should be solved. But evolution does not solve a problem and then check it off the list. Instead, it ceaselessly reinvents programs, each with overlapping and competing approaches. The lesson is to abandon the question "what's the most clever way to solve that problem?" in favor of "are there multiple, overlapping ways to solve that problem?" This will be the starting point in ushering in a fruitful new age of elegantly inelegant computational devices.

in today's odd news: Scientists use Calvin Klein cologne to lure jaguars

Biologists Rony Garcia and Jose Moreira from the Wildlife Conservation Society's (WCS) Jaguar Conservation Program rely on Obsession for Men, a cologne known for its complex scent, to help lure jaguars in the Central American country.

Note that this scent works on jaguars. There is no research of its effects on cougars :-D .

The discovery that Obsession for Men acted as a magnet for jaguars was the result of an experiment by the WCS's Bronx Zoo in New York. The WCS was looking for ways to get cheetahs in front of camera traps, and, after several years of testing with different fragrances, found spraying the musky Obsession For Men near the heat-and-motion-sensitive cameras drew the cats for longer than other scents.


Defined tags for this entry: , ,

GPL still matters

Today morning I came across this piece of writing - Does GPL still matter?. The whole article is based on a few anecdotes from CEOs and marketing droids. They have gotten quite a few points wrong in the article.

GPL is a developer friendly license. The basic premise of the GPL is that the user should not subtract from the freedom he gets when redistributing software. GPL is not restrictive. It merely insists that whoever takes from the common pool must contribute back to the pool.

I would like to point to these 2 articles in support of GPL -

Defined tags for this entry: , ,