Atom Wave: April 2009

Atom Wave

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Faith Depletion

I know that I’m not going to earn any popularity points for this, but I have completely given up on having any faith whatsoever. I am confident that some people might not like that, but screw them. All the things that they taught us are nothing but lies, and all the things that they offered us was nothing but bribes. The more you consider it, the more absurd it becomes. I only need to begin with Christianity, but it could be any faith.
Jesus, who is God but also the son of God came to Earth to die for your sins so that God will let you into heaven. Make up your mind! Then there is that whole thing about the Earth being created in 7 days. When did God create time? It is all so absurd; it gives me a headache trying to make sense of what people believe. I’m not actually a Christian, up until recently I was just hanging on as an Agnostic.
I’m not writing this in any expectation of getting anything from you, I neither expect it nor want it. The time has just come where I need to draw my line in the sands. Where once I saw faith, all I see today is the result of a deranged imagination.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Google Tea Bagging

I recently came across a good piece of fiction on the New York Times. The story begins in the sunny warm town of Mountain View, California, on the corporate campus of Google. We begin in any typical office; with windows, a desk, computer, and filing cabinets. Horrifying I know, filing cabinets at Google! We begin with Doyle, and her job is to battle immigration issues with the government so that the company can import foreign engineers. On her desk is applications from five rejected American Ph.D.s in computer science for geo-location engineers. She says in a harsh whisper, that none is qualified; but there is hope. An engineer lives in China, or India, or some damn place that will save the day, and she wants to bring him here. By train, plane, or automobile; maybe even ship if it comes to that. But first, she must battle the United States government. She pulls out a sword.
Now that last part was fiction, but that last part about there being no qualified engineers in the USA is as believable as the Easter Bunny. I might as well believe that Oswald killed Kennedy alone. Don’t tell me that Harvard, Stanford, or M.I.T doesn’t graduate Ph.D.s every year who could recreate Google Maps from scratch. As for the five unqualified American applications, tell me five hundred and I might believe it. Why is it that they only list jobs locally and internationally? There is definitely an angle here. I’ll get to it shortly.
I’m not bitching because I want a job with Google; yeah I have a job thank you! I’m writing for the unsung heroes, perfectly competent Americans like my professor who is out of work right now. Yeah, he teaches part-time. Give Jim a break.
The real truth, not the imaginary one is that Google wants to maximize its profits, them and the rest of corporate America. Why hire a competent American worker when you can hire an equally qualified foreigner and pay them crap? It is all part of the web of life.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Prophecy at the End of Time

Since the beginning of time, leaders and prophets have screamed about the coming end times. Since we are still here, you don’t need to take the predictions too seriously. Plenty of people do, it never ends.
As recently as 1990, Peter Ruckman predicted that the Rapture would take the believers to heaven. In 1985 Arnold Murry predicted that the war of Armageddon on June 8, 1985. I don’t need to bore you; it is a very long list.
Is there any truth than to prophecy? Or is just nothing more than a guess? Anyone familiar with mathematics and probability knows that there is a finite probability that anything will happen. Anything! You could spontaneously turn into a ball of fire as bright as the sun. That jet that your riding on right now could spontaneously materialize somewhere in deep space. It is very unlikely, but not strictly impossible. Science is all about the laws of averages, freak events still happen.
It is plausible that the prophets have been right all the time. You have just been in the wrong world. Remember the physicist, Everett. Back in the 1950’s, he wrote the Quantum many worlds theorem. It says that in a Quantum Mechanical sense, everything always happens. Everything, as long as it is a possible state for a Quantum particle. Again, this will be a very long list.
Maybe the prophets got it right. Probability demands that everything will happen, sooner or later! Diving into theoretical physics, it is accepted in some circles that the universe has more than three dimensions. It isn’t completely unreasonable to assume that maybe in some dimension, time is nonlinear. Some people have learned how to see beyond linear time.
In the end, prophecy is a guess that comes true.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Rise of the Machine (Scientist)

Back in the day, scientists and engineers used to spend years analyzing data in a painful and tedious process of better understanding nature. Fast-forward to today, and computers can do it in one day. Correction, one computer at Cornell University can do it in a day. This computer is running a program developed by Hod Lipson and Michael Schmidt that incorporate genetic programming along with basic mathematics rules to extrapolate laws of nature. They have already derived the laws of motion for a pendulum in a day.

Scientists and engineers have been down this road before. Half a century ago, IBM’s Herbert Gelernter wrote a program that independently rediscovered Euclid’s rules of geometry, but some think that the solutions were contrived. Then in the 1970’s, Douglas Lenat’s wrote Automated Mathematician, but it didn’t gleam any new mathematical theorems that were useful. Stanford University also ran a project for two decades known as Dendral to extrapolate the structures of organic molecules from measurements by NASA spacecraft. It ended up generating more questions than answers.

Now Genetic Programming works by extracting invariant (constant) data from the database and deriving possible relationships (equations) between it and the rest of the data. The equations are tested again against the data, and the process is begun anew. It is very much an evolutionary program, in that it just plays with the data until it arrives at a reasonable conclusion.

While it is yet another step forward, these artificial intelligence programs are still decades away from replacing a competent scientist. It may never happen! We humans still have the advantage that we can daydream on the problem, and write up something completely new. True or not, Superstring Theory is one beast that I doubt a computer program could come up with. In any case, this is still another piece of the puzzle towards building a thinking/learning Terminator machine someday that will kill us all.