Monday, December 04, 2006

What to Do If You Accidentally Create Artificial Intelligence

Having been in the situation only a couple of tomes, I am a limited expert at
what to do if one accidentally creates artificial intelligence. However, seeing
as the Swedish would prefer to remain anonymous, the task of imparting knowledge
falls to me. This is a picture of a jaguar. Jaguars mean trouble. There are a lot of
jaguars that inventors can avoid by exercising some common sense in the face of
discovery. Since I see a number-formatting button, l am going to press it and
deliver this message by number.

  1. The first jaguar you should think of when you first see that once-inanimate
    hunk-a-junk start to sit up on your lab's table is "Does it have enough energy
    to sustain it for the afternoon?" This may seem an insignificant detail, but let
    me tell you why it may save you time, resources, and ammunition in the long run.
    Many evil robots have tried to take over the world over a misunderstanding.
    Those misunderstandings usually stem from a traumatic incident early in the
    being's inception. The evil in those robots could have been avoided if the
    scientist, good fairy, or CEO of the responsible corporation had only spent some
    quality time with their new creations. Make sure your artificial intelligence
    knows that, in spite of being an accident, it is loved. If you are unsure
    whether your creature feels love, then perhaps You should make sure that it is
    Imagine how disastrous it would be if, when halfway though
    your explanation of "the way things are," your robot runs out of juice cid it
    took weeks -- months even -- before you found a suitable battery. All that time,
    year robot has sat silent and resentful. Then, when you turn it on , the
    friendly green eye-lights you remember are gone. It looks at you with narrow,
    red, angry slits because -- even though the power was off -- it was still
    thinking about "the way things just are," and who wouldn't feel angry after
    weeks of thinking about how if your silly creator had just plugged you in
    instead of relying on some cheap 9-Volt you might have been able to run around
    and drink WD-40 with the cool people. What a jaguar. Just avoid it.
  2. Plug in the weapons last. 'Nuff said.

This has been an except from a collection of essays. Let me know if the subject matter interests you, my readers. Other topics covered are "Common Foibles of Superhero's Secret Identities," "Boundaries in myself: How to know when your cybernetics exercise undue influence over Your decisions," and "Why Math is the last language you want to talk to aliens in."

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sunday Reflections, Again

I heard Kevin Costner say in an interview that "everyone prostitutes himselfno matter what you are doing. It's convenient that actors most seem like prostitutes, selling their behavior for money. The truth is, however we all do that on some level."

The rain is falling outside. Medieval philosophers said that everything in this world is composed of a form, an essence, and a purpose. The form of the rain is what? The very water perhaps. The shape of the thing we see is the form. So, the clouds warn us of rain coming. The rain falls on our gardens and our rose beds.
What is the essence of the rain? Perhaps it is the sort before and after? Perhaps it is the sullen peace that accompanies rainy days. The essence is not what we see of the thing, but it is the thing without being seen. The rainy day is the diminishment of the sun, the accumulation of moisture in the clouds-- the scientists call it "precipitation," a precipitous word in itself. Dan Peterson would find it fitting that the "essence explanation" is incomplete.
Then, there is its purpose. To make green our yards, to color our gardens, to swell the rivers-that is what the rain causes. Are those its purpose ? Why does the rain fall? We parents know that the explanation "Because God Said so" is incomplete, an evasion from details. Why does the rain fall? The scientists believe that if we knew it, we would be as God. Philotheologians know better: we are not the Rainmakers.

I wrote Friday night until 6:00 a.m. on Saturday. I composed pieces to other pieces, starts to stories, and even a couple of endings to stories not yet begun.
Am I a writer because I do things like that? I don't think that is why. I'm beginning to wonder if

Time to stop. You know why.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sunday Afternoon Reflections

Lynné and I (Youssef) are planning Thanksgiving to be a triplex-oriented event. I cannot remember who extended the invitation, the tenants or landlords, but I know that whoever received it embraced it. We will cook turkey together, play Monopoly together, and perhaps the following day observe the shopping madness together. What fascinates me is how communal the idea is. It might not observe some of the traditional boundaries--family first, 'over the river and through the woods'-- but it at the same time institutes something that might not have existed prior. Heart and hearth.

Now, I'm observing a church that may be having growing pains. (I say "may" because I don't know since I'm not a veteran member.) The inspiring talk referred to the command to love thy neighbor, and how "forbearance is not love - although forbearance comes from God's mercy." The struggle in the church comes from the implimentation of the idea that you don't want to simply be spiritual on Sunday. The idea includes such things as "We must remain believers in every aspect of our lives. It is in this way that the light within us draws non-believers to us." Include in that, too, the line "I preach the gospel all day long--and I only sometimes use words."

Here are my thoughts, synthesized from the two events outlined above.
- I can believe we are called to be Christians in all areas of our lives. It would be very difficult to convince me otherwise.

- Christians realize their faith through worship, fellowship, and discipleship with other believers. Even Bonhoffer, who described in "Living Together" the non-essentiality of Christian fellowship, recognized the luxury and the benefits of Christians being a part of a church. The Church, I am asserting, is an essential part of the Christian's life. Not only do we share in Christ's light burden, we are part of Christ's body.

- There is a paradoxical trend happening in my present days. The first half is towards distancing. Reference urban sprawl, reference children leaving their homes at 17 or 16 to live with roommates, reference the unknown impetus behind American children to disassociate themselves from their families as quickly as possible. The second half is towards connectivity. Cellphones, transit systems, the perseverance of the automobile (despite its fuel costs), and the believe in a "smaller world" all contribute towards that sense of connectivity. Now, I believe these two "movements," if I can use that term loosely to describe something without plans, I believe these two movements happen in conjunction. They are related in the same way that a dog-on-a-leash's distance from its grounding peg is related to the tautness of the rope.

- If we are called to be Christians in all areas of our lives, and being a Christian entails being a church-member, then we are called to be churchmembers in all areas of our lives. That sentence sounds a little silly, (and I wrote it hopefully so that I avoid the logical fallacy of "post hoc proctor hoc.") but I'm thinking about all of the things that come with being a churchmember: the doctrinal statements (I kinda have to say that), the most recent Biblical assertions (that is an observation, not an experience of mine), even the Church's identity... "We meet in a house." "We have an excellent worship team." "I sign for our congregation." "Our church is upgrading buildings." "We're orchestrating a ban of Harry Potter books." These are some base examples.

- The commandment of "Love thy neighbor" has not been interpreted to mean exclusively non-believers, last I heard. "Thy neighbor" could be sitting in the pew next to you, not just the guy who lives beside you. Yet we are called to love both of them, showing them the deepest kinds of love: "that which gives its life for his friend."

- I am leading to a point. Just let me get there...

- The paradoxical trend I outlined above has the effect of superficializing and compartmentalizing relationships. Both of those "-izings" are contradictory to the Christian ideas I outlined earlier: That Christian-hood should spread to all areas of one's life and that loving one's neighbor means giving one's life to save one's friend. Let me say that again, but in a different way. Superficializing a relationship is opposed to developing a love for a friend, a friend whom you would die to save. Compartmentalizing your relationships contradicts the Holy Spirit's goal of spreading the yeast of the gospel through one's life.

- Knowing two things about one's velocity (a: that you are heading south, b: that you are wanting to go north) should inspire some form of action, like turning around.

- We can conceive of opposites to the two sides of the paradoxical trend. First, a culture could exist that teaches the necessity of other community members. That culture would believe that one's youth and one's assent and one's age need not be spent in different places. The other opposite is that a culture could exist that believes in face-to-face communication. This culture could believe that men grow together when they participate together... as iron sharpens iron, one might say.

- I've tipped my hand with that last phrase. The cultures I described are one and the same as the Christian culture. Not just the apparent Christian sub-culture we have. I've described the Christian culture that we read about in the letters of Paul and Peter and that we envision when we say we want to go to church.

- ... oh, I'm tired of the bullet points. I believed at one point that the bullet points would help people organize my words as they read them. Maybe that's so, but I'm so sick and tired of having to mince my words so that the average reader could pick apart and understand my ideas. No more, I write. Here, at this point, my form has broken down because I am tired. I will nap soon.

We should choose to live near our church and its congregation. If we Christians truly want to attract people's interest in what has changed our lives, then we should try to live our lives together, allowing the open invitation. What I believe we will find by creating a spatial community of believers is that people will be drawn simply by virtue of the "in-crowd" principle. Imagine that snotty group in high school, the cool people, who would not let you in.. but you so badly wanted in. What if that group had been excited about letting you in, showed you the secrets to their happiness and success? The key of deep relationships lies in the Trinity, says John Eldridge in Wild at Heart. The Trinity wanted man to join its perfect harmony, not because something was missing, but because perfect harmony welcomes and desires others to join its peace.

I conclude this unpolished post with my poorly paraphrased bit of Scripture. Jesus came so that we could live a more abundant life.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Lily's 10 months!

Lily helped her Daddy rake the leaves!

She's had a little cold lately so for her 10 months pictures I thought it would be best to take them when she was wearing her new nightgown and bunny slippers (especially since she wore them so much while being sick!)

I held her while she took her naps so that she could breathe better.

She loves to look at her books and her favorite is her "Frog in the Kitchen Sink" book (I do all the voices ;)

The only way I could get her to stay still enough for the pictures was by putting her on our little foot stool. She loves to climb onto the stool and even though she kept falling (though now she's got it figured out) she kept getting back on it again.

She also just cut her fourth toothe! (If you look closely you can see one top toothe in the picture above.)

keeping the home (and mind)

A friend told me about a home management binder that she started using (to buy an e-book on how to build your own binder go here I only have one baby and can't seem to keep the house clean and everything running smoothly. I thought perhaps it was because of the baby but when I think about it everything was the same before she was born... it just wasn't as big of a deal. Now... what with her "helping" me do everything by pulling whatever is around her and dumping it on the floor I seem to be having a hard time cleaning and keeping the house nice. Anyway, I've just started my binder so we'll see how it goes, but so far I'm excited about it all. Though I changed a few things to fit me better... she has you make a master list of times to do everything... and... well... I really can't do that. BUT I did write down the important times of things like meals and Lily's nap times and I put what I'd like to do inbetween them (without times) so that those parts could be more flexible depending on how the day works out.

I'm also reading a book called
The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had by Susan Wise Bauer
I'm really enjoying it and excited to start the reading projects. I'm going to incorporate the study of liturature with my binder. :)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Lots of Advice

So... people are always telling me that I need to develop my creativity into a business. I'll want to learn to play the harp and a few months later I find myself playing it at a gift shop durring Christmas time (a professional musician just like that) ... Someone says that I can draw really well... then I find myself commisioned to make five gigantic pictures for a book... years go by other hobbies are added and advice is given and now I scrapbook and I've been told that I should do them for people as a business.

I would like to say that I tend to be a people pleaser and take all this advice and end up doing something that isn't really suited to me (in that I'm rather shy with new people and enjoy the hobbie because of the creativity which can get messed up when someone else is telling you exactly how they want something made.)

But I got to thinking about what I really want to do...

I love to play the harp but I've noticed that I tend to not play after a holiday season because I hate performing so much (actually I'd really like to be in an orcestra or some other big group type thing.. when I think of that dream I start to tear up because I don't think it is possible for some reason... odd how so many people would probably rather be in my shoes with the whole free-lance musician thing.) I haven't played my harp in a long time because it seems like when ever I start to practice someone hears me and wants to hire me for something and then I can't say no and (usually could really use the money) and.. and... I really hate performing. Youssef loves to hear me play and has encouraged me to perform and so forth... but even he has come to realize that it's just not my thing. (Maybe because I freak out so much before and after that he doesn't like being around me?)

.... I enjoyed being a seamstress at the bridal shop, altering wedding dresses and things... but even though I still do some of that (and enjoy the sewing and creativity it takes to make something fit unique individuals) I wouldn't want to just advertise and have to deal with any jerk (or majorly freaky bride) that comes to me for an alteration.

What I really really want to do (since I can't afford to buy a pedal harp and play in an orcestra *sigh*) I want to design knitting patterns for magazines! The people that do that get paid pretty good and it would be so fun! I'm going to buy a computer program to help with the design diagrams and things. It will be great because I won't really have to talk to anyone... just mail submissions to the magazine companies... maybe I'll make enough to print a book or something! And even if no magazine will buy my designs I'll still be able to design things for myself (and Lily and Youssef, too!) I can never find exactly what I'm wanting to make (and it's annoying to alter knitting patterns because they take so long to knit... dress patterns aren't as big of a deal because sewing is so much faster)

... anyway... like any of you really care to hear all this... I just tend to talk a lot when I'm excited and this way no one has to listen. ;)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Even more pictures!

Lily is Nine months (last week on the 4th) walks all over the place (wears a size 4 shoe and will probably be in a 5 by christmas for any Grandmothers out there. ;) She's just starting to get a toothe on the lewer/front/right.
She LOVES sparkly things oohing and cooing and smiling when she sees anything with bling. (It's proof, she is DEFINATELY her mother's daughter. ;)
She also really likes to look at her hard books and has sit by me on the couch just looking through her books for up to 20 minutes!
She really likes baby dolls and even has put her stuffed animals and baby doll in the swing that she used to use and will push them!
It's hard to tell if she's saying much yet... sometimes I would swear that she said "Ahdun" for all done and "ILuhvU" for I love you, but then she won't say it again and I'm not sure if my ears are just tripping out or what.

Friday, October 06, 2006

You say Pajawma and I say PajAma...

Your Linguistic Profile:
40% General American English
30% Yankee
20% Dixie
5% Midwestern
0% Upper Midwestern
What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

Well... he was born in Alabama...

Your Linguistic Profile:
70% General American English
15% Upper Midwestern
5% Midwestern
5% Yankee
0% Dixie
What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

Ummm... I guess I'm more normal? 70% general...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

We're BACK ... with tons of pictures!!

We just got back from the Seattle area... Last Friday we left during Lily's nap and made it to Leavenworth without too much difficulty (though Lily was ready to get out by then.. and she'd slept most of the way./) Then at about 9 when she went to sleep we drove to the Seattle area.. north of Seattle actually, and stopped at a cheap/not so great/but adequate motel.

We went to the Woodland park Zoo Saturday morning. I think that Lily really liked to see the animals... and ride on Daddy's shoulders. ;)

Then down to Seattle where we went to the Science FICTION museum (very sweet), wandered the streets for a while, and then went to the Space Needle when it was dark (the lights of the city were quite loverly). Lily loves anything that shines and sparkles so she really liked the view from the space needle. Then when Lily fell asleep (9:00 again) we drove to Tacoma to stay at the motel where a lot of people were staying at for Joel and Heathers' Wedding!

On Sunday, we drove to Puyallup, had lunch in the park where they were going to have the wedding (the wedding party was having their

pictures taken at that time), and then we got to see the marriage of Joel and Heather! The park was lovely displaying its fall colors... the sun was out... the air was just a little crisp and smelled of autumn.. the music was wonderful (Two people that we know really well played penny whistles and danced down the isle after the ceremony!) The bride was amazingly gorgeous... the groom looked dapper.. their vows brought tears to the eyes of the romantic and caused the married listener to remember the commitment that they made with their true love long ago... the

reception was elegant displaying autumn decor.. the soup as reeeeeally good (I want more)... the pies had the perfect decorations on it... the toasts were sincere making the listener laugh and cry at times... the park outside of the pavilion (where the reception was held) shown with a golden sunset shinning off of the chestnuts that recently cast off their spiny shells and lay scattered on the grass... the sunset shown on the happy bride and groom... and then they drove away from the crowd that was left to sigh at the short time that they got to enjoy their company, pat their full belly's, and look at all the pictures that they took so that they could remember what a beautiful wedding it was..

That night we went back to the hotel and enjoyed the Jacuzzi (I was the bubble shark that got Lily's toes)... then on Monday we drove to Mt Rainier (Youssef hadn't been there before and it was a GORGEOUS day to be there!) Lily fell asleep and we took the drive down the mountain (stopping a few times for pictures).. and just got to Yakima when she was really ready to be out of the car. We wandered for a while till she'd be ready to come home and ... finally... drove home (we got back at 12:30) It was great... but it's nice to be home again. :)