Time Heals All Wounds.. And Then Kills the Patient
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Thu Nov 6 13:27:22 2003
Unique studies

First, an observation... on a rather unique topic. Most restrooms have three urinals. I'm not sure why, it just seems to be a common size -- easily reached, not often surpassed, regardless of traffic of the establishment. When all are free, most males, I've found, including myself, have a natural tendency towards the middle one. I wonder if this is some kind of territory-claiming instinct.. However, in sufficiently trafficed restrooms, there is often one person on the side, and typically males will then choose the most distant urinal from that one. This might again be the same territorial instinct.. It's an unspoken rule not to get too close to people in restrooms, to avoid unnecessary talking, and generally to avoid eye contact. All this behavior, hard to analyze from the inside, controlled by urges..

I almost fell asleep again in Psychology class.. It was actually really interesting stuff, and it was just that darned meal that did it to me. I wish they would interrupt class occasionally for people to get up and walk around -- I think that might help a lot.

We're still exploring computation in discovery. I still find myself having doubts -- I tend more towards scientific naturalism, the notion that methods and concepts in science are learned by their success in science, but his ideas do have fascinating ways to measure things that are just intuitive normally. However, we are focusing our exploration to areas that are naturally suited to the CS basis -- I'm not certain if it would be so interesting in the general case.

I've had a line of thought on justifying the justice system, or perhaps suggesting a justification. The problem is that as neither the prosecutors nor the defender has a particular motive for finding the truth, just a set of safeguards against certain abuses. We might look for an explanation in emergence. Specifically, Searle's Chinese Room problem in AI (or, rather, it's solution) is what we might adapt -- the solution to the problem is that the system itself understands chinese, and the same might apply here -- the defense is that the system as a whole is interested in justice, even if it's composed of elements with definite pulls in other directions. I'm not sure if this can offer more than an 'escape hatch' though. It's worth chewing on.

Speaking of which, why is it that this line of thought, which so far offers mainly a 'draw', at least as visible so far, so unconvincing to the masses? That is, why does Searle win the popular vote even if he has the intellectuals spitting on him? I think it has something to do with two things.. firstly, people have vanity, and hate to see intelligence defined because once it is, it's no longer manipulable by their desires, and feels less magical. Secondly, it pushes the normal definition of intelligence, or at least the applicable things for it, and much of that retooling is something people are naturally not comfortable with.