Love is a complex and multifaceted emotion that is often defined differently depending on cultural, social, and individual perspectives. At its core, love typically involves strong feelings of affection, caring, and attachment towards another person, often accompanied by a desire for intimacy, closeness, and mutual support.

Love can take many different forms, including romantic love, familial love, platonic love, and self-love. It can also involve a range of different experiences, such as joy, happiness, excitement, passion, and sometimes even pain and heartbreak.

Ultimately, love is a powerful and transformative force that can have a profound impact on our lives, shaping our relationships, beliefs, and sense of self.

~ ChatGPT

First Oh Dear Reader, i trust you are safe. Second, we are taking a slight detour into squishy, non-exact, messy, and truly complicated land: Emotions. This comes on the heels of Snake_Byte[14] Coding In Philosophical Frameworks. Also if you haven’t seen the news, the Cognitive Computing Arms Race with Large Language Models is in full swing. Boy Howdy Do We Love Us Some Anthropomorphism! ( i personally think its funny the parlor trick of auto-typing makes ChatGPT and all the other ones appear human to most. )

Turns out there is a class at Stanford on Computational Philosophy which is in the same realm as what i would love to discuss however slightly obtuse. It is a good read.

If we can compute Philosophical frameworks, could we or do we need to compute emotions in the future?

It was not random i started with the terseness of Stoicism. As this philosophy trends towards being objective in your emotions, akin to a more recent philosophy, “Objectivism.” We can quantify the aspects thereof. Or at least we think we can quantify them to some extent.

We know from a physiological standpoint that bodily metrics and chemicals can be measured for systematic responses to emotions. Dopamine, Vasopressin, Oxytocin, Serotonin, heart rate, sweat level, skin clamminess, and eye dilation are just a few measurable considerations.

However what does it mean?

Let’s take some bookend emotions: Love, Hate, Fear.

Some consider Fear to be the only true emotion. Flight or Fight. i’m also positive we can duplicate this in a machine or at least make it plausible to appear the machine is scared. (Also, it will make humans “feel” better one day but that is for a different discussion and different blog.)

Being that Spring Is In The Air let us choose LOVE.

There are so many types and kinds of Love.

• Love of a Mother to a child
• The Love you have for your pets
• The Love of eating a doughnut.

i’m not referring to these types i am referencing:

• You are the Love of My Life Companionship – Love

Books, signs, poetry, and yes, humans’ most deplorable creation War has been created over Love of Another. It is genuinely innate in the Human_Condition.

People acting a fool, if you will. You have seen it many times, and maybe (hopefully) you have done it.

As the famous song says, “What does love have to do with IT? What is love but some secondhand emotion?”. Great questioning Tina. We love you.

Have you ever been in The Love? How do you know that person Loves YOU?

i asked one of my progeny that question:

Me: “Do i Love you?”

Them: “Yes.”

Me” “How do you know?”

Them: “Dad i just know.”

This is not to be confused with infatuation, which is in and of itself an extremely intense feeling usually associated with a physically idealized version of the receiving person. Infatuation is initially overwhelming but then quickly fades. Love, on the other hand, appears to be a much deeper, almost seemingly “infinite forever-giving” emotion.

i was wondering how many times “Love” has been mentioned over the years. Below is a plot thereof:

i thought the drop in the 1980’s was interesting. If anyone was around in the United States in the 80’s that was the period of certain illegal chemicals, neon, 80’s metal and madonna. The Me Generation.

So what has happened in this area with using technology of Love? Well we scan our noggin:

When I take you in my arms gathered forever. Sometimes it feels like a dream. Sometimes it feels like a dream; to be with you.

~ Feels Like A Dream Lyrics

Research has shown that certain brain regions are activated when a person is in love or experiencing strong feelings of affection, including the insula, anterior cingulate cortex, and striatum. These regions are associated with reward, motivation, and emotional processing. Brain scans have also revealed that the levels of certain neurotransmitters, like dopamine and oxytocin, can change in response to being in love. So while there is no one-size-fits-all image of someone in love, there are certain brain patterns and chemical changes that can be detected in those experiencing the emotion.

Furthermore on the chemical brain related activity research has shown that during the early stages of romantic love, there is a decrease and increase in serotonin levels in the brain[1]. Serotonin can have direct affects on anxiety, insomnia and depression. For men there is a decrease and for women and increase in serotonin. Strangely this is similar to what is observed in individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder, suggesting that the intense focus and preoccupation with the loved one may be related to changes in serotonin levels. Additionally, it has been found that long-term couples who remain in love have higher levels of serotonin than those who have fallen out of love. This suggests that serotonin may play a role in maintaining long-term relationships.

Our study provides the first evidence of love-related alterations in the underlying architecture of the brain, and the results shed new light on the mechanisms of romantic love.

~ Professor Xiaochu Zhang

So if there are (and there are injectable adjuncts to all of these chemicals) that can be augmented and tailored with specific dosages, this led me to ask the questions:

• can we compute a model of Love?
• can we fool the brain into thinking it is in Love?
• do we want to augment the brain so we feel like we are in Love?
• Do we want to make Love a thing of the past with future tech?
• The list could go on…..

Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight / For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.

~ That Romeo Guy

When people meet, go on a date, shack up, get hitched or get married, i have heard it said:

• “You will grow to love them.”
• “Well, the person doesn’t really have the attributes i am looking for in a mate, but i can adapt.”
• “They share the same interest as you!”
• “They can cook or fix stuff for you!”

Why would we want to change or have that person change? Are social norms so strong that there are unwritten rules that we as a so-called society must follow, With a hard rule of it must be two consenting adults in a relationship, what is it of anyone’s business? Do most want to do what they feel they should do? Do we want a best friend to watch the big game with or play golf? Why not a companion that you can dance with now and when your old and just look at each other? To idealized? Oh life gets in the way. i see it is hard and you have stuff to do – yep i get it. Then is Love that important? If not then what is?

Love in a relationship is it needed?

How do you know when you’re really in Love? Do violins play when you’re touching the one your Lovin?

~ The Tubes

Most often, love is due to their connection with their partner. This connection can be emotional, physical, spiritual, or intellectual (or hopefully all of them). People may also fall in love or grow into love because they appreciate their partner’s qualities or values, such as kindness, honesty, or intelligence. Sometimes, people are drawn to others who are different from themselves because they find them intriguing or exciting.

This room is bare
This night is cold
We’re far apart, and I’m growing old
But while we live
We’ll meet again
So then, my love
We may whisper once more
It’s you I adore

~ Palabras de Amor from Queen

Other factors that contribute to love include shared experiences, common interests, and mutual respect. When people feel like they’re a team with their partner and can rely on them, it can deepen their love. Additionally, physical attraction and chemistry can significantly influence romantic love.

However, what if it is all of these with the same partner? Isn’t that what you truly desire? ALL THE THINGS! To truly know that there is one – what would you do to have that person show up on your porch?

This is what i believe we need to understand as we trend toward a world of distributed disconnected artificial intelligence.

In one kiss, you’ll know all I haven’t said.

~ Pablo Neruda[3]

Even post the pandemic, we see people hug and kiss less. There is less physicality which as we all know for most, a hug feels good for both and releases several proof-positive chemicals. i would tend to think at some point you want to rub against your significant other instead of smooching in cyberspace or sleeping in separate beds.

Is Love now an algorithm? i know in the age of match.com and tinder this appears to be monday morning quarterbacking but at least i believe there is something more to it than a list of attributes. In fact one of the startups i worked at started with the premise, “What are the three main questions you ask someone on a blind date?” Here they are:

• What is your favorite travel spot?
• What is your favorite wine (assuming one drinks)
• What type of music do you like?

From a cognitive standpoint the most difficult one was music recommendations. This by the way Oh Dear Reader was circa 2001 before Pandora, Shazam or any other music recommendation system. We based it on a cognitive model of music perception and cognitive psychology of inter-relations[2].

If we already know the future and can match it aren’t we living in a world of no surprises? What happens to that special glance? That special smile or touch or a good morning hug? That true everlasting one that loves you for you and only you not because your father mother or your in-laws approved. (If course it has been said you marry the family not the person. )

i am sure by now you have heard of the term Twin Flame. This is different than a soul mate. A Twin Flame is a mirror of oneself, a yin-yang type entity. The biggest distinction between a twin flame and any other type of soul mate is that twin flames are two halves of the same whole. A soul mate, on the other hand, can be thought of as someone cut from the same cloth as you. There’s a deep familiarity, and you feel very close, but you aren’t the same soul.

i wonder if we can compute and create a Twin Flame Agent of oneself?

i’m not sure i want to work on those future algorithms folks. Some things i want to be a mystery[4].

i’d love to hear some stories, comments, and possibly even rants as this is some very esoteric area we have paddled into so to speak. i’d love to know if you have the love of your life, twin flame or a tinder swipe of the night, i hope you just know.

Until Then,

#iwshyouwater <- alexy molchanov sets a new world record in Bonaire. i was just in the same spot freediving.

Muzak To Blog By: All The Love Songs by Queen. i miss you Freddy and recently brian may was knighted.

References:

[2] For the record, i tried the system, and no one liked strict cathedral organ works.

[3] Pablo Neruda is the most prolific poet when it comes to love and beaches i have ever read. there is a connection there.

[4] In blade runner, harrison ford knows full well racheal is a replicant yet he Loves her. Question is – Is He? That would be a twin flame. robot love.

Your vision will only become clear when you can look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people. We cannot change anything until we accept it.

~ C. Jung

(Caveat Emptor: This blog is rather long in the snakes tooth and actually more like a CHOMP instead of a BYTE. tl;dr)

First, Oh Dear Reader i trust everyone is safe, Second sure feels like we are living in an age of Deus Ex Machina, doesn’t it? Third with this in mind i wanted to write a Snake_Byte that have been “thoughting” about for quite some but never really knew how to approach it if truth be told. I cant take full credit for this ideation nor do i actually want to claim any ideation. Jay Sales and i were talking a long time after i believe i gave a presentation on creating Belief Systems using BeliefNetworks or some such nonsense.

The net of the discussion was we both believed that in the future we will code in philosophical frameworks.

Maybe we are here?

So how would one go about coding an agent-based distributed system that allowed one to create an agent or a piece of evolutionary code to exhibit said behaviors of a philosophical framework?

Well we must first attempt to define a philosophy and ensconce it into a quantized explanation.

Stoicism seemed to me at least the best first mover here as it appeared to be the tersest by definition.

So first those not familiar with said philosophy, Marcus Aurelius was probably the most famous practitioner of Stoicism. i have put some references that i have read at the end of this blog1.

Stoicism is a philosophical school that emphasizes rationality, self-control, and inner peace in the face of adversity. In thinking about this i figure To build an agent-based software system that embodies Stoicism, we would need to consider several key aspects of this philosophy.

• Stoics believe in living in accordance with nature and the natural order of things. This could be represented in an agent-based system through a set of rules or constraints that guide the behavior of the agents, encouraging them to act in a way that is in harmony with their environment and circumstances.
• Stoics believe in the importance of self-control and emotional regulation. This could be represented in an agent-based system through the use of decision-making algorithms that take into account the agent’s emotional state and prioritize rational, level-headed responses to stimuli.
• Stoics believe in the concept of the “inner citadel,” or the idea that the mind is the only thing we truly have control over. This could be represented in an agent-based system through a focus on internal states and self-reflection, encouraging agents to take responsibility for their own thoughts and feelings and strive to cultivate a sense of inner calm and balance.
• Stoics believe in the importance of living a virtuous life and acting with moral purpose. This could be represented in an agent-based system through the use of reward structures and incentives that encourage agents to act in accordance with Stoic values such as courage, wisdom, and justice.

So given a definition of Stoicism we then need to create a quantized model or discrete model of those behaviors that encompass a “Stoic Individual”. i figured we could use the evolutionary library called DEAP (Distributed Evolutionary Algorithms in Python ).  DEAP contains both genetic algorithms and genetic programs utilities as well as evolutionary strategy methods for this type of programming.

Genetic algorithms and genetic programming are both techniques used in artificial intelligence and optimization, but they have some key differences.

This is important as people confuse the two.

Genetic algorithms are a type of optimization algorithm that use principles of natural selection to find the best solution to a problem. In a genetic algorithm, a population of potential solutions is generated and then evaluated based on their fitness. The fittest solutions are then selected for reproduction, and their genetic information is combined to create new offspring solutions. This process of selection and reproduction continues until a satisfactory solution is found.

On the other hand, genetic programming is a form of machine learning that involves the use of genetic algorithms to automatically create computer programs. Instead of searching for a single solution to a problem, genetic programming evolves a population of computer programs, which are represented as strings of code. The programs are evaluated based on their ability to solve a specific task, and the most successful programs are selected for reproduction, combining their genetic material to create new programs. This process continues until a program is evolved that solves the problem to a satisfactory level.

So the key difference between genetic algorithms and genetic programming is that genetic algorithms search for a solution to a specific problem, while genetic programming searches for a computer program that can solve the problem. Genetic programming is therefore a more general approach, as it can be used to solve a wide range of problems, but it can also be more computationally intensive due to the complexity of evolving computer programs2.

So returning back to the main() function as it were, we need create a genetic program that models Stoic behavior using the DEAP library,

First need to define the problem and the relevant fitness function. This is where the quantized part comes into play. Since Stoic behavior involves a combination of rationality, self-control, and moral purpose, we could define a fitness function that measures an individual’s ability to balance these traits and act in accordance with Stoic values.

So lets get to the code.

To create a genetic program that models Stoic behavior using the DEAP library in a Jupyter Notebook, we first need to install the DEAP library. We can do this by running the following command in a code cell:

pip install deap

Next, we can import the necessary modules and functions:

import random
import operator
import numpy as np
from deap import algorithms, base, creator, tools

We can then define the problem and the relevant fitness function. Since Stoic behavior involves a combination of rationality, self-control, and moral purpose, we could define a fitness function that measures an individual’s ability to balance these traits and act in accordance with Stoic values.

Here’s an example of how we might define a “fitness function” for this problem:

# Define the fitness function.  NOTE: # i am open to other ways of defining this and other models
# the definition of what is a behavior needs to be quantized or discretized and
# trying to do that yields a lossy functions most times.  Its also self referential

def fitness_function(individual):
# Calculate the fitness based on how closely the individual's behavior matches stoic principles
fitness = 0
# Add points for self-control, rationality, focus, resilience, and adaptability can haz Stoic?
fitness += individual[0]  # self-control
fitness += individual[1]  # rationality
fitness += individual[2]  # focus
fitness += individual[3]  # resilience
fitness += individual[4]  # adaptability
return fitness,

# Define the genetic programming problem
creator.create("FitnessMax", base.Fitness, weights=(1.0,))
creator.create("Individual", list, fitness=creator.FitnessMax)

# Initialize the genetic algorithm toolbox
toolbox = base.Toolbox()

# Define the genetic operators
toolbox.register("attribute", random.uniform, 0, 1)
toolbox.register("individual", tools.initRepeat, creator.Individual, toolbox.attribute, n=5)
toolbox.register("population", tools.initRepeat, list, toolbox.individual)
toolbox.register("evaluate", fitness_function)
toolbox.register("mate", tools.cxTwoPoint)
toolbox.register("mutate", tools.mutGaussian, mu=0, sigma=0.1, indpb=0.1)
toolbox.register("select", tools.selTournament, tournsize=3)

# Run the genetic algorithm
population = toolbox.population(n=10)
for generation in range(20):
offspring = algorithms.varAnd(population, toolbox, cxpb=0.5, mutpb=0.1)
fits = toolbox.map(toolbox.evaluate, offspring)
for fit, ind in zip(fits, offspring):
ind.fitness.values = fit
population = toolbox.select(offspring, k=len(population))

# Print the best individual found
best_individual = tools.selBest(population, k=1)[0]

print ("Best Individual:", best_individual)


Here, we define the genetic programming parameters (i.e., the traits that we’re optimizing for) using the toolbox.register function. We also define the evaluation function (stoic_fitness), genetic operators (mate and mutate), and selection operator (select) using DEAP’s built-in functions.

We then define the fitness function that the genetic algorithm will optimize. This function takes an “individual” (represented as a list of five attributes) as input, and calculates the fitness based on how closely the individual’s behavior matches stoic principles.

We then define the genetic programming problem via the quantized attributes, and initialize the genetic algorithm toolbox with the necessary genetic operators.

Finally, we run the genetic algorithm for 20 generations, and print the best individual found. The selBest function is used to select the top individual fitness agent or a “behavior” if you will for that generation based on the iterations or epochs. This individual represents an agent that mimics the philosophy of stoicism in software, with behavior that is self-controlled, rational, focused, resilient, and adaptable.

Best Individual: [0.8150247518866958, 0.9678037028949047, 0.8844195735244268, 0.3970642186025506, 1.2091810770505023]

This denotes the best individual with those best balanced attributes or in this case the Most Stoic,

As i noted this is a first attempt at this problem i think there is a better way with a full GP solution as well as a tunable fitness function. In a larger distributed system you would then use this agent as a framework amongst other agents you would define.

i at least got this out of my head.

until then,

#iwishyouwater <- Alexey Molchanov and Dan Bilzerian at Deep Dive Dubai

Muzak To Blog By: Phil Lynott “The Philip Lynott Album”, if you dont know who this is there is a statue in Ireland of him that i walked a long way with my co-founder, Lisa Maki a long time ago to pay homage to the great Irish singer of the amazing band Thin Lizzy. Alas they took Phil to be cleaned that day. At least we got to walk and talk and i’ll never forget that day. This is one of his solo efforts and i believe he is one of the best artists of all time. The first track is deeply emotional.

References:

[1] A list of books on Stoicism -> click HERE.

[2] Genetic Programming (On the Programming of Computers by Means of Natural Selection), By Professor John R. Koza. There are multiple volumes i think four and i have all of this but this is a great place to start and the DEAP documentation. Just optimizing a transcendental functions is mind blowing what GP comes out with using arithmetic

Even if we crash and burn and loose everthing the experience is worth ten times the cost.

~ S. Jobs

As always, Oh Dear Readers, i trust this finds you safe. Second, to those affected by the SVB situation – Godspeed.

Third, i was inspired to write a blog on “Doing versus Thinking,” and then i decided on the title “Execution Is Everything”. This statement happens to be located at the top of my LinkedIn Profile.

The impetus for this blog came from a recent conversation where an executive who told me, “I made the fundamental mistake of falling in love with the idea and quickly realized that ideas are cheap, it is the team that matters.”

i’ve written about the very issue on several occasions. In Three T’s of a Startup to Elite Computing, i have explicitly stated ideas are cheap, a dime a dozen. Tim Ferris, in the amazing book “Tools Of Titans,” interviews James Altuchur, and he does this exercise every day:

This is taken directly from the book in his words, but condensed for space, here are some examples of the types of lists James makes:

• 10 olds ideas I can make new
• 10 ridiculous things I would invent (e.g., the smart toilet)
• 10 books I can write (The Choose Yourself Guide to an Alternative Education, etc).
• 10 people I can send ideas to
• 10 podcast ideas or videos I can shoot (e.g., Lunch with James, a video podcast where I just have lunch with people over Skype and we chat)
• 10 industries where I can remove the middleman
• 10 things I disagree with that everyone else assumes is religion (college, home ownership, voting, doctors, etc.)
• 10 ways to take old posts of mine and make books out of them
• 10 people I want to be friends with (then figure out the first step to contact them)
• 10 things I learned yesterday
• 10 things I can do differently today
• 10 ways I can save time
• 10 things I learned from X, where X is someone I’ve recently spoken with or read a book by or about. I’ve written posts on this about the Beatles, Mick Jagger, Steve Jobs, Charles Bukowski, the Dalaï Lama, Superman, Freakonomics, etc.
• 10 things I’m interested in getting better at (and then 10 ways I can get better at each one)
• 10 things I was interested in as a kid that might be fun to explore now (like, maybe I can write that “Son of Dr. Strange” comic I’ve always been planning. And now I need 10 plot ideas.)
• 10 ways I might try to solve a problem I have. This has saved me with the IRS countless times. Unfortunately, the Department is Motor Vehicles is impervious to my superpowers

Is your brain tired of just “thinking” about doing those gymnastics?

i cannot tell you how many people have come to me and said “hey I have an idea!” Great, so do you and countless others. What is your plan of making it a reality? What is your maniacal passion every day to get this thing off the ground and make money?

The statement “Oh I/We thought about that 3 years ago” is not a qualifier for anything except that fact you thought it and didn’t execute on said idea.  You know why?

Creating software from an idea that runs 24/7 is still rather difficult. In fact VERY DIFFICULT.

“Oh We THOUGHT about that <insert number of days or years ago here>. i call the above commentary “THOUGHTING”. Somehow the THOUGHT is manifested from Ideas2Bank? If that is a process, i’d love to see the burndown chart on that one. No Oh Dear Readers, THOUGHTING is about as useful as that overly complex PowerPoint that gets edited ad nauseam, and people confuse the “slideware” with “software”. The only code that matters is this:

Code that is written with the smallest OPEX and Highest Margins thereby increasing Revenue Per Employee unless you choose to put it in open source for a wonderful plethora of reasons or you are providing a philanthropic service.

When it comes to creating software, “Execution is everything.” gets tossed around just like the phrase “It Just Works” as a requirement. At its core, this phrase means that the ability to bring an idea to life through effective implementation is what separates successful software from failed experiments.

The dynamic range between average and the best is 2:1. In software it is 50:1 maybe 100:1 very few things in life are like this. I’ve built a lot of my sucess on finding these truly gifted people.

~ S. Jobs

In order to understand why execution is so critical in software development, it’s helpful first to consider what we mean by “execution.” Simply put, execution refers to the process of taking an idea or concept and turning it into a functional, usable product. This involves everything from coding to testing, debugging to deployment, and ongoing maintenance and improvement.

When we say that execution is everything in software development, what we’re really saying is that the idea behind a piece of software is only as good as the ability of its creators to make it work in the real world. No matter how innovative or promising an idea may seem on paper, it’s ultimately worthless if it can’t be brought to life in a way that users find valuable and useful.

You can fail at something you dislike just as easily as something you like so why not choose what you like?

~ J. Carey

This is where execution comes in. In order to turn an idea into a successful software product, developers need to be able to navigate a complex web of technical challenges, creative problem-solving, and user feedback. They need to be able to write code that is clean, efficient, and scalable. They need to be able to test that code thoroughly, both before and after deployment. And they need to be able to iterate quickly and respond to user feedback in order to improve and refine the product continually.

The important thing is to dare to dream big, then take action to make it come true.

~ J. Girard

All of these factors require a high degree of skill, discipline, and attention to detail. They also require the ability to work well under pressure, collaborate effectively with other team members, and stay focused on the ultimate goal of creating a successful product.

The importance of execution is perhaps most evident when we consider the many examples of software projects that failed despite having what seemed like strong ideas behind them. From buggy, unreliable apps to complex software systems that never quite delivered on their promises, there are countless examples of software that fell short due to poor execution.

On the other hand, some of the most successful software products in history owe much of their success to strong execution. Whether we’re talking about the user-friendly interface of the iPhone or the robust functionality of Paypal’s Protocols, these products succeeded not just because of their innovative ideas but because of the skill and dedication of the teams behind them.

The only sin is mediocrity[1].

~ M. Graham

In the end, the lesson is clear: when it comes to software development, execution really is everything. No matter how brilliant your idea may be, it’s the ability to turn that idea into a functional, usable product that ultimately determines whether your software will succeed or fail. By focusing on the fundamentals of coding, testing, and iterating, developers can ensure that their software is executed to the highest possible standard, giving it the best chance of success in an ever-changing digital landscape.

So go take that idea and turn it into a Remarkable Viable Product, not a Minimum Viable Product! Who likes Minimum? (thanks R.D.)

Be Passionate! Go DO! Go Create!

Go Live Your Personal Legend!

A great video stitching of discussions from Steve Jobs on execution, and passion – click here-> The Major Thinkers Steve Jobs

Until then,

#iwishyouwater <- yours truly hitting around 31 meters (~100ft) on #onebreath

@tctjr

Muzak To Blog By: Todd Hannigan “Caldwell County.”

[1] The only sin is mediocrity is not true if there were a real Sin it should be Stupidity but the quote fits well in the narrative.

Your Brain 3D Printed [1]

The effects of technology do not occur at the level of opinions or concepts. Rather they alter patterns of perception steadily and without any resistance.

~ Marshall McLuhan

First i hope everyone is safe. Second, this blog is more meta-physical in nature. The above picture is a present i received from a dear friend who 3D printed it for me. A transhumanist pictorial if you will for accelerating our wetware. This brings us to the current matter at hand.

i was traveling recently and i couldn’t help but notice how many humans are just sitting, walking, running and even biking looking at their mobile devices. Families no longer talk to each other, couples no longer kiss. Kids no longer day dream. All no longer LOOK UP, DOWN and ALL AROUND.

i must confess at this juncture that, as a technologist, i am conflicted. As they say we make the guns, but we don’t pull the trigger. As a technologist, i truly love using and creating with mathematics, hardware, and software. it is an honor as far as i am concerned, and i treat it as such, yet when i have time to sit and ponder i think of the time i held the first telegraph in my hands. Yes, the FIRST telegraph that read:

What hath God wrought!

Invented and sent by Samuel Finley Breese Morse 24 May 1844. I held it. Of course it was behind plexiglass, and this is a link to said telegraph.

Why is this important? It converted numbers (morse code in this case) into a readable document, content if you will. Even if you do not believe in higher-order deities or some theistic aspects what was transmitted and received via the message of the telegraph herewith was multi-modal and carried some weight to the message.

There seems to be a trend toward a kind of primitive outlook on life a more tribal attitude and i think its a natural reaction to industrialization. Unfortunately i think it is a bit naive because the future is going to become more mechanized, computerized as you call it and i dont think there is any turning back.

~ Jim Morrison

Intelligence it seems, is now but a search engine away or if you will a “tic-tok” away. It also seems due to this immediate gratification of content and information that, we no longer talk to anyone. “The Pandemic” seems to have modified several aspects of our existence. The results of this i believe will take decades of evolution before this change is truly understood from a systems theory and first principles engineering view.

We have been sequestered into a living environment tethered to the LazyWeb(TM). Per my commentary about seeing families with their heads buried in their phones during all modes of so-called social engagement, this is creating considerable fractures in how we deal with friends, families, and most importantly ourselves.

Now in recent times, Humans are going into the office or “back to the hybrid workplace” and taking a zoom call in the adjacent meeting room to where the REAL PHYSICAL meeting is occurring. So the more i pondered, the more i thought i would post a bunch of pictures and talk about cyberspace vs real space.

i have read all the books: “Neuromancer, Cyberspace, SnowCrash,Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (DADOES), Super Intelligence, 1984, Brave New World, Realware etc”, i first worked on full Virtual Reality applications in 1993. Yes there were computers back then, big red ones called Silicon Graphics Crimson machines. These augmented with fixed point digital signal processing equipment created the first six degrees of freedom ( 6DOFS) head tracked stereoscopic renderings complete with spatial audio. So it is nothing new just executed in a different fashon.

i recently went to the NASA Astronaut Training Experience at the Kennedy Space Center with my eldest daughter and we took a walk on Mars and did some trivial tasks. It was tethered environment with mono-based audio however it was impressive from a simulation standpoint. When the alert system informed me that a sandstorm was coming, i was non-plussed. Having worked on top-secret systems, i understand the need for simulations entirely. Simulate all the emergencies over and over again that you can think of when going into an environment of conflict.

On a regular basis “Humans being” and living do not constitute simulation unless you buy into Bostrom’s theory that we are living in a simulation, then what of it? Please make the most of IT. Talk to that person across from you. What color do they love? What is their favorite food? Do they like puppies? If they are close friends and family, above all – show them how you feel. Hug them.

I believe that computers have taken over the world. I believe that they
have in many ways ruined our children. I believe that kids used to love
to go out and play. I believe that social graces are gone because
manners are gone because all people do is sit around and text. I think
it’s obnoxious.

~ Stevie Nicks

If you are not the talkative type go outside build a fire, Walk through the city. Go sit under a tree. If you live in a place where you can see the sky go outside and just stare at the sky and let your eyes adjust. The stars will come out and think about the fact you are made of the same substances.

Reflect on and into yourself. Shut down all the noise and chatter. Listen. What do YOU hear?

I can’t fax you my love.
I can’t e-mail you my heart.
I can’t see your face in cyberspace,
I don’t know where to start.

~ Jimmy Buffet

When you get up in the morning, don’t start the Doom Scroll. Contemplate. Get a notebook and write some thoughts. The visceral act of writing activates differing neural patterns that allow us to remember and learn. Think about what you would like to accomplish. Hopefully, you made your bed. That is at least one thing you can check off that you did accomplish, and your parents would be proud.

i wrote a blog a while ago called Its An Honor To Say Goodbye. Many seemed to enjoy it for several different reasons. As you look up from your phone and are around, folks play a game. What if that person just disappeared as though they were shot by a BFG (Big F-in Gun) in one of the first-person shooting games and could not re-frag? Just gone from the simulation? Poof!

How would you feel?

i’ll have to say if this is a simulation, it is pretty good and has to be some quantum information theoretic manifestation[2]. Yet! Feeling that embrace from a friend or loved one, feeling the spray from a wave, smelling and touching a rose, A dog licking you in the face, tasting that steak, the carnality and sensuality of it all transcend, at least for me, the “meta” aspects of the online experience.

Go Outside! The Graphics are Great!

~ Sensai Todd

So folks, when in doubt, put that device down for a bit. Go for a walk. Say hello to that person across the room and ask how the day is going, and mean it and listen. Go outside and sit against a tree at night, or take a walk near the ocean or body of water (my favorite). Draw. Shut your eyes and deeply listen to music. Dance. Make stupid sounds. Try something you have never done before. Do something besides being fed programmed content.

Look UP DOWN and ALL AROUND.

So question for all of you:

Q: Would you prefer a telegraph, facsimile or simulation of this life?

Until Then,

tctjr

#iwishyouwater <- Nathan Florence on a hellish scottish slab paddle out. He aint worried about who clicked like….

Muzak To Blog By Forestt “Into The Woods”. i would classify this as Martial Folk if i may use genre classification liberally.

[1] Someone i really respect technically and now consider a dear friend printed this out for me. He also prints body parts. Heavy stuff. He is a practicing ER doctor and also codes.

[2] On the above commentary concerning simulations, i do believe in the Minowski multi-verse theory and view of The Universe. Its all happening NOW with multiple probabilities, our noggin cant sample fast enough to reconstruct all of the information simultaneously. Also, remember, girls and boys, YOU are the universe.

[3] i took all of the pictures included herewith except the last one.

references:

[1] this is a great interview with The Lizard King (aka Jim Morrison when he was 26 in 1970. Listen. This isn’t hippie stuff. Click HERE.

No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.

C.S. Lewis

First, i hope everyone is safe, especially on this day when belief systems ran completely amok. Second, this day also holds a place for me that i will not go into but if you are a good internet sleuth you can figure it out.

Today i did something i have never done nor did i think i could do because of several factors. However into the breach once more and low and behold i pulled it off. The man with me is an expert at this activity and gave me some pointers as to how to perform the said activity. As i was saying goodbye to the man who is one of the closest people in my life we volitionally hugged each other and shook hands a certain way.

On this day i reflected on an Uber ride that i had years ago where a man picked me up. We started talking as it was a pretty good drive from SFO to the Marines’ Memorial Club & Hotel where i was speaking.

There are places I’ll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain

All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all

The driver as it turns out was a former senior salesperson at salesforce. As i always say you never know what someone has been through so don’t judge them by how they make a living. We discussed most of the “-isms” and then he said, “Mr Ted i found comfort in the christian bible. Have you read it?” i said i have read it three times and i prefer the old testament. i asked him why? he said it helped him through the hard times of his life. He was talking about his family in past tense and i was very sensitive to prying to much into his business. i asked him what type of hardships. He said his family lived during the years of Pol Pot and the Cambodian genocide and his family were all murdered. i really didnt know what to say except “My Condolences”. He said, “Thank you Mr Ted. i have found peace and remember it is an honor to say goodbye to someone and to always make it count as you never know when you will see them again. As a matter of fact i do not tell people Goodbye i say i love you or be safe.”

We arrived at the Marine Hotel. We got out of the car and he said , “Mr Ted it has been an honor speaking with you i hope you enjoy your life. Be Safe Mr Ted.”

That left an indelible imprint on my mind.

Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more

On 9.11 – Today many lost loved ones. Grief, as Mr Lewis states, is very much like fear except you cannot Un-Grieve. You can be unafraid. Grief, as it turns out, is never-ending. There is no invertible transformation that makes you not grieve.

We have been so programmed to buck it up – suck it up, buttercup that everything tries to gloss over the loss. Whether a human or a family pet, it is ok to grieve. There are people and animals in my life that i will never recover from losing and for the longest time i beat myself up for not bucking up buttercup.

Further contemplating this i believe Grief is fractal. Zoom in on a fractal it evolves and changes yet holds the same shape ad infinitum1.

Grief as it turns out appears at least to me to be closely aligned. The more you peel it back the more complex it gets.

Does time heal Grief? Not really. It is the memory that fades. Ergo other memories fade as a function of our leaky memory system.

We deal with healing in different ways. The Uber driver found solace in a religious text, others workout, some self-medicate, others try to replace the human or animal.

We want it to go away.

i say we should acknowledge the pain of grief and realize it and let it happen then further acknowledge that the next person or animal who is essential to you, use the opportunity and find strength in telling them “Be Safe, See ya Real Soon, or i love you more.” However above all, if you cherish that friend or loved one, it is an honor to tell them upon them walking out the door. Let them know it.

Until Then,

#iwishyouwater. <- Laird Hamilton on a Paddle board

@tctjr

Muzak To Blog By: A band called Papir.

[1] The Mandelbrot set is the set of complex numbers c for which the function

does not diverge to infinity when iterated from

The thing that you are most comfortable with that you do the best.

Steve Vai

First as always i hope everyone is safe. Second this blog is out of band so to speak. This question was posited to me during a technical discussion with some great folks whom i had just met and we were discussing re-tooling and scaling enterprise systems.

Completely almost non-sequitur this executive asked:

Q: What do you think you are good at?

There isnt too many times when i am personally caught off gaurd but i stopped and replied “Well that is a great question. So good in fact i am going to write a blog if you dont mind. “

Which then got me to thinking:

Q: If you really truly love what you are doing is it really work?

Not at all.

This goes along with several of the blogs i have done in the past concerning – What Is IT You Truly Want?

So without any hubris or narcissism as far as i know or have been told what i am good at is the following:

Evidently, i have an uncanny ability to see what needs to be built with the right team and at a pretty good time or within a certain timeframe.

The other thing i am supposedly good at is getting people aligned and excited around a common vision to execute said code base or system(s).

i also take the title CTO very seriously. i do pride myself on keeping up with technology. i attempt to find out what works and what does not work. Mathematics and Software completely and unequivocally enthrall me. i am always either reading a book, paper or blog on a technical subject. i don’t really keep up with the normal outside world. So i can’t really comment on sports, movies, or the daily news. Ergo i don’t go around chasing fads however many times you do have to create net new warez. i tend to go deep on technical subjects before i bring them into an organization.

Really after thinking about all of this is it useful? After thinking more about it i really cannot say at this time. Maybe it’s an occupational hazard nowadays. However, it is what i maybe think i am good at so to speak.

However, i can assure you that holding that mirror up to yourself and looking deep into it is an exercise we should all do on a daily basis. As the famous song lyric goes “Chickity-check yo’ self before you wreck yo’ self”.

So finding out what you are really good at and strengthening that creates a self-perpetuating system. It has been said You Are Your Best Charity. If you truly enjoy what you are doing then it really isn’t work is it? This allows you to concentrate on what you are good at and then in turn Amplifying_OthersTM.

Find Your Passion At All Costs.

Become the system You are creating.

Then IT will naturally happen.

I posted this video of Steve Vai a long time ago in another blog and in another life. i ran across it while taking a break at 2:30 AM EST working on a very serious bug with a company i co-founded. It paused me. i always come back to it. While this is supposedly a master class with Steve Vai he never talks about guitar technique but 1rather how to be successful (really at anything).

Possibly the only thing that i think is more amazing than creating software is music creation. Here is Mr. Steve Vai doing what he does best. Do yourself a favor, watch and listen. i’ll hopefully be seeing him soon in Charleston, SC.

Would love some comments and feedback on this blog. While it is short i have to tell you it was difficult to type those couple of sentences.

Until Then,

#iwishyouwater <- Will Trubridge 60M Freedive in 60 seconds

@tctjr

Muzak To Blog By: Steve Vai.

We are organized like a startup. We are the biggest startup on the planet.

S. Jobs

First, i hope everyone is safe. Second, this blog is about something everyone seems to be asking me about and talking about, but no one seems to be able to execute the concept much like interoperability in #HealthIT. Third, it is long-form content so in most cases tl;dr.

CULTURE.

Let us look to Miriam-Websters OnLine Dictionary for a definition – shall we?

cul·​ture <ˈkəl-chər>

1

a: the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group also the characteristic features of everyday existence (such as diversions or a way of life) shared by people in a place or time ; popular culture, Southern culture

b: the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization a corporate culture focused on the bottom line

c: the set of values, conventions, or social practices associated with a particular field, activity, or societal characteristic studying the effect of computers on print culture

d: the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations

2

a: enlightenment and excellence of taste acquired by intellectual and aesthetic training

b: acquaintance with and taste in fine arts, humanities, and broad aspects of science as distinguished from vocational and technical skills; a person of culture

3: the act or process of cultivating living material (such as bacteria or viruses) in prepared nutrient media also a product of such cultivation

5: the act of developing the intellectual and moral faculties especially by education

6: expert care and training; beauty culture

Wow, This sounds complicated. Which one to leave in and which one to leave out?

Add to this complexity the fact that creating and executing production software is almost an insurmountable task. i have said for years software creation is one of the most significant human endeavors of all time. i also believe related to these concerns the interplay between comfort and solutions. Most if not all humans desire solutions however as far as i can tell solutions are never comfortable. Solutions involve change most humans are homeostatic. Juxtapose this against the fact that humans love comfort. So what do you do?

So why does it seem like everyone is talking about kəl-chər? i consider this to be like Fight Club. 1st rule of kəl-chər is you don’t talk about culture. It should be an implicit aspect of your organization. Build or Re-Build it at a first principles engineering practice. Perform root cause analysis of the behaviors within the company. If it does in fact need to be re-built start with you and your leadership. Turn the mirror on you first. Understand that you must lead by example. Merit Not Inherit.

i’ve recently been asked how you change and align culture. Well here are my recommendations and it comes down to TRUST at ALL levels of the company.

Create an I3 Lab: Innovation, Incubation, Intrapreneurship:

Innovation without code is just ideas and everyone has them. Ideas are cheap. Incubation without product market fit is a dead code base. Intrapreneurship is the spirit of a system that encourages employees to think and act like individual entrepreneurs and empowers them to take action, embrace risk, and make decisions as if they had founded the company themselves. Innovate – create the idea – Incubate – create the Maximum Viable Product (not minimum) – Intrapreneurship – spin out the Maximum Viable Product. As an aside Minimum Viable Product sounds like you bailed out making the best you possibly could in the moment. Take that Maximum Viable product and roll it into a business vertical and go to market strategy – then spin the wheel again.

I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.

E. Musk

Value The Most Important Asset – Your People

Managing high-performance humans is a difficult task because most high-performance humans do not like to be managed they love to be led. Lead them by example. Value them and compensate them accordingly. Knowledge workers love achievement and goals. Lead them into the impossible, gravitate toward dizzying heights, and be there for them. Be completely transparent and communicate. Software is always broken. If anyone states differently they are not telling the truth. There is always refactoring, retargeting, more code coverage and nascent bugs. Let them realize you realize that however let them know that if they do make a mistake escalate immediately. Under no circumstances can you tolerate surprises. Give them the framework with OKRs and KPIs that let them communicate openly, efficiently and effectively and most important transparently. Great teams will turn pencils into Mount Blanc Fountain Pens. Let them do what they do best and reward them!

Process Doesn’t Make A Culture

Nor does it make great products. Many focus on some software process. Apple used and as far as i know still uses strict waterfall. As far as i am concerned, we are now trending towards a Holacracy type of environment which is a self-organizing environment. However, this only can be achieved with the proper folks that appreciate the friction of creating great products from the best ideas. The Process of evolving from an idea to a product is magic. You learn you evolve; you grow your passion for and into the product as it becomes itself the team that built the product. Your idea and passion are inherent in that shipping software (or hardware).

What do you want me to do

To do for you to see you through?

Provide your people the ability to manage themselves and have autonomy. Set them free. Trust them to make the decisions that will drive the company and projects into world-class endeavors. Take a chance with them, Let a new college graduate push some code to production. Let a new sales associate push a deal with a customer. Let your new marketing person design an area on the company site. Allow them to evolve grow and be a part of the Great Endeavor. Put them in charge and provide the framework for autonomy to make decisions and when they deliver – award them not with something ephemeral but volitional. Money and Stock work wonders. Empower. Align. Evolve.

Provide and Articulate a Common Vision

Provide a vision of the company or project. Two sentences that everyone understands. Most people who are empowered and given the frameworks to create within know what to do in these circumstances. Articulate the vision and gain common alignment across the organization or project. That is leadership that high performance teams desire. Take this alignment then map it into the OKRs and KPIs then in turn pick a process and let everyone know how this aligns to the vision. Create the environment that every line of code maps to that vision. Show commitment on this vision.

Give FeedBack

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Collaborate. Collaborate. Collaborate. Till you puke. i cannot emphasize this enough. You must be prepared everyday to manically interact with your teams and have the hard friction filled uncomfortable discussions. You want to keep the top performers let them know where they stand, how they stand and why they stand in the rankings and how they are contributing to the vision. Again attempt to create coder-metrics across your organization or project that exemplifies this performance. Interact with your most important asset your people. Over communicate. We have the ability to reach everyone at anytime, email, zoom, slack, granite tablet where once used to message. Write the message and give feedback. Better yet go take a walk with them. Have 1:1s. Listen to your people receptively and without bias and judgment about their concerns, passions, what scares them, what makes them happy, their joys, goals, and aspirations so they feel validated and understood. Solicit feedback, shut up and listen.

What all of this comes down to what i call – Amplifying_OthersTM. This is easier said than done. Personally, i believe that you need to commit even to the point of possibly finding them a better fit for a position at another company. This goes back to understanding what truly drives the only asset there is in technology the people. Always Be Listening, Always Be Networking, and Always Be Recruiting.

This brings up the next big question for your company – How do you attract the best right talent? Hmmmm… that might be another blog. Let me know your thought on these matters in the comments.

Until Then,

#IWishYouWater <- Psycho Session In Mentawis

@tctjr

Music To Blog By:

American Beauty by The Grateful Dead. Box of Rain and Ripple are amazing. Also if you haven’t heard Jane’s Addiction’s cover of Ripple check it out. i am not a Dead fan but the lyrics on some of these songs are monumental.

References (click for purchase link):

The Psychology of Computer Programming

Mythical Man Month

The Essence of Software: Why Concepts Matter for Great Design

Only he who undertakes dizzying ventures is authentically human. A single chain of peaks links Prometheus with Siegfried.

~ Jean Mabire

Hello all first as always i hope everyone is safe. Second, i have not been able to write as much as i would have liked, life happens. More on that in later blogs this year.

Now to the current installment. i do not write about specific work topics at all however i am making an exception here as it pertains to the title of the blog. W.R.T. (with respect to) the title this is not some FreeMason diatribe so you can take off the tinfoil hats and stick with me, please dear reader.

If you saw this news Fransisco Partners of San Francisco, California purchased IBM, Watson Health of which i am currently the Global CTO and Chief Architect. Personally, i am extremely excited about this situation as it appears others were as well considering the number of inbound texts, emails, calls that i received. i truly appreciated all of the correspondence. It is an amazing opportunity with an amazing firm that understands the health technology industry with many well-placed investments.

Why does this pertain to the blog subject line? Change causes randomization, randomization can cause chaos. All of it yields Uncertainty. It also is an indicator of Entropy. I wrote a blog some time ago on Randomness.

One of my favorite equations and possible my favorite equation is one Entropy:

This is the original one based on Bolztman’s derivation:

However, me being an information science type person i prefer the entropy of a channel made famous by one of my heroes Claude Shannon:

(Note: As 𝑁→∞ this gives an entropy which is solely related to the distribution shape and does not depend on 𝑁.)

Entropy (/ˈentrəpē/) is a measure of a thermodynamic quantity representing the unavailability of a system’s thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work, often interpreted as the degree of disorder or randomness in the system or lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder ergo our current subject of this blog.

Many people want to think or be told that it will be A-OK. Or OK. Being a word nerd I looked up the etymology of both A-OK and OK. Here is what i found:

The expression A-Okay:

Means everything is fine. A-Okay is a space-age expression. It was used in 1961 during the flight of astronaut Alan Shepard. He was the first American to be launched into space. His flight ended when his spacecraft landed in the ocean, as planned. Shepard reported: “Everything is A-Okay.”

However, some experts say the expression did not begin with the space age. One story says it was first used during the early days of the telephone to tell an operator that a message had been received.

Then there is OK (Okay):

The gesture was popularized in the United States in 1840 as a symbol to support then Presidential candidate Martin Van Buren. This was because Van Buren’s nickname, Old Kinderhook, derived from his hometown of Kinderhook, NY, had the initials O. K. i had no idea.

There are also fun ways to say okay. Some people say okey-dokey or okey-doke. Now with text, we have kk in some cases. i have even heard people say I’m doing “hunky dory”. This American-coined adjective has been around since the 1860s, from the now-obsolete hunkey, “all right,” which stems from the New York slang hunk, “in a safe position,” and the Dutch root honk or “home.” So basically you’re fine at home. (It is also a great album by David Bowie).

So even if you not OK, there are situations where we engage in some physical activity or mental endeavor where most want to know when “the end or finish line is near.” “OMG when is this going to END?!” However, one important factor that i have personally found when the distance is unknown and the end is unknown is when you truly find out who You are on this Earth. Sometimes the process is in the putting. Going way past what you thought possible is where the magic happens.

Uncertainty is the basis for which we live. Technically if you think about it we live next to an exploding star in an ever-expanding universe.

As a comparison here is a chart of Alan Chamberlin of JPL/Caltech. The subject matter is near-earth asteroids. Interestingly enough the objects were not previously known and thus there was no early warning. We knew when we knew. Take your time and let this chart sink into the old wetware.

This list does not include any of the hundreds of objects that collided with Earth, which were not discovered in advance, but were recorded by sensors designed to detect the detonation of nuclear devices. Of the objects so detected, 78 had impact energy greater than that of a 1-kiloton device (equivalent to 1000 tons of TNT), including 11 which had impact energy greater than that of a 10-kiloton device i.e. comparable to the atomic bombs used in the Second World War.

Why am i posting these statistics? Entropy until we know a universe that runs in reverse time or loops time it is ever increasing thus randomness and uncertainty writ large are always increasing.

So what does one do? Well we can only truly deal with what we can control. Anything exterior to that is superfluous in our thought patterns or should be extraneous and superfluous.

I wrote a related blog entitled “What Is It You Want?” which posited a different view. First, you need to decide what you want and if you are unable to decide what you want there is a good chance that what you don’t want is a more known entity.

Envision the worst thing that could happen. Fired from your job? Bankrupt? No. Try Grief. True loss as in the death of a loved one (including animals). Someone that will never ever return. Finality. We have all been there with someone.

In the same psychological realm True Loss can also be the other side of an “Aha!” moment. For instance, let’s say you have been working for months possibly years on something creative or an idea and suddenly in an ephemeral flash of lucidity you finally arrive at the ideation incarnate and grasp the totality of understanding. At that moment on the other side, you can no longer duplicate that feeling. It is gone. True Loss. For some that do not have family or friends, this is equivalent. Even for those that have family, friends and beloved animals, this is equivalent.

Yet we want to think in absolutes that someone somewhere will make it “OK”.

I say unto you: one must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. I say unto you: you still have chaos in yourselves.

Zarathustra

Well as we say here in The South. “It’s OK until It Aint.” The only remedy is preparation but not analysis to paralysis. Train and train well.

The only other remedy is just GO and DO and move and make it happen. Only move in the direction of what YOU desire and want – it will make a huge difference.

The most intelligent humans, like the strongest, find their happiness where others find only disaster: in the labyrinth, in being hard with themselves and others, in effort, their delight is self mastery; in them asceticism becomes second nature, a necessity, an instinct.  They regard a difficult task as a privilege; it is to them a recreation to play with burdens that would crush all others.

R.A.C.

Humans are designed via the evolutionary process to work under stress. i believe we operate better when we are under the gun, under a deadline, reaching for goals, or striving for whatever it is that drives Us. Some prefer the sameness that comes with a 9-5 job. For me personally, i like to obtain order out of chaos.

So whenever you find yourself worried about what May-Be-Happening think instead of what IS-To-Be and make it happen. Alan Watts famously discussed the issue with no surprises in life is you know how everything turns out and if that is the case then that is living in the past.

Until Then,

#iwishyouwater <- Mavericks in Half Moon Bay doing its thing 3.22

@tcjr

Muzak To Blog By: Jeff Buckley’s Album “You and I”. Huge that this was all demos. Astounding talent left us to soon. He took a night swim in the Mississippi River and hit by a paddwheel boat. Random? Entropy? Safe? His autopsy showed no drugs or alchohol in a body.

Hey, it’s not your and its not mine

Hey, I’m just here to share your time

Don’t you pay those spinning wheels no mind

~ Tedeschi Trucks Band

First, i trust this finds everyone safe.

Second, as we head into the holiday season i was thoughting about an interview question i always ask people:

“What is it you want?”

i usually get either contorted faces or a blank stare.  No i didn’t ask you to write a Markov chain algorithm to predict the next meme cryptocurrency or describe the differences between NATS or Kafka distributed processing systems or where do you want to be in five years type of questions.

Let me repeat:

“What is it you want?”

i usually have to prompt folks.

“Ok, like you want a G5 Gulfstream or an island?  How about a puppy?”

“You want to be a writer?  A painter, a musician, or a teacher?”

Invariably when they answer they want to be doing “something else” as the above profession if money were no object, i always respond, “Then why are you interviewing here? Go do what you just said you wanted to do in the first place.”

Unless you think you want a puppy or a plane. However, there is an unending number of ways to be compensated for your passion. You can have your proverbial cake and eat it as well.

This usually gets people pretty animated.

‘Which would you rather be?  Famous or Rich?”

Blanks stares.

You see most people truly don’t think about what they deeply truly desire and want in life.

So i am going to be taking the rest of the year in my non-copious free time to thought about and reflect on what i truly want and desire.

The reason i am using thoughting is that most if not all have thought about this very issue with no answers.

It’s very interesting at least from what i can tell in western civilization we are not taught to think about what we want when most if not all of what drives us is obtaining something.

Then i have a third question:

“Which is worse a lie or greed?”

None of these questions are as difficult as the first.  However the last one i have people who i have hired in the past who have discussed this question with me for decades.

Most people are petrified of success.  What do you do when you get everything you want?

Charlie don’t forget what happeneed to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted… He lived Happily Ever After!

~ Willy Wonka

You have to reassess what you want – yet again.

Maybe you don’t really know what you want? It appears most folks just want predictability and control. Well if you could have that isn’t that living in the past because you already know what is going to happen? Just a thought as it were. Maybe you don’t like surprises. Then again the wonder of life is the unexpected.

Or maybe they want power. Power over what exactly?

So go give it some thought.  In the meantime here is a great piece by Alan Watts. He even mentions a Klien Bottle which amazingly someone sent me one which i greatly cherish.

As always would love to see some comments on the posts.

Until then,

#iwishyouwater

tctjr

Muzak To Blog By:  Tedeschi Trucks Band

Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.

First, i hope everyone is safe.

Second, i decided to write this blog based on two unrelated events: (1) as of late during the pandemic i have been reading commentary “online” of varying degrees such as “I want to read more books” and “Can you recommend some books to read?”  (2) i was setting out to write a technical blog on a core machine learning subject and whilst putting together the bibliography i realized i wasn’t truly performing or rather obtaining “level four reading” as outlined in the book i am going to review and by definition recommend.

i also am an admitted bibliomaniac and even more so nowadays an autodidact. i contracted the reading bug from my mother at an early age. i read Webster’s Dictionary twice in grade school. Still to this day she sends me the first edition or rare books to read. Thanks, Mom.

As part of this book review and hopefully subsequent blog on a technical subject within machine learning, i decided to read the book a third time.  Which for this blog and review is an important facet.

As i was thinking about the best way to approach this particular book review i was pondering reading and books in general.  Which i came yet again to the conclusion:

There is much magic and wonder in this world.  Reading to me is a magical process.

It’s a miracle a child learns to speak a language!  It’s a miracle we can read! It’s even more of a miracle given the two previous observations that Humans are such astounding language generators (and authors)!

What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.

Carl Sagan

i consider a  book a “dual-sided marketplace” for magical access.

“How To Read a Book” by Mortimer J. Adler was originally published in 1940 with a re-issue in 1972.  The 1970s were considered the decade of reading in the United States.

In the 70’s the average reading level in the United States for most content speeches, magazines, books, etc was the 6th grade.  It is now surmised the average reading level and reading content is hovering around the 4-5th grade.

This brings us to the matter at hand the book review.

The book’s author ​​Mortimer Jerome Adler (December 28, 1902 – June 28, 2001) was an American philosopher, educator, encyclopedist, and popular author. As a philosopher, he worked within the Aristotelian and Thomistic traditions. He taught at Columbia University and the University of Chicago, served as chairman of the Encyclopædia Britannica Board of Editors, and founded his own Institute for Philosophical Research.

There is no friend as loyal as a book.

Ernest Hemmingway

The book states upfront that there is great inequality in reading with respect to understanding and that understanding must be overcome.  Reading for understanding is not just gaining information.  There is being informed and there is being enlightened when reading a book.  How To Read A Book (HTRAB) is precisely concerned with the latter.  If you remember what you read you have been informed. If you are enlightened from a book you know what the author is attempting to say, know what he means by what they say, and can concisely explain the subject matter. Of course, being informed is a prerequisite to being enlightened.

Professor Adler mentions in the book via Montaingne where he speaks of “An abecedarian ignorance that precedes knowledge, and a doctoral ignorance that comes after it.”

Let’s first deal with Abcederian:  It essentially means dealing with alphabetized, elementary, rudimentary, or novel levels.  Ergo the novice ignorance arrives first.  The second are those who misread books.  Reading a ton of books is not reading well.  Professor Adler calls them literate ignoramus.  The said another way there are those that have read too widely and not well.

Widely read and well-read are two vastly different endeavors.

The Greek word for learning and folly is sophomore. From google translate sophomore in Greek: δευτεροετής φοιτητής

This book pulls no punches when it comes to helping you help yourself.

HTRAB is in fact just that how to gain the most out of a book.  The book explains the four levels of reading:

1. Elementary reading, rudimentary reading, basic reading or initial reading.  This is where one goes from complete illiteracy to at the very least being able to read the words on the page.
2. Inspectional reading.  This is where one attempts to get the most out of a book in a prescribed about of time.  What is this book about?
4. Syntopical Reading is the highest level.  It is the most complex and systematic reading and it makes the most demands on the reader.  Another name for this level is comparative reading.  When reading syntopically the reader accesses and reads many books placing them in relation to one another where the reader is able to construct and an analysis of knowledge that previously did not exist.  Knowledge creation and synthesis is the key here.

This is what i realized i wasn’t doing with respect to the machine learning blog.  Yes, i ranked and compared the references against one another but did i truly synthesize a net new knowledge with respect to my reading?

The HTRAB goes on to dissect the processes of each of these four steps and how to obtain them and then move on to the next level.  This reminds me of a knowledge dojo a kind of belt test for readership.

The book also goes on to discuss how to not have any predetermined biases about what the book is or is not.  This is very important i have fallen prey to such behaviors and cannot emphasize enough you must proceed into the book breach with a clear mind

Further, the author took their valuable time to write the book and you took the cash and time to obtain the book.

Give the respect the book deserves.

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.

Francis Bacon

The book goes in-depth about how we move from one level of reading to eventually synoptical reading and the basis for this is reading over and over whilst at every read the book is anew and alive with fresh edible if you will information.

To read and to ruminate is derived from the cow.  From Wikipedia we have:

“Ruminants are large hoofed herbivorous grazing or browsing mammals that are able to acquire nutrients from plant-based food by fermenting it in a specialized stomach prior to digestion, principally through microbial actions.”

So to chew the cud or re-chew if you will over and over – ruminating upon the subject matter. The book states in most cases that it takes three reads to obtain synoptical reading levels.  Thus my comment previously about reading this a third time.  Amazingly it clicked.

The folks who need self-help books don’t read them and those that don’t need them do read them.

A.S.L.

The book further explains how to read everything from mathematics to theology.  With very precise steps.

i recommend this book over and over to folks and i usually get online comments like “so meta’ or “LOL”.  In-person i get raise eyebrows or laughter.

This is not a laughing matter oh dear reader.

The two following lectures deal with HRTAB from the son of someone who worked directly with Professor Adler. His name is Shaykh Hamza Yusuf. Professor Yusuf is an American neo-traditionalist Islamic scholar and co-founder of Zaytuna College. He is a proponent of classical learning in Islam and has promoted Islamic sciences and classical teaching methodologies throughout the world. He is a huge proponent of HRTAB and recommends it in many of his lectures and uses it as a basis for his teachings in many forms. In no shape or form am I endorsing any religious or political stance with posting these videos. i am only posting for the information-rich and amazing lectures alone. He covers several areas of academics as well as several areas of religion and even pop-fad behaviors with respect to reading.

Here are both parts of the lecture:

Get the book to learn how to arrive at chewing and digesting your beloved books to the level of syntopical nirvana.  Your mind and others’ minds will thank you for it. Here is a link on Amazon:

Until then,

Be safe.

@tctjr

Muzak To Blog by:  Cheap Trick Albums.  I had forgotten how good they were.