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Comment: Maths and foundations of reasoning (Score 0) 131

by John Allsup (#49359465) Attached to: Dark Matter Is Even More of a Mystery Than Expected
Physics is built upon mathematical structures which have their origin in the 19th century.  Both Set Theory and Peano Arithmetic effectively grant you the assumption that there is no limit on how high you can effectively count.  This leads to models of these theories essentially asserting that there are countable numbers which are greater than the number of particles in the observable universe.  I fear this is leading to a hidden paradox in the reasoning process that physicists are using, albeit one that is hard to see and communicate.

Consider this assumption as follows:
(you can count) (higher than) (you can count)
and compare this with the statement 'X > X'. There must be a practical physical limit on counting, and by assuming this limit away, you are rendering the resulting reasoning system physically implausible. An effect known in classical logic is that from a single contradiction, using the rules of logic, you can logically derive any statement at all. The problem with the foundations of mathematics as they are is that they are incompatible with physical plausibility, and to naively shoehorrn in physical plausibility leads to logical inconsistency and 'weird stuff' appearing. I fear that this is the beast that theoretical physicists are actually wrestling with, albeit unknowingly.

Comment: Reliability issues (Score 1) 334

Opinions in psychotherapy, psychology and psychiatry seem to change with the seasons, and to depend upon whom it is you ask.  Such opinions should not be used as the basis for sound reasoning.  End of story.  Sure in some cases internet addiction is a problem, but trying to generalise from a few children with problems to all children is stupid.  That said, this is what I posted on facebook a little earlier today (the relevance is stimulus addiction):

Violent video games are like hardcore porn without the sex. They're just as addictive and it is just as important that the mental discipline is learned to know fantasy from reality, and when enough stimulation is enough. It is society's responsibility to teach parents the principles of separation so that patents can teach their children. Else the bad knock on effects of explicit media will simply not go away, and will be rediscovered and reinvented time after time. Management of stimulation must be a parental responsibility and society must be structured so as not to make thus too hard a task. Right now we are having an Adhd epidemic as children get stimulus addicted and in desperation we turn to (charlatan) mind doctors and their magic pills in the hope that they will make this problem go away. Fail to manage stimulation levels, and it won't.

+ - Is P vs NP really all that hard?->

Submitted by John Allsup
John Allsup (987) writes "I have been a /.er since my early undergraduate days (before there were user accounts). I am 987 on /., the highest 3-digit UID with distinct digits!

Anyway, the P vs NP problem fascinated me as a postgraduate when my main area, Peano Arithmetic, was going nowhere. It is a long story, but I happened upon an angle which made the problem easy. Trouble is I got overexcited, as I am prone to, got asked to see a doctor, who referred me (coercion and all that) etc. Short story is I got force medicated by psychiatrists and it took me just over eleven years before I found this easy angle: medication filesystemchecks your
brain that hard sometimes. Anyway, it occurred to me again, I got the filesystemchecking thing written down, and the sketch is at:


(please mirror rather than slashdot please — this is a personal web account)

I wonder if some /.ers interested in theoretical comp. sci. or the fate of the
million dollars could sanity check the logic. I don't give monkeys, and am disillusioned with academic research to the point that a career as a mental health patient seems more appealing.

(Can I have my million dollars please ;-) )"

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:One thing for sure (Score 0) 531

by John Allsup (#49142847) Attached to: Machine Intelligence and Religion
Put another way, there is, with logical certainty, no qualitative improvement in survival strategy beyond something like the following:

You take Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour.  You trust in God.  When God tells you to fuck, you fucking fuck who God
tells you to fuck when, and only when, God, and God alone, tells you to fuck, and you fuck who, and only who, God tells you
you can fuck.  If you are unsure about who Jesus is, who God is, what Christ and Saviour mean in this context, there is no
better method to find out than reading a decent Bible, and you even have a number of translations to choose from.

Lfe is crazy, there is fuck all we can do about it, but we need a surefire method of stopping us questioning this logically certain fact,
which requires nothing stronger to prove than the fact that, in Lisp, if you have 100 words to play with, you cannot make a 101-element
linked list even if the manual suggest you can, and that real world evidence suggests with at least 99% confidence that the 'can
I have another one' routine always works.  You can do the same argument on any computer with an actually finite number of cells availble.  The
observable universe, by the way, is capable of represenign a computer, but is also finite in extent.

Comment: Re:One thing for sure (Score 0) 531

by John Allsup (#49142761) Attached to: Machine Intelligence and Religion
That is equivalent, in the absence of semantics, to counting to 14 and knowing to stop.  If a computer can't do that, it is certainly not worthy of the adjective intelligent.  Likewise, the Apostles creed is a slightly longer counting exercise, requiring you to give appropriate meanings to words as you read them, subject to never reusing a word anywhere.  Any computational capable device that doesn't pass such silly sanity checks should be switched off, taken outside and hacked to death with a chainsaw.  The Bible takes that principle and the question of assigning a sensible meaning reliably to any sensible way of reading verses, and uses the principle of forcing a computer to actually count, well past the point of taking the piss.  From the point of a Christian with a PhD in models of Peano Arithmetic, which is part of that branch of mathematics, mathematical logic, which practically gave birth to the modern notion of computation, that superseding the old school victorian model consising of a human being bored so heavily by rigorous schooling that he'd rather commit suicide than make a mistake.  Turing was such a person, faced with an education system that still hadn't got is point, I had to resort to taking the piss with my degree just to stay sane.  Seriously, the first use of the Bible is as a sanity check.  If you take the English Standard Version of the Bible, try to read it, try to find any semblence of sense, fail, and still consider yourself capable of reading English, you have basically proved yourself insane past the point that any reasonable non-Christian is going to care.  The non-Christian will see you as a worthless piece of shit that should be put out of its misery: the true Christian will take one extra step prior to execution, and that is the step of exhaustively verifying that there is genuinely no plausible chance of redemption.  That's the bit Christianity adds to your life.  It means that when it comes down to the question 'that piece if shit village idiot you fired, who then jumped off a bridge and killed himself, are you absolutely logically certain you needed to'.  Faced with someome who even pauses to consider 'yes' as an acceptable answer, whilst my faith in Christ and the Gospel will have no issue, my faith in the Bible may be marred by the suspicion that 'thou shalt not kill' indeed is missing a bit of small print.  Does this make sense? (That last question does include yes as a safe answer, btw.)

Comment: Why Permission Matters (Score 0) 311

by John Allsup (#49134941) Attached to: Reddit Imposes Ban On Sexual Content Posted Without Permission
If you do a single thing to me without permission, then in a crisis I simply cannot allow myself to trust you. If in that crisis I have to execute someone to save a friend, your life will be in danger.  Thus it is best to always ask permission!  And with regards to permission, if I give you one of my internet passwords, you may consider that permission to use it.  As an example, see http://allsup.co/friends/slashdot.org/msg-whyi.php and email me to ask what to put at the end of the URL so that the if(test()) { showpage(); } else die(horribly()); line in the PHP script will not commit computational suicide.  Use the address super.secret.slashdot@allsup.co for this purpose, and include a URL that at least points to slashdot, preferably this article, or this comment as proof you
have read and understood this.  You have my permission to try the passwords you find anywhere you like, since I've checked to my satisfaction that they no longer work.

Comment: If I accidently tread on a book (Score 1) 261

by John Allsup (#49124785) Attached to: The Case Against E-readers -- Why Digital Natives Prefer Reading On Paper
Then it will generally still work, will probably be cheap to replace, and in case it is damaged, it will still be at least nearly perfectly usable.  In the case of my android tablet that I used to use for this, I made the mistake of leaving in on the floor next to the power socket whilst on charge (short power cable and all that), was enthusiastically showing a friend round my toy collection (toy=laptop/workstation/synth/etc) and accidently put my chairleg down on my android tablet.  It still boots but touchscreen functionality doesn't work and, being a cheap tablet, usb otg didn't work properly anyway, so its now unusable.  If it were a real book, it wouldn't even have broken!  That's why I do not trust e-readers for books that are even remotely important: they are just too fragile and, even though I'm careful 99% of the time, there is that issue of the remaining 1% where even the most careful human doesn't have his (or her) brain engaged properly and is temporarily a complete klutz. Real paperware books are reasonably robust against issues of accidental clumsiness.  And robustness saves lives!  Seriously, suppose you're on the ISS and the only copy of the maintenance manual is accessible via an e-reader and you break it?

Comment: Pandora PR Department Source Leak (artistimpress.) (Score 1) 305

by John Allsup (#49116899) Attached to: Pandora Pays Artists $0.001 Per Stream, Thinks This Is "Very Fair"
//... Top Secret internal document, do not copy!

#define AND " "

const  char * officialPolicyTowardsArtists = BENDTHEMOVERABARREL AND SHAFTTHEMUPTHEARSE;

//... p.s. be careful not to leak the above onto the internet

Comment: Javascript is the better language (Score 1) 319

by John Allsup (#49084923) Attached to: Java Vs. Node.js: Epic Battle For Dev Mindshare
At first it was the other way around, but: Java was always in a no-mans land: too low level to have the high level features of Js, too high level to have the power and speed of C/C++.  What is needed is a data-structure based language for low level programming that is accessible to Js so that Js code can create and manipulate low level programs and request their compilation.  Appropriate compilers then simply need to be made visible to Js in a natural way.  If you want a bytecode vm, implement it using the low level side of this, then control it from Js. Of course python3 style features should be worked in, and whilst v8 is great if you're on an x86 or x64 machine, a llvm or something based backend for other machines needs sorting out.  But then js is clearly the better language.  If you want type safety, you want something like Haskell, and that is a descendent of lisp, so is best represented as data structures again, not necessarily text.  Bridging the gap back to the programmer is the bit Lisp screwed up, and hopefully we can get it right this time around.

Comment: My hack to rm.c (Score 2) 329

by John Allsup (#48831483) Attached to: Steam For Linux Bug Wipes Out All of a User's Files
while ((c = ...


    if( x.interactive == RMI_NEVER && x.ignore_missing_files == true && x.recursive == true ) {
        char *mayi = getenv("RM_ALLOWRF");
        if(mayi && strcmp(mayi,"YES")) {
            printf("rm -rf allowed\n");
        } else {
            printf("rm -rf not allowed (set RM_ALOWRF=YES to enable)\n");


if (argc <= optind)

Comment: Re:It is simple (Score 1) 755

by John Allsup (#48704469) Attached to: Science Cannot Prove the Existence of God

I tend to start with accepting reality as shown by current science -- at least that that is a good approximation. Metaphysical stuff about the past is beyond experiment and the best we can do is extrapolate backwards from the present given a long list of assumptions.
The important thing is: how do we live in this reality? A consequence of our evolved nature, are a number of selfish and tribalistic traits -- we have not yet go to the point of seeing ourselves as part of one big organism called Life, and thus don't properly concern ourselves with the suffering of others in the same way we don't put our hand in a fire because we know it will hurt. Once you take that and start thinking it through, the natural consequences bear a great similarity to a lot of the teachings we find in various ancient spiritual teachings (Bible, Taoist and Indic stuff). Then you start to see what these ancient teachings are going on about, and how in the hands of those who were taught them formally but didn't understand as fully as the greats of the distant past, distorted understandings through centuries of Chinese whispers.

We need to see life and humanity as a whole, and ourselves as parts in that. We need to serve the whole primarily, not our individual selves, nor priorities personal success, or that of our genes or families or tribes etc. above that of the whole. If you try to give this whole an intuitively graspable personal nature (just like a child sees his teddy bear), so as to related to this whole on more than a dry intellectual level, you end up with concepts that look a lot like the ancient idea of the 'one true God'. Identifying our selves with this whole, just as you consider your arm you (if I hit your arm, you would naturally say I hit you) changes your perspective, and from that perspective ancient religious teachings have a clear (and important) message that is lost on most modern people, religious or otherwise.

Comment: Re:Established science CANNOT BE QUESTIONED! (Score 1) 719

by John Allsup (#48645793) Attached to: Skeptics Would Like Media To Stop Calling Science Deniers 'Skeptics'

The inspired free rational thinking of one generation becomes the dogma of a later generation. That's already happened with spiritual teachings in the form of what we call 'religion'. It is happening again with science. The cause is human nature and psychology (maintaining understanding is much harder than merely copying words and appearing charismatic and learned to a naive audience, and so evolutionary pressure tends to favour the latter as a strategy for being successful -- the only problem is when one of those pesky individuals who actually understands what the stuff is supposed to be about comes along and tries to explain it -- then they nail him to a lump of wood and build a new religion around his teachings.) Science needs to learn about its future from religion, because religion is what modern science will become unless people are far more careful than they are these days.

People will buy anything that's one to a customer.