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  • daviding 11:31 am on June 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: mobile, sms, virgin   

    Phoned @VirginMobileCan to confirm “SMS center” on phone is +1438276200 on Android 4.04 Motorola Razr V. Was mystified on what to “Set short message service number”. Backed up by

  • daviding 3:18 pm on June 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cringely,   

    “The Decline and Fall of IBM” | Robert Cringely | June 2014 

    Quick read of “The Decline and Fall of IBM” by Robert Cringely, downloadable as Mobi, epub or PDF for $3.99USD from , or from Amazon on a Kindle in the U.S. or on a Kindle in Canada.

    The body of the book is relatively short. In PDF formatting, the content is as follows …

    p. 007: Preface
    p. 009: Introduction
    p. 013: Chapter 01: Good Old IBM
    p. 018: Chapter 02: Lou Gerstner Saves IBM for AWhile
    p. 028: Chapter 03: Sam Palmisano and the Long Con
    p. 033: Chapter 04: Why Big Companies Can’t Change
    p. 039: Chapter 05: LEAN AND Mean
    p. 048: Chapter 06: ‘Death March 2015′
    p. 054: Chapter 07: A Tale of Two Division Sales
    p. 057: Chapter 08: Financial Engineering
    p. 061: Chapter 09: An IT Labor Economics Lesson from Memphis for IBM
    p. 066: Chapter 10: The Ginni Paradox or How to Fix IBM
    p. 077: Afterword: What if Ginni Doesn’t Listen?
    p. 078: Comments from Readers (On Cringely Blogs from 2007-2013)
    p. 229: About the Author

    An (ex-)IBMer who reads Cringely regularly will probably be most interested in Chapter 10.

    These are my ideas for what Ginni Rometty should do as CEO. [p. 66]

    The Hardware Problem:
    Computer technology is becoming more of a commodity, and IBM must learn to become a commodity supplier. [pp. 66-67]
    The Hardware Solution:
    IBM needs to retain and grow its hardware division. The immediate goal should be to return it to break-even performance without any more staff cuts. Next, it needs to realign the business to better serve the market for the next decade. [p. 67]

    The Software Problem:
    Compared to many other software companies, IBM moves like a glacier. [p. 68]
    The Software Solution:
    Product development needs to understand the needs and directions of the customers; it needs to be empowered to design new products and versions that will increase its value to the market; and it needs to be enabled to produce those products and versions quickly and efficiently. [p. 68]

    The Services Problem:
    For the last 10 years, IBM’s Services divisions have been subjected to relentless cost reductions, layoffs, massive offshoring of work, and a scary process of dumbing down the talent. [....] Most of the great processes IBM developed over the years have been lost. [p. 69]
    The Services Solution:
    Global Services should launch a division-wide continuous quality improvement program. Teams should be empowered to find and act on ways to automate the business. [p. 70]

    The Cloud Problem:
    The infrastructure used to provide a Cloud service is much more complex than that of a typical IBM outsourcing account. IBM’s approach of throwing lots of bodies with narrow skills at the problem won’t work with Cloud technology. [p. 71]
    The Cloud Solution:
    Beyond leaving SoftLayer alone, what IBM needs to do to be successful with its Cloud investments is to fix other parts of the company. [....] IBM needs to provide value-added services to its Cloud platform to increase both revenue and profit. [p. 71]

    The Analytics Problem:
    IBM has hopes to make this a service they can offer in the Cloud. That will involve copying most of business data to a database outside the company. [...] The next challenge to a Cloud service is TIME—simple math and physics. [p. 72]
    The Analytics Solution:
    There is exciting work to be done in analytics; I just don’t see IBM positioned to grab a leadership role. There’s no way they’ll achieve their stated goal of making billions from this business. [p. 73]

    The Mobile Problem:
    IBM has completely missed the biggest change in Information Technology in a decade. [p. 73]
    The Mobile Solution:
    IBM should have its own App Store, which would offer customers a way to learn how to use the new mobile platforms. It could provide a way for the application developes to interact with IBM’s customers. Over time IBM could learn and develop mobile technology that is useful to IBM’s customers. [p. 73]

    The great opportunity is to fix the cause of the problem. In most cases, a poor corporate culture delivers decisions that cause quality problems. IBM needs to change its culture and its values. [p. 74]

    Restore Respect:
    IBM needs to start treating its workforce with respect, and as valued members of the corporation. IBM needs to invest in its people and get them working for the company again. [p. 74]

    Near the end of John Akers’ time as CEO … IBM’s divisions needed to operate more effectively. They needed to adapt to the needs of the market, but the corporate management structure was preventing this from happening. This was the exact problem Lou Gerstner found and fixed when he joined IBM. Well, Lou is gone and IBM has reverted back to its old bad habits. [p. 75]

    A New Business Model:
    IBM needs to learn ROI thinking. IBM spends far too much on gold-plating new products and services. IBM gives preference to its more expensive proprietary technology over commodity industry technology every time. Good design and good engineering makes the best use of money. If the commodity stuff works and is the best economic choice, then
    use it. [p. 75]

    A Better Business Goal:
    Lou inherited a financial disaster and made the tough decisions to stabilize the company. His financial decisions were not the ends they were the means. The long-term goal was to align IBM with its customers and the market. That needs to be done again. [p. 76]

    For those interested in IBM, the book is worth $3.99. Cringely is a (well-informed) journalist. He has not, however, ever had a decision-making role inside of IBM, so the analysis comes for an external perspective.

    The introduction for the book was replicated by the author on his blog “The Decline and Fall of IBM” | Robert X. Cringley | June 4, 2014 at at

    The Decline and Fall of IBM:  End of an American Icon?

  • daviding 8:50 am on June 2, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Roaming on Nexus 5 in UK @WindMobile finally resolved by @WINDCares over Twitter: With SIM Toolkit enable Roaming Setting .. Reselect Visited Network, then Settings … Mobile Network … manual setting for carrier works. Eight days with no roaming, multiple calls to Wind 1-877 and L3 support callback, and even Google Nexus support. SIM Toolkit wasn’t visible on first calls, may have been installed during wifi session. Phone service will be active for 24 hours before getting on a plane home to Toronto.

  • daviding 9:59 am on April 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: hyper-coordination, micro-coordination, mobile phones, smartphones   

    “Nobody sits at home and waits for the telephone to ring: Micro and hyper-coordination through the use of the mobile telephone” | Rich Ling and Birgitte Yttri (2002) 

    Smartphones have led to micro-coordination where meeting times and places are fluid, and hyper-coordination where in-group discussions can take place.

    … the mobile telephone has resulted in   new forms of interaction. … we have called …   micro coordination and hyper-coordination. These two types of “coordination” have arisen as a result of the wide scale adoption of mobile telephony. [....]

    One of the impacts of mobile telephony is the ability for nuanced, instrumental  coordination. This forms the core of micro coordination. With the use of mobile communication systems, one need not take an agreement to meet at a specific time  and place as immutable. Rather, those meeting have the ability to adjust the agreement as the need arises. In addition, mobile communication systems allow for the redirection of transportation to meet the needs of social groups. This is largely a functional and instrumental activity.

    Moving beyond this, “hyper-coordination” encompasses instrumental coordination and adds two other dimensions to this. The first is the expressive use of the mobile telephone. That is, in addition to the simple coordination of where and when, the device is employed for emotional and social communication. People chat with each  other. The Short Message System (SMS) function is used to send chain letters, and personal messages that can range all the way from innocent and over-sweet greetings to vulgar pornographic images. One sees the integration of the group via the use of the mobile telephone.

    The second aspect of hyper-coordination is the in-group discussion and agreement as  to the proper forms of self-presentation vis-à-vis the mobile telephone. That is, the  type of mobile telephone that is appropriate, the way in which it is carried on the body and the places in which it is used. Thus, hyper-coordination encompasses the instrumental and the expressive use of the mobile telephone as well as strictures regarding the presentation of self. One can see that the mobile telephone provides a type of integration or “coordination” that goes through several dimensions of social life.

    “Nobody sits at home and waits for the telephone to ring: Micro and hyper-coordination through the use of the mobile telephone” | Rich Ling and Birgitte Yttri  (2002) at , formally republished as Ling, R. and Yttri, B. 2002. “Hyper-coordination via mobile phones in Norway.” In Katz, J. and Aakhus, M. (eds.) Perpetual contact: Mobile communication, private talk, public performance. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

    Perpetual Contact: Mobile Communication, Private Talk, Public Performance

  • daviding 8:10 pm on April 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: generativity, nature of order, , patterns   

    1996/10/08 Christopher Alexander, “Patterns in Architecture”, OOPSLA ’96 

    Christopher Alexander’s presentation at the 1996 OOPSLA Conference was lightly edited in the 1999 article.  Watching the video and reading the text, the divergences are small until 46 minutes into 63-minutes, when the text was significantly rewritten.

    The digest maps the published 1999 article to the 1996 presentation on video.

    • Alexander, Christopher. 1996. “Patterns in Architecture” presented at OOPSLA ’96, October 8, San Jose, California.
    • Alexander, Christopher. 1999. “The Origins of Pattern Theory: The Future of the Theory, and the Generation of a Living World.” IEEE Software, 16 (5): 71–82. doi:10.1109/52.795104.

    [03:37] In effect, I’m just going to do three things.

    1. Pattern Theory. I’m going to talk first of all about patterns and pattern languages, what I did about that, a few little points about problems we encountered, why we did it, how we did it, and so forth. That is a historical survey referring back to the late ’60s and early ’70s.

    2. The Nature of Order. Then, I’m going to summarize the theoretical framework which has evolved out of the pattern work: a framework which is about to be published in a series of four books collectively called The Nature of Order, four books that will be put out by Oxford University Press in the year 2000. That framework is a fairly radical departure from what the pattern language in the earlier theories contained, although it is consistent with them.  [....]

    [04:50] [3. What the Future Holds in Store: The Generativity Problem and the Generation of a Living World]  [....]

    [06:00] All of my life I’ve spent trying to learn how to produce living structure in the world. That means towns, streets, buildings, rooms, gardens, places which are themselves living or alive. My assumption here — a sad one — is that for the most part what we have been doing for ourselves, at least during the last 50 years or so, perhaps starting somewhere around World War II, has virtually no ability to produce that kind of living structure in the world. This living structure which is needed to sustain us and nurture us and which did exist to some degree in the traditional societies and in rural communities and in early urban settlements has disappeared. It is drastically gone. We don’t know how to create it or generate it any more.


    Pattern Theory

    [08:30] The [initial] idea that materialized in the published pattern language was first of all, of course, intended just to get a handle on some of the physical structures that make the environment nurturing for human beings. And, secondly, it was done in a way that would allow this to happen on a really large scale. And, what I mean by that is that we wanted to generate the environment indirectly, just as biological organisms are generated, indirectly, by a genetic code.

    Architects themselves build a very, very small part of the world. Most of the physical world is built by just all kinds of people. It is built by developers, it is built by do-it-yourselvers in Latin America. It is built by hotel chains, by railroad companies, etc., etc.

    How could one possibly get a hold of all the massive amount of construction that is taking place on Earth and, somehow, make it well, that means let it be generated in a good fashion and a living fashion?

    This decision to use a genetic approach was not only because of the scale problem. It was important from the beginning, because one of the characteristics of any good environment is that every part of it is extremely highly adapted to its particularities. That local adaptation can happen successfully only if people (who are locally knowledgeable) do it for themselves.

    In traditional society where lay people either built or laid out their own houses, their own streets, and so on, the adaptation was natural. It occurred successfully because it was in the hands of the people that were directly using the buildings and streets.  So, with the help of the shared pattern languages which existed in traditional society, people were able to generate a complete living structure.

    [10:40] In our own time, the production of environment has gone out of the hands of people who use the environment. So, one of the efforts of the pattern language was not merely to try and identify structural features which would make the environment positive or nurturing, but also to do it in a fashion which could be in everybody’s hands, so that the whole thing would effectively then generate itself.

    What, now, of my evaluation of what you are doing with patterns in computer science?


    [12:30] The pattern language that we began creating in the 1970s had other essential features.

    First, it has a moral component.

    Second, it has the aim of creating coherence, morphological coherence in the things which are made with it.

    And third, it is generative: it allows people to create coherence, morally sound objects, and encourages and enables this process because of its emphasis on the coherence of the created whole.

    [12:40] I don’t know whether these features of pattern language have yet been translated into your discipline.

    Take the moral component, for example. In the architectural pattern language there is, at root, behind the whole thing, a constant preoccupation with the question, Under what circumstances is the environment good?

    In architecture that means something. It means something important and vital that goes, ultimately, to the nature of human life. [....]  The moral preoccupation with the need for a good environment, and for the living structure of built environment, and the objective nature of that question, is largely accepted. [....]

    … I have no idea whether the search for something that helps human life is a formal part of what you are searching for. Or are you primarily searching for — what should I call it—good technical performance? This seems to me a very, very vital issue.


    [15:10] People have asked me what kind of a process was involved in creating the architectural pattern language. One of the things we looked for was a profound impact on human life. We were able to judge patterns, and tried to judge them, according to the extent that when present in the environment we were confident that they really do make people more whole in themselves. Of course you may ask, How in the hell did you test for that? But that is too long a story which I cannot cover in this speech. The important point is that such testing was going on continuously.

    [15:30] A second, almost more important thing was going on. Whenever we had a language under development we always asked ourselves, To what extent does that language generate (hence produce) entities (buildings, rooms, groups of buildings, neighborhoods, etc.) that are whole and coherent?

    In other words, suppose I write a pattern language for a campus, and, I think I’ve got some sort of a language that looks as though it will actually do the job. To test it, I let it loose by giving it to people and asking them (in simulated form) to generate different campuses with this language. Let’s see what the resulting campuses look like. And we test it ourselves in the same way, by using it to generate designs, rapidly, and only for the purpose of testing the results for their coherence.

    As it turns out, many of the languages that one creates do not generate coherent designs or objects. That is, they contain a bunch of good ideas. One can use these good ideas to (sort of ) put something together from them, and a few fragmentary structural ideas will be present in the result. But that does not yet mean that the campuses created (in the above example) are coherent, well-formed, campuses. We were always looking for the capacity of a pattern language to generate coherence, and that was the most vital test used, again and again, during the process of creating a language. The language was always seen as a whole. We were looking for the extent to which, as a whole, a pattern language would produce a coherent entity


    [17:15] … it looks to me more as though mainly the pattern concept, for you, is an inspiring format that is a good way of exchanging fragmentary, atomic ideas about programming. Indeed, as I understand it, that part is working very well.

    But these other two dimensions, (1) the moral capacity to produce a living structure and (2) the generativity of the thing, its capability of producing coherent wholes — I haven’t seen very much evidence of those two things in software pattern theory.


    The Nature of Order

    [18:30] The pattern theory was followed by a deeper the- ory. I began to notice, by the late ’70s, some weaknesses in our work with patterns and the pattern languages.

    (1) Under the circumstances that I was most interested in, when we and others were using these patterns to generate buildings, the buildings generated were okay but not profound.


    [20:10] To what extent did they really have coherent living structure as wholes?

    By the late ’70s, I had begun to see many buildings that were being made in the world when the patterns were applied. I was not happy with what I saw. It seemed to me that we had fallen far short of the mark that I had intended.

    But, I also realized that whatever was going wrong wasn’t going to be corrected by writing a few more patterns or making the patterns a little bit better. There seemed to be something more fundamental that was missing from the pattern language. So, I started looking for what that thing was.

    (2) At about the same time I began to notice a deeper level of structure and a small number (15) of geometric properties that appeared to exist recursively in space whenever buildings had life.

    These 15 properties seemed to define a more fundamental kind of stuff; similar to the patterns we had defined earlier, but more condensed, more essential—some kind of stuff that all good patterns were made of. [....]  Anyway I began to notice that particular individual patterns seemed really to come always from the 15 deep properties that kept occurring again and again.

    [22:35] (3) Another thing that was happening around this time (late ’70s, early ’80s), my colleagues and I began toughening up our ability to discriminate empirically between living structure and not living structure.

    During the years of doing the pattern language, we’d really been intuitive about that and not very rigorous. We were just trying to get patterns written and learning to apply them without asking rigorously if they made buildings with more life in them.

    But, at this point (about 1980), we felt it was pretty important to get a fix on the difference between a chair which has a more living structure and a chair that has a less living structure. And the same for a building or a room or for a main street in a town. If you want to say this one has life, this one has less life, how do you say that with any degree of empirical certainty? Can it, in fact, be made a relatively objective matter which people can agree about if they perform the same experiments?

    Indeed, we did find such experimental techniques. The use of these techniques greatly sharpened our ability to distinguish what was really going on and what structures then correlated with the presence of life in a bit of the environment. The use of these techniques also helped us to refine the 15 deep geometric properties, as necessary correlates of all life in designed structures. These 15 properties turned out to be a substrate of all patterns, and began showing up more and more clearly in our work as the main correlates of living structure in places, buildings, things, space, and so forth.


    [27:25] The essence of the experiments is that you take the two things you are trying to compare and ask, for each one, Is my wholeness increasing in the presence of this object? How about in the presence of this one? Is it increasing more or less?


    [28:00] Then it turns out that there is quite a striking statistical agreement, 80–90%, very strong, as strong a level of agreement as one gets in any experiments in social science. All of these different experiments have to do with something like that.

    Do you feel more whole? Do you feel more alive in the presence of this thing? Do you feel that this one is more of a picture of your own true self than this thing you know whatever? It is always looking at two entities of some kind and comparing them as to which one has more life.


    [29:35] … to cut a long story short, it turns out that these kind of measurements do correlate with real structural features in the thing and with the presence of life in the thing measured by other methods, so that it isn’t just some sort of subjective I-groove-to-this, and I-don’t- groove-to-that, and so on. But it is a way of measuring a real deep condition in the particular things that are being compared or looked at.


    [31:20] Thus there is a hint of a profound connection between the nature of matter and behavior of material systems, and the human person.


    [31:55] So there began developing, in my mind, a view of structure which, at the same time that it is objective and is about the behavior of material systems in the world, is somehow at the same time coming home more and more and more, all the time, into the person. The life that is actually in the thing is correlated in some peculiar fashion with the condition of wholeness in ourselves when we are in the presence of that thing.


    [33:20] … we are living in a period where perhaps the most noticeable and most problematic feature of our world is that feeling has been removed from it.


    [35:50] … the 15 properties that I have mentioned provide us the ability to be precise about the nature of living structure, in just precisely such a way that it is connected, not only to all mechanical function, but also to the depths of human feeling. That is why it is an important structure.

    At the root of these 15 properties, there appears to be a recursive structure based on repeated appearances of a single type of entity — the primitive element of all wholeness. These entities are what I call ‘centers.’

    [36:30 spoken] In particular, just going back to these 15 properties that I mentioned, and the ability to be precise about the nature of living structure, at the root of these 15 properties, there appears to be a recursive structure with only one type of entity.  This entity, in my own current writings about them, I call “centers”.

    [37:30 written] All wholeness is built from centers, and centers are recursively defined in terms of other centers. Centers have life, or not, in different degree, according to the degree that the centers are built from other centers using the 15 geometric relationships which I have identified. This scheme, which is at the foundation of all the work in The Nature of Order, provides a complete and coherent picture of all living structure.

    Stretching a bit, I think there may even be a little bit of a connection between the geometric centers which appear as the building blocks of all life in buildings, and the software entities that you call ‘objects.’

    Centers are field-like structures that appear in some region of space. They don’t have sharp boundaries, but they are the focal organizing entities that one perceives at the
    core of all pattern, all structure, and all wholeness.  Everything is made of these kinds of centers. The centers are more living or less living. And, that’s essentially the only important property that they have.

    And the question of whether a center is more living or less living depends recursively on the amount of livingness in the other centers that it is made of, because each living center is always (and can only be defined as) a structure of other centers. This sort of recursion is familiar in computer science. But whether the structure I have discovered and reported in The Nature of Order will translate in any interesting ways to things that you do, I don’t know.


    [38:25] What is true, I can tell you from my own experiences in these last years, is that when one has this view of things in architecture, it becomes enormously easier to produce living structure in buildings. It has immediate practical usefulness. If you start understanding everything in terms of these living centers, and you recognize the recursion that makes a center, living as it is, dependent on the other centers that it is made of and the other larger centers in which it is embedded, suddenly you begin to get a view of things which almost by itself starts leading you towards the production of more successful and more living buildings.


    [40:20] I can tell you in the case of buildings. If one has identified living structure with a reasonable level of objectivity, and if one has identified this recursive center-based structure as being the key to the whole thing, that’s all very well. But then of course the practical question arises, How the hell do you produce this living structure? What do you have to do to actually produce it?

    You can clumsily try to find your way towards it in a particular case. But, in general, what are the rules of its production?

    The answer is fascinating. It turns out that these living structures can only be produced by an unfolding wholeness. That it, there is a condition in which you have space in a certain state. You operate on it through things that I have come to call ‘structure-preserving transformations,’maintaining the whole at each step, but gradually introducing differentiations one after the other. And if these transformations are truly structure-preserving and structure-enhancing, then you will come out at the end with living structure.

    Just think of an acorn becoming an oak. The end result is very different from the start point but happens in a smooth unfolding way in which each step clearly emanates from the previous one.

    Very abstract, I know, but the punchline is the fol lowing. That is what happens in all the living structures we think of as nature. When you analyze carefully just what’s going on and how things are happening in the natural world, this sort of structure-preserving transformation tends to be what’s going on most of the time. That is why, when nature is left alone, most of the time living structure is produced.

    However, in the approaches that we currently have to the creation of the built world and the environment (planning design, construction, and so forth), that is simply not what is happening. The process of design that we currently recognize as normal is one where the architect or somebody else is sort of moving stuff around, trying to get into some kind of good con figuration. Effectively this means searching in an almost random way in configuration space, and never homing in on the good structure.

    That is why the present-day structure of cities, buildings, conventional halls, and houses are so often lifeless. The processes by which they are generated are — in principle — not life creating or life seeking. If a process doesn’t go in the structure-preserving way that I’m talking about, the result is never living structure.

    In effect you can write theorems which say, Under the kind of conditions which occur in the construction industry today, you cannot produce living structure.

    So, the poor folks who designed and built this convention center were stuck with something lifeless, because they were embedded in the wrong kind of process. There was nothing they could do about it. It was part of the process by which this kind of entity is produced in today’s society. As things stand, it cannot come out with a living structure at the end. That is a shattering discovery.

    A very large part of my work and that of my colleagues in the last years has been one of trying to define social processes, economic processes, administrative and management processes which are of such a nature that they permit true structure-preserving unfolding to occur in society, thus to allow the generation and production of living structure.

    What the Future Holds in Store:  The Generativity Problem and the Generation of a Living World

    [46:15]  << describing where he was in spring 1996, pp 79-80 are resequenced from the talk >>

    [57:10 spoken and written] Let me just go back to the structure-preserving unfolding process that I described in Part 2 of this talk. I talked about this structure-preserving unfolding process.

    [written that isn't spoken]: When I first constructed the pattern language, it was based on certain generative schemes that exist in traditional cultures. These generative schemes are sets of instructions which, carried out sequentially, will allow a person or a group of people to create a coherent artifact, beautifully and simply. The number of steps vary: there may be as few as half a dozen steps, or as many as 20 or 50. When the generative scheme is carried out, the results are always different, because the generative scheme always generates structure that starts with the existing con text, and creates things which relate directly and specifically to that context. Thus the beautiful organic variety which was commonplace in traditional society could exist because these generative schemes were used by thousands of different people, and allowed people to create houses, or rooms, or windows, unique to their circumstances.

    [written that isn't spoken]: When I first hit on the idea of creating, and using, pattern languages, I was inspired by these traditional generative schemes, and thought that I was essentially copying them. However, in the huge effort of creating a believable, new pattern language, in the 1960’s the effort went entirely onto the individual patterns (their formulation, verification, etc.), and the idea that they were to be used sequentially, one after the other, dropped into the background.

    [written that isn't spoken]:  In fact, both A Pattern Language and The Timeless Way of Building say that the pattern language is to be used sequentially. In practice, however, this feature dropped out of site, and was not emphasized in use. As a result, the beautiful efficacy of traditional languages and their simple and beautiful sequential nature disappeared from view.

    [written that isn't spoken]:  In our most recent work, that has changed. We are now focusing on pattern languages which are truly generative. That means, they are sequences of instructions which allow a person to make a complete, coherent building, by following the steps of the generative scheme. We have done this for houses, for public buildings, for office furniture layout, and so forth. It works. And it is powerful.

    [57:10] Compared to the pattern language that you’ve seen in A Pattern Language, these generative schemes are much more like what you call code. They are generative processes which are defined by sets of instructions that produce or generate designs. They are, in fact, systems of instructions which allow unfolding to occur in space in just the way that I was talking about a minute ago (Part 2), and are therefore more capable of producing living structure. The published pattern language by comparison is static. The new generative languages are dynamic and, like software, interact with context, to allow people to generate an infinite variety of possible results—but, in this case, with a built-in guarantee of well-formed results. The design that is created or generated is guaranteed, ahead of time, to be coherent, useful, and to have living structure.

    [end at 63:35]

  • daviding 9:03 am on April 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , personalized   

    The announcement by the Open Source Initiative OSI… 

    The announcement by the Open Source Initiative (OSI) of inBloom — an educational institution — as an affilate member contrasts to the major of OSI members who are centered on core technologioes.

    The Open Source Initiative ( is very pleased to announce … Affiliate Members: inBloom ( …  [....]

    inBloom is an independent nonprofit organization that provides efficient and cost-effective means for school districts to give teachers the information and tools necessary to strengthen their connection with each student. inBloom’s Secure Data Service enables widely varied educational tools to work together so that teachers can more easily tailor education to the needs, skill level and learning pace of each individual student. It can also engage parents more deeply in their children’s learning, and save teachers time and schools money. In addition, inBloom offers a substantial security upgrade to the common resources being used, including paper records or disconnected and antiquated databases with few security features.

    “inBloom intends to become a champion of open source software development in the context of educational tools for K12 and fully uphold the Open Source Definition. As a company that has built a disruptive technology for an industry where there is a lot of resistance to change, our mission mirrors that of the OSI as educators and advocates for the transparency and community involvement that is synonymous with open source software,” said Vincent Mayers, Open Source Community Manager at inBloom.

    “Open Source Initiative (OSI) announces new Affiliate Members” | Deb Bryant | March 12, 2014 at .

    Here’s a video of the inBloom vision.

    From the FAQ at

    Q: How is inBloom funded?

    inBloom was established as an independent, nonprofit organization to carry forward the mission of the Shared Learning Collaborative (SLC) and make personalized learning a reality for every student in America. inBloom is funded with initial philanthropic support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Carnegie Corporation of New York.

    inBloom services focus on data operability, with content search services the Learning Resources Metadata Initiative, the national Learning Registry, and the Common Core and other standards, and will support companies that want to create third-party applications.

    The open source project for developers has some starter apps.


  • daviding 8:03 am on April 5, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Saybrook in Japan: An International Collaboration for Innovation in Applied Systems Science | Gary Metcalf | March 11, 2014 | Rethinking Complexity 

    Gary Metcalf describes the annual meeting at the Tokyo Institute of Technology that we both attended, as well as development of a new program of Saybrook University jointly with Osaka Prefecture University.

    … at the seventh workshop and symposium about service systems science, hosted by Prof. Kyoichi (Jim) Kijima from the Tokyo Institute of Technology. The purpose of the event was “to describe visions of the society in ten years time, and to develop real ICT-based devices/products/services/networks to cope with challenges in an aging society to lead to a smart and sustainable society by co-creating new social value. In particular, Japan should be the lead market for overcoming [challenges of] an aging society…”  [...]

    The connection for this research into service systems goes back to a presentation by Jim Spohrer from IBM, at the 2005 meeting of the ISSS. [....]  IBM … began to work on this concept of a science of services (initially, Service Science, Engineering, Management, and Design – see a paper summarizing the ideas by Spohrer and Kwan at .)

    The interest in service systems in Japan came from many of the same concerns. Having been a manufacturing-based economy for decades, Japan found itself challenged by lower-cost labor in developing neighbor countries. The need to restructure its economic base was apparent, but not simple to achieve. The focus this year on aging societies comes from additional challenges, in that Japan has the highest percentage of older people, on average, in the world. If it can develop innovations for improving the livelihood of people 80 years and older, it is possible that it could create new export markets as well. Projections, for instance, are that China will have 100 million citizens over the age of 80 by the year 2050. A looming question is the relative economic potential. How high-tech, and how costly, can the innovations be, relative to the money available to pay for them?

    After a few days in Tokyo, Gary continued on to Osaka.

    My visit to Osaka was to get acquainted with Prof. Toshiyuki Matsui and his colleagues at Osaka Prefecture University (OPU), following his visit to Saybrook’s RC in January. OPU has recently received a grant from the Japanese government to develop a program for Systems-inspired Leaders in Material Science (SiMS). The program will support 20 students per year from departments across OPU, with a focus on research into materials science. Students will continue work on their degrees within their own departments, with additional courses including leadership and systems science, and an international internship, as parts of the new program.


    My trip to Japan provided the opportunity for a visit to OPU and the delivery of a presentation to faculty and propective students on systems sciences. What I learned again is how important language can be. In this case, it was not just English to Japanese. What I interpret as systems science, including theories and authors, was new to my Japanese colleagues. And we look forward to the opportunity to share our knowledge and understanding and develop common frames of reference.

    Saybrook in Japan: An International Collaboration for Innovation in Applied Systems Science | Gary Metcalf | March 11, 2014 | Rethinking Complexity at

    Osaka Prefecture University

  • daviding 6:46 pm on April 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: christopher alexander,   

    2011/05/02 Christopher Alexander, “The Battle To Bring Life and Beauty to the Earth”, Center for New Media, University of California, Berkeley 

    In 2011, Christopher Alexander was 75 years old, and fighting jet lag to talk about the book to would be released in 2012.  The pace of this lecture is slow.

    Video posted as “Christopher Alexander Lecture at Berkeley, California” at .

    This digest was created in real-time watching the recorded web video, based on the speaker’s presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship, posted on the Coevolving Innovations web site by David Ing.

    Lecture hosted by The Art, Technology and Culture Colloquium, at .

    [00:10]  Welcome by Ken Goldberg

    [02:30] Introduction on Greg Niemeyer

    Notes on the Synthesis of Form

    • There is a context, and there is a function.  The form is in between.
    • Both the context and the function are both unknown.  The trick is the find the form that matches both.

    What is a pattern for an introduction?

    • To bring you into the event


    • Alexander as a father and grandfather
    • Pattern language web site
    • Berkeley 1963-2001, where Alexander taught, connecting art, math, computer science
    • It makes no sense for all chairs to be the same, because we’re all different where we sit, so we should all have dining chairs that are slightly different to accommodate sizes and style.
    • Literature:  Notes on a Synthesis of Form 1968; A Pattern Language; Timeless Way of Building, Nature of Order

    [06:00] Pattern Language:

    • People will say they will use pattern 23 to figure out an architectural problem
    • I’m going to use pattern 56 to solve my computer science problem
    • I’m going to use pattern 21 to solve something like Facebook

    The pattern was not the message, the message was to find patterns, and to look for patterns, and to think about patterns.

    • And to see how patterns gradually emerge from the organic life that unfolds between  form and intention and context and function.

    Can look as buildings as well

    • Has created 200 or more buildings
    • Tokyo, Berkeley family houses, Albany, Oregon campus, Eishin campus in Tokyo

    Object oriented programming asks how methods exist independently of the space that they are created for.

    Versioning:  how many versions have you seen in the past?

    • Software, cars, products, things that you buy
    • Things always will change, we just have to admit they change, and embrace the change

    Another path:  awards

    [08:20] In Siena, there’s a wonderful plaza, valley of streets lead to the Piazzo del Campo

    [09:20] Please welcome Professor Christopher Alexander

    [Christopher Alexander comes on stage, puts microphone in pocket

    [10:45] Topic is so confusing, so complicated

    • At Berkeley, didn’t give a talk prepared in advance for 4 years

    [12:15] The discipline known as architecture has gone off the rails with some momentum, for 80 to 90 years

    [13:15] [Asked for pictures on mass production, takes a few minutes to organize]

    • B17 hangars in Seattle, 1940, not the first time mass production was done

    [14:50]:  An erector set for kids made around 1915

    Since then, the attempt to build buildings has been swamped with the use of mass-produced components

    • Seen as a blessing by some
    • Claims that it will be efficient and cheap are overblown
    • Nevertheless, it’s taken over the whole field of architecture

    The way that architecture is transmitted is through drawings

    • Architect doesn’t know how to make things
    • He or she draws, and some other organization makes buildings from the drawings
    • We’re so deeply into this way of thinking, it doesn’t sound like a blunder, it sounds like a practical thing to do

    [17:30] I’m bit wobbly.  [sits down]

    The organization of nature is essentially not modular, in a sense that architecture has been made modular

    • Molecules and atoms?  They’re different, from a quantum level

    The reality of things — dwelling on reality — comes from structure of something, which at every level, is highly complex and unique.

    • The idea that things can be made by assembly is a crackpot idea which does not work
    • It’s simply an idea that has swelled and expanded
    • From the child’s erector set, one gets a whole vision of the world, and how things in the world are to be made, and are made
    • They are made this way now

    [19:50] From the structural point of view, you can have this assembly, or arrangement of prefabricated parts — which to many architects is a gift from heaven, in a weird and meaningless intellectual pattern.

    [requests a picture of the 6 blossoms opening]

    A spray of flowers

    • Buds opening [showing 6 slides]

    In a situation like that, the whole is being transformed by many many processes that are going on roughly at the same time

    • And because of the way that that continuous unfolding is taking place, you have the beauty of the hawthorne bush coming about, as result of the unfolding process where everything develops together, and where its detailed organization is created by transformations that occur in the wholeness in the branch or plant
    • Architecture used to be like that, up to a couple of hundred years ago

    The complexity that a building needs and can be enjoyed and loved by the people who live there, or by the people who look at this or that window or rail … all has been cut short

    • You go out on the street and see nothing but crap
    • Large scale crap and small scale crap
    • It’s all be pieced together by simple-minded methods

    The ability of a building to work as a whole, and as something that is nurturing to human beings who live there or work there, or use it — all of that has been damanged collosally.

    • No one has had the courage, or the common sense to recognize this difficulty

    There are a few visionaries, or seers, who understand this, but can’t really find a way in contemporary society to earn a living in this way

    • The whole vehicle of construction does not have the capacity to deal with type of context-dependent creation of part and wholes and parts and wholes, and wholes nested within other wholes

    The vast majority of metropolitan areas are blackened by this disease.

    • Mental health is plummetting
    • The capacity to love — not necessarily one person to another — to love a dandelion or a mouse, or the front steps of the remnant of a building that might have been built 100 years ago, with the steps built by hand
    • The stairs, the treads, the risers, the lip, the overhand were all shaped in such a way that each piece precisely fit into the context that was being created with this evolving structure.

    [27:30] I am a person that builds

    • Some people who I have trained are doing their best to work this way
    • The question of large scale production on society has really not been tackled at all
    • We are prisoners of this calamitous situation

    The environment that we live in plays a colossal role in our lives

    [27:45] The main subject of this lecture is a project that we undertook in Japan in the early 1980s to build a campus outside Tokyo

    Unless one turns the methods and processes and production methods around, there is no way that human life on Earth can maintain itself or be a success.

    [31:45] The methods by which the human environment are built are damaged to an extreme and extraordinary dimension.

    I first began work on this issue in 1958.

    If you live in a systems of boxes, as most people do, you can barely struggle to achieve an effective life

    [33:50]  Saint Francis, who loved animals and birds, built a little chapel outside Assisi

    • It’s a tiny building, a marvellous place, made by Francis and his brethren over a number of years
    • In around the end of the 16th century, people thought St. Francis was so important that they would do the ultimate honour of building him a large baroque church, in which the tiny chapel was literally encased.
    • The baroque church was massive and ugly as hell, and rarely visited.
    • It was a foretelling of the forms of production which now exist in our society
    • This was a crackpot and unsuitable way to deal with Francis’ loving created

    [37:50] Can we, at all, hope to create a world in which things are made with judgement, with love, with adaptation, with continuous modification, with everything than transpires in what I have come to call System A.

    • Systems B is the production world of B17s, computers, prefabricated houses, supermarkets, factories, all of which we benefit from in a material level
    • But it does take away our birthright and heritage, and makes it almost impossible to be a full human being

    [39:50] I’m just going to show you some pictures that will run without my comments.

    • You’ll see this place which my colleagues and I have built, but still not finished
    • After you have looked at these pictures, I will tell you about the conditions under which these things can be done

    [42:45] Of course these buildings were not built from drawings in the normal fashion

    [photos shown in silence through to about 0:56:15]

    [57:30] The tea bushes with the white flags

    • The size of this campus is about 9 city blocks
    • After we had worked with our clients to produce a pattern language (which I won’t go into any detail on), what happened next was to lay out the buildings
    • We walked that site, dozens if not hundreds of times over
    • We tried to place ourselves in such a way that one could visualize very simple questions:  where is the best place to enter this campus; what is the first thing that you might want to come to
    • The flags were mostly about 6 foot high, bamboo stakes
    • We planted these flags and looked at them
    • We then planted them some more and looked at them again
    • We continued that operation until we felt comfortable walking the whole

    There were virtually no drawings at that time

    • There were some doodles
    • We paid attention to the position of the buildings, the height, the width
    • We were creating the space between the buildings with equal care and intensity
    • Gradually, we collectively formed a vision of what kinds of places there were, where they were
    • Our client client, Hosoi, was quite stunned, by the time we were finished — the flagging out phase was several month
    • He said, several times, in the months that had been passing:  we could see the buildings standing there — there were no buildings, at that point — but the situation was so real, he could see exactly what was happening, and what did happen

    [63:30] The staking out of these complex buildings would have been completely impossible in System B

    • If you were the employee or owner of a large planning firm, and were placing pencil to paper, or CAD-lines to printout, there would have been no possibility of creating the feeling that happened within any one single building of the whole lot
    • It would not have been conceivable to create a drawing
    • You can only do that kind of work with your own body, your own heart, with communications with the building crews
    • This is already one example of the huge departure from the current way of doing architecture
    • Currently, architecture is a discipline that has to do with making drawings, which are then transmitted to construction companies
    • The idea that one could actually inject profound feeling into such a process is quite funny

    It’s the most commonsensical thing you could possibly do, if you really want to lay out some buildings and build them

    [66:20] Once were we done the flagging, we began work on the individual buildings

    • Rudimentary paper and cardboard models, once we had the position and general dimensions from flagging out
    • Had hundreds of models, you don’t have to do them over or use an eraser
    • You can use glue and paper and balsa wood
    • Sometimes you can make one of the models in a day
    • They are extremely rough
    • The buildings follow this rudimentary models, so that the feelings that are being carried by each of us on the project, went all the way through to the execution of the buildings

    [69:00] We were the builders of this place, although we had some help, as we needed Japanese crews

    • The number of architecture students in the U.S. or England that could do this are probably 2%
    • What we did, did succeed, to a large degree

    Of course, during the course of construction, there were changes being made continuously

    • We were prudent with the money
    • We were skilled enough, so that when something came along on the site, and it because it was obvious it was too long or too short, or where were the windows, or the roof pitch — these were all being tested as they were going along — changes were made along the way, consistent with the budget that we carried

    [72:00]  The yakuza, the Japanese mafia were connected with the large construction organizations

    • The companies are huge, larger than American construction companies
    • It was said that they could swing a motion in Japanese parliament, on almost any issue
    • Mr. Hosoi, our chief client, was called to a meeting in Shinjuku, and sat down with some of the Japanese contractors and their representatives
    • They wanted him to get Alexander out of Japan
    • The reason wasn’t because we were doing better work
    • The reason was our work was lower in price than the going rate
    • It was a colossal potential embarrassment for the Japanese construction industry.
    • The failed to get me out of Japan
    • They were not incompetent from an engineering point of view
    • They feared the whole industry would collapse from its present form, if they were not able to stop the types of activities were were engaging in.
    • They knew we were responsible people
    • We had to make a number of political deals to continue and complete the work
    • It wasn’t quite completed, as there were 2 college buildings and a library that were not built

    [79:20] We had been writing a book — it’s about 500 pages — describing this production system we created, and how it worked

    • They did manage to force us to a compromise

    This book might have the effect of altering the path of construction companies in all of the countries of the world

    • It’s possible, but I doubt that I’ll see it in my lifetime

    [81:40] The real issue is life is the only criterion for the construction of the environment

    • That’s not what is happening today

    [82:20] I’m getting tired now

    I’m going to read you a short page

    The creation of life and of the living is and must be the fundamental criterion for our activities when we build the environment

    • Whether they be freeway building, housing projects, tracts, etc.

    Now, can we truthfully say that the Eishin campus is a living structure, and that any structure that is living (like the Eishin campus) is a very rare event, difficult to achieve in practice, a kind of structure not easy to replicate?

    • The theory of replicating this structure, an achievable structure, can be made actual, practical, and workable.
    • We must make this available in our present day society
    • Even though it is hard, it is useless for us to see it only as a target, not realizable in practice
    • The non-living structures which have surrounded us on earth for about a hundred years have undermined human society at a gigantic cost to us, our fellow beings
    • The paradigm of the robot, or simulation of living structure, do not have the attributes of living structure, and are not and cannot be living environments.
    • This must be achieved, now.
    • Social disorder, mental illness, failure to keep pace with spiritual understanding, children, animals, plants form a rich fabric.  This rich fabric does not its own bill of rights
    • Although artificial, complex layered structure of our environment are forms of life, and useful semi-living machines are helpful in medicine.
    • But we are not yet living as living soulful creatures and will not be until the necessary structures of living society and living environments are soulfully present.
    • This is not only a criticism of the physical structure of buildings and towns.
    • We have the information to reach this state.
    • Many books written in the last 100 years have by now spelled out detailed information about living structure, how the structure must be supported, cared for, regulated, how the structure can be maintained in vibrant and living state of hell.
    • We have no excuse for neglecting our knowledge.
    • We must act on what we know, and we must make use of the rich field of architecture with the information that is now available.

    I’ve tired myself out.


    I was curious about how can buildings create unconditional love.

    • Did I say that?  I said some pretty crappy things, but I don’t think that I said as bananas as that.
    • Unconditional?
    • When a building is being properly made, its internal organization — its human organization — that means that whoever the people are that are working on that building, are in a position where they speak and make from love.
    • This does not mean some soupy romanticism.
    • If we love honesty, our fellowing beings and the places where we are, then the kinds of things that you see on the screen will arise.
    • It’s not magic, it has to do with the intensity and dedication to which you do your best

    I had a girlfriend that I loved intensely, and it went horribly wrong.  I wish for something passionate and lasting.

    • Of course it can go wrong.  You think I’m a magician?

    In computer programming and in art, to get people to spend the time with passion, it will be a type of spiritualism?  I hear what you’re saying, it’s hard, we’re trying.

    • Trying takes certain forms.
    • It just depends how far you’re willing to go.
    • People who have experienced this way of making things won’t give it up

    Where do you see the next 200 years?

    • Attention to detail.
    • If you want to make a room — a livingroom in a house — can you concentrate enough to make that room a nest or something.
    • It’s a real task
    • It’s not nonsense
    • It’s not, generally speaking, being taught by architecture professors
    • It’s a perfectly feasible and practical venture

    [96:00] Examples of how the campus was built with love? Materials or design?

    • Fairly ordinary, but put together in somewhat unusual ways.

    Structural plan, different for each environment?  Carry over to architecture.

    • In an organism, there are wholes at many different levels.
    • There are wholes within those wholes.
    • It’s not possible to attempt to build a structure by just arranging these things
    • They butt up against their context, they butt up against the container.  If the container can not give up flexibly, you’ll be looking at a monkey’s ass.
    • You need the positions of the doors, and the windows, and the nature of the floor:  there is give-and-take between the larger wholes, and the wholes you’ll fill them up with.
    • If you say, let’s have the container be a rigid factory-made entity, the size of a house, then how are going to place the front door, given this lunatic shell, because this isn’t where the door wants to be.
    • The small wholes and the large wholes have to be in a give and take relationship.
    • Mushin Mato Wambli 12:59 pm on April 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      What struck me as the prophetic sensitive understanding of a wise father father and grandfather is the comment 27:45 to 39:50. Here is the quote verbatim for researchers to reflect upon and the depth of Christopher’s passionate desire as a human co-architect offering a new story of loving and be loved within the circling encounters we attend to as ordinary common interactive designers in our daily living.

      Truly a phenomenal insight transforming our notions of becoming human designers in a meaningful way building a new world together.

      “I am a person that builds…the question of large scale production (architecture)…..The environment we live in as society has been not really tackled at all. So we are prisoners of this horrific situation, a calamitous situation, and the love a human being carries in his or her heart in relationship to the world where they live.

      All of that is essentially broken down. Of course, there is remanent’s in which people maybe fortunately enough to experience. But it is not the norm in which architecture is done. You may say architecture is not so important perhaps. I believe that is very far from the truth. The environment that we live in plays a colossal role in our lives; in our spiritual lives, in our everyday lives, and in our fun and games lives. And what can happen to people living in this period of history is devastating….devastating.

      Now, the main subject of this lecture is a project started in 1980’s building a campus outside Tokyo Japan. I am saying that unless one turns the methods, processes, and production…methods…around their is no way that human life on earth can maintain itself or be a success. This is a colossal problem, utterly un-acknowledged, except by a few people who rant and rave. S0, just to be clear as possible, the methods by which the human environment are built have damaged (the earth and it’s people) by extreme and extraordinary limits.

      I first began my serious work on this in 1958 to 2011. I have achieved a tiny bit of the steps needed to begin to address the horrific situation I have described, to make it possible, for people, to not only love the places where they live, but even to love one another. These matters are all connected. And if you in a system of boxes, as most people do, you can barely struggle to achieve an effective life.

      A humorous story from St. Francis of Assisi (Oct 3 1181/82 to Oct 3 1226) around 1220 he loved birds and animals and here is a very funny visual image not known to you and many others. He built a little chapel made by Francis and his brothers. (Porziuncola, the little chapel of St. Mary of the Angels just outside the town, which later became his favorite abode. Around the end of of the 16th century that thought for him they would build for him a baroque Basilica that was massive and ugly as hell, and rarely visited. A foretelling of future production in our society today. Not everything old is beautiful. This was a complete crackpot idea, unsuitable, inappropriate way to deal with St. Francis’s lovingly created chapel. I know this is an odd story to throw in but it is a serious story.

      So, the question is can we at all hope to create a world in which things are made with judgement, with love, with adaptions, with continuous modifications, with everything that transpires in the system which I have come to call “System A.” “System B” is the production world which I have come to call the production world of the B-17’s, and the production of computers, prefabrication houses, supermarkets, and factories, and so forthin which we benefit in living on some material level. But it does not take away our birth right and heritage. And it makes it almost impossible to be a human being. I am sure you think I am exaggerating. I don’t think so myself.”

      The Order of Earth (Maka Si Tomni Institute) V3W LLC (Velocity in the Third Wave Renaissance)

  • daviding 6:16 pm on April 2, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: emergence, self-organization, terence deacon   

    2014/02/25 18:00 Terence Deacon, “Emergence: Why self-organization is not enough”, U. of Toronto 

    Abstract for Terence Deacon talk:

    How can living and mental “selves” exhibit properties that are so unlike the properties of the inanimate, insentient material processes that constitute them? Can an account of how order spontaneously arises from chaotic beginnings in so-called “self-organizing” processes solve these mysteries?  this talk will demonstrate how self-organizing processes work, explain why they alone cannot solve these mysteries, but hen show how certain higher order relationships between self-organizing processes do create selves.

    Wiegand Memorial Foundation Lecture Series, Vivian & David Campbell Conference Facility, Munk School of Global Affairs

    Welcome by Jay Pratt, vp of dean and infrastructure

    Weigand interest:  in larger questions, science and faith

    This digest was created in real-time during the meeting, based on the speaker’s presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship, by David Ing.

    Professor Terence Deacon, anthropology, U. California Berkeley

    Terence Deacon, speaking at U. of Toronto, Feb. 25, 2014


    Neuroscientists, evolutionary anthropologist, but will talk little about brains today

    Will take about self, as neither physical nor energetic

    • Spans science, philosophy and faith

    Dilemma we’re stuck in:  are we homunculi (little guys in head with little guys in heads) or golems (machines with biological circuitry)

    • Hero or villian:  Descartes says separation between mental and physical

    Will argue that dualistic argument is wrong

    • A first step

    Pansyschicims myserianism, of how cells respond as they do, doesn’t answer questions on value or meaning

    Elimininative materialism: there’s really nothing there

    Contemporary science makes us humans aliens in this university

    • Scientience, ideas and purposes as fictions
    • Saying that we don’t exist, that meaning and value are mere social inventions
    • This is an invitation for nihilims
    • It’s machines all they way down, an empty view of the world, leads to secular governance

    Our current science is part of the problem

    Prigogine & Stengers:  We need an understanding of nature that has us as its products

    • Grand physics says we’re glued together atoms and molecules
    • Feelings, experience and agency as absurb

    Daniel Dennett, favourite, but argue about a lot

    • Agree:  Now there are selves.  There was a time when there were none.  Thus, there is a true story to be told.
    • Story of lifeless matter become value, worrying beings
    • We want to explain it, not explain it away

    Problem:  What’s the boundary of myself?

    • We’re filled with bacteria that we need
      • Huge number of micro-organisms:  are they part of myself, as me, my DNA and my bacteria?
    • Holistic problem of entangled web, every living thing depends on other living things, aren’t autonomous
      • Can’t leave the planet
      • Should I pay attention to linkages?

    Will argue a denial of both of the above stories

    Another story:  my self isn’t in my body, it is just in the body, it’s immaterial and immortal

    • Separation of spirits, souls, essential you
    • Find in spiritual practices

    Properties of self

    • Autonomy, don’t have to breath every moment
    • Locus of agency, if I want to give a talk, I give a talk, I’m not a clockwork,
    • Substrate is indifferent and transferrable, in space and in time, the me here today isn’t the same physical thing as the one giving a talk 2 yeas ago
    • Separate from the world, self-other difference
    • Self doesn’t change with body, asynchronous
    • Body is physically open, things come in and out
    • Impredicate, really hard to define what I’m talking about, because self is self-referential and circular
    • Interiority:  consciousness, the feeling of subjective self, the quality of being, my interior perspective isn’t your interial
    • Mortal, non-conserved, may not be around forever


    Plato’s eidos, what the world is made of, the ideal forms

    • Eternal, non-physical, unchanging
    • The circles we see aren’t the perfect forms, things approximate the ideal

    Inherited into spirital or soul

    • Eternal
    • Non-physical
    • Unchanging
    • Character, has a structure, like a form
    • Temporarily embodied

    When we try to construct self, some of the above features work

    • However, explaining self is difficult

    Won’t spend much time explaining mental self, because it’s hard

    • Mental self is with animals with brains, millions of years of evolution

    Try simpler:  organism self or vegetative self

    • I worry about my life
    • Protecting, reinterpreting
    • Organisms are all about self
    • Start with what is organism self, may get to what is subjective self

    Simpler than any bacterium, but bacteria are complicated, they protect themselves, reproduce themselves

    The problem with life:  the increase in entropy.

    • World tends to get messy, as there are more ways to be messy than ways to be ordered
    • Entropy:  second law of therodynamics
    • Laws of physics don’t prevent reversal of the second law of thermodynamics, entropy is a tendency
    • Just unlikely that things will go the other direction, which is the key to life

    Playing billiards backwards

    • Could do this is actuators so that could go back

    Emergent dynamics

    • 1. Homeodynamics (thermodynamics): spontaneously
    • 2. Morphodynamics:  no self in “self-organization”, even though that’s the language people use, falling into form, doesn’t violate the second law of thermodynamics
    • 3. Teleodynamics (life, evolution, semiosis), with an end:  dynamics that don’t just make order, but make a specific end, the logic of purposes
    • Organisms do this, they try to protect themselves, they seek out contexts in the world that support this
    • Can get this tendency

    Three famous self-organizing morphodynamic processes, explained through Maximum Entropy Production

    • Rayliegh-Bernard convection: local, requires constantly putting heat into fluid
    • Vortex formation:  after chaos, stabilizes into order, like water moving downstream to regularize flow, constantly, down a drain
    • Snow crystal growth:  formed from random accumulation, under Brownian motion, regularized by having molecules constantly being added, giving off heat

    Far from equilibrium, constantly disturbing

    Constraints are internal to systems

    • Water constrained into circles, as other paths take more energy
    • Also offloads heat and entropy faster
    • Self-simplifying dynamics, makes more regular

    Bernard convection cell formation

    • If don’t have oil available, use miso soup
    • Passive convection can peel off heat into air
    • If heat to really hot, conduction can’t give up heat as fast as you give it
    • Get roll cells moving, convects, more direct pathways out
    • They form hexagons, fluids moving
    • Hexagonal flagging is common, the most efficient way to pack regular solids

    Problem:  as soon as turn off heat, organizations goes away

    Snow crystals: they capture history of formation, tells story of temperature, pressure, humidity

    • A history of self-organization
    • After snow crystal freeze, what happens next?  They don’t protect selves

    The self-organization paradox

    • Organism’s ability to persist and reproduce depends on its ability to counter the tendency to break down
    • Depends on self-organizing processes
    • But process most efficiently destroys the gradients that produce them
    • They are intrisically self-undermining, so they’re not a good explanation for organisms

    So, self-organization is not enough

    • Organisms must find a way to use self-organization against itself, as a way to generate order

    Hint from Kant:  1790 Critique of Teleological Judgement

    • Do living things have intrinsic purpose?
    • Says no, but they look like they do
    • A machine has solely motive power, whereas an organized being has inherent formative power
    • It can impart material devoid of formative power, material which it organizes

    Biology can’t rely on just self-organization, though

    Autopoesis:  means self-fabrication, organizations make self

    • Francisco Varela, with Humberto Maturana
    • An autopoetic system — the minimal living organization — is one that continuously produces the components that specify it, while at the same time realizing it (the system) as a concrete unity in space and time
    • Parts making parts making each other (similar to autocatalysis)
    • Result:  fails to distinguish organization from chemical autocatalysis
    • But based in process that is self-undermining

    Reciprocal catalysis

    • Molecule breaks apart, release some energy with that
    • An autocatalytic set:  release of energy that produces a product

    Self-assembly in viruses and cells:

    • A lot of structure is the result of things falling together spontaneously
    • By shape
    • Just build a lot of parts, and they all fall together
    • Phospholipids have head that love water and tails that hate water, thus forming sheets
    • e.g. microtubules tend to fall together

    When comparing reciprocal catalysis with self-assembly, they’re complementary

    • Each produces the others’ boundary constraints

    Worked with some thought experiments:  how to put molecules together so that reciprocal catalysis works together with self-assembly

    • Autogenesis
    • Coupled together, produces something that will protect itself
    • If break apart again, they will restart processes that will destroy self

    It’s not so easy to do in labs

    Reciprocity is how to get to self:  a work cycle

    • Once produce a lot of components, it will allow self-assembly
    • Once a lot of self assembly, then will have closure steps

    Each creates boundary conditions that makes the other more likely to occur:  self-healing

    • Held together by a constraint:  a synergy constraint on types of self-organization
    • Will reproduce selves, and a extrinsic constraing

    The synergy constraint is the locus of self

    • Not a physical or chemical constraint
    • Its a constraint

    Call this dynamical process Teleodynamics

    • Produces:
    • Self / other
    • Normativity

    Self is emergent, not eternal

    • Autonomous
    • Individuated
    • Teleological
    • Subjective
    • Asynchronous
    • Efficacious
    • Transient

    Constitutive absences

    • Parts all work together
    • When have minimally sentient
    • From Tao #11, a variant:  30 spokes converge at a wheel’s hub
    • The kind of constraint, the kind of absence is what we are
    • We are here in the world, as a constraint

    A plug for the book:  incomplete nature

    • The self is something else
    • It’s not extended in the self, in the mechanism

    Even though self is not composed of stuff that makes us up, it can have physical effects in the world


    Was reading about how children play games, moving self into counterfactuals.  Not physical selves moving in.

    • When trying to learn things, we repeat to selves, and get better at them
    • Mental practice of physical skills, get better at that
    • It’s just information, not the physical moving of body
    • Brain could be active as if really doing the skill

    Difference between information and organization?

    • A big question
    • Currently researching how to redefine information
    • Need to have constraints that can be passed from substrate to substrate, while maintaining itself
    • 1940s Shannon and Weaver as pattern, like bits on computer, but this isn’t information, it’s the media that carries information
    • If no one to look at computer screen, the data would be about nothing
    • Organization as constraint on variety
    • Have to have teleodynamics, self, that attaches to something else in the world that needs to know, that can look through the pattern
    • When reading book, it’s not in the ink, it’s about something, where is the aboutness, it’s virtual and absence with what is present
    • Need a process that has self


    • Believe that every biological system has a semiotic aspect to it
    • Most of interest was initiative by interest in Peirce, semiotic
    • Develop an information theory, from the physics up instead of from phenomenology down
    • How a molecular can be, an aboutness, that is semiotic
    • Want to give first steps
    • An attempt to build a different semiotics, how to value information
    • Function is an end, teleological
    • Science needs a semiotic theory
    • Semiotics has been trapped in the machine part of the Cartesian separation

    Energy gradient?

    • Self-organizing process are extrinsically-driven
    • In life, some constraints are intrinsically-driven
    • Not just chemical or physical
    • We are self-organizing, just not only self-organizing

    Constraints intrinsic in the universe?  Do we live in a chaotic universe that makes life inevitable?

    • Yes, life inevitable
    • But we need a broader view of life
    • Should show up
    • Life, but maybe more general
    • Life-like things that work, call morphoto, using morphology
    • Had to start simple, and had to capture synergies and constraints to produce self
    • Violates local thermodynamics

    Evolving self.  Considering a point that self falls to, emancipated self, or self with no problem? Self throughout the world?  Point where it becomes not evolving, just being

    • Life is far from equilibrium
    • Red Queen problem, need to keep running faster just to keep up
    • Evolution is inevitable
    • Is evolution teleological?  Don’t think so, think evolution is spontaneous, and complex
    • Living processes can’t get much simpler, but no end to how complex they can become
    • Can try all directions, spontaneous
    • Self is emancipated from the stuff, we’re not floating in space, unlikely to offload ourselves onto devices, but we could be looking for higher order selves
    • Looking at communicating processes, fads, propaganda — they may destabilize, but could also stabiliize
    • As a member of an ecosystem, could turn things around
    • Morphodynamic:  uses more and more resources, structure comes out us, but we have limited resources (e.g. fossil fuels as used up)
    • Hope:  the process of the origins of life, and self-organization hope that those that conserve self-reproduce faster
  • daviding 4:31 pm on March 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Positive experience @Xerox 2nd level support Tyler on 3320/DNI printer for 2 hours to diagnose problem and configure. Standard CDROM USB installation wouldn’t recognize wireless WEP key. Tyler took over Win 7 browser, mystified. Hardwired printer to Ethernet, configured via browser, still no progress. Finally in onscreen panel, went to Wireless settings, cleared all, and were then able to configure wireless. Haven’t had this level of consumer care since IBM used to sell PCs. Tyler recognized that I wasn’t a novice computer user, and knew as much as he did. Like the design of the Xerox hardware, more than impressed with the software, and the professionalism in service was outstanding. All from a Xerox Phaser and Network Support call to 1-800-835-6100.

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