Eiron’s Archives 04

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( Please feel free to imagine as well that you can send 100,000,000 volts through the whole lot whenever you are so minded. )

To sum up : Experience has so far shown us that for a being to be intelligent, it must be extremely complex. But one should never make the mistake of assuming that the reverse is true.

Dear JeffBlanket

Of course, by now, the concept of Moore’s Lawviz. that computers roughly double their speed every 18 months – has almost become a cliché. One must not forget though that computers – however lightning fast they are, require software to run.

And what, I expect you are wondering, is the rate of progress for doubling software efficiency ? You may be surprised to learn that the development rate is not measured in months as the hardware is – it is measured in decades.

As a rule of thumb, software tends to become twice as efficient in a period of somewhere between 10 and 20 years.

And the implications ? It is quite hard to think of a suitable analogy, but we can be sure that we are now faced with the disturbing reality that, in general, we are employing hopelessly inadequate outdated and unsophisticated software on lightning-fast hardware.

Imagine that you are running your Ferrari Testarossa on a mixture of powdered coal and butchers tallow and you won’t be far off the mark.

Dear 27245dvbs0s

I confess that prior to your communication, I had never heard of Coulrophobia.

Subsequent though to a search through my extensive library of medical and psychological conditions, I now know that it is defined as ‘ a fear of clowns ’.

You have my sympathies, and I will not insult you by trying to point out ( as I’ll warrant many would ) that a ‘phobia’ by definition, is an irrational fear.

Instead, by means of a distraction strategy, I would like to attempt assistance by indicating that there are a great many other things which we really should be afraid of. In fact, as I like to point out, fear is often admirably utilitarian.

As an example, fear of raging bulls ( sorry, I don’t have the correct medical term to hand ) has probably saved a great many lives over the years. As has, say, a fear of sharp objects, or slimy things.

Personally, I don’t consider myself in any way phobic, but I can affirmatively reveal that I do have one persistently tenacious ‘ fear ’ which is seemingly becoming ever more potent as years go by. It is a fear of political leaders. But I do not in any way see this as an encumberment. In fact I very much intend to keep it keenly honed at all times.

Hmmmm. It has just occurred to me that I too might have a form of Coulrophobia .

Dear Tr4kW3m

Your ‘theory’ , which, for reasons of copyspace I won’t reproduce here, is a wonderful cornucopia of circular definitions.

Allow me to demonstrate what I mean by a ‘ circular definition ‘.

Consider this rock-solid formula – devised by none other than Isaac Newton himself :

f = ma     i.e.   [force] = [mass] x [acceleration]

Nowadays, it is utterly taken for granted by every physicist, and every schoolboy/girl science student too.

But allow me, if you will, to scrutinise it a little more closely.

For we may ask – what, exactly, is a ‘force’ ?
A force is that which can accelerate a mass.

And a ‘mass’ ?
A mass is that which can be accelerated by a force.

See the problem ?

Without wishing to undermine Newton’s undoubted talents, what I ask, is the illuminative utility of such a formula ? Granted, yes, it works. It has worked every time it has ever been measured – to unimaginable levels of accuracy. It is without doubt a supremely useful mathematical tool.

But what does it ultimately tell us about the underlying nature of things ?

One might as well say :

[thing] = [thing] x [yet another undefined thing]

Dear zIPpAKippa

If I have understood you correctly, you are of the opinion that the most important aspect in ‘ the definition of a living entity ’ is the ability to reproduce.

You assert that “ It is self evident that if an entity cannot reproduce, it cannot be said to fall into the philosophical category of ‘ lifeforms ‘ “

That will no doubt come as very disappointing news to all mules.

Dear cL0wdB4se

You ask my opinion on the new(ish) trend regarding ‘plastic corks’ for wine bottles.

Manifestly, the lexical dyad ‘ plastic cork ‘ is a blatant oxymoron. There can be no such thing as a ‘ plastic cork ’. A cork, is, by definition, made of cork – not plastic. One may certainly come across a ‘plastic winebottle stopper’ – but not a ‘ plastic cork ’.

There ( thankfully) is no such thing.

So. If you would like to know my thoughts regarding plastic winebottle stoppers . . .

On a semi-regular basis I amuse myself by focussing my olfactory endeavours in trying to identify the various flavoursome component chemicals which make up the bouquet of fine wines – and Ethylene Vinyl Acetate is certainly not one of them.

Dear Botolph_gdns

Yes. I do agree that, as a social scientist, you are quite right to be concentrating on ‘ rapidly rising crime levels across Britain ‘.

I cannot agree however with your analysis regarding possible negative consequences.

I prefer to look at it this way :

If there was no crime there would be no need for a police force. Tens of thousands would therefore become unemployed.

And what of the hordes of expensive criminal lawyers and court officials ? They would be redundant.

The grey and black-market in stolen goods would collapse. Therefore the less well-off would be forced to pay more for new items.

Insurance companies could no longer charge for burglary cover. Etc etc.

In short, criminals are one of the most efficient groups for stimulating and maintaining economic growth.

Am I annoying you ? Well, it’s not my fault, complain to Karl Marx – he explained it all long before I did.

Dear Mc_Hack_77

I can’t say that I’m all that impressed by your claim that you have “ independently developed a quantum-effect electromagnetic detection device “.

Regrettably, I must disappoint – and inform you that I believe that the work which you are doing lacks novelty.

To illustrate, I have two quantum-effect electromagnetic detector assemblies myself. And they were given to me more than half a century ago ! They still work astonishingly well, and can readily detect the tiniest quantum-induced electron mobility changes. They are small, water resistant, extremely reliable, consume very little power, and are sufficiently sensitive to detect low-energy photons arriving from the furthest reaches of the galaxy.

They’re called eyes.

How do they compare to your new device ?

Exactly.

Do feel free to contact me again though if the continuation of your ‘work’ manages in some way to upstage Nature.

Dear non_qujill

Naturally I am aware of the work which has been done on human pheromones – and their likelihood – or not, of working as a reliable method of attracting ‘mates’.

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