Saturday, January 27, 2007

Open-source Dells. There may be some semblence of reason in this godforsaken place...
Thm: The universe is rational.
Pf: The proof is left to the reader as an exercise.

Posted answers will be graded on a sliding scale of irrationality.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Inventor and artificial intelligence theorist Ray Kurzweil has promoted life extension for years, and revisited the theme in his latest books, Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever and The Singularity Is Near, When Humans Transcend Biology. PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel recently donated $3.5 million to the Methuselah Foundation, the longevity research organization created by Aubrey de Grey, a computer programmer who claims that humans could live for 1,000 years.

Another resveratrol devotee and computer programmer who asked to remain anonymous has gone even further and embraced calorie restriction -- another method unproven in humans that's associated with radical life extension.

"Engineers accept that anyone who understands a system also has the power to change it," he says. "A real engineer refuses to accept bugs in any code, whether his own, his tools, his operating system or his own body."


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

How's this for a grad school? I'd be all over that... Consciousness studies? What could be more interesting, more fulfilling? What could be more difficult, more terrifying? What could more deeply and directly challenge everything you are and know? Just reading the publication list makes my heart rate increase. The problem with studying consciousness is that it's sort of like playing the lottery; chances are, the only benefit you'll get from it is the thrill of trying to understand, you know you probably won't come out of it with any real revelations or total enlightenment and understanding. I wonder what these people do with PhD's in Consciousness Studies...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

You know it's a good winter's day in Chicago when it doesn't matter if your shoelaces are tied; when the wind picks them up and holds them several inches above your shoes, there's really no way you can trip over them.

The death of McDonalds:

I am going to start raising funds for the Get-Jata-A-Mac Charitable Trust.
Why: Because I can no longer succeed in computer science with the Operating-System-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named, as my professor has duly informed me.
Funds needed: Approx. $2000
Desired hardware: 15" 2.16GHz MacBook Pro (160GB HD)
**If you are interested in donating, please contact me asap.**

Apparantly the federal deficit will be gone in five years.... Whatever you say, Dubya. Although to be fair, he did cut our deficit in half way ahead of schedule, and he has some interesting ideas in regards to insurance, taxation, and health care. Ah, well. Happy State of the Union.

Constructive criticism for my finite state machine? Enjoy...

#! /usr/bin/python2.4


# Created by: Parijata Mackey on Mon Jan 22 2007
# Purpose: Simulate a Finite State Machine
# Contract: fsm string -> "accept" or "reject"
# Filename:


# Import modules, initialize variables.
import ConfigParser
import sys
import string
accepting = 'false'

# Process input from cmd line.
fsm_data = open(sys.argv[1])
inputs - sys.argv[2]

# Process fsm file from argv[1]. Define states (set of names), currstate (set of current states), accstate (set of accepting states).
config = ConfigParser()
states = config.get('states','names').split(',')
currstate = config.get('states','start')
accstate = config.get('states','end').split(',')


# Create a dictionary to be filled.
filldict = {}
# Create transition function dictionaries and put them in a list.
for state in states:
state = state.strip()
links = {}
paths = config.get('transitions',state).split('.')
for path in paths:
p = path.strip()[0]
if links.has_key(p):
errormsg = "Reject: Nondeterministic automata: ' + path.strip() + ' and '+ p + ':' +
print errormsg
# Detects nondeterministic automata and exits early.
links[p] = path.strip()[2:]


# Put filldict into a list; retrieve correct dictionary from list based on currstate.
filldict[state] = links
for i in inputs:
if filldict.has_key(currstate):
links = filldict[currstate]
errormsg = 'Reject: Nonexhaustive transition function: Current state (' + currstate + ') has no transition state.'
print errormsg
# Detects nonexhaustive transition function and exits early.


# If there is a path, follow it. (ancient druid custom)
if links.has_key(i):
currstate = links[i]
elif links.has_key('*'):
currstate = links['*']
errormsg = 'Reject: Nonexhaustive transition function: missing + i'
print errormsg
# Detects nonexhaustive transition functino and exits early.


# Determine if accepting state is reached. Set accepting state if reached to "True", if not reached, well, too bad.
for loc in accstate:
if currstate == loc:
print 'Accept: For this state, Accepting state reached successfully.'
print 'Reject: For this state, Failed to reach accepting state.'

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Quantum biology... those words send tingles down my spine. It's here at last...

Sunday, January 14, 2007


Is it worth it, really, to be in love with something that will never love you back? To be so enchanted by something, to live every aspect of your life through it, to look at everything through its lens, to breathe because of it, to live and die by it, to work and strive and pity and fall and hope and hate and learn and cry by its will, to live out your very existence depending on it, to the point where to live it and love it are the same thing? Such is my love for neuroscience. I began my love affair with the brain when I was a child. Perhaps before that. Perhaps it began when I was a jumble of microtubules and cell-to-cell signal molecules, eleven weeks after conception, when the first waves of electrical activity began in the structures that would later become the brain. My brain. So weird. Such a bizarre concept, consciousness, one that has puzzled philosophers and scientists alike since the sentience of man. You can know everything that ever can be known about the physiology and electrochemistry of the brain, and it is possible to imagine that we still wouldn’t be any closer to answering the timeless big questions.

We’re getting there, no question, with theoretical neuroscience gathering prestige, with information technology keeping pace with computational neuroscience, and with reputable universities offering Ph.D.’s in “Consciousness Studies” (see: University of Mumbai). It just seems more likely, unfortunately, that we will keep amassing data and churning out great theories and testable hypotheses, but we won’t be able to step out of the box, to look at us from outside the system, and so we will never know.

But, damn it, that’s the point, isn’t it? The journey isn’t heroic if you know you’ll be successful. The most admirable quests are the ones with an almost guaranteed rate of failure. And none of these scientists, these wonderful scientists, know if the fruits of their labor will ever be produced; every one of them is a fighter, a scientist, a philosopher, a hero. And every one of them will probably fail. God bless them, those scientists, if I believed in God; they are an inspiration to us all. It’s a reason to stay up studying past 4am, it’s a reason to go to optional discussion classes in below-freezing weather, it’s a reason to worship caffeine, it’s a reason to never stop trying. I can’t lose this, I won’t lose this. As far as I can see, each and every one of us has only got one shot at this, one shot to do whatever we want to do within a lifetime. I want to know, I want to understand. I want this. And I will have it.



Chicks dig it when you walk them to their door, then pick their lock for them.
Warning: This may just creep them out.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Alas, There is no hope for the human race...