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Todd Hoff

Todd Hoff

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Utopian for Beginners - The New Yorker -
Utopian for Beginners - The New Yorker
"Quijada’s invented language has two seemingly incompatible ambitions: to be maximally precise but also maximally concise. Photograph by Dan Winters. CREDIT TYPOGRAPHY BY AJ FRACKATTACK There are so many ways for speakers of English to see the world. We can glimpse, glance, visualize, view, look, spy, or ogle. Stare, gawk, or gape. Peek, watch, or scrutinize. Each word suggests some subtly different quality: looking implies volition; spying suggests furtiveness; gawking carries an element of social judgment and a sense of surprise. When we try to describe an act of vision, we consider a constellation of available meanings. But if thoughts and words exist on different planes, then expression must always be an act of compromise. Languages are something of a mess. They evolve over centuries through an unplanned, democratic process that leaves them teeming with irregularities, quirks, and words like “knight.” No one who set out to design a form of communication would ever end up with... more... - Todd Hoff from Bookmarklet
"Brown never succeeded in creating more logical thinkers, and today the stronger versions of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis have “sunk into . . . disrepute among respectable linguists,” as Guy Deutscher writes, in “Through the Looking Glass: Why the World Looks Different in Other Languages.” But, as Deutscher points out, there is evidence to support the less radical assertion that the... more... - Todd Hoff
"Human interactions are governed by a set of implicit codes that can sometimes seem frustratingly opaque, and whose misreading can quickly put you on the outside looking in. Irony, metaphor, ambiguity: these are the ingenious instruments that allow us to mean more than we say. But in Ithkuil ambiguity is quashed in the interest of making all that is implicit explicit. An ironic statement is tagged with the verbal affix ’kçç. Hyperbolic statements are inflected by the letter ’m." - Todd Hoff
"“For me [Lakoff], as a linguist looking at this, I have to say, ‘O.K., this isn’t going to be used.’ It has an assumption of efficiency that really isn’t efficient, given how the brain works. It misses the metaphor stuff. But the parts that are successful are really nontrivial. This may be an impossible language,” he said. “But if you think of it as a conceptual-art project I think it’s fascinating." - Todd Hoff
What language will computers use to talk to each other at higher levels? REST/JSON etc aren't really a language at all, the are ways to bind parts of a grammar. In a way computer to computer communication will be a kind of telepathy. Thoughts and data showing up in the mind of another. - Todd Hoff
It's all just bits, no? - Victor Ganata
That's the same as saying language is all phonemes. True, but it's an emergent layer or two too low. - Todd Hoff
I mean, when you say computers, do you mean what we have now, or do you mean AI? Because for what we have now, all meaning is supplied by the programmer and the user. - Victor Ganata
Like, a computer doesn't know that 1=true, 0=false. The programmer assigns those bits those meanings. - Victor Ganata
If knowing is doing then doesn't a computer know this in the very heart of its CPU? - Todd Hoff
But you could just as easily assign 1=false, 0=true, and write code accordingly, and the computer will still do what it does. - Victor Ganata
I mean, I guess we do have programs that write other programs without being a full-blown AI, so you'd really need to teach it a language, but it would nevertheless still be designed by humans and therefore be a human language. - Victor Ganata
Languages evolve out of utility. They accomplish something. There's nothing a human could devise that would last beyond the first emergent layer. So I guess it's silly of me to wonder what they would come up with. But I still wonder. - Todd Hoff
Well, the original spec wouldn't survive, but whatever emerges will use the original spec as raw material. - Victor Ganata
In the same way that a quark that makes up the proton in an atom relates to your typing the above message. You can drill down the emergent layers of life, which built on chemistry, which is built on physics, which is built on whatever the underlaying bits of the universe are made out of, but that quark has no direct relevance to your behaviour. - Todd Hoff
All I'm saying is that computers (at least today) don't have intentionality. They just process bits as instructed. You need intentionality to generate language. - Victor Ganata from iPhone
But that was the wonder. When they do, what will the language look like? I'm not sure what you are arguing about. - Todd Hoff
"intentionality" -- an interesting topic. I am not sure we fully understand what intentionality is. Intentionality may run seamlessly through the fabric of the entire universe -- or it may be an illusion. In any case, *simulating* intentionality as human beings understand it in machine intelligence shouldn't be too difficult. - Sean McBride
Ah, gotcha. I was unsure what you meant by "computer". - Victor Ganata from iPhone
Guardians of the Galaxy. Pleasantly surprised. Expected a silly stupid movie and it was a bit silly, but it was entertaining. Some great CGI given that a few of the major characters were synthetic. Awesome weapons that would make james bond jealous. We get our star wars weird aliens and bar scenes. Witty gang of thieves type banter.
Groot is perhaps one of the best characters ever. Just an astonishing creation. If such a being doesn't exist it would be a shame. All the actors do a good job. The dialogue is sometimes too much tell and not show, but that's OK. The infinity stone plot device is sufficient, but it lacks the depth of Star Wars and the force. I loved that singing arrow. I want one. There's a formula to the movie and you feel it playing out through the movie, but it worked, so I guess that's the point. - Todd Hoff
Notice, if you've experienced the process of a loved one dying of cancer then the beginning of the movie is devastating and comes out of nowhere. Just be prepared. - Todd Hoff
GROOT - Amit Patel
We are all groot. - Todd Hoff
Westeros transit map -
Westeros transit map
"Westeros transit map  AUG 15 2014 If the continent of Westeros from Game of Thrones had rail service, this is what the transit map might look like. Here's the King's Landing transport hub:" - Todd Hoff from Bookmarklet
Hopkins Scientists Show Hallucinogen In Magic Mushrooms Creates Universal 'Mystical' Experience -
Hopkins Scientists Show Hallucinogen In Magic Mushrooms Creates Universal 'Mystical' Experience
"Using unusually rigorous scientific conditions and measures, Johns Hopkins researchers have shown that the active agent in “sacred mushrooms” can induce mystical/spiritual experiences descriptively identical to spontaneous ones people have reported for centuries. The resulting experiences apparently prompt positive changes in behavior and attitude that last several months, at least." - Todd Hoff from Bookmarklet
Greed destroyed us all: George W. Bush and the real story of the Great Recession - -
"Two other distinctive features characterize boom-bust crises. First, the economic expansion is typically fueled by cheap and abundant credit. That is, bankers have a lot of money to lend, which they are willing to lend at low interest rates. This often occurs when the central bank follows a low interest rate policy. In earlier times, when gold constituted a substantial portion of the money stock, credit expansion could be the result of gold discoveries or gold imports, which made loanable funds plentiful and cheap. It could also be a consequence of an increased willingness on the part of banks to lend the funds that they already have on hand, or from the emergence of new ways of lending money, including the creation of new types of securities. Second, boom-bust cycles are often accompanied by increased speculation in a particular asset or class of assets, the price of which, fed by cheap and abundant credit, rises dramatically during the course of the boom—and then collapses... more... - Todd Hoff from Bookmarklet
FuturePundit: Natural Selection For Less Aggression Enabled Complex Societies -
"n order for human societies to grow in complexity and sophistication humans first had to evolve to become less aggressive. A greater capacity for cooperation was needed. Well, 50,000 years ago human skulls developed more rounded appearances with and brows became less heavy. Technology boom 50,000 years ago correlated with apparent reduction in testosterone DURHAM, N.C. -- Modern humans appear in the fossil record about 200,000 years ago, but it was only about 50,000 years ago that making art and advanced tools became widespread. A new study appearing Aug. 1 in the journal Current Anthropology finds that human skulls changed in ways that indicate a lowering of testosterone levels at around the same time that culture was blossoming. I've been reading a lot of books lately on rises and declines of great civilizations. I've wondered whether a large scale settled society selects for less aggressive males which eventually makes it vulnerable to being overrun by a neighboring society that... more... - Todd Hoff from Bookmarklet
The PC's Underappreciated Protector -
The PC's Underappreciated Protector
The PC's Underappreciated Protector
The PC's Underappreciated Protector
"We often mention power supplies when we talk about the unsung heroes of enthusiast computing. But what about the humble power bar? Aside from the obvious task of providing multiple outlets for all of the gadgets you have around your computer, they also provide a central, common ground location for all of that equipment, minimizing ground loops. Most bars also give you some degree of surge suppression and power filtering." - Todd Hoff from Bookmarklet
Plants may use language to communicate with each other, Virginia Tech researcher finds -
"“The discovery of this novel form of inter-organism communication shows that this is happening a lot more than any one has previously realized,” said Westwood, who is an affiliated researcher with the Fralin Life Science Institute. “Now that we have found that they are sharing all this information, the next question is, ‘What exactly are they telling each other?’.”" - Todd Hoff from Bookmarklet
Life will use every possible channel to communicate. And it's through feedback over these channels that life forms a synchronized whole. - Todd Hoff
Half of a Coin: Negative Probabilities [pdf] | Hacker News -
"Xcelerate 4 hours ago | link As the article hints toward the end, if you extend probabilities into the domain of complex numbers, you basically get quantum mechanics. Scott Aaronson has a well-written and thorough explanation on the matter:" - Todd Hoff from Bookmarklet
Disaster Capitalism. How can things get better when the money is in life getting worse? Traders Profit as Power Grid Is Overworked - -
Disaster Capitalism. How can things get better when the money is in life getting worse? Traders Profit as Power Grid Is Overworked -
"What no one here knew that day, May 30, 2013, was that the investment company, DC Energy, was reaping rewards from the swelter. Within 48 hours the firm, based in Vienna, Va., had made more than $1.5 million by cashing in on so-called congestion contracts, complex financial instruments that gain value when the grid becomes overburdened, according to an analysis of trading data by The New York Times" - Todd Hoff from Bookmarklet
As bad as this is it's small potatoes compared to what was planned by the creators of both derivatives and their failed CCX. - Eric Logan from FFHound!
Antibiotics, Immunity, and Obesity | The Scientist Magazine® -
Antibiotics, Immunity, and Obesity | The Scientist Magazine®
"A brief, low dose of antibiotics shortly after birth can have long-lasting consequences on gut microbes in mice and lead to obesity once the rodents reach middle age. These findings, published today (August 14) in Cell, suggest that the gut microbiome may influence the development of metabolic pathways during a critical time window early in life." - Todd Hoff from Bookmarklet
Will engineering improve with a move to 3D printing based manufacturing?
US products have often been considered crappy because of poor manufacturing. When a product becomes more intellectual I think the US will do well. - Todd Hoff - Marissa Nadler "Dead City Emily" - Haunting and lush - Marissa Nadler "Dead City Emily" - Haunting and lush
Episode #144: $90,000 an Acre | The Agroinnovations Podcast -
Episode #144: $90,000 an Acre | The Agroinnovations Podcast
"This episodes features a listener submitted interview with Dr. Joe Kovach of Ohio State University.  Dr. Kovach describes a small-scale mixed fruit-vegetable polyculture designed to produce steady, high-yields with a good economic return on investment.  Labor inputs, pest pressures, weed control, crop selection, retail sales, and marketing are all discussed in some detail.  Thanks to podcast listener AJ Tarnas for conducting this interview." - Todd Hoff from Bookmarklet
Very smart approach. - Todd Hoff
Advanced IPM Polyculture, Ecological Design, BioDiversity and Urban Agriculture - - Todd Hoff
Nature Bats Last" – Biggest problems are polyphagous insects such as" OFM, JB, PC (lack good biocontrol agents) and voles" •  Farmer Markets are not for me (I question time & money especially in cities in Ag. area)" •  I feel I can make money from fruit (except peaches, lack of consistent crop) but vegetables harder (depends on market)" •  $10/ft still possible with right consistent crop mix and type of market (sell retail to neighbors)" - Todd Hoff
New idea for a social network. You can only talk about other people, never yourself. Nah, that will never work.
Naive childhood doodles are recreated after 20 years of experience | DesignFaves -
Naive childhood doodles are recreated after 20 years of experience | DesignFaves
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All my drawings pretty much look like the before versions. - Todd Hoff
this is what things actually looked like to me in my enhanced mental states in the 90s. - Big Joe Silence
19 Magical Tree Tunnels You Should Definitely Take A Walk Through -
19 Magical Tree Tunnels You Should Definitely Take A Walk Through
19 Magical Tree Tunnels You Should Definitely Take A Walk Through
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This is a vacation I would love. - Todd Hoff - Stanford's Sapolsky On Depression in U.S. (Full Lecture) - Stanford's Sapolsky On Depression in U.S. (Full Lecture)
Links together the mind and the physical processes in the body. - Todd Hoff
Web Trolls Winning as Incivility Increases - -
Web Trolls Winning as Incivility Increases -
Thank goodness these people weren't on usenet. It had all the manners of a debased frontier town, which it was. - Todd Hoff from Bookmarklet
Shifting Climate Has North Dakota Farmers Swapping Wheat For Corn : The Salt : NPR -
Shifting Climate Has North Dakota Farmers Swapping Wheat For Corn : The Salt : NPR
SF Approves California’s First Tax Incentive for Urban Ag | Cornucopia Institute -
SF Approves California’s First Tax Incentive for Urban Ag | Cornucopia Institute
"On July 29, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance that created California’s first urban agriculture incentive zone. The new law allows a tax break for SF property owners who dedicate their land to agricultural use for at least five years. For more background on the legislation, see our earlier blog post." - Todd Hoff from Bookmarklet must be open to the public...Must stay garden for 5 house on or next the land nor can it be next to a no French Laundry in SF - Todd Hoff
Universal mobile electrochemical detector designed for use in resource-limited applications -
"This paper describes an inexpensive, handheld device that couples the most common forms of electrochemical analysis directly to “the cloud” using any mobile phone, for use in resource-limited settings. The device is designed to operate with a wide range of electrode formats, performs on-board mixing of samples by vibration, and transmits data over voice using audio—an approach that guarantees broad compatibility with any available mobile phone (from low-end phones to smartphones) or cellular network (second, third, and fourth generation). The electrochemical methods that we demonstrate enable quantitative, broadly applicable, and inexpensive sensing with flexibility based on a wide variety of important electroanalytical techniques (chronoamperometry, cyclic voltammetry, differential pulse voltammetry, square wave voltammetry, and potentiometry), each with different uses. Four applications demonstrate the analytical performance of the device: these involve the detection of (i) glucose... more... - Todd Hoff from Bookmarklet
coldantlerfarm: Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up to Become Farmers -
coldantlerfarm: Don’t Let Your Children Grow Up to Become Farmers
"I have been living on this farm full-time for nearly two years, and it has never been without worry. But that heavy blanket of anxiety is full of many, tiny, holes that let in brilliant beams of light, as many as there are stars! And those pieces of light I have reached have changed me so much. They are mountaintop rides on a draft horse, meals I knew as chicks and seeds, and finding a spiritual home in the everyday work and rythyms of my life. The version of me who was too scared to farm would certainly be more solvent, but she wouldn’t be happy. She wouldn’t know how to hunt deer, ride a horse, plant a garden, or butcher a chicken. It is only in the last few decades of abnormal history that these skills were considered recreational or outdated. And perhaps that NY Times writer will find himself in a much better place financially when local food goes from being a novelty of the so-inclined to the staples his community depends on when gas prices, natural disasters, political climates or any other disruption in the cattle cars of modern civilization start to hiccup." - Todd Hoff from Bookmarklet
"And that may be the best reason to let you children grow up to become farmers: they can feed themselves. They can achieve the most basic of human needs in a society clueless about how to take care of themselves without a car and a supermarket. Becoming a farmer isn’t in financial fashion right now, that is sadly true, but it will be again. As long as people need to eat there will be a... more... - Todd Hoff
"There is a surplus of mediocrity in this nation and a deficit of bravery. Let your children grow up to be farmers. Let them be brave. " - Todd Hoff
Dazzling Beams of Light Map Invisible Wi-Fi Networks -
Dazzling Beams of Light Map Invisible Wi-Fi Networks
"Wireless networks are normally invisible to the human eye, but a magic touch of creative photography can turn them into vibrant and colorful beams of light. With the help of an instrument called the Kirlian Device, Luis Hernan, a Ph.D. student of architecture and interaction design at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, has found a way to breathe digitalized life into invisible wireless networks, creating colorful and ghostly images." - Todd Hoff from Bookmarklet
NASA’s Carbon Dioxide Greenhouse Gas Observatory Captures ‘First Light’ at Head of International ‘A-Train’ of Earth Science Satellites -
NASA’s Carbon Dioxide Greenhouse Gas Observatory Captures ‘First Light’ at Head of International ‘A-Train’ of Earth Science Satellites
NASA’s Carbon Dioxide Greenhouse Gas Observatory Captures ‘First Light’ at Head of International ‘A-Train’ of Earth Science Satellites
The Urban Village - Or, the scaling of human interactions with city size -
"Surprisingly, however, group clustering (the odds that your friends mutually know one another) does not change with city size. It seems that even in large cities we tend to build tightly knit communities, or ‘villages,’ around ourselves. There is an important difference, though: if in a real village our connections might simply be defined by proximity, in a large city we can elect a community based on any number of factors, from affinity to interest to sexual preference." - Todd Hoff
Amazing Bulb Table by Joseph Walsh Studio -
Amazing Bulb Table by Joseph Walsh Studio
"This next amazing set of furniture was designed by Joseph Walsh, who is an Irish designer and works mainly with wood, creating structures that resemble nature. If you take a closer look and examine his works, the connection between the designer and his material of choice cannot pass unnoticed. He shapes wood in stunning and never before seen ways, looking as if this was the natural form of the wooden piece. Walsh uses a very unique technique and creates very thin slices of wood that connect to each other and the pieces slick as much as possible. Each and every piece is created meticulously and requires much attention in order for the product to be an extraordinary one. The table in the picture was named Bulb table, and its name takes us back to nature reminding us of the bulbs of plants, which are the stems and facilitate growth." - Todd Hoff from Bookmarklet
I wouldn't buy it, but it's a clever and beautiful idea. - Todd Hoff
Lab-Grown 3-D Brain Tissue Mimics Cortex | The Scientist Magazine® -
Lab-Grown 3-D Brain Tissue Mimics Cortex | The Scientist Magazine®
"Scientists have taken cortical neurons from a rat, seeded them onto a silk fiber-based scaffold, and assembled the structures into 3-D, donut-shape constructs. The end result is a chunk of tissue largely resembling functional brain matter, scientists reported in PNAS today (August 11). “This work is an exceptional feat,” Rosemarie Hunziker, the program director of Tissue Engineering at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, which helped fund the research, said in a press release. “It combines a deep understand [sic] of brain physiology with a large and growing suite of bioengineering tools to create an environment that is both necessary and sufficient to mimic brain function.”" - Todd Hoff from Bookmarklet
The Way We Live Our Lives in Stories | -
The Way We Live Our Lives in Stories |
"When we call the species homo sapiens that's an argument in the debate. It's an argument that it is our sapience, our wisdom, our intelligence, or our big brains that most sets our species apart. Other scientists, other philosophers have pointed out that, no, a lot of the time we're really not behaving all that rationally and reasonably. It's our upright posture that sets us apart, or it's our opposable thumb that allows us to do this incredible tool use, or it's our cultural sophistication, or it's the sophistication of language, and so on and so forth. I'm not arguing against any of those things, I’m just arguing that one thing of equal stature has typically been left off of this list, and that’s the way that people live their lives inside stories." - Todd Hoff from Bookmarklet
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