Older blog entries for cdent (starting at number 480)


This pair of questions how random and how much information turn out to be one and the same. They have a single answer.

Syndicated 2012-07-27 19:12:16 from cdent


Ideas have "spreading power" he noted "infectivity, as it were" and some more than others. An example of an infectious idea might be a religious ideology that gains sway over a large group of people. The American neurophysiologist Roger Sperry had put forward a similar notion several years earlier, arguing that ideas are "just as real" as the neurons they inhabit.

Syndicated 2012-07-27 19:10:03 from cdent


She devised a process, a set of rules, a sequence of operations. In another century this would be called an algorithm, later a computer program, but for now the concept demanded painstaking explanation. The trickiest point was that her algorithm was recursive. It ran in a loop. The result of one iteration became food for the next.

Syndicated 2012-07-27 19:02:49 from cdent


Unfortunately the written word stands still. It is stable and immobile. Plato's qualms were mostly set aside in the succeeding millennia as the culture of literacy developed its many gifts: history and the law; the sciences and philosophy; the reflective explication of art and literature itself. None of that could have emerged from pure orality.

Syndicated 2012-07-27 18:58:25 from cdent


Havelock focused on the process of converting, mentally, from a "prose of narrative" to a "prose of ideas": organizing experience in terms of categories rather than events; embracing the discipline of abstraction. He had a word in mind for this process, and the work was thinking. This was the discovery, not just of the self, but of the thinking self in effect, the true beginning of consciousness.

Syndicated 2012-07-27 18:53:44 (Updated 2012-07-27 18:54:10) from cdent


Writing, as a technology, requires premeditation and special art. Language is not a technology, no matter how well developed and efficacious. It is not best seen as something separate from the mind; it is what the mind does.

Syndicated 2012-07-27 18:49:31 (Updated 2012-07-27 18:49:35) from cdent


The extra drumbeats, far from being extraneous, provide context. Every ambiguous word begins in a cloud of possible alternative interpretations; then the unwanted possibilities evaporate. This takes place below the level of consciousness.

Syndicated 2012-07-27 18:45:59 from cdent


@import url(http://totw.tiddlyspace.com/HtmlCss);

Syndicated 2012-07-27 18:30:24 (Updated 2012-07-27 18:30:36) from cdent

27 Jul 2012 (updated 28 Jul 2012 at 17:11 UTC) »


This space contains some reactions (from cdent) to the book The Information by James Gleick, based around quotes from the book recorded in the space theinformationq.

I enjoyed the book because it helped to bridge some of the gaps I have experienced between my own philosophy of and attitude to information and the formalism known as information theory. The crucial aspect is captured by:

Syndicated 2012-07-27 18:29:55 (Updated 2012-07-28 17:08:43) from cdent

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