Long time no nuthin’

I am obviously horrible about posting. It’s been weeks, I think. Oh well.

Interesting things have been happening. Kate and I went to LA to visit a (relatively) famous actress relative of mine named Zelda. She treated us to many things, and it was a good visit. We got to go backstage after a performance of the musical Chicago, where we met Patti LaBelle. I hadn’t heard of her, but seeing her made Kate very excited. Over the weekend, I realized that I could never participate in the entertainment industry. There was a lot of BS, with people saying nice things about everyone. It got kind of grating to me, but Zelda was a master of it.

This was the weekend before two assignments were due. I had already started, but as soon as I got back, I realized that I was going to be pretty busy. I got even busier than I’d expected. Usually, I get things done early, so I don’t have to stay up late or anything, but I was up until 3am working on a programming assignment. The only upside of this was that it made me feel a lot better about my abilities. Even Slav, who is very smart and knowledgeable, already has his masters, and just passed his prelims, had difficulty with the assignment, and I was able to help him some. I don’t think I’m one of the best here, but I’m feeling more confident that I can keep up my own here. I’m certainly not a genius, but I learn quickly, so I can get by.

I put pictures of our 3 pigs up online.

Kate and I have been cleaning. We’re prone to letting things get fairly cluttered, so from time to time we do a significant amount of tidying, and our apartment suddenly seems much bigger. Maybe this time we’ll even invite our neighbors over and show off our pigs. They’ve expressed an interest in them.

I still haven’t found an advisor. I’m conflicted on the idea of Jerry Feldman. He’s really damn annoying; he uses M$ products and file formats (so the rest of us can’t read them), and he sides with Searle on the damn Chinese Room thought-experiment. Still, his ideas on how brains compute seem to be fairly reasonable, and he addresses issues that other people seem to have neglected. It would be an interesting research topic, and one I’ve always been curious about, if I could stomach working with him. He’s just so wrong

Feldman says that the Chinese Room can’t possibly have understanding because if there’s a fire, the man doesn’t take the rule-book and leave. That would be what he would do if he understood there was a fire. Feldman dismisses my arguments about this on the basis that they require the systems view (the view that there is a system of things in the room which has understanding), which must be nonsense. I’ve simply bitten my lip and shut up, but the systems idea is obviously correct.

Even Searle takes the view that we’re examining the intelligence of a system. After all, he uses the Chinese Room as proof that no Turing Machine can be intelligent. Why can he make that argument? Because there’s a system that forms a Turing machine. If he includes all the capabilities of the human, he has more than a Turing machine, because the human has (for example) legs.

Feldman’s nonsense really pisses me off, and I just don’t see how he can fail to understand. That crazy bastard. And he even put his nonsense in his book (which is otherwise pretty good), so it can infect the minds of hundreds of other people. It may be generations before this stupidity is washed from the Earth!

I recently bought several CDs I had wanted. Buying them used saves a noticeable amount of money. One of them was the Garden State soundtrack, which was an excellent purchase. I can listen to that music for quite a while, and several of the songs instantly became my favorites. I may have to look up these artists. I would highly recommend it.