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Showing posts from September, 2016

What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal

The typical conception of a resource like "Arxiv" or "Wikipedia" is summed up in the name: it is an archive or an encyclopedia that anyone can edit.  "Stack Exchange" is somewhat less self-descriptive -- but nevertheless, the emphasis on "exchange" is apt, since this site is not quite a gift economy in Eric S. Raymond's sense, but rather a place where questions are exchanged for answers, and both are exchanged for reputation in the form of points and badges.

Nevertheless, in broad brushstrokes all three resources have something much more essential as a common basis: they all grow in the course of use.  That said, they do not typically transform radically along the way.  Arxiv remains an archive; Wikipedia remains a wiki and encyclopedia; Stack Exchange is and always will be a Q&A site focused on questions with specific, usually technical, answers.

But what if we get "outside" of these systems, stop thinking about them as objec…

Creative land: patuki

I remember recently having the eerie feeling when I sat down to drink a coffee on my doorstep that we are not so far away from myths and from history after all.  Wouldn't it be weird if "phatic" had yet another etymology -- namely that it was appropriated from the Papua New Guinneans?

Objects in channels

[...] the human mind is dependent for its objects to a great degree upon channels or means that are not under its own control. It is thus dependent on the thousand channels and means by which objects are introduced to it. But we need here only instance that wonderful assemblage in the human body. These organs which we term the senses, one or the other of them, convey to the mind its first object and afterwards all the new objects about which it acts. (Day 1876: 15)Cognitive channels. Kroeber and some other anthropologists wrote about the cultural function of phatic communion, that it includes the aspect of relating to another person through your mutual relations to cultural events, signs, and texts. There are some quotes about how people used to read each other the news, and this made me think about Facebook feeds, and how social media is a sociocultural infrastructure of sorts, one that facilitates digital news sharing, for example, instead of face-to-face interaction. I wonder how d…

INLG - CC in NLG Workshop [liveblog]

I'm attending a morning workshop in Edinburgh on Computational Creativity in Natural Language Generation.  My thoughts on the train ride up were pretty interesting.  I was reading the book Renku Reckoner and spotted some pretty cool things in there.  I was particularly struck by some passages about "person and place" in the renga/renku form.
One of the things that was really interesting here is the notion of different kinds of "linking" which I take to be a kind of contact function between verses in the poem.  Because of the specific formal constraints on renku, we get something with a Simondonian flavor: At its simplest Shofu renku can be seen as a strand of poetry which opens continuously outward. (p. 97) The constraint is that with a sequence of verses A, B, C, D, verse C should "link" to B, but "shift" away from A.  This link-shift frame moves one step to the right when we come to compose D. So we get a kind of continually-building sequ…

genetic method

“I take culture to be those webs, and the analysis of it to be therefore not an experimental science in search of law but an interpretative one in search of meaning. It is explication I am after, construing social expression on their surface enigmatical.” -Geertz (Hm... perhaps Geertz is more exegetical than the social expressions themselves are enigmatical?)

In the mean time I've been looking at a couple of papers on Nietzsche and the genetic method.

D'Iorio, Paolo. "The Eternal Return: Genesis and Interpretation." Lexicon Philosophicum: International Journal for the History of Texts and Ideas 2 (2014).

I find the argument here really convincing.  D'Iorio does some impressive sleuth work, heading from library to library to look at Nietzsche's notebooks and his hand-annotated texts:

By contrast I'm somewhat less impressed with:

Paul de Man, Genesis and Genealogy in Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy Diacritics Vol. 2, No. 4 (Winter, 1972), pp. 44-53