Mostly Yes I Am Agreeing With You
I was born in Sri-Lanka and I have lived in England since I was 3. I went to see England People Very Nice". I thought it was going to be racist, but I found it was very moving. I thought it was the only piece of drama about being English that I had been able to actually feel positive towards. The reason I was so moved by it was that it was all about how England was so influenced by waves of immigrants that eventually were assimilated into the values of being English. A wonderful line was...
ATTAR (An Indian restaurent owner) : No thats a personal thing. Make Englishman out of these boys, that is the highest goal, and not easy. Many English are not worthy of the title.
I was very moved by this sentence. Now think about this. This is an Indian character in a play, speaking about how wonderful the idea of an Englishman is, from which many English Men are even excluded. The play actually made me proud to be English, which no piece of art has ever done. This then is why I find it very worrying why the major newspapers and the BBC said it was racist. There WERE stereotypes, but these stereotypes were making fun of everyone not any one group. In fact they were the stereotypes that I felt any "assimilated" immigrant would gladly make of themselves, in self-deprecating humour. The English were the hardest criticized. All groups were made fun of. Why? Because every ethnic minority (including the "genetic" english) hates the next generation of immigrants. The play stopped at the Somali immigrants who the Bangladeshi immigrants hated! But the point was, ultimately they are assimilated and become English. I was so moved by some of the scenes where there were tender feelings between races made common in Englishness. It was such a FUNNY play as well. I think there is a racist white establishment who find it racist against themselves, but say in the newspapers that it is racist against the ethic minorities in the play. I really can't understand how any newspaper can print that this play is racist. It is the ABSOLUTE OPPOSITE OF RACIST. Actually, another reason this play made me proud to be English is that I think it is a play that could not have been made anywhere else in the world, because only the English can so unashamedly destroy themselves with criticism.
Some stories about my family and other animals.
Some photos by her here.
Why not make your own ginger beer?
Examples of skeletal programs and useful tutorials.
The writings of Konrad Lorenz and Niko Tinbergen created a new field called ethology in the 1950s. Recently the book "The Game" by Neil Strauss revealed to the general public an underground world of 'pick-up artists'. I have collected a set of links to scholerly articles and other material that can help integrate these two very different communities. This is a starting point to developing an ethogram of succesful flirting.
Models of Stock Markets
At some point I suppose people get worried about making money, investing, retiring, death. Time to engage a little in the real world of money. I investigate the dynamics of stock markets a little bit here.
Situated and Embodied File Management
File management is far too disembodied. I would like an application where you exist in a graphically pleasing large house and garden, a familiar location, perhaps a model of ones own house, in the computer. When one wants to store files one walks around this house and puts them in various places, e.g. under things so they don't blow away, behind waterfalls if they are to be hidden! The files can be given a huge variety of physical appearances, e.g. elephants, cabages, electric lightbulbs, books, etc... These are graphically stunning. Each graphic that represents a file is associated with a small label, labels can be switched on and off. Basically, the idea is that human memory is much better when situated and embodied, rather than disembodied like in a computer file system. The more you can ENGAGE the human in creating a physically plausible, but perhaps fantastic world in which to store his files, the easier it will be for him to use that world to the best of her ability.
The important thing is that the files must be embodied and situated in many dimensions, e.g. graphics, physical feel of the file, e.g. mass represents size. Dust should accrue at a certain rate so that one has an idea of the age of files, very old files might even be moth eaten. The user should be able to store files in imaginative ways, e.g. on clothes lines, in refrigerators, in trees (REAL TREES outside that sway in the breeze), and in ponds or lakes as long as they are in watertight containers. It should be possible to arrange lots of other non-file objects in the world to create structures that files can be stored in. Sound, interacting with different types of file should be interesting, e.g. they should be embodied as different materials that make different noises if you drop them.
The software should be sold as a package online at first I expect, but the user should be able to buy different file properties and extensions to the world. For example, the user should be able to buy an AGENT, A LITTLE MAN , that walks around his files applying an artificial immune system algorithm that classifies files according to what the AGENT, Bob, thinks might be interesting. Bob then places little labels on the files to denote a certain catagory. Other extensions can be purchased.
Along with Andy Pryke of Birmingham University, I am currently in the process of organizing the worlds (or at least Birmingham's) first powerpoint cabaret consisting of 5 minute powerpoint presentations on fictitious subjects. The medium of powerpoint has for too long been associated with dry business and academic lectures. The genre of the lecture is here revitalized and made into a form of stand up comedy, art, poetry. Blind lectures will be given, where the presentor has not seen a set of randomly generated slides.
Click here to see some possibly important highlights of Alife X. In particular I am working on the connections between energy and open-ended evolution. I am interested in the energetic constraints to search. In particular, I want to flesh out how the capacity to utilize energy to do search results in a runnaway process of energy utilization to do better and better search. This search is itself for more energy to do more search and so on and so forth. See a discussion of this idea here.
Aetiology of Autism
Hanneke De Jaegher has some exciting new theories about Autism. One interesting element of interaction seems to be that person A expects person B to respond in a certain way to person A's actions. If B does what A expects B to do, then A can initiate a response to person B's action, even before person B has carried out that action. However, if person B does not respond in a way that person A expects, then there may be a greater delay between person B's response and person A's response to B's response. For example, if I ask you to dinner and expect you to say "no", then if you actually say "no" then I might respond by saying "O well perhaps another time" even before I had time to fully 'process' your response. However, if you unexpectedly say "yes" then I might take longer to respond. My delay in responding conveys information to you about whether I expected you to come to dinner or not. How important are delays of this type in allowing infants to understand what people expect of them? Could failures in such a learning mechanism account for autistic symptoms? I would like to experiment further with a system of coupled feedforward models, and their capacity to learn from delays. If anyone knows of any related work, please contact Hanneke or me.
An article by Trevarthen and Aitkin gives some background to Infant communication.
Treverthen, C. and Aitkin, K.J. Infant Intersubjectivity: Research, Theory and Clinical Applications. (2001). J. Child Psychol. Psychiat. 42(1), 3-48. Download pdf.