Rabbit in the Moon

image Congratulations to China for the launch of Chang’e, named after the tragic princess who flew to the moon with her little rabbit.  China beat India, but trails Japan.

Besides having met some of the people working on this in China, the launch has additional personal significance to me since the moon festival is my wedding anniversary, and I am a long-time fan of electronic pioneers “Rabbit in the Moon“.

The kids in Suzhou make some of the best dance music in the world, but none of it captures the bittersweet/cold tragedy of Chang’e like R.I.T.M.

du for Windows

I often need to get a list of the largest files and directories on my drive.  I always used the Unix ‘du’ command to do this — just du -k, sort in reverse and head 50.  When I switched to using Windows, I used the ‘du’ found in the Windows binaries of the gnu utilities, then later as those became unavailable, the cygwin utilities.

But cygwin is fat, and I have always wanted a better way.  Recently I started using Vista’s “find” feature to get a list of all files above a certain size, then sort.  But it’s incredibly slow.  My latest look for tools found the sysinternals ‘du’, which has a lot of features, but not what I need.

Finally, I bit the bullet and spent the 10 minutes necessary to write my own.  Well, I was rusty and I was half-asleep on an airplane, so it really took 30 minutes.  I’m posting the code here for you, so that you can save yourself a whole 30 minutes of effort next time you need to find the largest files on a volume.

Usage: du [drive:|.|*]

I run the command like “du c: >sizes.txt” and then open sizes.txt.  Finally, back to the comfort of my Unix days, and 10x faster besides.  It’s almost the same feeling as when Napster came out and I could find Alan Parsons Project music again.


        static void Main(string[] args)
            List<KeyValuePair<string, long>> entries = new List<KeyValuePair<string,long>>();

            string path;

            path = args[0];
            if (path == ".") path = Directory.GetCurrentDirectory();

            if (path == "*")
                foreach (string drive in Directory.GetLogicalDrives())
                    CalculateSize(drive, entries);
                CalculateSize(path, entries);

            foreach (KeyValuePair<string,long> kvp in entries)
                Console.WriteLine("{0}t{1}", kvp.Value, kvp.Key);

        static long CalculateSize(string path, List<KeyValuePair<string, long>> entries)
            long cumulativeSize = 0;
            string[] files;
                files = Directory.GetFiles(path);
            catch (Exception ex)
                return -1;

            foreach (string filename in files)
                FileInfo f = new FileInfo(filename);
                cumulativeSize += f.Length;

            foreach (string dirname in Directory.GetDirectories(path))
                cumulativeSize += CalculateSize(dirname, entries);
            OrderedInsert(path, cumulativeSize,entries);
            return cumulativeSize;

        static void OrderedInsert(string path, long size, List<KeyValuePair<string, long>> entries)
            KeyValuePair<string, long> entry = new KeyValuePair<string, long>(path, size);

            int lower = 0;
            int upper = entries.Count;

            while (upper > lower + 1)

                int middle = lower + (int)Math.Floor((double)(upper - lower) / 2);
                if (entries[middle].Value < entry.Value)
                    upper = middle;
                else if (entries[middle].Value > entry.Value)
                    lower = middle;
                    entries.Insert(middle, entry);
            if (entries.Count == 0)
                entries.Insert(0, entry);
            if (entry.Value > entries[lower].Value)
                entries.Insert(lower, entry);
                entries.Insert(upper, entry);

China Rerouting Traffic to Baidu?

It’s amazing how behind-the-curve mainstream American media can be.  It seems that CNET is just now realizing that search traffic in China gets hijacked and re-routed.

The article speculates that the Chinese government is doing this.  This is a pretty stupid speculation.  Last time I ran into this issue, I found that a Chinese government router had been hacked to redirect all traffic to Yahoo!  That was two years ago, BTW, when this practice was already well-established and widespread in China.  The practice of hacking PCs and routers to steal search defaults is rampant in China (and elsewhere), and there is financial motive enough without blaming it on the governments.

Internet is Dead: Use “Interactive”

Scott Barnes suggests that the I in RIA is “Interactive”, not “Internet”, and he has the philosophy to back it up.  You need to read the whole post to get a clear picture, but it’s worth it.

Maybe his blog should be called “Interactive Eye for the Internet Guy”.

I’m a really peaceful and cooperative guy, though, so I wouldn’t want to provoke any irrationally religious people.  So for the time being, I’ll just try to placate all sides by pronouncing it “I” (RIA stands for Are I Eh).

The Wages of Reductionism

WTF is George W. Bush doing handing out the congressional “freedom” award to the Dalai Lama, the religious dictator head of a slave-owning cult?  Is this what he was elected to do?  “W” is a complete and utter embarrassment.

Speaking of cults, I’ve been warning you about the dangers of Scrappy Dickie Dawkins and his comrades in the “serve my selfish gene” cult.

Today, the inspiration of Dawkins’ religious conversion, the esteemed white seed James Watson, claims that Africa will never have peace because Africans are genetically stupid.  He said that he was “inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa” because “all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours, whereas all the testing says not really.”

Clearly, if this guy is so retarded about a scientific field which is only slightly outside his realm of expertise, how much credibility should we give when his sycophants pontificate about fields even further removed — like economics, psychology, and religion?  He obviously doesn’t have the “shut up when you don’t know what you’re talking about” gene.

The problem isn’t just that a senile old Briton is making stupid comments, or that there exists an undercurrent of prominent scientists who are lurching back towards eugenics and euthanasia.  The real problem is that such insanity and depravity is the inevitable wages of the god they worship — materialistic reductionism.  This is the true face of the god that Dickie Dawkins is selling you in his prolific propaganda pieces.

We can ignore the racist or exclusionary overtones entirely and get straight to the heart of the matter.  The scientists quoted in this article hold as their first dogma that “intelligence” is the highest human good.  “Intelligence” is rather ill-defined, but is for all practical purposes “ability to rationalize selfish behavior and get away with minimal consequences”.  One can agree that “intelligence” as measured by scientific tests is an extraordinarily good thing for the person possessing it.

As their second dogma, the scientists hold that overall “intelligence” of the human race is moving in an upward direction, due to ruthless natural selection.  Since “intelligence” is good, and more must be better, the whole world is going to be one big happy pie heaven.  All of this awesomeness is enabled by the blind watchmaker leading us steadily up Mount Improbable.

So, what’s wrong with this picture?

For starters, nobody has yet demonstrated that tranquility can be achieved by filling a room with ever more crafty and selfish people.  The postulate is farcial on its face, and could only be dreamed up by someone whose intellect is being directed hormonally by a selfish gene.

Additionally, it seems to be common sense that any advantaged group will have relatively more tranquility than a relatively disadvantaged group.  Any crafty predator goes after the weakest victims first, and the easier it becomes for more advantaged people to co-locate together, the easier it is to create enclaves that are isolated from the surrounding masses of suffering.

But the biggest flaw in the dogma is the idea that intelligence is actually increasing.  I don’t dispute that average IQs are increasing, but the kind of “intelligence” worshipped by these people is a stupid and mindless intelligence.  It’s an intelligence of pure abstract analysis, angry and buzzing in infinite internal loops.  It is the intelligence of willpower, force, and using things — it is not the intelligence of insight, understanding, and uncertainty.

In fact, craftiness is the mortal enemy of wisdom.  Craft can be achieved through diligence and will, or endowed through natural selection.  But wisdom can only be gained through receptivity and suppression of ego (which is incredibly difficult for the crafty person); and natural selection works against it.  The “selfish gene” is on the side of “selfish craftiness”, and this does not bode well for wisdom.

The idea of an upward slope is incredibly pervasive, and accepted far beyond the central priesthood.  We accept adages such as “standing on the shoulders of giants”, or “science advances a funeral at a time”.  Despite the fact that no economist in 200 years has been able to out-predict a random walk, Paul Krugman assures us that our models of economics are getting ever more accurate.  Nearly everyone agrees that Einstein was smarter than Newton, and that Newton was smarter than Copernicus.  Heck, the history of humanity prior to Copernicus is a matter of some great shame — children are taught that we are the spawn of a bunch of ignorant and superstitious goat-herders prior to Copernicus!

But these are all examples of people who have that angry, buzzing, willful intelligence.  Savants and autists.  The direction of the slope looks much different when you look for giants of the other type of intelligence.

Ask someone to rank and place on a timeline the wisest people of all time.  Or the greatest poets, masters of allegory, or philosophers.  People who were good at understanding.  People who were able to tolerate ambiguity and swim in the clear pure rivers of insight.

Such giants don’t even exist today.  To find someone who even qualifies, you have to go back to Goethe.  Is the human race even capable of producing another Goethe?  Almost certainly not.  By contrast, Nietzsche and Hegel are full of passionate intensity, but precious little insight.

The further back you go, the more giant the giants become.  This trend is absolute and universal.  To use a relatively non-provocative example, consider the Baghavad Gita.  Very few people would attempt to argue that Goethe was wiser than the author of the Gita.  I am convinced that the Gita did not even represent the pinnacle of wisdom at the time it was written.  But regardless, it is universally accepted as embodying a level of wisdom unmatched in recent times.

Think about it for a moment.  Gandhi was regarded as one of the wisest men of his time.  But his primary claim to wisdom is that he was one of the few humans alive who could claim (honestly claim, not fraudulently claim while asking you to join his ashram) a relatively full understanding of the Gita.  In other words, he was considered wise simply because he could understand what some other person wrote 2,000 years earlier.  What about the “wise” men of today.  Could Dickie Dawkins or James Watson understand a single line of Goethe, nevermind the Gita?  Clearly, James Watson is a retard about basic science outside the field of biological chemistry, so I wouldn’t trust him to even recite the Gita.  I am sure they and their ilk could generate plenty of rhetoric, argument, and accusations — but they couldn’t actually understand.

I fear they are genetically incapable.

The same with poetry.  Today’s “great kohanim hope”, Leonard Cohen, is senile and decrepit compared to the great poets of the past.  And he may be the greatest we’ll ever have from this day forward.  The decay is much more obvious in poets, since it’s a lot harder for a willful fraud and viper (like Hegel in philosophy) to hide within the ranks of poets.  Perhaps that’s why we have rock music today — rock music is the form of degraded poetry for the new breed of “homo craftianis” that we’re spawning.

Fifty years ago, you could make a career by being the guy who understood Shakespeare.  There has not been a genius like him since, and soon we’ll be genetically incapable of understanding that fact.  200 years from now, the top poets will be little degraded versions of Leonard Cohen, writing shitty and putrid poetry, will be talking about how Cohen was the greatest poet of all time (and speaking Chinese, of course).

When I extrapolate this trajectory backward in time, the implications are staggering.  There are still many people alive who can see pearls of the very deepest wisdom embedded in the Torah — but much of it is opaque to most people (and especially the assholes who claim to understand it all — exegetes are the devil).  Are the gaps in understanding caused by the fact that people are different today, or the result of the Torah being superstitious nonsense?  The more you fill in the timeline and project the trends, the more untenable the “nonsense” conclusion becomes.  Even with the bits you can understand, you’re led to the conclusion that the author of the Torah was a giant compared to the author of the Gita 1-2,000 years later.

And one can argue that the Torah was predated significantly by the Egyptian Book of the Dead.  This text is almost universally opaque to modern humans.  It seems like a complete load of rubbish.  But that’s kind of the pattern, isn’t it?  The older the wisdom, the more profound, yet more difficult for modern man to understand.  I’ve not been able to discern anything even slightly profound about the Egyptian Book of the Dead (and the *other* “Book of the Dead” *is* conclusively complete lunatic and fraudulent idiocy contemporary with Isaac Luria, and John Dee, BTW); so I’m not arguing that it is more ginormous than the Torah — just pointing out that we might never know whether it was more ginormous, given the slope of history.

The truly incredible thing, however, is the fact that the wisest existed when humans were fewest and least advantaged.  William Blake was more purely inspired than any man today, and he had to do his work by candle light with a pen.  And the author of the Gita?  Think about this for a moment — the human population was a tiny, tiny fraction of what it is today.  There were no libraries, books, or massive connectivity between people.  Yet the author of the Gita managed to produce a work of wisdom which has been virtually untouched since.  The further back in history you go, the more inhospitable the situation for thinkers becomes, and the smaller the selection pool from which genius could arise — yet the more towering the giants of wisdom that emerge.

This is undeniable and spectacular.  It defies all modern expectations about a “gradual upward slope”.  The only conclusion one can draw is that history for humans is a rapid and radical degradation in our genetic capacity for wisdom.

Perhaps this is why modern man scorns and buries the wise men of the past.  In the kingdom of wisdom, each new generation inherits only a degraded and corrupted portion of the previous generation’s earthly property.  But in the kingdom of craft, it is “ever higher”.  Cicero was a crafty fox, perhaps the craftiest of his age.  But he was a juvenile compared to Dickie Dawkins.  Today’s wisest moral authorities, in contrast, are jealous and vicious midgets compares to Cicero’s stoic contemporaries.

The lesson?  There is no way back from materialistic reductionism.  It’s like the Midas touch — seductively appealing, but once you’re hardened, you’re finished.  Take a good, long look at James Watson, who has ears but cannot hear and eyes but cannot see.  Look at his sycophants like Dickie Dawkins, filled with their passionate intensity and slowly becoming hardened to common sense.  And ask yourself if they are really role models who you want to emulate?  The harder they try, the harder they become.  It’s a trap like quicksand.  Choose freedom while you still can.

Reductionist Hubris

The main impediment to my writing reviews of the growing queue of finished books (more than 40 now), is the existence of new books to read.  Today I started reading “De La Mettrie’s Ghost”, by Chris Nunn.

Rather than wait until completing the book to review it, and thus choosing yet another new book over review of the old, I’ve decided to just comment whenever I feel strongly about publicly commenting on something I read.

In the first two chapters of “De La Mettrie’s Ghost”, Nunn does a fine job of summarizing both the philosophic and mechanistic views on the nature of consciousness.  I was delighted to see that he uses both Descartes and Popper in almost the opposite way that I would have, but with justification.  He describes the history of mechanistic models of consciousness (mind as machine) as being originally ‘hydraulics’, then ‘telephone exchange’, then ‘loom’, then ‘computer’.  Admirably, he acknowledges that even the ‘computer’ model of human consciousness is fatally and embarrassingly flawed.

It’s interesting to note that this exact same pattern has happened in models for economics and other attempts at modeling social behaviors.  Each new model (hydraulics, networks, processors) is slavishly worshipped as being the new truth, then discarded as being superstitious and naive when a new one comes along.  If the models were actually getting better at predicting anything within the realm that they claim to model (economics, consciousness, etc.) one could forgive this.  If true predictive progress were being made, one might even laud the idea that “science advances a funeral at a time” or “we all stand on the shoulders of giants”.

But as much as I hate to be buzzkill for the true believers, there is little evidence for the idea of progress.  The models appear to have more to do with the fads and passions than with any predictive ability.  The periodic lurching from model to model is a testament only to human fickleness.

In the days of Descartes, a certain pride in the power of the mechanistic model could have perhaps been winked at.  But now that we’ve given the modelers 200 years to prove themselves (and to fail), there is little excuse for anyone to be too credulous of a model, and little justification for the modelers to be too prideful.  These people should be the most humble humans alive.

This, combined with Nunn’s surprisingly honest admission of the failures of the past, is why I was shocked to read his conclusion.  He says, “The brain, neuroscience now conceded, cannot be very like any of our present day computers.  Nevertheless there must be something in the analogy since both brains and computers process information, while consciousness contains an ever-changing stream of information about all sorts of things, not unlike the data on the screen of a working laptop.” [emphasis mine]

Ignore for a moment the use of the quintessentially Orwellian “not unlike” — this statement contains a staggering presupposition which isn’t identified as such.  The author insists that “brains process information”, as if it’s established and unquestioned fact.

OMGWTF?!?!  Is it possible to imagine a more circular argument?  It’s like Paddy O’Doule hoisting himself aloft by his own belt-buckle.  Or worse, Paddy hoisting himself aloft by lifting a photograph of his belt-buckle!

The concept of “information” is a model that we use in computer science and mathematics.  It is derived from our very limited understanding of consciousness and is no more a definition of consciousness than is the concept of a “lens” or a “servo mechanism” (two other historically popular models with charlatans).

It’s child’s play to recall scenarios which blow apart the idea that “brains process information”.  Of course, if you’ve convinced yourself that this is what the brain does, that might be all that your brain does.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Dickie Dawkins’ brain was found to be purely an “information processing machine”.

I’m not discounting this book, since the author appears to adhere to a high standard of honesty and scholarship.  The author probably wasn’t even aware of the presupposition in his statement.  I expect the book to be worth my while.  But statements like these are a fantastic demonstration of the hubris of reductionist, mechanistic thinking.  Even when engaged in a critical analysis of the failures of reductionism, the author is utterly incapable of escaping the reductionist mental frame.  In fact, he uses the reductionist mental frame as the lens through which he evaluates consciousness, rather than vice-versa.

Thankfully, it appears that only intellectuals and scientists are ensnared by this idiotic mental trap.

Goldendale Cabal Tomorrow

Geezer just had a kidney removed, so we’re making the pilgrimage to promote speedy recovery and “cabal it up” a bit.

Kungfu is in Spain giving 10^10 talks, Kosmic and Robustai are occupied, but Boudreau and I make a quorum (and GBE, if you want to skip work just text me [# is in GAL] before 8AM for a ride :-)).

I paused writing my private screed “Contra Sung Park” to get a recent pulse on the question of “When?”  I’ve decided that “When?” is an irrelevant question when the answer is “inevitable”.

First evidence is the almost immediate response to Jon Udell’s “combining tag spaces“.  A frequent cabal topic over the past 7+ years, from the “feedme” conversation last year, back all the way to before “tagging” was used by anyone other than taggers.

Second evidence is what’s going on with Robustai.  I was admiring the developments at fastblogit since conceptualized at a distant cabal (well before Twitter, BTW), and thought to check what unemployed alum aaronsw is up to.  Jottit!  Jottit and fastblogit are like kissing cousins, perpetuating the same inevitability.  There’s an important twist there that’s been consistent since day 1.  Geezer will be proud.