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Copyright: (C) 2017 Jennifer MacDonald
 



Procrastination in the Morning: Repressed Memories by

Tue, 21 Aug 2007 11:05:24 GMT

Last week the project was not going so well. We (Sam Smith and I) spent a long time waiting for the computers to do things (compiling, running, debugging) and we had to think about how we could fix the problems we were having. In the time this took, we achieved the masterpiece of "stream of consciousness" art which you see below. WARNING: NONSENSE FOLLOWS Transcript: We should try and cover the board in text - Samuel Smith, August 16th, 2007 (A Thursday, would you believe it?) Is this a dagger I see before me? No, it's a list of compiler errors as long as your arm, with your other arm cut off and attached to the end of it, and your legs cut off and attached in a similar manner. Then, of course, once the compiler errors are all distant, fond memories, you have the fun of dealing with linker errors, commonly held to be far superior in terms of the excitement and satisfaction which can be felt when one terminates such an error. And even then you're not home free. The runtime errors ride in force tonight, the ringwraiths iron clad. To code, or not to code. That is the question. Although it isn't written like one. One what? See that was written as a question. Do you have any idea as to the philosophical implications of the word "that"? That was a question as well. What's worse is asking yourself questions on a whiteboard. Fathom this one: how can a bodyless actor, in a conversation written by an external scribe have an idea about both the philosophical implications of the word "that", and the world as a "whiteboard", or, furthermore, their situation during this conversation about knowing what a bodyless actor can know about both the philosophical implications... I'm going to stop you there, you were getting recursive and that could lead to some serious stack issues. Of course, when one considers the futility of discussing such matters with a whiteboard, it should now be obvious to all but the most clueless observer that we are totally, completely and inescapably stuck, and should probably be thinking seriously about the ways in which we can dissolve the ... ... metaphorical glue which binds us into this state of helplessness and repeated writing on a whiteboard with no consciousness. That said, writing on a whiteboard which did possess the basic characteristics of sentient life would be a rather disturbing activity indeed. Imagine, if you will, a whiteboard that exclaimed "that tickles" every time you wrote on it. Well the whiteboard equivalent of "line.dot.electric shock" would be drawing a set of axes, in an arbitrary coordinate system. Is it raining? Is it snowing? Is there any way of knowing? etc. etc. Something about the danger growing and the rowers rowing... and the whiteboard by now would have collapsed into a laughing fit, considering how much we have tickled it in the past moments. Imagine, for a brief moment, a probability distribution function. A Gaussian will do, for now, but something like (T1 + 1)2 (T0 - T1 + 1)2 would also be a good example. Now, try to climb it. That's right, like a mountain, or a particularly probabilistic boulder! That should give you a basic idea of how my dreams have been for the past three nights. If you think that is disturbing, try experiencing it first-hand! Consider, instead, a quantum mechanical whiteboard. Markings could exist only in discrete levels, much like the lines of text on this board. Furthermore, and without doubt a less obvious phenomenon, the interaction between a pure whiteboard state |WB>, and a pure marker state |M> would almost inevitably result in some kind of mixed state, probably with loss of quantum information (although perhaps such a result would be after application of the Eraser operator, such that, given a state , application of the Eraser operator in the form = . An intriguing prospect). Even more disturbing: a whiteboard whose countless reams of potential information, in countless positions, written in countless orientations, displays all p[...]