Friday, July 20, 2018

Circular saw use in pre-dynastic Eygpt

YouTube is full of videos that show pre-dynastic stonework that is far more precise than anything done by the pharaohs - surfaces too smooth to have been produced with hand tools, and circular saw cuts so obvious you have to laugh at the Eygptologists saying these were produced with copper chisels. Similar saw cuts occur at Baalbek and at Teohoatican.
Let me be the first to propose an obvious way to do this: use a "spinning button" but much bigger than the toy. Those suckers can go 125,000 rpm, much much faster than industrial stone cutting saws of today. At those speeds you could cut rock with a string or with water. A super weed-wacker would work, or a toothed saw made of just about anything and using powdered stone abrasive.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Woods Hole in 2018

I have been coming to Woods Hole since 1956, my grandfather was a scientist at the Oceanographic and my father rented a desk at the MBL library and was involved with some of the courses. I have been going to Friday night lectures since I was a teenager. So today, semi-retired and getting a good look at the place this is the kinds of people I see:

The "Big Science" MBL scientists get to rent nice properties down Gardiner Rd from me. Meanwhile the U of Chicago has brought in a continually renewing undergraduate population and the doors at the MBL are unlocked more often. The Friday night lectures continue a tradition of emphasizing credentials and the social benefits of science, rather than the science. So for example, a talk on a human disease, can involve routine application of conventional tools, and garner praise because the disease is important [I should talk] and because the grants are large. Amazing images can be praised without any understanding of the underlying processes being observed. Occasional new ideas slip in.

Another group is the retired engineers and "alte kaker" sitting across from Pie-in-the-Sky, watching people go buy (on Thursday's I go and order Chai). I am just feeling out this group. I have known some for many years but am trying to remember names. These guys, if they aren't still working, are trying to entertain themselves with boats. I want to call them the "boys", as it is a resumption of childhood fun.

Then I am bothered by another group, which I am on the fringe of, consisting of urban folks who seem to huddle together for warmth. Waiting - I guess - for death and passing time shoring up their sense of status du jour. Well, I am not urban.

Another group are the successful people, the landed gentry, over on my side of town. They seem confident and easing into age - although I should be a fly on the wall!

Friday, July 13, 2018

The Moving Topic - some first principles of context

Principle 1: Given what you have been talking about and what you are currently talking about, you use the narrowest context that is broad enough to encompass both.

Principle 2: Regardless of word order, process the information from broad("top") to narrow ("bottom") when translating text to content.

Principle 2: When keeping a record of statements an entire top-down "path" is needed to process every sub-context, starting from the broadest and leading down to the sub-context. So when child context information appears, blank information is back-filled into a sequence of containing parent contexts. If attributes for those blanks occur in the following text, they are filled in and to avoid overwriting a value an entire duplicate of the path will split off with only the new value changed. However, when legacy values have been duplicated this way and they are to be overwritten, that can happen without further splitting. [I still don't have this '"right". Perhaps you split if a parent will overwritten but do not split and override, when a child is to be overwritten.]

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

There are lies and damned lies and....

I want to say: there are lies, damned lies, and statistics machine learning. For truly fraudulent efforts, see the usage "deep".

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Why not develop a real search engine?

Right now, Google search is a joke and the other search engines are incapable of finding relevant matches, even though the searches can be quite clearly specified and....assuming this is true: it is big, wide, world or internet out there.
Why the f*ck doesn't some build a real internet search engine?

Rudimentary language understanding is not that complicated - for finding out what people are searching for. But perhaps indexing the web in a meaningful way is not so straightforward. Obviously the whole strategy or promoting the 'popular' must collapse inward under its own weight. We are left not knowing how to find things.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Formulaic Conventions of Recitative

It is very frustrating reading musicologist discuss recitative and see them being focused on the history of the genre and failing to describe the conventions of the form other than being "secco" or "Italian", etc. One thing I do see them discussing is the way recitative can be blended with aria, so let's not go into that. But here are some conventions that are part of the recitative formula by convention, which seem to receive very little attention from musicologists:
  1. The recitative is a dialog alternating between singer and instruments
  2. Usually the instruments make a 'statement' and the singer gives a "reply" or makes their own statement
  3. At the end, instruments finish the cadence.
  4. Singer can use rhythms of their own choosing; instruments usually stick to more rigid meter
  5. The decoupling of voice from instrument occurs through following different rules of meter. So when recitative blends back into aria it can do so, gradually, as the voice does or does not begin to coordinate with the more rigidly metered instrumental parts.
Fun violations
The cadence of (3) above is usually a 5-1. You occasionally hear Bach do a 4-1. You can break this rule in lots of obvious ways: 2-1, 3-1, or whatever you like.

I am writing a recitative where I am enjoying breaking several rules. At the beginning, I am letting the voice go first and be answered by the instruments. For the cadence, I am using 1-5 (F-C) in one place and 1-(minor)5 (C-Gmin) in another. And then by repeating the phrases I can end on the voice, then echo with an ending in the instruments. Finally I go into an aria "al attacca' when I do get back to the '1' rather than ending the recitative.

Most composers I listen to did some experiments with the form. Mozart stands out as a composer who did not.

Update: Another flouting of the recitative conventions is to have that two chord cadence actually serve both as a cadence and as a motif for the initial melody. So the recitative I am writing, called a "reverse recitative", starts with a motif of notes: 1-6. I am thinking of ending on a 2-8 notes.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Recording a new piece of information in nested contexts - makeRecord()

I wrote the details of an algorithm today, called makeRecord(), that handles the task of processing context specific text and recording it in the data structure of nested contexts that I have been developing. The algorithm makes some pretty heavy assumptions:

  • that the context can be updated in the order of most general to least general, and 
  • that the new context is the least general common context containing both the new and the previous details
  • that text can be de-serialized into a nested data structure by these assumptions
The reason it is "heavy" is the proposed uniform and simple way to parse meaning, more or less independent of grammar and syntax.