Test Information Space

Journal of Tech, Testing and Trends

Archive for April, 2010


Posted by cadsmith on April 28, 2010


Projections for the realworld include some primary climate change scenarios (pdf), a series by Damon Vrabel looking at societal economic controls, and the growth of ecommerce in China. Inter-socnet streams may be easier using XAuth and activity can be visualized using OpenGraph and Postrank. Realtime animated video rendering software reportedly improves realism. 3D adds mobile, and hardcopy from IBM nano, Sculpteo, and D-Shape. Speakeasy measures bandwidth. There were about 53 bookmarks since previous post. Added Technology topic to wiki. Book reviews include:

The Logic of Scientific Discovery, Popper, 1959. This is a classic in the histories of philosophy and science. The author translated from German to English. Cosmology is the study of humanity’s place in the world. Growth of knowledge is significant. Scientific knowledge is key indicator. Logic, or the method of progress, is the topic. Universal theory is the goal. Finding universal problems is the approach. It is interesting to see the science and common sense of that time questioned, e.g. to surmise that theories are not verifiable, and that probability is not falsifiable. The author makes observations about Bernoulli, Bohr, Kant, Hume, Wittgenstein, Einstein and Heisenberg. The second English edition was published in 2002. It had two parts, logic and experience, ten chapters, eighty-five sections, and nineteen appendices. There are eight main points about induction, psychologism, deductive testing, demarcation, experience, falsifiability, empirical basis, and objectivity versus conviction. The writing style is clear and uses elements of verbal rhetoric for pleasant effect rather than a dry classic style of proof, which is among the subjects of scepticism. A philosopher faces a “heap of ruins” and uses language to find genuine problems in an exercise of critical thinking. The social aspect is important. The title is similar to Kuhn 1962 and it has been observed that it anticipated the scientific framework or paradigm. There was a debate between them in 1965 and the theories have been compared. Modern fields which were outside of the scope at the time include at least brain science, computation, visualization and automation.

Curing Analytic Pathologies, Cooper, 2005. This brief addressed the system tilts early in the new millenium decade. There were layers of pathology involving individuals, groups or agencies, and community or society. Various types of errors, bias and illusions are shown. Analytic support is needed for warning, policy and military operations. The intelligence phase-space includes domains and accounts, products and services, and sources. Problems involved a series of strategic intelligence failures, interrelated causes, a collection paradigm for “denied areas”, analytic methods from the cold war, intelligence not being as self-correcting as science, and a craft culture and guild structure relying on an unsustainable apprenticeship model. Solutions were to apply cognitive science, use new approaches in collection, analysis, processing and dissemination, diagnose root cause “inside the boxes”, add more perspectives and validation methods, DNI leadership assurance to cover each agency across the community, and an institutionalized lessons-learned process. The Pathologies Map and the Layers diagram on p59-60 illustrate how “networks act like ‘regulatory pathways’ for intelligence’ to distort reference frames and produce wrong answers. Other sources discuss Collective Intelligence.

Tetraktys, Juels, 2009. The search for truth includes ways to keep secrets hidden and, when this is threatened by a Pythagorean cult, doctoral apprentice Ambrose Jerusalem is recruited by the government. This is a different adventure from illicit deals or religious confrontation, but it could happen. The hero is a classically educated computer scientist and son of an archaeologist. Elements may be reminiscent of Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon, Benson’s Bond in Facts of Death, and movies like The Recruit or Indiana Jones. The Greek history is well researched. There are four parts, appropriate for the title, containing ten chapters each. The settings are in places such as Boston, Italy and Greece. The perspective is third person omniscient, mostly dialogue, and some flashbacks. It is an initial novel and some parts seemed pasted on rather than smoothly integrated, but there were convincing emotional sequences, such as the protagonist’s confusion about what his parents wanted him to become, or an hilarious dance scene. It refers to realworld incidents, e.g. zodiac killer, and tradecraft such as applied numerology for decryption. The author seems to take fiction writing seriously and his technical expertise suggests that there are probably more plots in store.

WWW:Watch, Sawyer, 2010. National securities have hit the panic button after the discovery of the Exponential virus. Is this the birth of immortality or the threat of annihilation? What are the rules of consciousness involving multiple species such as animals, humans or aliens? How many casualties will truth demand? A vision of this scenario is presented in a style which consistently juxtaposes two or more perspectives so that the reader can vicariously experience what the ambiguities are like for a myriad couple of dozen characters including the mirrored protagonists Webmind in the first person and Caitlin in the thought-revealing third, she with a cyborg-like eyepod and it with an empathic form of total information awareness. This is the second part of a trilogy so it extends the original story while not being completely conclusive. The author, who also writes for TV, has proposed a well-researched technothriller about the early days of cyberwar. He looks at messaging, reading, movie watching, data visualization, innovation, games, mobility, privacy, censorship, crime and emotion from a novel vantage point. Clips of mostly Star Trek and other references are used to reinterpret the scifi themes. Humans have been used to being the teachers in the past, but this situation challenges their known solutions (assuming cloud engines like wolframalpha prevent cheating for the time being). This artistic story invites deeper appreciation.


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Posted by cadsmith on April 16, 2010


Consider meta2verse or meta2virtualization as universes created to hold compressed copies of other possible, or existing, universes or multiverses, including futures waiting for ‘”when to be”. These may be stored as mathematics or software and have the interrelations and interfaces of affinity groups or clusters, also the relevant calculations and transforms between sets. Meaning may be discovered In a process of visual or tactile sense and prediction which covers zones or branches of associated realizations, e.g. science, tech, energetics, biology and materials. These may have new categories in addition to Library of Congress class T Technology which does not yet include biotech, nanotech, cognitive or IT itself. In the M2V is found the perfect community or social network, aliens, and symmetries which balance rights lost in other domains, at least if wishful thinking is allowed, as well as subtler reflections of other contexts in local and vice-versa. Some of this may show up on the net, and some of that exemplified in about 56 recent bookmarks and tags since the previous post, including overlaps. Or can skip down to book reviews.

The Design of Design, Brooks 2009. Branching Bridges: Author favors spatial design approach. Historical anecdotes characterize this as classic problem. Rational model is limited. Empirical test is necessary. Requirements are separated for design and construction; Agile is shown as alternative. Recommends Boehm’s spiral model. Mills’ Cleanroom.Software Engineering used for inspection; Expands on team design complements architect vision. Problem space permutations evolve as well as design space. Collaborative CAD traces development so can revisit steps. Constraints often simplify process since solution requires less generality. Example cases include software, buildings, books and data centers. Does not cover design patents.

Anthill, Wilson 2010. This is no Rockwell painting, though the sunlight is positive and without any climate change dramatics. There is a faith in nature demonstrated by a Thoreau-like ecological utopia, but the protagonist “could not equate the crusade for the environment with that for civil rights” consistent with his becoming an American lawyer. Raphael, Raff or Scooter is a likeable character. He is nostalgic for his homeland around Lake Nokobee and they derive meaning from eachother. Other beneficiaries are a scout troop and NRA. Twain might have been tempted to send him travelling in time to question his worldview, but the author continuously reinforces it. The symbols may seem stereotypical yet they act deeply according to theories of “scientific humanism”, sociobiology and consilience. Religion is biological, postulated for ants as well, and includes rightwing zealots. There are no equations. Darwin and Linnaeus are inspirations, but the overall form is biography. Point of view is mostly third person and has first person narration by Raff’s mentor, professor Norville, botanist rather than Kingsley of Paper Chase. Dialogue is given voices; this is the south. Frogman, the raw paranoid hunter, is an anti-hero to Raff yet there are dependancies. The prologue claims there are three scales, ants, humans and biosphere. The chronicles describe the ongoing wars between colonies of the title. Except for this analogy and the ministers’ battle between good and evil, war is treated as historical event. This is not a scifi story. It is naturalist and counter-myth; there is no tech. Wilson fans will enjoy seeing his ideas cast in a new richly descriptive format.

Transition, Banks 2009. The prologue opens with a murder and hints at multiple perspectives and rationales, sort of like Patient 8262 as Sherlock Holmes discussing 007, Dune spice navigators, Quantum leap, Houdini and Harry Potter. The novel is set in the recent past. Fifteen chapters group several paragraphs for each character’s context some of whom are in first person, others in third or describing eachother, An alternate earth has a university to teach how to transition between bodies on different planets as easily as actors change roles, “to flit or not to flit”, effectively eliminating the need for the author’s famous alien spaceships. There is a magic potion in the form of pills called Septus (a term which may also refer to a septum or membrane between tissues or cavities). A hidden government council manages the monopoly on this and has spotters to recruit secret agents by physical contact to act as samaritans or assassins as necessary to “change things. For the better, we would hope, …”. Tandemisers travel together. Foreseers predict futures. Trackers spy. There are also blockers, exorcisers and the Speditionary guard. One use is immortality by physical replacement. There is a danger of the destination becoming multiple aliens at once or of being forcibly transitioned in or out which is still preferable to execution. All of this allows the author to simultaneously contrast possible futures and a variety of normative standards, e.g. alien catchers, religious regimes, war on the unAware’s, or intentional time paradoxes. This is a fun and stimulating story.

The Big Questions, Landsburg 2009. This is a general introduction to mathematical economics which also tries to simplify answers to “…the big questions of philosophy: Where did the universe come from? Why is there something instead of nothing? How is knowledge possible? What justifies a belief? How can we tell right from wrong, and good from evil? How should we live our lives?” An economists’ golden rule (EGR) is proposed to compare cost-benefits for both others and self. Frank Ramsey is author’s favorite philosopher. Also recommends Tegmark’s paper on “The Mathematical Universe” where physics is mathematics and human-semantic-type baggage, able to show isomorphism between external reality and mathematical structures. Some discussion of consciousness and AI emphasizes Dennett. The book does not cover controversial topics and the blog characterizes the recent crisis as “just another bank run, pure and simple”. Reader would seek additional sources for topics such as behavioral economics, emotions, history and types of philosophies, analysis of scarcity, investing, ecommerce, debt or solutions for alternative economics.

Quantability, yours truly, 2010. short story explores what might happen if scifi ever disappears from the public imagination again.

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New Role Net

Posted by cadsmith on April 2, 2010


As users assemble goal-directed means to acquire answers, reviews, skills and experts, they explore new tools and interfaces beyond the jurisdiction of the administrative status quo. A transform of these activities can show the likelihood that a prospective model will endure based on advantages, availability, usability, quality, and cost savings, for example. Some will be customizable. Recognition and reputation systems may eventually be built-in.  Recent bookmarks for testing context can be highlighted. Test-driven development (TDD) is applied to embedded systems and opensource testopia to management. Labmeeting networks results. Wolframalpha simplifies pocket math. Cacoo supports social diagrams. Skipfish evaluates security. Ruby for rails lists best practices. Ncomputing embeds cloud desktop. Stickybits augments physical tags and RFIDs can be printed. Heads up devices include Emotiv, Cyberglove, Sensics, Looktel and thought to text. Freelancer and Cloudcrowd hawk their wheres.

Open Government: Collaboration, Transparency and Participation in Practice, edited by Lathrop and Ruma, 2010. If the truth be known, governments have found scaling to be very difficult. The theme is actually about risk. By definition, the results cannot long follow a set gameplan. Scope and speed are significant. The 34 articles and more authors are stimulating. It is hard to define open administration. Add potential results such as infinite congress, powerless proxies, or resistance to notion of evolution. Web2.0 may not be sufficient to inform the architecture or its defenses, if not creating more bureaucratic network branches for the usual government departments. Case studies are discussed, many in terms of web sites. This is a challenge to model verifiably since it may be more complex than the internet, eg for effect on democracy. Can wonder how much of a role each of several dozen forms of government may have, how tolerant they are, or who will be the people to take equivalent positions and present dire warnings, perhaps including an uberclass of network lobbyists. If party colors are used, the center of change becomes where the palette is most varying. Unexpected effects can be further outlined, such as a balance of power online opposite to realword due to generational shift. Terms differ, eg absentee may be obsolete. Acronyms seem longer at 5 characters or more. There are differences between opensource, crowdsource and open data. Questions remain as to how open other functions must be. New methods of preparing people are necessary. A lot of popular buzzwords show up, eg sustainable participative efficient realtime transparent collaborative interoperable accountable webservice marketplace. Yet another killer app is expected to succeed government internet web search. Secrecy and privacy need to adapt. The signal event that (in)validates this approach needs to be defined with respect to finance, legislation and security for citizenry, business, and environment. Also need to see how intelligently it handles local politics, partisanship, global policy, propaganda, big corporate contributions, marketing manipulation, fundamentalism, costs or censorship. Reading the interactive news may become interesting when that itself changes system conditions

The End of Money and the Future of Civilization, Thomas H. Greco Jr., 2009. The author seeks to promote democracy and the egalitarian decentralization of elitist power through networks of local control which complement global usefulness. A sustainable exchange replaces money. This outweighs the political contest between capitalism and socialism, leads more toward cooperation than competition, and improves the standard of living and quality of life. He is influenced by writings of E. C. Riegel. His anecdotal style is meant to be understood by readers and the historical details and quotes are consistently embellished by philosophical and ethical considerations. There are twenty chapters, an epilogue, and two appendices.
He predicts web-based personal and commercial trading units comprised of marketplace, social network, payments via direct credit clearing, and an objective measure of value like a composite commodity standard. This would combine the convenience of Paypal and the credit of Visa. (If one substitutes the internet for web, then networks also include things like mobile phones, media players, or tablet devices.) Communities can then map their territories and buy local over imports, allow mutual credit clearing for payment, establish currency from “trusted issuers”, localize, and normalize an accounting unit. Prosper.com is an example of peer-to-peer lending.
History of finance is reviewed. Government is a dispenser of privilege and banking holds the strings. The “great monetary transformation” was from commodity to credit. Wars have been supported by central banking since the creation of the Bank of England which enabled credit and victory over Napoleon in 1815. The development of American government and banking is dramatically rendered, eg Andrew Jackson’s veto of Nicholas Biddle’s Second Bank of the US. The Federal Reserve emerged in 1913. Central banking is now internationally rooted in a new world order which outranks national sovereignty. Growth has been based on exponentially rising debt from private and government spending which created the crises that are becoming more frequent, e.g. inflation or the recent subprime mortgage default

The Caryatids, Bruce Sterling, 2009. In 2065, between an orbital sanctum and future space habitats, classical planet-based civilization is supported, as the title suggests, by the figuresque architectural columns of outlaw engineer clones of a Balkan war criminal, an Aryan Atlas-like brother and four sisters. They have risen to leadership of the major world domains. Amid the Acquis ln Mljet island, everyware, a senseweb of social software, monitors the brains and attentions of exoskeleton-equipped communal laborers and sensors. Earthquakes in LA arouse the Dispensation’s mil-entertainment complex global net’s’ autonomous emergency crews, while users view celebrities like paparazzi through homemade cams and plan the Next Web. Like a dragon, the Great Wall eyes Jiuquan, the city around China’s space center as military plot official immortality, while the political department extends to the far reaches.
Fashioned as a triptych, the novel balances coincidences along three generations, three competing political parties, and the lives of the clones in three different parts. A Synchronist philosophy combines Extinction 6.0, the climate crisis, and an “event heap” of a supervolcano and unstable sun in a decaying universe. The reader follows the expressions, gestures and emotions of the participants while, like an epic symphonist scratching for survival, the author paints a future composed of Beethoven on the bulldozer; a Mongolian Mozart and a touch of thrash metal. Contrasts are juxtaposed including mines and graves, politically agnostic religion, transparency and vanishing. He refers obliquely to writings of Austen, Poe, Lovecraft, and Stevenson.
Sound and color infuse the stories of the industrial Vera, theatrical Radmila, heroine of the state Red Sonja, Biserka’s incarnation of the goddess Artemis, and the sensitive executive George.

Wireless, Charles Stross, 2009 The author really enjoys writing short stories according to his intro. Meant for the hard scifi genre, the subjects cover a full range of themes including aliens, space opera, time travel, robotics, internet, secret weapons, and singularity, with an added devil’s bargain. Most of the entries have an afterword for the reasons that they were penned. His writing influences for these were H. P. Lovecraft, P. G. Wodehouse’s humor, Gardner Dozois’ commission on the theme of a million A.D., and co-blogger Cory Doctorow. Bob Howard appears from The Laundry spy series. Carl Sagan and Yuri Gagarin populate alternate Soviet history. The author expects the reader to have read some of the works online, though his site does not accept payments which he requests be made to the publishers who do the promoting. Three of the nine titles can be read in entirety at http://www.antipope.org/charlie, Unwirer, A Colder War and Down on the Farm. All of the selections were previously published between 1998-2008 except the novella Palimpsest. Missile Gap won a Locus in 2006. That year also saw a Hugo for The Concrete Jungle and another Locus for Accelerando, both not in this volume, but available on the website.

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