Friday, May 27, 2011


An older person, intellectual and college educated (very good school), asked about avatars. Its use by the gamesters was confusing the person, since the contexts were modern and computational. You see, 'avatar' is older than the hills (well, almost - and, implicit in this is that yo has been into that mindset since the early 60s); too, the world view behind the concept may seem strange to some western minds; and, as we see a whole lot, young minds took an older thing and used it to be something somewhat like, but really different from, the age-old usages (bringing angst forward, as well, each time -- until we get inured (or is it indoctrinated?)) .


We probably ought to enumerate these types of idea morphs from the past 1/2 century; I've been involved with the development of computational techniques using mathematics and modeling for a long time and will start getting together a list if I don't find that it has already been done; development meaning, of course, the evolution of our artificially oriented prowess.


Now, concepts found in abstract mathematics can relate to the 'avatar' theme. Mainly, the lift and the projection. We'll go on about that, to boot. Sufficient for now is this: many times what seems like a lift is actually a projection. And the confusion arises from a 'virtual' vertigo, so to speak.

Take the avatar, for instance. It can be embedded in a space that 'lifts' (no, not a change of usage, let me explain - at some point). However, what we see is that its usage is involved with a projection (implying into a lower-order affair - again, will explain) many times. Let this slogan suffice, for now: lifts can trample while projections squish 'being' (unfortunately, we'll have to pause to consider some t-issues - but, as said before, PTIME may apply).


And, folks, that type of thing (see Remarks 05/28/2011, below, on vertigo) is behind a whole bunch of 'oops' that we see in life. Mind you, this discussion, in no way, is meant to imply that 'gaming' is never the 'lift' that it appears to be. Rather, we want 'computational being-ness' to be more uplifting than it has been to date.


Aside: the avatar concept may have more applicability than not; in fact, it allows another way to look at several problems that might be effective; too, why limit 'avatar' to being a glorified icon (even if it exhibits behavior -- hint: think duck test against an embodiment)?


09/16/2012 -- Avatar (movie's tale) as parable.

05/01/2012 -- We'll need to talk singularity in the context of Alan. The computer has as many holes as do we; however, we can cut out of the fog. 

06/22/2011 -- IEEE has a nice overview of social media and related issues.

05/28/2011 -- In what situations will an 'avatar' be confused (as in befuddled)? What? Yes, in the traditional sense, one would think never (except for those whose role might include the possibility). Because we have the quasi-empirical issues to resolve since we like to push the envelope, there is a 'vertigo' state that is possible computationally (or cyber-ally). The recent re-look at the Air France event (of 2009) that was made possible with the recovery of the flight data recorder can allow us an analog. One commenter talked about how the bucking of the plane, and it being night, did not allow any basis to determine appropriate action. That state has many more possible occurrences than we have admitted (for many reasons) to be likely in computational frameworks. We'll continue to try to explain why. The article on the Lemons problem touched on one possible avenue of expression of this phenomenon - implying, yes, that the cyber-based (without confusing map-territory) is what we know as the reality (think sensors and their increasingly electronic basis) many, many times. Aside: what the heck is money except for bits within the FED's (and its cohorts worldwide) cyber-realm, though all sorts of first-world expectations fill in its 'avatar' (if I'm allowed that stretch)?

Modified: 09/16/2012

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Caveat Emptor

A few words are apropos in the context of truth and lemons.


We've all know about, or heard of, buyer's remorse. That is, you spend your hard-earned money on something and then wonder if it was junk that you bought. There have been ways to help with this: consumer protection laws, etc.

You see, though, the bankers did just that. That is, bought junk. Actually, sold junk, too. And, got away with it, almost. Why almost? They did crash the economy for which we are still paying while they have, essentially, been playing (with our money).

Any remorse on their part? Not that I can see. At the ex ante time, they were rolling the dough with glee. Luxury was almost synonymous with banking (investment type). In the ex post time, they've spent oodles of money (on lobbyists, for instance) and time on avoiding any notion of blame.

Now, the article mentioned in 'lemons' and 'truth' (both above) somewhat offers bankers an out. You see, they were moving the shells in an indiscernible manner while only being human. We should all know that bankers wallow; have you ever seen one that might be considered angelic?

Aside: talking those best-and-brightest who have been allowed to lead the old farts astray, not the laboring clerks, and lowly managers, who work to help the customer base.

Yes, all the while, gaming our beans and trying to appear, to the public, as if they knew about due diligence, fiduciary duty, and the like. Yet, behind the scenes, the depths of idiocy were being explored.


Aside: I agree with the FED dude in KC who wants to clamp down on banks and to put banking back into its utility framework. Too, I saw banking 'fraud' up close. Was actually thrown out of a bank since I could do mathematical modeling, noticed slight perturbations on their returns that suggested chicanery, brought it to the attention of management. The government? They said to take the banking company to court. What? An individual trying to do what ought to have been done by the OCC, the FDIC, or such? Too, the state banking association told me categorically that they were for the banks, not the customers. What, again? And, there were never any repercussions for the potential losses to that bank's customers who were not aware of the 'thumb on the scale' tactic. How much did the bank take in with their little scheme?

Aside: It's funny that the bank responded by throwing me, and my money, out; too, they did some character assassinations (or tried to) as if I were a harasser. When the machinations of Made-off (my ordeal was prior to this -- in summary: depositor, mainly - no debts) were revealed, what was brought out? Many had tried to tell the tale of his misdeeds. One even depicted the state of being alone and fearing legal repercussions. My motivations for 'truth engineering' are deep (long association with computing) and wide (everywhere dense).

Aside: Not anti-banking. I deal with several. Financial advisers? That's another story.

Aside: The bank also got back at me by taking TARP money which, we all know, came out of the taxpayers' pockets. Why did not TARP have strings?


Essentially, there are serious issues to resolve with computing and finance. To date, those in charge have let the young people run, almost without restraint, after riches and glories. Some have hit things big time (and, we get freebies, like blogger, for instance). Many more (a very many more) have become impoverished with the new types of 'gaming' that resulted in the ca-pital-sino.

Now, the authorities can blubber all they want about legalities, and such, and the law-makers can listen to as many of the lobbyists as they want (by the way, these people do not want us to think about these underlying, systemic, problems), but malfeasance seems to have become an acceptable mode (what did one headline say today? John Edwards, mis-used campaign money and hid it -- the adage? mis-use was not the issue, covering up is -- what a state of affairs!).

So, to make this short, for now, here are some things with which we will need to concern ourselves:
  • -- mathematization does not equate to truth - nor, does computation -- we will have to work to build a framework that is sustainable, and does not do harm (nod to those behind this medium). We cannot let those who can spawn off all of these awful instruments that have unknown consequences to continue to do so willy nilly. A sandbox would help. But, what exactly is that?
  • -- just as the prior bullet suggests, we cannot let pseudo-science reign in finance, and economics. We need to make it real. Of course, many have said that. For one thing, we could expect some type of 'testing' (no, not what Timmy did last year) within our money realm that is more solid than what we have now. Of course, that has implications on the bean counting, to boot.
  • -- following up on the prior bullet requires me to note that the 'pseudo' is partly tongue-in-cheek, due to the dismal nature of the domains. Oh, of course, those who roll in the dough (a very small percentage) may not be dismal. The reality is, folks, that for the most, the dire situation does not have to be, in many cases. True, there are natural disasters, accidents, and such. Yet, the type of things where a few, because they can, risk the livelihood, and the health, of the many need to scrutinized. Where that is not being done is with those things computational, for a variety of reasons. Some of it is pure laziness (ah, it's too difficult) and hubris (what? you expect me to dirty my hands?).
  • -- ..., doing what might be consider a flip-flop, we ought to encourage 'open' methods in computing and software. However, there is a big potential for hidden 'snakes' (find the article about this - that is, altered electronics that can be controlled remotely, embedded within something that is widely distributed) on the hardware/firmware side. Too, even with open software, there are issues, such as understanding how code works, is executed, and such. Then, algorithms are not necessarily grasped correctly.
  • -- So, we will be back to using computing, and networks, to found the truth, albeit augmented with devices everywhere in the hands of trained minds who are not afraid to recognize the importance, and use, of intuition (what? - being mindful of the map-territory silliness).
  • -- And, we'll have to put insurance back into its proper state -- not where some dude, at the top, pulls in 100+ million, for himself, in one year, by not doing things: paying claims, etc. After all, 'lemons' can be insured against, AIG's little (actually large) turmoils notwithstanding.
  • -- ...

05/29/2011 -- Fair dealing, can that be brought back? Was it ever?

05/26/2011 -- Quoted 'fraud' as will carry this discussion over to Fedaerated in a continuing discussion of banking, money, etc. Along the line of truth & lemons (context of the post), how do we discern the truth when mathematics/computation are involved? There are serious issues that have not been given enough attention, probably due to the operational effectiveness that we have seen. Too, there are human issues. Auditors are cut from the same cloth as the bankers, in many cases. Politicos are limited many ways. Somehow, we need to introduce independent reviews, beyond the oversight attempts by regulators. We'll closely look at this case of a bank throwing me out after I had been a good customer for 10 years. What changed? New management came in, an expansive mode went into effect (buying banks at other locales), and some operational changes were put into place to put the balance toward the bank (this is a key issue). At that time, returns started to diverge from the expected. Another factor is that it was not just me computing and checking one bank. I was comparing this bank's results against three others. Of the four, one bank's results were right on target with my expected return calculations (as in, mind you, zero deviation). The other two had slight residues, but that is to be expected given that one can interpret regulations several ways and still remain compliant. The bank out of which I was catapulted had deltas, in their favor, that were significant. We'll explain why and discuss why this was so. And, do it all in a nice manner despite a growing awareness that bankers are not upright (to wit, dead peasant - classy, indeed).

Modified: 05/29/2011

Friday, May 6, 2011

Not back II

In the context of the new plane program, flightblogger notes a couple of recent developments that were mentioned in public announcements this week. For each of the below, the comments are well worth a browse.
  • Rework (April 27, 2011) -- evidently, all of the planes that have been manufactured, to date, need some changes dealing with handling lightening. One estimate said weeks of work per each. Too, there will be schedule issues, but does the current plan allow for things taking longer, in some cases, than expected? One comment mentions that relaxing along all decisional axes is almost guaranteed to raise problems. Similar statements (Rush job) here, earlier.
  • Break even (April 28, 2011) -- as the plane moves toward release, discussions will turn from technical issues to the economic ones. How one handles rework (prior Bullet) very much has to do with cost as well as with knowledge; confounding issues can arise along the whole development timeline, as we have seen. From a continual improvement viewpoint, one hopes that lessons learned carry forward.
It would be interesting to see Boeing lead in efforts to understand, for the betterment of all, when human and computational knowledge are not equivalent. And, that would deal with several subjects (things in themselves, model limits, Turing space, and more).


Again, there a parallels between plane engineering and the thing called financial engineering sufficient to allow some interesting discussion. This can continue (even while being 'not back').


07/15/2013 -- A fire late last week bring an opportunity to see what goes into determining whether to do composite repair or to undergo a section replacement.

04/07/2012 -- Flightblogger ends, as least, Jon's watch. Some issues raised five years ago are still apropos. The context may have changed a little, yet, perhaps now is time to re-address the themes which are beyond aviation, only one of a whole bunch of domains. 

06/06/2011 -- Still gone.

Modified: 07/15/2013