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Blumenkohl last won the day on May 22 2016

Blumenkohl had the most liked content!

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About Blumenkohl

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    John Williams's Shrink
  • Birthday 03/22/1980

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  1. Blumenkohl

    SCORE: Medal of Honor

    Yep. You don't get this level of consistency in quality over this many tracks this often.
  2. Blumenkohl

    The Physics and Philosophy Thread

    Each of us... at some time in our lives, turns to someone - a father, a brother, a God... and asks..."Why am I here? What was I meant to be?" Well, why not turn to JWFan instead?
  3. Read David Deutsch. Beginning of Infinity is a good intro. Multiverse stuff is hypothetical, but the current prevailing accepted hypothesis that squares away the rough edges of modern physics. Point is that knowledge has profound effects. Everything abides by the laws of physics. You can abide by the laws of physics and be unpredictable by the laws of physics.
  4. It's important to make a distinction between information and knowledge (a particular form of information). Stars and hurricanes would still contain information, but purely in a bottom-up emergent sense, so far as we can tell. If you present a hurricane with information in the form of cold temperature from a cold front, it does not preferentially avoid the cold front. It just chugs right along into the cold front and obliterates itself. Information doesn't have a tendency to remain/propagate, information is just information. A virus/bacteria is where we start to see information used as knowledge. It's still rather mechanistically, driven, as far as we can tell, entirely by the underlying structures (DNA...a form of information, called "knowledge," stored in proteins), but at this point it's no longer predictable by atoms and laws. At this level when we present bacteria with information about danger "A" and see the bacteria actively engage in behavior to avoid "A." Life actively uses knowledge to get to what helps it and avoid what harms it. This active preference driven by knowledge would bear itself out if you mapped the multiverse. If you mapped out the multiverse (a map of all the infinite possibilities) where bacteria are a thing, the number of universes where bacteria are alive would be have an edge over the number of universes where bacteria are dead. Hurricanes would not have a survival edge, because they have no active preference. Hurricanes may operate in a world of information, but they do not have knowledge. They don't understand that cold air will kill them. By avoiding death within a single universe, life makes it more probable to find universes in the multiverse with life. You see that replication theme again. Somewhere between bacteria and human, enough sophistication emerges in creatures of knowledge (DNA) that then allows the living thing to use something akin to software, we call it a mind, to glean information and abstractly think about it and organize it into wholly new knowledge outside of its genes, instincts, and other structurally-derived knowledge. Once you have knowledge, once you create it, once you share it you begin to affect probabilities. The underlying math says there will be maximum spread between all the possibilities in a deterministic or non-deterministic universe without knowledge. But once knowledge becomes involved, you will affect probabilities not just in your own universe, but across the multiverse. Your preference for John Williams in this universe makes the multiverse have more universes where Datameister likes John Williams. More profoundly than liking John Williams, the person who weaved together the knowledge that the sun will go nova in 5 billion years may well have falsified his own knowledge. Once that knowledge is created and disseminated it will begin to re-shape the physical world, and potentially lead to new knowledge, in such a way that millions of years from now, if we're still around we could develop sufficient knowledge to prevent the sun going nova. Hurricanes and stars cannot do that. They exist at the whim of particles and the laws of physics. A single bacterium cannot do that, because it is locked down to the knowledge conveyed by its genes. But a physicist can. His genes created something complex enough to let him think about information and knowledge and formulate new knowledge that can act on the physical world (within the bounds of physical laws).
  5. Blumenkohl

    Anyone else obsessed with their lawn?

  6. Aha, I think you are hung up on something I was hung up on initially too. You are hung up on mindless interactions leading to things. Or rather, you are hung up on a version of it that ascribes it powers that simply aren’t true. Mindless interactions of particles can lead to emergent phenomenon. Yes. Where you have a misunderstanding of this concept is extrapolating it out as sufficient explanation for why you have a brain AND I have a brain. Or why there are billions of chickens. The laws of physics and initial conditions cannot account for repeated, high fidelity physical transformations. In fact the laws of physics you appeal to predict a rapid deterioration of fidelity. Mindless particle interactions, over a long enough (near infinite) time frame may give rise to a chicken or the imperial march at some point. But it would corrupt into something else in a flash. A second goat that one can still describe as a goat wouldn’t just...mindlessly happen. You would need to rewrite the laws of physics to be design-centric enough to produce minds or chickens and have them propagate with high fidelity over all the other possibilities. Or you appeal to God and a designed universe. Neither is good science. The best way, so far, that we can square chickens and minds with the laws of physics is through the notion of not just information, but a certain type of information that can persist and have causal impact on the physical universe. Think about it another way. You’re saying a Toyota Corolla comes from atoms mindlessly interacting. And if all we had in the universe is one Toyota Corolla that appeared for the blink of an eye, you would be right. But we don’t have one Toyota Corolla. We have millions. And they all are, to an incredibly high level of fidelity, effectively the same car. When you say all of those cars arise with that degree of fidelity from mindless interactions, you are actually violating the laws of physics you want to appeal to. All of these Toyota Corollas come from a factory. But they don’t spontaneously arise from the factory. A factory is just a bunch of atoms sitting there and interacting. To make all all of these Toyota corollas with high fidelity the factory needs something else. Otherwise it just sits there, mindlessly, until one day a Toyota Corolla pops into the world. So to do its job, the factory needs a recipe or set of instructions. Information, of a particular kind, that can persist and have causal effect on the physical world. This notion is completely in alignment with our existing physical laws. There is nothing that forbids it. So the factory doesn’t build the Corolla. The information, the recipe, organizes the physical world (the factory) into not just one Corolla, but millions with high accuracy. To get to free will from that isn’t a leap. It is a question. Why do we have a recipe for a Toyota Corolla in that factory over all the other recipes that we can have?
  7. Abstractions may stem from initial conditions, particles, and their governed motion, or they may be fully abstract. The sun is an abstract concept that emerges from the configuration of atoms. The Imperial March is not just a configuration of atoms. It is something else entirely. It is information. Let's look at the Imperial March. You can write it down, you can turn it into waves through the air, you can visualize it with graphs, you can etch it into a CD, you can etch it into vinyl, you can put in your brain as a memory, you can turn it into electrons in RAM, you can turn it into magnetic fields, maybe one day gravitational waves. There are countless physical configurations that abstraction we call "The Imperial March" can take, and they may abide by different laws of physics. What's more fascinating is that The Imperial March actually re-arranges the physical world to propagate. It has its own fidelity separate from that of the physical substrate it currently lives on. Eerily, it causes itself to be configured into the universe, not from a particles-up perspective, but from abstraction down. This is important: the flow of emergence is bi-directional. Lower-level structures give way to emergent phenomena at levels they are blind to, and emergent phenomena at higher levels can cause re-configuration of low-level structures. It gets really trippy, but think about a plant. Every single plant on Earth has abstracted as an essential component of its survival the concept of the sun. The concept of the sun does not exist in any subatomic, atomic, or even molecular element of the plant. There is no sunness in a single cell of a plant. Yet a sunflower tracks the sun across sky. At the sunflower level, it introduces a wholly new syntax into the universe, "follow the sun," and this new syntax configures the physical world into an arrangement, a self-propagating one, that encapsulates that notion. A sunflower. Many sunflowers. All following the sun. Your mind (the software of your physical brain, if you will) takes this ability well beyond the sunflower's, at least as far as we understand plants. Your ability to think, operate, and readily create in this abstract [information] layer gives you to operate in a way that is not explainable by the laws of physics. Do it right now, think of something that violates the laws of physics. Picture a fire-breathing dragon. Whatever. You could then say "I like John Williams because his music reminds me of the fire-breathing dragon I chose to dream up." There is no combination of physical laws or configuration of atoms that can explain why you like John Williams (over any other number of things you could devote your time to). Yet you do, because your brain is an abstraction machine, and you can choose your preferences by creating novel and abstract explanations that have no basis in physical laws. These explanations can and do shape physical reality. That includes altering your physical brain. You have free will, by virtue of the abstract choices you make in your head. TL;DR: Consciousness and its component free will operate in in an information layer that is separate from any physical substrate. It doesn't give a shit about physical laws, but it originates from those physical laws, and it can influence the physical realm. You don't have total free will but you have it.
  8. You'll have to bear with me on the why for a while. It was difficult to answer wasn't it? The deterministic answer is that when the universe started its initial conditions at the most subatomic level combined with the laws of physics led to your preference. That answer is entirely real and valid. At some point there were some set of conditions and then physical laws operated on them. We can't escape it. And yet that answer is piss poor at explaining why you like John Williams. Or why you prefer John Williams to the Kidney Thieves. It can be used to explain everything. Why do I choose to engage you about this? Because, when the universe started its initial conditions at the most subatomic level combined with the laws of physics led to us to engage with one another. Why does Stefancos like to post so much? Because, when the universe started its initial conditions at the most subatomic level combined with the laws of physics to make him post so much. So let's get back to your answer. Your why. You use a lot of abstractions to describe your why. You say his music lights up parts of your brain that feel good. You say John's music has style. It deeply moves you. I've got the laws of physics pulled up here. They describe particles/atoms. Unfortunately the laws don't describe music. Brains. Feelings. Or goodness. Style's not in there either. Nor is being deeply moved. Tendency is an abstraction. I don't see childhood. Or writing. Or stuff. Or almost. These are abstractions on top of what the laws do describe. So here's my next question to you: Are any of the abstractions less real than an atom?
  9. So let me ask you a question. Why do you like John Williams' music?
  10. Don't be so absolutist/reductionist. Being more likely to behave a certain way doesn't preclude free will. Men may be genetically predisposed to take greater risks on average. That may be a near-absolute. But how they choose to take that risk is in part quite up to them. Some choose to become composers, some take up extreme sports, some become firemen, others become assassins and others join gangs. Their circumstances still play a role, but they still get a choice. You can't go looking for eggs and flour in a baked cake. You are an inseparable product of the choices you have the free will to make and the ones made for you.
  11. Men are genetically predisposed to greater risk taking. Which lands men in either the upper eschelons of society or the dead bottom as criminals and the suicidal. On average men can’t work any harder at not taking risks than women can work harder at building muscle mass. Not without chemical castration for men and steroids for women.
  12. Blumenkohl


    Reading your Trump posts does cause traumatic brain injuries, so I apologize. You’re like mirror Drax. Nothing personal.
  13. Blumenkohl


    Angry Joe’s coarse and extreme public rhetoric re: Trump is a perfect example of what most of America sees the Dems like right now. Come November, the blue wave will end up being a blue mizzle, because of people like him.
  14. Blumenkohl


    Last time I went to Quebec (Montreal, a year ago) I did not even have to dust off my rusty French. Everyone spoke English to me. It was weird. I fought back with my rusty French anyway.