Thursday, November 21, 2002

why i wear headphones

(originally posted at

for the first time in my life (that i can remember) a stranger offered me candy, today. he looked like he had slept on the street. a tattered glove held out a little round peppermint candy wrapped in plastic.

did he expect me to take it? was he trying to sell it to me?

just keep walking. just keep walking.

in other, less creepy news, i've continued to read Susan Blackmore's "The Meme Machine" - which I had commented on earlier. She discounts imitation in "lower" animals by adhering to a strict definition of what counts as imitation. She pits imitation against social learning, and I'm not quite sure I followed her all the way through her explanation. I'll have to re-read that part.

i'm closing in on the halfway point in the book, and she's still in the middle of proving that imitation was the catalyst for the evolution of our advanced brains. Given how much space she has left to work with, I doubt very much whether she'll succeed in swaying me.

I'm in the middle of a chapter on the evolution of language, and it's reminding me that I still need to finish my book on the world's major languages. For some reason, my interested dropped off when I got to Dutch. It's a rather dry, technical book on language, which could explain it.

At tonight's NYTA meeting, John Klos will be giving a talk on neural networks. Given my recent dinner with him, Elaine, and Mike, I'm excited to learn the math behind the process he describes. It's an especialyl relevant and well-timed talk, given that the gov't has just given IBM a contract to construct a computer with a computational capacity that's equivalent to a human brain.

No comments: