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The thing with SQL is that it was indeed written to allow English-like statements and to be an "easy to understand" language. If you take only the simplest SQL statements then it is easy to understand but with any complexity it indeed becomes hard.

Despite this, SQL is the most successful logic/declarative language in the world. I think it's been argued that Prolog and logic programming stalled because SQL is good enough for the largest domain that logic programming is useful for.

Ultimately, I don't think it's any missing feature in SQL that makes it hard to understand large statements - it's just that large logic statements are hard. Maybe some way to make expressions more modular - incrementally constructing "adjectives" for use where clauses for example. But much as we all like our pet improvement to logic expression, I don't think that's the problem.


Sure but the original argument was that the drug cartels have a tremendous potential for violence. That seems established and the "customer" part's a red haring.

Oak trees vary their acorn production substantially year by year, probably to avoid an excess of acorn "predators". And since Oaks don't die when producing acorns, they have less incentive to avoid the predators.

So the same pressures can be observed many places but the particular biology of each species varies the results.

http://www.hastingsreserve.org/oakstory/Acorns2.html


I grew up in a house whose yard was filled with oak trees ... I'm pretty convinced they survive due to the stupidity of squirrels rather than "overwhelming" these predators. There were oftens way more acorns than needed, but every year the squirrels would work furiously to bury them ... then promptly forget where they put them. So the squirrel population was held in check by the number of acorns they could find the rest of the year and the acorns had the advantage of being buried (versus germinating on the surface).

Well,

We should also look at the article under consideration. It seems to describe a molecule that might "cure" or ameliorate the effects of aging. Extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence but even more, there's a big "push" to have something like this published given that in there would be a tremendous amount of money interested in investing in a project that appears to have even a one percent chance of being that big.


Uh,

I can't see how a person can have "goodness" without that goodness having a structure which could be studied, systematized and taught somehow.

Whether that could be made into the kind of system marketed by gurus is naturally a different question and I'd be skeptical about that.


> I can't see how a person can have "goodness" without that goodness having a structure which could be studied, systematized and taught somehow.

How do you teach someone an attention to detail, good work ethic, and perseverance?

Those are character traits, not methodologies. If a PM has those 3, he'll be a good PM regardless of anything else. Actually, if someone has those 3, they'll be a good anything.

Agile or something else might make someone better, but they can't determine if someone is good.


You can teach them. I personally had a lot less attention to detail before studying math. Good work ethic and perseverance can be taught as part of reaching a bigger goal, for example in sports.

I have to be careful to adjust the level of detail down. And, frankly, that's one thing Agile is good for - the use of narrative.

I feel like shop work ( saws, sanding, filing, etc ) and music are better for that but maybe that's bias. Sports teaches some things, but there's an awful lot of sorting going on and some of the "adults" have weird reasons for being there. But I think of character as "what you do when nobody is looking."

Truly great coaches are worth it, though. The best one I ever had told me to get out of sports :)


Yeah I agree, but I suppose the person has to be willing to learn too. I can point to a couple of specific teachers and lecturers during my school years, and then the technical director at one job, who all influenced me a lot and shaped my work ethic and desire for attention to detail. Colleagues and friends may not have felt as influenced by the same people.

It takes two people. I guess I'm implicitly assuming that the student will be relatively bright and wiling to learn but will be lacking some of those soft skills at first.

How do they have those traits without being taught them? They are 'character' traits, but they are still taught. Surely we can agree you are not born with a good work ethic?

Some traits are inherent to a person. You develop skills over the years but some people "just are" more organised and disciplined.

I find as I get older I get more organized and disciplined. Maybe its because memory isn't as good at absorbing information as effortlessly as it used to be.

I've got more organised as I get older, not because I want to make the world a better place or anything altruistic. Over time I've learned that if you are organised it takes less effort.

I can't see how a person can have "goodness" without that goodness having a structure which could be studied

If Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance isn't required reading anymore, this could be a sign that it should be.


Can you teach someone to be good at what they do? Of course you can study people who are good at what they do. Perhaps other people who want to become good at what they do can learn from that. However, no one will become good at what they do purely by emulating someone else, since what they do won't be the same thing.

Besides. Things like Agile aren't "observing what people who are good at what they do, do". It's a formalized process based on the ideas that some people who are good at what they do have about WHY they are good at what they do. But do people who are good at what they do really know why they are so? They probably don't! Besides, they are going to mix in all kinds of things that they think they do, or they think they should do, or they think that good people they learned from did, in that formalized process. In the end, the process they describe may sound good to them, but have very little to do with what good people actually do or should do in any particular circumstance.


That is a ridiculous statement. But that 'definition' there are no good or bad people, good or bad engineers, good or bad project managers, scrum masters, managers or anything.

Not everyone can be 'taught' or just go by a structure. In fact I would strongly argue that those who just go by a predefinied step-by-step structure are always never the 'good' ones.


Can you teach it in less than 20 years? How do you know if you've taught it correctly?

The question isn't whether it is possible to teach it, but whether it is practical.


I'd guess that the structure would have to be really big to cover all kinds of situations and corner cases.

I would say the psychological riddle is why people feel an urge to treat consciousness as an irreducible quality.

Right. The paper also only takes a few seconds to identify as bullshit: rather than having any claims whatsoever about biology or how the human brain in particular depends on quantum behavior, it just takes the Copenhagen-interpretation concept of "observer" over-literally.

While others may have more credible claims that the brain's operation depends on quantum behavior, my inclination is to be highly skeptical due to the basic nature of biology combined with the bias you cite.


Because our experience of the world is the thing we hold most dear. We associate it with our identity, to the point where the two seem inseparable. The idea that we are "in the world, but not of it" is very deeply ingrained. Our tendency towards introspection alienates us from nature, and leads us to the conclusion that there must be something that sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom. Just about everyone has a deep-seated desire to be special, to be destined for a higher purpose -- and that view is not (generally) compatible with the notion that consciousness is an emergent physical phenomenon, rather than evidence of a soul.

I would say the psychological riddle is why people feel an urge to personally invest themselves in this issue. :tips fedora:

By all observations it is not a riddle (i.e. there are no unexplainable phenomena) but rather an illusion.

I don't think it is justified to say that consciousness is not a riddle. There is no evidence that consciousness is more than the product of the complex physical processes happening in our brain but I don't think that makes the issue any less puzzling. How does a collection of particles completely governed by physical laws become conscious? If consciousness is just an emergent property of an incredible complex state machine than any implementation would have to be conscious, the often quoted simulation of a brain inside a computer as well as a gigantic pile of levers, gears and pulleys in the right arrangement. The thought that a collection of gears can become aware of its existence seems, at least to me, pretty outlandish.

> The thought that a collection of gears can become aware of its existence seems, at least to me, pretty outlandish.

I mean, it's less exciting when you break that down into the what it means for a person to be aware of themselves. For me, it breaks down to neurons & symbols, well-known scientific domains. While I may not be right, it's not difficult to come up with plausible explanations for the phenomena humans experience. Most of the mystery comes from it being very difficult for most people to even define consciousness. Much of the syntax we have for it (in the west, at least) is cobbled together from various religions, spiritualities, and extremely, extremely dense philosophers read by few and understood by fewer.

You might find Richard Hofstadter's Book "I Am A Strange Loop" illuminating if you find my explanation meager.


>I mean, it's less exciting when you break that down into the what it means for a person to be aware of themselves. For me, it breaks down to neurons & symbols, well-known scientific domains.

I'm not aware of "neurons and symbols". I'm aware of feeling, sight, smell, etc.. The fact that consciousness is an experience is what's fundamentally at odds with building a consistent model. Modeling cognition is the easy part.


> I'm aware of feeling, sight, smell, etc..

a), you can have that thought only because of symbols, and b), people without thought can feel, see, smell, etc. I don't see how your argument holds any weight.


You mean Douglas Hofstadter.

That's what happens when you google a spelling and lazily copy and paste. :)

> If consciousness is just an emergent property of an incredible complex state machine

it is just an obvious conclusion once you observe the continuous chain of living matter between first clumps of amino acids in primordeal soup 2B+ years ago and you. There is just no point where one can say that consciousness didn't exist before and started exist immediately after. It was just increasing as the complexity of the system increased, and will continue to increase beyond humans. What we call consciousness, the carriers of future consciousness would look at like we look at lizards' consciousness today.

>than any implementation would have to be conscious, the often quoted simulation of a brain inside a computer as well as a gigantic pile of levers, gears and pulleys in the right arrangement.

giving that these examples are simpler than a simple cell, it is no surprise that we don't observe any noticeable consciousness in these examples.

>The thought that a collection of gears can become aware of its existence seems, at least to me, pretty outlandish.

Can a collection of gears, given enough size and complexity, behave in a way as to attempt to maximize entropy it would generate over its whole period of existence? Can it make a copy of itself with modifications as to increase the target entropy achievable by the copy? This 2 "can"s is actually what defines the living matter. Consciousness is just the emerging algorithm of maximizing the target entropy. Self-awareness is just ability of algorithms to observe its own "subroutines".


> Self-awareness is just ability of algorithms to observe its own "subroutines".

What does it mean to observe? If we design an algorithm that observes its internals according to your definition, is it going to be self-aware?


Actually the issues are fairly interrelated.

San Francisco is currently getting the overflow from massively constricted housing market of San Jose and the Peninsula. Build high rises in East Palo Alto and you satisfy the demands of the "anti-gentrifiers" and make the labor more elastic.

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I don't think his later comments really negate his earlier comments.

Neural networks continue to make progress in the narrow field they are designed for and researching these I'm sure continues to be interesting. That doesn't change the point that human don't interpret an image as a couple of annotations but as rich fabric of information far beyond what computer vision current does.

Basically, there is a ocean of interesting, useful and excite things computers can do before they arrive at what humans can do.

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The human brain may indeed be beyond all computers.

On the other hand, the brain and eyes of the fruit fly do amazing things. I think it's reasonable to say that vision is lacking both hardware and algorithms at this point.

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Women live longer than men.

I wonder how of the divergences not explained by prisons are explained by the age of the population.

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Also worth considering, is whether men are more likely to emigrate than women.

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My guess: men are likely to emigrate to any place with decent jobs (e.g. some oil state), women are probably likely to emigrate to a sex-and-the-city states.

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Indeed,

The graph is almost an essay in "how little raw data can tell you". Are the areas of more women from emigration, age, areas from which many men have been taken to prison, something else?

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