How do you differentiate a tetration function?

“Indeed, one could define science as reason’s attempt to compensate for our inability to perceive big numbers.”
Scott Aaronson

A wonderful quote, eh? Well, I think it is.

Anyway, for some odd reason, today I was thinking about the mathematical operation of tetration. Many people have heard about addition, multiplication (which is interated addition) and exponentiation (which is iterated multiplication) but tetration is the obscure forth operation in this sequence–interated exponentiation. There are others that follow in this sequence of operations–repeated tetration, and so on–but let’s just wrap our brains around this first.

Anyway, again, I was searching the Web for information about tetration and I came across Aaronson’s interesting collection of essays on computer science, mathematics, AI and other matters. This kid’s existance reassures me that universities are still turning out smart people.

Anyway, still again, if anyone knows the rule for differentiating tetration functions, let me know in the comments. Or mail me.

Hip, I’m Not!

A few weeks ago someone infected me with the “All Your Base Are Belong Us” meme by way of the e-mail vector. I’m not going to explain this because you probably already know about it or will hear about it soon. However, before the multinationals catch this meme and attempt to sell stuff to us with it, innoculate yourself. It’s so damn hard to be an eccentric these days.

Need to Tweak Greymatter a Bit

It still doesn’t output strict XHTML 1 so I may be fiddling with things over the next few days. Namely:

  • Need to make certain the script outputs strict XHTML
  • Need to make certain that script outputs ampersands, double quotes, etc. as entities.
  • Need to remove all the beautiful but unnecessary presentational attributes from the forms GM generates. Just so the script is easy to read.
  • Need to limit what markup the comment forms accept.
  • Perhaps Noah has a site with hacks up.

Quantum Entanglement Reminds Me of Douglas Adams’ Fairy Cake Idea

According to the NYT, quantum computers, still in their early development, have reached the ten qubit milestone. To give you some perspective, a forty qubit quantum computer can perform ten trillion calculations, ten teraops, simultaneously. Forty atoms sitting in a nuclear magnetic resonance rig can rival the power of the largest supercomputers. A thousand atoms would solve problems currently considered intractable by conventional machines.

I’m still a little fuzzy on the theory behind quantum computers, and I consider myself very well informed, but I found this page that demystified things a bit.

By Popular Request, Unnecessary Nano Links

Some folks–well, one at any rate–have expressed surprise that I don’t have more links and rants about nanotechnology on my site. So to address that issue:

Just to give a little perspective, I first heard about nano back in 1987 when a friend told me about it. I read Engines of Creation in 1988. In other words, it’s old hat to me. That’s probably why I haven’t gone nuts and plastered my site with nano stuff. To me it’s a foregone conclusion–nano is coming and the world will change beyond recognition. That’s both good and bad.

Two Truisms

  1. Miscommunication and ambivalence will never be reduced to zero. People get sloppy in communicating and get sloppy in understanding. Also many times they aren’t entirely sure what they want.
  2. Ideals must always be compromised. There are few rules without exceptions but this appears one of those few.

Just coined some slang!

You know those wireless gadgets with the little thumb keyboards that people use to send e-mail and chat with? I’ve decided to call those “mbiras.” An mbira is an African musical instrument, most commonly found in Zimbabwe, that is held in the hands and plucked with the thumbs. Seeing a friend use one these things reminded me of an mbira player so the name stuck in my mind.

Please feel free to use my coinage.

My own aphorisms someone told me to write down

  • The Programmer’s Lament: “The world is built upon endless, essential yet trivial detail.”
  • Another one: “Everyone wants to be special but has to settle for being unique.”
  • In order for the world to be interesting there must be error. In fact, this may be a defining characteristic of reality: Error only exists in reality.
  • The existence of error, implies the existence of the extremely complex phenomena of evil.
  • Smarter people than me, state my opinions better than I can.
  • Taking a stand, means risking error. People mistake my lack of confrontation as a gentle nature. In truth, I just hate being or guessing wrong.
  • In my favored endeavors, there will always be someone who knows more about them and does better at them than me. Luckily, I know things that they might not know, so it balances out in the end.