Bookmarks for November 16th through December 14th

These are my links for November 16th through December 14th:

  • UC Davis Philosophy 102, Theory of Knowledge: Table of Contents for Lecture Notes – The subject of this course is what has come to be called “theory of knowledge” or “epistemology.” The two names are interchangeable in common use. (A similar pair of terms for philosophical disciplines is ‘theory of value’ (or ‘value theory’) and the little-used ‘axiology.’) Until the nineteenth century, there had been no special term to indicate the study of knowledge as such, even though knowledge had been studied from the very beginning of Western philosophy . The word “epistemology” was coined by James Ferrier in his 1856 book Institutes of Metaphysics. The root word ‘episteme’ in Greek means ‘knowledge,’ while the ‘-ology’ suffix signifies, roughly, ‘study of.’ Compare terms such as ‘biology’ (study of life), ‘geology’ (study of the earth), etc. Shortly after Ferrier, Eduard Zeller in 1862 introduced the German word ‘Erkenntnistheorie’ in Ueber Aufgabe und Bedeutung der Erkenntnistheorie. This word is translated into English as “theory of knowledge.”
  • Human or Cylon? Group testing on Battlestar Galactica (application/pdf Object) – Does statistics have a place though in the world of science fiction? Because science fiction writers try to merge the sci-fi world with the real world in a believable way, one might think that statistics could make a significant contribution to solving sci-fi problems.In the hit Sci Fi Network television show, the new Battlestar Galactica (a re-imagined version of the 1970’s show), there is an attempt to use science to solve a very important problem. Due to the excessive amount of time the proposed solution would take to complete, it is deemed impractical and never implemented. This paper shows how the problem could have been solved instead using a statistical technique called “group testing.” Scientists use this technique to solve many real-world problems, including the screening of blood donations for diseases. When applied to the problem on Battlestar Galactica, it will be shown that group testing could have a made dramatic difference to the course of the show
  • The Ninth Annual Year in Ideas – Magazine – NYTimes.com – Once again, The Times Magazine looks back on the past year from our favored perch: ideas. Like a magpie building its nest, we have hunted eclectically, though not without discrimination, for noteworthy notions of 2009 — the twigs and sticks and shiny paper scraps of human ingenuity, which, when collected and woven together, form a sort of cognitive shelter, in which the curious mind can incubate, hatch and feather. Unlike birds, we can also alphabetize. And so we hereby present, from A to Z, the most clever, important, silly and just plain weird innovations we carried back from all corners of the thinking world. To offer a nonalphabetical option for navigating the entries, this year we have attached tags to each item indicating subject matter.
  • [quant-ph/0204088] The Wave Function: It or Bit? – Schroedinger’s wave function shows many aspects of a state of incomplete knowledge or information (“bit”): (1) it is usually defined on a space of classical configurations, (2) its generic entanglement is, therefore, analogous to statistical correlations, and (3) it determines probabilities of measurement outcomes. Nonetheless, quantum superpositions (such as represented by a wave function) define individual physical states (“it”). This conceptual dilemma may have its origin in the conventional operational foundation of physical concepts, successful in classical physics, but inappropriate in quantum theory because of the existence of mutually exclusive operations (used for the definition of concepts). In contrast, a hypothetical realism, based on concepts that are justified only by their universal and consistent applicability, favors the wave function as a description of (thus nonlocal) physical reality. The (conceptually local) classical world then appears as an illusion…
  • Computer Laboratory – Technical reports: UCAM-CL-TR-754 – The success of many attacks on computer systems can be traced back to the security engineers not understanding the psychology of the system users they meant to protect. We examine a variety of scams and “short cons” that were investigated, documented and recreated for the BBC TV programme The Real Hustle and we extract from them some general principles about the recurring behavioural patterns of victims that hustlers have learnt to exploit.We argue that an understanding of these inherent “human factors” vulnerabilities, and the necessity to take them into account during design rather than naïvely shifting the blame onto the “gullible users”, is a fundamental paradigm shift for the security engineer which, if adopted, will lead to stronger and more resilient systems security.
  • Memristor – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – On April 30, 2008 a team at HP Labs announced the development of a switching memristor. Based on a thin film of titanium dioxide, it has a regime of operation with an approximately linear charge-resistance relationship.[5][6][7] These devices are being developed for application in nanoelectronic memories, computer logic, and neuromorphic computer architectures.
  • December 2009: Christopher Hitchens on Stieg Larsson | vanityfair.com – Just when Stieg Larsson was about to make his fortune with the mega-selling thriller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the crusading journalist dropped dead. Now some are asking how much of his fiction–which exposes Sweden’s dark currents of Fascism and sexual predation–is fact.

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