humanist @ : - fais que ton rêve soit plus long que la nuit

Hermes source availability, funding issues

Written by Romeo Anghelache no comments

Although the XML examples are converted with a newer version of Hermes than 0.9.3, the source distribution of this newer version won't be available for download until I get some (reliable promise of) funding explicitly for developing Hermes further (since October 2005), those who are in need can use alternative tools, like tex4ht, or continue the Hermes development on their own resources (ironically, while E.U. is making a lot of fuss about digital libraries, I'm having difficulties finding a related job, my CV is here and my offer is written here.).

However, when I get hired as a research programmer in knowledge representation, as a digital content library architect, or in a related area, I would then be able to continue releasing Hermes updates on my spare time (even if it won't be part of the job).

Here's the list of updates since version 0.9.3

  • Formatting, both in the MathML mapping and in the publishing stylesheet, has been refined for all the fonts currently supported.
  • Added font mappings for the pxfonts and txfonts; The full list of currently supported fonts is: cmr, cmu, cmb, cmsl, cmti, cmtex, cmtt, cmtcsc, cmssdc, cmss, cmmi, cmmib, cmsy, cmbsy, cmbx, cmbxti, cmex, msam, msbm, eufm, eurm, eusm, euex, cmcsc, wncyr, wncyi, rsfs, lassdc, pplr8t, pplri8t, pplb8t, zppler7y, zppler7t, zppler7m, zppler7v, zppleb7y, zppleb7m, zppleb7t, lasy, wasy, ecrm, ecb, ecbi, ecbx, ecti, ecsc, ecsl, pxr, pxi, pxb, pxbi, pxbsc, pxbsl, pxsl, pxsc, pxss, pxsssl, pxsssc, pxtt, pxbtt, pxttsl, pxbttsl, pxttsc, pxbttsc, p1xr, p1xi, p1xb, p1xbi, p1xbsl, p1xbsc, p1xsl, p1xsc, p1xss, p1xsssl, p1xsssc, p1xtt, p1xttsl, p1xttsc, pxmi, pxbmi, pxmi1, pxbmi1, pxmia, pxsy, pxsya, pxbsya, pxsyb, pxbsyb, pxsyc, pxbsyc, pxex, pxexa, txr, txi, txb, txbi, txbsc, txbsl, txsl, txsc, txss, txsssl, txsssc, txtt, txbtt, txttsl, txbttsl, txttsc, txbttsc, t1xr, t1xi, t1xb, t1xbi, t1xbsl, t1xbsc, t1xsl, t1xsc, t1xss, t1xsssl, t1xsssc, t1xtt, t1xttsl, t1xttsc, txmi, txbmi, txmi1, txbmi1, txmia, txsy, txsya, txbsya, txsyb, txbsyb, txsyc, txbsyc, txex, txexa.


Written by Romeo Anghelache no comments

"Humanitary assistance is given to children, women and elders". What about the others, who are not involved in the war, but affected by it?

Here's a rather useful sort of preemptiveness: warmongers should be jailed instantly along with the warmongers from the related camps, and let only those out, who will decide to cry, loudly, for a humanitarian amount of time, "war is stupid, I want to be part of, and help build a, civilization".


Written by Romeo Anghelache no comments

Orice e notabil, observabil, are, sau capătă, un atribut, de ex. un nume, adică măcar o limită, există. Observarea e un alt nume dat timpului. Adică tot ce există e temporal, adică se schimbă.

Ce zic e că'i impropriu, fără sens, să discutăm despre restul. Rămânem cu concluzia: orice discutăm despre, există; orice tace, nu e observat, n'are încă nume, un atribut, acolo, nu.

Dacă nici o altă piatră nu te ciocnește și nu te'a ciocnit, nici un gând nu te'a gândit, nu ești, înțelegi?. Dacă'nțelegi, ești: ai ciocnit'o și gândit'o tu. Data miners, parse this ;).

Încolo, mulțam lu' Ovidiu Țichindelean pt. gându' cel autentic. La mai multe, cu sănătate. Pân'la situ' personal, îl invit să se producă și p'aci, când o fi.


Written by Romeo Anghelache no comments

Here and there, I hear or read about civilization, and, while the dictionary says it's an advanced state of human society, i'm pondering a more operational definition of it.

A civilized society should be able to guarantee coverage for the basic needs of the modern human: food, shelter, health, knowledge (communication, education, research). As a limit, if a human is born today, he should be provided with these resources to live to the estimated end of his life, unconditionally. I mean that he should have no obligation to do any kind of formal work to acquire those resources, except the actions necessary to use and maintain them.

This provision is, in my opinion, what a civilized society basically means.

A society not being able to provide food, shelter, health and knowledge (communication, teaching, research) to all its new members, gratis (for free, as in free beer), is not civilized, I would call it primitive.

A truism: a primitive society is a society which can't afford to grow a modern human.

So, I'm pretty dissapointed I haven't heard of a civilized country yet (and I'm 40+, btw). If you heard of one, please let the readers and the author of this blog know. Note: I'm not talking about making people compete for these resources, that still belongs to the animal realm, to a primitive world; a modern human is defined by having a natural access to them, and by his ability to maintain or create them so any neighbour can have natural access to them too.

There's a horrible term today, in wide circulation: "earn a living". What??! Why did you bring a newborn in this world? To put him to "earn a living"? Did you ever ask yourself if it's worth it? Better find a way to check that out before enslaving him to this idiocy.

Quite a few adults would say it's no problem with this, you have to earn a living, but if asked to state the motives for this attitude, it becomes clear that this answer is a matter of instinct: while you're alive, you should check the neighborhood first to satisfy your instincts, certainly you'll be able to satisfy some, and you can keep going hunting until you die. Fine, but that's just animal instinct, nothing part of the definition of a modern human, a civilized human. Again, it's nothing wrong with being animals, that's what we are, basically. But my point is that 'basically' isn't enough to make me or the surrounding society, civilized.

Some other adults would be shocked to listen to any alternative to "earn a living", their point being that, letting a human do whatever he thinks, the human would do nothing except consume food, so he will harm himself and the society around. That would be true only if the human wouldn't be naturally endowed with something beyond the animal features: capacity to learn. A human, starting as an animal in a civilized society, can't simply consume resources (knowledge among them) without feeling miserably after a while, he will start looking for something to make him happy, and he will, given the resources above, understand rather soon that he'll not be happy himself unless the modern humans in the neighborhood are happy too. A modern human, in a civilized society, would start acting as a consequence of understanding his civilized context, that is, in as much freedom as is humanly possible.

Unfortunately, this is not the current situation with us, all of us. We are either born on somebody's property or work for somebody's property (watch carefully around), or work for 'our own' (those of us are the 'happy' primitives, the ones whose instincts are about to be temporarily satisfied mostly at the expense of their neighbours), so most of us are still animals and still living in primitive, tribal, societies.

So why give birth to children until those resources (food, shelter, health, knowledge (communication, education, research)) are there to let the modern human be? I see no reason. I barely understand the reason why we, the primitives, are still here and keep on going with the current tribal rules.

My only civilized reason of sticking around this mess is to help somehow building a situation where those resources will be available for the newcomers, this time by natural right of the modern human. Friendly advice: don't take this goal too seriously, although everybody has at least the same civilized reason, we are so far away from civilization that you may find yourself, sometimes, forced into an aimless drift, aka, in primitive terms and in a primitive context, ignorant, jobless, homeless or hungry, whatever suits you.

It seems we live in a fourth world, in fact: most of what we do is hunting and being hunted, and breed in between; the current, tribal, categorization of the world (in 'developed', 'developing' and 'underdeveloped' peoples), is mainly a matter of hunting intensity and hunting tools: who gets the honors for grabbing that only bloody sausage and who's left to make the next one in the following hunting season.

This boring repetitiveness is due to lack of food, shelter, health, knowledge (communication, education, research), so, either we're too many as a total or we're mixed with too many hypocrites. Whichever is true (and nobody can really check either of them), we should breed less and think more (this one keeps the natural proportion of honesty/hypocrisy constant and, besides, it stays the cheapest) before moving things around, until our followers (yes, somebody will keep breeding, nonetheless) will manage to get their act together and build a civilization, so that their followers will be able to live as modern humans and not in hunting packs, like us.

"Oh lord, Oooh you are soo big, Soo absolutely 'uge, Gosh we're all really impressed down here, I can tell you...", Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, that an insight.

essay on time, subject and object

Written by Romeo Anghelache no comments

Time is a measure of how many events happen in a given situation, it means noticing (counting) them, it is a measure of the knowledge an observer can gain about the surroundings. This kind of time is not universal, it is proper to the observer(s), to the observed, and, in general, to (de)limited physical systems, that is, different observers have naturally different proper time units, dependent on the contexts of those observers.

We can build a more formal relationship between time and knowledge or information. We'll use two ideal cases to formulate a plausible hypothesis, and then plunge into a more realistic world with it.

An observer immersed in a space with no events, would wait an infinity for an event to happen, in other words, the unit of time proper to the observer would be infinity, the observer can't notice anything happening, cannot use a definite unit of time for itself. There's nothing else the observer can define its unit of time relative to, so we can't speak of an infinity of units, therefore, in this ideal case, it's more reasonable to consider its unit of time as being infinite.

To put it differently: if the probability of an event is equal to zero, the unit of time of the event counter (the observer) is infinite.

An observer who is absolutely sure an event will happen (has total knowledge about it) has a unit of time equivalent with zero, null. Because total knowledge about an event means exactly noticing that event, while it happens (if not being the event itself).

To put it differently: if the probability (p) of an event is equal to one, the unit of time (u) of the event counter (the observer) is equal to zero.

These ideal, extreme, cases, suggest, therefore:

if p=0 then u=∞ if p=1 then u=0

A simple function which maps these two extreme cases onto one another is the natural logarithm, so, we can write:

u=-kln p

This mapping is not unique, just a plausible proposal. k is a dimensional constant.

Now for the real world, where multiple events happen, let's label them with an integer, i. An observer surrounded by a number n of events, each of them happening with a probability pi, where i labels each of those events, can calculate an average unit of time, using the logarithmic relation above:

<u>=-kΣipiln pi.

This relation says that the average unit of time proper to an observer is equal with the quantity of information contained in that part of the environment which interacts with it, the 'noticeable' part).

In other words, any thing's proper unit of time is proportional to the informational entropy of its interacting context.

In the mechanical world, where the Newtonian, or Einsteinian, time is used, anything is bound to happen with absolute certainty, so the average time unit u calculated above, is zero.

However, given the history of our concept of time understanding, we chose a constant unit of time, to use it as a gauge for all the other times we'd like to measure. This mechanical gauge has been chosen because the physical process used in defining it is extremely regular (doesn't bring any new knowledge to the observer: the observer knows already what will happen with this regular system when it notices other, independent, events). So we can come with this constant and add it to the relation above, to accomodate our present, conventional, use of the mechanical, constant, unit of time. Let's name this constant c. It means a conventionally transferred knowledge from a purely mechanical system.

So time and knowledge are the same, and their formal relation is:

<u>=-kΣipiln pi+c.

In other words, any thing's proper unit of time is linearly dependent on the informational entropy of its interacting context (that part of the environment which interacts with it).

Now, if we split conceptually a physical system in two, how can we delimit which one is the observer/subject and which one is the observed/object? Based on this kind of time interpretation (each delimited physical system has a proper unit of time of its own), we can say: that physical region having a smaller characteristic unit of time is the observer, the subject, the rest of it, up to the whole (initially delimited) system in discussion, is the observed/the object.

This delimiting procedure is natural, a subject relies on some object invariants to study it, in other words, the subject's time unit has to be smaller than the object's own time unit (the subject needs at least one event to notice an object's relatively invariant feature).

Let's call it statistical time, if not physical time, shall we?

So, unless you know a way to unknow or uninteract with things, you can't turn back in time. This asymmetry should pervade any self-respecting formalism about the relevant parts of nature.

This is an idea which started to define itself in 1986, and took the present form in 1996. This essay is its first, widely available for public, instance.

Peer review this and don't forget to quote me, maybe somebody will find it useful, check my CV and will offer me a research (programmer) position in a (spanish, optimally) digital library, after all ;).

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