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But what sort of science?

June 13, 2016, Literature

'Yes,' Mustapha Mond was saying, 'that's another item in the cost of stability. It isn't only art that's incompatible with happiness; it's also science. Science is dangerous; we have to keep it most carefully chaned and muzzled.'

'What?' said Helmholtz, in astonishment. 'But we're always saying that science is everything. It's a hypnopaedic platitude.'

'Three times a week between thirteen and seventeen,' put in Bernard.

'And all the science propaganda we do at the College…'

'Yes; but what sort of science?' asked Mustapha Mond sarcastically. 'You've had no scientific training, so you can't judge. I was a pretty good physicist in my time. Too good—good enough to realize that all our science is just a cookery book, with an orthodox theory of cooking that nobody's allowed to question, and a list of recipes that mustn't be added to except by special permission from the head cook. I'm the head cook now. But I was an inquisitive young scullion once. I started doing a bit of cooking on my own. Unorthodox cooking, illict cooking. A bit of real science in fact.' He was silent.

'What happened?' asked Helmholtz Watson.

The Controller sighed. 'Very nearly what's going to happen to you young men. I was on the point of being sent to an island.'

Aldous Huxley, Brave new world, 1932, p. 171.

The optimum population

June 13, 2016, Literature

'The optimum population,' said Mustapha Mond, 'is modelled on the iceberg—eight-ninth below the water line, one-ninth above.'

'And they're happy below the water line?'

'Happier than above it. Happier than your friends here, for example.' He pointed.

'In spite of that awful work?'

'Awful? They don't find it so. On the contrary, they like it. It's light, it's childishly simple. No strain on the mind or the muscles. Seven and a half hours of mild, unexhausting labour, and then the soma ration and games and unrestricted copulation and the feelies. What more can they ask for? True,' he added, 'they might ask for shorter hours. And of course we could give them shorter hours. Technically, it would be perfectly simple to reduce all lower-caste working hours to three or four a day. But would they be any the happier for that? No, they wouldn't. The experiment was tried, more than a century and a half ago. The whole of Ireland was put on to the four-hour day. What was the result? Unrest and a large increase in the consumption of soma; that was all. Those three and a half hours of extra leisure were so far from being a source of happiness, that people felt constrained to take a holiday from them. The Inventions Office is stuffed with plans for labour-saving processes. Thousands of them,' Mustapha Mond made a lavish gesture. 'And why don't we put them into execution? For the sake of the labourers; it would be sheer cruelty to afflict them with excessive leisure. It's the same with agriculture. We could synthesize every morsel of food, if we wanted to. But we don't We prefer to keep a third of the population on the land. For their own sake—because it takes longer to get food out of the land than out of a factory. Besides, we have our stability to think of. We don't want to change. Every change is a menace to stability. That's another reason why we're so chary of applying new inventions. Every discovery in pure science is potentially subversive; even science must sometimes be treated as a possible enemy. Yes, even science.'

Aldous Huxley, Brave new world, 1932, pp. 170–171.

Happiness is never grand

June 13, 2016, Literature
Last edited on June 13, 2016

'Actual happiness always looks pretty qualid in comparison with the over-compensation for misery. And, of course, stability isn't nearly so spectacular as instability. And being contented has none of the glamour of a good fight against misfortune, none of the picturesqueness of struggle with temptation, or a fatal overthrow by passion or doubt. Happiness is never grand.'

Aldous Huxley, Brave new world, 1932, p. 168.

Feeling

May 30, 2016, Literature
Last edited on May 30, 2016

Feeling lurks in that interval of time between desire and its consummation.

Aldous Huxley, Brave new world, 1932, p. 34.

Lose the world for a glance

May 27, 2016, Literature

Yet I had quite underestimated Orfeo, the opera most immaculately targeted at the griefstruck; and in the cinema the miraculous trickery of art happened again. Of course Orfeo would turn to look at the pleading Euridice – how could he not? Because, while 'no one in his senses' would do so, he is quite out of his senses with love and grief and hope. You lose the world for a glance? Of course you do. That is what the world is for: to lose under the right circumstances. How could anyone hold to their vow with Euridice's voice at their back?

Julian Barnes, Levels of Life, 2013, p. 93.

Forth insertion sort

January 26, 2016, Lisp

Long time, no post. To get back into forth after many years (see GPN7: FORTH und TILs) and to practice writing factored code, I tried to write a more idiomatic forth version of insertion sort. That is, factored out into many, really short words (i.e., functions).

To make sure of it, I used the retro line-based block editor of GForth. (Retro as in: Notice that i had to start line 7 with a blank because I really exhausted line 6. smug-smile)

Here you go:

Screen 5 not modified     
 0 forth   \ load forth vocabulary                                 
 1 create nums 4 , 5 , 2 , 1 , 3 , 7 , 0 , 6 , 8 ,                 
 2 here nums - cell / constant #num                                
 3                                                                 
 4 : @num ( n - vN) cell  nums + @ ;                              
 5 : !num ( v n -) cell  nums + ! ;                               
 6 : numswap ( n -) dup @num over 1- dup @num -rot !num swap !num ;
 7  : show #num 0 do i cell  nums + @ . loop ;                    
 8                                                                 
 9 : @2num ( n - n-1 n0) dup 1- @num swap @num ;                   
10 : fix ( n -) dup @2num > if dup numswap then drop ;             
11 : recfix ( n -) dup 0 do dup i - dup @2num <= if leave then     
12    fix loop drop ;                                              
13 : sort ( -) #num 1 do i @2num > if i recfix then loop ;         
14                                                                 
15 editor   \ switch back to editor vocabulary                     

GForth session:

$ gforth
Gforth 0.7.2, Copyright (C) 1995-2008 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
Gforth comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY; for details type `license'
Type `bye' to exit
use blocked.fb  ok
1 load redefined insert   ok
5 l
Screen 5 not modified     
 0 forth   \ load forth vocabulary                                 
 1 create nums 4 , 5 , 2 , 1 , 3 , 7 , 0 , 6 , 8 ,                 
 2 here nums - cell / constant #num                                
 3                                                                 
 4 : @num ( n - vN) cell  nums + @ ;                              
 5 : !num ( v n -) cell  nums + ! ;                               
 6 : numswap ( n -) dup @num over 1- dup @num -rot !num swap !num ;
 7  : show #num 0 do i cell  nums + @ . loop ;                    
 8                                                                 
 9 : @2num ( n - n-1 n0) dup 1- @num swap @num ;                   
10 : fix ( n -) dup @2num > if dup numswap then drop ;             
11 : recfix ( n -) dup 0 do dup i - dup @2num <= if leave then     
12    fix loop drop ;                                              
13 : sort ( -) #num 1 do i @2num > if i recfix then loop ;         
14                                                                 
15 editor   \ switch back to editor vocabulary                     
 ok
5 load  ok
show 4 5 2 1 3 7 0 6 8  ok
sort  ok
show 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  ok

Here is a version that spits out a bit of debug messages so that you can see what the algorithm does while sorting (! means two elements have to be swapped, + means that the current interation can be stopped early):

Screen 5 not modified     
 0 forth                                                           
 1 create nums 4 , 5 , 2 , 1 , 3 , 7 , 0 , 6 , 8 ,                 
 2 9 constant #num                                                 
 3 : @num ( n - vN) cell  nums + @ ;                              
 4 : !num ( v n -) cell  nums + ! ;                               
 5 : numswap ( n -) dup @num over 1- dup @num -rot !num swap !num ;
 6  : show #num 0 do i cell * nums + @ . loop ;                    
 7 : @2num ( n - n-1 n0) dup 1- @num swap @num ;                   
 8 : debug ( n-) dup . ." - " dup 1- @num .  @num . ;              
 9 : test #num 1 do i debug  i @2num > if ." !" then  ." _" loop ; 
10 : fix dup @2num > if ." ! " dup numswap then drop ;             
11 : recfix ( n -) dup 0 do dup i - dup debug dup @2num <=         
12   if ." + " leave then fix loop drop ;                          
13 : wrecfix ." [" recfix ." ]" ;                                  
14  : sort #num 1 do i debug i @2num > if i wrecfix then  ." _ "   
15    loop ;  editor                                               
 ok
5 load  ok
show 4 5 2 1 3 7 0 6 8  ok
sort 1 - 4 5 _ 2 - 5 2 [2 - 5 2 ! 1 - 4 2 ! ]_ 3 - 5 1 [3 - 5 1 ! 2 - 4 1 ! 1 -
  2 1 ! ]_ 4 - 5 3 [4 - 5 3 ! 3 - 4 3 ! 2 - 2 3 + ]_ 5 - 5 7 _ 6 - 7 0 [6 - 7 0 !
  5 - 5 0 ! 4 - 4 0 ! 3 - 3 0 ! 2 - 2 0 ! 1 - 1 0 ! ]_ 7 - 7 6 [7 - 7 6 ! 
  6 - 5 6 + ]_ 8 - 7 8 _  ok
show 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8  ok

Have fun.

Alex Wenger, Max-Gerd Retzlaff:
The Invisible Tree

December 13, 2012, Electronics

Zum dritten Mal in Folge nehmen Alex Wenger und ich an der Weihnachtsbaumausstellung der Staatlichen Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe teil:

The Invisible Tree

— shy but photogenic —

Please take a picture!

Alex Wenger & Max-Gerd Retzlaff

The Invisible Tree; click for a larger version (204 kB).

WEB: tannenbaum.matroid.org
FEEDBACK: tannenbaum@matroid.org

Ein unscheinbarer kleiner Kasten. Miit dem bloßen Auge ist nichts zu sehen. Erst im Blick durch eine Kamera (oder auch ein Handy) erscheint auf dem schwarzem Karton ein lila glimmender Baum.



Gemeinsame, frühere Projekte: »uoısuǝɯıp ɹǝɥʇo«, Tannenbaum braucht Zuwendung, LED Cube Modeller, Paraflows edition, and Hacking OpenGL (in Lisp), LED Cube Modeller, 22C3 Edition, LED-Cube (Entropia-Wiki), 3d Baby Cube (Weblog von Alex).

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