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Showing posts from May, 2010

The Story of Language...

Languages have also been a very fascinating subject in my life. For one , I feel as if I should be able to speak more languages than I do. My parents are Haitian but I was born in Brooklyn, I speak English fluently (without a Brooklyn accent) but my Haitian creole is halting, my French is halting. I'd need some serious practice in both to be truly fluent. However, the similarities between the Latin languages allows me to figure out maybe 30% of spoken Italian, Portuguese, Spanish if the speaker speaks slowly enough. My facility with spoken languages would improve if I had the practice but the last few years have been spent getting around the problem rather than attacking it directly and it has a fascinating history that I will detail below.


The history of the formation of languages is something I've done a lot of reading on, the other reason for my interest is that I am a software engineer and program in several different computer languages: c++,java,xsl,javascript,css,xml are…

Synthetic life ..........are we ready ?

J. Craig Venter announces the boot up of the first artificial genetic sequence:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/21/science/21cell.html



Regarding the ethical issues of doing this now, he is right for TODAY...

but when the costs come down dramatically in the next 10 years (as they did for pc programming)

as the knowledge continues to be refined with bulletproof techniques...

as GDE 's(genetic development environment) are developed to allow a high level genetic language syntax to be used to build organisms using an abstraction (like coding applications but with a "maker" step) there will be a huge potential for trouble as any "gene kiddie" (analog of script kiddies today) will be able to tinker together something "for fun" that I don't know, invades all pigs and causes their intestines to shut down, or causes cows to die on the field after eating grass...who knows...as varied and nefarious as malware methods and vectors are in software coding, expect the …

A bit on "faith" , "belief" and the inapplicability to real science.

This posts builds on a response to a thread started by a mutual friend on facebook that I thought merited exposition here.

I am a firm proponent of the methods of science having been trained in them and employ them in my work and life, but I have no faith. The collections of data that form the theories posited by science are not accepted by what they will predict they are accepted by what they have predicted...this is a subtle difference that makes assertions of all scientists having "faith" as some define it a fallacious one. I have no faith that any of the systems which have succeeded at answering questions about the workings of the world will continue to do so, I have only past evidence that they have. This is the difficulty of scientists...of falling into the "I believe this will happen." trap instead of asserting the "In the past, data of this sort was explained by this process." in the first, "faith" and "belief" are implicit...in…