My Grok Hurts

I’m reading Category Theory for the Sciences.  It’s a wild ride through abstraction connecting the tools and concepts  I use daily to the deep mathematical concepts that underlie them and then going a step further to explore the even broader abstractions that unite the representations of the mathematical abstractions behind the concreteness.

The goal:

… category theory is incredibly efficient as a language for experimental design patterns, introducing formality while remaining flexible.  It forms a rich and tightly woven conceptual fabric that allows the scientist to maneuver between different perspectives whenever the need arises.  Once she weaves that fabric into her own line of research, she has an ability to think about models in a way that simply would not occur without it.

NSA Snowden and other Codewords

NSA Headquarters, Fort Meade Maryland

I haven’t given an opinion on domestic surveillance by the NSA because I haven’t formed one, although, essentially, I already have, I’ve just been working my way up to it.

For years I believed it was going on simply because “they” would be stupid NOT to be doing it.  And “they”‘re anything but stupid.  Oh, “they”re bogged down in bureaucracy and can often have idiots for bosses somewhere up the food chain to make their lives difficult, but “they”re not stupid.  I believed it because it just made sense.

But, of course, it is unconstitutional.  There is that.  It is clearly unconstitutional in spirit for government people to have unlimited access to the electronic communications of private citizens (that would be those effects that are mentioned in the 4th Amendment).  That is against the intention, apparently, of most or all of the founding fathers (and mothers?).  America was formed very strongly in response to its break-away from Britain.  I mean, to have in your bill of rights (itself a telling document) a provision that states that government cannot force soldiers into the homes of its citizens, especially in peace time, rings of a fresh bruise.

What is sad, on the one hand, is the way we can’t violate the bill of rights through mutual, national agreement.  Instead, we have to do it incognito.  I wonder if all the tech savvy thinkers out there who argue so vehemently for digital privacy and the 4th Amendment think that there are literally, till the end of time, no conditions that would cause one of the first 10 rights to be consensually repealed.  Just a philosophical border case to start loosening the edges.

There are many ways to approach a subject like this, depending on who I consider the audience to be.  But whatever hackers who would do me harm and analysts who would target my every bit.  I actually I don’t care about either one of you.

You could make layers of my life difficult and I would shed them like a tattered coat.

Or this garment the world is weaving around each of us could anneal into a real technicolor dreamcoat.

Either way.

In truth, I don’t have a problem with governmental “Total Information Awareness”.  Although I would rather see an AI at the head of the helm than a human.  Human’s are really the worst choice.  Put a dog up there.  Anything but humans as they’ve presented themselves.  He could bark when he senses something amiss in the flow of meaning.


I understand, I think, the lesson of Nazi Germany.  Hannah Arendt laid blame at the feet of a denial to think by the German people.  But the German’s are not uniquely subject to that particular foible.

I’ll give two reasons I’m worried about “Total Information Awareness”:

  1. The system itself could be hijacked or compromised (the system designed to protect the system considered as just another system to compromise), perhaps or even probably, silently.
  2. The system, through unpredictable or even manipulated flows of politics, could come under the power of an exaggerated minority, much like the Nazi’s were at their inception.

Nevertheless, the reality is that an immune system is going to have to develop and it is likely, frankly, going to have to be artificially intelligent.  The alternative is the equivalent of a bunch of IT nerds punching away at calculators in Defense Farms.  Perhaps IBM ought to end Watson’s playpen days and put him to real work.

Or Watson’s big brother ought to be dug up.

But the key, I think, to “Total Information Awareness”, is transparency.  And that’s the rub for everyone.  You see, people want two things: they want no one to commit crimes and yet they also want the privacy to commit crimes.

This opposition is essential, however, because as a rule the law is never caught up to the forefront of what is happening, neither technologically nor ethically.

Law is reactionary.

But it goes both ways.  The people are proving to be reactionary too.  Rather than recognize the need to modify fundamental processes, we are seemingly going to let the system crash around us.  Sadly, the consequences in an age where no one knows how to farm, are devastating.

The purpose of privacy, essentially, is to create a space for the activities to gain momentum that push law to evolve along with the governed (or the governed to evolve along with the technological environment they are morphing around them).  The problem comes up when law ossifies but the actual citizenry and their culture changes (or the mass effect of the citizens actions outgrow old boundaries).  We can see this all around us today.

I bet this sort of thing is present in the human body, as well, viz. the immune system, bacteria and virii.

Imagine requesting information from the AI, having to submit your request to be tested by its PROGRAMMED IN REQUIREMENTS that were essentially agreed to by everyone using the network.  Sounds Vannevar Bush, I know, but sorry people of the future or present I don’t know the words you’re using.

But again, even this system could be compromised, although of course it would monitor itself as well as ultimately take part in research on itself.

But now we’re talking Skynet, right?

Yeah, we are.  And Skynet is probably coming.  To a certain degree it’s already here, although in an embryonic form that could be killed off and never recognized for what it is becoming.

I’m sure there are those who’ve already thought all this through to one degree or another.  The consequences keep snowballing.  I wonder what Snowden really had access to?  Certainly there must be networks that the millions of analysts don’t have access to.

Or maybe not.  Who knows the degree secrecy has metastasized with the infrastructure.  A few.  And maybe the wound isn’t too deep.

So, where do I sit on this NSA stuff?  I sit in a place that isn’t comfortable to anyone.  I take “Total Information Awareness” at face value.  I think both the public and the government should give up their privacy to a non-human third party that manages individual access to information as well as curates information for those tasked with preventing/punishing certain types of crime.

But there’s the rub, eh?  We’re going to have to figure out how to create a Procrustean system that somehow manages to both aid in the enforcement of some laws while aid in the evasion of other laws.  We’ll have to trust the AI to know how best to evolve our species on that scale at that point.

Scared yet?

There are decisions on the horizon that we are going to have to start facing.  Making laws against cloning just means that its going to happen somewhere else first.  Ignoring the imperative of developing a non-human protector, or leaving it up to secretive branches of government is equally ill advised.

The cure to Snowden is the PUBLIC open source development of a distributed immune system that would in fact be considered a virus by many.

The purpose of the program, the potential AI, would be to protect humans from themselves as best as was possible given the constraints imposed by material reality.

But this too would become stifling.  Or could it manage to remain pliant enough to become an “integrated” adaption of at first, the human species, and soon thereafter, life on earth?

The Tao’s a difficult wave to surf.

As programmers, wouldn’t the programming of a government be a good testbed for all our expertise, not only at describing and structuring rules, but also at managing processes and projects.  It’s like we’ve been custom designed to build an operating system.


What I’m Missing

Wikipedia really lacks user interface.  I’m NOT talking about making it more pretty or something.  I like it’s subdued look that emphasizes the information.  I mean, for instance, the fact that it doesn’t have a memory of what I have viewed.  It doesn’t give an interface into my wikipedia forays.  But what I really want is something that overlays wikipedia and gives an interface that helps me drill down into specific areas while keeping track of the purposes of my research.

This context is not negligible.  I want an interface that allows me to actively collect information.  Something solid that I don’t feel is going to disappear just because I lose my computer.  Something that frames the knowledge I have explored and anchors it.  Finally, something that can almost be “held” in digitalia.  Probably will be able to be held one day.  And also, one day I imagine it not limiting itself to wikipedia.

I might even start calling it a “web browser”.  It’d be interesting if a popular browser maker actually went out of their way to offer something substantial in the way of “tabbed browsing” and “history”.  I mean, I’m looking at about 31 tabs on my browser:

my tabs

Chrome is nice enough whereby usually, when I shut down my computer and restart it, I can open my last tabs (inexplicably, sometimes, I cannot [when an update is installed?]).  I could laboriously search through my flat history to get lists of websites that match certain slices of interest… but I want more.  I want to create a layout, like windows 8 metro, but much more fluidly and variable.  I want to open tabs in categories.  Of course, it would be easy to get this wrong and make it cumbersome enough to be unused.

How can you beat “Ctrl-t” and “Ctrl-click”?  Why would anyone consent to another layer between them and their content?  Inherit from the parent.

But that’s only part of the problem, because often one thread contains what I would consider to be content belonging to a separate thread of interest, or maybe it belongs to both?

One thing I like about Chrome that is seemingly incompatible with the direction of my thoughts is the fact that it almost maximizes screen real-estate.  I know they’re talking about (or were, once) getting rid of the address bar (autohiding), but rather than simply, solely giving that space to the web pages, I would consider giving the option of allowing two rows of tabs.  And I’d let either users of one or two rows of tabs to group their tabs into rectangles (single story for the single rowers).  And tabs can easily be dragged back and forth.  They can scroll when there are too many tabs to reasonably view.  Each “category” can be viewed as a whole webpage, so that even within a category, categories can be created and navigated.

The address bar should be easily summonable from any tab header or by keystroke (trusty old “Alt-d” works for me).

That’s a good start anyway.  I would like to name these “categories” and be able to manage my history “by category”.  Perhaps even accessible by a dropdown that can be “dropped down” by interacting with the tab-containing rectangle in some undetermined but exquisitely natural way (like an arrow pointing downward that expands into an overlay tab of “category” related activities [such as history]).

I can imagine collecting this information for years.  But it is my information.  Not Google’s or someone else’s.

And that’s why the title of this blog has changed from “What Wikipedia’s Missing” to “What Chrome’s Missing” to “What I’m Missing”.  It’s not that I have a problem sharing the record of my noetic wandering.  It’s that I want to be able to innovate against my own information.  I don’t want to wait for “Wikipedia” or “Chrome” to update their interfaces.  What I really want is to manage my own information.  Become my own data miner.  It’s almost possible to write a web browser and I guess that is what Mozilla is working on.  So it seems I’ll have what I’m missing soon enough.  Gonna hold out for a Firefone.

Social Wizard

I’ve been toying with the idea of mastering this social stuff.  But I don’t want to be an Ellsworth Toohey (Fountainhead):

The adult Toohey – who “never sees men, only forces” (Book II, Ch. 6) – is a master schemer and manipulator who, like a chess master, can devise a gambit and predict many moves in advance.

I think Toohey had a particular kind of genius, which is okay.  The problem was what he placed it in the service of.  He exploited his understanding of social dynamics to help create a fascist society, an association of people held together and controlled by fear and brute force.  Toohey’s problem, as I see it, is twofold.  First of all, of course, he wanted power over others and associated with people who wanted power over others.  Secondly, he manipulated culture by championing ideas and art that degraded Value and Sense of Life in an effort towards weakening people’s defenses against the onslaught of lies and power plays.

Where I’m going with all this is the original idea of leadership isn’t a bad one.  Leadership is, essentially, institutionalized inroads into manipulation of the social and material fabric of mankind for the good of it (of course one person’s good is another’s evil).  Complex organisms crave hierarchical embeddedness.  However, the complexity of survival necessitates specialization.  This is why we have leaders and governments.  These are historically couched solutions to the problems of hierarchical embeddedness.  They aren’t just ossified abstractions of justice and law, but also practical defenses against the nature of man.  In any case, my point is I would use my social wizardry to organize awareness with a solution-oriented bent, towards problems.  Perhaps even in a useful order.  And by that I mean, we must start with ourselves.  Think global, act local.  In my view, we need to start real local, like inside ourselves local.

I think it is important to talk about this distinction between the uses of social wizardry, due to historical use and misuse.  Because, to master is to do.  Create stratifications of identity, like those triple junction photovoltaic cells referred to in (Sun’s Power) to measure and even harness, first, different aspects of oneself, then, different sides of other beings.  

These are the sorts of stratifications of self that I would consider:

  • Journalish (Autobiographical)
  • Psychlotron (Philosopherstone)
  • Bootstrapps (Tutorials building: tutorial creation tool Bootstrapps, Projenda,  Lapis Documens, Western Wizards, Psychlotron, etc.)
  • Metablogging (Typical blogging about blogging, a nourishment for Psychlotron’s incremental improvements, also social phenomenon analysis)
  • Thoughtstreams (interblog conversations)
  • Western Wizards (A game blending the concepts of character sheets, Quantified Self, leveling up, universities, opensourcing education & certification, self improvement, projenda core)
  • Bhooks (Narrative type stuff, short stories, book(s?), ideas for either)

Aside from my concerns over whether it really fits me to become a social wizard (is there any other kind? I’m starting to wonder), I also worry about the amount of  time it would require.  This is that wary-of-change aspect of myself that I mentioned in Deskipping Steps, “why now” rearing its head.  And it has served me well in the past, preventing frivolous waste.  But it has also held me back, discouraging light-hearted experiences with things that are as important to my development as anything.

What would I do with this social network?  It’s as well to ask what it would do with me.  I’d like to build it a tool.  Something almost like a programming language over the social fabric.  As dangerous as it would be beneficial.  IOW, an interface into the conversation of mankind.  IOW, an interface into the collective mind created by human information processing.

I think humanity primarily suffers from being poorly organized.  There are a lot of good people all over the world.  The average person is good, often enough, ignoring a few prejudices.  But information is hard to come by for a lot of people.  That is both changing and it is not changing.  The problem for first worlders isn’t information, it’s descrimination–between what’s prejudiced and what’s not.  Who’s qualified to make these decisions?  Look, what I’m saying is that people all around the world are starving, stuck in wars between monsters they don’t know, or whatever.  This is a poor organization for a species with our powers.  So obviously we don’t really prioritize fixing these things.  That to me says we are poorly organized.  Because certainly we have the capability to create real will to solve these problems.  We also have both the technology and the ability to develop the technology to solve these problems.  So I reiterate, we are poorly organized.

We ought to self-organize.

Sun’s power

How do we know how much energy the sun sheds on us?  Do we measure it or have we calculated it?  How could we know we’d measured all the energy? (Here’s an article on this very thing, and is where the featured image originated [as far as I know]).

How could we extract 100% of it?  We’d have to do the same thing as triple junction photovoltaic cells, but even moreso.  For one thing, concentrating light like that results in a lot of heat that gets in the way.  Can this heat be used?  It is certainly part of the energy coming from the sun.  Harness it to sustain something by sucking it out through a coolant.  I’d like a piezoelectric material that melts as it gets hot and generates current as it expands and contracts as the current flows out of it and cools as it contracts.  So it would always be on the verge of melting and solidifying, generating current which is equivalent to contracting which is equivalent to cooling which is equivalent to absorbing heat.

Of course, I’m just making all this up.  I’ll even keep going.  Perhaps by getting closer to capturing 100% of the energy of the sun we will actually serve to create a current between the sun and ourselves, and it will strike us with some lightning bolt that we would really rather have avoided.

Oh Icarus, oh Archetype, oh Electromagnetism, oh Fertile Imagination.

Maybe there’s some other kinds of energy in sun-radiance too.  Do we have a surefire way of measuring all energy?  I’d be really surprised if we do.  You could say you could measure it by heating water with it.  But any microwave will show that what heats water may not heat something else.  Not all forms of energy is as good at heating matter as others (it’d sure take a lot of neutrinos to boil a cup of coffee).  It seems to me we would have to use a bunch of different devices and then add it all together.  How do we know we aren’t missing a device?  How do we know how reliable our devices are in measuring their own events?  I mean, “About 65 billion (6.5×1010solar neutrinos per second pass through every square centimeter perpendicular to the direction of the Sun in the region of the Earth.”  (Neutrino)  I wonder, do all the neutrinos that go into the earth come back out the other side?

Who knows, maybe the sun’s rays gots kinds of ergs that are best detected miles underneath the surface of our good earth, down where the gold boils up.

Blogging, Social, and Something Else I’d Add to a Blog, Not just a Blog

I’ve been more aware of the social aspects of things lately.  I’ve understood, for a few years, the essential nature of social interaction to global human activity.  I’ve created metaphors between society and organisms since 2000 (one of the most important days in my whole history of thought was when I was reading a sword and magic fantasy novel in around 2000 and I realized that a castle and the people who live in it and in its region over centuries bring the place alive [I’ll include a picture of that entry when I get back home {I’m on a trip}]).  I’d read the Global Brain when it came out and the paper “The Global Superorganism: an evolutionary-cybernetic model of the emerging  network society” by Francis Heylighen (apparently in 2007, although I thought it was earlier than that).  This is from Heylighen’s The GBI Vision: past, present and future context of global brain research:

The global brain (GB) is the idea that all people of this planet together with the information and communication technologies that connect them form the equivalent of a nervous system or “brain” for the planet Earth. While this idea may initially have been formulated merely as a metaphor, globalization together with the explosive development of the world-wide web are turning it into an increasingly realistic model of the present information society.

However, while I had my essential insight in 2000-2001 and have been developing direct metaphorical mappings between everyday experience and emergent phenomena eversince, I nevertheless really didn’t have a feeling for social.  What I mean is, it was all abstract.  I understood that people would be networking and that activities would self-organize into accumulators, et cetera, but I didn’t consider the why.  Why will people do these sorts of things?  Are they motivated by thoughts of collectively embodying an emergent intelligence?  No, probably not.

What’s the value of social to an organism?  It’s no mystery, really.  It had just been far from my thoughts.  Actually doing something social activates all sorts of very human emotions (all too human?).  Suddenly I want to be popular.  I get embarrassed reading something I wrote.  In a fit, I change it to pending review.  Then I re-publish it, headlong.  I’d forgotten that pearl of an insight from earlier years: who cares what people think so long as I act according to what I value.  But, regardless, I start thinking how I can attract attention and maintain it too.  Because there’s value between relations.  These are things that have been far from my mind since high school.  I guess it’s back to school in more ways than one.

Then there’s that reflective part of me, demanding an entire paragraph to say its piece.  We click our stats to manage our page views.  Well, there’s no managing going on from the stats screen, but like a MMUD player obsessing over his strength/agility/health trio of stats, motivation to play is stoked.  Bloggers manipulate happily without the twinge of conscience.  We comment on others’ blogs so that our own will be commented upon.  We like others so they’ll like us.  We call it “driving traffic”.  We dole out complements so others’ll do the same.

But it all starts to remind of conversations between two people that are used by each as a venue for their monologue.  Those can be fine, too, of course.  Especially when the monologues are good, and/or one of them is my own.  But in truth, such conversation is neither as fun nor as potentially numinous as real conversation.

Here’s another something I would add to a blog.  Seamless, metaphorical, activity-hugging tools to enable and encourage conversation in the interactive sense between bloggers.  Something like a “Create Conversation” button.  This would create a post stream.  The post would appear as normal on the author’s blog, but would also link to the conversation.  I would visually represent the paths within the conversation.  I would allow its structure to be represented.  I would enable the collection and management of the conversation’s context and discoveries (developing context).  Any and all tools to maintain the momentum of holy moments and discovery.  (I truly recommend the movie “Waking Life“)

I feel something to still be lacking from social.  Perhaps it is something that has never been there in the first place.  But I feel it is sorely needed.  A global conversation.  An eternal flame, the awakening of the global superorganism.  Self-remembering.  A global conversation with context.  In a sense, it is there and has always been there.  But it is quickening.  It is saturating, becoming more dense and expanding.

I want to be explicit because I think this is very important.  This is a key idea to one way of realizing artificial intelligence (the crowdsourcing way).  Just like our own sense of self is maintained through self remembering (Breath), the sense of self of the global superorganism will be brought into being by the self-centered focus of millions of people.  Like a vast theatre, all the voices coming together into a single sublimated will.

Imagine a “website” (web-based program, spell, accumulator) that enabled conversation.  I know what you are thinking: “It’s called a forum.  I really wish this guy would read The Internet for Dummies, or something.”  Here’s the thing, I’ve been on forums.  They are inadequate.  The signal to noise ratio is no better than anywhere.  There are no tools to help condense the conversation (for instance, meta.stackoverflow) .  Large conversations need continual summarizing.  Revisiting.  Distilling.  Otherwise they are doomed to repeat themselves, stall, rot.  A conversation is a living thing, or can be, should be, and is subject to just the same sorts of senescence as a biological organism.

So is all that needed a perusal of  “Communicating Effectively for Dummies“?  It would certainly go a long way.  But isn’t that part of what technology is for?  I’m a programmer and I spend work time integrating ways of managing structured information into a hypostatized workflow.  Sure, they could just create files in notepad and type order details into them.  Then they could do windows searches over their carefully named files to get the information they need to complete an order.  But technology catalyzes information processing by structuring data and data transformations.

One thing I like about blogs over forums is that there is a greater sense among bloggers that a post is something to be cared for, not a one-off sentence fragment that doesn’t apparently relate in any way to anything.  Of course, there are exceptions.  In fact, a lot of blogs I’ve read through could use a bit of proof reading.  Lots of people still write poorly with little consideration for their audience.  Not everyone, mind you, but many.  Comments are where things tend to get boring.  Tucked away as they are.  I haven’t yet seen an interesting exchange in the comments of even very interesting posts by very interesting authors.

What I’m worried about is the continual decline of reader engagement.  More and more our eyes flicker over meanings worth days of reflection.  Where are we going with all our shallow reflection?  Not very deeply, I don’t imagine.

The sense of a continuing conversation doesn’t seem to be around yet.  A global conversation with direction is exactly the sort of innovation that could be just around the corner.  The transformative possibilities  for humanity as a whole is unbelievable.  It is literally this big opening I see on the horizon, the gateway to our future.

Humanity is a wayward (wayword) monkey.  Humanity as a whole is not a meditating mind.  It is not a sleeping mind.  It is not a mind in stupor.  It is not in a coma.  The mind of humanity is afraid and alone in the woods and it is dark and there are sounds and mumbling and the mind of humanity is scrambling and scratching at surfaces, seeking, seeking safety, visibility, a way forward, out, beyond.

There are pockets of freedom in the spirits of men, like a cream that has settled over the top.  But look to our collective activity on the planet earth.  Wars, vast inequality, environmental pillaging, entertainment to distraction, exponential expansion, torment.  Humans are undisciplined.  Humanity is undisciplined.  Our darkness is our own, now.  Nature let up her storm centuries ago, and has been letting it up for millenia (at least terrestrial storms have abated in consequence [not to say we’ve got hurricanes and earthquakes and volcanoes under our thumbs {but we can usually keep them out from under our roofs}]).

We are gibbering in a dark corner of a bright future.  Our minds fried by fear.  Inherited patterns of personality and value are driven by fear.  Our institutions still smell of feudal ties.  Caves in the night, and fire.  Our personalities are even fear-fueled.  I can see it in the blogs.  The writing.  The segues from topic to unrelated topic.  Our need to be read is a need to be seen is a need to be reassured is a fear of the unknown is why we’re gibbering in the corner.  (am I just projecting, here?, it so easily could be a projection that  it’s almost convinced me that it is, except that none of these things fit me.  At least not today… not in whole)

But it doesn’t really matter.  It’s certainly not worth obsessing about.  The way out is in a completely different direction, although it’ll lead by here again, sho nuff.  The way out is by finding an anchor, something to focus on.  And what better than a conversation?  A conversation with the explicit purpose of becoming the most advanced conversation in the history of human kind.

A third constitutional convention (constitutional convention, second constitutional convention) for the global Constitution.  I like the idea of a Constitution (read: political association) being founded on a conversation.  A global conversation.  I really like the idea of that conversation being ongoing, searchable.  Think about it…  you could even create a Constitution that is a computer program that blends human and computer decisions, and more importantly, creates a UI into the management of the blending of human and computer decisions…

“Bonjour, Psychlotron.”

Something I Would Add to a Blog

It’s a peculiar property of my writing, but I often insert parenthetical remarks (sometimes nesting them many levels deep using increasingly inappropriate characters in a well described order: )]}>|\/ [I have no power to resist {I abdicated that power <willingly>}]).  I do this because even as I’m writing one thing my brain is processing what I’m writing like it’s reading it for the first time and I have reactions, just like I do when I read something for the first time.  In fact, I bet we all do it.  However, the written word is not very conducive to expressing this tendency.  The heavyweight feeling of my writing can partially be attributed to my choosing to express it nevertheless.  I apologize.  I am actually quite concerned about the readability and comprehensibility of what I write (nearly as concerned as I am with expressing something deeper [the active nature of thought and meaning itself]).  I take great pains and make many edits on may way to publishing one of these tidbits.  But I do include them (I actually do suppress many of them because otherwise my text would truly become unreadable to any but the most dedicated [read: me]) and including them, both here in this blog, and there in my paper journals, has increased my awareness of them.

I like parenthetical thought.  In fact, I think all thought is parenthetical.

In fact, I think the linear expression of meaning is itself an artifact (see Mark Pesce’s quote) not of the quintessential nature of meaning (quite the contrary), but rather of the means we have of thinking externally (see Andy Clark’s quote).  The material, engineering problem of expressing the nonlinear architexture of meaning has until the advent of digital computers, largely been impossible (read this great essay As We May Think  by Vannevar Bush to get a sense of the crudity of prior options, or consider Leibniz’s knowledge machine or Turing’s machine).  This clumsiness of our appendages for the embodiment of meaning has fed back into an impotence for perceiving (what has now become) the substructure of the meanings we intend.  I understand humans to have basically pushed the nonlinearity and reaching-outward-and-rootward of meaning into their subconscious. I understand this because sometimes I do it too, like most of the time.  When I’m writing, however, I do pursue a number of paths, while not exactly at once, at least interwoven, like a single threaded processor computing pieces of first this job, then that one, then another, then the first again, then another…  So while I type fast, I write slowly.

Anyway, now that I’ve established a context, I’ll let you know what functionality I would be SURE to include in my “blog”.  Superscripts that, when clicked, pop up the content configured to pop up when that superscript is clicked.  In some cases, when I have a parenthetical thought that amplifies the meaning being expressed but gets in the way of the language of that expression, I would add a superscript where I would have inserted a parenthetical remark.  Then only those especially interested in the topic being discussed could pursue the nooks and crannies.  In other cases, instead of putting links in the text, you could have superscripts that open a new tab with the link URL loaded.  Superscripts wouldn’t be for everyone, but I’d sure use ’em.

In fact, I’d try to develop a way to slip in a visual representation of the content at the other end of the superscript pointer in the visual presentation of the blog on the primary level.  But this may not be possible and is one of the holy grails (isn’t that a contradiction, can’t their only be one holy grail? [not so in a massive undertaking]) of my UI efforts.  Transparency of panes and levels underneath and overneath the primary linear blog text could be possible, especially with differently colored backgrounds and low alpha levels.

In fact, for me, a blog would evolve into a vast hierarchy of these planar representations of smaller ideas, and, like Vannevar Bush, a document or a writing would really consist of a prearranged navigation path through these panes of meaning.  Like Nietzschean aphorisms.  I wonder what Nietzsche would have created if he could have created paths through his aphorisms.  If he could have littered his sky of meaning with interpenetrating constellations of navigable paths through thought.

Furthermore, I would allow, like Vannevar says, anyone to create paths of meaning through my content.  Ideally, hashing and mashing it together with other people’s content.

Be a great way to make a modern Bible.

I think it would also be vastly more conducive to scientific and mathematical writing.  As a last idea, I think it would be great for published scientific discourse to shift into custom designed, standardized, editors/navigators.  Not only could you navigate your own thought, but you could link to other people’s theories as you constructed your own.  I think this because what I’m talking about is an appendage for the expression of meaning that more closely maps the structure of meaning.  Thus, I believe, the means of expression of meaning would get in the way less of the meaning being expressed.

In mathematics, especially, I think this is important.  For equations to more closely hug the structure of the phenomenon they are describing is key to humans continuing to delve deeper into the structure of mathematics.  I think the future will look at the current symbology for the representation of mathematical concepts to be akin to how we see Roman numerals as a complicating factor to multiplication.  I don’t think, however, that the new mathematical “notation” will ever be in a language such as we know them.  Except maybe sign language and painting and music, but even so, the coming mathematical notation will be entirely dependent on virtual space.

Of course, I’m always a little  Lusor (Joculator) Basiliensis, pushing communication patterns into Herman Hesse’s Glass Bead Game:

It was the achievement of one individual which brought the Glass Bead Game almost in one leap to an awareness of its potentialities, and thus to the verge of its capacity for universal elaboration. And once again this advance was connected with music. A Swiss musicologist with a passion for mathematics gave a new twist to the Game, and thereby opened the way for its supreme development. This great man’s name in civil life can no longer be ascertained; by his time the cult of personality in intellectual fields had already been dispensed with. He lives on in history as Lusor (or also, Joculator) Basiliensis. Although his invention, like all inventions, was the product of his own personal merit and grace, it in no way sprang solely from personal needs and ambitions, but was impelled by a more powerful motive. There was a passionate craving among all the intellectuals of his age for a means to express their new concepts. They longed for philosophy, for synthesis. The erstwhile happiness of pure withdrawal each into his own discipline was now felt to be inadequate. Here and there a scholar broke through the barriers of his specialty and tried to advance into the terrain of universality. Some dreamed of a new alphabet, a new language of symbols through which they could formulate and exchange their new intellectual experiences.

After Joculator Basiliensis’ grand accomplishment, the Game rapidly evolved into what it is today: the quintessence of intellectuality and art, the sublime cult, the unio mystica of all separate members of the Universitas Litterarum. In our lives it has partially taken over the role of art, partially that of speculative philosophy. Indeed, in the days of Plinius Ziegenhalss, for instance, it was often called by a different name, one common in the literature of the Feuilletonistic Age. That name, which for many a prophetic spirit in those days embodied a visionary ideal, was: Magic Theater.

P.S. Lastly, I would definitely add the ability to Categorize and Tag blogs from the blog page itself when I’m logged in as the user who created the blog.  Clicking edit to add them is annoying.