Thursday 22 August 2019

Am I about to be shot down in flames again?

Several years ago I posted Dartington Hall School and thinking outside the Educational Box and earlier this week I post the following to the privaate school Facebook page abot the hazzards of thinking outside the box.

One thing Dartington taught me was that the establishment view was not always right.

But has it been a good idea to ask awkward questions? Or would I have had an easier life If I had forgotten what I learnt at Dartington and sheepishly gone along with the crowd? Now in my 80s I am about to stick my head over the parapet yet again …..

A Possible Evolutionary Neural Net Model of Turing's Child Brain

From now on posts relating to my research on CODIL , and the evolution of intelligence, will be on the blog An Evolutionary Model of Human Intelligence but the more inportant ones will be cross-referenced here.

I have just posted a report (and detailed draft paper) on my Evolutionary Blog, linking CODIL to Neural Nets, entitled:

Wednesday 31 July 2019

Ten hottest years have occurred since 2002

The Times today reports

Ten hottest years have occurred since 2002

and quoting the Met Office says:
The top ten hottest years are (in order from the hottest): 2014; 2006; 2011; 2007; 2017; 2003; 2018; 2004; 2002 and 2005. The coldest years in the record are: 1892 (the coldest); 1888; 1885; 1963; 1919; 1886; 1917; 1909; 1887 and 1962.

Depressingly many climate deniers posted comments which demonstrated their inability to understand what is actually going on and I decided to post my view:

Remember the London Smogs? I do. They were the local result of burning coal and something was done when people started dying.  A hundred years earlier the Victorians laid pipes bring fresh water and built sewers because people were dying because of the way human excrement was just dumped into the environment. We humans are very good at creating pollution and the problem with too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is that:
(1) the effects are very slow to appear - and for the same reason will take a long time to disappear if we stop creating excess gas
(2) you can’t see carbon dioxide so it is easy to dismiss it
(3) When people start to die due to lack of food, lack of water, or high daily temperatures the areas first affected will not be the UK - so it is easy for people reading The Times to bury their head in the sand.
About 30 years ago I worked on climate change in Australia where, because large areas are already very hot and dry, the effects of global warming are more serious. There is no doubt that scientific research is genuinely highlighting the dangers and I am sad when I read the ill-informed comments of those who try to deny what is increasingly obvious to those who study what is happening in detail.

Friday 26 April 2019

Philosophy & Technology --- and Computers

It is run by the University of Twente and promises 

"The course focuses on the relations between humans and technologies. You will learn how philosophy can help us understand the social implications of technologies."\

Clearly many of the problems I have had with CODIL arise because the philosophy of the approach I have taken - which is that humans live in a complex and uncertain world - is very different from the regimentally predefined computer systems in common use. 

I find such courses are a good way to stimulate new ideas and will post anything of note either as a comment to this post or as a separate blog post. Maybe I will even meet some of you on the course!

Saturday 20 April 2019

CODIL & the Leo Computer Society Archives at Cambridge

A couple of weeks ago the LEO Computer Society had a reunion in London where the members celebrated the 70th anniversary of the start of work on the LEO I computer The LEO I construction followed the design of Cambridge University's EDSAC computer and it is recognized to be the first computer ever built for purely commercial use. The pioneering engineer who led the project was John Pinkerton, and what has been described as the first corporate systems analyst was David Caminer.

Friday 19 April 2019

My experience of bullying at Universities

Following a report on BBC News, The Guardian has just published an article "UK universities must break their silence around harassment and bullying". It appears that UK Universities have spend at least £87 million on gagging orders in the last 2 years. Many academics said they were "harassed" out of their jobs and forced to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) by their university after making complaints about inappropriate sexual behaviour or bullying by more senior staff.

I'm springing into Action for Easter

Those of you who have read the dedication on my "Genealogy in Hertfordshire" Website (In memory of my daughters, Belinda and Lucy) will not be surprised that I need to control my stress levels and sometimes I have to lie back and let the world roll by.

Usually this is only for a day or two but last year my stress levels rocketed, in part at least because I found the chaos surrounding Brexit very unsettling. As a result the recent period of relaxation has lasted many months - during which time I have posted very little online - neglecting this blog..

In fact when I am in maximum relaxation mode I still need to keep my mind active by doing some kind of research.  On this occasion I decided to track down an artist who had produced comic cards for the Crown Publishing Company of St Albans in about 1908. Rather than just sitting and watching the TV much of my time has been spent trawling through thousands of comic postcards on ebay. The research has been most entertaining and proved very complex (and so a stimulating mental challenge). It took much longer than expected but I have now established that the card fragment on the left was drawn by a well know comic card artist called Fred Spurgin [ See details of the research]

As I am now more relaxed I have decided to restart posting on this blog, and will use it for general comments - and also for my further work on CODIL and the Evolution of Human Intelligence - as trying to split the CODIL related posts off was one of the causes of stress.

[I will post this on my other blogs - in each case saying how "springing into action" will affect future activity.]

Thursday 1 November 2018

How far are ordinary people's imagination trapped by their experience

The British Psychological Society Research Bulletin this week has an article entitled New evidence that the "Chaotic Mind" of ADHD brings creative advantages based on a paper Thinking Outside the Box: Unconstrained Creative Generation in Adults with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. Students (some with ADHD) were asked to draw alien fruits that did not resemble any fruits that they knew - and the above was the result.
While the size and nature of the group tested may make generalizations about the average ADHD suffer unreliable my reaction is that the experiment confirms how difficult it is for the average person to think outside the box formed by their experiences.