This is for all of those who are reading this as prospective employers, considering me as an employee. I don't hide this journal, so I know you can easily find me with even the simplest internet search of my name.
I just wanted to save you the time and trouble of searching this journal, trying to see if I would post anything that you may think makes me a poor employee. There are two types of posts that employers would typically search for to weed out candidates. At least from my perspective.
First, you will be looking for anything I may have written that denigrates the company I was working for. That makes total sense. You don't want to hire someone who doesn't take their complaints to you but rather tries to hash them out with public assaults. I understand that, and you won't find anything like that here.
Second, you will be looking for things that make me look like someone who doesn't make good choices in life. These are the "questionable" posts, the posts that may contain drinking or drug use or nudity or just simple stupid behavior. It's the search for these posts that make me question your ability to be an effective employer, and if you are looking for these kinds of posts, you may as well eliminate me from your search. I don't want to work for you.
I'm a human. And you are looking for people who never make mistakes. You are looking for a person who always has 100% perfect judgment with respect to their future selves. You are looking for someone who can look back on their past and say "I never did anything wrong, ever!" In fact, I'd say you are looking for someone who isn't you.
If you can honestly say you have done nothing wrong - if you can tell me that you never dinged a car in a parking lot and drove off without leaving a note, if you can tell me that you put your shopping cart back correctly every time, if you can tell me that you never mutter under your breath at the person in front of you in the checkout line, if you can tell me that you have never taken the change when the cashier gave you too much, if you can tell me you never avoided anyone's phone calls - then you are a much better person than I am, obviously working at a much better company with values too saintly for me to live up to.
But if you are honest about who you are, and about who all people are, then there's no point in looking any further in my journal. Just call me, and see if I am a good fit as an employee based on my skills as a writer.
I took the intro to letterpress class at IPRC. Letterpress is some of the most time-consuming fiddly shit. Sorting the letters out trying to place them putting them in a frame, locking it in place, making sure everything is lined up right...it took 3 hours of work to get one square piece lined up.
It's hard to imagine wanting to use a press over a computer given some of this but there is the tactile joy that comes with it. Touching it, placing it, doing actual physical work (even if the physical work is tiny) as opposed to looking at a screen has its own merits. Much like the joy of looking at the jigsaw puzzle you've completed rather than the photo it would be otherwise.
I might give it a shot if I think of something to press, but I also want to take a screenprinting class. We'll see.
Artificial intelligence is artificial because it’s a representation of
how humans think
It’s a mimicry of how we perceive our thought process. Attempts to create models from the top down in this way will be nothing but worthless. In Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach
the authors point out that no other technology is designed as biomorphic imitation. Airplanes are not designed to fly in a way that fools birds into thinking the plane is a bird. We don’t test to see if the birds can’t tell if planes are birds to see if they are “really” flying. Yet this is how people perceive AI should follow when designing an AI. The conceptual importance of the Turing Test is as absurd as thinking that the talking cartoon animals in a Disney movie are also teenagers themselves.
Intelligence is not about reflecting human-ness, but about forcing us to reckon with what intelligence might mean.
I finished the first volume of Theodore Mommsen's (winner, 1902) complete history of Rome. I would give the title but there have been various titles over the years, apparently. I read the volume pertaining to Pre-Roman life. According to the intro it covers "up to the Punic Wars" but that's wrong. It covers up to about 750 BC.
The book was a combination of two of the worst qualities in historical writing. 1) Superficiality and 2) Presuming a lot of knowledge as "common." For instance, the assumption the reader not only know Latin but some Sanskrit was necessary. Topics were bizarre (the evolution of how homes were decorated, for instance), and the reliance on a year system (A.U.C.) which makes the founding of Rome year 000 (around 775 BC I think), and all dates were referred to in AUC rather than something, you know, useful.
Momsen was the author in this list who I was afraid of tackling most. I can't say how much of his godawful sentences are the result of his writing or some bloviating translator (this was first translated in 1861). There were poorer authors who have won Nobels, but not many.
This puts me with the number of authors left in the single digits. Of course, the 2016 winner will be announced in the next 6-8 weeks, but as far as I know there hasn't been a date announced yet.( updated Nobel Prize ListCollapse )
I finished Svetlana Alexievich's (winner, 2015) Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
. This book will haunt me forever.
It's unfair to call this Alexievich's book. With the exception of the last two pages it is all transcripts of interviews with residents of Chernobyl (Alexievich's prompts are not even listed), as well as a couple of other related Russians. The book is powerful. The stories are hard.
Most especially hard are the tales of women who watched their husbands die. Of those who gave birth to misshapen, stillborn children. Telling the stories of doctors and medics who would refuse to see the dying, because unlike car crashes, suicides, accidents, the Chernobyl deaths are the ones that last too long, that are otherworldly, where bodies are consuming growths rather than decaying flesh.
And it is still there.( updated Nobel Prize ListCollapse )
I finished Rudolf Eucken's (winner, 1908) Ethics and Modern Thought
. It's a collection of lectures that are severely disappointing. I did manage to keep this one paragraph:
It is the essence of all deep religions, especially of Christianity, that a new life is created in man by a revelation of the Divine by means of a direct union of the soul with God. This new life is held to be superior to the complexity of existing conditions, and is sure to triumph, because it is founded in God. A source of life is thus opened up, which imparts new activity to the life hitherto stagnant. Man regains courage and confidence, because he feels himself sustained by divine strength and love. No contradiction in the world of external realities is now able to weaken man's inner certainty.
The rest of the lectures are just him trying to describe that ethics is larger than religion but religion is a necessary component and blah blah blah. If it were a different philosopher, or wrote slightly differently, then I might think of Religion and God as expressions beyond the Christian idea. But Eucken is clearly a Calvinist.
That said, look at the above writing and apply Christianity and God and the like to something else. Like math. it's a generalizable sense of place. Almost like a sutra.
Not sure who I will read next. But I am getting through these last few much better than I expected.( updated Nobel Prize ListCollapse )