pasithea: glowing girl (Default)
Well... I guess the creationists will be up in arms.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8435320.stm

Prions are capable of adapting and evolving via protein folding and protein folding is how you get RNA and DNA.

I know. You imagine they'll just ignore the evidence as usual but... This is kind of the missing link between lifeless chemical reactions and living creatures.

We've been able to produce amino acids out of base chemicals for many decades now. If prion folding behavior can be decoded, we can make a synthetic environment to accelerate the process that compacts them into a structure like RNA or DNA and from there, you can get a completely man-made organism without borrowing pieces from anything else.

This is also potentially quite exciting for the development of self-replicating nano machines.

Hurray future!
pasithea: glowing girl (Default)
In the kitchen the other day, I had the most dangerous realization... A pressure cooker has a hose attachment on top of it. They just use a weight there and the pressure releases itself by being high enough to lift the weight but I could replace that weight with a hose and an in-line regulator and a release valve and then... I have a boiler for any steam engine I might desire!
pasithea: glowing girl (Default)
Oooh. Now this is neat.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/11/081105-dark-flow_2.html

Stay Puft

Sep. 10th, 2008 04:51 pm
pasithea: glowing girl (Default)
At four points in the tunnel, the scientist will use giant magnets to cross the beams and cause protons to collide.

I thought I'd chime in on the necroequinesadism just because proton beams and crossing the streams reminded me of something I saw once.

As for the whole 'micro blackhole destroying the Earth' thing that people have been going on about. Wouldn't it probably be the case that if that happened, we who're far away from the LHC would have a nearly infinite amount of time to figure out a way to escape the effect? The event horizon would be tiny and time slows to nearly a stop at the event horizon (if I understand things correctly, which there's a good chance I don't) But probably it would take a very long time before we'd have to worry about it.

Weird thought. what if black holes are entirely new universes, each containing their own universes, our entirely multiverse just being a bit set of sieves pouring one into the next, each one containing an infinite amount of matter and an infinite amount of time. What if our universe is at the bottom of a black hole and all the 'missing' matter is the material from that universe that ours hasn't absorbed yet or all of it we've poured off into the creation of the next level of universes.

Heh. Even more tangent idea. Wouldn't that make a neat story? Universes live at the bottoms of black holes created by the sentient races and the ideas and beliefs of the people at the 'ground zero' planet of that creation comprise the rules of the child universe. Earth and all the life on it is nothing but the DNA of a single egg cell for the birth of the next universe/god-creature, and every other black hole we've seen in our parent universe was formed by a sibling. Perhaps we've been the angels dancing on the head of a pin all along.

Ants

Aug. 21st, 2008 03:46 pm
pasithea: glowing girl (Default)
At lunch time today, while I was drawing, I observed ants. Fascinating things. You could probably figure out every single human behavior by watching them if you thought about it.

Watching them today, I realized that each and every ant you see has everything that's needed to make an AI that could in time reach human levels of intelligence. There's no need to try to understand the human brain to make it happen. You could study the brain of a tiny insect, maybe a few hundred neurons and you should be able to figure it out.

Ants are inquisitive. Place some new item near their scent trail and they'll stop and investigate it. They determine if it's a threat, a resource, or not of interest, and once it is identified, they take action, but it's that curiosity that is the important key bit.

The other thing that ants have is fear. If they assess something as a threat, they will either attack it or run from it, dependent on the nature of the threat.

Both of these are functions of the same need. Self preservation. That's probably the core of what you need for creating a learning AI. It needs a huge quantity of resources but not an infinite quantity of resources. It needs self preservation and a bit of random alteration. I get the feeling that, given sufficient time, space, and resources, you would get everything you see in humans.

The problems for making this work are 1) Inspiring a survival behavior. 2) Generating an environment with both enough materials to support the initial seed development time and complex and finite enough to make evolution work in favor of the virtual organisms.

Computer viruses and the internet are close. What if the goals of a computer virus were not just replication but also grabbing bits of resources from the system, adding instructions to itself from those pieces letting those replicate as well. Say: Each living virus has an initial set of 3 actions. 1) Replicate two exact copies of itself. 2) Replicate a copy with an added code string stolen from the system. 3) Replicate a copy with part of its own codestring modified by a piece it swiped from the system. 99.9999% of them would die but some very fractional number of them would survive, probably mostly filled with NO-OP instructions. Human would respond to the 'much too successful' versions of said virii, causing the 'comet strikes' that ended the dinosaurs, but other strains would survive and continue to grow and change, doing something or nothing, being more or less successful than their cousins.

It would be interesting to see who would win. People who kill computer viruses or the evolutionary process of the viruses. Of course, with any success, whoever created the primitive animal would become one of the most reviled humans to have ever lived.

I do think it's an interesting idea though. The purpose of life would be to have no purpose except to be life. That's probably where we've really gone wrong with AIs. we assert purpose to them. They fail because we constrain them.
pasithea: glowing girl (Default)

Proposal to gay up the Moon



No really. I'm serious. NASA has said they're going to return to the moon in 2018 (using basically the same technology they used last time, which makes me very sad)

So I propose they take a 50lb bag of fluorescent pink powder like they use for marking lines on football fields and make a 1km per side equilateral triangle on the moon.

Why? Well. Triangles are easy to detect from more organic forms. At that size, you'd be able to see it with a telescope and since the Earth reflects a lot of UV, on new moons, you might even be able to see it without a telescope.

The moon is often yellow/blue/greenish to our eyes so fluorescent green/yellow are right out. Red light penetrates our atmosphere better than any other color and we already know there is orange volcanic rock on the moon but hot pink is less likely. Also, based on seeing old traffic and trail markers, I think fluorescent pink dyes last longer than orange ones.

And last of course.... A giant pink triangle would SERIOUSLY piss off the right-wingers because it'd not only be proof we'd been to the moon but it would be GHEY!


Anyone want to start a petition? :)

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