new studies coming

we’ve resumed our data-centric analysis at our new mandala (_42, no website yet). one of the works being done now is getting the whole data set ready for statistical analysis. almost done. but the funniest thing was the graph of how i liked other people, subjectively. in 570 data points, guess what, i got a bell curve. this means, so far, the best way to model encounters is a random variable. we are slowly separating variables from each other, so expect a lot of charts soon.

so for now, here is the raw “hate to love” chart, 1 being hate, 5 being love. fits my prediction almost exactly, to all my guests that doubted my graphs on the wall tiles. is this confirmation bias? i don’t think so, because there seems to be a negative bias on my part. this fits psychology, that humans have a negative bias. we are also going to add further ratings by different people, to clean up the personal effect. this will only work for about 100 data points, but should be good.

data set: 570 guests

stats chart

one of the key studies will be sexism on cs. we’ll add more info about this soon. we will change genders every week and see how that affects requests (gender bias and quantity). we are also working out how different spaces affected scores and other things. we are on our third place. one of the hypothesis i want to test is whether the place itself changes the people we meet and how we get along.


just a small prediction. the current wikileaks leak, cablegate, will, like every other before it, have no effect in every day life. ambassadors will be identified as a few “rotten apples”, some minor heads will roll, and life will resume its course.

the fantasy remains that humans are driven by facts. my opinion is that they aren’t, and more facts only feed the background noise. sometimes i feel we are being given a matrix-neo-like savior figure (assange), which deviates our focus from core questions. facts are essential, but useless at the current state of things. no law, no religion, no government or company responds solely to facts. they respond to their own inner delusions, biases and habits, therefore, we must engage both the rational and irrational of organizations.

but it serves also as part of the system, like neo was, to create fables of victory around the permanence of ruling class ideology. as heads roll, the world will remain essentially the same.

i am still wondering who is behind wikileaks, and there is some editorial bias in the leaks they put out. search wikileaks for israel, for example. this is not a conspiracy theorist perspective, i favor incompetence in turn of conspiracy, but there is a great risk that our focus shifts from core issues to superficial arguments about how good or bad certain aspects of government are, forgetting that systemic issues will remain unaddressable that way.

i would be interested in industry leaks, since corporations rule the world these days. but i guess corporate control on communications is so tough, any employee would risk a much greater deal by “leaking” anything.

things defined

a slow return to our segments on things, with some more gaita from the northeast. this is mestre angelo arribas playing, the same craftsman that fixed my pipes the first time.

we will begin by formalizing what things are and then proceed to generalize them up until we reach minds and beyond.

 t_{l_x} = \{  t_{l_y}, \dots , t_{l_z}  \} , x, y, z \in N_0^+ , where  l_x is the label or layer some thing belongs to.

so, if a thing has no properties (or things in it), it is atomic, and has only one quality to it, quantity:  t_0 = \{ \} . a thing that’s not made of anything is therefore our simplest layer. the study of quantities and properties thereof is mathematics, and it is the simplest form of the analysis of things. for this reason, i chose mathematical notation for it and will use it from now on.

this means that any mathematics that bases itself on quantity as the main axiomatic (most of them do), would be studying the properties of unlayered things, or things with no properties. there is no spin, color or smell in a number. once we get to minds, we will understand why this is so useful and so universal as a language. it also shows why mathematics itself requires minds to exist, since, as far as we can tell, there is no known particle without properties (the mathematicon ?). though simply defined, mathematical things require complex minds to exist.

from now on,  t_0 will be our number 1, and we will use whatever currently accepted axiomatic is used by scientific standards as the mathematical standard. note that since things are more than numbers, some issues that property-less numbers have will not occur in this framework, but must be dealt with if we restrain our study of things to  t_0 .

so by using only  t_0 things, we can produce the formula above. again, we started with an axiom which produces its own definition. any sufficiently knowledgeable mind can produce the above formulas just by having a concept of quantity. it can be arguable whether quantity is the most fundamental concept or not, but in our case, it is by axiomatic definition, therefore, i will not approach it further. any simpler concept can replace it, but you must make sure you are not explaining it in terms of this theory and failing occam’s razor.

for example, let’s say you choose “nothing” as your most fundamental concept. to create “something” out of nothing, you’d need the concept of “quantity” and also of “symmetry”, for example, since in order to have a thing with more than 0 properties, you’d have to say “nothing” is “something” “cancelled” (i.e.,  0 = 1 - 1 ), which in turn requires you to use the very idea of “quantity” we were starting with, plus some others! instead of being simpler, it was more complicated. we will see this in all layers of things. some things might seem simpler, but if broken down, they will have to be explained by the very same concepts they were trying to simplify. since we’re following occam’s razor, whenever this happens, we discard the more complex definition (the one that requires more things).

to formalize occam’s razor, thing  t_a is simpler than  t_b if and only if  t_a \in t_b . we will be using this definition in every kind of thing, and it will be our validation criterion whenever decisions between different formulas must be made.

also, things of the same layer may not be the same thing. this would be like saying if you have 5 marbles, all of them are the same marble. quantity is the essential part of distinguishing things, if they have the same properties. each of the 5 marbles, even though observably the same in every way, may be physically apart. this is a problem that comes from imagining property-less things.

another example on what i mean, because i know it is hard to grasp at first. if we could represent a human being entirely by the color of their hair (let’s say that there is such a hairy miniverse). if i had black hair, and someone else had black hair, were we the same person? observably, yes. but essentially, no. i was physically separate from that somebody else, and even though we were indistinguishable, we would’ve led different lives in different spacetimes. again, physical quantity gives us the answer.

so now that we have our simplest thing, we can proceed into greater things. i’ll write more about it in our coming posts.

karma bs

this is just a short rant after my bike got stolen today, off my front door.

several times my guests would say “you’re generous, i’m sure you get what you give”, or babble something about good “karma” and bad “karma”.

so let’s analyze this claim rationally.

to date, i hosted, fed and helped over 800 people from all over the world. pretty good “karma”, right?

the result? a lot of learning (which people could argue is priceless), but mostly putting up with pampered kids and prejudices. some facts.

1) costs of clumsiness or lack of consideration. an average of 1 cup a week and 1 plate a month for 2 years is a lot of cups. then there’s the guy that fucked up my car. i lent it to about 20 people, only 1 fucked it up, that’s true. but come to think of it, that 1 guy that finally killed it, killed it for everyone. and then, for me, it was another 1000€ to add to the bill. was i to ask the traveler for money? a traveler that can’t even afford his hotel, how could he afford fixing a car?

2) physical harm. i got beat up once, just because one of my guests couldn’t keep his mouth shut and had to hit on the wrong girl. i went out and protected him, only to get beat up on the street by two guys for doing nothing. plus, i was out with about 7 or 8 guests. not a single guest stood up or defended me. they all ran away. how’s that for karma? did i do a bad thing defending my guest? i guess so. but doing the right thing meant i ended up suffering the consequences, whereas the wrong thing would’ve meant the guy that fucked up actually dealing with it. big irony. you know what i got from the guests that got me beat up? a scrawl of poorly ripped paper saying thank you.

3) the whole SPCC project. not only we funded it and helped homeless people and travelers, i also got almost everything stolen. instruments, goods, tools, plus even got physically threatened by junkies, the same junkies we had taken care of for over 6 months. plus, now apparently we were labeled as the wrong kind of activists, the very same we criticized every day. did we get what we gave? no.

4) resource cost. i just got a 600€ bill from the gas all the couchsurfers used for 6 months. that’s about 300 people, so about 2€ of gas per person. that’s nothing. that’s something anyone, even the street punks and the homeless people, could give. but part of the premise of generosity is that you give this without expecting anything in return. well, anything good that is. because what i got in return for the free hot showers was a 600€ bill. a thank you doesn’t pay any bills, doesn’t put food on the table or fix my broken lip. it gives the user the illusion of reciprocity, when in fact reciprocity is the last thing happening there.

are we to continue believing the main reason to give is that you get? this is believing a lie. factually, it is wrong. plus, that’s why poor people remain poor and greedy people get rich. we always joke about it, but if you are generous, the little extra you have will be spent on others. if you are greedy, you will keep the little extra and get it from others.

i’m not advocating greediness at all. what i am saying is your motivation to do good can’t be the illusion of getting something back. you will get something back, but more often than not it will be bad.

that’s why the most generous bitter up, why the strongest activists give up, why the poor remain poor, and why those in power are the most perverse. the good and generous will never be able to be in any position of power, because the position itself requires a specific temperament (and usually, upbringing and class).

in systems theory, it’s called a [positive feedback]( in [chaos theory](, small differences in initial conditions lead to incredibly different results. just try predicting the motion of a [chaotic double pendulum](

people are a chaotic system since they are born. we have so many positive feedback loops in our life, it serves as a positive amplifier of our own particular temperament we’re born with, most of which we do not control. girls and boys will be treated differently because they are girls and boys since they are born. this feeds back so much it leads to gender differences (not sex differences). rich kids are born into rich families that teach them the honors of being greedy. poor people are born into poor families that teach them the honors of being poor. this feeds back to make it not only a personal issue, but a group and cultural issue.

there is no way you can simplify this system using such a dumbed down shorthand as “karma”. random impossible things happen all the time. there is no need to make greater sense of it.

so instead of blaming “karma” or asking “why? i’m such a nice guy!”, i’m blaming the fact i left it outside my door in a poor neighborhood. if there were such a thing as divine powers, i’d still have my bike. i’m not bitter though, i very much enjoy black humor.

check out what’s happening to activists coming for the summit. barred at the border. are we back to fascist years? going across the border through the woods like criminals? i have dreadlocks, does that make me a member of the black bloc? is the black bloc any danger at all? some smashed windows, so what?

some young, naive activists are traveling hundreds of kilometers to protest wars they never fought, in countries they probably never visited, to protect people they don’t know, probably don’t understand, with no personal interest at all but making the world more peaceful. they are sacrificing their personal life for a cause. misguided or not, their heart is in the right place. then they get to the border control, and since they are doing all this, they are sent back because they are dangerous black bloc members. their selfless effort is canceled by a dry ruling class decree and a stereotype made up for and by the media. was it karma that sent them back? was it divine intervention? would any decent god or universal law do this to such an individual? no. it was people. it’s always people. i can’t stand the deluded hypocrisy sometimes.

and this week, while maybe some windows get smashed and activists do their drama enactments, deals will be done to improve military action in other countries, promote war crimes, increase private investment in war, privatize everything possible and proceed with the brave new world we live in. and the ones shouting will remain deluded that something can be done that way.

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then how can there be evil?

— Attributed to Epicurus

a membrane reed pipe

here’s a small diy segment. i’ve been trying to do a membrane reed pipe. so here is my first try, with the first (positive) results.

here is the main principle (you can’t see much on our whiteboard).

membrane reed schematic

my plans are to continue this work and do a full membrane reed bagpipe in Bb minor. we’ll see what i can do. as you could tell, the plain C recorder sounds a bit exotic as it is. as for the harmonic flute, i love it just the way it is. i think it makes a wonderful sound.

as for materials, you can use any kind of pipes. i used cheap aluminum pipes (for weight and being recyclable), which cost me about 3€ each, plus one school grade recorder which cost me about 6€. the thread i had already, and the plastic bags too.

i also changed the software on this page. the older one was good for customization (yii framework), but i decided to go standard and setup wordpress instead, just so i wouldn’t have to reinvent the wheel and jump so many code hurdles. so now i’ll finally be able to provide formulas. but this also means bookmarks are broken. luckily i only have so few articles.

soon, i’ll resume our segments on things.

back on two wheels

just though i’d break the seriousness and do a everyday life post. i sold my car and got a folding bike. i’ll resume the seriousness later. that explains the recent lack of updates. i’m still tuning my route. it’d take me 10m by car, it takes me anywhere between 40 and 1h30 by public transit. i’m mixing transit and biking now, we’ll see how it turns out.

SPCC is also fully demolished now. we weren’t allowed to shoot it, but i got to sneak in and take some pics and videos. it was really fucking out of this world! this is one of my faves, the steel wrangled up like weeds growing.