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Zhuang Zhou. The butterfly effect.
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in zhouzhuang's LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, March 27th, 2019
1:51 pm
Separated at birth 4

Hegel and Vasco Rossi:

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018
10:48 pm
Go as a metaphor - Sacrifice is necessary

Even though I have written about similar principles ("you cannot have it all", "getting Y by skillfully doing non-Y", "the same thing can be a means and a goal, but not at the same time"), I think this is a bit different. In go, under the Japanese rules, you score one point for any empty intersection you surround with your stones. However, these stones also occupy intersections, which, as a consequence, can't score you any point.

In other words, in go sacrifice is necessary.

The same principles also applies to lossless compression, as any algorithm that makes some inputs smaller (so to speak, "gets points" for those inputs) must make some other inputs larger ("gets no points" for those inputs).

Friday, July 13th, 2018
9:22 pm
Cala mite
Due magneti parlano al telefonino. Ovviamente il fatto che sono magneti causa interferenze nella trasmissione. Insomma, si sentono a tratti.
Tuesday, July 10th, 2018
3:49 am
Lottavo nano
Dopo che Biancaneve arriva tra i nani, è lei a cucinare per loro, che non sanno farlo. Ma prima di Biancaneve, chi svolgeva questo compito? Evidentemente un ottavo nano. Non lo vediamo mai, ma è normale, visto che evidentemente sta tutto il tempo chiuso in cucina. E certo non deve essere una bella vita - un'esistenza così non puo' che renderlo triste.

Ed ecco dedotta l'esistenza di Mestolo.
Wednesday, March 28th, 2018
1:21 am
Go as a metaphor - Everyone has the same means, yet the results are different

In a game of go, the two players have the same means: in their turn, white can play one stone, black can play one stone.

Yet, one player gets a bigger result from those same means: at the end of the game, one player gets more points than the other.

In other words, in go everyone has the same means, but the results are different.

I think the same is true in life. Everyone has the same means: I can do it one thing at a time, and so can you. Yet, one can use those means in different ways, and one will get different results in each case: assuming a given aim, one will reach it, or get close to it, or completely fail.

Monday, January 9th, 2017
7:32 pm
Separated at birth 3

Howard in The Big Bang Theory is similar to Frik in Merlin (1998) not just in his appearances, but also in his voice and in the way he moves.

Sunday, January 8th, 2017
9:08 pm
The success of episodic fiction

Lately stories narrated episodically have a lot of success:

  • most best-selling books are part of a series (Harry Potter, the Robert Langdon series, the Millennium series, etc.)
  • most highest-gorssing films are part of a franchise (Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Marvel Cinematic Universe, etc.)
  • TV series are more and more successful and important (from Wikipedia: "In 2012, it was reported that television was growing into a larger component of major media companies' revenues than film. Some also noted the increase in quality of some television programs.")

One of the reasons why serial fiction is so successful is that nowadays commenting on the internet is an integral part of the audience experience, and a story divided in several episodes allows everyone to comment on the same part of the story at the same time (i.e. after each episode).

I have not found this thesis expressed elsewhere. The closest statement is by Harry Benshoff (Film and Television Analysis, p. 226): "One of the most important characteristics of a franchise-that-gives-rise-to-a-fandom is its textual openness or serial form." Benshoff does not talk about books, though, and above all he thinks that seriality is important because it makes the text open, not because it synchronize everyone's experience.

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016
9:56 pm
Separated at birth 2
I think that the little Michael Banks in the Mary Poppins movie grew up to be an Italian journalist (Enzo Biagi).
Thursday, September 15th, 2016
12:46 am
99 Velle

Daniele saepe = ripetutamente.

Monday, September 12th, 2016
3:24 am
Ho sposato un Totò

Nel sesto episodio ("Qualcosa di bello") della seconda serie di Ho sposato uno sbirro ci sono, nel giro di due minuti, due citazioni ad una scena di due minuti del film La banda degli onesti:

  • Sbirro 01:09:20 (faccio riferimento alla copia sul sito Rai) = Banda 33:20 = guarda, ma non guardare
  • Sbirro 01:11:20 = Banda 31:55 = continuare a mettere zucchero nel caffé
Saturday, August 27th, 2016
1:23 am
Friday, June 10th, 2016
2:58 am
Go as a metaphor - The same thing can be a means and a goal, but not at the same time

I wrote that in go you get Y by using non-Y. But it must be added that you can also use the same Y to get non-Y. As a matter or fact, for any intersection Y, you can put a stone somewhere else to surround it, but you can also put a stone on it to surround some other intersections.

It's also important to highlight that you either put a stone on an intersection or not. I.e. you can use intersection Y either as a means to get non-Y or as a goal to be gotten by using non-Y, but you can't use it both as a means and as a goal.

In other words, in go the same thing can be used either as a means to get something else or as a goal to be gotten by using something else, but not as both a means and a goal.

This principle applies to human knowledge according to Karl Popper. He thinks that: you can test a hypothesis (non-Y), by resting upon some background knowledge that is different from the hypothesis (Y); you can also test the background knowledge (Y) in the same way, i.e. by resting upon some different knowledge (non-Y); but you can't use the background knoweldge to test a hypothesis at the same time as you test the background knowledge.

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016
2:46 am
Go as a metaphor - A little difference can have a big effect

I wrote that in go when you surround a given group of intersections you have to use the right number of stones, neither too few nor too many, because just one stone more or fewer than what is needed can significantly alter the outcome of the game: if you use one stone too few, your opponent will kill your group; if you use one stone too much, your opponent will be able to seize more territory elsewhere (not to speak of the fact that if a group of yours have two eyes and you fill one of them, that group will die).

In other words, in go:

  • One can't just say that more is better (or that less is better, for that matter).
  • A little more or a little less can have a big effect.

Now, these two features are typical of the systems studied by chaos theory.

2:41 am
Go as a metaphor - What matters is the relationships

In go, your aim is to surround intersections (that are either empty or occupied by your opponent's stones), and your tool is a stone at a time. But a single stone can't surround anything - only a group of them can. What matters is not the single stone you play, but how it interacts with the other stones.

In other words, in go a single thing does nothing, means nothing. What matters is the relationships among things.

This is true of the world generally according to some philosophers:

  • For Plato, to exist means to act upon something else and/or being acted upon by something else.
  • [EDIT 1:] According to structuralism, what matters in all things is the structure of relations between the single elements. [/EDIT 1]
2:37 am
Go as a metaphor - Having less than two things is having nothing

So we saw that in go the score of a player given by (ps) the empty intersections s/he surrounds and (pc) the opponent's stones s/he captures. Since the player should not only maximize his/her own score but also minimize the opponent's score, his/her own aim is also to make sure that the opponent (os) surrounds as few empty intersections as possible and (oc) captures as few player's stones as possible. Now, (os) minimizing the number of empty intersections surrounded by the opponent's stones is the same as (ps) maximizing the number of empty intersections surrounded by the player's stones. As for (oc) making sure that the opponent doesn't capture your stones, every beginner soon discovers that the way to obtain this is building groups of stones such that each group potentially or actually has (at least) two "eyes", i.e. surrounds two potentially or actually separate empty intersections; the reason is that if a group has no eyes or just one eye, it can be captured by the opponent.

Indeed, if your groups don't have two eyes, they will be captured, so they won't be able to surround anything, so you will score no points.

In other words, in go having less than two things is having nothing.

The same principle applies to several fields:

  • According to Allen Tate, poetry has no meaning if there is no tension between two different meanings, i.e. if there are not two meanings.
  • If one composes a piece of music where nothing but one aspect (e.g. the note played) changes, people wouldn't call it real music; but if you add variation in just one more dimension (e.g. the lenght of the notes), there's the potential for something for doing "real" music.
  • [EDIT 1:] Jose Mourinho: "He who only knows about football knows nothing about football." [/EDIT 1]
2:23 am
Go as a metaphor - You cannot have it all

Usually, at the end of a game of go no player has "conquered" the whole goban (even if you use Chinese scoring and count a player's stone as part of his/her area). Even if a very good player plays against a very bad player, handicap is supposed to avoid such total wins.

In other words, in go you cannot have it all.

I think the same is true in one's life: you can't have all possible experiences; while you do what you have to do in order to have some of them, you lose the chance to have some other experiences.

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016
12:24 am
Go as a metaphor - Getting Y by skillfully doing non-Y

It looks like I have not found the time to organize my notes, so let me try a different way: every time I'll think of a feature of go that can be seen as a metaphor of something else, I'll write a post about it (or update an already existent post). [EDIT 1:] Unless otherwise specified, metaphors aren't supposed to be consistent; e.g. it's possible that your actions are represented by stones in metaphor #1, but by empty intersections in metaphor #1. [/EDIT 1]

The first feature I'd like to highlight is that in go, under whatever rules, your score practically equals the number of intersections that are not occupied by your stones (i.e that are either empty or occupied by opponent's stones) but are surrounded by your stones. I.e. you use your stones to surround intersections that are not occupied by them.

You win if you do this skillfully. As a matter of fact, you have to surround a group of intersections by using neither too many nor too few stones. If you use too many stones, your opponent, if s/he doesn't waste stones, will get more points than you by using the same number of stones as you. If you use too few stones, your opponent will capture them.

In other words, in go you skillfully use X to get something-that-is-not-X (= Y). An even different way to say the same thing: you get Y by skillfully doing non-Y.

The same phenomenon can be seen in several different contexts (I will not repeat every time that it takes skill, but... it takes skill):

  • In Taoism, you can somehow talk about the Tao (what else is the Tao Te Ching if not a book about the Tao?), but you can't do it by talking about the Tao ("the Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao"). I.e. you talk about the Tao by not talking about the Tao.
  • [EDIT 2:] Whatever keeps a given living being kills it if it's too little or too much. [/EDIT 2]
  • Taoist ethics says that, if you want to achieve something, you have to stop trying to achieve that thing (it's the wu wei concept).
  • [EDIT 3:] The paradox of hedonism as noticed by Henry Sidgwick is that the only way to experience pleasure is not to seek it. [/EDIT 3]
  • A basic artistic principle is "show, don't tell". E.g. to convey the feeling of love, an artist will use anything that is not the sentence "I love you"; s/he will use musical notes, or words that are not "I love you", or a facial expression, etc.
  • If what I have said so far is true, go itself falls under this category, since it tells us something about the world (see above) without talking about the world (more precisely, through a set rules).
Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016
2:46 am
Brain hemispheres and artificial intelligence
Functions (source)BrainArtificial intelligence
Math, logicLeft hemisphereClassic AI
Spatial abilities, face recognition, visual imageryRight hemisphereDeep learning (spatial abilities as in the game of go, image recognition, visual imagery)
Sunday, December 27th, 2015
3:51 am
Two ways to make old music sound fresh

"'Beyond what was seen on the stage was the wilderness emanating from the pit and the audience went mad,' Thus, in 'The Rite that Shook the World' did Harvey Phillips depict the premiere performance of 'Le Sacre du Printemps' on Thursday, May 29th, 1913. In the 75 years of numerous performances and reproductions since (several dozen committed to record) this 'wilderness' has become populated by tranquilizing familiarity, and by progressively less of the eruptive work which Stravinsky finished under duress of a splitting toothache.

How would the ears of the present hear the Rite with its 1913 intensity? Life has quickened and so has the multiple reproduction on this record. Through an unaltered but accelerated structure are woven various reiterations of the original orthodox orchestral recording, in speeds covering a compass of factor four, from four times as slow to four times as fast. Slower parts are at times compacted in order to register simultaneously with faster ones. The 'Adolescent Girls' and 'Abduction' scenes have thereby been reduced in duration from 6 minutes to 2, a gesture towards writer J.G.Ballard's future in which ultrasonic short playing 900rpm records compress the appreciation a 3 hour Wagnerian opera into a couple of minutes." (album notes for John Oswald, plunderphonics EP)

"Hans Zender's Schuberts Winterreise (1993) leaves the original music for the human voice (almost) intact but changes Schubert's piano accompaniment into an orchestral accompaniment into which the musical tradition stemming from Schubert, Schubert's reception as it were, has been assimilated. By absorbing Wagner, Bruckner, and especially Mahler and Berg into Schubert's music, Zender wants to indicate that we cannot hear Die Winterreise today as Schubert's contemporaries did. By modernizing Schubert, Zender wants us to hear him new, just as he was new in 1828." (Rolf Breuer, "Jane Austen etc. An Essay on the Poetics of the Sequel")

Monday, December 7th, 2015
9:31 pm
Adele - Rolling in the deep
Afghan whigs - Gentlemen
Amici di Roland - Dancemix
Amici di Roland - Pinocchio perché no
Aphex twin - Ventolin salbutamol mix
Arctic monkeys - From the ritz to the rubble
Arctic monkeys - I bet you look good on the dancefloor
Arctic monkeys - Snap out of it
Arctic monkeys - Still take you home
Arctic monkeys - The view from the afternoon
Arctic monkeys - You probably couldn't see for the lights but you were staring straight at me
Aretha Franklin - Respect
Barenaked ladies - Psycho killer
Bauhaus - Bela Lugosi's dead
Bauhaus - She's in parties
Beastie boys - Sabotage
Beastie boys - Sure shot
Beatles - Come together
Bedhead - Believe
Bing Crosby, Andrew sisters - Jingle bells
Blur - Song 2
Bob Marley and the Wailers - War
Brenton Wood - Gimme little sign
Cake - I will survive
Cat power - Satisfaction
Cee-Lo Green - Fuck you
Cheapshot - Harder better faster cheaper
Clash - Brand new Cadillac
Clash - Hateful
Clash - Should I stay or should I go
Coogans bluff - Beefheart
Damned - New rose
Dead boys - Ain't it fun
Dead Kennedys - California uber alles
Dead Kennedys - Chemical warfare
Desmond Dekker - Israelites
Devo - Satisfaction
Diana Ross - Upside down
Dillinger - Cocaine in my brain
Dj earworm - United state of pop 2009
Dj zebra - Break through love
Dum dum girls - Coming down
Duran Duran - Wild boys
Edvard Grieg - In the hall of the mountain king (London symphony orchestra)
Faith no more - War pigs
Fall out boy - This ain't a scene, it's an arms race
Ferruccio Tagliavini - Voglio vivere così
Fugazi - Great cop
Gabriella Ferri - Dove sta Zazà
Gang of four - Not great men
Gene Vincent - Be bop a lula
George Clinton - Atomic dog
Georges Bizet - L'amour est un oiseau rebelle (Maria Callas)
Georges Bizet - Overture (Carmen)
Gnarls Barkley - Crazy
Goran Bregovic - Kalashnikov
Goran Bregovic - Ya ya ringe ringe raja
Hot lunch - Killer smile
Human league - Being boiled
Iggy pop - I wanna be your dog
James Brown - I feel good
James Brown - Papa's got a brand new bag
James Brown - Sex machine
Janelle Monáe - Givin em what they love
Jimi Hendrix - Crosstown Traffic
Jimi Hendrix - Fire
Jorge Ben Jor, Mano Brown - Umbabarauma
Junkyard - Back on the streets
Kanye West - Lost in the world
Kanye West - POWER
LCD soundsystem - Give it up
LCD soundsystem - Losing my edge
LCD soundsystem - Movement
LCD soundsystem - Tribulations
Leonard Cohen - Lover lover lover
Litfiba - Cane (Sogno ribelle)
Litfiba - Linea d'ombra
Litfiba - Paname
Little Eva - The locomotion
Los lobos - I wan'na be like you (The monkey song)
Lothar & the Hand people - Machines
Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano sonata 14, C# min, Moonlight - 3 Presto agitato
M.I.A., Bun b, Rich boy - Paper planes (diplo remix)
Ms. dynamite - Dy-na-mi-tee
Nancy Sinatra - These boots are made for walking
Neville brothers - Voodoo
Nirvana - Aneurysm
Nirvana - Mr. moustache
Nirvana - Smells like teen spirit
Nirvana - Swap meet
Nirvana - Territorial pissings
Oneida - Up with people
Osymyso - Intro-inspection
Otis Redding - Satisfaction
Outkast - Hey ya
Outsiders - Filthy rich
Paolo Conte - Bartali
Parliament - P-funk (wants to get funked up)
Patsy Cline - Back in baby's arms
Patti Smith - Horses
Peggy Lee - Fever
Pharrell Williams - Happy
Pixies - Crackity Jones
Pixies - Debaser
Pixies - I bleed
Pixies - Mr. Grieves
Pixies - Nimrod's son
Pixies - Tame
Portishead - Numb
Portishead - Revenge of the number
Prince - Kiss
Queen - Bicycle race
Rage against the machine - Bombtrack
Ramones - Sheena is a punk rocker
Rino Gaetano - Nun te reggae più
Rock n'roll soldiers - Funny little feeling
Rolling stones - Can't you hear me knocking
Ronnettes - Be my baby
Slits - I heard it through the grapevine
Soft cell - Tainted love
Sonic Youth - Purr
Specials - Message to you Rudy
Talib Kweli - Get by
Talking heads - Psycho killer
Taraf de haidouks - Spune spune mos batrin
Therapy - Knives
This heat - 24 track loop
Tom Waits - Jesus Gonna Be Here
Toots and the Maytals - Funky Kingston
Toots and the Maytals - Louie Louie
Toots and the Maytals - Pomp & pride
Toots and the Maytals - She's my scorcher
Toots and the Maytals - 54-46 was my number
Tune-yards - Bizness
TV on the radio - Ambulance
Uk apache, Shy fx - Original nuttah
Ukulele orchestra of Great Britain - Satisfaction
Vinicio Capossela - Canzone a manovella
Vinicio Capossela - L'uomo vivo
White stripes - Ball & biscuit
White stripes - Black math
White stripes - Hypnotise
White stripes - I just don't know what to do with myself
White stripes - Little acorns
White stripes - Seven nation army
Wire - Heartbeat
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Non più andrai farfallon amoroso
[?] - Jeeg robot d'acciaio
[?] - Temple e tamtam
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