Thursday, March 31, 2016

漫画 小話発進


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

模倣子 Sexual Strategies and Phase Transitions

From the book LINKED, numbers of sexual partners is not a bell curve but a power law distribution. Swedish  and American data. 

Female strategy: to mate with one exceptional male and then trick one or more inferior but reliable males into helping with the resultant offspring. Ideal siring male is by definition not one of the assisters since exceptional males are, again, by definition, impregnating multiple females, since that is the definition of "successful". 

This suggests a percolation phenomenon, that is, the pressure from females on males is to be "loyal" until a male "graduates" to the state of being "desirable by everyone" in which case total lack of loyalty is forgiven, even expected. 

This can be seen to resemble nodes in a scale-free network. There may be nodes at all levels, for example the "Magic" Johnsons with 20,000 sexual encounters (which is apparently not unheard of) to others with only a few hundred or even much less. A male who is a Don Juan at a local level may be a minor node as we move toward the "Magic" Johnson level. 

Nonetheless, at every level we expect the same sort of phase transition from schlub to suave, from boner to debonair. It's the female sexual strategy that seems to drive this phase transition morphology, if indeed it exist. I wonder if there's some preëxisting set of data or experiment that could be done to test this stuff. 

I'm not sure if anything similar could be said about the male mating strategy. Women are trying to trick men as the primary focus of their strategy, but it seems men are also trying to trick women. But how, and is there a phase transition, power law, or scale-free network process going on?

Paternity is probabilistic, for one. However, it's a fact that women tend to for whatever reason have sex with their lovers during their most fertile times, so there may be a skewing from mere number of couplings. 

Maybe there's a reproductive payoff, that is, go big or go home, or, unless one exceeds a certain threshold of lovers, being a Don Juan doesn't pay. 

Memetics may have something to do with this, by the way. The thought I just had may have little influence on female sexual strategy, but in a memetic world it could have a drastic impact on the male strategy and on the position of the percolation point. 

Biology, including tribe size, "culture", and available resources, govern the female choices that basically determine how easy or difficult it is to be a "dupe" or a Don Juan. For example, if the females demand lots of support from the males and do nothing but direct care of young children themselves, then all men will be schlubs and it will be very difficult to get many children, or indeed many copulations, as a Don Juan. By contrast, if females are very self-sufficient and get most or all of their livings independently, in theory all females will try to copulate with the most desirable males whom they will only expect to be around for impregnation purposes and make do with inferior males the rest of the time. In the latter case, a schlub male would sire offspring only by dint of persistence and effectively by dumb luck. 

This may return us to the idea that whatever drives the expression of female reproductive strategy, sometimes described as the "choosy girl" versus "easy girl", or perhaps more cynically, whether females try to trick males more openly or more sneakily, is the thing that governs this phase change phenomenon.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

模倣子 Why We Marry our Parents

It's so obvious and I may have stated it before, but the theory of memetic rewards(1) and memetic closure clearly predict the Freudian observation that we tend to marry our fathers and mothers.

As the professor in Woody Allen's film Crimes and Misdemeanors points out, we want to escape the wrongs our parents have done us, but we also expect the spouse to act as the surrogate of the parent so that we may re-fight and finally win the battles that we lost as children.

This is exactly what the principle of memetic closure tells us, and it also predicts intergenerational cycles of abuse, and even patterns of genocide at a national level.

Basically, we don't get the "reward" until we have closed the circle, the circuit, i.e., we have "learned" the whole action.  We have either succeeded in imitating the other, or in being imitated by them, i.e., achieved memetic closure. Our in-built trafficking in memes becomes destructive when we get stuck in these compulsive cycles of abuse.

How to break them? Whatever therapy must needs be build upon this theory.

(1) "Memetic orgasm"

漫画 Hillary

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Sunday, March 27, 2016

漫画 Burka or Bust

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Sorry to be late with this one! 御免なさい!遅れてしまって。Je m'excuse d'être un peu en retard avec celui-ci.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Don't They Know?

[with apologies to The Carpenters]

Why do the coders go on coding?
Why don't the functional tests run?
When will the system specs be written?
Why aren't the designs all done?

Don't they know it's the end of the project?
It ends at the end of the month

Why is my girlfriend in Seattle?
With all of her friends except me?
For the first reading of her new book
Which I won't get to see

Doesn't she know it's the end of the project?
Though it end, I'll have lost her love

漫画 The Trouble with Drumpf

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Pie Time!

I made a lemon meringue pie and a quiche for my writing group on Sunday.
Both met with rave reviews!

Japanese Class

We meet every Sunday at noon in the back room at Cafe Artista at 3rd and Main in Moscow, Idaho.  It's free!  Show up if you want.

漫画 好い加減な話


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Ass-burger Syndrome

Could this be why they're taking this condition out of the DSM-V?
If I were to get a tattoo on my ass, this would probably be the one (maybe a bit smaller...)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

模倣子 TOOL The Pervert's Guide to Ideology

Slavoj Zizek is of course a fascinating narrator, and I personally came away with the feeling that his statements about the nature of ideology and its relationship to the human social and psychological condition to be absolutely true. I also found the arc of his discussion during this film to be very coherent and that it built upon itself in a logical, reasonable, and quite acceptable way.  Also, Sophie Fiennes recreation of the sets of the movies that were referenced made a very nice connection to the clips which Zizek used as examples and illustrations of the points of his discussion and elaboration.

However, having said all that, I asked myself why I felt Zizek's description to be so believable and appealing. The problem I had was that it, being rooted in "soft science" lacked the features which one demands of rigorous "hard science", that is, the twin features of falsifiability and extensibility. Soft sciences, by contrast, employ the comparative method, that is, making believable analogies between apparently similar historical events, such as the fall of the Roman Empire, the end of The Crusades, the end of World War II in the United States, and finally Heinlein's background discussion of the fictional historical events that led to the citizen system based upon military service in his novel Starship Troopers. One could make a number of arguments based on comparing these historical events, and what is known (and unknown) about them, to draw conclusions about the impact on a society, particularly the society of a large empire, of the return of large number of veterans from a large and protracted war, particularly from the standpoint of economics, culture, the role of women, and gender relationships.

But none of these conclusions may be validated in the sense of a theory in hard science. It's impossible to "run an experiment" in which a society is placed in a "comparable" historical situation (whatever that means), and run the clock forward to see if the same thing happens. Hence, such comparative, soft science "pseudo-theories" are not falsifiable. They may not be disproven by experiment. Furthermore, even if you accept that based on some comparatively established analysis of historical data, you cannot make specific conclusions about a different situation. For example, if you make a convincing argument that, reprising the earlier example, that a "Burden of Empire" or "Problem of the Legions" situation has arisen in a society, that women will necessarily be subjugated and marginalized, even persecuted, in order to displace them and make room for the returning men, giving them jobs, education, places to live [Eastern European Accent] and so on and so on. You may have to shoehorn the Roman data into this explanation, or posit exceptions to the general theory to somehow make it fit, since it has returning legions (the "Problem of the Legions") but perhaps has no identifiable concommitant subjugation of women. Further, it is impossible to say that Heinlein's complete lack of the subjugation of women makes his story implausible, certainly not in the same way as violating Einstein's theories would. Indeed, Heinlein does explain, he recognizes the need to explain, how his ships travel around faster than the speed of light, and he also describes in great detail how his soldiers get from orbit to landing, precisely because any reader with a basic knowledge of physics would not be able to suspend disbelief, or would "falsify" his narrative.

One might like to classify Linguistics as a "soft science" but in many ways it is not true. For example, if you discover a language that relativizes the genitive case, then you can conclude, even absent data or evidence, that it must also relativize the indirect object case. If you find a language that does not do this, that is, where it is possible to have a sentence in which the genetive is relativized, such as, "Oh, that's the dentist whose daughter I went out with last week" but no sentence where the indirect object is relativised, such as, "Oh, that's the dentist's daughter to whom I gave a box of chocolates and a bouquet of flowers last week," then it would be a violation of the Theory of Relativization Hierarchy. In other words, the theory would be falsified, and until such a (natural) language is discovered, the theory can be held as being true. Further, the theory allows you to predict that if you know that a language relativizes the genitive, then it will also relativize the indirect object, that is, the theory is extensible.

Another linguistic example of a theory that was falsified is the notion that OVS languages did not exist. None had been discovered, so it was assumed that for some reason, logic, the way the human brain is structured, they could not exist. This is, by the way, the reason that the artificial K'Lingon language, invented for the Star Trek movies and TV shows, was devised with precisely this structure because it sounded more "alien". However, once the Amazon basin was penetrated far enough, tribes using this very language structure were encountered and the "no-OVS" theory was falsified and tossed out.

So my point is that while Zizek lays out a very appealing narrative, effectively the only takeaway may be a kind of "gee-whiz" feeling and perhaps the ability to parrot his ideas, poorly, no doubt, while holding forth at cocktail parties [Balkan Accent again] and so on and so on.

Having said that, I did not feel this so strongly about his example of [Accent] the German hard-rock band Rammstein and his analysis of how they were engaged in liberating the minimal libidinal elements of Nazi iconography by enjoying them, ridiculous though they seem, in their pre-ideological state, beyond the horizon of their Nazi meaning.  This is one of the glimpses where I felt like there was some, if not the possibility for extension or falsification in the hard science sense, but some kind of "engineering approach". In fact, since engineers apply the fruits of hard science, and are therefore active agents of extension and falsification of scientific theory, this is one and the same thing.

It is said, by the way, that if there were no engineers, then all scientists would effectively be "mere philosophers". This insight may apply especially and ironically well in this case.

Hence, theoretically, it should be possible to, in the same fashion, to first identify, and then liberate minimal elements that, through their attached ideological components, form the underpinning of phenomena such as racism and sexism.

But what are these "ideological components", so to speak? This is where Zizek hits the end of the road, as I see it. At this point his ideological elaboration shows its lack of "granularity" and this is also where I see memetic theory as stepping in and providing the scientific basic for identifying and even measuring the elements of racism and sexism.

For example, when Lupita Nyong'o won the Oscar for12 Years a Slave, people started talking about how "black people can be beautiful" and how "African hair is beautiful/just as good as white hair" and so on. This is precisely not the way to combat racism (or sexism). The fact that black people (or African people -- since "black" is a very racist term in some countries) have dark skin and certain facial and hair characteristics, and the fact that women have breasts, lack facial hair, are unable to urinate standing up, and bleed during menstruation are NOT why African people and women are deprecated and oppressed. No more than black leather trenchcoats or even swastikas are inherently fascist. In fact, prior to World War II, the swastika was simply a crucifix, a Hakenkreutze, often worn as a good-luck charm, and which was no doubt why the Nazis appropriated it -- more on this later, perhaps.

A MIAO (Memetic Iconic Anchoring Object) is similar to a sign in the semiotic sense, that is, its absence or presence brings in automatically a given set of memes attached to the sign or MIAO. Zizek hints at this idea, but doesn't really give it a name. He describes an ideology as an "empty vessel" but this is not really the same idea, I thought (perhaps a topic for discussion), so I thought this was a bit of a fuzzy point.

The swastika could be described as an example of co-option, while the iconography or memetic loading around (the MIAO of) menstruation could be seen as an example of trans-pairing. The swastika was once attached to all sorts of positive iconography, or memes, such as Christianity, purity, good luck, [Accent] and so on and so on, and in its Nazi articulation all of these qualities are attached to Nazism, effectively. In trans-pairing, there are MIAOs with memes attached that  are originally neutral or positive, and then a new, negative set of memes are paired one-by-one to the old ones to deprecate the MIAO in question, in this case, African skin and hair, and women's menstruation and inability to pee standing up. Women are good, women's ability to have children and menstruate is powerful and good, but in the new ideology this power for good means that they must be married and subjugated to a husband and are the cause of original sin and so all of the good stuff is trans-paired with bad memes in the invading negative, oppressive ideology/memetic system, for instance, that women's menstruation is good, yes, but it is also a sign of their inequity and being cursed by God. Another, kinder and gentler memeplex might hold that women's reproductive powers and menstruation [accent] and so on and so on attaches to them a greater personal responsibility to control said powers, rather than making them subjugated to spouses or the state for the sake of the same control.

To add to this, talking about whether "black hair" is good or bad elevates it to the status of a MIAO. This is really a discussion of whether African people are "good" or "bad". "White hair" is not so much a MIAO, a semiotic sign, except perhaps for truly blond hair. [accent] Blonds are stereotyped sometimes  as "stupid", or "super-sexy" and "extraordinarily attractive". Some of this could be put off to blond hair being a sign of neoteny and thereby triggers the natural human reaction to be attracted to and altruistic toward youth generally, but this might be a stretch. Hence the blond hair is a MIAO to which these and other memes may be attached. In fact, the positives aspects of blondness may be trans-paired with these negative memes. But I digress, perhaps. When I lived in Japan, my hair was a MIAO, and sometimes all of the stylists in the salon would come over to touch my "gaijin hair", a MIAO and a sign of my "otherness".

Another thing that seemed contradictory was that during his Coke is the Real Thing discourse, Zizek said that the "surplus meaning" associated with commodities was "with us forever", that is, we could not go back to a state where Coke or other such could be relieved of its ideological meaning, or as I would say in memetic theory, deprived of its MIAO status by liberating it from attached positive and negative memes. However, that is precisely what he claimed that Rammstein WERE doing, as I understood things.  Perhaps a topic for discussion.

My position is that whatever historical "need", such as the Problem of the Legions, or pure greedy economics and lust for profit, motivated the deprecation of Africans and women, their MIAOs, e.g., dark skin and curly hair, breasts, menstrual blood, squatting to urinate, etc., are as Zizek termed it "empty containers" which were filled up with ideology, or memetic systems, as I would term it as being the same thing, and negative memes were used as a way to accomplish this subjugation. Again a fuzzy point. What is the ideological system, and what is the physical object, the minimal element? Memes and MIAOs (semiotic signs) make this distinction clear in a useful, extensible way, and a MIAO does not have to be "minimal", or at least "how minimal" it is may be clearly stated.

So attacking the MIAO itself is a fool's errand. An example that comes up again and again, seemingly in every other issue of so-called "feminist magazines" such as BUST, is how somebody has discovered how women can pee standing up with some special posture or device. It is not the MIAO itself which one should attack or focus upon, but the ideology, or memes, attached to it, which according to Zizek's Rammstein example, could be removed, that is, the MIAO could be liberated. Trying to find a way for women to pee standing up or to bleach African skin or straighten hair in fact re-enforces the stereotypes and anchors the memes and ideology more firmly to the MIAOs.

By the way, another thing I found interesting was Zizek's assertion that all acts of violence are the result of an inability to engage the prevailing ideology, and again, I feel that memetic theory could actually provide a basis for looking at this closely, even pointing to preventative measures and showing how to measure when such dangerous situations exist. Zizek says interesting stuff, again, but it's unclear what, if anything, we can do with it.

So, Slavoj Zizek is a fascinating and engaging lecturer, and I felt that most everything he said was somehow "true" and yet, lacking the hard science, ended up almost being a story of sound and fury but ultimately signifying if not nothing, but little in terms of take-away. His initial statement, that even when we think we escape into our dreams, we are still within ideology, is great, seems true, but it also seems to be a "just so story" and I was made to think of Susan Blackmore, who said effectively the same thing, that is, that we are trapped in our world of memes, but, unlike Zizek, she provides the inklings of a beginning of a way to escape, of a theory it might be possible to build with, and to expand with and learn more on our own, even after the fascinating lecture is over.