Posts tagged with Celts

Confidence is necessary for great civilisations to flourish. Do you hear those last echoes of Empire? This was filmed in 1969 but Kenneth Clark had grown up in another age—a time when Great Britain’s cultural superiority went unquestioned in many huts on the Isles.

  • Minute 13 Christianity eked out an existence for centuries (eg on Skellig)
  • 8:30 Greeks bored with civilisation.
  • 12:15 “I suspect they haven’t given the alternative much thought.”
  • Minute 13. Anglo-saxon poem about gold.
  • gold
  • Drive to create art
  • People must believe in their institutions and culture. hope. finance. What’s valued is what’s valued. Crises of confidence. Bubbles and rashes. Ease of lending / us interest rate. hope / income inequality.
  • Longevity of mayan culture
  • The beauty of the Book of Kells. Imagine you’re illiterate and therefore letters are just shapes to you.
    العربية: عمئمر بن معدكرب هقني ألمقه رأسهمو بعثتر وبألمقه وبذت حميم وبذت بعدن وبودم وبكربئل وبسمهعلي وبعمريم وبيذرحملك …. أي: اهداء عَمّيئّمّر بن مَعديكَرِب إلى ألمَقَه راسُهُمو. بعثتار وبألمقه وبذات حِميَم وبذات بَعدان وبوَد وبكربئيل وبِسَمهُ عَلي وبعَمِّرَيَم وبيَذرّح مَلِك
    Then the “meaningful” words—which we logocentric modern literates focus on, revere, dissect, would seem a meaningless code.
    And compare that to other illiterate symbols: the marks of American cowboys.Bench LBox BLazy S LH Swing Reverse SY 6 Quarter CircleK 5 ConnectedReverse 2 Standing NK Bar UHorseshoe DotRocking HO I or Cinch BuckleOx Yoke TWill RogersDouble THalf Circle LBar XD Slash DStriped SThree O RailX Diamond BarFlying UT 4

    Knot of Infinity -Traditional Celtic Wood Carved Knot -Book of Kells -
    The illuminated knots—what we glance at and pass over—would be something you could trip out staring at.

    Which is the more spiritual experience: the doctrine as encoded in sacred strings, or the mystical feeling of following the knot-lines around, and around, and finally—maybe?—comprehending the mystical whole.
  • (Same goes for Islamic art of the period.)
    The signs above—2-D path segments about the width of a brush—symbols that can be formed with paint on the end of a stick—denote the name of G-d. Do you think that’s G-d’s True Name? Or that it is YHWH? Or JOHANNES? Or OM? Or אֱלֹהִ֔ים? Why should its sound be something that can be formed with a throat and tongue and teeth?

    * I think the essence of the classification of finite groups is more likely a syllable in G-d’s True Name than are these markings.

    * I think the contemplation of a mystical knot has more to do with spirituality than a scholarly discussion of Torah.


    Allah, G-d.
    Taken by Taqwa Salah

    quasiperiodic tilings from a 15th-century Uzbekistani madrasa  Yeah, the same quasiperiodic tilings that theoretical physicist Roger Penrose wrote about in the 20th century. The same quasiperiodic tilings that Tony Robbin says are the projections of a high-dimensional cubic lattice onto 2-D.  What now, Christian culture?  ARTICLE IN: Saudi Aramco World, via Artemy KolchinskyPS Saudi Aramco does $233 billion in sales each year. For reference the total value of Facebook is $25b. So Saudi Aramco transacts 9 Facebooks each year. What now, The Social Network?
  • Just one more comment on alphabetic meaning vs deep graphics. Consider these symbols and signs in the context of information theory. We know now (thanks to Claude Shannon, David Huffman, et al.) how to shrink serial streams of predefined signs into a smaller kernel representing the same thing. Likewise we can turn a bitmap representation of a Borromean ring
    into a bitmap—again serial—and reduce it with gzip or lzw. Yet a code to generate the essence of Borromean rings—or a trefoil, or a Celtic knot, or a quasiperiodic map tiling the surface of a 2-manifold shaped like the outside of a mosque—would be much shorter. A vector graphic wouldn’t capture the essence because an ideal rope trefoil could be advanced (modulo [0,"2π")) or laid down messily (modulo diffeomorphisms that respect the topology class).

    So some much simpler representation—something with a pseudocode of a few lines, given definitions of the objects—should correspond to the ideal "way we conceive" the Kelltic illuminated signs. I feel the same way about the words I read and write: ultimately their kernel is much smaller than a LZW-compressed string.

  • Chant. Back to the show.

I find it weird to say "we" just got through by the skin of our teeth. If something else had happened in history, for example Roman culture been forgotten, then a different "we" would be looking back on a different history. What aren’t we looking back on past the veil of Gilgamesh? What if the Chinese—or, gasp!—the Phoenicians, Moors, Berbers, Dravidians, Japanese, Australians, Mongols, Persians, Olmecs, D’mt—had become the dominant culture instead of the Normans? omg! And soon the planet will be only 10% white people!

Oh, well. It was shot 50 years ago. Still a good show.

Related. Philip Larkin:

Yet stop I did: in fact I often do,
And always end much at a loss like this,
Wondering what to look for; wondering, too,
When churches will fall completely out of use
what remains when disbelief has gone?
Grass, weedy pavement, brambles, buttress, sky,

A shape less recognisable each week,
A purpose more obscure. I wonder who
Will be the last, the very last, to seek
This place for what it was; ...
Some ruin-bibber, randy for antique,
Or Christmas-addict, 
... Or will he be my representative, Bored, uninformed,
For, though I've no idea What this accoutred frowsty barn is worth, It pleases me to stand in silence here; A serious house on serious earth it is, ...
And that much never can be obsolete, Since someone will forever be surprising A hunger in himself to be more serious, And gravitating with it to this ground, Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in, If only that so many dead lie round.

Big Data vs Quality Data

  • theLoneFuturist: I'm not certain why learning Hadoop isn't more attractive to you. If you are fine with R, doesn't having lots of data interest you?
  • theLoneFuturist: Don't get me wrong, there are probably unexciting tasks associated with big data, but you'd then get to run your algorithms over big data. And lack of data is an often cited problem for learning/adaptive algorithms. But of no interest to you?
  • isomorphisms: The BIG DATA fad seems to be based on "let's turn a generic algorithm loose on exabytes!"
  • isomorphisms: No matter how the data was gathered, what its underlying shape/logic is, what's left out.
  • isomorphisms: For example twitter text analysis. At a high level I might ask "How are attitudes changing?" "How do people talk about women differently than men?" "Do attitudes toward Barack Obama depend on the state of the US economy?" Questions whose answers aren't easy to turn into just a few numbers.
  • isomorphisms: My parody of a big-data faddist's response would be all the sophistication of: listen twitter | Hadoop_grep Obama | uniq -c | well_known_sentiment_analysis_algo. Hooray! Now I know how people feel about Obama! /sarcasm
  • isomorphisms: In the 'modelling vs scavenging' war (cf Leo Breiman) I'm more on the modelling side. So I find some aspects of the ML / bigdata craze unsavoury.
  • isomorphisms: But the emergence of petareams is certainly a paradigm shift. I don't think the Big Data faddists are wrong in that. That environmental difference will change things as surely as cheap computing power changed statistics. (Why learn statistical theory when you can bootstrap?) As far as the art of the possible -- more clickstreams being recorded makes more analysis doable.
  • isomorphisms: Anyway, to answer your question, no, having a lot of data doesn't interest me.
  • isomorphisms: I'd rather have interesting data than lots of it.
  • theLoneFuturist: Thing is, interesting data is probably a subset of big data. Mechanically define/separate interesting and you can get it.
  • isomorphisms: Definitely not, think about historical data.
  • isomorphisms: For example Angus Maddison's estimates of ancient incomes; the archaeological or geological record; unscanned text (like the Book of Kells, are you going to OCR an illuminated manuscript? You would miss the Celtic knots)
  • isomorphisms: Even if stuff were OCR scanned properly and no problems with tables, the interpretive work that historians do would be hard to code up in an algorithm. To me they dig up much more interesting information than the petabytes of clickstream logs.
  • isomorphisms: Or these internal documents they just found from Al-Qaeda? Which would you rather have, 100 GB of server logs or 10 kB worth of text from Osama bin Laden at a crucial moment?
  • isomorphisms: Also, we talk about text being "unstructured data", how about "I smell sulphur coming from over there" (during an archaeological dig) or "This kind of quartz shouldn't be at this depth in this part of the world" or, you know, "Hey look are those dinosaur footprints?"
  • isomorphisms: The kind of stuff a fisherman might notice. THAT'S unstructured data.
  • theLoneFuturist: Sure, though if enough historical records get scanned, they too become the dread big data. I do catch your point, though.