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Metaphorical Power

Freud is never mentioned in my intellectual community; of course, his ideas about repression and unconscious desires have been transformed into universal metaphors, but he’s no longer an influence in the circles I frequent. Part of the problem is that he and his followers thought of themselves as scientists and the science turned out to […]

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Pointing versus Pushing

Every corporeal being is bound to classify the world into two extremely basic categories: That which can be grabbed (or grabbed by) That which cannot be reached. More generally, for each sense, we classify the world into That which is immediately available to that sense. That which needs to be indexed into, in order to […]

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Arbitrariness

There are at least three kind of arbitrary relations in the mind sciences: Between concepts/language and the world Between the mind and the body Between form and substance (which might include the above) For example, we feel that there is no relation between the concept CUP and cups in the world. The concept CUP has […]

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Mind your Brain

Obama is about to announce the brain initiative any minute now. I happen to think it is a colossal mistake, but an instructive one. First, it prompts an analysis of Obama: more than his drone war and budget debacles, this brain project is my wake up call that for all his eloquence, he utterly lacks […]

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Question 3: Dimensional Analysis (7)

In physics and also in biology, dimensional analysis can help the scientist achieve qualitative understanding without detailed calculations. One of the chief impediments to studying complex systems like cells and cities is that we have no clue as to what the dimensions are. For example, in order to characterise a city, should: Inflows of people […]

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The Desi Turing Test (7)

Can we create an AI program that will top the IIT-JEE?

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Question 1: Sensing the City (21)

What will take to sense and store all the variables that determine the dynamics of a large city? A list that includes: Migration, both in and out. Material inflows and outflows — food, industrial production, construction materials everything Pollution, solid waste, effluents and other byproducts of human activity. Health, education, livelihood statistics. and so on. In other […]

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What is 42?

More here. For a long time, I have been thinking that in the age of large scale human networks with its tremendous potential for aggregating distributed expertise, it is perhaps even more important to ask the right questions than it is to answer questions once posed. I am also aware of my limited knowledge; unlike […]