Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Plasma, a glimpse of reality's origins?

There is more to plasmas than I thought in the beginning. The reports from researchers writhe with a vocabulary that if it doesn't bring into mind, chaos, then it should be the most unheard off, sheer coincidence ever, anyone has come across.

It reminds me of Juliann Jaynes, as he mentions about the overly use of metaphors of physical reality when describing the contents of consciousness. The human mind in order to define its conscious part, employ words borrowed from words used to define physical space. A connection between mind space and physical space. An uncanny resemblance. Likewise by elucidating the attributes of plasma the vocabulary used bears an uncanny resemblance with properties attributed to chaos.

On the abstract for the book "New Vistas in Dusty Plasmas", I read:

"The 4th ICPDP conference was dedicated to the physics of dusty or complex plasmas. It focused on the phenomena related to the interaction of these particles with plasmas, such as transport processes, Coulomb crystal and liquid formation, void formation, self excited instabilities, wave propagation, nonlinear phenomena and also the nucleation and growth of dust particles in these plasmas."

The interaction of dust particles, (reminds someone of the role of dust particles on the onset of rain in clouds), that bring about plasma transformations to the Coulomb crystal, liquid, void; rearrangements of entities from the plasma phase to other formations, the high motility of the plasma entities halted to be frozen into solid, liquid or void(?)(annihilation?). The instantiation of stable objects? And the reference to dust, minute particles that interfere in a chaotic manner with simple processes within the plasma. Connected with the self-excited instabilities, wave propagation, nonlinear phenomena? And again the nucleation and growth of dust particles another route for objects to exist? Taking in account that the plasma state precedes the formation of stars, planets, and other heavenly bodies, would that nucleation and growth be the way these celestial bodies formed?

"We have experimentally characterized the breathing mode oscillation of a strongly-coupled, dusty plasma disk. Steady-state oscillations are excited by sinusoidally modulating the plasma density, creating a single-frequency, in-plane driving force. Resonance curves agree well with damped harmonic oscillator theory. A response at the second harmonic is observed and found to increase with the square of the driving force, indicating a quadratic nonlinearity."

A much needed clarification of resonance and harmonics concepts found in the "Physics classroom tutorials".

"A standing wave pattern is a vibrational pattern created within a medium when the vibrational frequency of the source causes reflected waves from one end of the medium to interfere with incident waves from the source. This interference occurs in such a manner that specific points along the medium appear to be standing still. Because the observed wave pattern is characterized by points which appear to be standing still, the pattern is often called a standing wave pattern. Such patterns are only created within the medium at specific frequencies of vibration. These frequencies are known as harmonic frequencies, or merely harmonics. At any frequency other than a harmonic frequency, the interference of reflected and incident waves leads to a resulting disturbance of the medium which is irregular and non-repeating."

So the harmonic frequencies are specific frequencies of vibration emanating by a source that produce a standing wave pattern within a medium. A vibrational pattern within the medium where waves reflected at one end interfere with continually incoming waves induced by the source, in such a manner that specific points along the medium appear to be standing still. At any frequency other than a harmonic frequency the interference leads to an irregular and non-repeating wave pattern.

Would that have any relevance to chaotic parts of a system, the irregular and non-repeating? Which would entail interference and waves in analogy to the reflected and incident waves described above. And what are the ends on which the waves reflect? Constraining points? A system's boundaries? Most chaotic systems are driven by recursive processes, continuously repeated. Are the ends of each recursive step, the ends that bounce and reflect back the first batch of waves to then interfere with the second batch of waves, the waves induced by the next step in the recursive process? The recursive process being the source of the waves induced? And depending on whether the emanating source inducing the waves vibrate at the specific frequencies, the harmonic frequencies, then produce standing waves? Points along the medium that appear to stand still. Order? Whereas, if not in harmonic frequencies, then the irregular pattern in the vibrations. Chaos?

Does that imply packets? Chaotically developed processes, the recursive steps, the packets? Quanta? Quantisation of chaotic phenomena? Quantisation of processes?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

An approach to concepts

In defining what concept is, the human intellect took and takes, many approaches most of them driven, I would dare say, by some kind of ulterior motives, or hidden agenda. Individuals applying biased views of looking at things, struggled to convince others, experts and the public, about the validity of their arguments drawn into embittered battles making it a personal quest but not a quest for truth.

The end result is, the meaning of concept remains largely obscure and its usefulness in the human endeavour, in either personal or collective level, to make sense of the world ambiguous. An obstacle that hinders natural growth.

Among the definitions present up to date, one that bears significance and assists human mind in search for answers in a personal and collective level is the approach put forward by William James

"In order to understand the meaning of the concept and to discuss its importance, a concept may be tested by asking, "What sensible difference to anybody will its truth make?" There is only one criterion of a concept's meaning and only one test of its truth. That criterion or test is its consequences for human behavior."

Looking at human behaviour in its broad sense including the efforts for elucidating the rules and mechanisms that underpin reality, making sense of what is going on around us, we acquire meaning by using concepts, concepts taken from the viewpoint of what sensible difference its use will make while the person is in the process of probing reality, what would the consequences be in altering his understanding about the process probed.

As meaning lies in people, meaning conveyed by concepts, the concepts used in the process to understand the underlying reasons of a phenomenon probed, we achieve meaning and understand the phenomenon as long as we have embraced the full extent of the concept's implications as these are expressed by the concept's properties, extensions, and other particular qualities contained herein.

Each time a concept is enriched by the addition of extra qualities, whatever that may be, a discovery process itself, it will result in a re-arrangement of our understanding, our very own conceptual arsenal increase, adding extra dimensions and improving our sense of the world.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Imperfect kinds of consciousness

Extracts from the 'Emergence' book, chapter 'Mind Readers'.
... the chimp (an individual) must somewhere be aware that the world is full of imperfectly shared information, and that other individuals may have a perspective on the world that differs from his. Most important (and most conniving), he's capable of exploiting that difference for his own benefit. That exploitation - a furtive pass concealed from the alpha male - is only possible because he is capable of building theories of other minds.
... Human beings are innate mind readers. Our skill at imagining other people's mental states ranks up there with our knack for language ...

... information the stuff of concepts ... consciousness is based on concepts ... there are myriads of concepts in the world ... humans endeavoured tirelessly in pursuit for new concepts ... the discovery continues unabated ... consciousness is boundless ... an individual's consciousness have boundaries ... consciousness based on the concepts the individual amasses and adheres to ... concepts are adhered either by choice or necessity ... a projection of the world ... a biconvex lens projection ... a personal projection directed by the concepts grasped ... take in only what the concepts assimilated would allow ... a lot of stimuli in the world can not access our internal world ... they are not internalized ... limits consciousness and by default makes it imperfect ...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Kinds of consciousness

"I am for a moment transported into a different kind of consciousness"

What thoughts associate without bias the reading of that statement? Different individuals each possessing their own kind of consciousness. How can that be possible? Is consciousness not shared alike by all people? Can it not be equally possessed by everybody?
The statement above was quoted by an English traveler and described how he felt whenever he recalled the description of a steamship given by a South Sea Islander native. The South Sea Islander's concept of the steamship was different, as he surmised by his steamship description, from the English traveler's concept.
Concepts then determine consciousness. Concepts represent knowledge structures stored in our memory banks. They are the information which we learn in the course of our lives. The breadth and depth and the kind of concepts learned varies between individuals. Acquired concepts determine an individual's consciousness. Consciousness then can be seen as a deeply personal asset of an individual.

The broader and deeper the concepts, the individual possesses, the more encompassing its consciousness will be.

......... ....... boundless consciousness ...... .........

... consciousness in other words reality existence realms ... be that cosmos universe multiverse parallel worlds hyper-dimensions quantum-worlds υπερπεραν psychic worlds ever including concept of consciousness ... distilled right into our mind ... funneled down right into our psyche ... external existence internalized ... internal existence externalized ... in all inclusive concepts ... defined and described by concepts ... concept the carrier including within it all that is to be contained ... arrived to by mental acts ... materialise by mental acts ... painstakingly humans since the dawn of their era have explored each corner of what it can be seen, imagined, felt and produced a wealth of concepts ... since then these concepts have become the fodder in the furnace we call living ... guide us in ourselves, our communities, our societies, the world we live in ...

Friday, October 26, 2007

Entropy. Ignorance is not an obstacle

"Entropy interpreted as a measure of our ignorance about a system"

The essence of the entropy concept. What comes out, freely associated, by this attempt to clarify the energy carried by a system?

As the quest started it addressed a real problem. Energy in a system that can do work, therefore 'useful' and energy that can not do work and as such 'useless' energy. And from that need, the pursuit of finding the ultimate cause of energy's duplicity in occurrence, led to the quantum level, to deal with the microscopic configurations that give rise to the observed macroscopic description of a system. The field is vast, the feat impossible but the tenacious human never gives up.

Up on the task, digs deeper and deeper into the fabric of reality. And in the process invents new concepts, new ideas to explore deeper, in process and in structure. The words in its conceptual arsenal continuously increase, methodically develop to describe and define ever smaller 'nooks and crannies' in the revealed micro-structures and every minuscule detail in subtle, barely perceptible micro-processes.

The discovery process goes on relentless. A lot of concepts and ideas are abandoned as the theories are constantly tested and new sharper concepts replace older ones. The whole process make it possible for the later generations to start their lives on a firmer footing in this world.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Issues raised in dealing with complexities

Human individuals, despite their achievements collectively, as single entities have a limited capacity to discern the complexities that phenomena impose upon them. This limits their ability to fully comprehend the flow of events that take place around them and affect their ability to select the rules that explain the phenomena. However, this can be twisted around and used to give credence to the necessity and tendency of humans to act collectively, as this is the way that they can achieve more. Their full potential is realised only when they act together, complement each other and reach heights of achievement otherwise impossible. By working together it made and continues to make possible in breaking down many of the complexities encountered, as the current body of knowledge accumulated bear witness.

Nevertheless the fact remains and the limitations of the human individual's limited processing capacity must be addressed. The whole point is raised because of the enormous amount of information that has to be dealt with in discerning complexities. Here, it is tempting to draw upon the knowledge on the computing time, ideal supercomputers require to process particular problems, and liken humanity to a supercomputer engaged in deciphering the whole range of processes that underpin reality. Referring to a single individual dealing with the complexities in his immediate environment, it would consume an inordinate amount of time, and time is, very much indeed, in short supply, due to the constraints imposed by our life spans, and exacerbated by the amount of time and resources consumed to deal with concerns of survival, as they appear in various manifestations and identify themselves as pressing, therefore primary, needs.

Despite our limitations we are required to select, which we do that every time and have being doing constantly in the past. As a result of the options selected ourselves, our communities, societies and civilizations are in their present state of development. The selection process used, reflects our limited processing capacity. Since we can not deal with the amount of information that complexities present, as the full extent of possibilities eludes us, we adopt leads and information that fit a model of emergence that past experience incited upon us and abandon the possibilities and attached information, that do not fit the adopted model. This only gives a partial view of reality which we constantly strive to extend.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Riots and revolutions: drawing the similarities between fluid convection and ideas thought in members of evolving social systems

There are important similarities between fluid convection and the spread of ideas or other constructs in members of social systems and in particular their nonlinearities, the situations with the disproportionate cause and effect relationships. The common factor in both phenomena is the collective nature of their proliferation. Fluid convection is a property of groups of particles which en masse flow in the surrounding medium to dissipate the heat that caused their motion in the first place and in the proliferation of ideas as these are carried by groups of members in social systems, flow within the system and dissipate either as revolutions, riots, social unrest or simple ordered social change. It is nonlinear as the energy carried is not proportional to each of the parts, the particles that make up the fluid medium. The greater the heat energy carried, the more the flow is turbulent, as it tends to dissipate the energy to its external environment. Turbulence seen as chaotic flow, an intermediate step toward its course to a final presumably ordered state.

In fluid convection the determining factor of its motion, is the temperature difference between the higher and the lower energy level. Likewise in social systems, the determining factor in the proliferation of ideas thought and acts committed in an evolving social structure, is their members' status level difference between the higher and the lower thresholds. If the difference is small, the system remains still for both the cell fluid and the evolving social structure. Heat moves toward the lower threshold, in terms of energy content, by conduction without overcoming the natural tendency of the fluid to remain at rest. Inertia at work, the tendency of a body at rest, to remain at rest or the disposition of members in a social structure to remain inactive or inert. Furthermore, the system is stable. Any random motions that might occur will tend to die out, returning the system to its steady state.

If the difference is large, a new kind of behaviour develops. With regards to the fluid, as it becomes hot, it expands. As it expands, it becomes less dense. As it becomes less dense, it becomes lighter, enough to overcome its inertia and it pushes toward the lower energy level. In a similar manner it can be imagined that a large difference between the higher and the lower thresholds in status levels, instigates motion expressed by ideas thought and acts committed by the members of an evolving social structure that overcome their inertia, toward the realisation of goals connected to status level improvement.

If for fluid convection the defining parameters are the heat content and the inherent inertia, in similar fashion for evolving social structures the defining parameters should be the status improving potential and the social inertia, the resistance to change presented by members of social groups.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Use of emergent (desired or not) states to define agents in a system?

"Under construction"

      A system, as is defined by agents and rule-based agent interactions in endless repetition, will accumulate necessary complexity for selection processes to dictate emergent states. Systems that are based on human individuals as agents, it is very likely and quite desirable to intervene towards the emergence of specific states. As emergence is a process that do not hold to prescription such an intervention towards specific states should, if it is to succeed, direct its intervening action towards the rules that govern agent interactions. One such system that specific emergent states are highly sought after are educational establishments, schools in particular. Does a desired emergent state would be expected to define the agents ia school system? What are the agents of a school system? The case goes; did she take into account my contribution to the school educational product, this day? No. Why not? It is not in her job specification. This is not what she is expected to do. She is required to administer not to judge, educational value. Administration works by virtue of checklists. No room for individual reflection. There are specific sessions for that, sessions for reflections. For all other occasions there are the checklists.
So there is a field of expertise where each one, let us say "excels" in the field. But if an administrator excels in its field, would that necessarily mean the service the work deals with, namely educational value, does actually benefit from this? Why should it benefit? The field excelled is administrative. Administration of its personnel. One of it is choosing the personnel suitable for the job. So would that be significant to the educational value product? It should be as the good teacher would increase educational value. The argument continues shortly ...

     Why should we think she is more important than any of the teachers in the school? No she is not. The main product of the school is educational value and this does not happen in her office.It happens in the classrooms. She is dealing with the bureaucratic aspect of the school system and she should never assume status not conferred by the very nature of the product offered by the establishment administered. Namely educational value. She should feel being the servant in the whole process and not the master.

      And along to the structure of the system of the school. She is dealing with the linear aspect of the processes that take place in the environment of the school, the system of the school. So, can we continue with the thought about the role of administration in establishments? As the keepers of the current state of an establishment, by virtue of the linear processes they are involved into. That brings the case of remuneration. Would that justify high earnings? Why administration should be regarded as of paramount importance, unassailable from criticism, to a great extent. Is it, notions of self-importance develop disproportionate to the specifications? To be resolved .... The non-linear and the one, we can accept as by definition, which produces the highest value in the educational product it is the one that takes place in the classroom, where the pupil engages itself in the processes that define and the same is defined by the system of school. Oops, self-reference! Self-referential! What is the significance of that observation? Is it significant or is it circumstantial? The system and its state space.

     Should we look for agents in a system according to the content of the emerging states. Emergence as defined as a result of evolutionary processes. Evolutionary processes defined by development in the states achieved, by mainly chaotic processes. Chaos as the creator of information. The evolution of the chaos developed states, pertain to the chaos-created states being checked against the conditions and features of the system, for a best fit state resolution, John Holland at work. The emergent state is different from a desired state, a goal directed therefore highly expected. However that does not dismiss the want of the emergent states according to a wish list. A wish list that directs emergent states toward desired states. The whole process is a result of intervention actions directed at specific points in the process space. Organisation of the system should have space and time elements. Or more likely assume fractal qualities? Fractal dimensions?

     Would the emergent state, desired or not, define in the system, its rules and its agents? Is it right to assume an emergent state-directed definition of agents? Taken in account the emergent product, let us say for schools the emergent product being, the vaguely defined educational value. How would educational value be defined? Learning objectives. Pupils own knowledge structures developing. Not only. Teachers as well, their knowledge structures develop too. Knowledge structures, in both cases, are different. What is the same is the process of development. The development from one state to another. Desirability determines this development as improvement. An improved knowledge structure. An improved knowledge state for both pupils and teachers.

     So, the tendency of improving the knowledge structure states should define the rules in the system. Should be used as guidelines when determining the organisation of establishments that deal with this product. And is should continue ...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Chaos related musings

     So the chaos situation or state refers to the behaviour of systems and that behaviour depends so sensitively to the system's precise initial conditions, and because of that, it is unpredictable and appears as a random process, but it is deterministic, approached from a mathematical viewpoint. Additionally, should point out, that even a very small perturbation can have a very large effect on a system. The system is geared up, amplifying minute changes in values of parameters and variables connected with its initial conditions, to very large values in other dependent variables and parameters in the system, which give rise to the intense behaviour of chaos. The amplification is exponential and it appears as a result of nonlinear functions between the variables involved in a system.

     P. S. de Laplace's statement, "We ought then to regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its preceding state and the cause of its succeeding state", brings out clearly the situations governing all chaotic systems the cause and effect relationships and the importance of pre-existing conditions in determining its current state.

     In general deterministic systems can evolve to unpredictably random behaviour, chaotic behaviour. Though, actually, it appears to us as random, primarily as a limitation of our sensory apparatus, as well as, of the limitations of our cognitive abilities. So despite our inability to discern the determinism of the chaotic processes, deterministic chaos exists and is responsible for complexity and finally emergence.

Misplaced character of deterministic

     Is it correct to regard determinism as defunct, when it comes to consider the nature's workings? It is suggested, that human evolution is not deterministic, by invoking the argument that the laws of evolution should have built into them anticipation of all events possible. One of many assumptions possible stemming from our inability to discern the underlying causes of changes in nature. The laws of evolution do not require to have all outomes possible, the multitude of all configurations of states possible, to account for state configurations, with far removed possibilities to be adapted by a system. It is more economical to account for states with a greater chance of being adapted, an attracting range of state configurations, a chaotic attractor, as deterministic chaos dictates. And this is the anticipation built, in the laws of evolution.

     The anticipation, so described, can be similar to the anticipation John Holland invokes, for neural networks. "Elements in a stimulus sequence not yet seen, are anticipated by the corresponding extrasensitive assemblies". Stimulus sequences are of similar nature, as of John Holland's reverberating cell assemblies. What about the corresponding extrasensitive assemblies? What would their equivalent be, in human evolution? Certainly, these should be the procceses most prevalent at any time in the course of human evolution. The ones, that once they have been selected, multiplied, became dominant, reinforced in the agent populations. Reinforced processes,(practises customs), become extrasensitive, by virtue of their sheer numbers in the agent populations, for the system. They provide the response to presented stimulus sequences and determine the succeding states. Anticipation is inherent, as the chaotic attractor set of states, is an attracrting set and even if it is preturbed off the attractor, it eventually ends up in the set.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Deliberating on chaos lever points

     "I wanted to learn more about lever points: those places and events in a complex adaptive system where a small force can be used to great effect, due to sensitivity to initial conditions."
                              "Website extract on John Holland's work"

     It appears that the application of a small force will give the anticipated larger effect only if it is applied on the conditions that are identified as being initial. By referring to initial conditions, in a sense we are referring to the conditions that gave rise to the whole of the system, its foundations. On this premise it is no wonder that any slight shift in its fundamental principles will certainly cause an extensive shake-up of the system, an earthquake, as it would ripple through its entire structure, from its very foundations to the top echelons of its structure, producing a much greater effect compared to the size of the slight shift of a parameter that constitutes initial condition of the system.

      Output parameters would therefore propagate exponentially to input; in a nonlinear fashion output marching in tens, hundreds or thousands of steps for every step trodden by input in contrast to linear propagation where input is matched step by step by output in its progress.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Establishing the emergence framework with a checklist to identify its occurence in individual cases

      Emergence is pervasive in world phenomena and we should have a checklist to recognise and identify the relevant features. This bulleted list is an attempt to recognise such phenomena drawn out of the understanding built from a variety of disciplines.

  • It gives rise to totaly new entities

  • New entities transcend their origins

  • Entities possess their own set of features. They are emergent features.

  • Emergent features bear no relevance to the entity's features it originates

  • The new entities act as a whole which is more than the sum of its parts

  • It builts hierarchy

  • It organises reality into hierarchical levels

  • Entities act as adaptive agents in the environment

  • Each adaptive agent creates its own set of rules of contact

  • Adaptive agents and their immediate environment comprise the system

  • Adaptive agents act in their hierarchy level, to produce emergent behaviour

  • Emergent behaviour gives rise to the next level in the hierarchy

  • Adaptive agents are oblivious to the rules of the level it sprung out of

  • Action from some rules can leak out to higher levels in the hierarchy

  • Leak-out action can impair organisation in the hierarchical level it leaks in

  • Adaptive agents and environment built hierarchical structures

  • Hierarchical structures co-exist and can overlap each other

  • Overlapping hierarchical structures can be oblivious of each other

  • Overlapping hierarchical structures interaction can only be if their respective adaptive agents interact

  • Tuesday, May 01, 2007

    Verb usage in description of events reveal the dynamic processes involved

         Verb usage, in oral or textual description of events, in any level or context, reveal the processes involved and the corresponding value-changes in the variables that trigger these processes. By focusing on the process described by the verb we recognise the variables and their value changes.

          The value change might be an increase or decrease or alternations between discrete component arrangements in our environment. Our sense organs are built to detect, increase/decrease in variable values and changes from state to state.

          The increase of complexity in our environment, is matched by an ever increasing neural network of subtle composite detection methods and is reflected in language structure by the introduction of verbs describing ever more complex processes.

         We perceive the world around us by value changes, we accumulate knowledge about the world based on changing variables, and our language structure reflects our environment detection mode. Should there not then be, a change of scope in how language is taught?

    Verbs define processes

         The world that surrounds us is perpetually in motion, costantly changing. Myriad of processes unfold, develop, interact, act from an agent perspective or being acted upon by other agents. They flow from subjects to objects and are responsible for the changes we observe or participate.

         Every process unfolds as a result of a change in value of a variable, dependent or independent, characteristic in a particular environment, the change in the initial conditions trigger other processes and induce further change.

         In our every day speech, in language, we use verbs to describe the processes that happen around us. Every sentence we construct, we utter, is about the value-change triggered processes, developing in our immediacy.

         A temperature rise in the room brings about responses like "I am boiling here", "Turn off the heating" etc, the verbs in the sentences describe the processes taking place, the effects incurred upon us or upon the environment, the source, the direction, the potency of the change involved. We have thousands of verbs to record myriad processes in a multitude of contexts.

          Our use of language bears witness of the effects incurred by the multitude of changing variables present in our environment and responded since its inception by inventing verbs to describe the processes triggered.