Quantum Mechanics as an approximation of some deterministic discrete theory: towards the Great Unifi… hidden variables

Michio Kaku in the prison of calculus

You probably remember Einstein’s famous saying: ‘God doesn’t play dice’. Yes, he probably does not if QM is an approximation of some (semi) discrete theory. Just imagine that. There are no such problems as wave-particle duality or wave function collapse anymore, Schrodinger’s cat is definitely dead (unfortunately, cats die) and there is a very simple explanation how energy can take the form of matter (‘mass’ is a quite vague definition). However, the world becomes a very strange timeless semi-deterministic place we already saw before. There is a hope for the freedom of will as an emergent phenomenon though. Can’t imagine? Read more.

Ridley Scott's Exodus: what a real miracle really looks like?

Ridley Scott shows a miracle to Sigourney Weaver

Hey, that’s Ridley Scott’s movie. Do you really find it dull or hollow? There should be something more than sandy cityscapes and spectacular battle scenes. Surprisingly, there is, but it takes time to see this, so there are high chances that you may ban the movie in your heart or country before you accept it. Its reception definitely correlates with the amount of flexibility in one’s psyche. Yes, Scott tries to rationalize the Bible. But why he does this? Is this a straightforward rationalization, which dissolves miracles into the chains of facts without any alternative – the something shown, for example, in Hercules? The answer is “No” if you believe in miracles. Miracles may still be miracles, and this reminds us what a real miracle should look like. [spoilers]

To the discussion on Terry Gilliam's Zero Theorem: to drown in post-materialism or the infinite regress to authority

The Zero Theorem is probably the least surrealistic, the most relevant and timely Gilliam’s picture. It delicately conveys the current state of affairs related to the influence of the modern information technology on our lives. Has our society reached Orwellian dystopia in a some twisted way, so the movie does not look like a fancy hyperbole but resembles a satirical sketch on the surrounding reality? There are no definite answers, though. All what we can see is a solid framework of ideas which is widely open to interpretations, although it can lead us to interesting consequences if we look at its origins.

Hard to be a God: maybe that's why God is silent or the muddy way of social progress

You may have watched the "Bruce Almighty" and enjoyed by it. But to fully understand this film you probably need to be a Russian who has read Strugatsky's book of the same name. And you probably should be familiar with the works of such prominent Russian masters as Andrey Tarkovsky, Akira Kurosawa and Alexey Gherman to fully accept it. If you are troubled with the question why this black-and-white neurotic carnival of filth, mud and blood may be considered as a gem of the world cinematography, the following explanation may shit shed some light on this.

Kill la Kill: cybernetics for kids or how the layers of a viable social system are interconnected through the limbic systems of their participants

Although KlK is still ongoing as of January 2014, its central theme is utterly interesting, and the already disclosed picture allows to discuss it in great detail. In this show the girl named Satsuki Kiryuin manages to build a viable and successful social system on the base of her school, but the system has strictly autocratic nature. Ryuko Matoi is Satsuki's rival backed by a secret rebel organization, she tries to ruin this system in retaliation for the murder of her father by a minion of the Kiryuin family.
Below we will look at the formal structure of power from the cybernetic point of view, understand why democracy is a form of soft autocracy, how the liberal values without the rule of law may lead to caste society, and how the liberal values enrooted by the system without any thoughts about civil responsibility may hinder the process of the creation of civil society.

The term "viable system", a system which is able to survive in a constantly and unpredictably changing environment, is coined by Stafford Beer, a prominent cybernetic theorist who developed the viable system model for economical applications as a model of a firm at 1960-70s. At the present time the cybernetics is decayed and specialized over the multiple disciplines including the control theory, the elements of AI such as expert systems, cognitive systems and so on, although Beer's works are deeply fundamental and are still actual.
The limbic system is a part of human brain which is responsible for basic instincts and emotions such as fear, pain, pleasure or reward. In Beer's theory, a system should utilize the equivalent of the limbic systems of its subsystems to avoid the "manual control" in the fields in which only the subsystems have a specialization.

Certain points of view presented below may be shocking or unacceptable for some readers, although this particular text does not intentionally contain any hidden subtexts.

Avalon: illusions of the higher order

You might say that Avalon is about addiction to MMO games which forces people to get lost in virtual reality because they are dissatisfied with their lives, and there is no principal difference between the perception of reality and illusion. But author's name (Mamoru Oshii) tells us that the movie should be a little bit deeper, and it indeed is. The guide to its depths is the legend of Avalon, a mysterious island where king Arthur had found his final resting place. It leads us through the chain of illusions which goes beyond the virtual reality and touches themes of some fatal flaws of certain social orders along with the place of art in them. But let's look at the virtual reality first.

Ghost in the Shell: only diversity wins in the game of evolution

The new GitS OVA (Arise) and the adventures of Edward Snowden is a good opportunity to dip the probe into holy cow of the cyberpunk genre: the "Ghost in the Shell" franchise. The franchise includes the following most notable works:
  1. [1] Angel's Egg by Mamoru Oshii (1985)
  2. [2] The original manga by Masamune Shirow (1989)
  3. [1] The original movie by Mamoru Oshii (1995)
  4. [3] The Standalone Complex TV by Kenji Kamiyama (2002)
  5. [3] The Standalone Complex TV 2nd GIG by Kenji Kamiyama (2004)
  6. [1] GitS Innocence movie by Mamoru Oshii (2004)
  7. [3] GitS SAC: Solid State Society movie by Kenji Kamiyama (2006)
  8. [1] GitS 2.0 (renewal of the original movie) by Mamoru Oshii (2008)
  9. [3] Arise OVA by Kazuchika Kise (2013)
The number in square braces is the "lineage". Although the lineages incorporate common setting and characters, they are diverse by offering totally different stories, so each lineage is a totally different work disconnected from the others. You may wonder, why I've included the "Angel's Egg" movie into the franchise, but it may be clear from the feathers at the image above. Basically, the both Oshii's GitS movies being taken together is "Ange's Egg" staged in the world of GitS, the other lineages are not connected to Angel's Egg in any way. Since the lineage #3 is made by the authors (including Dai Sato) who tend to use the straightforward filming language, there is almost nothing to discuss because everything is clear. Below I'll try to discuss mostly only Oshii's works, because Oshii prefers a complex figurative manner of expression. A lot of spoilers, of course. If you are not familiar with GitS, it's better to follow the lineage order.

Suisei no Gargantia:'(

Having yummy graphics and authentic mechanical/character designs Gargantia still leaves the sense of a failed project. This is a bright example of inconsistent directing and how everything was relegated to the background for the central idea, but the idea does not worth it. Even the 13-episode show looks too roomy for it and, moreover, it has no clear conclusion. Or may it be that Gargantia have some conclusion actually?

Aku no Hana: to make a right choice

If not so annoying main character, this probably would be not bad show in the terms of screenplay. And it even would be possible to enjoy it despite of, hmm, roto peculiar graphics. But it's a mystery, was the excessive doubtfulness of the main character director's choice, or it's an inherent part of actor's personality. May be all this was needed to add a sense of cold "hyperrealism" into the cozy upcountry atmosphere to make it look boring and annoying? It seems, that this "hyperrealism" shown up in the characters' characters and the ways how they estimate each other is the thing which makes this controversial show interesting.

The Last of Us: to make a right choice

The hardest puzzle in this beautiful and touching story is the words Joel said Ellie at the very end. There are at least two ways to treat them: this may be the truth or this may be a lie. But this may be the truth and a lie at the same time. Let's see, how this can be. [spoilers]

Psycho Pass & Shinsekai Yori: a just social order is possible. Somewhere at Lothlorien. Probably.

It's hard to reason about the social justice, and it's even harder to put it into practice. The general formula is that someone's freedom should be limited to achieve some kind of equality or order. Probably, a story about an absolutely fair society would be boring, and no one would author such stories, even if a way to build a utopian society would be known. Undoubtedly, the authors of the both stories discussed below tried to show us what a society may appear from particular limitations of freedom, and in the both cases the result is hardly fair. Let's try to sort out the details [spoiler warning].

A Short Vision of the Sky Crawlers

Like most of the other works of Mamoru Oshii the Sky Crawlers give you a feeling of dissonance at first, and you're wondering what these guys are doing, why they are doing this, and what the hell they are talking about. But the more times you watch it, the more beautiful it gets, and finally you understand why that girl moves her face so strange or why this guy smiles so bittersweet. "Every day could be your last. Live life like there's no tomorrow.", says the slogan. One of the last moments of the movie raises a question, though, whether or not you should do so. Below is the answer I've got [spoiler warning].

The world as a cellular automaton or a simple definiton of consciousness

The question about what the consciousness is is probably as old as time, and the time itself somehow should be related to this phenomenon. Among the others, the religious tradition of Zen Buddhism contains probably the most profound insights on this account claiming that the consciousness is a some fundamental process of nature, but it does not answer the question itself. On the other hand, Roger Penrose offers the hypothesis that the consciousness may be a result of some non-computational physical processes in the depth of our neurons, because brain is somehow able to solve problems which are proven to be not solvable algorithmically (e.g. the halting problem). But actually, it may be a very simple process which differs from understanding and reasoning, and it closely related to the question about how our universe is constructed and what the time is. Let's see how Zen teaching combined with some scientific views of the universe may give an answer to this question and produce an interesting picture of the world.

Imageboard aggregator: an interesting application for a URL-embedded text command interface

Damn imageboards... There may be a way to operate them a little bit more wisely. How about an idea for a tool which preloads the whole content of a board (let's say, all 10 pages of 4chan.org/c) and compactifies the presentation to make it look like a RSS stream? No problems, we need to download and parse the specified amount of pages and use the URL 4chan.org/c:10p to tell the tool which number of pages to grab. Having all the data available we also can easily reverse the thread order and display the oldest threads first with the URL 4chan.org/c:10p:rev or sort them by id with  4chan.org/c:10p:sortd (if the highest id is stored in a database it's also possible to visually mark new threads). Need to search for all the K-ON related threads? The following URL would help: 4chan.org/c:10p:search{k-on}. Need to display only new threads or the threads with new posts from the last visit? Not a problem again, the 'new' switch rescues: 4chan.org/c:10p:new. It's even possible to display threads from several boards in the same stream using, for example, the 4chan.org/[a:10p,m:5p] URL.

It may be not wisely to specify the page number each time, so we may save the default page amount for this board somewhere in the preferences and use just 4chan.org/c:new. Because we have all the available data parsed and structured, it's possible to make other interesting things, for example, save a thread OP-post in the database and pin it to the top of the thread stream or extract all visible images with 4chan.org/c:img. There is one little problem though, a way to distinguish these URLs from the regular ones is necessary. The two most obvious solutions of this problem are: a browser extension which would listen for some protocol scheme (for example, chan://) or a web-application which includes these URLs as a part of its own one.

The both solutions are implemented by the Dark Flow aggregator. The application listens for the URLs with the chan:// scheme and tries to transform the requested resource according to the options specified in the URL (only Wakaba-derived boards are supported currently). The following video demonstrates the basic functionality of an old experimental version of the application in action.

The theory of SPGS-analysis or how to detect cruel postmodernist jokes

There are some common features of the stories such as NGE or Prometheus which allow to single them out as artificial postmodernist jokes. This set of features comprises the postmodernist obfuscation which is applied to an ordinary story to make it look like a postmodernist one, i.e. vague, self-reflective or self-ironic. Authors may use this approach for commercial purposes to make the audience interested in their works for a long time; stories seem interesting and profound until they are completely understood, and there is virtually no way to completely understand such stories if you don't know how the obfuscation works. This is a kind of joke and mockery because such a story rises many diverse interpretations, and it's cruel because people believe that only their interpretations are correct, although it's actually may be possible to restore the original underlying story and get the possible author's meaning at some degree which is defined by the level of detail of the obfuscated story. The straightforward analysis will not work in the case of the obfuscation, and it's necessary to remove the obfuscation first trough the "SPGS-analysis".

Eden by Hiroki Endo may be used as an example of the inversion of the obfuscation applied to NGE, so it's a joke on a joke. Basically it's yet another clone and a paraphrase of NGE on the basis of Gnosticism instead of Kabbalah (Kabbalah itself is based on Gnosticism so they look very similar) but inversed obfuscation makes Eden almost ordinary story and shows how NGE may look without the obfuscation, although you still need to know how obfuscation works to pull out all the guts from the story. Below I'll try show why Prometheus (which is discussed in the previous post) is also a clone of NGE and to formalize the obfuscation through the exploration of other clones.