Great podcast on probability

Via MindMatters, an excellent podcast on probability and gambling. Not the usual math-only stuff. Sal Cordova knows the math, and has also spent considerable time in casinos. He discusses the names for various types of gamblers, and the history of cheating.

According to Cordova, all of the physical and mathematical tricks have been eliminated by rules or devices. Modern cheaters do social engineering, getting accepted as an ‘advantage player’ who receives comp rooms and comp meals and loss rebates. The cheater then plays well, maybe winning more than average, but his real gain comes from manipulating the comps and rebates.

They discuss winning streaks and losing streaks, and the natural tendency to see streaks as meaningful. I did an animation of this problem.

Most video podcasts might as well be audio. This is an audio podcast that deserves to be video, so we could see the numbers and techniques.

NFTs are missing the best ‘use case’

Looking at the latest idiotic NFT failure. Idiot bought one of those awful pipe-smoking monkeys for $513k, probably not in real money but in jumped-up internal funny money. Later he tried to sell it. The record shows that he first refused an offer somewhat below what he paid. Greedy.  The would-be buyers punished him for greed by gradually dropping the offers down to an unmeasurable fraction of a dollar. He finally sold it for near zero, perhaps accidentally.

Looking at the pattern, it strikes me that NFT vendors are missing the other half of the number line. NFTs are useless for normal purposes, but NFTs would be perfectly suited for esthetic extortion.  Negative price for negative art.

Start bombarding the victim with increasingly horrible monkeys while monitoring his messages on Discord or Twitter. After his messages indicate sufficient outrage and disgust, demand $5000 to REMOVE the horrible monkeys from all of his web feeds.

[Apologies to the ghost of Handel for posting this extreme anti-beauty next to his extreme beauty.]

Already done

UncommonDescent reviews some new CGI of dinosaurs. It’s impressive visually, but the audio is stuck in the Godzilla era. The dinos emit hoarse roars.

Birds are little dinos. So the ancient huge birds would have the same type of vocal mechanism with a VASTLY longer resonant cavity. They would sing complex songs in the same way, but the sound would be more like the 16-foot pedal register on a pipe organ, compared to the diapason flute of the modern submini birds.

I wrote a comment suggesting that the song of the meadowlark should be transposed to the pedal register….

And then I realized that it’s already been done.

Was the old idea partly right?

John Tyndall was involved in the Trinity House research at Lizard Point, which I animated earlier. Today I was looking again at Tyndall’s 1880 textbook on sound, trying to find a new project to keep my graphics juices flowing.

Tyndall’s description of the cochlea (p 325) shows that the pieces were fully known in 1880, but the functions weren’t settled yet.

Behind the bony partition, and between it and the brain, we have the extraordinary organ called the labyrinth, which is filled with water, and over the lining membrane of which the terminal fibres of the auditory nerve are distributed.

This is correct by modern standards, but we’re not accustomed to putting the labyrinth (semicircular canals) first.

When the tympanic membrane receives a shock, that shock is transmitted through the series of bones above referred to, and is concentrated on the membrane against which the base of the stirrup bone is planted. That membrane transfers the shock to the water of the labyrinth, which, in its turn, transfers it to the nerves.

Again correct except for the emphasis.

The transmission, however, is not direct. At a certain place within the labyrinth exceedingly fine elastic bristles, terminating in sharp points, grow up between the terminal nerve fibres. These bristles, discovered by Max Schultze, are eminently calculated to sympathise with those vibrations of the water which correspond to their proper periods. Thrown thus into vibration, the bristles stir the nerve fibres which lie between their roots, and excite audition.

This differs from modern understanding. Clearly he’s talking about the macula in each canal. Currently we see these structures as solely for sensing position and motion of the head and body, NOT as participants in sound sensing.

At another place in the labyrinth we have little crystalline particles called otolithes — the Hörsteine of the Germans – embedded among the nervous filaments, and which, when they vibrate, exert an intermittent pressure upon the adjacent nerve fibres, thus exciting audition. The otolithes probably subserve a different purpose from that fulfilled by the bristles of Schultze. They are fitted, by their weight, to accept and prolong the vibrations of evanescent sounds, which might otherwise escape attention.

In modern understanding the otoliths are the drivers of the ‘Schultze bristles’, not sound sustainers.

The bristles of Schultze, on the contrary, because of their extreme lightness, would instantly yield up an evanescent motion, while they are eminently fitted for the transmission of continuous vibrations.

Here Tyndall suggests a sort of memory function for the canals, which has been abandoned.

Finally, there is in the labyrinth a wonderful organ, discovered by the Marchese Corti, which is to all appearance a musical instrument, with its chords so stretched as to accept vibrations of different periods, and transmit them to the nerve filaments which traverse the organ. Within the ears of men, and without their knowledge or contrivance, this lute of 3,000 strings has existed for ages, accepting the music of the outer world, and rendering it fit for reception by the brain. Each musical tremor which falls upon this organ selects from its tensioned fibres the one appropriate to its own pitch, and throws that fibre into unisonant vibration. And thus, no matter how complicated the motion of the external air may be, those microscopic strings can analyse it and reveal the constituents of which it is composed.

This is perfectly unisonant with the modern understanding of the cochlea (the organ of Corti). Again the emphasis is opposite: Tyndall sees the cochlea as inside the labyrinth. We see the cochlea and labyrinth as essentially separate organs.

Tyndall’s notion of the canals as sustainers is attractive. The canals are imperfectly suited to the task of sensing motion; they’re not truly perpendicular, and each vector component affects a mix of the canals.   If the canals weren’t intended to participate in sound sensing, they wouldn’t have been part of the same structure, picking up the same vibrations from the stapes, and sharing the same nerve cable to the brain.

Acoustic memory loops were common in the early days of digital computers and calculators. A large ring containing a dense fluid like mercury is stimulated at one end, and the pattern of vibration continues resonating for a while. A semicircular canal closely resembles these memory loops.

Note that the three canals have three sizes and thus three resonant freqs.  If each canal is holding one of the three main speech formants, each canal would provide a ‘moving average’ baseline for the deltas in that formant.  These deltas are the basic currency of speech perception.

EXPonential EXPectation reprint

Inspired by NFT stupidity, here’s a reprint from 2018.

= = = = =

ABSTRACTION is the cause of EVERY SINGLE CRASH in business, government, and ordinary lives.

Abstraction has three Ds:

(1) Debt.

(2) Delusions.

(3) Drugs.

All three are unsustainable departures from real value and real work and real measurements. Sooner or later reality crashes you.

What do the three D’s have in common? EXPONENTIAL curves, or at least attempted exponentials. Debt is obvious. Compound interest IS exp by definition. Delusions and drugs both arise from a false anticipation of constant increase in pleasure or holiness or popularity or status or value.

We EXPect things to be EXPonential. Reality is TANH. The DELTAS between anticipation and reality grow larger as reality departs from our desires.

Happystar illustrates the process. First our EXPonential EXPectation:

Reality goes tanh. Up at first, then reaches saturation or maturity and holds steady. Our heads are in the clouds of EXPectation and our feet are on the ground of tanh.

Now the crucial point. Our anticipations feel like the constant standard, the point we measure from. Our EXPectations are the baseline, the goal for our error-correcting feedback. We are constantly TRYING to achieve the EXPected condition. Thus our perceived reality is DOWNWARD,

Because reality is increasingly disappointing, we have an increasing desire for SOMETHING that will restore us to standard. This is where the sellers of religion or drugs or politics or hair color or bitcoin come in. You’re not misperceiving reality, you’re just NOT TRYING HARD ENOUGH and NOT BUYING HARD ENOUGH. You need more booze, more Eucharist, more voting, more makeup.

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How about the inverse question:

Does Nature ever USE exponentials?

Well, life can’t do an unending exp, because an unending exp is physically impossible. You can only get an unending exp in math. So the question narrows: Does life create AND POP bubbles intentionally?

Of course. All the time, in an infinite number of ways. Specifically, many types of neurons are pulse oscillators, repeating an exp rise followed by a natural pop. The most common neurons of all, the granule cells in the cerebellum, are pulse code handlers. Most of the action in hearing is done by pulse codes. Toward the output of each system, the pulses are smoothed into analog motions for muscles, or integrated into longer and more complex resonances for memory patterns.

In short, Nature uses all of the PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE combinations of exp and tanh. Nature rejects the only combination we believe in.

Random grumps

A couple of random peeves.

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Most people quote the old saying as

Money is the root of all evil.

This is wrong in two layers.

First and most well known, the real saying is

Love of money is the root of all evil.

This is still one step away from the correct diagnosis.

Hatred of paying is the root of all evil.

Money is natural and innate. Trading tokens for services is part of all social structures from ants to humans. Enjoying value for its own sake, and trying to keep a store of value against future hard times, is also natural and good.

Evil comes from cheating and stealing and swindling. Unbalanced transactions. The sneaky modern swindles are gig work and IPOs and MLMs (including bitcoin), where the sucker is led to believe that he’s on the upward path, slaving for future benefits WHICH NEVER HAPPEN.

In other words,

Meritocracy is the root of all evil.

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Unrelated grump:

I’m dead tired of libertarian types blaming the voters and blaming the sheep.

Voters have no choice, and most of them realize it by now.

Sheep understand that the wolf is waiting to eat stragglers who leave the herd. The wolf doesn’t deify the stragglers as heroes and martyrs. He just eats them. At best you might be protecting other members of the herd by satisfying the wolf’s hunger for a while, but you won’t be remembered for it, and the wolf WILL get hungry again.

Sheep have a better life, and more chance for relative independence, when a competent shepherd is working the flock. There are no shepherds now. All leaders are rabid wolves.

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Pointless and ungrateful tech peeve:

Google has thousands of talented developers. Oddly, they don’t try very hard in several of their services.

Books is the most valuable part of the web by an INFINITE margin, preserving the REAL knowledge from previous centuries and making it easy to access. If I had to choose one part of the modern world to keep while the rest is deleted, the choice would be INFINITELY easy. But the search function in Books is peculiar, making it hard to search by exact title. Attempting to find the exact title doesn’t hit the book itself; it only hits mentions of the book in bibliographies or catalogs.

Blogspot is somewhat easier than WordPress on the writing and editing end, but Blogspot’s internal search function is primitive. It doesn’t have predictive actions, and doesn’t even see word boundaries. It just searches by sequence of letters.  WordPress’s internal search is sophisticated.

Google Docs is somewhat harder to use than Dropbox and a whole lot cheaper (free vs $100/year). But Docs doesn’t have a convenient way to select a group of files for download. You have to download one file at a time, or an entire folder as a ZIP.

More Girn Gibbles

Kirn’s latest pithy point is offbeam.

Perhaps the most disabling glitch affecting political conversation is people’s inability to grasp that the other side is sincere in its beliefs and views the “facts” which support them as authentic.

What’s missing here? Most beliefs are NOT sincere when declared by the politicians and influencers. Deepstate writes a script with two character roles. Each influencer knows which role to read. Influencers switch “ideas” and “ideologies” instantly when Deepstate changes the script.

Side A believes side B is insincere.  Side B believes side A is insincere.  Both beliefs are correct.


Ordinary people don’t necessarily adhere to MY TEAM’S official crap. They know that some of the official beliefs of MY TEAM are wrong. Doublethink isn’t solid. I’ve been on both “sides” at various times, and I always knew that some of MY TEAM’S points were false or destructive. I felt it was necessary to go along with the crap because MY WONDERFUL TEAM needed to win so it could continue doing exactly the same shit as the HORRIBLE OTHER TEAM.

You can see the team-first attitude in the first few months of this blog, and then the dawning realization that both teams are identical in the second year of this blog. At that time I still hadn’t abandoned neocon shit, but the counterforce was starting to accumulate. The neocon shit was especially stupid because I had previously understood the stageplay accurately, from 1969 to 1990 when I wasn’t watching TV.  In the ’90s I got phase-locked by the neocon team on TV, and it took a LONG time to break the lock.  I wasn’t able to start thinking until I tossed out the TV.

All the fine old swindles 2

Cathie Woods alias ARK Invest is a classic swindler who somehow got into a position of respected power and influence. Her claims are identical to the techy con men of 70 years ago, pushing Perpetual Energy Machines or Magic Gasoline Tablets.

She says that AI will give us annual doubling of the economy. This is crazy.

AI (big data, inference engines) has been around since 1890. It’s been a major part of corporate activity since 1960, gradually getting smarter. AI has reached the limits of its capacity, and real manufacturers know it. There’s no magic, no perpetual motion. It’s a wonderful tool when used properly, but it’s just a supercharged adding machine. It can’t make decisions without human editing, it can’t perform the most basic tasks like cleaning a floor or cutting hair. It can’t do any of the things that Cathie claims.

Model of the solution

MindMatters is worrying about hard-to-detect deepfakes in “scientific” research.

As with replication, this is not a serious problem, and doesn’t affect real research. The real problem is tenure and federal funding. Quantity, not quality.

The vast QUANTITY of low QUALITY papers is a direct result of tenure and grants.

These papers don’t matter because real labs DON’T READ THEM.

Everyone knows which papers are essentially resume enhancers and which papers are meaningful.

More to the point, serious labs are vertically integrated, with long-term projects based on earlier work in THIS LAB. We don’t need to read resume enhancers by someone else’s postdocs; we’re too busy churning out our own resume enhancers.

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We can see a nice model of the solution in the economic realm right now. For 14 years central banks have been pumping endless grants into the stock markets, with no regard for quality or profit or payback. The result is a huge QUANTITY of low QUALITY companies and fraud and deepfakes. Last year the central banks turned off the QE faucet and started to reabsorb some of the excess. The result is dramatic. The entirely fraudulent part of the fake economy (blockchain, NFT, DAO) is collapsing fast, and the semi-fraudulent tech IPOs are collapsing a bit less rapidly.

The same thing would happen in research if federal funding went away. Real labs would have to seek corporate funding or crowdfunding, and the payers would be demanding CORRECT ANSWERS TO SPECIFIC QUESTIONS. Value for pay.

Tenure would still be creating resume enhancers, but with no surplus money universities would have to eliminate tenure, or at least disconnect it from publishing. This turnaround has already started to some extent, in smaller universities that depend more on tuition and less on grants and endowments.

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Important footnote: I was looking for ‘tenure’ on Youtube. Not much, mostly hints to grad students on improving your tenure chances. Very little description of the problem.

BUT: DeSantis has just signed a law decreasing the permanence of tenure, and decreasing the power of accrediting agencies!!!!!

DeSantis is the new FDR.

He’s aiming to solve ALL THE REAL PROBLEMS, and he’s not wasting effort on nonsense or fake problems.

More mechanical Tur(k)ing

Sometimes I wonder if is at least part human, like the similar machine expertly exposed by Eric Holloway..

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Whats A Capper Food?

A capper food is a type of food that is used to cover the end of a spoon or fork to help prevent food from spilling.

What Is A Caper Taste Like?

The caper taste is a little sour, a little sweet, and a little salty. It is a type of pepper.

Are Capers Fish Eggs?

Some people might think that capers are fish eggs because they look a bit like they. However, capers are not fish eggs. Capers are a type of seafood that is related to shrimp. They are a type of bivalve mollusk.

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Looking up ‘capper food’ on Google, it’s clear that capper is a common misspelling of caper. Some texts even mix the two:

Capers and caperberries are unique to the realm of food; the tiny green flower buds are … Cappers add a firm, snappy bite to any recipe, …

So capers are actually buds. They are sometimes  described as peppers but not clams. (I thought they were little peppers.)

But there’s no Google source at all for the idea that a capper food is designed to keep liquids inside the spoon. This is an ORIGINAL IDEA, and it makes sense.

What’s more, the idea is derived from human experience, not from text processing.  I’ve used the trick a few times (in cooking, not eating), but never thought of giving it a name. Muscle memory is outside the realm of a text processor.

Is this a real advance in AI, or evidence of humans behind the curtain?

All the fine old swindles

I enjoy watching the bitcoin idiots “rediscover” and fall for all the old scams. A bitcoin thingy called Solana made a big deal of keeping perfectly accurate time “on the chain”, which is obviously necessary because obviously there are no other clocks in the world. Just like grasshoppers are the only living things that can fly. The computer says it, I believe it, that settles it. Math is the only law.

From Molly White’s wonderful aggregator:

The Solana blockchain clock drifted about 30 minutes behind real-world time on May 26, as a result of slower-than-usual slot times. Solana’s status page read that “this has no impact on performance or network operations”, though The Block noted that this time drift could result in smaller staking payouts.

Blockchain timekeeping is a selling point of Solana, which talks up its “proof of history” algorithm in a blog post where Solana Labs co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko says, “our clocks never drift”.

Note especially smaller staking payouts. I have no idea what staking payouts are, but presumably they’re the only way for suckers to get a return from whatever Solana pretends to do.

Off-standard clocks were a common feature of the more ingenious scams in earlier eras. Example 1. Example 2. The sucker thinks he’s hearing real-time race or game results, but the scammer already knows the results and delays all the clocks and watches visible to the sucker. This trick faded out in the computer era when everyone had direct access to real standard time. Now it’s back, thanks to the crazy ‘private world’ of bitcoin.

Our clocks never drift, so if you’re seeing a different time on some other clock, your other clock must be wrong! Math wins every time!

Polistra and Happystar, remembering that Nature is full of accurate clocks, are especially disgusted by this reliance on fake clocks supplied by obvious fraudsters. Centuries of painstaking work by astrologers and astronomers pinned down the rhythm of the universe. Now we’re letting the algorithm set the “only” clock, just as we let the algorithm jumble up time altogether.

It’s a book code.

Trying to track the latest in Elon vs Twitter, I noticed that Faker Trump is getting into the act with his usual random whiplash, countering Elon’s random whiplash.

I’ve discussed this post-1990 style of random-sounding disorganized emissions from leaders and commentators. It’s dramatically different from the previous organized structure. Bush Senior started it in politics, Rush started it in media.

For some reason an old connection popped up this morning. When I first observed this style in Bush Senior, he was doing something quite specific, which I saw at the time then forgot.

His random-sounding announcements were actually private signals to insiders who knew how to translate the signal and what to do in response.

All language is encryption. The purpose of language is privacy, not transparency.  This type of steganography is a book code.

When Bush Senior popped into the TV screen to read a weirdly inappropriate executive order about imports and exports, ADM knew that the order was a fulfillment of their request, and they could immediately start cornering the market.

I didn’t understand most of the signals, but I had been close enough to the ag industry to read this one. It’s a safe bet that the others were the same.

Faker Elon and Faker Trump are playing the same game. Each apparently random switchback is a signal to a certain group of politicians or traders, and each group knows what to do with the signal. It’s all imperative, not indicative.

The most famous example of this technique is BBC’s commands to the French Resistance. The Resistance leaders had a list of songs and phrases along with the information or command conveyed by each. When BBC casually played one of those songs or uttered one of those phrases, nobody else noticed. The Resistance knew how to translate.

There’s a blurry line between these action signals and ‘dog whistles’. Most dog whistles are not secret and don’t need translation. They are crude attempts to speak the inner language of a specific group. The politician is trying to crash the party, which usually fails. (See Latinx or Chief) Trump pulled this trick successfully when he stated “Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.” This is a simple fact, but previous administrations had officially defined Tel Aviv as the capital.  Trump changed a phrase on a piece of paper, with no practical effect. The phrase worked because Evangelicals are citizens of Israel, not citizens of US. They don’t give a fuck about America. The only thing they want to hear from politicians is ISRAEL, just as Repooflicans only want to hear ZERO TAX. Trump is the hyperdiametric hyperopposite of a Christian in more than every conceivable and inconceivable way, but Evangelicals idiotically followed him when he said the magic word.

AI does wokeness

Frisco continues to provide gifts for watchers of syphilitic madness:

The word “chief” will no longer be used in reference to job titles in the San Francisco Unified School District in an effort, school officials said, to avoid the word’s connotation with Native Americans. A replacement term has not been determined.

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Most commenters are missing the big point. I hit the big point in 2016.

= = = = = START REPRINT:

While the chickenshit “legislature” carefully avoids solving any real problems, they are ever so busy “solving” problems that don’t need solving. A demon from Seattle is wasting money, and (needless to say) cooperating with the Destroyers of Natural Resources, to rename a bunch of “offensive” places.

Senator Pramila Jayapal and DNR compiled a list of 48 landmarks they would like to see renamed in Washington. Jayapal says Coon Creek in King County will be targeted first for a change, with other names around the state containing the word “coon,” “squaw,” and “Jim Crow” up next.

None of those names were meant to be offensive.


People name places after stuff that happens to be there, like RACCOONS, or they name places after people who happen to live there, like a squaw or a black man.

“Jim Crow Point is named for James DeSaule, a cook for the Wilkes Expedition who deserted the U.S. Navy vessel Peacock in 1841 when it ran aground and broke up. DeSaule was a Peruvian black man, giving rise to the name for the point on which he decided to settle rather than continuing his mariner ways.”

It wasn’t named in honor of segregation; it was named for a black man who settled there. He must have been respected. The neighbors didn’t kick him out or lynch him; THEY NAMED THE FUCKING PLACE AFTER HIM. And now we’re REVERSING the respect and admiration, treating the names of those honored people as unspeakable obscenities.

= = = = = END REPRINT.

Even the defective AI at makes more sense than the wokers:

What Will Be The New Name Of The Washington Redskins?

The Washington Redskins will be called the Redskins in 2020.

What Is The Redskins New Name 2021?

The Redskins new name 2021 is “The Washington Redskins.” The name “The Washington Redskins” was chosen in a competition in which fans were able to vote on a name for the team. The name “The Washington Redskins” was chosen after a long and passionate campaign by the team’s fans. The name “The Washington Redskins” is an homage to the Redskins of the old American Football League. The name “The Washington Redskins” is also an homage to the Redskins of the ancient English Football League. The name “The Washington Redskins” is a reminder that the Redskins are a American football team and not a British football team.

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Though repetitive and loopy, this makes vastly more sense than the grotesque truth.  AI can’t imagine the depths of human depravity.

AI does bug poems

Now that we’re supposed to start eating bugs, let’s consult the ultimate AI authority on the evolution of insects. From as usual….

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Did Grasshoppers Existed Before Dinosaurs?

Grasshoppers were once widespread in the area that is now the United States. Fossils of grasshoppers have been found in North America dating back to the Cretaceous period, which is the time period that dinosaurs lived.

How Did Grasshoppers Evolve?

The grasshoppers that we see today originated about 150 million years ago. Grasshoppers are small, insect-like creatures that live on the ground. They are the only creatures in the world that can fly.

Grasshoppers have a very short lifespan. They only live for about 3-4 days.

Grasshoppers have a very small body. They are about the size of a crickets or aseeds.

Grasshoppers have very small wings.

Grasshoppers are very active. They can fly very quickly.

Grasshoppers have a very small mouth.

Grasshoppers have a very small body.

Grasshoppers have a very small head.

Grasshoppers have a very small body.

Grasshoppers have a very small antennae.

Grasshoppers have a very small proboscis.

Grasshoppers have a very small mouth.

Grasshoppers have a very small body.

Grasshoppers have a very small head.

Grasshoppers have a very small body.

Grasshoppers have a very small mouth.

Grasshoppers are the only creatures in the world that can fly.

Grasshoppers have a very short lifespan.

Grasshoppers can only live for about 3-4 days.

Grasshoppers have a very small body.

Grasshoppers have a very small mouth.

Grasshoppers have a very small body.

Grasshoppers have a very small head.

Grasshoppers have a very small body.

Grasshoppers have a very small mouth.

Grasshoppers are the only creatures in the world that can fly.

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Note the song-like pattern of verse and refrain. Or maybe it’s the AI version of a syllogism.