Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘chaos

Notes and tidbits posted on FB and Twitter. Part 139

Note: I take notes of books I read and comment on events and edit sentences that fit my style. I pay attention to researched documentaries and serious links I receive. The page is long and growing like crazy, and the sections I post contains a month-old events that are worth refreshing your memory.

The Phoenicians built the city-State of Thebes in Greece, 3 centuries before Athens existed. This famous city generated the illustrious Amphion, Hesiod, Corinna, Pindar, Epaminondas, Plutarch…

Three out of the 7 Greek Wise-men were Phoenicians, and among them was Thales of Miletus: born in a Phoenician City-State.

Appolonius of Tyre (60 BC) is the stoic philosopher who provided a “Tabulated account of the philosophers of the school of Zeno and their books”

Water carriers in Mecca were despised because any overflowing of water would damage the streets and homes built out of sand.

Masse7 joukh wa 3awwed al naass 3al 7arad

The Black Stone  (Ka3ba in Mecca) enshrined about 360 idols brought from around the neighboring civilizations to entice pilgrims in from all around the regions of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and India.   Idol Allah was the chief among them but failed to generate profit to owner.

It is funny these repeat scenes in movies where someone is drawing a list of pro and con qualities on the partner, and they are wondering how come the friendship lasted that long. Your 5 senses will tell you if this friendship can be sustained.

The aging process requires some kind of solitude, of larger needs for more privacy, and of hiding growing deficiencies…

Many mathematicians and scientists earned Nobel Prizes for researching the phenomena of randomness and chaos in the universe and the extremely rare events located on the tails of the Bell Curve shaped graph of the probability for the occurrence of events.

Thomas Jefferson said: “If the America people ever allow private banks to control the issuance of their currencies, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all their prosperity until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.

New research has found that simply learning a new word can spark up the same reward circuits in the brain that are activated during pleasurable activities such as sex. No wonder there are so many bookworms and scrabble addicts out there.

Einstein ventures into saying that if the old Jewish traditions relied on fear tactics to impose its values then it has outgrown it (Israel is currently totally relying on instilling fear in the region on a State scale).

Zionists insist on calling the Palestinians “Arabs”; this is not a simple general label that the Europeans used, but an ideological Zionist indoctrination to rob the native Palestinians of any national identity.

The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a number of resolutions saying that the strategic relationship with the United States encourages Israel to pursue aggressive and expansionist policies and practices.[3]

The 9th Emergency Session of the General Assembly was convened at the request of the Security Council when the United States blocked efforts to adopt sanctions against Israel.[4] The United States responded to the frequent criticism from UN organs by adopting the Negroponte doctrine.

Masse7 joukh wa 3awwed al naass 3al 7arad

A Portal to Chaos and Adventure

In a Playground?

Braden Swenson wanders into a semi-rickety wooden shed on his search for gold, treasure and riches.

“Is there any treasure in here?” he asks in the endearing dialect of a 4-year-old. “I’ve been looking everywhere for them. I can’t find any.” The proto-pirate toddler conducts a quick search, then wanders away to continue his quest elsewhere.

Eric Westervelt in MindShift | August 5, 2014

Not far away, Ethan Lipsie, age 9, clutches a framing hammer and a nine-penny nail. He’s ready to hang his freshly painted sign on a wooden “fort” he’s been hammering away on. It says, “Ethan, Hudson and William were here.”

Joseph Straus, 6, rides a zip line at the Berkeley Adventure Playground, where kids can "play wild" in a half-acre park that has a junkyard feel. (David Gilkey/NPR)

Joseph Straus, 6, rides a zip line at the Berkeley Adventure Playground, where kids can “play wild” in a half-acre park that has a junkyard feel. (David Gilkey/NPR)

“There’s a lot of things that kids built,” he explains, looking around at the playground. “It’s not adults doing work; it’s kids doing work!”

That could almost be the motto for the Adventure Playground.

This half-acre of dirt and quirky chaos hugging the Berkeley Marina on San Francisco Bay is ranked among the most innovative and creative places for kids to play in the U.S.

It’s got a semi-orderly, beachside junkyard feel. Nothing fancy or slick. Grab a bucket and brush: Kids can can paint on almost anything here, except each other. Grab some wood and nails; it’s hammer time.

Parker Swenson, 12, and his 7-year-old cousin, Tyler, have spotted some long tubes of sturdy plastic. “I dare you to go inside one and I’ll push you down the slide.”

“Yeah!” Tyler yells.

They climb in: The tubes are perfect for barreling down the modest hill here into the dirt below.

“Whoa, that was so awesome! I’m going again,” yells Tyler.

There are only a handful of these “wild playgrounds” in the country.

They embrace the theory that free, unstructured play is vital for children and offer an antidote to the hurried lifestyles, digital distractions and overprotective parents that can leave children few opportunities to really cut loose.

“It’s really central that kids are able to take their natural and intense play impulses and act on them,” says Dr. Stuart Brown, a psychologist and the founding director of the National Institute for Play.

Children need an environment with “the opportunity to engage in open, free play where they’re allowed to self-organize,” he adds. “It’s really a central part of being human and developing into competent adulthood.”

Brown says this kind of free-range fun is not just good; it’s essential. Wild play helps shape who we become, he says, and it should be embraced, not feared.

Some educators advocate “dangerous play,” which they say helps kids become better problem solvers.

PATTY’S PLACE

In Europe there are lots of these kinds of free-range public playgrounds.

They flourished after World War II. Europeans more readily embraced spaces for children to engage in what developmental psychologists like to call “managed risk.”

But in the U.S. today there are barely a half-dozen. There are the Anarchy Zone in Ithaca, N.Y., which is just two years old, and a handful of others including a few in New York City.

This one in Berkeley is run by the city’s parks and recreation department. It’s funded largely by docking fees from the adjacent marina.

But, in many ways, this is Patty’s place. “I’ve been involved here at the adventure playground since its inception — about 35 years,” says Patty Donald, the playground’s longtime coordinator.

Donald has been on a crusade to promote kid-driven, hands-on play. “A lot of people learn by touching and feeling and doing, and they excel that way,” she says. “People drive two, three hours to come here.”

Five staff members handle everything from replenishing the zip line’s dirt landing zone to facilitating wood-painting and other play activities.

They keep a careful — yet mostly distant — eye on the children and what they’re doing. If kids turn in wood with splinters or with a nail sticking out — called a “Mr. Dangerous” — they can earn paint and tools.

“You got it! Yay, Aly!” one staffer yells to a young girl as she makes her way across an old surfboard precariously balanced on a barrel.

THE CELLPHONE PROBLEM

So … why are there so few of these wild playgrounds in the U.S.?

Fear of litigation is certainly an issue.

But there are other factors, too, experts say. Among them are safety-obsessed, overprotective parents shepherding hyper-scheduled children, and the fact that in America’s cities and suburbs, play itself is in decline.

Donald worries that today’s kids are controlled, coddled — and over-scheduled. And some parents, she says, are often too distracted. “I find there are a lot of adults who don’t know how to play with their kids.”

Wait a minute, I ask: What do you mean there are parents who don’t know how to play with their kids? I’m imagining awkward, distracted parents, fiddling with their iPhones because they don’t get that they can actually interact with their children.

“Probably 75% of the parents that come in do that,” Donald says. “The cellphone probably is the biggest problem we have. The parents are standing here, they’re physically here.”

But … they’re not really present, she says.

LIKE A PILLOW

“This is awesome; this is a neat little place,” says Dave Davirro. He and his 11-year-old son, Nicholas, are in from Hawaii visiting relatives in California.

He says kids need more places like this. “They’re tearing down swings in my city,” because they’re dangerous, Davirro says. “We’re way overprotective. I want my child to experience that, you know, there is some danger in everything.”

Right now, father and son are checking out the zip line. It’s a huge draw at the Adventure Playground, and the rule is kids go first.

Any child over 6 can just let it rip, sliding right into a pile of dirt. “You know, to fall in the dirt like this is just great!” says Davirro.

At its apex, the line is about 8 or 9 feet off the ground. There’s no net.

I cautiously climb the zip line’s wooden ladder to a waiting area that’s kind of like the crow’s nest of a ship.

It overlooks the bay, all blue, calm and sunshine this day.

But the kids up here are not taking in the view. All eyes are on me. Six-year-old Rhiannon Edison seems annoyed that an adult is encroaching on the Good Ship Zip Line.

“Wait, why are you here?” Edison asks skeptically.

I tell them I’m here to do a story on the playground. The kids nod. The adult with the fuzzy microphone can stay. For now.

I ask them what they like about this place, and get a host of answers:

“The zip line.”

“It’s nice how you can build your own things.”

“I like how you can land in the dirt, but the dirt is really soft. It’s so soft that it just feels like a pillow to me.”

Enough talk — one of them zips away, down into that soft pile of sand.

Now it’s my turn.

With all my recording gear, what could possibly go wrong? I ask a little girl, a zip line pro, for advice.

“Point your feet towards the dirt so that the sand doesn’t get in your underwear” she says, adding, “and have fun.”

The kids give me a bon voyage countdown in unison. Swoosh.

The ride is quick, fast and fun. My recording gear gets a little sandy and roughed up, like it used to when I was reporting from the Middle East.

Don’t tell the NPR engineering shop, but I just might have to ride that zip line again.

This post originally appeared on NPR.

The easy ride was posted by Seth Godin on July 29, 2014

We know what you want to accomplish. We know how you’d like everything to turn out.

The real question is, “what are you willing to push through the dip for?” What are you willing to stand up for, bleed for, commit to and generally be unreasonable about?

Because that’s what’s going to actually get done.

Ironing out a few chaotic glitches; (Dec. 5, 2009)

              Philosophers have been babbling for many thousand years whether the universe is chaotic or very structured so that rational and logical thinking can untangle its laws and comprehend nature’s behaviors and phenomena.

              Plato wrote that the world is comprehensible.  The world looked like a structured work of art built on mathematical logical precision. Why? Plato was found of symmetry, geometry, numbers, and he was impressed by the ordered tonality of musical cord instruments.  Leibnitz in the 18th century explained “In what manner God created the universe it must be in the most regular and ordered structure.  Leibnitz claimed that God selected the simplest in hypotheses that generated the richest varieties of phenomena.”  A strong impetus that the universe is comprehensible started with the “positivist philosophers and scientists” of the 20th century who were convinced that the laws of natures can be discovered by rational mind.

            Einstein followed suit and wrote “God does not play dice.  To rationally comprehend a phenomenon we must reduce, by a logical process, the propositions (or axioms) to apparently known evidence that reason cannot touch.” The pronouncement of Einstein “The eternally incomprehensible universe is its comprehensibility” can be interpreted in many ways. The first interpretation is “what is most incomprehensible in the universe is that it can be comprehensible but we must refrain from revoking its sacral complexity and uncertainty”.  The second interpretation is “If we are still thinking that the universe is not comprehensible then may be it is so, as much as we want to think that we may understand it; thus, the universe will remain incomprehensible (and we should not prematurely declare the “end of science”).

            The mathematician Herman Weyl developed the notion: “The assertion that nature is regulated by strict laws is void unless we affirm that it is related by simple mathematical laws.  The more we delve in the reduction process to the bare fundamental propositions the more facts are explained with exactitude.”  It is this philosophy of an ordered and symmetrical world that drove Mendeleyev to classifying the chemical elements; Murry Gell-Mann used “group theory” to predicting the existence of quarks.

            A few scientists went even further; they claimed that the universe evolved in such a way to permit the emergence of the rational thinking man.  Scientists enunciated many principles such as “the principle of least time” that Fermat used to deduce the laws of refraction and reflection of light; Richard Feynman discoursed on the “principle of least actions”; we have the “principle of least energy consumed”, the “principle of computational equivalence”, the “principle of entropy” or the level of uncertainty in a chaotic environment.

            Stephen Hawking popularized the idea of the “Theory of Everything TOE” a theory based on a few simple and non redundant rules that govern the universe.  Stephen Wolfran thinks that the TOE can be found by a thorough systematic computer search: The universe complexity is finite and the most seemingly complex phenomena (for example cognitive functions) emerge from simple rules.

            Before we offer the opposite view that universe is intrinsically chaotic let us define what is a theory.  Gregory Chaitin explained that “a theory is a computer program designed to account for observed facts by computation”.  (Warning to all mathematicians!  If you want your theory to be published by peer reviewers then you might have to attach an “elegant” or the shortest computer program in bits that describes your theory)

            Kurt Gödel and Alain Turing demonstrated what is called “incompletude” in mathematics or the ultimate uncertainty of mathematical foundations.  There are innumerable “true” propositions or conjectures that can never be demonstrated.  For example, it is impossible to account for the results of elementary arithmetic such as addition or multiplication by the deductive processes of its basic axioms.  Thus, many more axioms and unresolved conjectures have to be added in order to explain correctly many mathematical results.  Turing demonstrated mathematically that there is no algorithm that can “know” if a program will ever stop or not.  The consequence in mathematics is this: no set of axioms will ever permit to deduce if a program will ever stop or not. Actually, there exist many numbers that cannot be computed.  There are mathematical facts that are logically irreducible and incomprehensive.

            Quantum mechanics proclaimed that, on the micro level, the universe is chaotic: there is impossibility of simultaneously locating a particle, its direction, and determining its velocity.  We are computing probabilities of occurrences.  John von Neumann wrote: “Theoretical physics does not explain natural phenomena: it classifies phenomena and tries to link or relate the classes.”

            Acquiring knowledge was intuitively understood as a tool to improving human dignity by increasing quality of life; thus, erasing as many dangerous superstitions that bogged down spiritual and moral life of man.  Ironically, the trend captured a negative life of its own in the last century.  The subconscious goal for learning was to frustrate fanatic religiosity that proclaimed that God is the sole creator and controller of our life, its quality, and its destiny.  With our gained power in knowledge we may thus destroy our survival by our own volition; we can commit earth suicide regardless of what God wishes.  So far, we have been extremely successful beyond all expectations.  We can destroy all living creatures and plants by activating a single H-Bomb or whether we act now or desist from finding resolution to the predicaments of climate changes.

            I have impressions.  First, what the mathematicians and scientists are doing is not discovering the truth or the real processes but to condense complexity into simple propositions so that an individual may think that he is able to comprehend the complexities of the world.  Second, nature is complex; man is more complex; social interactions are far more complex.  No mathematical equations or simple laws will ever help an individual to comprehend the thousands of interactions among the thousands of variability.  Third, we need to focus on the rare events; it has been proven that the rare events (for example, occurrences at the tails of probability functions) are the most catastrophic simply because very few are the researchers interested in investigating them; scientists are cozy with those well structured behaviors that answer collective behaviors.

            My fourth impression is that I am a genius without realizing it.  Unfortunately Kurt Gödel is the prime kill joy; he would have mock me on the ground that he mathematically demonstrated that any sentence I write is a lie.  How would I dare write anything?


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