Monthly Archives: February 2020

Sideband #67: Fraction Digits in Any Base

Fractional base basis.

I suspect very few people care about expressing fractional digits in any base other than good old base ten. Truthfully, it’s likely not that many people care about expressing factional digits in good old base ten. But if you’re in the tiny handful of those with an interest in such things — and don’t already know all about it — read on.

Recently I needed to figure out how to express binary fractions of decimal numbers. For example, 3.14159 in binary. And I needed the real thing — true binary fractions — not a fake that uses integers and a virtual decimal point.

The funny thing is: I think I’ve done this before.

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One of the older notes on my idea board is a tiny Post-It™ with just a single word written on it: recrudescence. Wiktionary defines it as: “The condition or state being recrudescent; the condition of something (often undesirable) breaking out again, or re-emerging after temporary abatement or suppression.”

It is primarily a medical term referring to a disease reoccurring; the second Wiktionary definition is: “The acute recurrence of a disease, or its symptoms, after a period of improvement.”

But when I encountered the word several years ago, it struck me as a very good word for this “post-factual” era: the Dark Ages rises again.

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How Do You Love Books?

The internet has always been a place of raging controversy, from the profound to the trivial. I’m not the first to observe that people, at least in our culture, tend to divide fairly equally over many issues. Be it about important issues (like guns or abortion), or about the trivial (like computer games or actors), we rarely agree on anything.

It starts when someone says something and people react. Then more people react to the people reacting (and new people get on board with reacting to what the first person said, starting new waves of reaction). More and more people react to reactions, and the epidemic spreads.

This mind virus was about hurting books, so lots of people had opinions.

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Political Pendulum

For those who value character and honesty, politics has become increasingly depressing. To put it mildly. There never really was any hope the enthralled and craven Republican members of Congress would defy their cult leader. It’s a pity the Democrats didn’t play their hand better, but at least we got the asterisk in the history book.

And then we get kicked in the nuts by Iowa in what, make no mistake, was a stunning case of incompetence and stupidity. This was an unforced double (or triple) error I’ll rant about more when I learn more details.

One thing is clear: This is going to be a very strange — and no doubt very ugly — 2020 political season.

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Flying Fireworks

I don’t know if YouTube’s algorithm handed me the Intel drones video due to all the aviation videos I’ve been watching or due to the Kīlauea volcano videos done using drones (which led to other using-drone videos — it’s amazing how the drone thing mushroomed).

Point is, the drones video probably isn’t synchronous with my recent interest in aviation — more a direct consequence. But I’ve followed Tom Scott’s channel for years, so his entry into this Wednesday Wow post definitely is a case of synchronicity.

It’s also an airshow I’d really like to see!

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TV Endings

This past Sunday I watched and very much enjoyed the last ever episodes of The Good Place (CBS). I’ve avoided articles about it in my newsfeed, but a headline or two suggested some fans weren’t satisfied. (A rant for another time: Clickbait headlines and headlines with spoilers. So annoying.)

Maybe some fans just didn’t want the show to end, which I get, but I appreciate knowing when and how to make a graceful exit. I like the way the show’s creator, Michael Shur, effectively said, ‘This much and no more.’

As it turns out, it’s not the only show I watch that’s ending. Several of them are. (And there’s one or two I really wish would call it quits.)

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BB #66: Aspects vs Properties

This post, and several that follow, veer into fairly trivial territory. Which, I suppose, is relative. To some, all my posts may be trivial, whereas to me none of them are. At least not totally, although some are less con carne than others. As it turns out, this week I’m serving salads.

More accurately, cleaning out my closet or, even more accurately, collection of — not even half, but — lightly baked post ideas. I’m one who jots down thoughts in case they grow into something interesting. Some do, but others never grow much beyond the seed.

Case in point: the difference, if any, between aspects and properties.

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Searle vs Gödel

In this corner, philosopher John Searle (1932–), weighing in with what I like to call the Giant File Room (GFR). The essential idea is of a vast database capable of answering any question. The question it poses is whether we see this ability as “consciousness” behavior. (Searle’s implication is that we would not.)

In that corner, philosopher and mathematician Kurt Gödel (1906–1978), weighing in with his Incompleteness Theorems. The essential idea there is that no consistent (arithmetic) system can prove all possible truths about itself.

It’s possible that Gödel has a knockout punch for Searle…

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