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About MBM

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  • Birthday 12/25/1952

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    Michael B. Mansberg

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    Thousand Oaks, CA
  • Interests
    Philosophy, Science, Technology, Music (as a listener, not performer), Tennis
  1. Would it make you feel any better if it were pointed out that the phrase "malevolent universe" is most likely equally statistically improbable?
  2. "V is for Vendetta". That sounds like it should be the name of a Sue Grafton book.
  3. Boy, this discussion is interesting. I wish I had the time and energy to follow it more closely and participate more actively. But be that as it may.... MSK: Yesterday morning due to leaving lights on overnight my car battery was completely dead. No noise when I turned the key. No radio, no dome lights, no nothing. In this state, could my car be analagous to the carcass you mention? A fully functioning car, minus the "it" stored in the battery? Of course, the analogy breaks down in that there is no analogue of AAA that you can call to get a jump start and infuse "it" back into the carcass.
  4. Paul Mawdsley -- Darn, I wish I had more time. I'd like to respond to this post at length and in detail, but can't right now. Just a short response to one small part of it for now... It is of course true that the newborn baby doesn't have these principles established *conceptually*. I may have to think some more about this, but I do think that in some implicit way, the newborn *does* have these principles established -- they are part of the "toolset" he is born with. If that were not the case, why would the "blooming buzzing confusion" (as one of my philosophy professors in college refer
  5. I've think I've encountered the same concept as "algorithmic randomness" before, but not under the same name. I think the word used was "uncomputeable" or something like that. For example, a computer program to generate the sequence of even numbers would be very small and simple. But a computer program to generate a truly random sequence of numbers would be at least as long, if not longer, than the sequence itself. In effect, the entire sequence would have to be embedded within the program itself, rather than being generated by an algorithm (This is not to be confused with what are called "ps
  6. Well, here's one vote in favor.... Hmmm, I wonder if I can get a "Who is Simon Garrick?" meme started on the Internet? MBM
  7. Nice story, lots of silly and sophisticated wit, much LOL while reading this. And its good to hear someone say that there is virtue in one of my predominant personality traits...maybe there is hope for me yet! It seems that in browsing this forum there is an endless supply of delicious nuggets -- like being on an easter egg hunt. I'm afraid that I'll never catch up and get current, I'll forever be responding to months old posts. MBM
  8. Was that novel ever published? I don't recall ever hearing of it. If its possible to obtain a copy I'd certainly be interested. MBM
  9. This thread is very interesting to me... I continue to feel compelled to "travel back in time" to enter the conversation that took place a couple of weeks ago. I don't think free will is a manifestation of "randomness". If I exercise my will, I hope that there will be some correlation between my deliberations and my actions....if my action turns out to be "random", it can't very well be said to have been chosen (willed) by me. But, to you, my actions may *appear* random. That is, if you don't know enough about me, my character, the factors I consider in choosing my action, you would not have a
  10. Michael -- Again, commenting on an early post in the thread without having read the rest of the thread, and hoping that I'm not being redundant..... I have always thought that "randomness" is an epistemological concept, not a physical concept. "Random" more or less means the opposite of "predictable". We say something is random when we don't know enough about the factors and forces involved to predict the outcome. Throwing dice is random because we don't know enough about the initial conditions (direction, speed, and spin) of the dice, the air currents and surface imperfections of the table th
  11. As usual, I've come late to this discussion, and I am responding to an early post without having read the later ones (it will take me a while to get to them). So maybe this point is already covered/discussed... but be that as it may: I am having a little bit of difficulty with the above quote. It seems to me that "before you can look at the evidence to figure out what are things and why they behave as they do", you have to already be assuming that things *are* something and that they *do* behave in a certain way (the principle of identity), and that their *is* a reason why they behave the way
  12. Sorry, I can't resist, this, but given the title of this thread, "In Spain", I am compelled by OCD to say the following: "In Spain?" The Rain is Mainly on the Plain! Sorry about that. MBM
  13. In recent years, one idea under consideration (due to limited land availabiltiy) for expanding the Los Angeles airport (LAX), which is located close to the shore, has been to extend it out into the ocean via floating platforms. I don't know whether its still under consideration, has been found to be unfeasible, or has been rejected as too costly. But assuming that it were to be found feasible and were done, I wonder how much of a leap from that it would be to the "man-made, island nation" idea. MBM
  14. I don't see a settlement on either the Moon or Mars, at least for the foreseeable future (say 400 years). We *could* do it, but why? What are you going to get up there that you don't have here? What are you going to do there? The Moon has nothing for us, save the potential for automated astronomical observatories. The far side would be great for radio astronomy, away from Earth radio interference. Mars has nothing for us either, and is only marginally less hostile than the Moon. Actually it is hostile in different ways. If you had the capability of interstellar travel and were searching