17 Jun 2002 chalst   » (Master)

Back from Dresden where I took part in a two-week workshop of `Proof theory and Computation' and gave a five-lecture course on `Harmonic type theory' (my course was more-or-less on an attempt to give a philosophical foundation-for/critique-of the formulae-as-types correspondence). I found the other lectures very interesting, especially that of Francois Lamarche, who has made me take seriously the `Geometry of Computation' thesis (due to the linear logic crowd), which, roughly, is that computational activity is fundamentally geometric in nature, and we should formulate our computational calculi in a way that respects the topological structure of computation in a more illuminating way.

Goingware's `Make a bonfire of your reputations': I liked reading this mini-essay very much, although I am not persuaded by it. Why not? Well, I think sometimes other people's opinions, though wrong, are threatening enough that you shouldn't challenge them. Two extreme cases make the point: at the height of Stalin's power, speaking out was quite simply suicide. `Making a bonfire of your reputations', and challenging cruelty and injustice was not a wise course of action for any Russian who put value on their life. Much better to keep silent, bide your time, and do what little things you can do without endgangering yourself.

A rather different example would be the position of a full-time Scientologist who has come eventually to the realisation that their `Church' is in fact a psycho-terrorist mafia. Here, the power that threatens those who speak out is not lethal, but rather the ability of the organisation to destroy its heretics economically and psychologically.

What's the conclusion? Well, I think to be truly happy with yourself you need to feel the power to do and say what you think is right regardless of whom you might annoy, but it really is the case that the other things in life you might lose by doing this (above: your life, your sanity and your security!) might be more important still.

World cup

The race goes not to the swift nor the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise nor wealth to the brilliant nor favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all Ecclesiates 9(11)

...but even so the three teams I'm supporting (in order, England, Germany and Senegal) are all through to the quarter final :>.

Latest blog entries     Older blog entries

New Advogato Features

New HTML Parser: The long-awaited libxml2 based HTML parser code is live. It needs further work but already handles most markup better than the original parser.

Keep up with the latest Advogato features by reading the Advogato status blog.

If you're a C programmer with some spare time, take a look at the mod_virgule project page and help us with one of the tasks on the ToDo list!