Thursday, October 06, 2005

Kurzweil and big numbers

I picked up Kurzweil's new book (I might review it later), The Singularity is Near. In an interesting section on the limits of computation and storage called "How Smart is a Rock", he calculates a minimum information density for a 1 kg rock to be 10^27 bits, and that it can perform at least 10^42 changes in state per second, considering EM interactions alone. This works out to roughly 10^24 bytes/cc, 10^39 cps/cc.
This seemed large until I found that 3 years ago I had "designed" a future bio-chip that was only 6 magnitudes off, and I had handicapped myself by both shielding for electron tunneling effects and only considering one mode of info storage. Eliminating both of these would put me up in that region.
Daviditron has me thinking hard about the computational power of raw nature, especially as it regards the formation of life out of non-life. Like myself, he's latched onto surface areas, although the direction he's going in seems very surreal. Not like all these large numbers seem very real either.
If we take as an approximation to 2D space a thin slice 1 micrometer thick, the info density of 1cm2 is 10^8 terabytes, executing 10^35 cps, and it's all energy-maximizing parallel processing. While this isn't human information, like sight or sound or tactile info, but rather the substrate for it, and not a human scale, it is a rough (and most likely low) approximation to Nature's evolution-wise scale.
So, for every cc of raw pre-life organic goop, we have at least 10^42 cps, operating on itself, finding ways to maximize energy use. For every cm2 of surface area on bubble membranes, on sea floor bottoms, and on crystalizing surfaces, we have 10^35 cps. For the number challenged, that calculation power is to the computer on your desk as the computer on you desk is to Paris Hilton doing long division. Roughly.

This probably doesn't help you very much, but I'm a bit closer to understanding how life could arise from non-life.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Alright, already!!

Well, I guess I'm back.
Not with much.
Just a note to whomever: this is not an inactive account, just a very lazy one.
Perhaps in hibernation.
Please stop thinking you can have it.

{Procol Harum - Shine on Brightly}

Let's see. Read House of Leaves*, if you want to have trouble sleeping, and like confronting nothingness. A novel with few peers.
I'm half-way through the last book - The Amber Spyglass - of Pullman's His Dark Materials.
There's alot inside, swirling around, about Gnosticism and numbers and morals and Design and craft and writing and most of all moving. This last line, I guess, is about both me and the book. Maybe that's why it's resonating so strongly with me.

Well, maybe I do have something personal.
I spent most of today at work writing a How-To manual for one of the new procedures at work. I get to do this as apparently I know it better than anyone else in the entire company. Yippee me. 7 pages of dense material, all along the lines of "if this, then do that, unless this something else, then do either of these two things, watching out for the following, ...", pointed paragraph after paragraph. Anyway, I'm a so bored that I almost watched an early epidose of Andromeda when I came home: ooh, pretty colours, cheesy acting, hmmm Cheese...
Which I got up to eat, tearing myself away from modern day Shakespeare, then came to the warmer realms of web, only to find that Blogger wants me to change my password because I requested it. Which I so, so didn't.
But thankfully somebody did, and now, well, I'm back. :S

*There'd be a link here to some online thingie about the book, but I'm not quite ready to read other people's ideas about what's going on. I don't want any hints to this riddle, I want to make my own paths in the Garden, I want to leave my own marks on the wall of the Labyrinth.

{Jimi Hendrix Experience - I don't live today}