opening it up with Common Lisp
Book review: Darwinia
Summer reading: Spin
the Omnivoire's Delimma
the Golem's Eye
This is a paper (pdf) that hits all the buzzwords hard and then hits them some more. We've got evolution, complex adaptive systems, power laws, dynamical systems, fitness landscapes, memes, phemes, and all the rest. The goal is to use memetics (which sounds way too muchlike dianetics to make me comfortable!) to explain culture and society. The chief problem is that (in the papers own words)
(The writing style -- loosely speaking -- doesn't help)
The level of abstraction hides some much philosophical sleight of hand and wooly thinking that no amount of formalism, charts and graphs can save us.
This is one of the oldest self-inflicted tricks in the book of bad simulation: insert that which is to be proved into the foundations of the simulation and be astonished when the simulation acts that way (note that I'm not suggesting bad faith on the practitioner of the paper -- it's just that natural stupidity is something that must be fought against constantly.
In closing, I should mention that this paper is one of the references for a United States Army SBIR Request for Proposal. The RFP is reasonable enough but if this paper is supposed to be guidence... I'm more frightened than ever.
Copyright -- Gary Warren King, 2004 - 2006