Sunday, May 06, 2007

Back To The Roots

As it seems, my efforts to pass the baton were not that successful.

Sorry, Miss Celania – and many, many thanks to MoxxieGrl for the great post in reply. And many thanks to both of you for appreciating a network of thoughtful blogs as highly as i do.

Also thanks to Believe in Your Visions, whose site was down for nearly a week, so that he had to reply here. The other ones seem to care not much about the thinking bloggers, or maybe they just don’t care about me or didn’t like my words?

Hard to know.

So i decided to talk about something i do understand a little better than networking.

I want to go back to my roots, want to remember the “Road to Chaos”.

See, everyone is now discussing Global Warming, at least for a day or two...

some say it is dangerous, some say it can be profitable, some say they can’t care less – but no one seems to doubt that it can be calculated and controlled.


For a chaos mathematician, Heinz-Otto Peitgen, who doubts that climate can be fully modelled. I don’t know why he thinks so, but there are two reasons why he is right.

First reason, in general: my “native” theme – information. Information is repeatable, identifiable action. Information is the foundation of any model or calculation, of any prognosis or control. Information creates process and processes create cycles. Gaia is just that, a complex intertwined network of cycles, offering enough information for enough time, so that a species with a complex intertwined network of neurons could evolve: We, the Avatar of Gaia, the most complex information processing system which the everlasting stream of ordered action could create.

Looking at the definition of information, you see the preconditions to be satisfied to allow calculations and controls: Identity and Repeatability. Both are not that simple as first impressions suggest. Because identity needs uniqueness and repeatability needs time. To detect uniqueness you have to detect an “attribute of all” with a value “never belonging to more than one” instance. The next step is repeatability: after identifying a special kind of change you have to prove that it behaves in the same way “for the whole time”.

It’s all about measuring, you see? All about the difference between physics and mathematics.

In mathematics, you can easily claim “For All” or “It exists” – in physics you cannot do that, because “For all” really means “For all”, not just “for most” – for all in time and space, for all yesterday, now and tomorrow. Mathematics can do that because mathematics doesn’t know time. But physics IS time, is change, is alteration. What was yesterday, is not what is today. And what is today will not be what is tomorrow. There is always a beginning and always an ending, so to consider all members of such a set, you must be able to know all the members of that set from the beginning of the universe “til the end of time”.

You can’t do that. So you never can decide uniqueness and therefore identity in a perfect mathematical manner and likewise you can’t decide repeatability, because you cannot look into the future. What was true yesterday can be wrong tomorrow.

Luckily for life...

it is all about measuring.

So “for all” in physics it can be enough, if it is valid “for all” in a space and time frame, much larger than the space and time frame of the observers. So for information processing systems like biological species it is perfectly sufficient when identity and repeatability are given in their environments longer than several of their own lifetimes.


regarding the modelability of climate – what IS the time frame to detect information? And, more important – what happens with all the events beyond that time frame, what about all the action which is NOT information? Think of the catastrophic mass extinctions about every 62 million years, think about solar cycles (affecting climate), the wandering of the solar system in the galaxy (maybe causing an increase in comets), think of the everlasting action inside our Earth, of the vulcanos able to change weather for some years.

Too many parameters, too many cycles – and too little knowledge about the whole amount of action existing on and around Earth, because there is much more random, faceless action than identifiability and repeatability.

And what we do with our un-wise actions is to increase the ratio randomness/total action ==> to decrease the ratio information/total action, a ratio, which is crucial for any information processing system, which is crucial for the ability of Gaia to build complex cycles and for her ability...

to generate a complex Avatar.

And? Remember that information is the precondition for calculability and controllability aka modelability?

With the decreasing ratio information/total action we lower the calculability of Gaia and her subsystems like climate.


The more changes we burden Gaia with – the less we can foresee what will happen. Because we really create randomness – and randomness is not predictable.


We can still calculate some subsystems, but their impact on the whole...


I guess, that is what Heinz-Otto Peitgen wants to tell us, when he says: “we can predict the average temperature of the oceans, but have no clue what that means to climate in toto.”

Second reason, in particular:

Gaia is a chaotic system as well as her subsystem, the climate:

Chaos theory:
”Everyday examples of chaotic systems include weather and climate.”

And chaotic systems can be destroyed in a very dangerous way, easy step by easy step by easy step...


”Sensitivity to initial conditions means that each point in such a system is arbitrarily closely approximated by other points with significantly different future trajectories.”

Do you see?

Yes, chaotic systems are “deterministic” in the meaning of “informative” – and yes, they obey the precondition of repeatability: the same initial state always leads to the same end state.


and here, world, introducing the power of infinity to you...

you see, why IKI – infinity kills information...

because that simply means that even “arbitrarily closely approximated” is NOT “equal”...

or IOW: too many variables create too many states, so that it is nearly impossible to reproduce “the same initial state”...

and that means? No ability to predict “this will lead to that state” in toto...

that means

”significantly different future trajectories.”

Hey, rich kiddy, Paris-Hilton-style...

you can’t just do what you want without caring about reality...

you will have to pay, understand?

Because chaotic systems can stand many changes without showing any reaction, they are able to buffer input for a long while “with a poker face”. But when they start to react, it’s high time: Period doubling phase.

I don’t know which variables to choose to find the significant cycles showing period doubling, don’t know if the diminishing of species, the “mass extinction caused by an expanding population of humans, industry and agriculture consuming natural habitats, contamination poisoning the food chain”, if “expected climate damage in North America... [the increase of] tornadoes, drought, flooding and fires” (you know, that statement removed at the behest of the United States) ...

can be used to estimate the “level” of period doubling, to determine the phase of the period doubling cascade, we are in now.

But we all can feel the change of that gigantic chaotic system, our climate. It is happening. Our great Mother Earth changes...

she reacts – but as a chaotic system with much too many subcycles she is NOT predictable...

in toto.

We know that ice ages were triggered by many different factors, we know, that maybe our Earth Was Completely Covered by Ice – several times, but we also know that Earth was warmer.

So what?

What had happened once, can happen twice – but which direction? Warming may be controllable, but warming may also cause a collapse leading to ice ages or leading to deserts...

who knows?

So what why worry?

Because life survived the ice planet and “Life Flourished When Earth Was Warmer, Scientist Says”:

”"The last 2 million years don't have anywhere near the full range of climate history," Parrish emphasized.”"

And Judith Parrish, the fearleass geologist, who isn’t scared by global warming, tells us, why she isn’t scared:

”The Cretaceous describes the period 113 million to 65 million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the planet. Geological evidence indicates that during the Cretaceous, as during much of the Earth's history, the planet was much warmer than it is today -- and generally warmer than it is projected to be in the next few centuries as the result of a buildup in greenhouse gases."

That means?

That life will survive, Gaia will survive as she survived the complete frost and the hot deserts.

But we, as the “current” Avatar, can’t stand much change away from the current state, because it is “our optimum”. And what happens on top of the hill? There is always only ONE direction to go, Ms. Parrish...

You may understand tectonics, but you don’t have a clue about information and cycles and interactions...

you even don’t see what you yourself say about your own species. Look at your own words:

”The last 2 million years don't have anywhere near the full range of climate history"

But actually, it was exactly that climate – of the last 2 million years – creating our brain, dear. You yourself tell us, that Earth has seen other times...


We, as her Avatar, should be scared to death, because we, as her Avatar, needs her continuity most. Her current state is/was the state which created us, her current state is/was the state we are optimized to.

Every change of an optimum MUST be a change to the worse. Oh, yes, sure, our species is “scalable”, but how much? When Ms. Parrish herself tells us, that we never experienced the “full range” of climate power of Earth...

How can we be sure that our “scalability” is sufficient for “the full range”?

Can we survive an ice planet? Can we survive a desert planet?

Life will survive, yes.

But our ability to survive is limited – we are too complex, dears. Maintaining and reproducing a body and a brain like ours is a difficult task, a task so challenging, that it was reason for the “premature state” of our babies, weak, helpless, vulnerable.

They, kids, are our Achilles’ heel, ever thought about that? Ever thought, that our culture, our knowledge, our civilization may have started with medicine, just for one reason? Not because of the strong hunters, but because...

of our Achilles’ heel? To let them, the future of the species, survive?

But – who cares about future, isn’t it?

So think again – think and read about chaotic systems, about period doubling, about Gaia, about complexity and interaction and the butterfly effect...

and then, maybe, you see...

what can be.

Not only death of pesky foreigners, not only starvation of Asians or Africans, not only death of your grandchildren...

or death of your children...

it might hit you.

When you drive your SUV, when you waste water and energy and poison the Earth...

it may not wait until you’re gone. The more careless people do that that higher is the propability...

that what you send around...

comes back around.

Comes back right to you.

Are you now scared, dear?


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