Thursday, December 8, 2016

Gamification and Making of Money and Getting Good Grades

I think that gamification is a model for understanding the love of money and for understanding academic excellence, or rather, academic high achievement.

I was grading papers and it occurs to me that gamification might be a good metaphor for understanding academic achievement.  I mean beyond getting a gold star on your homework, but a more adult business version of gamification.

Then I think maybe we could interpret the love of money--as a subset of ordinary economic activity--as a subset of the gamification of productivity.  Productivity in itself doesn't drive accumulation of wealth, but maybe it would if we viewed it under the rules of gaming.

The ends that we seek in schooling and in moneymaking are, at the base, necessities. For the things people learn, it is important (historically and in principle) to master both the process of learning (virtues and habits that support academic achievements) and the product of learning (instant recall of facts and narratives).  But these necessities aren't transparently obvious to those involved in learning or moneymaking--at least, at the time when the work is onerous, and excepting when hunger drives labor.  But everyone can grasp the seeming goodness of a gamified process and their metaphorical Gold Stars.

On gamification--a fairly random selection on the subject: "Do you want to run a digital business? Gamification is a must."

Monday, August 1, 2016

Go home and lead a quiet life.

Today August 1 2016

I think I want to carry my life forward whether anyone but God is watching or not.  God is always watching me, and I want to always watch God, set my eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

Re: other people, love is the #1 priority.
After that, I want to stay focussed on my inner guidance system.  I so often compromise my own practical good for the sake of keeping the peace.

About the election, I need to not be engaged, except for to pray and fast.

When Roe v Wade was decided, people who loved the unborn said that God would judge us.  Pooh pooh, the choice people said.

A few years ago when the Supreme Court said that an individual's right to decide for oneself what the truth is, what the meaning of life is--established this radical autonomy right, First Things magazine, and I in concurrence, said that this was the end of democracy.  Others said Pooh, pooh.

I studied Jeremiah and Isaiah.  Yes, it can happen.

A few years ago, our church made a radical reversal on following the scriptures to not following the scriptures on the household commandments.  I believe that God gave me a word then that He was judging us, and that He held up the plumbline, and that He was done with us.

What we can do is be faithful to our calling, as far as we can, with whatever is under my/our/the reader's own purview; and can be faithful to pray and intercede and support (as did Jeremiah and Isaiah) those who are over us in God's lines of authority.

And we can stay in the Lord, in the Lord's armor, and live quiet lives as much as it is in one's own ability.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Modern Cosmology and Creation.

I refer the reader to the linked article.  
The author of the article makes these main points.  

My only quibble is to press to find out if the mechanisms of creation are really part of the doctrine or really excluded from the doctrine.  Our author claims that the mechanisms are excluded.  I am not persuaded, altogether.  Although if it is, it make my job easier, which is neither here nor there.

There is a claim that humans have a special place in all of existence, or nature, or creation.  That claim seems incredible, incredulous, considering the reality of modern cosmology.

If someone wants to argue that we're special because of some alleged "fine tuning" of reality to make room for us, it is, first of all, a far weaker claim than Christian theism needs; and that the uncaused cause (alleged to be God) could be the initial state of the universe, not a Creator.  Plus, the default position is atheism, which is not refuted.

Cosmology accounts for changes, not for origins.  As does all of science.
The fundamental sense of the Christian doctrine of creation is of the metaphysical dependence of all things on God. Temporal origins of the universe are not the dependence origins: apples and oranges.

Further, there is not necessarily a temporal sequence between cause and effect.  Metaphysics addresses ultimate causes of existence, and reason demonstrates that there is creation, re Thomas, in that there is a distinction of existence and essence of all things.

This doctrine, which is THE doctrine of creation, is not challenged by modern cosmology.

The Christian tradition accepts philosophical metaphysics within it, and adds to it, both the temporal finitude of the world and that creation is an act of divine love.

The philosophy of nature, not natural science itself, is the place to discuss intelligibility, randomness and chance in the meaningfulness of objects of creation or nature.  Metaphysics is at home here, and for the believer, so is theology.

Regarding the default position of atheism, the doctrine of Creation does not need to invoke God to give a scientific account, because the created order is an autonomous and integrated reality that enables scientific truths to be discovered, wherein real causes, subordinate to God's having created the real causes to locate in creation, can be found.  Subsidiarity, or enabled actions, do not deny God's sovereignty, but result from it.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Words or Music? I wonder.

Should I give myself to studying music, or learning more propositional knowledge?  The end of the first is to make new music, and the end of the second is to make new propositional knowledge; and also to teach others music and to teach others propositional knowledge.

Don't know.  Sorting my way through, down here at the crossroads.  But nobody seems to know me, they all just pass me by.

Back to topic.  Music makes me happy, keeps me at peace.  Most of the rest of life is preoccupied with keeping things on an even keel.

Plus, I sense a nudge from God to back out of my previous strategies to keep on balance.  Not overt sins, but not where I want to go ultimately.  What I've been doing is not my telos.  This nudge shifts the balance to make making music a high contender for what to do with my life hereon.

Home. Family. Teaching students.  Making music.  Keeping the farm running, as it were.  No great thing, all in all.  Like Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, if someone wants me for something, they know where I am.  And if God wants me, I hope I can hear Him when He whispers.

"How Improbable." A plot for a story, and a too close for comfort previous story

Had a dream that gives me a premise for a plot for story.

Two people are talking.  The Hearer is done, is ready to turn and go and do whatever he's going to do; but he also didn't understand what the other person was saying, exactly.

At this point, reality in a multiverse branches, and both versions of the Hearer go on within their respective Realities.  At some point, one or the other Hearer is ready to rejoin the other one, because the other one is better off.  It might be five seconds, might be five minutes.

Much longer? I don't know what that would do to the story.  We could stipulate a 5 minute limit; or not.  We could also stipulate that there is always no more than Hearer Prime, a branching Hearer1 and a branching Hearer2.

So the realities merge into the chosen track.

Let's say that the Hearer1 who walked off actually heard it all correctly.  The Hearer2 that lingered might then rejoice the other Hearer1 in a unified timeline, becoming again, HearerPrime.

The additional element in my dream was that EVERYBODY could do this.

Thus endeth the dream.

There was a story in Justice League of America/JLA, about 7 years ago, right before the New 52, that used a similar (but different) notion.  The evil villain split into unlimited many versions of himself to play the odds in unrigged situations and at least one of the versions of himself would win the bet.  If the odds are 20:1 to win a drawing, or to get a job, he would become 20 versions of himself.  Then they would all meet and merge with the winning version.  The winning version became immensely powerful over time.  The downfall, as I vaguely recall, was that he could only play his trump card, super power, so many times, and then something bad would happen, like he would die or run out of luck or something.  But I'm not using that same power, just remembering when the plot had been used before.

12. JLA #18-19 “The Strange Case of Dr. Julian September”

Title: Synchronicity
Release Date: May 1998
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciller: Howard Porter
Inker: John Dell
JLA Members: SupermanBatmanWonder Woman (Hippolyta), AquamanGreen Lanternthe Flashthe Martian ManhunterPlastic ManSteelHuntressBarda, and Oracle.
Bad Guys: Julian September.

So what happens?
The JLA is suddenly being plagued by strange coincidences and disappearances: Plastic Man and Aquaman just happen to be in the same part of the Snake River to catch some bank robbers, then Aquaman vanishes; Huntress just happens to be in the right place to foil an assassination attempt on Bruce Wayne, then she disappears; Wonder Woman, Superman, and Steel save seven airliners from crashing into each other, then Steel disappears; Zauriel and Orion also mysteriously vanish. Rains of lizards plague Ohio, a piece of Skylab falls into the National Air and Space Museum, and typhoid strikes every single person in Wyoming with the last name "Dixon". All this while the number 7 eerily crops up over and over and over and a man named Julian September wins a Nobel Prize, makes millions on the stock market, AND wins seven lotteries in a row...

After the Justice League stops seven different supervillains who have decided, independently and by pure coincidence, to try to kidnap the President at the same time (and after Barda also pulls a mysterious disappearing act), they discover that Julian September has also somehow become the President! Turns out that September used to be a quantum physicist who discovered how to manipulate probability. Shocked that he's been found out, September cranks his "Engine of Chance" into overdrive, causing an earthquake in Washington and making seven Tokyo skyscrapers simultaneously burst into flame. Luckily, Batman is able to break the Engine, and September disappears. Unfortunately, the laws of probability are continuing to break down, and more and more bizarre things are changing by the minute.

Luckily, Batman has it all figured out. He says the recurring sevens seem to be the universe's way of using synchronicity to tell them, first of all, that there won't be any more disappearances--the League now consists of exactly seven members. And most importantly...

With that, Batman disappears...

Title: Seven Soldiers of Probability
Release Date: June 1998
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciller: Howard Porter
Inkers: John Dell and Walden Wong
JLA Members: SupermanWonder Woman (Hippolyta), the Martian Manhunterthe FlashGreen LanternPlastic Man, and Oracle.
Guest Stars: The Atom.
Bad Guys: The Probability Cancer.

So what happens?
With the disappearance of Batman, the JLA has been pared down to exactly seven members, including the computergenius (and former Batgirl) Oracle, who has discovered that Batman no longer exists because historical probability has been altered to save his parents from being killed so many years ago. And history and probability continue to change radically, changing America back to a British colony and speeding up the Earth's rotation.

The JLA goes out hunting for Julian September, hoping he can help fix the situation, but they discover that, by an unfortunate coincidence, he has just died of a heart attack. When Oracle balks at decoding September's encrypted computer files, J'onn accuses her of gambling that history could change to keep her from being paralyzed, but she says she's trying to figure out a way to keep Bruce Wayne's parents alive for good. Reluctantly, Oracle unlocks the files, but without any scientific background, the current Leaguers don't understand September's notes. And then J'onn unexpectedly starts to disappear also--but before he goes, he tells the rest of the team that the Atom is about to arrive. In a bizarrecoincidence, the Atom, a trained scientist, does indeed arrive on the scene soon afterwards, and he figures out what's going on...

Here's what happened--and this is the cool bit, 'cause it's based on a real-world experiment AND real-world results: September, working on a subatomic level, divided seven photons and found that any alterations he made in one half of a photon was instantly mirrored in the other half, no matter how far apart they were, with no physical link between the two halves. The experiment suggested that there was an interdependence between all things and all events, that everything is tied together somehow. September believed he could control synchronicity and coincidence by controlling the halved-but-linked photons, but he accidentally severed the links between the photons, creating a Probability Cancer that was poisoning the stability of reality.

So the Atom shrinks the JLA down to a microscopic size so they can all put the halved photons back together and repair the universe, but the Probability Cancer doesn't want to be cured, so it starts fighting back, changing Green Lantern into another person entirely and severely burning the Flash. But at the last possible second (is there any other kind of rescue in the comics?), they get the last photon together, and reality reverts back to normal.

With all the Leaguers returned from limbo, Oracle asks J'onn how he knew the Atom was about to appear. The answer, J'onn explains, is very simple: of all the superheroes who have ever served the JLA, the Atom was the seventh to join.

And now you know...the rest of the story...

Cool Moments!
The JLA forming a human chain to connect the last two photon halves--very cinematic...

Cool Quotes!
Green Lantern, after being shrunk: "Wait. I'm confused. If we're smaller than light particles now, how are we even seeing?"
Atom: "You're not...not in any human way. The five senses become something else entirely at this level. Your mind's doing you a favor. It's processing all this into familiar visuals so you won't go insane. By the way, you're not breathing oxygen, either. It's best not to think about it."
Green Lantern: "No kidding."

Monday, October 19, 2015

Praying when God already knows!

The current pope wrote these comments, and I thought they captured my thoughts well.

"37.  It is time to reaffirm the importance of prayer in the face of the activism and the growing secularism of many Christians engaged in charitable work.  Clearly, the Christian who prays does not claim to be able to change GOd's plans or correct what he has foreseen.  Rather, he seeks an encounter with the Father of Jesus Christ, asking God to be present with the consolation of the Spirit to him and his work.  A personal relationship with God and an abandonment to his will can prevent man from being demeaned and save him from falling prey to the teaching of fanaticism and terrorism.  An authentically religious attitude prevents man from presuming to judge God, accusing him of allowing poverty and failing to have compassion for his creatures.  When people claim to build a case against God in defense of man, on whom can they depend when human activity proves powerless."

One more thing.
In Thomas's words, God grants us the DIGNITY OF CAUSALITY.  That is, God wants something done.  So he puts it in the mouths of his people to ask that it gets done.  Then by asking according to God's will, God will do it.  If people do not ask what He gives them to ask, He has chosen to not simply do it without them.  That is, as a rule, according to the default way that God has chosen to relate to us.