3.559 new things: books, abbreviations (145)

Willard McCarty (MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca)
Tue, 10 Oct 89 20:49:42 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 559. Tuesday, 10 Oct 1989.

(1) Date: 10 October 1989 (58 lines)
From: Willard McCarty <MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: books of interest

(2) Date: Tue, 10 Oct 89 17:13:22 EDT (15 lines)
From: unhd!psc90!jdg@uunet.UU.NET (Dr. Joel Goldfield)
Subject: "New Meanings for ANSI Humanists.
An Abbreviation Key to the behavior of computers"

(3) Date: Tue, 10 Oct 89 17:19:03 EDT (19 lines)
From: unhd!psc90!jdg@uunet.UU.NET (Dr. Joel Goldfield)
Subject: "Additional important ANSI abbreviations"

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: 10 October 1989
From: Willard McCarty <MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: books of interest

The TLS for September 29 -- October 5 contains reviews of two books
possibly of interest to Humanists.

Roger Penrose, The Emperor's New Mind: Concerning computers, minds, and
the laws of physics (Oxford, 1989) undertakes the refutation of "strong
AI" from the fundamental principles of science. Strong AI rests on the
idea that, as Daniel C. Dennet puts it, "a computer could be conscious
-- or equivalently, that human consciousness is the effect of come
complex computation mechanically performed by our brains" (p. 1055).
Penrose attacks what Dennett, the reviewer, calls the "Cathedral of
Science", i.e. the largely unexamined structure of thought that most
scientists use without examining in detail. "No Church," Dennett
comments, "has ever enjoyed a more entrenched or authoritative
orthodoxy, an empire that expands with daily discoveries and protects
itself from swift change by the distributed, mutual myopia of its
adherents." Students of medieval history may wish to challenge this
remark, but the review, like the book, is itself challenging. Both are
preoccupied with a question that has often surfaced here in another
form: can computers offer us anything which is genuinely new?

The Uses of Experiment: Studies in the natural sciences, ed. David
Gooding, Trevor Pinch, and Simon Schaffer (Cambridge, 1989), addresses
the philosopher of science, and thus all who think philosophically about
science, with the aim of clarifying the importance and character of the
experimental method. It counters "what we may term the Athenian heresy
that used to afflict philosophers -- the assumption that experimentation
was a menial task in the service of high-minded dialectic" (1057, Brian
Pippard). This is an attitude with which computing humanists should be
very familiar! The book deals in part with what Thomas Kuhn brought to
our attention in his work on scientific revolutions: the complex
historical process by which a new paradigm for scientific work replaces
an old one. Pippard, the reviewer, quotes Max Planck: "A new scientific
truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents..., but rather
because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that
is familiar with it."

Two other quotations from the review, both Pippard's, are worth
repeating. "It may seem," he comments, "that modern physics challenges
our deepest assumptions about the reality of the material world; so it
does, but now by raising new questions additional to those that have
troubled philosophers from earliest times. These questions remain
unanswered and probably unanswerable, and the contribution of physics is
principally to enhance our disquiet by eliminating certain answers that
formerly might have soothed our doubts."

The other quotation illuminates the role of Humanist in the world of
computing humanism: "Scientists stumble towards consensus, confident
that there will always be rebellious intellects to stop gross errors
becoming unchallengeable beliefs."

Willard McCarty

(2) --------------------------------------------------------------55----
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 89 17:13:22 EDT
From: unhd!psc90!jdg@uunet.UU.NET (Dr. Joel Goldfield)
Subject: "New Meanings for ANSI Humanists. An Abbreviation Key to the
behavior of computers"

Dear Humanist Colleagues,

Have you ever wondered what the ANSI Assembler Standard really
means to computer users? The following list was sent to me recently.
I now understand why certain mysterious disasters may occur when one
uses the wrong macros or obscure abbreviations. I have added a few
for additional clarification.
Cordially submitted for your (dis)approval,
Joel D. Goldfield
Associate Professor of French
Plymouth State College (NH)
(3) --------------------------------------------------------------------

ARG: Agree to Run Garbage FTV: Fail during Technician's Vacation
BDM: Branch and Destroy Memory GBA: Guess and Branch Accordingly
BEL: Branch to Endless Loop GSI: Garble Subsequent Instructions
BFE: Branch to Fatal Error GQS: Go to Quarter Speed
BUU: Beep Until Unplugged HCF: Halt and Catch Fire
CMN: Convert to Mayan Numerals HEM: Hide Evidence of Malfunction
DCZ: Divide Checksum by Zero IDD: Inhale Dust and Die
DDM: Direct Dial Moscow IDT: Insert Damaging Typo
DDS: Damage Disk and Stop IKI: Ignore Keyboard Input
DGS: Dump Garbage to Screen IMU: Irradiate and Mutate User
DPP: Dump Passwords to Printer IPI: Ignore Previous Instruction
DSI: Do Something Interesting JPF: Jam Paper Feed
EIE: I/O JUM: Jeer at User Mistakes
EII: Emulate Infinite Incarnations JVC: Jump to Viral Code
EKS: Electrify Keyboard. Surprise! KFP: Kindle Fire in Printer
EMR: Emit Microwave Radiation LNM: Launch Nuclear Missles
EPH: Eject Print Head LOB: Load Obsolete Backup
EPS: Emulate Power Spike LWM: Load Worthless Map
ETO: Emulate Toaster Oven MAW: Make Aggravating Whine
FDT: Fudge Data to Theory MFN: Make Funny Noises
FLI: Flash Lights Impressively MWO: Move to Write Only memory
FPC: Fail Parity Check NAS: National Anthem to Speaker
FSE: Fake Serious Error NNI: Neglect Next Instruction
OBU: Overheat and Burn if Unattended
======================================================================== 31
Date: Tue, 10 Oct 89 17:19:03 EDT
From: unhd!psc90!jdg@uunet.UU.NET (Dr. Joel Goldfield)
Subject: "Additional important ANSI abbreviations"


PBT: Pause and Break Tape UBC: Use Bad Chip
PCL: Pull Cables Loose VDP: Violate Design Parameters
POS: Push Over Stack VMB: Verify and Make Bad
QWF: Quit Working Forever WAF: Warn After the Fact
QVC: Question Valid Command WSG: Write to Smoke Generator
RCC: Rotate Chip Counterclockwise XHC: eXit Here to Crash
RCS: Run in Circles and Scream XID: eXchange Instructions with Data
RWD: Read Wrong Deivce XPP: eXchange Personality w/Programmer
SCE: Simultate Correct Execution YII: Yield to Irresistible Impuse
SDJ: Send Data to Japan ZAM: Zero All Memory
SUI: Superfluous Unneeded Instruction
TTC: Tangle Tape and Crash