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Perpetual Dreams

March 5th, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Stories | #
Another story I watched play out like a movie in my dream - ironically this one about a character dreaming...

A man lives his life through many lucid dreams.  In them, he is aware he is dreaming and can pick the setting or story he wants to live in.  One thing he can't control though is that the dreams seem to randomly end and reset.  While he keeps his memories from past dreams, no one else in the dream seems to remember.  Over time, he starts noticing a person who is always in the dream.  It starts off with them just passing each other by, walking in the same direction, or other small coincidences, but eventually they end up in the same scenes or situations as well.  She ends up being the only constant between each dream, and they share many adventures together.  However, whenever he tries to talk directly with her and figure out who she is, the dream cuts off.  It doesn't help that she also always forgets everything as well, so every...[More]
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Data Does Not Equal Fact

January 24th, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Essays | #
"Data!=Fact: Inductive vs Deductive Reasoning"

Part of my frustration with all the focus on big data, statistics, quant, and numbers in general is that these are all forms of inductive reasoning.  Amidst all the hype around being more data driven, we seem to have to forgotten that inductive reasoning only provides an estimate of world.  It does not and cannot prove anything.  Evidence alone does not provide truth.  Data does not equal fact.

There are two main forms of reasoning:  inductive and deductive.  Inductive reasoning is the process of generalizing from a few observations to a general conclusion.  Deductive reasoning is the process of understanding what must be true and apply to something more specific given a premise or broader assumption.  The former is emphasizes correct observation while the latter emphasizes actual logical flow and reasoning, the how and why as opposed to just what it is you are seeing.

Inductive Reasoning...[More]
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Reflections of 4D

January 8th, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Ideas | #
A nice read- https://gizmodo.com/two-experiments-show-fourth-spatial-dimension-effect-1821739488

Essentially if a 3D object has a 2D shadow, what if we looked for the 3D shadow of a 4D object? My thought is take it further - If our reflections are 2D, what about 3D reflections of a 4D object?

If you think about it, the answer to crossing all spacial dimensions is light.  We always perceive visually in two dimensions even though we live in three.  Just as a flat movie screen serves as the window into our 3D world, it is likely that our 3D world serves as a window to the 4th. This starts to relate also to where Virtual Reality and brain-interface technologies are going; I'd imagine that some combination of the two fields would be necessary for us to perceive more than just in 3D space.

Although somewhat...[More]
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The City of Eden

December 30th, 2017 | Posted by pftq in Ideas | #
Imagine a city where everyone could live in absolute luxury, indulge to their greatest desires, and never have to work or earn a living. It sounds wasteful and unsustainable, but if it actually existed, it might instead save the world.

This is because everyone who actually wants to live in comfort and pleasure would go there.  It would concentrate the bulk of the population in one place while leaving the rest of the world free and preserved.

The best part is that there would be no need to force people to go.  This is most people's idea of heaven on Earth.  This is what most people work all their lives to attain and retire to.  They would *want* to come here.

And for those...[More]
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Steps to Biological Immortality

December 4th, 2017 | Posted by pftq in Ideas | #
I'm not going to hide it.  I want to live forever.  I don't think there's anything wrong with that or that it's "unnatural" or "unethical."  People often act offended on this topic.  "Why are you so greedy? Why so selfish?" But to them, I ask, why is it so bad to want to live? To who do I owe such a huge debt to that I am obligated to die?

One of my personal beliefs is that it is within our lifespans that we will figure out how to prolong our lives indefinitely - aka biological immortality.  Note this is different from actual immortality where you can't die at all; here we are just referring to dying of age.

At the same time, I don't believe there's such thing as a "natural death."  It is not necessary to die, and not all things do, even in nature.  Jellyfish and lobsters are both good examples, where their bodies never really deteriorate no matter how old they get.  Some will get technical and say that lobsters die of getting too large or their shell becoming too much to molt, but that's besides the point, which is that they don't actually lose vitality or youth over time like we do.  Their actual cells do not decay, and they don't become weaker or less able over time (in fact, they continuously get larger and stronger).  That to me is the goal and the definition of biological immortality.

Other arguments...[More]
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Talking with an Ivy Leaguer on Wall Street

December 4th, 2017 | Posted by pftq in Stories | #
Another memoirs of sorts, this time reflecting the Ivy League alumni I've been meeting in NYC, both in the startup community and on Wall Street.  I've been spending more time in NYC instead of SF for a change of location (and people), but ironically, I'm running into sort of the opposite situation to that I had in my short story, Talking with an Engineer in Silicon Valley.  Whereas many I met in Silicon Valley lacked empathy, considerateness, and other traits but at least wanted them (even if superficially), the circles I'm getting into in NYC seem to simply accept that these traits don't genuinely exist and are always superficial.  Maybe it's just my luck that I'm just somehow always meeting the most 1-dimensional people, but the frustrating part is they always start off seeming normal in the beginning.  As with my other short story, the conversations below are nearly cut-paste from my personal experience, besides obvious name changes and other details to keep individuals anonymous and the story somewhat coherent.  For those easily offended, this obviously doesn't reflect every person from Ivy League or in Wall Street and is just a likely biased, limited subset of the real world from my own experiences.

======================

Sam: Hi, I'm Sam.  Nice to meet you.
Ivy Leaguer:...[More]
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Face without Sentience

July 9th, 2017 | Posted by pftq in Stories | #
An idea I've had for a while as a horror film:

Someone you know closely, seemingly all your life, one day turns around to face you and then just starts screaming in absolute fear, screaming non-stop forever at the top of their lungs, hour after hour, day after day, eyes wide and face frozen, with no change in expression, no reaction to anything, as if no longer alive, no longer conscious, no longer sentient.
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Virtual Reality via 3D Projection Mapping

January 24th, 2017 | Posted by pftq in Ideas | #
Rather than wear VR/AR headsets, it's more interesting to me to try to bring VR literally into the real world using 3D projection mapping.  No one has to wear any fancy goggles; anyone walking by can see exactly what you see and step into the same world you're in.  Imagine walking by your favorite supermarket one day to find that it's been transformed into massive crater in the ground.  Forget the supermarket.  Imagine if the giant castle before you started to collapse as a monster emerged from within.  Best of all, everyone around you can see it and hear it with you.  Contrast this with VR or AR currently where everyone else around you only sees you running around with a headset, playing more or less with an imaginary friend world.

No, 3D projection mapping is not just a big movie screen.  Below is an example of 3D projection done literally on a castle to make it appear like it is moving, crumbling, transforming... Yes, the example...[More]
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A Way to Know If We're in a Simulation

January 6th, 2017 | Posted by pftq in Ideas | #
This is inspired by a dream I had that was mildly unsettling.  In the dream, you were in a house with a few old-school moving pictures on the wall - the kind that required a handcrank to animate except the owner found a way to keep the pictures moving on their own for a long time, to the point the owner had long passed away and the pictures were still moving.  Over time, the mechanical devices keeping the pictures moving start to wear out, and the pictures start to slow down.  What becomes odd is that if you look closely enough, you start to notice that every so often, a frame goes missing or blacks out, as if the universe flickered and the camera captured a moment of nothingness.

Of course, that dream could have been a lot of other things, such as mechanical issues with the camera that shot the footage, but what it got me wondering was, if the universe was a simulation with a frame rate, whether we could capture the flickers in between the frames to prove it.  This...[More]
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