Page last modified 19:52, 23 May 2011 by wol

PlayAsBeing Wiki > Chat Logs > 2011 > 05 > 2011.05.21 01:00 - Tyrannosaurs and actuaries and the wikipedia, oh my

*Wol Euler was guardian for this session.*

Wol Euler: hello egg

eggsalad Ormstein: ho wol? wos macht du?

Wol Euler: habe gerade gefrühstuckt, und brauche jetzt eine tasse Kaffee

Wol Euler: und dir?

eggsalad Ormstein: well, I'd be better if I could understand German

Wol Euler laughs.

Wol Euler: just had breakfast and now need another cup of coffee

Wol Euler: so brb

Wol Euler: take a seat :)

--BELL--

eggsalad Ormstein: ty

eggsalad Ormstein: what's on your mind today?

Wol Euler smiles. Not a lot actually.

Wol Euler: it's a warmish sunny day, so far, and I'm invited to dinner this late-afternoon, early-evening

Wol Euler: between now and then, a little shopping ...

eggsalad Ormstein: upon what will you dine?

Wol Euler: an easy day

Wol Euler: probably grilled meat, barbecue inthe back yard

Wol Euler: but I didn'T ask and they didn'T tell

eggsalad Ormstein: ah, meat! maybe there will be some wurst

Wol Euler: almost certainly :)

Wol Euler: in fact, the only uncertainty about that is whehter it'll be barbecue or indoor cooking

Wol Euler: if barbecue then wurst

eggsalad Ormstein: will you bring something, or is your custom to arrive empty-handed?

Wol Euler: German custom is to bring only little treats, unless the hosts ask otherwise

Wol Euler: so I found some intriguing little cakes with chocolate filling

eggsalad Ormstein: that can't be bad!

Wol Euler smiles.

Wol Euler: I'll let you know.

eggsalad Ormstein: yes, you must!

Wol Euler: perhaps there's a website ...

Wol Euler: well, how remarkably old-fashioned. No website!

Wol Euler: hello pema!

Pema Pera: hi there, Wol and Egg!

eggsalad Ormstein: hi pema

Wol Euler: what's new in Kyoto?

Pema Pera: not much :-)

Pema Pera: how about Stuttgart?

Wol Euler: warming up nicely, sunny, gentle breeze from the west. SHould be a good day

Wol Euler: (10am here)

Pema Pera: here it's getting summery, warm and humid

Pema Pera: but another answer would be "everything" (to your question)

Pema Pera: I was just thinking about our conversation about broken bottles :-)

Wol Euler: everything is new? interesting.

Wol Euler: ah :)

Pema Pera: while I was walking on the streets here

Wol Euler listens.

Pema Pera: it just hit me, as more than just an idea

Pema Pera: that this very moment will never come back

Pema Pera: you can't put it into your pocket

Pema Pera: or store it somewhere

Wol Euler nods.

Pema Pera: of course, I've known this for a long time

Wol Euler: but knowing isn't feeling

Pema Pera: but sometimes you can fall into an idea, letting it get real

Pema Pera: yes

Wol Euler smiles.

Pema Pera: so what does it mean, that a table exists?

Pema Pera: each next moment it is a (slightly perhaps) different table

Pema Pera: and the same is true for us

Pema Pera: so if reality is just a series of epheremal moments, what is real about it?

eggsalad Ormstein: if, as you say, reality is just a series of ephemeral moments, I definitely overpaid for my carpet!

Wol Euler: there I would return to my insight (blushes) at the October retreat: that "reality" is just a map of what exists

Pema Pera: oh, but your money was equally ephemeral :-)

Wol Euler: :)

Pema Pera: but what does existing mean -- staying the same over time?

Wol Euler: on one level that is certainly true, Pema. Apart from a few phyiscal objects, which themselves decay, all we have from reality is our unreliable and incomplete memory of it

eggsalad Ormstein: I work in a very temporal industry

Pema Pera: which one, Egg?

eggsalad Ormstein: Live Entertainment

Wol Euler: yes, your work is close to purely ephemeral :)

Pema Pera: ah!

--BELL--

Pema Pera: and in my job, I predict how galaxies change their shape over a hundred million years :-) cosmic entertainment perhaps?

eggsalad Ormstein: no moment in time can ever exist again

Wol Euler: nice to be able to make predictions that NOBODY will ever be able to prove wrong :)

Pema Pera: :-)

Pema Pera: well . . . statistically speaking, it can be verified -- by current counts of different types of galaxies

Pema Pera: like going into the woods and counting present-day tree rings

Pema Pera: to check theories of tree growth

Pema Pera: but not on an individual basis, no

Wol Euler: mmmmmmm yes but :)

eggsalad Ormstein: like the weatherman on TV

Pema Pera: or let me put it differently, this time question: if you look back at your life, say, when you're eighty or ninety, what do you think counts as most real, or having been most real?

Wol Euler: yes, I see what you mean: if all the plane trees in Hamburg are 67 years old, we can infer that something really interesting happened there in 1944

eggsalad Ormstein: I think interesting things did happen in Hamburg in the early 40's, yes

Wol Euler: in most of Europe, alas

Pema Pera: yes, and also if the number of trees with different rings descreases in a clear pattern, that pattern may hold in the future too

Wol Euler: but not since! so we as a species can sometimes learn

Pema Pera: yes, I really hope so!

Wol Euler: but the point of my example of Hamburg was to say that a snapshot is perhaps dangerous as "evidence". You'd ahve a different theory of the growth cycle of plane trees if you looked at Strasbourg instead

Pema Pera: yes, so we look at the whole sky, at many different galaxies

Wol Euler nods.

Pema Pera: and we take what they have in common as likely reflecting typical patterns of growth

Pema Pera: a shot gun approach, in a way

Pema Pera: piecing together different partial histories

Pema Pera: ah, that reminds me:

Pema Pera: recently read an article about Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaurs

Pema Pera: how they reconstructed yearly mortality among them, as a function of age

Pema Pera: isnt't that fascinating?

Wol Euler: huh

Pema Pera: what do you call that, mortuary tables?

Pema Pera: actuary?

Pema Pera: something like that

Wol Euler: mortality?

Pema Pera: for insurance companies

Pema Pera: life insurance

Wol Euler: hmmm, lemme google John Snow

Pema Pera: there is a term for that

Pema Pera: :-)

Wol Euler: actuarial table

Pema Pera: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actuary

Wol Euler: right

Wol Euler: we got there at the same time :)

Pema Pera: haha, we found it simultaneously, within a second

Wol Euler: :)

Pema Pera: highly unlikely of course

Wol Euler: Dr Johnson said that there are two kinds of knowledge: that which you carry around wiht you, and that which you know how to find

Wol Euler: "actuary" belongs to the second for both of us

Pema Pera: anyway, the little tyrants had a high mortality in their first few years and then again when over twenty; in between they were unlikely to die

Pema Pera: if I remember it correctly

Pema Pera: so childhood diseases and risk

Wol Euler: sounds about right, considering big predators today

Pema Pera: and then fighting with the other bad boys on the block

Wol Euler: if they survive childhood, old age is what gets them

Pema Pera: most of them died by violent means

Pema Pera: not old age

Pema Pera: competition it seemed

Wol Euler: erm, yes, badly expressed; I meant being unable to compete

Pema Pera: ah yes

Pema Pera: no pension plans

Wol Euler: heheheheh

--BELL--

Wol Euler: twenty years is a pretty long time; though I wonder how long e.g. alligators live?

Pema Pera: Over half of the known Tyrannosaurus rex specimens appear to have died within six years of reaching sexual maturity, a pattern which is also seen in other tyrannosaurs and in some large, long-lived birds and mammals today. These species are characterized by high infant mortality rates, followed by relatively low mortality among juveniles. Mortality increases again following sexual maturity,

Pema Pera: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyranno...s#Life_history

Pema Pera: wikipedia is pretty amazing

Wol Euler: indeed

Wol Euler: all volunteer, and all free

Wol Euler: as is so much of what's best in the internet

Pema Pera: took me ten seconds to find a rather obscure piece of news that I half remembered

Pema Pera: yes

Pema Pera: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Tyrantgraph.png is especially telling

Pema Pera: they stayed small and out of the way for almost fifteen years, and then in a few years more than quadrupled their weight

Wol Euler: that seems an unusual pattern, but I wonder whether it is?

Pema Pera: cactussen do the same (cacti?)

Wol Euler: it applies to us, but I believe not to most other animals

Pema Pera: hiding under low growth, while vulnerable, and then suddenly growing huge -- the tall cacti in Tucson at least do

Pema Pera: I don't think we have that dramatic an increas in weight

Pema Pera: quadruplin in four years

Wol Euler: and yet being small is part of being vulnerable? -- no, not nearly that dramatic, true

Wol Euler: I'd like to see a chart like that for humans, how we grow

Pema Pera: actually, I have to get going -- about to put on some weight myself, hehehe

Wol Euler: heheheh

Pema Pera: take care, Wol and Eggsalad!

Wol Euler: bon appetit, pema

Pema Pera: (I won't quadruple, I hope)

eggsalad Ormstein: bye pema

Pema Pera: bfn

Wol Euler: indeeed

eggsalad Ormstein: have fun at your dinner, wol! enjoy your weekend!

Wol Euler: ty, egg; sleep well and have a good weekend

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