2008.11.01 13:00 - Snowflakes, right and wrong

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    The guardian for this meeting was Storm Nordwind. The comments are Storm's.


    Storm Nordwind: Greetings Adams
    Adams Dubrovna: Hello Storm :)
    Storm Nordwind: How are you? How is life treating you?
    Adams Dubrovna: I have been battling myself a little bit the past few weeks. Otherwise everything is good. How about you?
    Storm Nordwind: A little tired. My fiancee will be with me on Monday for a week so that counters all! :)
    Adams Dubrovna: Hello Corvi :)
    Storm Nordwind: Hi Corvi
    Adams Dubrovna: Oh Great Storm! :)
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: Hi all!
    Storm Nordwind: How is your plot developing Corvi?
    Adams Dubrovna: Hello Threedee
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: I'm having a great time..though I'm going to have to ask Wol to help me "color between the lines" I am not sure how to show myself the borders, or figure out how many prims I'm using
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: Hi 3D
    Storm Nordwind: I can help you with that too if you wish, whoever is around I guess
    Storm Nordwind: Hi Threedee
    Threedee Shepherd: Hi folks
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: ok. I'll ask later if we're both online after the meeting
    Storm Nordwind: Sure!
    Storm Nordwind smiles
    Adams Dubrovna: They are things I could help you with oo if he is not :)
    Adams Dubrovna: Hi Doug
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: really ADams! thank you!
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: Hi Doug
    Storm Nordwind: Hello doug
    doug Sosa: hi!
    Storm Nordwind: Hmm... sitting on my lap was ... er ... odd!

    We chatted about moving to our new discussion area, which I had been lushly landscaping.

    Threedee Shepherd: When do we move to the pagoda?
    Storm Nordwind: On Monday
    Storm Nordwind: I though it best to leave behind DST before moving
    Adams Dubrovna hopes we are not moving into the white house a day too soon
    Storm Nordwind: It would have only engendered confusion
    Storm Nordwind smiles at Adams
    doug Sosa: DST?
    Storm Nordwind: Daylight Savings Time
    doug Sosa: oh, that :)
    Storm Nordwind: The US, and hence Second Life, is out of step from the rest of the world for this week only
    doug Sosa: Halloween lobbyists.
    Storm Nordwind: Monday is the first whole day of being back in sync
    Storm Nordwind: In fact we have an interesting situation in 12 hours time!
    doug Sosa: do tell.
    Storm Nordwind: There will be two chances for a meeting!
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: oh.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: yes
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: interesting.
    Threedee Shepherd chuckles
    Storm Nordwind: At 2am SLT, it becomes 1am again!
    Threedee Shepherd: I once missed an airplane due to DST confusion.
    doug Sosa: ha!

    But we still didn't have a name for the new place.

    Storm Nordwind: So - if you read Pema's email - we are still looking for a permanent name for our new home
    Adams Dubrovna realizes that for three hours parts of US will be out of sync with SL too
    Storm Nordwind: I seem to remember some very knowledgeable suggesting occulus!
    doug Sosa: I'd like a name that conveys smallness, to make the space feel more homely, like PaB Retrat.
    Adams Dubrovna looks at his feet
    Threedee Shepherd: How about Playgoda
    Storm Nordwind laughs!
    doug Sosa: i actually like it!
    Storm Nordwind: Let's suggest it with the rest - sure!
    Threedee Shepherd: ^.^
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: oooooo
    Storm Nordwind: Pema was suggesting Spire, but it doesn't really look like one. More of a Triregnum really
    Corvuscorva Nightfire renames her landmark for there....
    Storm Nordwind: I tried erecting a spire next to it so that Pema could have his name, but it looked awful! I tore it down again!
    Adams Dubrovna: :)
    doug Sosa: Also too strong.
    Adams Dubrovna: Did you try making it look like an Italian Campaile?
    Adams Dubrovna: Campanile
    Storm Nordwind: No. It just took shape of it's own accord
    Storm Nordwind: I wanted it to be open and airy but at the same time still cosy.
    Storm Nordwind: There's a lot of garden around it
    Adams Dubrovna: No I meant the tower. The structure has a shape similar to an early christian church in the round
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: It really managed both.

    What doug said next set the theme for the next part of the discussion.

    doug Sosa: I've always marvelled at how if you see one stone placed in balance on another that also is placed, that you know a human being did it.
    Storm Nordwind: I see Adams
    Storm Nordwind: I think doug, it depends on your sense of scale
    doug Sosa: that could be right.
    Storm Nordwind: If you looked at a crystal rather closely, if you were smaller say, you'd think otherwise - perhaps
    doug Sosa: i was thinking some of the bigger ones in state parks. In a crystal, you wouldn't say one is "balanced", they are constrained.
    Threedee Shepherd: <tangent> While searching for names, I realized that the letters of BEING also spell begin and binge ;D
    Adams Dubrovna: :)
    Storm Nordwind: Well I wonder doug. I see your point about parks, but I for one still don't understand how each arm of a snowflake knows how to be identical with the other arms. They do not seem to be constrained, and yet there is symmetry and order
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: hahahha
    Threedee Shepherd: The growth from the center is symmetric
    doug Sosa: snowflake, beautiful. i never thought of it.
    Threedee Shepherd: hexagonal arrays give closest packing
    doug Sosa: but different snowflakes have different densities of packing, no?
    Storm Nordwind: Yes threedee, but the seemingly infinite variety still maintains almost fractal symmetry. Even with my mathematical background, I don't see how it works
    Threedee Shepherd: yes, but at the core there is hexagonal packing with "empty" holes
    Storm Nordwind: But why are the holes outlined or populated in a symmetrical way?
    doug Sosa: such a great question!
    Storm Nordwind recalls that most rain the UK falls first as snow
    Threedee Shepherd: From Wikipedia: "The 6-fold symmetry arises from the hexagonal crystal structure of ordinary ice, the branch formation is produced by unstable growth, with deposition occurring preferentially near the tips of branches."
    Corvuscorva Nightfire tries to imagine how many ways h20 could fit itself together
    doug Sosa: but wiki doesn't answer why the branches, in their infinite variety, are the same in each flake.
    Storm Nordwind: Thank you Threedee, but it still doesn't answer the question
    Storm Nordwind: exactly doug
    Threedee Shepherd: Corvi, The first seminar I had to give in an undergraduate biophysics course (1961) was on the structure of water in its various forms :)
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: oh wow
    Threedee Shepherd: Flakes with branches that fail to be the same fail to fit together and become flakes, it's a a probability thing, I think.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: ah!
    Storm Nordwind considers this
    Storm Nordwind: It is a question dating back many decades that I still hold with childlike wonder
    Storm Nordwind: It is unfair of me to ask for a resolution in just 10 minutes!
    doug Sosa: resolution of?
    Storm Nordwind: An answer to why this happens.
    doug Sosa: ah! unfair. but necessary as i too have to leave.
    Storm Nordwind: Well good to see you as always doug :)
    Threedee Shepherd: http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/
    doug Sosa: i thin it is because of the bio-electrical forces that arange tiles on bathroom floors!
    Storm Nordwind: Thank you Threedee. It's been a while since I looked at that website
    Threedee Shepherd: Doug
    Threedee Shepherd: The bathroom floor wards off evil because the patter is Hex-Agonal ;.^
    doug Sosa: and i went to school there. Pauling taught us about cubic closest packing and sand on the beach.
    Storm Nordwind laughs at hex-agonal! :)
    Storm Nordwind: Good evening Pema!
    doug Sosa: hi pema.
    Threedee Shepherd: hi pema

    Pema arrived and was immediately jumped on for his view about snowflake formation. I eagerly awaited what the astrophysicist would say.

    Pema Pera: Hi All !
    Adams Dubrovna: Hi Pema :)
    doug Sosa: we were discussing why the branches of a snowflake are identical.
    Pema Pera: its symmetry?
    doug Sosa: but how does one branch know what another is doing?
    Pema Pera: the initial conditions are the same, or very nearly so
    doug Sosa: hm reducto ad centrum.
    Pema Pera: and the subsequent environmental cues are very closely the same
    Pema Pera: temperature, pressure, density, etc
    Pema Pera: not much free will there, it seems :)
    Storm Nordwind: Then would that not suggest all snowflakes created in a batch would look the same?
    Threedee Shepherd: I cannot help but note that if Islands in SL were hexagonal, that would result in closest packing Sim-etry ;D
    Pema Pera: no, there is spontaneous symmetry breaking
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: no cause the air is different in different spots
    Pema Pera: if ten pens stand on end, they all fall in different directions
    doug Sosa: yes, but the branches of a flake are the same!
    Pema Pera: interesting landscape, 3D!
    Pema Pera: if ten *unrelated* pens would fall, they would fall different
    Pema Pera: but if they were connected at first, they would fall in the same direction
    Pema Pera: the branches have the same root
    doug Sosa: yes but the six..!!
    Pema Pera: the fluctuation in the root is random but shared by the branches
    Pema Pera: once made, they all obey the same fluctuation
    doug Sosa: but then the root has structure. it has six,, and how does it get shared?
    Storm Nordwind wonders whether the goddess of snowflakes is being explained away by maths and physics ;)
    Pema Pera: not away, augmented :)
    Pema Pera: beauty of form , beauty of math, both
    Pema Pera: the core fluctuation is one, Doug, not six
    Pema Pera: from there the branches grow, step by step
    doug Sosa: just give me 9 sec and a snowflake :)
    Pema Pera: :)
    Storm Nordwind laughs
    Pema Pera: flaky practice . . . .
    doug Sosa: it melted before the 9 sec was up!
    Storm Nordwind's laugh becomes a groan!
    Threedee Shepherd: so, is BEING, hexagon, fractal, chaotic or all of the above?
    Pema Pera: a snow job for practice
    Corvuscorva Nightfire snorts

    Play had taken hold again! :) Yet we quickly switched back and forth.

    Pema Pera: Being is beyond form, but allows all forms :-)
    doug Sosa: The idea for fractal came from "fractured", but the resulting structures that he studied were not fractured
    Pema Pera: the dimension is not a whole number, but a fractal, like 2.5 dimensional instead of 2 or 3 dimensions
    Threedee Shepherd: could I take that one more step (seriously, although perhaps too metaphorically and say "Being is Beyond Being, but allow all forms of being?
    Pema Pera: I think that is where the term fractal came from
    Pema Pera: sure, 3D
    Storm Nordwind nods
    Pema Pera: in that is allows all beings
    Pema Pera: Being is beyond beyond too, yes :>)
    Pema Pera: (that what the word Being is trying to point at)

    A thought suddenly struck me. Being allows all things but people so often impute their own ideas onto Being, perhaps using a lesser but common of Being to justify their prejudices to themselves and others. Take morals for example...

    Storm Nordwind: I wonder where our sense of morals and ethics comes from. So often these are tied to what many think of as Being
    Threedee Shepherd: Storm, that is a hot topic in cognitive neuroscience these days.
    Storm Nordwind did not know that
    doug Sosa: I don't believe that being allows all beings. This is part of the evolution discussion. There are barriers to certain outcomes, like a five legged horse.
    Threedee Shepherd: The basic argument being made is that what MOST cultures agree is moral and ethical behavior was selected for in brain circuitry, because it was most effective for preservation of a social group.
    Pema Pera: (Being allows all beings - we have to distinguish between B and b here!)
    Storm Nordwind: That makes sense Threedee. Selected in a social evolutionary way
    Threedee Shepherd: Yes, and that has underlying implications for the brain structures that subserve behavior. Owen Flanagan: The Really Hard Problem is a good book about this I just read.
    Storm Nordwind: Thank you for that!
    doug Sosa: i do need to go.. despite gaining an hour, I've already spent it :)
    Storm Nordwind: Bye then doug!
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: hahah!
    Threedee Shepherd: bye
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: bye!
    Threedee Shepherd: can time really be "spent"?
    Pema Pera: if you have enough!
    Pema Pera: (like Doug)
    Threedee Shepherd: AS in I can spent next year's money (debtfully) but I cannot spend next year's time.
    Storm Nordwind: So I used to say, in my profoundly relativist days, that "good" and "evil" were arbitrary concepts for whatever was good for the self-preservation of a particular group at a particular time.
    Storm Nordwind: Naturally that was a very unpopular view!
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: It's my view as well...at least in how things are labelled
    Storm Nordwind: But it does seem related to this line of thought
    Threedee Shepherd: Being and arising is, judgement is a subsequent human assertion. Further,..
    Storm Nordwind: Rather like the misnomer Human "Rights" - which may well not be absolute but simply granted by society from time to time and may differ between those times
    Threedee Shepherd: because we tend to say survival is better than extinction (note the judgment word "better") We attribute usefulness to survival traits.
    Storm Nordwind: Good point. And important.
    Storm Nordwind: It is a possibly unjustified assumption to say that about physical survival
    Threedee Shepherd: could be, but as the Master said, "I have not died yet"
    Threedee Shepherd: Full quote "I do not know, I have not died yet."
    Storm Nordwind: So many ways to to interpret that! :)
    Threedee Shepherd: The novice asked the Master if the world after death was a better one than this one. that was the answer.

    Pema got up to attend to his laundry, much to everyone's merriment.

    Pema Pera: I'll have to take off: get my laundry out the dryer and fold it, one of those RL chores we don't have to worry in SL
    Threedee Shepherd: fold??
    Storm Nordwind: Great to see you as always!
    Corvuscorva Nightfire laughs with 3D
    Pema Pera: folding laundry, yes?
    Adams Dubrovna: bye Pema
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: pile
    Storm Nordwind: Pema folds the dryer. We have to see this!
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: bye, Pema!
    Pema Pera: pile? How shocking!
    Threedee Shepherd: I have been know to use the dryer as a dresser drawer ^.;
    Corvuscorva Nightfire grins..the pleasures of working retail.
    Pema Pera: ah, press the laundry underneath the dryer, that would be a novel method!
    Storm Nordwind: Students in my day pioneered the "corrugated" fashion look
    Threedee Shepherd: Press???
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: I just wear sweaters.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: easier
    Pema Pera: I mostly were T shirts, you really do have to fold those, to let them come out well -- anyway, I'm off -- see you soon again!
    Storm Nordwind waves
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: bye!
    Corvuscorva Nightfire feels guilty now that she piles t shirts, too.
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: checks for wrinkles.
    Storm Nordwind wonders what this word "guilt" is

    Threedee came back to the subject and asked a real life question.

    Threedee Shepherd: So, I will pose a follow-on question. It is a fact determined by brain scanning techniques, that a true psychopathic killer does not have the brain circuits regular folk use to judge good/evil, right/wrong. So, how should a psychopath be judged?
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: Judged?
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: prevented
    Storm Nordwind: Society will judge them according to what enables the society to survive
    Threedee Shepherd: But, they cannot help themselves, to provnt their behavior.
    Storm Nordwind: So?
    Storm Nordwind is acutely aware of the difference between society's judgements and his own view of life
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: I think it's time for me to go...
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: see you all soon!
    Threedee Shepherd: Real case: A man had a slow personality change and committed murder. It was then found he had a brain tumor that caused his inability to make right/wrong judgements. The tumor was removed and he became normal again. He went to trial for murder. You are on the jury. Is he guilty?
    Threedee Shepherd: bye corvi
    Corvuscorva Nightfire: bye all.
    Storm Nordwind: Good question Threedee
    Storm Nordwind: Society's view and my Buddhist view might be different
    Threedee Shepherd: This really happened
    Storm Nordwind: I will mull it over. Meanwhile I too must leave for now.
    Threedee Shepherd: I can tell the real verdict, if you want me to.
    Storm Nordwind: Please do.
    Threedee Shepherd: not guilty
    Storm Nordwind: Life is rarely black or white like that :)
    Threedee Shepherd: agreed. Thanks for the conversation, I too must be off. Bye all. :)
    Adams Dubrovna: by 3D
    Storm Nordwind: Bye threedee

    I went off to help Corvi as promised.

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