Friday, December 30, 2005

Optihumanist Principles 2005

I have updated the Optihumanist Principles for 2005. Optihumanism is an expression of my own personal religion. I intend to update the Principles on an annual basis as my beliefs evolve over time.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Neural Net Mathematics

In my previous post, I stated that I had some unpublished work that I needed to take care of. Over half a year ago, I laboriously hand-coded my "Neural Net Mathematics" course midterm and final in the MathML language so that I could eventually publish them on my website for future reference. This was a major effort so I was quite concerned recently when I thought I had lost the files. I was able to find copies in a personal online archive and publish them today as part of the CroftSoft Tutorials.

If it were not for the online copies, I am not sure I could have recovered these files. I used to download my personal e-mail but now I leave it in an online archive maintained by a third-party service independent of my Internet Service Provider (ISP). More and more these days I am finding that any files on my hard disk are eventually lost when the drive crashes or I switch computers. Any paper copies tend to get buried and forgotten in the folders and stacks. Those notes that I publish online on my website, however, are preserved and accessible forever.

Monday, December 26, 2005

How to Write Mathematics

Recently I took a course at UT Dallas on "Neural Net Mathematics". For the take-home final, I submitted detailed and lengthy step-by-step solutions in the form of mathematical proofs. Upon reviewing my work, my instructor Dr. Richard M. Golden recommended that I read "How to Write Mathematics" by Steenrod, et al. (American Mathematical Society, 1973).

I started reading this thin 64 page collection of essays the same week I started another book published under similar conditions. In both this book and "The Computer and the Brain" by John von Neumann, death came too quickly for the authors. If it were not for the widows, it is possible that neither of these of works would have been published. It reminded me that I have a few unfinished works lying around. Recently I have been telling my daughter with regard to her web-based writings, "You are not done with your writing until it is published."

The various authors of "How to Write Mathematics" set out to describe their own personal writing styles, beginning with an admission that there is a lack of consensus on this topic. Indeed, the book closes with a couple of pages by the last author critiquing the advice of the first. On including detailed proofs in your publications, for example, you will find one author prescribing and another proscribing the practice.

The essays were written independently and this shows in the overlap and the contradictions. Whereas I have been highly critical of multi-author books in the past, the approach seems to work in this collection. Recalling my own efforts in writing a book on a topic within another field, I found myself agreeing or disagreeing with the authors on the various points. I was relieved to note that as early as at least three decades ago, authors before me shared identical conflicts with editors and copyreaders.

Based on my limited experience in writing, I had developed a number of half-formed rules of thumb. Given the recommendations of writers more experienced than I as so boldly presented, I am likely to be more aggressive in applying these rules. I would recommend this book to those authors with at least a few writing efforts under their belts. Given the specific nature of the examples in the essays, however, it is likely that only mathematicians will fully appreciate this book.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

HumanLight

Yesterday was HumanLight, a new holiday for Humanists. It is an official holiday of the Humanist Fellowship of North Texas (HFNT). At the HFNT service this month, I was asked what the difference was between HumanLight and Christmas. I replied, "In our household, the parents give the children presents on HumanLight and then Santa Claus brings them more presents on Christmas."

Monday, December 19, 2005

Plano OPAR

In the past when I would join a local organization, I would volunteer to create a website for them. This was somewhat labor intensive as I would need to update the webpages for them as time went on. This past weekend, though, I recommended to three different local organizations I attended that they consider using a blog instead. A blog can be easily updated by an organizational officer without requiring any knowledge of HTML, FTP, or directory structures.

One of the organizations that jumped on this pretty quickly is the Plano OPAR Study Group. This is the other local Objectivist meeting that I attend. "OPAR" is an abbreviation for the title of the book, "Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand".

Friday, December 16, 2005

Restore the Pledge

This "In God We Trust" poster is hanging in the main office of the local public elementary school, next to a poster of the Pledge of Allegiance with its unconstitutional "under God" insertion. I took this picture today when I was there to complain to the principal about a different church-state separation violation, the addition of "Silent Night" to the winter musical after a number of supernaturalist parents complained. I suspect that this comment to my daughter by another classmate is typical of the attitudes of the adults involved, both parents and administration.

I am doing what I can on these as local issues. At the national level, I am pleased to report that Dr. Mike Newdow is pursuing both the "under God" and, more recently, the "In God We Trust" infringements to the first clause of the the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution. You can find out more about his efforts at his website, RestoreThePledge.com.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Art of Illusion

I discovered an Open Source Java digital content creation (DCC) tool called Art of Illusion. As you can see from the image below, I am now a 3D artist.

Sid Meier's Civilization

My favorite computer game over the years has been Sid Meier's Civilization. I have played this highly addictive game off and on since the first version came out back in the early '90's. I am pleased to report that I have just beaten the recently released Civilization IV at "Emperor" difficulty level.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Segway Tour

This is a picture of me from 2005 Nov 11 when I took the Washington D.C. Segway Night Tour. It is amazingly easy to learn to ride a Segway Human Transporter. I doubt it will ever catch on, however, as it does not seem to have much of an advantage over simply walking or riding a bicycle.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

North Texas Objectivist Society

Last night I attended a meeting of the North Texas Objectivist Society. I like Objectivists because they reject both supernaturalism and socialism as irrational. The clever hosts had a "Tree of Reason" with Objectivist terms and phrases written on the ornaments.



Saturday, December 10, 2005

Advanced Java Game Programming

I just came across this About.com review by Kevin Taylor on my book,
Advanced Java Game Programming. I think it is a fair review.

Dallas Area Neuroscience Group

Yesterday I was elected to the volunteer position of Vice President/President Elect of the Dallas Area Neuroscience Group, a chapter of the Society for Neuroscience, for calendar year 2006.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Virtual Reality Web Browser

Here is a screenshot from Whoola Cyberspace, a virtual reality web browser that I created. It has fly-through hyperlinks that can download a webpage or a new 3D scene. You can also set your "home scene" (home page) so that it loads whenever you start the program. The Open Source Java code and the graphics are available from SourceForge.net.

SVG in Mozilla 1.5

I see that GnuPlot supports SVG. I also see that the new Mozilla 1.5 supports it as well. I think I am going to start playing with it:
SVG In HTML Introduction


Upgrade to Firefox 1.5!