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Barry Kort
Attended Stanford University (MSEE, Ph.D)
Lives in Boston MA
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Barry Kort

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Game Review: Toyaanisqatsi

Toyaanisqatsi is a strange puzzle game that is a startling cross between an intriguing Myst-style puzzle game and a violent first-person shooter.
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The American mainstream media has finally begun to report the life and death of René Girard.
Professor Girard’s explorations of literature and myth helped establish influential ideas about how people are motivated to want things.
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It's disappointing how little attention the mainstream American press has given to  the life and death of this towering intellect.
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René Girard, Emeritus Professor of Humanities at Stanford, has died at age 91. Girard is best known for his pathbreaking work on theories of conflict and violence in human culture.

His brilliant work changed a lot of thinking about deep ideas that first arose as elements of theology.

Three dominant sources of knowledge, wisdom, and pragmatics in human culture emerge from the disciplines of Science, Theology, and Statecraft.

Of these, Statecraft has been a lamentably recurring source of systemic conflict and violence in the course of human history.

What Girard did was to take a scientific systems theoretic approach to analyzing the roles of Theology and Statecraft in exploring the roots of conflict and violence in human culture. In doing so he accomplished an astonishing breakthrough: he found a unifying bridge linking classical ideas from theology to modern systems science. In alloying elements of Theology with modern Systems Thinking, Girard revealed the inherent (yet fixable) flaw in shallow political pragmatism.

Girard's work jibes with that of scholars in many connected fields, including Psychology, Sociology, and the Bardic Arts. 

It took centuries for the breakthrough ideas of Copernicus and Darwin to wend their way into popular acceptance. Girard's comparably seminal ideas have been in circulation for a few decades. Will they take root in the public discourse before human culture collapses from a toxic overdose of shallow and myopic political pragmatism?

Will René Girard prove to be the rejuvenating paraclete that humanity has long been waiting for?
A member of the prestigious Académie Française, René Girard was called "the new Darwin of the human sciences." His many books offered a bold, sweeping vision of human nature, human history and human destiny. He died Nov. 4 at 91.
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Randall Frederick remembers the influence of René Girard.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/randall-frederick/rene-girard-19232015-in-c_b_8512628.html
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UnBooks

Who among us hasn't obtained a book, yet never gotten around to actually reading it?

Sometimes our unread reading materials sit forever on the nightstand or coffee table or in the other little room in the house where old dog-eared magazines go to spend their last days.

And then there are all those "I could write a book" moments where you can imagine yourself (or someone you know) writing a book that, in your heart, you know will never get written, let alone published or read.

And so, we need UnBooks, where all that really exists is the concept, the title, and the cover art. No need to actually write or read the inner text.

One of the nice things about UnBooks is that you can print the covers on thin disposable sheets of paper, just to remind yourself of the non-existence of imaginary UnBooks.

And so, without further ado, here are some of my favorite UnBooks that I can imagine and appreciate without bothering to open the cover to thumb the pages inside.

Chaos Publishing House is chagrined to present this burgeoning series of UnBooks on the unifying theme of Systemic Blunders.

Systemic Blunders

Fabulous new book titles from Chaos Publishing House.
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:)
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Bearing Accurate Witness

From time to time, one experiences unjust, unethical, and/or unprofessional treatment from another individual.

Since everyone has an unalienable right to tell the true story of their own life, it is my practice to record and document such lamentable misadventures for future reference.

The latest episode in this pattern occurred recently when Jera Wolfe and Mark Larkento conspired to acquire and sequester four months of my academic work in a discussion group which they now jointly own and control.

I demanded that Jera restore to me access to the corpus of my own work, after he acted to deny me access to it. He adamantly refused.

Here is the unedited and unredacted record of that lamentable misadventure.
Random pages from Barry Kort.
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There is a discussion of this story on my Facebook Timeline here ...

http://www.facebook.com/bkort/posts/10153705891636967
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My colleague, Roz Picard, talks about her research in Affective Computing.
 
Don’t miss out on this podcast!

Click the link below to hear from our chief scientist, Rosalind Picard, how teaching computers to recognize emotions led to a potentially major breakthrough in medical technology.
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Barry Kort

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On the occasion of the funeral of René Girard, the Stanford University community recalls his thoughts on terrorism.
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A week ago, the MIT Media Lab celebrated its 30th Anniversary with an all-day program at Kresge Auditorium.

The video archives of that event are now available for online viewing.
 
The video archive from the Media Lab's 30th anniversary symposium, Mind, Magic & Mischief, is now online! From Marvin Minsky to Megan Smith, from Penn & Teller to LEGO ducks, it was a fun and fascinating event. #ML30
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René Girard, Emeritus Professor of Humanities at Stanford, has died at age 91. Girard is best known for his pathbreaking work on theories of conflict and violence in human culture.

His brilliant work changed a lot of thinking about deep ideas that first arose as elements of theology.

Three dominant sources of knowledge, wisdom, and pragmatics in human culture emerge from the disciplines of Science, Theology, and Statecraft.

Of these, Statecraft has been a lamentably recurring source of systemic conflict and violence in the course of human history.

What Girard did was to take a scientific systems theoretic approach to analyzing the roles of Theology and Statecraft in exploring the roots of conflict and violence in human culture. In doing so he accomplished an astonishing breakthrough: he found a unifying bridge linking classical ideas from theology to modern systems science. In alloying elements of Theology with modern Systems Thinking, Girard revealed the inherent (yet fixable) flaw in shallow political pragmatism.

Girard's work jibes with that of scholars in many connected fields, including Psychology, Sociology, and the Bardic Arts. 

It took centuries for the breakthrough ideas of Copernicus and Darwin to wend their way into popular acceptance. Girard's comparably seminal ideas have been in circulation for a few decades. Will they take root in the public discourse before human culture collapses from a toxic overdose of shallow and myopic political pragmatism?

Will René Girard prove to be the rejuvenating paraclete that humanity has long been waiting for?
A member of the prestigious Académie Française, René Girard was called "the new Darwin of the human sciences." His many books offered a bold, sweeping vision of human nature, human history and human destiny. He died Nov. 4 at 91.
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The UK Telegraph's story on the life and death of René Girard.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/11984372/Rene-Girard-philosopher-obituary.html
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Today's Word of the Day is:  Pferdescheiße

This is a German word that translates into English as Horse Dookie.

If one is a scientist, and one tentatively adopts a working hypothesis that happens to be bogus - one that happens to be Pferdescheiße - and then diligently computes the consequences of that stinky hypothesis, one will compute a prediction that disagrees with experience or experimental observation.

So, for example, if you hypothesize Pferdescheiße, you might anticipate that there is a pony in there somewhere. And you might spend the rest of your life sifting through that stinking mound of Pferdescheiße searching for the elusive pony.

In the immortal words of Jackie Mason, "I wanna wish you the best of luck."

Elsewhere here on Google Plus, I keep running into children who believe there must be a pony in there somewhere.

They don't understand why, if they blithely assume the existence of Pferdescheiße, the anticipated pony never shows up. They inexplicably call that scientifically predictable disappointment a Paradox.
I still don't understand the paradox.  If the two photons in Alain Aspect's apparatus are known to be in complementary states, but the specific value of… - Barry Kort - Google+
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Quantum Boojumatics

One of the pioneers who developed popular instructional materials for teaching Quantum Mechanics is N. David Mermin of Cornell University.

A proper mathematical understanding of the calculus of QM requires a graduate level appreciation of probability and statistics − especially the concepts of statistical correlation, Bayesian Inference, and the conscientious application of Bayes Rule.

Since many physics students do not have this prerequisite, Mermin devised a simplified shortcut to finesse this gap. His shortcut relies on a construction somewhat akin to the famous Monty Hall Problem.

In Mermin's construction, he invites his students to contemplate a pair of statistically correlated boxes with three buttons and a light bulb that turns either red or green, depending on how the buttons are pushed.

Feynman had independently devised a similar analogy, but Mermin's version proved to be simpler to present and reckon.

Not unlike the notorious Monty Hall Problem, Mermin's scenario reveals just how hard it is to wrap one's brains around even simple problems calling for a careful application of the calculus of Bayesian Inference.

There is an even trickier aspect in Mermin's Two-Box Scenario in that the act of pushing a button (akin to opening a door in the Monty Hall Problem) disturbs the state of the arrangement of the stuff inside the box.  In the Monty Hall Problem, opening one door does not cause the items behind the other two doors to trade places. But in Mermin's scenario, sometimes (one time in four), pushing a button does cause a behind-the-scenes switcheroo.  So if you thought the Monty Hall Problem was mind-boggling, Mermin's Two-Box Three-Button scenario is even more insidious. 

And yet, both problems are tractable within the scope of the somewhat arcane mathematics of statistical correlation and Bayesian Inference. Indeed, the innards of Mermin's boxes could be modeled as a Semi-Markoff Process. That's the good news.  The bad news is that a graduate level course in Markov Processes is even more rarefied and arcane than a graduate level course in Probability and Statistics.

Mermin is now retired, but he recently surfaced to praise a new approach to Quantum Mechanics known as QBism (Quantum Bayesianism).  In a sense, QBism isn't really new.  Einstein, Bohr, Schroedinger, and Heisenberg were perfectly competent in the arcane mathematics of probability, statistics, correlation, and the calculus of Bayesian Inference.

Mermin is famously quoted (especially by Feynman) as saying, "Shut up and calculate." The calculation (surprise, surprise) is the application of Bayes Rule to the QM scenario at hand. The idea is that trying to mentally model the underlying Semi-Markov Process is simply too mind-boggling if you haven't taken (and mastered) a couple of semesters of graduate level courses in Probability, Statistics, and Markov Models.

And so, with the advent of QBism, Mermin has enthusiastically endorsed it as a cleaner introduction to the Bayesian Calculus than his confusing Mermin Boxes. Both Mermin and Feynman had relied on the pedagogy of the Mermin Boxes, only to discover that their students remained just as muddled as mainstream physicists had been for the past 70 years trying to understand the meaning of the mathematics of QM.

Here is David Mermin's recent article in Nature ...

Physics: QBism Puts the Scientist Back into Science by N. David Mermin

http://www.nature.com/news/physics-qbism-puts-the-scientist-back-into-science-1.14912

See also the  accompanying editorial ...

Be Here Now

http://www.nature.com/news/be-here-now-1.14922

QBism challenges the student to appreciate (if not master) the good old-fashioned mathematics of Probability, Statistics, Correlation, and Bayesian Inference.

And with that, the muddle-headed woo-woo of QM disappears like a Boojum, an imaginary critter that never was.
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Thought for the ages ...

Nothing is as simple as it seems at first, or as hopeless as it seems in the middle, or as finished as it seems in the end.
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My_master_plan-rev23_final-6.docx
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Work
Occupation
Cognitive Science Research
Skills
Science Education, Model-Based Reasoning, Diagnostic Reasoning
Employment
  • Cognitive Science Research, present
  • MIT Media Lab
    Visiting Scientist, 1999 - 2009
  • Bell Telephone Laboratories
    Distinguished Member of Technical Staff, 1968 - 1987
  • MITRE Corporation
    Lead Engineer, 1987 - 1990
  • BBN Systems and Technologies
    Visiting Scientist, 1990 - 2000
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Boston MA
Previously
Omaha Nebraska - Omaha Nebraska - Lincoln Nebraska - New Orleans Louisiana - Mountain View California - Monmouth County New Jersey - Boston Massachusetts
Story
Tagline
You see a slow moving red-headed scientist wearing a wrinkled lab coat over a Science Museum Polo Shirt.
Introduction
I am a retired Visiting Scientist in the Affective Computing Research Group at the MIT Media Lab.

I am also a now-retired volunteer with the Boston Museum of Science.

You can find a longer biography of me here.
Bragging rights
Winner of the 1996 NII Award for pioneering innovations in children's education via the Internet. Winner of the Nelson and Small Prize at the University of Southern Maine for pioneering contributions to the establishment of innovative engineering programs in the EE Department.
Education
  • Stanford University (MSEE, Ph.D)
    Electrical Engineering, Engineering-Economic Systems, Operations Research, and Systems Theory, 1968 - 1975
  • University of Nebraska - Lincoln (BSEE)
    Electrical Engineering, 1963 - 1968
  • Omaha Central High School
    College Prep, 1960 - 1963
  • Omaha Benson High School
    College Prep, 1959 - 1960
  • Omaha Benson Junior High School
    Junior High, 1957 - 1959
  • Omaha Benson West Elementary School
    Grammar School, 1950 - 1957
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Other names
Moulton the schmeggegy scientist from MicroMuse