Profile

Cover photo
John Ohno
Works at Thomson-Reuters Corporation
Attended University of New Haven
Lives in East Haven, CT
469 followers|399,808 views
AboutPostsPhotosYouTube

Stream

John Ohno

commented on a video on YouTube.
Shared publicly  - 
 
An interesting an extreme example is MMOs. MMOs take a monthly fee, and do not end; very often, they are very much a grind. In World of Warcraft, the typical way to play prior to around level 15 is to quest -- mostly doing long strings of odd jobs for NPCs. Later, you gain access to dungeons, and the typical way to play is to slog through the same dungeons over and over with a randomly chosen group of strangers within the same level range. Guides exist for determining the optimal way of leveling up as quickly as possible, Blizzard sells very expensive items that increase the rate at which you level up (as well as selling the opportunity to skip up to 90 levels for real money), and once you get up to level 90 the normal mode of play shifts to owning your own town and doing mundane tasks for your employees and for NPCs from neighbouring towns. For gold miners, playing WoW literally is their job. Similarly, in Eve Online, it is essentially impossible to get anywhere without becoming the employee of a corporation, and corporations in Eve are run with all the seriousness that real-life corporations have.

We can argue that this is just sort of an example of strange personal preferences in some cases -- after all, you can avoid playing WoW or Eve, and you don't have to join one of those LARP groups that pretend to be office workers.

But, we represent our self-identity by the things we consume, and we assign greater value to those things that are difficult to consume. The signifiers that are easy to get are the domain of poseurs; we choose intentionally difficult signifiers (we choose to purchase expensive and explicitly useless things, because a thing's utility as a signifier is lessened to the extent that it has any more practical utility; we undertake difficult feats with no pragmatic purpose behind them in order to classify ourselves as being in the category that people who do those things belong to). Every subculture's system of in-group signifiers contains more than a whiff of hazing. You cause yourself pain, or at least loss of resources, in order to prove that you have a serious interest in group membership, and to the extent that people sacrifice themselves on the altar of the in-group, they are often successful.

Reading all of Homestuck is fundamentally no different from joining a biker gang, getting navy tattoos, butt-chugging, or (if you live in europe in the seventeenth century) wearing enormous and impractical macaroni wigs and a large number of neckties while avoiding cutting your fingernails. You're hazing yourself to prove your dedication, and once you have done so, the sunk cost fallacy will prevent you from then dropping your group affiliation even if the in-group members aren't really people you want to be with; once you're stuck in that situation, it makes a lot of sense to begin collecting other signifiers.

If I seem like I'm being harsh about signifiers, I am. But, signifiers are nevertheless important. They are a good (self-reinforcing) proxy of interests and values, and are thus indispensable in casual social interaction: if I see a girl on a train wearing a goth outfit, I can reasonably expect that the intersection between my interests and hers are greater than if the same girl wore a cheerleading uniform, and I will very often be right (even without speaking to her) because that is one of the functions of advertising group membership. One cannot forego signifiers entirely, because whatever one does will be interpreted through that gloss; if one chooses one's clothing, words, and purchases purely out of practicality, people will still see a message in that but the message will be garbled (often people with haphasard sets of signifiers are seen as seriously mentally ill -- and thus unable to speak the language of cultural signifiers effectively; the very poor may also have confused signifiers because they can't leverage the capital to make purchasing decisions that would result in a coherent signifier set; being pragmatic with signifiers literally comes out as a signifier all its own that you are a crazy homeless person).

That said, having a clear and nuanced understanding of signifiers and their place in social grouping is useful, because it means you can make rational and well-considered decisions about exactly how hard you are willing to work for certain signifiers, and to what extent you are willing to put up with the behavior of an in-group before cutting your losses. It also translates into a lower incidence of unethical group behavior: you will not join in on a lynch mob run by your group against some other group if you recognize that the narrative of your group's superiority and the enemy group's inferiority is a side effect of self-organizing patterns of purchasing decisions violently colliding with ancient mammilian instincts for territory control.
1
Add a comment...

John Ohno

commented on a video on YouTube.
Shared publicly  - 
 
With regard to the button as video game: the button is clearly a game, and it is displayed to its users on a screen, therefore it is a video game -- in the same way that playing a tabletop game via telepresence is a video game. Video games don't require 'video' as in 'video cassette', but instead 'video' as in 'video display'.

With regard to the button as religion: while parody religions predate the internet, parody religions have a special place in internet culture (being the kind of pursuit the kind of people who used the internet for fun and games prior to the eternal september in 1988 when commercial users were first allowed access tended to enjoy, along with similar paradoxical persuits like conlanging, esolangs, and proofs of impossible things). Being a discordian, I have to say that there's a spectrum of seriousness in parody religions -- by which I do not mean taking the scripture seriously or literally, but instead mean considering the lessons taught by the religion to be important and better-taught by the religion than by other means. Discordianism sits on the far edge in terms of age, being at least fifty-six years old, and also on the far edge in terms of number of legitimate and serious adherents, among which I count myself; however, I feel like there's a lot of legitimately important lessons that can be taught by Inglip and Kopimiism, for instance. (I have less respect for the FSM, because I feel like it tends to fall on the other side of the dividing line where a joke religion that can be taken seriously fades into a poorly thought-out parody of a handful of genuine religions mentioned merely out of spite.) The sincerity of a religion should probably not be placed in the sincerity with which one takes its rituals -- the entire protestant movement was essentially the result of people thinking christian teachings were too important to be mixed up with what the protestants considered to be unnecessary, pagan, and occasionally immoral patterns of behavior.
1
Add a comment...

John Ohno

commented on a video on YouTube.
Shared publicly  - 
 
I feel like you've glossed over something that seems pretty obvious to me -- that, rather than a specifically political association, there's a cultural association with a specific set of values that differentiates country from pop. Certainly, country has a pre-commercial prehistory that is meaningful when analysing the accidents of its current sound, just as rap does. I feel like country and rap are two variations of the same phenomenon -- the commercialization of a genuine local music-of-the-economic-underclass commercialized and sold back to exactly that same underclass (in a way that american punk is not, but british punk largely is) -- and that furthermore, the distinction between them is the value complex related to urban or rural bias.

To make a broad generalization: if you're poor and think trees are better than fire hydrants, you like country; if you're poor and you think the woods are scary, then you like rap; if you're poor but you live in the suburbs, you prefer pop (or maybe some particular variant, like pop-punk or nu-metal, that has more of an edge). This is not to say that the music is musically deficient, or to associate taste with income, but instead to point out that pop music is populist by virtue of appealing to a fantasy of success -- which is often culture-bound. (The most crass in each of these genres will represent their wealth and success with bigger, shinier versions of things strongly associated with their audience. There isn't a real difference between a solid gold cowboy hat, a solid gold set of dentures, and a gold chain-mail dress, but someone who identifies strongly with one segment of the culture will generally find one desirable and the other two absurd.)

Both essentially fall under the aegis of pop, insomuch as they are populist, and insomuch as to the extent that they appear on top 40 radio they are mostly produced by the same record industry complex (if not indeed the same people -- many hits in all three genres today are made by a small group of 80s one-hit wonders, former rappers, former swedish music school teachers, and sound engineers, which is arguably a good thing insomuch as it definitely creates consistently competent stuff in the same way that similar systems in place for 50s crooner acts and modern j-pop acts produce consistently competent stuff; once big money comes into the picture, relying upon tortured artists no longer makes sense and you start needing to bring in skilled professional musicians working for the money).

To the extent that people (like your uber driver) dismiss country, I think it's because they fail to strongly identify with the particular memeplex surrounding modern country music, which is partly characterized by this rural bias but is also strongly characterized with other ideas that have essentially accidentally been associated with it by virtue of sharing an audience. Country music is strongly associated, politically, with the religious right, not because country artists are necessarily associated with the religious right (while performers occasionally come from the same background as their audience, this is definitely not universally true, and even if they came from the same background, their concerns often change drastically when they become successful), but instead because country music and the particular brand of politically neoconservative evangelical christianity associated with the religious right movement both explicitly target working-class americans in land-locked states and non-coastal rural areas. Other associations, likewise, are essentially coincidental, even to the extent that they are now baked-in as genre tropes -- twangy guitars have nothing to do with country music but everything to do with distinguishing country music from other forms of pop, and likewise cowboy hats have nothing to do with country music but everything to do with advertising to people that the otherwise unclassifiable pop song they're listening to is actually a country song.
4
Add a comment...

John Ohno

Shared publicly  - 
1
Add a comment...
In his circles
191 people
Have him in circles
469 people
kenneth macKillop's profile photo
Patrice Jacob's profile photo
Tara Morris's profile photo
Rafael Espericueta's profile photo
Christopher Butler's profile photo
Cabinet de Soins Infirmiers's profile photo
Promovare Site's profile photo
Kiro Krokodilo's profile photo
clayton huffman's profile photo

Communities

29 communities

John Ohno

commented on a video on YouTube.
Shared publicly  - 
 
I wonder about to what degree the mere exposure effect plays a part into duplication culture. The shows I loved as a child were, viewed through the eyes of an adult, total crap -- uninspired, uninteresting, with poor production values -- but they were also extremely repetitive; it's clear that they were paired with similarly repetitive advertising. As we all know from studies on music, mere exposure can significantly boost popularity so long as it's done within the appropriate range (too much and you'll lose people's interest before they buy what you're selling). Some things end up with remakes not because the original was good but because the original was popular through the equivalent of payola (or the opposite -- cheap pricing that makes late-night repeat syndication a good business decision), resulting in a re-make or re-imagining significantly better than the original.
1
Add a comment...

John Ohno

commented on a video on YouTube.
Shared publicly  - 
 
I think that when people talk about living in "the future" they really do tend to mean living in the idealized model that they had when they were young of what the future would be like -- and to what extent modern life matches up with what is essentially the result of a conflux of commercial and media filters on top of pop-science futurism. The answer to the question of whether or not we are, generally speaking, living in the future we imagined is various shades of mostly 'no', and so it's an uninteresting question (although I feel like it's worthwhile to talk about the various forces that shape popular models of the future), but I don't feel like the connection between 'living in the future' and 'living in the present' is a particularly strong one.

That said, the connection between living in the present and living for the future -- which I feel like you addressed well -- is definitely fairly strong. I think the assumption that one shares or documents things for one's own future, though, is naive. Throughout history, we have occasional figures who were obsessive in their self-documentation, and these figures -- regardless of whether or not they were instrumental in shaping history -- definitely did a good job of shaping our perception of it. In some cases, the explanation is fairly clear -- Ben Franklin made multiple copies of all the letters he sent and all the letters he received, and filed them, and as a result we still today have extant original copies of many of his letters, many of which went on for many pages and all of which needed to be copied long-hand and were copied by Franklin himself rather than by a servant. But, we have Franklin's letters from before he was of meaningful political or business stature, and we also have his shopping lists -- so Franklin didn't necessarily keep his letters solely because he knew he was a historically important figure, but instead out of some impulse toward self-documentation. The funny thing is, the shopping lists have occasionally been useful for putting things into context -- since they are dated, we can correlate the contents with the known preferences of potential visitors, for example, in order to deduce the date of a particular visit. Seemingly uninteresting pieces of documentation are often of historiographical importance -- for instance, most extant sumerian and babylonian writing we have is tablets from students at schools that were accidentally baked when the schools burned down, and as a result, we have a much better sense of what life was like in sumer than in egypt during the same period (where, for instance, steles would sometimes be created to celebrate the winning of battles that were planned but hadn't happened yet). I don't think the difference lies in some change to the desirability of self-documentation, but that instead self-documentation has gotten easier and a built-in human desire for self-documentation has been facilitated -- and, furthermore, it seems like this is an unabashedly good thing: we gain pleasure from self-documentation, we don't seem to have any particular interest in immersing ourselves fully in our pasts or the pasts of others to the exclusion of present actions and development (we aren't dropping ourselves into a nostalgia gravity-well where spend all day reading ten year old facebook posts), and we're making the jobs of future historians easier than they've ever been.
1
Add a comment...

John Ohno

Shared publicly  - 
1
Add a comment...

John Ohno

Shared publicly  - 
 
   __  ___                  _____ 
  /  |/  /_ ___________  / / / Composite
 / /|_/ / // / __/ __/ _ \/ / _/     Logic
//  //\, /\_//  \__// \_/   Language
       /___/  v. 0.01
A prolog-like language with compound truth value logic

See the language documentation, or some simple example code from the test suite.

For best performance, use with luajit and install readline and luasocket:

luarocks-5.1 install readline luasocket
luajit mycroft.lua
Or, alternately, built and install from the rockspec file:

luarocks-5.1 build mycroft-0.01-1.rockspec
FAQ
What is Mycroft?

Mycroft is a logic language with a syntax similar to PROLOG. It additionally has support for transparent distributed computing and composite truth values.

Why not just use PROLOG?

PROLOG, partly for historical reasons, is quite slow. It performs a depth-first search on the logic tree, in a single thread. Automatic memoization can't be used because determinate 'pure prolog' predicates can be freely mixed with indeterminate predicates like i/o and random number generation.

Mycroft has notation for whether or not predicates are determinate. It memoizes the results of determinate predicates, meaning that a determinate predicate will finish immediately the second time it's run. It memoizes intermediate results for determinate predicates, meaning that even an indeterminate predicate will run faster the second time it's run, if it depends upon determinate predicates. Additionally, a group of Mycroft instances can be formed into a cluster, wherein the results for any determinate predicates will be distributed to all instances, and the work of evaluating a predicate can be distributed across instances.

What are composite truth values?

A composite truth value is a concept borrowed from Probablistic Logic Networks, and consists of two components -- a percentage truth (or percentage likelihood of truth) and a percentage confidence. A truth value of 1 with a confidence value of 1 is 100% true with 100% confidence; a truth value of 0 with a confidence of 1 is false with 100% confidence; a truth value of 0.5 with a confidence of 0.75 indicates that the system is 75% sure that the predicate is 50% likely to be true (or is 75% sure that the predicate is 50% true).

Future plans
Eventually, I'd like this software to run reasonably well on the ESP8266 under NodeMCU. One of the reasons that logic languages failed back in the 80s is that even projects that attempted parallelism (such as the Japanese government's 5th Generation Computing initiative) attempted parallelism in a context of single large computers in a strictly ordered environment; however, running a distributed caching logic language on a network of $3 standalone wifi controllers means that someone can spend $60 and get a 20-node cluster that'll fit in their pocket, or embed multiple nodes in clothing and allow temporary networks to form whenever multiple nodes come within wifi range of each other.
Contribute to mycroft development by creating an account on GitHub.
1
Add a comment...
People
In his circles
191 people
Have him in circles
469 people
kenneth macKillop's profile photo
Patrice Jacob's profile photo
Tara Morris's profile photo
Rafael Espericueta's profile photo
Christopher Butler's profile photo
Cabinet de Soins Infirmiers's profile photo
Promovare Site's profile photo
Kiro Krokodilo's profile photo
clayton huffman's profile photo
Communities
29 communities
Education
  • University of New Haven
    Computer Science, 2007 - 2013
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Relationship
In a relationship
Story
Tagline
I am no longer fully automated
Introduction
I'm here by the will of the people, and I won't leave until I get my raincoat back.
Work
Employment
  • Thomson-Reuters Corporation
    Software Engineer, 2013 - present
  • Thomson-Reuters Corporation
    Intern, 2011 - 2013
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
East Haven, CT
Previously
North Haven, CT