Isn't it the most incredible thing ever? The fact that we can represent so much with so little. This is why programming is so cool to me. It's a microcosm of all the important things in the world (mainly logic and reason).
Technology is amazing.
If you want to go deeper than that you could talk about how programming is just transistor manipulation, and then semi-conductor manipulation, and then atom manipulation. So really, we're all particle physicists.
What I myself find most amazing is the connection between syntax and semantics. Though, of curse, this is not unique to programming.
Where does "just" come form? Likewise you could say that all things are "just" bundles of particles and etc. Stating something with "just" does not make it any less complex.
First, it's not "technology" that's amazing, it's "math". Or rather "world" (as a superset of math). Computation is entirely possible without technology. Technology only gives efficiency.
Second, why would you say that logic and reason are important? Important to whom? I'd say the fair answer is "occasionally to most people" which isn't very much.
I'm sorry if I'm derailing the thread :)
Speaking of semantics... Lol.
I chose the wrong words to express that exact thought. It won't happen again.
To any individual like myself (i assume most people on this forum), logic and reason are the foundation of everything. Of course it's important. Maybe it's not important to everyone, but no doubt our species wouldn't have survived this long without it. How could you say it's not important, even if you are just playing devil's advocate?
it's not "technology" that's amazing
Render a web page by reading straight HTML, then tell me technology isn't incredible. Is this level of efficiency not amazing itself?
I think you read too much into what I was saying, or I said it poorly. Either way, I was saying the fact that so many things can be modeled with just strings of bits is fascinating. The fact that in the more "physical" (as opposed to digital) world everything is just bundles of particles is no less fascinating.
I was going to make an argument as to how the latter example is less fascinating than the first, but then realized that they are really the same thing.
Yes, mathematicians care a lot about mathematics. All other species and a many from ours are doing fairly well without much of it. To be honest, I'm not sure what you mean by "logic and reason". Possibly any productive thought could be called logic. When replying I assumed that by "logic" you meant the human capability to "do science".
Technology is cool an all, but I find it hard to be impressed by one scalar being bigger than another. Possibly that is harm done by math.
Allow me to unravel the mystery! I "postulate" that there is a finite number of neurons in your brain that form a finite number of synapses that form a finite number of different activity patterns. If you have enough bits, you can make large sets. If you have enough bits you can make this set larger than the synapse pattern set. Then there exists an injection from everything conceivable to finite strings of bits.
Indeed "doing well" is a bit undefined. A lot like "important".
I'd love to hear how having sent a man to the moon raises the quality of your life. There is a joke about that:
"Humans always thought they were smarter than dolphins, because they worked hard for thousands of years to invent many great things, while the dolphins only played in the water. Dolphins always thought they were smarter than humans, for the exact same reason."
As for extinction, when you think species you think cats and dogs, but that isn't fair. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nematode#Habitats and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biomass_(ecology)#Bacterial_biomass
@chris, what definition of "quality of life" are you using? I guess there are all kinds of measures for it, but I intuitively feel that a good one is suicide rates. At least I find it hard to argue with. See http://www.bit.ly/Wprj3F . I can't find anything it correlates with (There is something odd in murder with African countries. Possibly fake-ish data). Oddly I live in the second highest dot...
The suicide rate wouldn't be a definition of quality of life, it'd be an estimator of it. I'd say quality of life is defined on an individual basis by mental and physical health, happiness, stress, things like that, and on a social basis by the average of the individuals' quality of life.
@Ceraphy, I was going to ask "how is that related" until I realized I had forgotten what the thread was about :D
@Chris, the point is that you say "good" (actually it's just "quality of life" that I'm picking on. "good" is a bit different thing, more abstract) but you are not sure what it means. Or rather, you take it for "common sense" (I guess I claim to be using less of that). Apollo missions are good if you define "happy" as "well fed" (I guess I couldn't argue with you if you did).