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SEMS: ONE FEATURE OF COLAB SCAFFOLDINGView comments on this item Add your comment on this item1


            Work in Progress August 20, 2008 -- 2 draft perspectives of a critical component of Larry Victor's model of reality which may enable us to rapidly emerge a nu planetary humanity. Add your comment on this item2


            jorl - this embryonic theory of sems is probably consistent with your theory of information reality, beyond materialism, which I must study. Some aspects in the following came from recent insights resulting from my interactions with you and deepwater. Add your comment on this item3


            SEM ENVELOPES Add your comment on this item4


            I know that both emails and websites, when stored as files, have data that is not normally viewed when reading the site. Even word-processing documents have data related to the formatting, etc. stored in a place not normally viewed when reading or writing. I know very little more about this, other than that search engines can access this data as well as data in the "body". I don't know what this is called, but I will call it the envelope of the sem, or esem. The sem being the semiotic structure of the "body" (whether it be text, graphics, video, sound or multimedia). I expect the esem, today, is limited to text and code. Add your comment on this item5


            In the hypermedia core of the emergent virtual world, the nodes are called a sem within an esem. The esem can be viewed as an envelope containing the address of the sem within the whole web of the emergent virtual world [EVW] and other data characterizing the sem among other sems.View comments on this item Add your comment on this item6


            Whereas a sem can be fixed (no more editing), its' esem will be continuously changing. Add your comment on this item7


            Some user data will be automatically entered into an esem whenever the sem is accessed. This may include the path (through other sems) by the user both before and after accessing the sem. Depending on the nature of the sem, activity of a user with the sem may also be automatically added to the esem. Through linkages, the path of the user could be traced back and forward as much as the data allows. Add your comment on this item8


            Depending on criteria, a user may block data entering the esem of a sem accessed. However, a balance between privacy and transparency must be negotiated. Add your comment on this item9


            A user can request to add more data to the esem -- or the specific tour through the EVW the user has joined may automatically request the user to add data to the esem. For example, evaluation measures and other questionnaire-type input from the user. A user could request being asked for easy-to-use data entry systems for specific needs of the user. Add your comment on this item10


            The overall system should be designed to make time with the esems as familiar and automatic as possible. Users should be able to tailor how the request for esem data is presented and entered. Entry could be by voice, foot pedal, brainwave, special iconic matrices, etc. Each user would need to be trained to use this system as "second nature". This requires a new attitude towards learning-to-use intelligent tools: that higher levels of performance requires training and practice - but the gains are well worth the effort. Driving a car at high speeds in traffic is a very complex skill - most people can learn this skill because they want to drive.View comments on this item Add your comment on this item11


            esems will continuously be processed by a multitude of programs. The data, at any moment, cannot be altered; but how that data is stored and accessed can be improved and changed. A backup access to all changes is retained, and can be accessed by anyone -- but the backup record cannot be modified, although parts may be tagged to indicate subsequent modifications. Add your comment on this item12


            The relevance of esems is to enable an emergent virtual world of sems to grow with a semi-stable core - a scaffolding - with variations accounting for individual differences and alternative perspectives. Persons and teams can conduct e-tours and e-expeditions, the former heavy on experiencing and providing feedback, the latter heavy on adding new sems and alternative versions of sems. e-tours and e-expeditions could now be offered in Wikipedia as an experiment, and through any domains of cyberspace. The history of Wikipedia can inform us of issues in managing a participatory editing process. Add your comment on this item13


            Today, most persons lock-into routine patterns in cyberspace -- never learning how truly diverse it is, how potentially REESEE. Semi passive e-tours, with activity between watching tv and computer gaming, could become a major attraction. Done appropriately, this could be a source of resources for pre-STAR development. Add your comment on this item14


            I believe esems are critical in making a hypermedia creation/experiencing system that users develop quality fluency and competency, with quality training - which can be integrated into e-tours and e-expeditions. Add your comment on this item15


            I first learned of hypertext in the early 1980s via Ted Nelson, an early cyberspace guru. Add your comment on this item16


            Ted's vision was that there would be only one "established copy" of a sem in cyberspace (although stored virtually in many locations for security). When that sem is to be included in an doc of assembled sems, the "established copy" is accessed and a record of that access is added to the esem of that "established sem". This is Larry's language, not Ted's. Ted proposed that the authors of any sem would be acknowledged/rewarded according to the variables associated with access. Ted's attempt at his Project Xanadu was never successful - but still provides a vision of an alternative to the current system we have in the WorldWideWeb. Add your comment on this item17


            Not that Ted's vision should now be implemented - we know much more. But, we must examine our current system in terms of "paradigms" that blocks (or makes difficult) many processes. For example: the desktop paradigm, the building-construction paradigm for Project Design and Management Apps, the folder/file paradigm, the email paradigm, the business paradigm for Operating Systems, the outliner demoted and not integrated with hypertext, the printed page paradigm, the classroom paradigm for virtual education, the line after line after line paradigm for text-on-page, the backup paradigms, the outmoded "intellectual property" paradigms, the "user friendly" paradigm which blocks levels of competency development, etc. And, most significantly, the economic market paradigm for hardware and software development. Add your comment on this item18


            Those deeply involved with intelligent technology have always created, as best they could, what they needed. Whatever we call them: techies, hackers, geeks, computer-freaks, etc. -- they create technologies useful for their needs. The Internet is the exemplar of this collaborative creativity, as with Open Source, Wikipedia, and other outstanding ventures. However, many of these apps are frozen in paradigms comfortable for those deeply involved with intelligent technology (who usually have wide gaps of appreciation of how those without their special competencies function) but quite difficult to use by the novice. Add your comment on this item19


            While on this theme, I must call attention to the works of Neil Larson in the 1980s. Neil was a maverick in a field of mavericks. He opposed the mouse and GUI, yet his software creations that augmented creativity have yet to be duplicated 3-4 decades later. Larson's HOUDINI (a creator of webs of terms) and MAXTHINK (an outliner that forced re-examination of structures) are not available today (using our advanced technology). In 1984 Larson created an online hypertext system (which I used) many years before his concept was employed in the early DOS version of the WWW. Unfortunately, Neil could not adapt to the rapid changes in computing and many of those changes, unfortunately, wiped out a theme of importance for intelligent technology - how to augment human creativity. Add your comment on this item20


            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_web_browser Add your comment on this item21


            http://www.eatonhand.com/maxthink.htm Add your comment on this item22


            http://www.maxthink.org/indexflash.htm : A windows version of Maxthink is now available. But it is a new version of Houdini, with multiple types of links between nodes. that would be most useful. Add your comment on this item23


            I expect that contemporary search engines search the esems of existing websites, as well as the text in the sem. What we need is a fresh look at the sem & esem framework, both in terms of diverse users and those who know the variables involved in creating such systems. This is not a development that will have immediate market value. After a number of generations of development, a new cyberspace based on the sem/esem framework might eventually dominate. Add your comment on this item24


            Initially, this system will require considerable human participation, along with sophisticated automation. We must return to enjoy repeated routine performance, as needed in the early stages of innovation. A fetish for automation must be resisted. Add your comment on this item25


            There may be a set of standard formats for sems, which a user could select to display the sem. Sem creator recommended formats also available. Standardization could speed processing when using familiar formats. Add your comment on this item26


            Recommended size of sem -- where all information can be processes in one sitting with all (or most) active in short-term memory. User time with a sem will vary greatly, due to many factors. Some sems will require "guides" for some users, to be determined by users processing patterns and the profile of the user (this could be viewed as an envelope for the user). Add your comment on this item27


            This feature of a nu cyberspace cannot stand alone. There are many other features needing development, in synergy, with this feature.View comments on this item Add your comment on this item28


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            RELATIVITY AND SEMS Add your comment on this item29


            Einstein's primary insight for Special Relativity was not rational; but highly counter-intuitive. He proposed that the velocity of light (the velocity of propagation for electromagnetic waves) was an invariant to observers in a field, where all observers are moving at constant velocity with respect to each other. These "observers" are often called "reference frames". We cannot imagine this with our body oriented metaphors for motion and our classical view of velocity arithmetic. You can chase after a photon and always fall behind, no matter how you accelerate. One observer at a train station and another observer on the train measure the velocity of the same light wave (Einstein's gedanken experiment). Contrary to "common sense" the two observers (moving relative to each other) would arrive at the same value for their measurements of the velocity of that light - or any other electromagnetic wave. Add your comment on this item30


            A consequence of this strange nature of light, the physical distance between to events (such as two supernovae) and the time interval between them will vary, depending on the relative velocity of observers. However, a result of The Special Theory of Relativity is that the four dimensional distance between the two events is invariant. Add your comment on this item31


            x2+y2+z2-c2t2 = x'2+y'2+z'2-c2t'2 Add your comment on this item32


            Most introductions to Special Relativity start with flat Euclidean space and a linear, absolute time -- as a background media or grid upon which objects and events are observed. Then, because things move very fast - close to the velocity of the signal they use to communicate (and make their measurements), their space intervals and time intervals seem to shrink. Rulers get shorter and clocks slow down - as the story goes. I believe that this is a very confusing introduction. Add your comment on this item33


            Consulting the works of Milne, LJV constructed a mathematical formulation for assigning space-time coordinates to events (of observation and events of reflection of light off an event), using clocks (as in radar bouncing off moving objects - using the time the radar signal left the observer and when it returned, and the time interval) the coordinates for all events can be determined. We simply use the idea that the speed of the signal (light) is invariant. We then end up with coordinates that conform with the Lorentz equations of transformation (transforming one set of coordinates of a given event as measured from one observer to a different set of coordinates of the same event as measured by another observer in relative uniform motion with the first observer). Relativistic space-time mathematically emerges from the process of measurement (radar reflection and timing) and the assumption of the invariance of the speed of light. Nothing happens to flat space-time due to fast motion; flat space time is only a local approximation - if we observe phenomena where velocities of particles are very high, approaching the speed of light, space and time appear distorted from the flat approximation. Flat space and linear time were natural at speeds on planet Earth where our observers evolved, and it is somehow becomes integrated in our brains. Add your comment on this item34


            How might "primitive" peoples, who know nothing about academic physics or formal measurements feel about not being able to catch a light wave. You go faster and faster from earth, but you measure the light going the same speed. How might this be presented? Add your comment on this item35


            "Invariance" is a far better concept that "conservation". LJV explicated this distinction in his PhD thesis in educational psychology at the University of Minnesota in 1970: On Understanding the Laws of Invariance. Add your comment on this item36


            Consider now a "thing" with the following set of properties. Don't permit "common sense" to insist that such a "thing" is impossible. Add your comment on this item37


        Doesn't change over the time interval of its existence. Add your comment on this item38


        Can be replicated many times. Add your comment on this item39


        Replicas are identical to each other, indistinguishable. Add your comment on this item40

o        The identity of these "things" is analogous to the indistinguishably of electrons (leptons) in academic physical theory. Add your comment on this item41


        Their origination is without physical cause. They appear as one might imagine the collapse of a quantum field; where and when is not strictly determined, but may be in accordance statistically with other originations. Add your comment on this item42


        Their emergence after origination is dependent on the interference of two domains: (1) the intrinsic potential characteristic of the origination (analogous to the expanding quantum probability field), and (2) the physical surround (environmental matrix of matter and energy) within which the "thing" emerges. Add your comment on this item43


        The "things" emerge, over time, producing/creating a fixed physical structure within which is embedded/imprinted an "ideational pattern". The "ideational pattern" is the "thing". It is not dependent on the material substrate that sustains it. "Things" are not material, although they depend for their manifestation on material substrates. Add your comment on this item44


        The substrate may decay, but the "ideational pattern" will remain invariant. This invariance will be operationally defined. When parts of the pattern are not manifest because of the decay of the substrate, the pattern manifest is an ensemble of patterns of which the remaining fragment is a part. Add your comment on this item45


        The substrate may disappear, and the "thing" in that manifestation will be gone. But, if the "thing" was replicated, it will continue to exist, in multiple identical copies embedded/imprinted on a variety of physical media. Add your comment on this item46


        There are many operations for replication of these "things", and operations to confirm their identity. Add your comment on this item47


        Unless all substrates are destroyed, and there are no remaining replicas, the "thing" continues to exist. Add your comment on this item48


        The same "thing" can be observed many times, where the observation never changes the "thing". We are actually observing the same "thing" in multiple embodiments. This is more than the replication of a scientific experiment - it is similar, but not the same. When we observe these "things", they are the same "things" (if they are replicas of a common ancestral "thing"). Add your comment on this item49


            These "things" are creations, the observable products of creativity. They must have material substrates, but they are not themselves material.View comments on this item Add your comment on this item50


            I call these "things" SEMS (or sems), short for semiotic structures. Add your comment on this item51


            Human creations are sems. A composed paragraph is a sem, as is a novel. All art forms are sems. Buildings and created landscapes are sems. Musical compositions are sems, as are musical performances.

            Scientific theories are sems - the data, texts and diagrams are sems that give rise to meaningful mental experiences in some minds, just as the complex structures of musical sounds lead to meaningful mental experiences in the minds of those trained to observe them. Add your comment on this item52


            Not all sems are obvious, some must be studied over time -- they don't change while being studied (although the observer may discover new features - that were already there - on later observations). Add your comment on this item53


            Sems have analogous aspects to Platonic Ideals - which is why I called them "ideational patterns" on material substrates. Add your comment on this item54


            The observation and study of sems, replicating sems, inter-subjectively confirming the "identity" of a collection of sems, can all be done within the frame of naive realism. This is a very fortunate situation. Naive realism is an appropriate frame for local, immediate, sensory environments. It evolved to work for these situations. To attempt to apply alternative frames to situations where naive realism is appropriate can be very confusing.  Add your comment on this item55


            But placing clear limits on the applicability of naive realism (such as not suitable for abstract concepts { e.g., freedom, inertial mass}, or things that cannot be "directly, inter-subjectively observed" { e.g., social systems, governments}, or qualia of experiential moments {e.g., fear, confusion}) we can avoid the problems caused by its inappropriate application. Add your comment on this item56


            Minds objectify sems. "Mind" will be a primitive, at this point. We may use metaphors of consciousness or mental experience as components of minds. Sems, when observed by human perceptual systems are common sense objects or "things". They can be described. Their "objectification" does not imply a naive materialism. Add your comment on this item57


            Like with Relativity, we begin at the beginning. Our primitives are these "things" with the above properties: sems. Sems as non-material is counter-intuitive. For example, we must distinguish the following sem: <I AM A SEM>, from it copy pasted here: <I AM A SEM> and here: <I AM A SEM>. There are three sequences of characters, but only one sem. Even if I can't comprehend this sem: < > I can make copies of it: < > and here: < > . Add your comment on this item58


            In a course I designed, "Learning to Learn and Love Math", I made copies of some of the most complex math symbolic expressions I could find, and some texts in Arabic and other character systems. I wasn't sure that everyone could replicate the sems; but they did. Everyone detected the features of the that were relevant and replicated them. Add your comment on this item59


            There will be sems that only selected persons can perceive and replicate. Such as color patterns for the color blind and musical structural subtleties requiring perfect pitch. This "theory of sems" as all theories, is but a cognitive tool. It will have its limitations. Add your comment on this item60


            The empirical foundation of science are sems - recorded data and scientific reports - not the so-called "objective" physical process observed. The experimental processes of research result in the origination of sems, data and reports. Our scientific knowledge is founded on these scientific sems. It is the scientific literature, the collective sem, that are returned to again and again, data being re-examined, mathematical deductions being re-analyzed. Sems themselves can be scientifically studied, and they are unique in that observations doesn't change them (the old scientific ideal) and the "thing" to be studied can be replicated, enabling many researchers to study the same "thing". And the results of all such re-examination and re-analysis are new sems. Add your comment on this item61


            Sems are the foundation of all social reality. -- expand later. We learn of societies and cultures through sems encountered in the various media. This perspective is a frame that enables viable human unity/diversity. Add your comment on this item62

            See: The Fundamental Reality of Text . Add your comment on this item63


            The material universe is constructed of sems -- what we experience are sems. The nature of sems is constructed of sems. What we say about brain, mind, consciousness are sems constructed of sems. Add your comment on this item64


            Now consider: all living organisms are sems - but not products of human creativity. Our knowledge of life and living systems is based on human created sems (research data and reports). But, the living organism -- as a true "other" -- has it origination, its emergence, its mature form, and it disappears when the biological body dies. The physical-biological organism, its molecules, cells and organs, are not sems. The sem is the "ideational pattern" that originates and emerges - patterns embedded/imprinted on biological matter. The concept of matter/substance may be useful, and even "wired in"; but, it may also go the way of the aether - the "non-material material" believed necessary for the propagation of signals. We eventually discovered that all relevant information carried by the signals didn't depend on the nature of the medium - the aether. So the concept was abandoned. Yet, in a more abstract sense, Einstein's fiction of light signals with strange properties, is the aether. Add your comment on this item65


            I had heard that Richard Feynman ( in his Nobel Prize speech ) proposed a theory of light that even did away with the traveling signal. [I just read it.] He noted that we never observe light. We only observe the reception of signals - events in the receiver. The causal patterns normally explained by the creation and annihilation of photons, traveling like a wave, but relating to matter as a "particle", can be replaced by a temporal coordination scheme. An event in the sun is associated with an event on Earth, after an 8 minute delay. Energy is not material, it is a mathematical construct, a pattern that is observed when invariances are observed. The material metaphor of "energy conservation": imagining an "energetic substance" moving and changing form (potential to kinetic, chemical to thermal, nuclear to radiative). This metaphor is a carry-over of the phlogiston paradigm. In practice, energy is a mathematical invariant in physical and biological theories. "Energy", the word, labels an "invariant" in a system of sems.View comments on this item Add your comment on this item66