Genome and more

One purpose for this blog is to look at things technical. So, we have looked at code, CMS, and more. The scope will run down the whole axis of technology.

And, of late, we got involved with DNA. The TGS blog has two posts that are of interest: DNA and genealogy plus Admissibility. The former started a list of references. One focus has been to find early papers dealing with motivations and approach. The latter looks at issues related to the admissibility of scientific evidence into the legal process. One thing of real concern would be black box handling of data with results that were not amenable to analysis.

Come to think of it. We see all sorts of genealogical software about which we do not know much. But, then, many of these thrusts are more oriented to making money than to our desires to honor our ancestors.

Be that as it may, we also have an issue of wholesale adoption of DNA as the latest truth wizardry. Recently, the NEHGS periodical used the correct language. In the sense of a study, a relationship was marked as predicted. You see, that recognizes the statistical nature of a lot of the processing. Too, assuming that averages are given is not what we need in our modern, complicated world.

The below image comes from an article (The Atlantic) titled “Genes are Overrated.” In the same issue, there is an article that explores the question: Is there free will? If your genes determine your self and your actions, what ought we think about our future? Good point. Dark matter of DNA

Genealogy’s use of DNA deals with a simple matching. But, one can well imagine more involved uses that are under consideration. This is not unlike the growing interest in predicting genetic propensity for disease or madness or whatever. Yet, we are pushing this awful fast.

For me, the underlying analysis is sure making use of computational advances that are poorly understood. Everywhere I look, I see issues albeit we have had people making oodles of money. At the same time, problems have become more troublesome. Lots to discuss with this.

For this article, the author used “DNA dark matter” in an attempt to suggest that we know a whole lot more than the press tells us. But, then, when are they really believable? One obvious error would be to find strong causal links when there are many other genetic factors involved with some observable trait.

But, that type of wrong thinking is prevalent in business with its process minimization that tries to reduce down to some small set of contributors in situations that have way more nuances than are allowed into the scope of things.



Leap Day, 2016

This blog started in 2014. So, this will be our first leap day. We like to have these cycles that close and re-open as they give us a chance to review things and, perhaps, learn something. Given that it’s the Leap Year, we have, in the U.S., the Presidential Election. Is it fun, yet?

We will continue to have a technical focus, here. However, the whole area of interest has broadened.


Annual Report, 2015

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Quora, again

This is a continued look at work on Quora (see Oct 9, 2015). The approach is for members to ask questions. Many times, particular people are asked for an answer. But, anyone can answer. The following list has more answers related to New England.





Quora plus

The absence of posts does not indicate lack of activity. The past three months have been oriented toward getting acquainted with, and using, Quora (more below).

The past week, I prototype’d a change to a website for a D.A.R. Chapter using the HTML/CSS framework with just a little Javascripting for the last update date. Right now, the demo is at the TGS site: beta/demo. This will move to the State’s website, after review.

I see this as parametric in scope with a set structure. On the other side of the spectrum would be the full-blown use of code re-writing that is built upon a database. We’ll get to that, at some point (but, not without some discussion of the whys and wherefores).

On Quora, there have been several posts related to the theme of the TGS, Inc. The following is a brief list.






To code or not to code

Last year, about this time, I was looking to reconfigure the Thomas Gardner Society, Inc. site, a little. The theme of that work was a continuation of discussions related to “Content versus configuration.” I started the site in 2010 using a packaged deal from a major play who took away our playground a few years later.

At that point, I reverted the site back to HTML only, mainly due to the research and publication focus. So, after much review to get up to date, after being involved with the real world for awhile, I decided that HTML/CSS would do the trick, for now. Think of the approach as being parametrics in action.

But, at some point, one has to get to code (several different types and layers to talk about). And, that will be my next step.

Code has been mentioned a few times. Here are a couple of examples: Does code matter?, Made w/ Code. Today, I ran across this look at code, by Paul Ford, that is sponsored by Bloomberg Business: What is Code? The presentation is like a Coding 101 and includes looks at related subjects, such as Circuitry, Input/Output, Hardware/Software, Algorithm, Languages, etc. Later, there are some examples of coding, testing, and such. Actually, there are little stories throughout. Too, a bot bounces around with some relevant (it thinks?) messages.

Finally, there is the question of whether one ought to learn coding. Evidently, jobs and benefits can accrue to those who bite the bullet and become technically astute, thus.

Note, 06/22/2015: This whole bit of discussion deals with more than genealogy, or any other of the myriads of disciplines that might use computational resources. We can take it all the way back (and, Thomas Gardner will play, as tabla raza, in the discourse) to our philosophical underpinnings.

Note, 09/06/2015: Quora will be a great asset for knowledge depositing.

World wide mind

The title comes from the “World Wide Mind” project (see How this project comes up and how it relates to the work of TGS, Inc. deserves some attention (see below). As an aside, I have already mentioned truth engineering in the context of our intent. Too, referring to the w2mind project can help bring out for discussion some of the nuances suggested by writing of the metaphor(s) (as I see them) of Facebook.

Aside: Genealogy, and related historical views, will continue to have a growing technical flavor. As such, there are (will be) issues that need to be attended to. The first step is recognizing the need; this blog will have such a requirement (which will be, hopefully, more clear as we proceed). Putting the head in the sand is not the way to go (as some seem to have done).

Okay, now to the rest of the story. I first ran across Mark Humphrys’ work some time ago. To date, I mostly just looked at relationships that he documented as these popped up when I was doing queries. Then, I found his famous people work to be interesting (see Kinnexions, too) and have looked at the lines that he provides from time to time. Notice that he incorporates the work of others.

Today, I noticed the support request and followed down the links to the contact page. I noticed that he provided his professional page. That is where I found the w2mind work mentioned. Too, his original proposal was in 2001. My start of the truth engineering work was 2000. The common theme is AI (which is a broad in scope but ought to be on everyone’s radar in some way or another – these systems that are being provided free are laden with features based upon techniques that have evolved from the work of a whole lot people or a long period of time). Mark has been on the Internet since 1987 (I remember doing protocols/logic back in the earlier part of the 80s).

But, Mark also mentions his history and genealogy work on his professional page which indicates that he has been at this for awhile (versus my six years – computing? for that, several decades). It is interesting that Mark has morphed a brick-wall into a competition (citizen science?).

Now, his mention of several important subjects requires some attention. Say, on his page, his Turing Test and AI in general comments. Then, he goes into Computers and the Internet from which we see his thoughts on pre-IP usage (BITNET – all sorts of access methods were available before IP was let go so as to allow the wild west to emerge, again – which let DOD get bit a few times and by a few ways – sheesh).

Finally, I like that he comes (came) to the defense of Wikipedia (my claim is being the oldest Wiki’an).

All in all, there are lots of things to discuss; Thomas’ life (Backbone series) will be a central feature to a lot of discussion. But, too, technical experience will be grounded on ourselves (even when we have near-singularity – arguable point that needs attention), our historical natures, and phenomenal aspects yet to be defined such as to meet “objective” needs. Besides discussion, we at the TGS, Inc. consider research as central to our purpose, including, among a lot of other things, helping to scope how information/knowledge (of things related to our selves – many senses) can map to wise technocratic existence and better science as it pertains to human affairs.

In short, a type of juxtaposition is necessary (convolution, to boot) in several domains. One issue, or the core thing, will involve a more proper (yes) perspective of humans and what they bring to the table (say, perhaps, motivated by reading Canfield – the soul soup guy – but by no means with his ideas as coach’d material – autodidact implies, in this case, mentor-free).