Archive for November, 2011

The Future of Philosophy: ‘Information First’

Friday, November 25th, 2011

Computational Philosophy CFP – AISB/IACAP World Congress – July 2012

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

Call for Papers: Symposium on Computational Philosophy

To be held as part of the

AISB/IACAP World Congress 2012
in honour of Alan Turing

July 2nd to 6th, 2012
University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK


The Big Bang Theory (T.V. Show)

Monday, November 14th, 2011

I have been watching some episodes of this show recently and two scenes particularly caught my attention.

Firstly, Sheldon Cooper makes an unexpected reference to Gottlob Frege:

Secondly, here is some dialogue from one scene:

Howard Wolowitz: [after everyone cheers for him and his team design going to space] It gets better! Someone has to go up with the telescope as a payload specialist, and guess who that someone is!
Sheldon Cooper: Mohammed Lee. [everyone’s looking confused]
Howard Wolowitz: Who’s Mohammed Lee?
Sheldon Cooper: Mohammed is the most common first name in the world, and Lee the most common surname. As I didn’t know the answer, I thought that’d give me a mathematical edge.

For someone who is supposed to be a genius, Sheldon seems not to be familiar with basic laws of probability. I think that this scene provides a cool example of the fact that it does not necessarily follow from two things A and B each having a relatively high probability below 1 that their conjunction shares a high probability.

In fact, it can be zero. I wonder if there are any Herman Lee’s out there.

SQL Server Error Message

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Developing some code recently for a local intranet application that uses ASP and SQL Server, I came across the following error:

Error Message: A column has been specified more than once in the order by list. Columns in the order by list must be unique.

So basically, if you give SQL Server a query like

SELECT * FROM Example ORDER BY Example_Column1, Example_Column1

you get such a message.

I am wondering, is there any logical reason why SQL Server does not tolerate a column being specified more than once in the ORDER BY clause? I would think that ORDER BY should just obey something like idempotence, so that the above query simply reduces to:

SELECT * FROM Example ORDER BY Example_Column1

This doesn’t happen with MySQL. As well as the above example, I also tried the following in MySQL and it didn’t complain:

SELECT * FROM Example ORDER BY Example_Column1, Example_Column2, Example_Column1

Ray Solomonoff 85th Memorial Conference

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

The Reasoner — call for papers

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

The Reasoner is a monthly digest highlighting exciting new research on reasoning, inference and method broadly construed. It is interdisciplinary, covering research in, e.g., philosophy, logic, AI, statistics, cognitive science, law, psychology, mathematics and the sciences.

If you are a PhD student or a young researcher, you may want to submit a What’s hot column to alert readers to your new exciting research area. Contact for further information


Skeptical scenarios can happen!

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Gaza Zoo Paints Donkeys to Look Like Zebras. Wow!