butterfly economics

Currently reading Butterfly Economics: A New General Theory of Social and Economic Behavior. The books central central premise is that “… conventional economics is mistaken when it views the economy and society as a machine, whose behavior, no matter how complicated, is ultimately predictable and controllable.

On the contrary, human society is much more like a living organism — a living creature, whose behavior can only be understood by looking at the complex interactions of its individual parts.” The books chapters explore various sections of our society and world that support this premise, the most interesting of which might be the chapter abouts ants(!).

“Ants, faced with two identical food sources, were observed to concentrate more on one of these but, after a period, they would turn their attention to the other. The same phenomenon has been observed in humans choosing between restaurants. After discussing the nature of foraging and recruitment behavior in ants, a simple model of stochastic recruitment is suggested. This explains the “herding” and “epidemics” described in the literature on financial markets as corresponding to the equilibrium distributio n of a stochastic process rather than to switching between multiple equilibria.” (abstract).

Sounds scary! Succintly, ants, given a choice between A and B (where A & B are equal) don’t go to A 50% of the time and B 50% of the time; turns out that humans don’t either, which is why one particular restaurant will be packed for 3 months and then empty for 2… and I think helps explain why creating “buzz” is so important for companies today… Is PHP better than ASP? or JSP? or CFM? maybe, but so and so says that Perl is better… Should we see One Hour Photo or Simone? Truth is almost *everything* we buy as consumers is influenced by what other people tell us… I think it’s only going to get worse… I find myself not buying books until I see good reviews on Amazon, I won’t see movies until they’ve been out for awhile and someone tells me I ‘have’ to see it. Anyways..

While doing searches on google for more on ants, I came across this interesting page that talks about various AI ant robot studies.

jabber server installed

How fun is this! I had an hour free this afternoon so I read over the docs on installing the AIM transport for jabber. It took me about 3 hours, but I finally got the AIM transport compiled AND completely functioning. If you’re interested in seeing how jabber works, download exodus and then register @ jabber.mindseye.com. You can then IM with other jabber users, but more importantly, you can IM other AIM users… *someday* we’ll all be using jabber powered IM. jabber me @ ajohnson@jabber.mindseye.com

jabber client tutorial

If you’re interested in Jabber from a “how do I use Jabber as a client” standpoint, this is a great tutorial. It turns out that you can talk to MSN and AIM gateways using a Jabber client *as long as* the Jabber server you’re using has the AIM or MSN transport installed.

lucene search up and running

Inspired by Sam Ruby, I got Lucene to search this site.. My search sample size is pretty small, but 10 milliseconds for a search on any site is pretty fast. How?

First, download the Lucene binaries.

Second, throw lucene-1.2.jar & lucene-demos-1.2.jar into your classpath or into your $siteroot/WEB-INF/lib folder.

Run a quick index of the html files you want indexed:

# java -classpath #InsertPathToAboveMentionedJars org.apache.lucene.demo.IndexHTML -create #InsertPathToFilesYouWantIndexed

And then you can run a query using the sample jsp provided w/ the Lucene download by changing the path to the index you created. Pretty simple!

Maybe someday I’ll polish up the scripts and add it to Moveable Type’s External Resources page.

Now with 50% less caffeine!