April 14, 2020

I want a story about a king whose son is prophesied to kill him so the king is like "whatever what am I supposed to do, kill my own kid wtf is wrong with you" so he just raises him as normal, doesn't even tell him about the prophecy, and instead of some convoluted twist of events that leads to the king's murder the son grows up and when the king is very old and dying and in excruciating pain the kid is just like alright I'mma put him out of his misery.
The king's son becomes the new king, and is prophesied to defeat evil and bring an age of prosperity. His generals and knights all crack their knuckles but he pretty much ignores them and focuses on strengthening the infrastructure of his kingdom. Forty years later he is old and sick but still hearing his subjects' grievances, and a general's like "how will you defeat the prophesied evil now? You're old and weak." Another visitor, a teenager fresh out of the kingdom's public education system, looks at the general like he is an ignoramus. The king eradicated poverty, housed the homeless, taught the ignorant, ended class exploitation by abolishing the nobility and imprisoning the corrupt, and established a highly respected guild of doctors that recently figured out how to cure the plague. There are no brigands because there is enough wealth for everyone to live comfortably; hiding in the woods and taking trinkets from people simply doesn't make any sense for anyone but the desperate, and the people are not desperate. Evil is a weed, explains the teenager. It grows in cracked roads and crumbling houses and forgotten corners, rooted in indifference and watered by suffering. But the king demands that broken things be mended and suffering people be made well.

No evil lives in this kingdom, says the teenager. It starved to death before I was born.
broliloquy on tumblr... very "Terry Pratchett's Discworld" Energy...

Stephen Wolfram thinks he may have a path to unifying physics - he claims that, rather than starting with Einstein as axioms, Einstein's equations are emergent from the connected graphs he is starting with.

I certainly can't follow most of it! I was struck how computational irreducibility is a central theme to it. I think of this one quote from "Singleton", a story by Greg Egan, with the narrator talking about swapping out a deterministic CPU brain for his robotic daughter a quantum computer:
Our daughter's choices--like everything else--had been written in stone at the birth of the universe, but that information could only be decoded by becoming her along the way.
That idea seems pretty central to Wolfram's thoughts.

It is sad yet beautiful we are seeing this even as we grieve John Conway - the connections to cellular automata such as his Game of Life, with simple rules iterated to provide complex, unpredictable(?) patterns, are striking.

Also: the idea that paths that split (like a quantum event happening one way or the other) but they often remerge - show why so often the quantum uncertainty doesn't matter.

Reading further, I'm sort of glad that he doesn't seem "spacetime" as a single thing... that at least matches some my intuitions - not that intuitions matter that much at this level of thinking.

Anyway, Stephen Wolfram is the kind of genius that pop-culture assumes Elon Musk is, though Stephen Hawking is more apt a comparison...