Saturday, September 09, 2006

msb-0068 Memes, Words, Phrases and Sentences

msb-0068 Memes, Words, Phrases and Sentences

Feedback comes first so...

Carlo Magno has been in touch. He's scheduled to get back on the road at the end of this month. Lets hope everything goes according to plans. I'm hoping to get my banner on his three wheeler, Blue.

I'm still looking forward to Chefs For MS. I'm printing up about a hundred handouts and business cards as I write this. (Its fun being a techy with lots of hardware. :-)

I'm still in touch with one CrazyChick on her blog.

She'd written something about a colleague who perished on 9/11/01 and I was quite moved by it. I don't know which I liked better, the piece on the blog or the fact that it was written so well and so lovingly


As I mentionned in msb-0067, the last episode, I went to the MS function and found out what promise stem cells hold for you (I think I'm a little too advanced to qualify at this stage of the research. I'm also too chicken. They have to make swiss cheese of your hip-bone to extract enough marrow. Youch! :-)

The treatment seems to be geared at completely obliterating the disease by completely obliterating the immune system, (that what the chemo therapy does,) and then replacing it, either with screened portions of your own system saved before the chemo, which gets around all kinds of immune system rejection problems, or with using an uncompromised immune system as a transplant source, which brings those immuno-rejection problems back into focus.

I'll stick to my cane and keep on with Rebif. (Though I'm still up with for testing an oral or inhalable form of treatment instead of injectables.)

I gotta ask, why are so many of you downloading, or at least catching the episodes, off of the web?

You're proving that a plan never survives contact with reality.

There are more of you who aren't subscribing via RSS. You seem to be going to the site instead of through iTunes.

I hope that you are able to get the chapter headings and the links to the bands' websites which I have just discovered how to do in GarageBand for the iPod and iTunes. (Thanks to Screen Casts Online.)


So what is a meme?

Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene (ISBN: 0-19-286092-5) defined it as "a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation." That means that a meme is some form of non verbal idea or other copy-writable object. (Not patentable but copy-writable.)

What is a word?

We'll ignore the computer science definition of a number of bits in a regularlized chunk of data, and stick to the human definition of a unit of language that native speakers can identify; "words are the blocks from which sentences are made."

What is a phrase?

We'll ignore the musical definition of a repeated pattern of notes and stick to the human definition of an expression consisting of one or more words forming a grammatical constituent of a sentence. However, phrases tend to be our verbal equivalent of memes. Thus we tend to 'grok' memes or complete phrases.

What is a sentence?

We'll ignore the legal definition of a period of incarceration or other restrictions on a person, and stick to the human definition of an expression consisting of a string of words satisfying the grammatical rules of a language.

Given that there are hundreds, nay thousands of languages, with special sentence structures SOV, SVO and other rules to express memes, we're obviously going too far.

So lets go back to the definition of phrase, and skip back before we have to apply a grammar.

Human beings tend to think of things in memes and express those memes in phrases.

Objectively, in the computer science sense of the word, objects are insufficient. To properly express things we have to construct memes and express these memes in phases.


Now lets take on a definition of a language.

Its got an alphabet of some form, a vocubulary, a grammar and a grammar.

Lets take a very simple alphabet, 0&1 which lets us express things as binary streams, or ACTG which lets us express things as quaternary. (ACTG sound familiar. It should you're composed almost entirely of and by it. All of life is defined by sequences of ACTG.)

Want to step up? Lets take Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti. (I don't need to restate Do which is just a point on the octave helix.)

Lets take a more complex alphabet, say Roman, (its easier for me to type :-) which lets us express things in a host of languages.

We're expressing ourselves, our memes, in the English language.

This implies certain word selection, certain word order and places some other restrictions on the form of what we can express but not on the memes we can express.
  • I love alphabets.
  • I love words.
  • I love phrases.
  • I love sentences.
  • I love grammar.
  • I love syntax.
  • I love language.
But mostly I love playing with the objects expressed in the seven previous sentences to express memes.


Miss Chris said...

I'm onto something interesting here. What is going on with my body and the Copaxone is apparently running rampant. The med has caused something called lipoatrophy. Basically, it has melted away all the fat at my injection sites leaving me with these dents that will never go away. I'm a little freaked out by it. I'm looking into Avonex and Tysabri. I want to be on something but I want to make the right choice. The people at Shared Solutions are basically useless as far as their meds are concerned. Anyway. I just find it interesting that so many people have this issue yet they downplay it.

Thanks for the mention of my 9/11 blog post and the nice things you said about it.

Charles-A. Rovira said...


I knew it had something to do with, uh, putting it nicely, your slender layer of adipose tissue. (Always a sensitive issue with some people. :-)

I can't inject between my thighs because I have no fat there and it hurts to even try, so I don't.

Don't be too hard on the people at Shared Solutions.

They are not trained in dealing with issues like those.

They have enough of a job dealing with getting people to inject in the first place.

Of course a lot of people are stuck with, uh, getting stuck.

Their bodies are responding in the way that organisms always do.

They scar or otherwise react (like atrophying away the protective layer of fat,) so as to stop getting stuck there.

That's why I believe we have to get the medicos to work on an inhalable form of our medication, to take advantage of an existing permeable membrane, our lungs.

That's why diabetics stick themselves in the finger (which hurts because the fingertips are just covered in nerve endings [your fingertips are so sensitive that they can detect a change in texture less than one thousandth of an inch! {Pluck a hair from your head. Place it on a table. Close your eyes and I can bet, dollars to doughnuts, that you can find it on the table with just your fingertips.}])

But the skin on the fingertips can regenerate quickly and stand up to the daily abuse.


Tell me, have you ever heard my show? How do I sound?

I'd really like to know because I'm cross posting the text of my episodes there and I'm trying to figure out how people are receiving or perceiving me.

Miss Chris said...

Hey! I finally listened to your podcast just a minute ago. It would always take forever to load so, being the patient person I am (haha), I never waited around. But I did today and I think it's great!

Justin said...

Hey Charles! As posted in my blog:

Thanks for dropping by! I appreciated your well thought out post and the ideas that it expressed.

Would you say there is an absolute dichotomy between being market facing and being innovative?

Thanks for the posting. I noticed your blog on MS... my Aunt has MS and I've seen its impact on her life. I enjoyed reading through your blog, best wishes!