Simulation & Simulacra

The convergence of literature:

For this world also which seems to us a thing of stone and flower and blood is not a thing at all but is a tale. And all in it is a tale and each tale the sum of all lesser tales and yet these also are the selfsame tale and contain as well all else within them. So everything is necessary. Every least thing. This is the hard lesson. Nothing can be dispensed with. Nothing despised. Because the seams are hid from us, you see. The joinery. The way in which the world is made. We have no way to know what could be taken away. What omitted. We have no way to tell what might stand and what might fall.

Cormac McCarthy – The Crossing

and philosophy:

For something to be real, it needs to be implemented. So the model that you have of reality is real in as far as it is a model, it’s an appropriate description of the world to say that there are models that are being experienced. But the world that you experience is not necessarily implemented, there is a difference between a reality, a simulation and a simulacrum. The reality that we are talking about is something that fully emerges over a causally closed lowest layer. And the idea of physicalism is that we are in that layer, that basically our world emerges over that. Every alternative to physicalism is a simulation theory, which basically says that we are in some kind of simulation universe and the real world needs to be an apparent universe of that, where the actual causal structure is.

When you look at the ocean and your own mind, you are looking at a simulation that explains what you’re going to see next. [We are living in a] simulation generated by own brains. And this simulation is different from the physical reality, because the causal structure that is being produced, what you are seeing, is different from the causal structural of physics. […] Your behavior needs to work in such a way that it’s interacting with an accurately predictive model of reality. And, if your brain is unable to make your model of reality predictive, you will need help.

Joscha Bach on the Lex Fridman podcast


Let’s talk about Tardigrades

How big are they? Not very. Slow steppers are about a half a millimeter long.


Where can they survive? Moss piglets are famously hardy and can survive in the vacuum of space. They can be completely dehydrated for 10 years, then rehydrated. They can survive in boiling water, the desert, the ocean, in permafrost and just about anywhere else you can think of (not lava).

Are they cute? Ehh. Under certain circumstances, sure. It’s not a cuteness home run though.


Where does one acquire a tardigrade? They are found far and wide on every continent. Your best bet for getting your hands, or microscope as it were, on one is to collect some lichen and look at it through a microscope. For the long explanation, read this very detailed article.

How do they move? They walk, much like you might imagine an 8 legged dog might.

Credit Lisset Duran and Deborah Johnston

What’s the proper care and feeding of a tardigrade? Put some agar in a dish. Water bears, as they’re sometimes called, enjoy swimming in mineral water and dining on algae. Rotate their food and water every 3 to 6 days.

When were they discovered? According to Wik, Johann August Ephraim Goeze first described what he called kleiner Wasserbär in 1773.


Gray Ghost Incoming

This photograph of a male Northern Harrier, aka the “Gray Ghost” is a hard one to get. Male harriers are white, females are brown. Northern Harriers aren’t uncommon in the Pacific Northwest, but the male to female ratio is 1:3 and the males seem to be somewhat more avoidant of humans.

So to get one in-focus, flying straight toward the camera, with a somewhat interesting background, well, it made my day 🙂

The Gray Ghost
For comparison, a female Northern Harrier