The question asked in the title of this post is one I have been pondering for the most part of a decade now, ever since I saw the image, shown in Figure 1, of the galaxy PGC54559 (popularly known as Hoag’s Object) in 2010, following several months of thinking about what Kardashev Type III civilisations might look like.
I was invited to speak last week at the annual cybersecurity conference hosted by AusCERT, at The Star Hotel on the Gold Coast. The conference theme was “Back to the Future”, and the topic I chose was ‘The Future as an Ever-Evolving Attack Surface’, which I thought might be interesting enough to hold the many-ways-divided attention of the assembled crowd of very busy cyberfolks. And the feedback does seem to have borne this out, I’m pleased to say.
The MC for the event was Adam Spencer, and it was a good deal of fun to relate to him over breakfast the following story I used to tell my students in the Masters program (see under the de Bono Principle on the scanning heuristics page).
With the underlying geometry of the space defined by the semi-symmetric metric connection (SSMC) having been explored, we’re now in a position to examine how Einstein derived his field equations for GR. We will be seeking to follow similar physically-motivated reasoning, such as he used for GR, in our search for candidate field equations which might add electromagnetism to GR based on the geometrical properties of the SSMC. Continue reading “The Semi-Symmetric Metric Connection – Part IV”
Leslie has a wonderful ability to take conversations in new directions on the spur-of-the-moment. You can hear this in his other interviews, and in the way this one branched out several times. And also in how it tried to finish but couldn’t quite do so, the first time, no doubt due to my worrying that I had forgotten something I’d meant to speak about (the Sept 11 story).
Anyway, it was fun to do, and I hope that readers of this blog might find it useful. Sometimes it is much easier to hear someone speak about their subject than to simply read it. I hope you enjoy it.
In this post, we look more closely at how to implement the combined and refined OoK+UDC schema using physical note-cards. These will include both the standard note-bearing cards (zettels), as well as ancillary ‘structure’ cards which are used to organise and ‘situate’ the note-bearing cards within the overall knowledge structure defined by the OoK+UDC schema. Continue reading “‘The Sum Total of All Human Knowledge’, Part VI”
In the previous post in this series, we had arrived at the possibility of utilising a rigorous alphanumerical schema for indexing human knowledge based upon the temporal sequencing of the time-line of Cosmic Evolution and the through-line of Big History. This sequence was originally considered (Part I) as the most natural way to index knowledge disciplines, as it is both intuitively powerful (Part II), and based on the quasi-objective observable parameter of rising complexity over the course of cosmic time. Here we shall start to flesh out and fill in that indexing with an actual numerical scheme, based upon the final choice (Part III) of a combination of the Outline of Knowledge (OoK) from Encyclopedia Britannica (Adler 1994), and the Universal Decimal Classification (UDC) (UDC Consortium 2022). Continue reading “‘The Sum Total of All Human Knowledge’, Part IV”
The quest to find a systematic knowledge organising schema—roughly aligned with the Cosmic Evolution timeline or Big History through-line—arose from the idea to go ‘full Zettelkasten’ on the many hundreds of notes I’ve accumulated over the years that are scattered about in various notebooks, electronic and physical, and scraps of paper filed in manilla folders languishing in various filing cabinet drawers. This is not only a useful and fun way to exercise one’s mind to try to keep it active, but is also a quite interesting exploratory research project to see just how far this wonderfully preposterous idea can be pushed. And it might even be of use to anyone else looking to use the Zettelkasten method for organising their research notes along the general lines being described in this series. Continue reading “‘The Sum Total of All Human Knowledge’, Part III”
In the previous post in this series, we saw how the astronomer Carl Sagan outlined the process of “15 billion years of Cosmic Evolution” in the final episode of the TV series Cosmos (1980). He referred to our “tracing that long path” by which the “star stuff” of which we are made eventually arose to consciousness here on the Planet Earth, and how we have now begun “contemplating the stars” and to “wonder about our origins”. Elsewhere—indeed, in the opening segment of the very first episode of Cosmos—he observed that “we are a way for the Cosmos to know itself”. And it is to that Cosmos and our quest to make sense of and organise our knowledge about it, that we now turn. Continue reading “‘The Sum Total of All Human Knowledge’, Part II”
As noted in the earlier post describing heuristic principles for scanning, for most of the run of the Master of Strategic Foresight at Swinburne we used to say—to new students starting in the first unit—that Futures Studies begins with ‘the sum total of all human knowledge’ (Hayward, Voros, and Morrow 2012, p184), before it then asks, whether implicitly or explicitly: “now what?” It would therefore seem to make sense, then, to have some way of organising the sum total of all human knowledge into some sort of more-or-less coherent schema, in order that one might begin to get to grips with what is, after all, merely the starting point of the vast multidisciplinary field of Futures Studies (FS). Continue reading “‘The Sum Total of All Human Knowledge’, Part I”
The final major piece of the scanning puzzle is the issue of timing: how often, or according to what sort of timetable, is the scanning in your organisation to be carried out? That question depends on how aware you want to be about what is going on in the external environment, and what your tolerance is for the risk of being blindsided out of existence by events or emerging issues in that environment. (TL;DR: serious preparation requires serious resourcing of the scanning system; no shortcuts or excuses will cut it. Reality cannot be fooled.)