Saturday, September 20, 2003

On the nature of connections, and the process of one network being replaced by another:

"The world's major financial institutions have all joined this race to develop black-box financial systems. The bulge of credit that moves around the globe with the sun and the time value of money, whose bits and bytes are flowing with ever-increasing velocity, dictate that success goes to the swift. Moving with equal rapidity are the risks that can wipe out unsuspecting players. 'No one really knows how to eliminate all the risks,' says Andrew Lo, who directs the financial-engineering programs at MIT. 'But we do know that less sophisticated technology will lose out over time to more sophisticated technology. That is why the old-boy network is being replaced by the computer network. Call it revenge of the nerds, but everyone on Wall Street is scrambling to develop computer-driven programs.' This is why physics and finance are converging into the new science of phynance."

Thomas Bass (1999) The Predictors.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

(Originally posted on another list, a few months back - jd)

In order to "defeat Bush", somebody else needs to get elected. That's the
bigger question. Duh.

What can networks/network science tell us about elections? Campaigns are
(ad hoc) networks, with clusters in various "constituencies" like
fundamentalists, trade unionists, Chicago machine, etc.? Those
clusters/constituencies have hubs/super-connectors, which suggests a
strategy for working w/ them? All of this obvious to anyone who's done
campaign work.

What's more interesting to me is how the clusters are going through a
process of disintegration and reconstruction, driven by the economic
revolution and the ensuing social consequences. The links w/in the clusters
are being destroyed as workers are laid off, city and state budgets
slashed, social anxiety rising, etc etc.

The reconstruction part is more interesting -- e.g., new links/shapes w/in
the trade union movement; peace movement; environment movement. And what
role ideas and vision have to play there; what might come out of the 2004
election process?

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Here's a link for the Emergent Phenomena Research Group at Bryn Mawr U.

Looks to be a good reading list and links to other resources.

Quotes from Engels, Dialectics of Nature (page numbers refer to MECW edtion, vol. 25)
Motion, interconnection

"The whole of nature accessible to us forms a system, an interconnected totality of bodies, and by bodies we understand here all material existences extending from stars to atoms.... In the fact that these bodies are interconnected is ready included that they react on one another, and it is precisely evident here that matter is unthinkable without motion. It already becomes evident herr that matter is unthinkable without motion." p. 363

"All motion consists of the interplay of attraction and repulsion."

"Dialectics has proved from the results of our experience of nature so far that all polar opposites in general are determined by the mutual action of the two opposite poles on each other, that the separation and opposition of these poles exist only within their mutual connection and union, and conversely, that their union exists only in their separation and their mutual connection only in their opposition." 364-365.