I admit to certain vices. I’ve been on the internet for a very long time. I read science fiction, and not just for my academic work. I was reading usenet in the early 90s, often using a VAX cluster. So many of the stupendous concepts of 2016, ranging from “meme magic” to transhumanism, I’ve seen develop in slow-motion: one shitpost at a time. Probably the purest manifestation of cyberlibertarianism, however, is cryptocurrency.
Like many habitual internet users, I strongly believe that I have never bought anything advertised to me on the web, nor have any of these ads affected my behavior beyond momentary irritation. I sometimes take ad-blocking steps and am well aware of cookies, browser-entropy measures, and the wily IP address. My disdain for the so-called “Flash” plugin is complete. What, then, could a book primarily focused on the marketing models used by data scientists to target consumer behavior on the web tell me?
I checked back in to Project Rosalind a few days ago, and I noticed that they had added several new problems. One was the familiar Fibonacci sequence, beloved of introdutory computer science instruction everywhere. There was also a modified version of the Fibonacci problem, however, which requires you to compute the sequence with mortal rabbits. (The normal Fibonacci sequence is often introduced as an unrealistic problem in modeling the population growth of immortal rabbits.) I wanted to find a solution to this that didn’t involve manually keeping track of how many rabbits were breeding and dying, and it turned out to be more complicated than I originally thought.
Though I’m sure the answer is “no,” I’ve been thinking today about whether or not it was possible that Lovecraft knew anything of Cantor’s ideas about infinity. The infinitesimal islands of the rationals, for example.