28 Matching Annotations
  1. Feb 2023
  2. Jan 2023
    1. Note 9/8j says - "There is a note in the Zettelkasten that contains the argument that refutes the claims on every other note. But this note disappears as soon as one opens the Zettelkasten. I.e. it appropriates a different number, changes position (or: disguises itself) and is then not to be found. A joker." Is he talking about some hypothetical note? What did he mean by disappearing? Can someone please shed some light on what he really meant?

      On the Jokerzettel

      9/8j Im Zettelkasten ist ein Zettel, der das Argument enthält, das die Behauptungen auf allen anderen Zetteln widerlegt.

      Aber dieser Zettel verschwindet, sobald man den Zettelkasten aufzieht.

      D.h. er nimmt eine andere Nummer an, verstellt sich und ist dann nicht zu finden.

      Ein Joker.

      —Niklas Luhmann, ZK II: Zettel 9/8j


      9/8j In the slip box is a slip containing the argument that refutes the claims on all the other slips. But this slip disappears as soon as you open the slip box. That is, he assumes a different number, disguises himself and then cannot be found. A joker.

      Many have asked about the meaning of this jokerzettel over the past several years. Here's my slightly extended interpretation, based on my own practice with thousands of cards, about what Luhmann meant:

      Imagine you've spent your life making and collecting notes and ideas and placing them lovingly on index cards. You've made tens of thousands and they're a major part of your daily workflow and support your life's work. They define you and how you think. You agree with Friedrich Nietzsche's concession to Heinrich Köselitz that “You are right — our writing tools take part in the forming of our thoughts.” Your time is alive with McLuhan's idea that "The medium is the message." or in which his friend John Culkin said, "We shape our tools and thereafter they shape us."

      Eventually you're going to worry about accidentally throwing your cards away, people stealing or copying them, fires (oh! the fires), floods, or other natural disasters. You don't have the ability to do digital back ups yet. You ask yourself, can I truly trust my spouse not to destroy them?,What about accidents like dropping them all over the floor and needing to reorganize them or worse, the ghost in the machine should rear its head?

      You'll fear the worst, but the worst only grows logarithmically in proportion to your collection.

      Eventually you pass on opportunities elsewhere because you're worried about moving your ever-growing collection. What if the war should obliterate your work? Maybe you should take them into the war with you, because you can't bear to be apart?

      If you grow up at a time when Schrodinger's cat is in the zeitgeist, you're definitely going to have nightmares that what's written on your cards could horrifyingly change every time you look at them. Worse, knowing about the Heisenberg Uncertainly Principle, you're deathly afraid that there might be cards, like electrons, which are always changing position in ways you'll never be able to know or predict.

      As a systems theorist, you view your own note taking system as a input/output machine. Then you see Claude Shannon's "useless machine" (based on an idea of Marvin Minsky) whose only function is to switch itself off. You become horrified with the idea that the knowledge machine you've painstakingly built and have documented the ways it acts as an independent thought partner may somehow become self-aware and shut itself off!?!


      And worst of all, on top of all this, all your hard work, effort, and untold hours of sweat creating thousands of cards will be wiped away by a potential unknowable single bit of information on a lone, malicious card and your only recourse is suicide, the unfortunate victim of dataism.

      Of course, if you somehow manage to overcome the hurdle of suicidal thoughts, and your collection keeps growing without bound, then you're sure to die in a torrential whirlwind avalanche of information and cards, literally done in by information overload.

      But, not wishing to admit any of this, much less all of this, you imagine a simple trickster, a joker, something silly. You write it down on yet another card and you file it away into the box, linked only to the card in front of it, the end of a short line of cards with nothing following it, because what could follow it? Put it out of your mind and hope your fears disappear away with it, lost in your box like the jokerzettel you imagined. You do this with a self-assured confidence that this way of making sense of the world works well for you, and you settle back into the methodical work of reading and writing, intent on making your next thousands of cards.

  3. Oct 2022
    1. Underlining Keyterms and Index Bloat .t3_y1akec._2FCtq-QzlfuN-SwVMUZMM3 { --postTitle-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postTitleLink-VisitedLinkColor: #9b9b9b; --postBodyLink-VisitedLinkColor: #989898; }

      Hello u/sscheper,

      Let me start by thanking you for introducing me to Zettelkasten. I have been writing notes for a week now and it's great that I'm able to retain more info and relate pieces of knowledge better through this method.

      I recently came to notice that there is redundancy in my index entries.

      I have two entries for Number Line. I have two branches in my Math category that deals with arithmetic, and so far I have "Addition" and "Subtraction". In those two branches I talk about visualizing ways of doing that, and both of those make use of and underline the term Number Line. So now the two entries in my index are "Number Line (Under Addition)" and "Number Line (Under Subtraction)". In those notes I elaborate how exactly each operation is done on a number line and the insights that can be derived from it. If this continues, I will have Number Line entries for "Multiplication" and "Division". I will also have to point to these entries if I want to link a main note for "Number Line".

      Is this alright? Am I underlining appropriately? When do I not underline keyterms? I know that I do these to increase my chances of relating to those notes when I get to reach the concept of Number Lines as I go through the index but I feel like I'm overdoing it, and it's probably bloating it.

      I get "Communication (under Info. Theory): '4212/1'" in the beginning because that is one aspect of Communication itself. But for something like the number line, it's very closely associated with arithmetic operations, and maybe I need to rethink how I populate my index.

      Presuming, since you're here, that you're creating a more Luhmann-esque inspired zettelkasten as opposed to the commonplace book (and usually more heavily indexed) inspired version, here are some things to think about:<br /> - Aren't your various versions of number line card behind each other or at least very near each other within your system to begin with? (And if not, why not?) If they are, then you can get away with indexing only one and know that the others will automatically be nearby in the tree. <br /> - Rather than indexing each, why not cross-index the cards themselves (if they happen to be far away from each other) so that the link to Number Line (Subtraction) appears on Number Line (Addition) and vice-versa? As long as you can find one, you'll be able to find them all, if necessary.

      If you look at Luhmann's online example index, you'll see that each index term only has one or two cross references, in part because future/new ideas close to the first one will naturally be installed close to the first instance. You won't find thousands of index entries in his system for things like "sociology" or "systems theory" because there would be so many that the index term would be useless. Instead, over time, he built huge blocks of cards on these topics and was thus able to focus more on the narrow/niche topics, which is usually where you're going to be doing most of your direct (and interesting) work.

      Your case sounds, and I see it with many, is that your thinking process is going from the bottom up, but that you're attempting to wedge it into a top down process and create an artificial hierarchy based on it. Resist this urge. Approaching things after-the-fact, we might place information theory as a sub-category of mathematics with overlaps in physics, engineering, computer science, and even the humanities in areas like sociology, psychology, and anthropology, but where you put your work on it may depend on your approach. If you're a physicist, you'll center it within your physics work and then branch out from there. You'd then have some of the psychology related parts of information theory and communications branching off of your physics work, but who cares if it's there and not in a dramatically separate section with the top level labeled humanities? It's all interdisciplinary anyway, so don't worry and place things closest in your system to where you think they fit for you and your work. If you had five different people studying information theory who were respectively a physicist, a mathematician, a computer scientist, an engineer, and an anthropologist, they could ostensibly have all the same material on their cards, but the branching structures and locations of them all would be dramatically different and unique, if nothing else based on the time ordered way in which they came across all the distinct pieces. This is fine. You're building this for yourself, not for a mass public that will be using the Dewey Decimal System to track it all down—researchers and librarians can do that on behalf of your estate. (Of course, if you're a musician, it bears noting that you'd be totally fine building your information theory section within the area of "bands" as a subsection on "The Bandwagon". 😁)

      If you overthink things and attempt to keep them too separate in their own prefigured categorical bins, you might, for example, have "chocolate" filed historically under the Olmec and might have "peanut butter" filed with Marcellus Gilmore Edson under chemistry or pharmacy. If you're a professional pastry chef this could be devastating as it will be much harder for the true "foodie" in your zettelkasten to creatively and more serendipitously link the two together to make peanut butter cups, something which may have otherwise fallen out much more quickly and easily if you'd taken a multi-disciplinary (bottom up) and certainly more natural approach to begin with. (Apologies for the length and potential overreach on your context here, but my two line response expanded because of other lines of thought I've been working on, and it was just easier for me to continue on writing while I had the "muse". Rather than edit it back down, I'll leave it as it may be of potential use to others coming with no context at all. In other words, consider most of this response a selfish one for me and my own slip box than as responsive to the OP.)

  4. Aug 2022
    1. For those who sought a moremathematical formulation of the basic processes, there was the newly devel-oped mathematical theory of communication, which, it was widely believed inthe early 1950s, had provided a fundamental concept – the concept of “infor-mation” – that would unify the social and behavioral sciences and permit thedevelopment of a solid and satisfactory mathematical theory of human behav-ior on a probabilistic base.



  5. Jun 2022
    1. Marianne Freiberger, “Information is surprise,” Plus Magazine, March 24,2015, https://plus.maths.org/content/information-surprise

      What a god-awful reference for Claude Shannon. Obviously he found it in his reading through serendipity and didn't bother chasing down the original quote for publication...



  6. May 2022
    1. ZK II: Zettel 9/8j 9/8j Im Zettelkasten ist ein Zettel, der dasArgument enthält, das die Behauptungenauf allen anderen Zetteln widerlegt. Aber dieser Zettel verschwindet, sobald manden Zettelkasten aufzieht. D.h. er nimmt eine andere Nummer an,verstellt sich und ist dann nicht zu finden. Ein Joker.

      9/8j In the slip box is a slip containing the argument that refutes the claims on all the other slips.

      But this slip disappears as soon as you open the slip box.

      Ie he assumes a different number, disguises himself and then cannot be found.

      A joker.

      An example of a jokerzettel.

      Link this to the Claude Shannon's useless machine (based on an idea of Marvin Minsky) of a useless machine whose only function is to switch itself off. see also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Useless_machine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNa9v8Z7Rac

  7. Apr 2022
    1. The book was reviewed in all major magazines and newspapers, sparking what historian Ronald Kline has termed a “cybernetics craze,” becoming “a staple of science fiction and a fad among artists, musicians, and intellectuals in the 1950s and 1960s.”

      This same sort of craze also happened with Claude Shannon's The Mathematical Theory of Information which helped to bolster Weiner's take.

  8. Dec 2021
    1. One of the most basic presuppositions of communication is that the partners can mutually surprise each other.

      A reasonably succinct summary of Claude Shannon's 1948 paper The Mathematical Theory of Communication. By 1981 it had firmly ensconced itself into the vernacular, and would have done so for Luhmann as much of systems theory grew out of the prior generation's communication theory.

  9. Jul 2021
    1. The first sense is the one in which we speak of ourselves as reading newspapers, magazines, or anything else that, according to our skill and talents, is at once thoroughly intel­ligible to us. Such things may increase our store of informa­tion, but they cannot improve our understanding, for our understanding was equal to them before we started. Otherwise, we would have felt the shock of puzzlement and perplexity that comes from getting in over our depth-that is, if we were both alert and honest.

      Here they're comparing reading for information and reading for understanding.

      How do these two modes relate to Claude Shannon's versions of information (surprise) and semantics (the communication) itself. Are there other pieces which exist which we're not tacitly including here? It feels like there's another piece we're overlooking.

  10. Jun 2021
    1. A memex is a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. It is an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory.

      His definition of a Memex is simply a mechanized (or what we would now call digitized) commonplace book, which has a long history in the literature of knowledge management.

      I'll note here that he's somehow still stuck on the mechanical engineering idea of mechanized. Despite the fact that he was the advisor to Claude Shannon, father of the digital revolution, he is still thinking in terms of mechanical pipes, levers, and fluids. He literally had Shannon building a computer out of pipes and fluid while he was a student at MIT.

  11. Apr 2021
    1. A reproduction of Carroll’snotes on his number alphabet will be found in Warren Weaver’s arti-cle “Lewis Carroll: Mathematician,” inScientific Americanfor April1956.)

      I need to track down this reference and would love to see what Weaver has to say about the matter.

      Certainly Weaver would have spoken of this with Claude Shannon (or he'd have read it).

  12. Feb 2021
  13. Aug 2020
    1. Without Shannon’s application of Dembski’s theorem, the internet and cable TV would not exist.

      This is a bit disingenuous as Shannon's body of thought preceded that of Dembski by several decades.

  14. Mar 2019
    1. In June 1954, Fortune magazine ran an article featuring the 20 most talented scientists under 40; Pitts was featured, next to Claude Shannon and James Watson.
    2. it had been Wiener who discovered a precise mathematical definition of information: The higher the probability, the higher the entropy and the lower the information content.

      Oops, I think this article is confusing Wiener with Claude Shannon?

    3. Which got McCulloch thinking about neurons. He knew that each of the brain’s nerve cells only fires after a minimum threshold has been reached: Enough of its neighboring nerve cells must send signals across the neuron’s synapses before it will fire off its own electrical spike. It occurred to McCulloch that this set-up was binary—either the neuron fires or it doesn’t. A neuron’s signal, he realized, is a proposition, and neurons seemed to work like logic gates, taking in multiple inputs and producing a single output. By varying a neuron’s firing threshold, it could be made to perform “and,” “or,” and “not” functions.

      I'm curious what year this was, particularly in relation to Claude Shannon's master's thesis in which he applied Boolean algebra to electronics.

      Based on their meeting date, it would have to be after 1940. And they published in 1943: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF02478259

  15. Jul 2017