Letter from Calvin to Cranmer 1552

On the procrastination that softened the impact of the Reformation in England: a piercing critique written in season – To Thomas Cranmer, 1552
‘I, for my part, acknowledge that our cause has made no little progress during the short period the Gospel has flourished in England.

But if you reflect on what yet remains to be done, and how very remiss you have been in many matters, you will discover that you have no reason to advance towards the goal with less rapidity…lest after you have escaped danger, you should become self-indulgent.

But to speak freely, I greatly fear, and this fear is abiding, that so many autumns will be spent in procrastinating, that by and by the cold of a perpetual winter will set in…for external religious abuses have been corrected in such a way as to leave remaining innumerable young shoots, which are constantly sprouting forth.

In fact, I am informed that such a mass of Papal corruptions remain, as not only to hide, but almost to extinguish the pure worship of God.’ (Letters p.141)

(Copied from another wordpress blog here)  The full version I found here, google has the whole book for free.

Apparently in 1552 the Gospel is still new.  He is seems to be referencing the fact that although Christianity in the form of Catholosicm has been around for at least 500 years the Gospel and the Reformation on just began in 1517.  And he is correct.  There was a massive paradigm shift in terms of Christianity in a very short period.  However, with such a shift a lot of work is involved.

Therefore, Calvin is reminding and Cranmer (and to us too) that he still has much to do.  To make it relevant to us we have to think that we are called to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth.  So, by reflecting on this, we see that just like Cranmer we have no reason to slow down.

Calvin also comments on the fact that Cranmer has been remiss on many matters.  That to me was very curious.  I don’t know anything about Cranmer so I’ll ask about what was Calvin may be referring tonight.  Calvin just might be commenting on the fact that we are all generally remiss on matters, as we are human?  However, I’d surmise there is something more specific Calvin is referring to here.  I believe while reading the entire letter from google that Calvin brought up a few points about missuse of money and people that have stolen from the church.

I love how right after Calvin says that Cranmer has been remiss on many things and is in danger of becoming self-indulgent that he says “But to speak freely”.  I was like, what!  Calvin and Cranmer must have been pretty good friends because I’d say that so far he has been quite frank.  So, maybe this was a bit humorous.

Overall I think I’d like getting letters from Calvin.  He has a very nice style and is very forthwith.  I find that he has great tact and does a good job of encouraging and speaking the truth in love.

As Calvin ended the letter:

Adieu, most distinguished and esteemed Primate


So, as a young person in the 90’s (and of course earlier) we didn’t photograph and video everything with everyone, everywhere at anytime.  We would just remember the events, forget them, or be reminded by others about them.  Currently we can and most do take pictures and video and share with everyone about pretty much everything.  I wonder what the long term affects of having pretty much everything digitally recorded about our lives will have on the memory and society?  Will our memories be more accurate or will just forget things more easily and can just look at them when we want.  We rely on Google or Facebook to tell us what was happening in our lives “at this date one year ago today”.

Certainly ethicists, philosophers and historians have discussed and considered the lasting effects of changes to society and how our current digitization of society will effect the world.  Will the future look back at the time when we couldn’t replay a nice summary of the day with disquietude while we look to the future where that is the case also with disquietude?

This brings me to the point of prejudice across time.  Culture is rooted in time and space.  But resisting change that is perceived as progress (pedestrian thinking haha) seems to be something that is socially unacceptable across time and space.  Will this ever change? Humans are natural hill-climbers

MAS applications

I found this journal Practical Applications of Agents and Multi-Agent Systems and their list of publications and conference proceedings here.  They look like a very neat conference.  I took a look at their most recent proceedings and found to my delight that they have some cool applications that I’m interested in and make me think that some of my ideas for applications for the Bounty system aren’t so bad.

First, I think that my idea for using the bounty system for reducing traffic problem in an earlier post might be a good one (here and maybe here but it seems like maybe they could be developed a bit more).  Or at least that the bounty model should be applied.  I found the paper, From Goods to Traffic: First Steps Toward an Auction-Based Traffic Signal Controller, that was published this year in paamas which shows that there is some interest in using these sorts of methods.

The other idea I had a while back was to use the bounty system for parking (here)!  They have a paper, Evaluating the Social Benefit of a Negotiation–Based Parking Allocation, which looks into the problem of parking in cities and methods for doing this and how it can help both the city and the drivers.  So, again there is a body of work (they cite) that is interested in this problem.

Maybe I should put together some of my ideas for applying bounties to these problems and try and publish them there?  Also, I’m excited to find out what other problems that paamas has published.  Glad I found this and can’t wait for the semester to begin :).


Windows and light

So, I was just reading a Fast CoDesign article about a new product that is essentially a moving mirror that tracks the sun to redirect the light to dark places in a room.  This seems brilliant (haha pun intended).  This made me think that instead of needing this thing in the room wouldn’t it be better if you could coat your window with a substrate that had reflective qualities that would better illuminate or darken your room.  This brings up an interesting point.  I’ve seen in movies and tv shows were the windows are able to go from transparent to opaque.  I have not seen any window amplify or focus light on command or at all besides with a magnifying glass…  So, that would be an interesting optics problem.  I do realize that windows already diffuse daylight by having a coating on them.

I was then considering the fact that the placement of windows for optimal sunlight distribution and heating and cooling effects throughout the house is a challenging optimization and architectural problem.  Basically the idea is that neither solution above would be necessary if the placement and style of window and house were created with that problem in mind.  The style and location of a house/building has a profound impact on the quality and quantity of light that enters the house and is useful.

I must remember this when looking for a house and also possibly if I ever build a house.

Extreme Sports, Baby Cribs and Pipes

In the future we will have new extreme sports.  We are already sort of seeing it with that person that did a jump from close to outer space.  We will start to have ziplines that you can ride from the moon to the earth.  We will surf/swim on the lakes of lava on the sun!  We will skate on astroids.  We could build ice-rinks or glass/transparent swimming pools that float through space!  I am sure there are things that we haven’t even invented yet or dreamt up that will cause us to create new and insanely awesome sports.

On a much more mundane note, we should have a computational geometry person and a mechanical engineer redesign portable baby cribs.  Their current design is terribly difficult to setup and take down.  It should be as easy as pressing a single button or even no buttons!  There shouldn’t be these set of buttons that need to be pressed in order for the thing to be taken down.  It is terribly difficult for all of the buttons to be pressed correctly for everything to work.

What about pipes that don’t clog and if they do there would be this thing inside the pipe that could chop and push the stuff through.  No chemicals needed.  Or if you want chemicals it would be cool if the pressure on the sides of the pipe due to the clog would release a chemical that would dissolve the clog.  The chemicals would be based on some algae that could live on the pipe.  So, you wouldn’t need to dump drano or stuff down the pipe.  Also, this make me think that the pipes in your house could be modeled after the human digestive system.


Not that I would ever do this, but it seems like airbnb would be a good way to scope out places to rob.  You get a nice view of the interior and you get a nice timeline of when the owners are gone.

Adaptive Data Analysis

Google Research recently wrote a piece The reusable holdout: Preserving validity in adaptive data analysis  (so I’m not go to write much).  It details the problem with statistics generated when the machine learning methods are adapted to the data through data analysis and repeated trials on the same hold out data.  This is a problem that is easily recognizable in machine learning competition leader boards like those on Kaggle (good article on that).  The solution they gave was to use their method detailed here and here (going to be published in Science) that allows us to reuse the hold out data set many times without loosing its validity.  So, that is awesome!  Hopefully the Kaggle competitions and data science research will be greatly improved by having more meaningful feedback.

Directed Reading

I’m planning my directed reading class this coming semester.  So, basically I have/get to come up with an entire semester’s worth of material.  I might be able to make a class out of it by the time I’m done 🙂 haha.  My subjects are focusing on the areas I want to explore with the bounty hunting task allocation model.

  1. Petri-net models and applications to MAS and task allocation.  Basically I’m thinking that petri-nets can be used to create task allocation problems abstractly.  By doing so I can better gauge the usefulness of different task allocation methods.
  2. Contest Theory and tournament theory.  They are two areas which seem like they have crucial information for helping the bounty hunting method mature.  Explore how aspects such as effort can be incorporated into the task allocation problem to make it more realistic.
  3. Coalitional Game theory and the El Farol Bar problem.  The game theory aspect will help me create better learning algorithms for the bounty hunters and the El Farol problem is very similar to the bounty hunting problem.  Also, look into collectives, a complex systems term that describes a system of selfish agents that have a well defined system level performance measure.
  4. Specific problems in Multiagent Task Allocation.  Namely cooperative, resource dependent, heterogeneous tasks and tasks that have sub-tasks.
  5. Automated Task decomposition for MAS.  This is mainly so that I can explore the idea that behaviors (and possibly tasks) may be automatically reduced to states with single feature transitions hierarchically using only state action pair sequences.  Doing so will allow complex behaviors to be learned without so much work required by the human to decompose the problem.  I’d also like to apply it to tasks.
  6. Learning coalition formation, or automatic organization formation for MAS mainly with coordination in mind.  Main applications focusing on large scale systems like autonomous vehicles, cloud robotics and crisis management.
  7. Large scale MAL/MAS and applications.  autonomous vehicles, cloud robotics and crisis management
  8. Current topics in reinforcement learning and its use in MAS.

I’m working on fleshing out the details before the semester starts so that I might already have the list of papers I want to read.