Joseph Schreiner's Cabinet of Curiosities
Welcome to my multi-purpose web site. If you know which of my three topics you wish to browse, just click on its links below. If you are undecided, or want to know why these three topics co-exist in one domain, browse this page to read why I discuss them, and make your decision afterwards.
Why Do I Discuss These Three Topics?
The first, and most obvious reason, is that these topics interest me. I publish on this web site to invite others, equally interested in them, to correspond with me.
Next, as far as I can tell, no other web site discusses these three particular topics.
Plenty of web sites on game & decision theory discuss the Prisoner’s Dilemma. But the Prisoner’s Dilemma is an extremely restricted model. Each player has only two choices, with rigidly defined, linear rewards and punishments. Nobody else discusses ethical decision making where there are three or more choices with dozens of possible non-linear consequences. Our life decisions are not as simple as the stodgy Prisoner’s Dilemma. We need insight into environments having many choices and complex consequences.
Myriad web sites discuss the 88 constellations in our sky, as codified by the astronomical establishment. A goodly number of web sites discuss the mythologies and traditions (almost always ancient Greek) behind these star patterns. But no other site addresses the questions: “What if we had to redefine the constellations, the star patterns in our sky? What if we throw aside the baggage of history and start anew? How would/should we define constellations in a meaningful way?” I address these questions, and hope that my presentation allows you to view the stars from a new, liberating perspective.
We use language every day, every hour. But we rarely think about its components - words, phonemes, the individual letters. Imagine an alien intelligence trying to analyze our written languages. How would it approach the task? By the patterns of letters. And if they are like us, they would try to make a visual representation of these patterns. And if they were even more like us, they would use color. That is what I do here. I convert the patterns of characters of English, Spanish, French, and German into an intricate display.
What Do These Topics Have in Common?
The first is advanced statistics, one of my interests. But before you flee from the prospect of esoteric equations, consider this: you need no knowledge of statistics, and almost none of mathematics to appreciate what I offer. I present no equations. Everything is explained in English text and graphics. If you are interested in the underlying statistics, there are a few pages that explain what I did. But even these pages explain the statistical methods without mathematics. I have already done the statistical “heavy-lifting”, and present you with the resulting insights.
My section on ethical decision making relied heavily on analysis of variance and correlation coefficients. You need not know these procedures. All you need to know is that the former tells us whether two or more groups are different, and that the latter tells us how closely two things are related.
My section on redefining the constellations (asterisms, actually) made heavy use of cluster analyses. You need not know the vagaries of agglomeration or iteration. All you need to know is that these procedures allow us to put similar items into the same group, and different items into different groups. You see the results, not the number-crunching behind the statistical veil.
My section on displaying the patterns of characters also relies heavily on clustering algorithms. But for this task, I had to create customized algorithms, as there is no standard method for placing the characters on the horizontal and vertical axes.
Another theme links these three topics. They are an effort on my part to link mathematics, statistics, and simulations with the Good, the True, and the Beautiful. In determining the best strategies for making ethical decisions, I reveal insight into the Good - how we should conduct our lives to benefit ourselves and others. In redefining the constellations, I reveal new ways to contemplate the Beautiful. The stars above are available to all. We can use them to create images of beauty and universal meaning. And in analyzing the patterns of our alphabet, I illuminate one of our tools for the True. We use letters, words, and language as tools to express meaning and reality. It is appropriate to see the structure of these tools.
Have you decided which topic to view? Perhaps all three? I offer the choices again. Pleasant browsing …
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