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Questions & Answers

Maio 25, 4:39 pm

Why do 99 % of Librarything members, all book, culture, democracy and freedom lovers, prefer to hide their identities behind pseudonyms?

Maio 25, 5:08 pm

>1 AntonioGallo: I can only speak for myself, but I signed up for LibraryThing in 2005, when using your real identity on the internet was asking for trouble. If were signing up today, I might use my real name — at least my first name (which is accessible even now in my profile).

Editado: Maio 25, 5:22 pm

>2 rosalita: Thank you rosalita for your civil answer. My name is Antonio

Editado: Maio 26, 5:31 pm

EDIT: Removed because I didn't realise the OP just wanted a venue to lecture us.

Maio 25, 5:39 pm

>3 AntonioGallo: Nice to meet you, Antonio. My name is Julia (or Giulia, as my grandmother spelled it. She emigrated from Italy to the States with her family around the turn of the 20th century, as did my grandfather).

Maio 26, 12:35 am

It's because I hate freedom. You got me. Good work.

Maio 26, 1:31 am

"No one has been me before. Maybe I'm the first one". Some years ago I decided to declare my identity in this way. I chose this phrase by Paul Auster ....

Paul Auster

Maio 26, 1:33 am

>6 reconditereader: We're all prisoners of ourselves ...

Maio 26, 1:36 am

>5 rosalita: Pleased to meet you Giulia. My Father's sister did the same around the same time from the Valley of Pompei to Boston ...

Maio 26, 1:41 am

>4 Aquila: I agree, pseudonymity and anonymity are related concepts, but they are not the same thing.

Pseudonymity refers to the use of a fictitious name or alias to conceal one's true identity. In this case, a person's actions or communications may be linked to their pseudonym, but their true identity remains hidden.

Anonymity, on the other hand, refers to the condition of being unknown or unidentifiable. In this case, a person's actions or communications cannot be traced back to their real identity.

So, while pseudonymity can provide some degree of privacy and protection, it does not necessarily provide complete anonymity. A person using a pseudonym can still be identified if their pseudonym is linked to their real identity through other means, such as through their IP address or other identifying information. (AI)

Editado: Maio 26, 5:27 am

"Scripta manent, verba volant": Did ancient Romans already know all about social media?

The Latin phrase "Verba volant, scripta manent" is often translated as "spoken words fly away, written words remain". It means that what is said in conversation or other verbal communication may be forgotten or misremembered, but what is written down is more permanent and can be referred to later.

While the ancient Romans did not have social media as we know it today, the phrase can certainly be applied to the way that information spreads on social media. Social media platforms allow information to be shared quickly and easily, and once something is posted online, it can be difficult to completely erase it.

However, it's also worth noting that social media can be more fleeting than written words on paper or other physical media. Posts can be deleted or edited, and the fast-paced nature of social media means that information can quickly become outdated or irrelevant. Additionally, the sheer volume of information on social media can make it difficult for any one post to truly "stick" in people's memories.

Writing on the Wall: Social Media

Editado: Maio 26, 8:26 am

Mensagem removida pelo autor.

Maio 26, 8:27 am

I deleted my message above because it was way too cranky, but it came down to some people are more identifiable by name than others (including me, as I am the only one with my name), and there are a lot of bad actors on the internet.

Maio 26, 10:14 am

My real name is nearly sufficient to identify me uniquely - I'm not the only person with my name, but I'm the only one with a non-trivial internet presence. I don't care to add to what people can trivially find out about me with a cursory Google - I've been online since forever, and prefer to keep my identifiable footprint small.

If I google your name, there are at least half a dozen, probably more like a dozen, different individuals on the first page of Google - you achieve anonymity via a common legal name. If I google mine, in an incognito window, there are three, and the large majority are me (though some of the older hits are only obviously me if you know me). I achieve anonymity through use of a consistent pseudonym - in 2005, when I joined LT, forums were more commonplace than they are now, and I used this pseudonym consistently.

I'll point out that people are as capable of using a "real-sounding" pseudonym as they are one that is clearly not the name their parents gave them, but I rarely see irate demands that people produce a government-issued ID to confirm that "Antonio Gallo" isn't known as James Smith to friends and family.

Maio 26, 10:38 am

>14 lorax: Thank you, a great deal of this was what I originally said but without the unreasonable snark.

Maio 26, 10:54 am

>1 AntonioGallo:

all book, culture, democracy and freedom lovers,

I wouldn't be so sure about that.

Maio 26, 11:38 am

I'm entirely unsure why you expect people to use their real names. And why would you care what name is used anyway? What beyond LT is relevant that you want to know it (and on LT a unique pseudonym is just as good)?

Maio 26, 12:30 pm

I remember a much friendlier thread a while back that asked for the story behind the LT monikers members chose.

Maio 26, 12:50 pm

>16 lilithcat: Think positive, think positive ...

Editado: Maio 26, 1:13 pm

People choose nicknames for different reasons, and some of the common reasons include:

1. Privacy: Some people choose a nickname to protect their privacy or maintain anonymity online. Using a nickname instead of their real name can help them avoid unwanted attention or protect themselves from potential risks.

2. Identity: A nickname can be a way for individuals to express their identity or personality. It can be a reflection of their interests, hobbies, or personal traits that they feel define them.

3. Convenience: A nickname can be easier to remember or pronounce than a person's real name, especially if it is a long or difficult name. It can also be a way to distinguish between people with the same or similar names.

4. Tradition: Nicknames can be passed down through families or communities as a way to honor a family member or show respect to an elder. They can also be used as terms of endearment or affection among friends or loved ones.

5. Creativity: Some people choose a nickname as a way to express their creativity or sense of humor. They may come up with a catchy or funny nickname that reflects their personality or interests, or they may adopt a nickname that has a special meaning to them.

6. Cultural significance: In some cultures, nicknames are an important part of social interaction and can signify a person's social status, occupation, or family background. For example, in some Latin American cultures, people often have two names, a formal name and a nickname (called a "sobrenombre") that is used among family and friends.

7. Professional reasons: In some professions, people may adopt a nickname as a way to brand themselves or create a memorable identity. For example, musicians, actors, and athletes often use stage names or nicknames that help them stand out and create a unique persona.

8. Distance from legal name: Some people may choose a nickname to distance themselves from their legal name, for various reasons. For example, they may not like their given name, or they may want to separate their personal life from their professional life.

In summary, choosing a nickname can be a personal decision that is influenced by a wide range of factors, including privacy concerns, personal identity, cultural traditions, practical considerations, creativity, and professional reasons. Ultimately, a nickname can be a way to express oneself and create a unique identity that reflects who they are as a person. (Chat AI)

The Book of Nicknames

Maio 26, 1:25 pm

>1 AntonioGallo: WOW. Lots of assumptions being made here.

>20 AntonioGallo: Um, why do you feel the need to lecture? Why do you feel the need to try to "help people understand" when we don't care?

Maio 26, 2:25 pm

>21 gilroy: You need not to read what I write. My last post was by Ai given as an answer to this thread called "Questions & Answers".

Maio 26, 3:51 pm

A new question: what is in your opinion the ultimate irony?

Maio 30, 6:19 am

An old question in search for a modern answer: does anyone know where the phrase "the world's oldest profesion" to describe prostitution originates? Is it really?

Jun 3, 5:36 pm

>1 AntonioGallo: Way too many assumptions, here!
>20 AntonioGallo: You seem to have all the answer(s) to the question you asked in #1. Are you just wanting us to buy a book? Forget it!
>24 AntonioGallo: You misspelled profession, but the answer to that question, IMHO, depends upon your worldview.

Jun 4, 5:30 pm

>25 Tess_W: I didn't expect so many brilliant schoolteachers in this place ... one never stops learning ...

Editado: Jun 5, 8:36 am

As far as the question on "the world's oldest profession" is considered, Rossana Waterson, from Singapore, answers in Last Ever Notes & Queries:"Of course prostitution is not the world's oldest profession. For 90 per cent of our history, humans have lived as hunter-garherers, and I have encountered no instance of prostitution in societies organized in this manner. Prostitution is better seen as a recent aberration in human history - though one could argue the same fpr professionalisation. Midwifery is really the world's oldest profession."

The Last Ever Notes and Queries (A Guardian book

Jun 5, 10:42 am

>27 AntonioGallo: did the midwife eat? Wouldn't that imply that farming was actually the first profession (or at least hunting/gathering?)

Jun 5, 10:48 am

>28 Tess_W: "Yes, you are correct. Farming is often considered to be the first profession or occupation in human history, following the transition from a hunting and gathering lifestyle to a more settled, agricultural way of life. The development of agriculture allowed early humans to cultivate crops and raise domesticated animals, which provided a more reliable and sustainable source of food than hunting and gathering. This in turn led to the development of permanent settlements, the growth of human populations, and the emergence of various specialized professions and trades. While hunting and gathering were likely the primary means of subsistence for early humans, the development of agriculture marked a major turning point in human history and paved the way for the development of civilization as we know it today." (AI's answer)

Jun 5, 10:59 am

The oldest profession ...

A gardener, an architect and a politician were discussing which is the oldest profession. "Horticulture" said the gardener. "Who made the Garden of Eden?". "No", said the architect. "It must be architecture, for God created the Earth and Heavens out of Chaos". "Yes", said the politician, "but who created the Chaos?".

Jun 5, 11:01 am

AntonioGallo, would you please stop just reposting AI stuff? It's just souped-up autocomplete.

In this case, I disagree with the premise that farming, in a purely agricultural society, would be considered a profession if you don't consider hunting and gathering to be the same. Arguably a profession would be something not directly related to survival, where instead someone exchanges their labor for either a medium of exchange they use to get what they need for survival (i.e. money) or directly for food / shelter. So a modern-day farmer, who sells crops or livestock, would have a profession (just as a modern-day fisher who sells their catch, or a modern-day wild food forager selling mushrooms to restaurants would) but a subsistence farmer who eats what they grow wouldn't.

I suspect nobody can really say what the oldest profession would be, but as one that requires no technology - not even language - prostitution is honestly not a bad guess. It wouldn't surprise me if apes traded sex for food.

Jun 5, 11:01 am

Today's question: "Are we still evolving or is this as good as we get?"

Jun 5, 11:10 am

>31 lorax: May I say that I do not agree? AI is a much broader field that encompasses a wide range of technologies and applications that have the potential to transform many aspects of our lives. The Giant Computer Answers Life's Mysteries

Jun 5, 1:04 pm


I work in data science and machine learning. There is a difference between AI as a broader field and ChatGPT / generative AI / large language models which are what you are using to answer your questions and which people who know what they are talking about correctly describe as glorified autocomplete. It's generating the most likely sequence of words to appear in response to your question. There is no thought and no understanding of whether the words it generate represent reality or not.

Editado: Jun 5, 1:32 pm

>34 lorax: AI fails to be original, does not have the critical and self-critical spirit, the original effort, poetic inspiration, visionary and metaphysical faculty, non-conforming, unconventional deviation of thought, faith, the ability to self-create, self-determination, the ability to recreate and act on its own initiative. Human intelligence has the principle of its life, of its action, of its giving purposes within itself. When and if the AI will be able to do all this, Human Intelligence will be finished, and it will have a sister or a competitor, an enemy or a companion ... It has the potential to be a powerful tool that can complement and enhance human intelligence in many areas, such as healthcare, education, and scientific research. The relationship between AI and human intelligence will depend on how we choose to develop and use this technology.

Jun 5, 1:36 pm

Did you write that one yourself or did you have AI do that for you too?

Editado: Jun 5, 4:18 pm

>36 lorax: It's stuff of mine ... I can give you the original text in Italian, if you like it ...

La AI non riesce ad essere originale, non ha lo spirito critico e l'autocritico, il conato originario, l'ispirazione poetica,la facoltà visionaria e metafisica, la deviazione di pensiero non conforme, non convenzionale, la fede, la capacità di autocrearsi, autodeterminarsi, la capacità di ricreare e agire di sua iniziativa. L'intelligenza umana ha il principio del suo vivere, del suo agire, del suo dare scopi dentro di sè. Quando e se la IA saprà fare tutto questo la Intelligenza Umana sarà finita, avrà una sorella oppure una concorrente, un nemico, una nemica ...

Jun 6, 2:26 am

Today's answer: "Are we still evolving or is this as good as we get?"

Some scientists believe that we may be in the early stages of a new phase of human evolution. This could be driven by factors such as advances in genetic engineering and biotechnology, changes in the environment caused by climate change or other factors, and the increasing interconnectivity of the global population. Predicting the future direction of human evolution is difficult, as it will depend on a complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and cultural factors.

The Goodness Paradox: The Strange Relationship Between Virtue and Violence

Jun 6, 10:03 am

"The Book of Questions" is a collection of poems by the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, first published in 1974. The book consists of 316 unanswerable questions written in verse, covering a wide range of topics such as nature, love, politics, and the human condition.

The questions in the book are often surreal and thought-provoking, and Neruda uses them to explore the mysteries of life and the universe. Some of the questions are humorous, while others are more serious and philosophical. The book has been translated into several languages and has become a popular work of literature.

Poems with questions follow each other in this edition in both Spanish and English. The reader thus has the possibility of filtering his feelings and reading the questions proposed with two linguistic systems in many opposite and different respects. I have added my translation from English.

Tell me, is the rose naked
or is that her only dress?
Why do trees conceal
the splendor of their roots?
Who hears the regrets
of the thieving automobile?
Is there anything in the world sadder
than a train standing in the rain?
Dime, Ia rosa està desnuda
0 solo tiene ese vestido?
Por que los àrboles esconden
el esplendor de sus raices?
Quien oye los remordimientos
del automovil criminal?
Hay ago mas triste en el mundo
que un tren inmovil en Ia lluvia?
Dimmi, la rosa è nuda
o quello è il suo abito?
Perchè gli alberi nascondono
lo splendore delle loro radici?
Chi sente i lamenti
dell’auto rubata?
C’è qualcosa al mondo più triste
di un treno fermo sotto la pioggia?

The Book of Questions

Jun 18, 4:19 am

"What's the use of philosophy? Philip Kitcher here grapples with an essential philosophical what the point of philosophy is, and what it should and can be. Such, suggests Kitcher, is the situation of contemporary philosophy. Philosophers address themselves to their fellow technicians rather than to an educated public. Their questions are arcana, posed in an argot legible only to initiates. The discipline is “inside out”, with prestige concentrated in its most determinedly Ptolemaic “core” areas – epistemology, metaphysics – while less desiccated sub-fields (philosophy of science, practical ethics) are ignored or despised."

What's the Use of Philosophy?

Jun 18, 4:37 am

>40 AntonioGallo: For someone talking about philosophy, he's ridiculously prone to over-generalization. The same would be true even if not talking about philosophy, but it is especially jarring in a field whose domain is reasoning as such. Or is just the blurb ridiculous? Either way, based on that, I'd avoid the book and the author.

Jun 18, 2:11 pm

"... Philosophy, then, should not model itself on science. What is the alternative? Kitcher appeals to the old Socratic image of the philosopher as midwife. The task of philosophers is not to produce knowledge themselves, but to aid in the knowledge-seeking activities of others. “I cannot myself give birth to wisdom”, says Socrates in Plato’s Theaetetus. But it is the American pragmatist Dewey, rather than Socrates, to whom Kitcher’s conception of philosophy is most indebted. His philosopher aims for a synthetic, peripatetic intelligence. They read the specialists who lack the time to read each other. They are alive to the currents of their broader culture. They reflect on the tensions and potentials of their age. They guide inquiry, stimulate contemplation and provide the scaffolding for social conversations.

Kitcher’s pragmatism runs deep. Inquiry should serve human needs, he insists: moral philosophy is pointless unless it leads to moral progress. Quite how vulgar an account this yields depends on the presumed account of human needs. (Perhaps humans need to know things just for the sake of knowing.) Unfortunately, he has little to say about human needs except that philosophy should answer to them. But a picture can be discerned for those willing to read between the lines.

Our ideas, the author insists, are tools. Their role is to solve our problems and advance our purposes. The image is instructive. We create tools to achieve ends the content and value of which we grasp in advance..."

TLS's review by Rachel Fraser (Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford)

Philip Kitcher

Editado: Jun 20, 5:38 am

Can we imagine a world after or without the Internet?

Scorched Earth: Beyond the Digital Age to a Post-Capitalist World

Jun 20, 9:22 am

Yes, I can. It is not difficult to imagine a world without the internet, I was born in those days, a world where people relied more on face-to-face communication and physical interactions. In such a world, information was primarily exchanged through books, newspapers, and other printed materials, and communication was through letters, telephones, and in-person conversations. Businesses and organizations relied more on physical storefronts and advertising through traditional media channels like television and radio.

Alternatively, I could imagine a world after the internet, where technology has advanced to a point where the internet is no longer the dominant mode of communication and information exchange. In such a world, we might see the emergence of new technologies that allow for even faster and more efficient communication and data transfer. This could include advanced forms of virtual and augmented reality, or even technologies that allow for direct brain-to-brain communication.

What about you?

Jun 20, 10:07 am

I'd go live in a cave in the mountains before I accepted "direct brain to brain communication". And I've worked in technical fields all my adult life. Nope nope nopity nope.

Jun 20, 11:01 am

>45 lorax: Before joining you in the cave it would be useful to read this book Beyond Bounderies The New Neuroscience of Connecting Brains with Machines

Jun 20, 11:06 am

>45 lorax: Before joining you in the cave it would be useful to read this book.

"Imagine living in a world where people use their computers, drive their cars, and communicate with one another simply by thinking. In this stunning and inspiring work, Duke University neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis shares his revolutionary insights into how the brain creates thought and the human sense of self—and how this might be augmented by machines so that the entire universe will be within our reach.

Beyond Boundaries draws on Nicolelis's ground-breaking research with monkeys that he taught to control the movements of a robot located halfway around the globe by using brain signals alone. Nicolelis's work with primates has uncovered a new method for capturing brain function—by recording rich neuronal symphonies rather than the activity of single neurons. His lab is now paving the way for a new treatment for Parkinson's, silk-thin exoskeletons to grant mobility to the paralyzed, and breathtaking leaps in space exploration, global communication, manufacturing, and more.

Beyond Boundaries promises to reshape our concept of the technological future, to a world filled with promise and hope."

Beyond Boundaries The New Neuroscience of Connecting Brains with Machines and How It Will Change Our Lives

Jun 20, 11:19 am

No, thank you. Anything online is vulnerable to hacking, and any communication mechanism is vulnerable to ads and trolls. I don't want unsolicited pictures of intimate body parts dropped directly into my brain.

I will add that what you are talking about with that book is brain-to-machine, not brain-to-brain. Apples and armadillos.

Jun 20, 1:26 pm

>48 lorax: BrainNet: A Multi-Person Brain-to-Brain Interface for Direct Collaboration Between Brains

Jun 23, 5:09 am

Arnold Schwarzenegger wrote a post on MEDIUM:

"Don’t look back: I have a theory. When you don’t have a vision of the future, it’s easier to look back.When you don’t have a vision, today doesn’t have much meaning because you don’t know why you’re here doing what you’re doing right now, and tomorrow is downright scary. Yesterday can seem nice and comfortable by comparison.

This is why, over and over again, I’m going to keep telling you to find your vision. I don’t want you to be one of these people staring back into the past because you can’t accomplish anything in the past, you can’t spend time with anyone in the past, and you sure as hell can’t find happiness in the past.

A vision gives you a reason to be here, doing whatever you’re doing. It makes you excited to wake up every day and keep moving forward. It gives life meaning. Your vision can be to be the best teacher, nurse, doctor, firefighter, or electrician you can be. It can be to be the best dad, mom, or grandparent. It can be to be physically fit so that you’re there for your family as long as possible. It can be all of those things.

All that matters is that you think about it, you identify it, and you see it. Take some time today to sit down for a few minutes, figure out what your vision is, and then visualize yourself doing whatever it is you dream of. Play it like a movie in your head. I guarantee you that movie is better than whatever was going on 50 years ago."

The question is: When you are over 80, what kind of vision are you supposed to have?

Editado: Jun 24, 5:51 am

What is left today of Orwell's novel "1984"?

Nineteen Eighty-Four

Editado: Jun 24, 7:23 am

"Not only is it important to ask questions and find the answers, as a scientist I felt obligated to communicate with the world what we were learning."

Stephen Hawking: A Life in Science

Jun 24, 9:42 am

Are we approaching the Infopocalypse? Are the digital media ecosystems disempowering the public sphere?

Editado: Jun 29, 5:27 am

Do women think too much?

Women who think too much

Jun 29, 8:52 am

>54 AntonioGallo: Please let this thread die and if you want to start something similar, choose an appropriate group. None of this has anything to do with questions people might have about LT

Jun 29, 10:43 am

>55 SandraArdnas: I started this thread, you are not allowed to ask me to let it die. If you don't like it, avoid reading it.

Jun 29, 2:54 pm

>56 AntonioGallo:

Yes, she is allowed to ask you that.

And she is correct that you are in the wrong group. None of what you have posted (other than, possibly, the first) is at all relevant to questions about LibraryThing.

Jun 29, 3:39 pm

OK this thread is dead!