Singularity University appears to be in full swing now, which is a great comfort to me. Already I feel much less fearful about being turned into a sex slave for a gang of immeasurably brainy robots.

Ted Greenwald, from Wired’s Epicenter blog, has been hanging out at the Sing U campus – it feels, he says, like “a top-secret installation out of a James Bond movie, crowned with strange domed buildings and adorned by sculptures of airships” – and auditing some classes. You can find a rundown of his reports here.

It bothers me, though, that Sing U doesn’t appear to have a school mascot yet. I certainly understand that the university is unlikely to be a sports powerhouse, but, still, it’s bound to have a few teams – fencing and mental gymnastics, at least – so it really needs a mascot to rally the student body. I’ve been doing some brainstorming and have come up with a few ideas:

The Exponential Curves

The Uploaded Brains

The Odd Ducks

The Supplements

The Transhumans

But these pale beside what I’ve come to consider to be the obvious choice: The Singularity University Methuselahs.

Of course, you can’t have a school mascot without a school fight cheer. I’ve come up with one of those too:

*Sing! U!*

Me! thu! se! lahs!

Never say die!

Never say die!

Sing! U!

Me! thu! se! lahs!

*Outlast ’em!*

Tom LordHere we come to pay to pitch

NSF is such a bitch!

Grandiose B.S. is hot…

Good thing, ’cause it’s all we got

that’s pay to pitch

pay to pitch

NSF is such a bitch!

None of us believes this crap

but my start-up will fill a gap!

Attracting outside investment

based on misplaced sentiment

[falsetto or girl’s only:]

Oh in fact it seems to meeeee…..

that death’s unfair….

of not achieving godhead….

i do dispair…..

i am so very smart….

i must hold the keeeeyyyy….

but like in zork

[…]

i must choose my fork

[…]

lo, silly valley cold

moneeeyyyy!

[resume]

Pay to pitch

Oh, pay to pitch

You can see our loyalty!

Worst case is I’ll bs my way

to a career as faculty!

[cheered:]

Singul. U!

Single. U!.

U-NI-VERS-I-TY

[spoken:]

(no really, university. really we are.)

[attr. to Bishop Gibson, 1880]

Linuxguru1968>> still, it’s bound to have a few teams –

>> fencing and mental gymnastics

Nick, you left out chess – but then again only the computers at SU would be playing that! In all seriousness, if SU needed a mascot is should be the sea urchin which has the longest life span of any eukaryotic organism on earth. Ironically kind of fitting, huh?

David EvansI like the Methuselahs, but for me it doesn’t quite capture the emotional infancy of the whole thing. Perhaps the value of (sin x)/x where x=0 would be appropriate. Neither computers or mathematicians find it easy to prove what that answer is, but anyone who plots the function on a piece of graph paper can see that it is both obvious and dull. Generally, physicists don’t worry about possible discontinuities or implied infinities in nature because nature doesn’t really let them happen. Nature has the good manners to ensure that if they do happen you can’t actually see them. That’s the thing about singularities; if you try and approach them you get really fat and slow. Best just to get some fresh air if you ask me, and maybe try reading a book where the hero is neither cybernetically enhanced, an android, nor from the planet Skwroglepleen.

Linuxguru1968Dan Evans:

By “(sin x)/x where x=0” is a mathematical mixed metaphor;however, with proper grammer you really mean “lim(sin x/x)as x->0 = 1. From practical experience, I can definitely tell you that the dropped ball does actually reach the ground!

Seth FinkelsteinNeeds some work, but the “die” line is good. How about:

Download! Upload! Pi in the sky!

Outlast ’em all – Never say die!

I kept having the Double Dome Institute cheer going through my mind:

“A squared b prime x plus y

upsilon omnicron eta theta pi

Contemplate Cerebrate Cogitate too

Double Dome Double Dome We Love You”

David EvansThe fact that mathematicians need to resort to things like lim (sin x/x) as x -> 0 = 1 does, as you imply LinuxGuru, prove my point. At the level of quantum mechanics and mathematics, intuition and common sense are liabilities. At the level of humanity they are ignored at one’s peril…

Linuxguru1968David Evans:

I co-miserate with you! I used the limit example to show that mathematics is a language not some kind of perfect alternate reality. Your example of the asymtopic at x = 0 that converges to one at infinity is solved by simply wrapping it in another system-the limit. This is working example of Kurt Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem: Any mathematical system is incmplete until you wrap it in a higher level of system used to define it, then you need a higher one for the one you just creatd, and then another ad nausuem! Most of us think this kind of proves that rule based symbolic AI will never become creative like complex self-organizing neural system.

If you ever need anthother mathmatical equaion to point out you point, may I suggest Bell’s Inequality: Number(A, not B) + Number(B, not C) >= Number(A, not C). The irrating propery of quantum entangled particals to violate this theorm and disprove locality, is much more effective!