Ambiguities or Ambiguous States are related to Intangible Memory or "iozone" as an obscure subtle anomalous phenomenon.

In 1984, a 5-transistor, 2-mode device called a Virobox was invented which was built in such a way that two switches determined the function mode of the 5 [transistor circuit. Little thought was given as to what would happen if both switches were on because it was apparent that the result would not damage the device and for some reason an off,1,2 type switch was not available. The result of the circuit being activated with both switches was more than the sum of the intended modes. It worked as if each mode was independent, but other useful things were going on as well. Mode 1 was a special kind of oscillator which made specific sounds to a speaker. Mode 2 simply measured sounds like the ones produced by the oscillator. In mode 3, the measuring device became sensitive to electric fields in the operator's body. It also produced a dirac comb at approximately 9-10Khz which silenced every radio station on a nearby radio, except that ambient sounds near it were heard on every AM station frequency. In addition to becoming sensitive to the nearby electric fields, it also became sensitive to certain songs. Perhaps some sort of Convolution was occurring. It responded more to very popular songs in which the ADSR envelope was visibly reversed on an oscilloscope. When the measuring function was used as an amplified microphone, the ambiguous mode mysteriously improved the quality of low bit rate 1-bit sound so that music and voice could be clearly recognized at only 1200 bits per second. Instead of a delta function, the oscillator pulses became a modified sinc function. The result permitted whole songs to fit on 128K floppies, something I might not have tried if the undesigned mode wasn't so full of unexpected effects. As a result, ambiguous state effects have been intentionally permitted in many devices, and are often even used to hide multiple functions in requested custom designed circuits, not for any harm to the normal use, but so as to have a purpose for extra units instead of wasting them.

Once I visited a friend who had a young daughter who had just learned the alphabet. Just to be silly, I wrote Greek and Cyrillic letters and asked her which letters they were. Now my mind tends to respond to such things the way she did. She named the letters incorrectly but quickly according to their similarity to the ABC alphabet. This is the sort of behavior I also noticed in OCR Neural Network experiments. I clearly recall her saying Pi was JT, but not the other equally interesting responses. I think therefore that people have to learn something can't be done before they can reject the idea of doing it. I had given her letters that she had not learned and instead of knowing that she didn't know them, nor did she think that they were not letters, she just answered them using an ambiguous mode of pattern recognition.

The 6502 microprocessor has approximately 150 valid instructions out of 256 possibilities. But a third of the possibilities which are not defined have mostly predictable behavior, for example, the undefined instruction following the codes for LDX and LDA does both. And the instruction following STX and STA is an obvious conflict since you can't store two bytes in one byte so the code is effectively ST(A AND X). No, not A and X, but the logical function AND, which means only the bits that are both ones get stored in the memory as ones. Some are even more unexpected when the type of instructions preceding are completely different kinds. Ambiguous state behavior emerged for all of the binary codes that were not designed to do anything!

There has long been a 7447 TTL LOGIC chip for converting binary to Base 10 to display on a clock or calculator. The conversion is therefore which of seven segments to light up. Now there is a problem, because you need 4 bits to make a 9 in binary, but four bits count up to 15. The results of 10 through 14 are incomplete versions of 2 through 5 with one segment missing, and 15 lights up none of the LED's at all. Those are the ambiguous states of giving the chip binary numbers that don't fit on a decimal digital display. Other chips of this kind are designed to do nothing with impossible information. These chips are no longer used very often because chips of similar size can be programmed with software to light up the numbers and do the whole job of the machine as well.

Some of the old home computers had many ambiguous states or undefined states. If you had ever played abusively with an Atari 2600, perhaps you wiggled the game card loose while the game was on, and seen weird things on the screen. Atari 2600 seems to have been designed so that most of it's states were ambiguous and so programming games for it and also writing an emulator for it was a very clever bag of tricks.

I used to play with the many knobs on the back of the big old tube TV to see what they do, and was successful in putting them back the way they were. One particular TV we had, had only one knob. Pushing it changed the channel. Pulling it allowed fine tuning and also either skipping an unused TV channel or enabling a skipped channel, and otherwise it was the volume knob. The channels were 2 through 13 and OFF. One day I enabled all the channels and found a new one, then disabled the ones that were full of Nothing. Then I discovered the ambiguous state. I could enable "Channel OFF" and the TV would stay on some unknown frequency full of nothing until that was undone. This was a joke on my parents. Then when they left the room I undid it and it turned off noramlly.
One such knob was Vertical Hold. It would tune the vertical frame sync, and if detuned a moving black bar would appear across the screen, which reminded me of the bars between frames on motion picture film if the projector sprocket let go of the holes in the film. But it was unrelated. Analog video contained ultra-black lines which helped the TV align the picture, as does even VGA have, so that the screen knows where the top and sides of the picture should be. There was a TV show in the same genre as Twilight Zone which I call malfunctioning reality and that show was called Outer Limits. It's intro included the phrase "we control the horizontal, we control the vertical". Anachronism! There was another knob called Horizontal hold. On most analog tube TVs this caused the picture to twist up like a candy cane with diagonal black sync lines. But on that old TV with the one knob, different things happened. Usually the picture would look like two combs if it was detuned. But on a few occasions I detuned the horizontal and vertical knobs in such a way that four copies of the channel picture appeared on the screen like a window pane pattern and it was watchable. But it was a rare achievement to get that effect, and it probably depended on some kind of glitch, or was an unstable anomalous state.

I suddenly remembered my father's father had a BIG old black and white tube TV with no case, so all the tubes were visible. It must have been on heavy life support. Unusual for the time, that TV's picture had lots of black area around it, like the "letterbox" format for displaying cinema on TV. TV's generally filled the whole tube with picture, which sometimes made them hide letters off the screen if they were connected to a home computer. Now I remember looking closely at the black area of the screen. It seemed to be covered with red and blue sparks. Was it that static that feels fuzzy and crackles if you touch a tube TV? No, it was not. It may have been phospemes caused by flicker. But just now I realized what it most probably was. It was not even there! That TV was irradiating my visual cortex with X-rays!!! The cathode rays hit metal atoms in the screen phosphor and that is how X-ray tubes work.

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