Daily Archives: March 4, 2011

Getting commented out might be worse than getting rebooted.

You do know that other people can read your thoughts, right? (What? I can see by what you are thinking that no one told you! Oh dear.)

Did you also know that Dark Matter is really just the sides of the jar that someone keeps our universe in? If you’ve ever worked with certain kinds of computer simulation then you’ll know what I mean. If you create a two dimensional world for simulated creatures to move around in, there is a problem with the edges. If, for practical reasons, the world you create is a big square matrix of possible spots something can “live” on, then there must be an outer edge, and whatever interactive processes or movements you have your simulated creatures doing won’t work properly at an edge. One way to handle this is to have anything that goes “off” the edge to simply re-appear around the other side of the matrix (some old-style video games do this), but that creates a whole other set of problems. You could also just delete any of your simulated creatures that get too near the edge, but then you lose longitudinal experience which is a bummer if that is part of your research (like learning or aging or long term cumulative effects of decision making).

Yet another way to handle edges in simulations is to introduce a force. Normally, you would have calculations that determine the direction and distance that a simulated creature moves in a given iteration. One element of the calculation can be a vector that can be as strong or week as you want it, that is summed into the calculation. Near the middle of your matrix-world, the vector is of a random direction and magnitude of zero, so when summed into the equation it has no effect. As a simulant approaches the edge, the direction becomes non-random and biased towards the middle of the matrix, but with a low magnitude (or strength). This way, creatures bias their movement away from the edges and many (but not all) possible edge encounters are avoided. But eventually they will blunder towards the edge anyway, so very near the edge of the matrix, you set the vector to point straight back towards the middle of the simulated universe and with a high value, so no matter what other factors are involved in the calculation, the CRAVE (central reorientation additive vector effect, or whatever you call it) is overwhelming.

To the creatures in your simulation, this would be like Dark Matter.

There is a theory that we are all part of a simulation or a game being run on a computer in some “other” universe. The person who suggested that (can’t find the reference, sorry) also suggested that we not react to this idea too strongly or whoever is running the simulation or video game may think something is wrong and reboot.

What that theory does not include, if I recall correctly, is the idea that the video game or simulation is not about us. It’s about something else. Bacteria. Giraffes. Snow. Whatever. The humans were added along with a bunch of other elements for some reason or another, for reasons we can’t possibly know, but that are not too important. If we are in a Beta version of the simulation, we might well get commented out in the next run, which is a lot worse than just being rebooted.

So be careful. Don’t look. He might be looking. Just keep your head down and act like nothing is wrong…

Putting Exodus into Words: The sed Bible Translation Project

So, a while ago, Ben Zvanwas talking about doing something with the Bible, which would involve processing the text through some filters and recompiling it. This sort of thing has always interested me: Not recompiling the bible, but rather, textual analysis in general using the basic material stripped of intended meaning by classifying and ordering arbitrarily. What, for example, is the vocabulary of the Rosetta stone, or the Kensington Rune Stone (a probable fake Viking misssive on display in west-central Minnesota). Does the rune stone sample the lexicon of a particular time period or another, or one group of vikings or another? (I hasten to add, that study has been done, but was inconclusive).
Continue reading Putting Exodus into Words: The sed Bible Translation Project

“Your Not Helping” blogger “Tom Johnson” is Wally Smith, a University of Alabama Graduate Student.

I’ve always felt that if Wally the Wanker came back with his old, stupid and obnoxious trick, that I would out him. He came back. I considered outing him but have been quite distracted with important things like changing diapers and feeding tiny bits of chicken to Huxley. Meanwhile, blogger Ophelia Benson has spilled the beans, here.

I did not destroy Wally’s pathetic excuse for a blog, but he/they blamed me for it, and that’s how I got the nickname Teh Blogslayer. I did not out him today, Ophelia did. But Wally will probably blame me for that to. Or at least, I hope he does.

I’m not sure if this has been said anywhere yet (really, I’m busy) but the only reason Mooney, Benson, or Dan did not out him originally is because a few people (whom I suppose should remain nameless unless they want to talk) had reasonably good information that Wally was on the verge of suicide.

Whatever. Wally, welcome to the blogosphere. As you.