Monday, September 22, 2014

[elcjxzyc] Chess on arbitrary graphs

Simplest: pieces can move one step along any edge connected to their current node.  Analogous to a chess king.

Add colors to edges.  Some pieces can only move along certain colored edges.  Analogous to diagonal versus orthogonal movement.  Some pieces make one step along one color edge, then another step on another color edge: analogous to a knight.

Create a relationship among edges adjacent to a node.  Pieces entering through one edge can "connect to" another edge, exiting out that way.  This permits ranged pieces like queen, rook, and bishop.  It also permits limiting the second "diagonal" step of the knight.

We can then go beyond orthodox chess by adding adding directed edges and weights to edges: pieces can only move where the sum of the edges is less than their budget.

Simpler and more general is for each piece type, a graph of node connectivity.  There remains the tricky problem of pieces blocking the progress of ranged pieces.  Most generally, each directed edge gets annotated with a predicate which must be satisfied to reach the next node.

Motivation is to create of massive and complex games for general game playing.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

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[gnbuouyc] More stalemate-like

Conservatives prefer to keep the stalemate rule in chess because it makes endgames trickier.  Go further in that direction, assuming such mechanisms make the game richer and more interesting: what other new rules could be added to chess to make endgames even trickier, to provide more drawing (or winning) resources to the materially weaker side?

Many of the ideas previously mentioned would probably work.

Opponent gets to choose what a given pawn promotes to. Knight and bishop will be common.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

[cvbynbyu] Privacy of the Fappening

What is wrong about The Fappening?  Even precisely formulating the question was surprisingly difficult.  Here's an attempt.

Why do people consider important being able to keep private naked pictures of themselves?  What harm results from the privacy being violated?

For other realms of privacy, it is easy to answer these questions.  Privacy about financial authorization (e.g., PIN or password) prevents your money being stolen from you.  Privacy about your vote in an election prevents voter coercion.

Two possible harms: 1. Withholding nudity allows it to be used later as a bargaining chip for negotiations in courtship rituals.  2. Having naked pictures of you published, or even allowing such pictures to be taken, affiliates you, however faintly, with the sex work industry, a very low, untouchable class of society, carrying a permanent taint which one can never be absolved, affecting future employment, salary, and mating prospects.  (For celebrities in the business of selling their image, the decrease in salary might be quantifiable, though entangled with the Any Publicity Is Good Publicity positive effect.)

These reasons seem weird.  1. Should we really have a society in which nudity carries (or is perceived to carry) such a high value in courtship negotiations?  I suspect such a social convention leads to many other types of harm.  We could allege that the decision to put a high value on one's nudity is a personal choice, so victim is complicit in the harm the privacy violation causes (moral hazard).  Then again, one might not have much free will in that personal choice.

2. Should sex workers suffer such denigration?  Who participates in their shaming?

Given these mechanisms that are causing the harm, who should bear the blame for the harm caused by the Fappening?  It strongly suggests the hacker should bear very little of it.

[awqirdcm] Chess ladder demonstration

A sequence of matches, probably blitz: B beats A by large margin; then C beats B and so forth, as high as the level of player your budget can afford.  Maybe 300 Elo point difference in each match.

Instead of a 1-on-1 match, let them be 2 vs 1 simuls, so a binary tree of participants.

Friday, September 19, 2014

[hycynqxz] Easy Rubik's cubes

The original order-3 Rubik's cube with 6 different colors is probably too difficult for most people to independently come up with a solving strategy, so they resort to the mundane task of looking up and memorizing algorithms.

Better would be simpler puzzles, which after playing with for a while, one can achieve deep understanding of the cube: become able to mentally manipulate and explore, have a practical understanding of group theory.

2x2 cube with several faces the same color.  An order 2 cube can be simulated on an order 3 by having the middle slices all the same color.

Rather than many separate cubes of varying initial patterns, the most practical way would probably be a cube for which the "stickers" can be easily and repeatedly removed and reattached.  Perhaps tiles, with magnets or mechanical clips.  Not a child's toy: the many small parts will be a hazard.  Being able to remove and replace provides an easy way to solve the cube if you scramble it beyond your current ability to solve it.

Perhaps have two cubes so as not to have to visualize the goal.  The other does not need to twist. This one can store the spare tiles.

[uewaoxcz] Coloring cube faces

How many ways are there to color the faces of a cube?  Two colorings are considered equivalent if they can be transformed to each other by rotation, reflection, or color permutation.

1 color, trivially 1 way.

2 colors.  Ratio 1:5 = 1 way, ratio 2:4 = 2 ways, ratio 3:3 = 2 ways.  Total 5.

3 colors.  Ratio 1:1:4 = 2 ways, ratio 1:2:3 = 3 ways, ratio 2:2:2 = 3 ways.  Total 8.

4 colors.  Ratio 1:1:1:3 = 2 ways, ratio 1:1:2:2 = 3+1=4 ways.  Total 6.

5 colors. Ratio 1:1:1:1:2 = 2 ways.

6 colors. 1 way.

Grand total 23.

The principled method would have been the Burnside lemma, article by Nick Baxter, which could tackle other polyhedra.

23 is not so different from the letters of the alphabet, suggesting the invention of a very 3D alphabet: no 2D snapshot is sufficient.

Inspired by considering easier Rubik's cubes.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

[ddmtzmav] Collaborative database

A generically needed tool is a UI for many people to edit a database table, being able to track and browse changes.  Perhaps like git but enforcing the structure of records (rows) and fields (columns), rather than a hierarchical filesystem.  We need both plumbing and porcelain.

Inspired by Google Sheets.  Keep it easy to add rows or columns.

[uewaoxcz] Voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)

Translate "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?" to many different languages, for less intercultural discord. More provocatively, only also provide the translation of "yes".

Inspired by an Israeli person who said the only phrase she knows in Arabic is "Stop! Stop, or I'll shoot!", learned in the required military service.

Apparently a French translation is still needed, as the original is weird in using formal "you".

Then, many more words and phrases.

[nzukbuin] Fractal and loupe

Print a mural sized fractal image (e.g., Mandelbrot set) that also invites viewers to examine it with a magnifying glass.  Goal is to drive home that it looks good at any magnification, which is different from art by humans.

Perhaps print on glass or film and backlight.  Is paper limited by ink spread or paper fibers?

Provide a mechanical cherry picker to bring high places to eye level.  Or would it be better horizontal?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

[cakcqqbi] Local CPU time

Provide a system utility which returns a triple: Number of clock cycles since the computer was last rebooted. Number of reboots (stored in non-volatile memory).  User-settable epoch (number of times the reboot counter has been reset or replaced).

The goal is to have a mechanism of time which is more likely to always go forward, unlike the system clock, which may be accidentally made to go backward (or deliberately to correct accidentally going too far forward).  The important feature is that time always goes forwards, not that intervals be accurate.

The motivation was for filesystem timestamps.  Perhaps better would be a filesystem which automatically keeps track of always increasing transaction numbers.

Keep a log lining up this local time with system clock.

[afhtxsiq] Unix philosophy

We read the Tenets of the Unix Philosophy, examine the modern state of software, then wonder, how did things go so horribly wrong?

Inspired by the systemd debate.

[edwdtlut] Binary fingerprint

Modify the point-growth algorithm so a point branches in at most 3 directions, never 4.  It thus becomes a binary tree.

In the style as before, create a large planar dense binary tree.  I suspect nodes of equal depth form diamonds around the center.

Given only the connection information of such a tree, I suspect laying it out back to fit on a grid on a plane is computationally difficult.

Also consider three dimensions.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

[mejbtjry] Two linked locks

Take two door locks and connect them by a linkage, perhaps simple gears.  Both keys need to be turned simultaneously to unlock.

Motivation is to make it more difficult to pick: one lock already requires two hands by conventional lock picks, two simultaneous locks will require more sophisticated, bulkier tools, or an accomplice.

Inspired by the "two keys" lockout of nuclear launch triggers, but these two locks may be operated simultaneously by one person with two hands.

On further thought, this will probably not work.  Pick the first lock and turn the cylinder a tiny bit as possible within the tolerances of the linkage, enough to keep the pins from dropping.  Then pick the second lock.  Maybe if the tolerances of the pins should be greater than the tolerances of the linkage.

[wleoaygd] Choose your own adventure

Can the computer improve upon the novel as a fiction medium?  (Not Kindle) What is special about Japanese culture this form of media is popular only there? What if we made use of modern developments in natural language processing?  We imagine both the computer and human asking and answering questions like "why?"

[qdsbpuzp] Freenet for work and play

The killer app for Freenet is information that some powerful entity wants to censor, but whose popularity the Streisand Effect can thwart.

Such a capability is needed for true social good extremely rarely, perhaps whistleblowing.  Usually other mechanisms for censorship-resistant publishing suffice: Tor, Bittorrent.  Freenet has yet to be critically needed, to my knowledge.

However, Freenet may still serve a purpose as a threat rather than execution (actual use).  Attempts to censor other channels will only increase its popularity.

In the meantime, while not yet needed for true social good, it still needs to be developed and tested and deployed.  Therefore, perhaps we should laud rather than decry its currently inane uses (primarily entertainment).

Monday, September 15, 2014

[vfolndjd] Dancing to Rhapsody in Blue

Perform Rhapsody in Blue so that it is danceable for social partner dancing.  Inspired by this quote from Wikipedia: "Gershwin's own intentions were to correct the belief that jazz had to be played strictly in time so that one could dance to it." (Citing Schiff, David (1997). Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue. Cambridge University Press.)

This idea seemingly goes directly against Gershwin's intentions.  But rubatos are fine, so long as they make musical sense, if they are telegraphed in advance so the dancers know to expect it.  It is the ridiculously fast sections that need to be slowed down.  I wonder if the tradition of ridiculously fast stems from this: "In order to get the whole piece onto two sides of a 12" record it had to be played at a faster speed than it would usually have in concert, which gave it a hurried feel and some rubato was lost." (also Wikipedia)

We might also add more repeats so that the song seems to have more structure and less a conglomeration of disparate ideas.

[qcddjdwr] Unsavory grit

Create a parody of the typical praise lauded upon grit:

Angela Lee Duckworth: The key to success? Grit, TED Talk

by illustrating it being used for things like stalking and long-term scams and cons, so a personality trait that we should not encourage in children, or at least, certain children who will go on to do those things (probably a commentary on social class).

[drilonnp] Source distribution

Create a Linux distribution which creates the illusion that every program is a script.  Scripts encourage modification.  Some (many) of the "scripts" will appear to be written in C, so various tricks go on under the covers.  A C "interpreter" actually compiles and runs.  It caches the compiled binaries for the next time they are needed.  If a compiled binary of a given source is available from a trusted network source, it downloads that instead of compiling it.  (These last two ideas are from ccache and distcc.). "Reproducible Builds" would be nice.  Predictively compile when idle programs and libraries which may soon be needed.

Inspired by the runhaskell program of GHC, which looks like an interpreter but compiles and runs under the covers, I think.

[vnmnqric] Discover market inefficiencies

Collect instances in which consumers purchased an inferior product when a superior one was available at the same or lower price, or overpaid for a product when the same product was was available for less.  Possibly instances of marketing causing these actions.  Possibly deceptive marketing.

Let this collection motivate regulation to prevent future incidents, to improve market efficiency.

These instances can be efficiently collected by polling competitors: those whose superior or lower-priced goods were passed over.