Saturday, October 10, 2015

[fgfvwrck] Chess on a wide board

Add a bunch of extra chess pieces (perhaps fairy chess pieces) to each side and set them up on a wide rectangular board of 8 ranks by N files.  Keeping it 8 ranks continues the feeling of battle lines engaging each other.  However, because the battlefield is very wide, it would normally take a long time for action on one side to affect the other side, destroying the unity of place.  Pieces on opposite sides of the board don't coordinate well.

Fix this by giving every piece except pawns the ability to move arbitrary distances sideways like a rook (but not forward and back).  Perhaps colorbound pieces can only stop on the correct color, or they can jump sideways like a dabbabarider.

Friday, October 09, 2015

[hzlarodc] Weight and mass demonstration

Easy would be to have a collection of objects of similar size and appearance but of different masses, to demonstrate how the weight of an object would change on planets with different gravity.

Hard would be to have those objects, despite manifesting different gravitational weight, continue to act as if they all have the same inertial mass.

[qcmjobsp] Anti surveillance prizes

Give prizes and recognition to tools and technologies for which there emerges credible evidence that they actually are foiling or making life difficult for the surveillance state.

[gluelhst] BS detector

Take academic papers and have experts in the field evaluate them on their importance and quality.  Perhaps the experts may also use the aid of time, getting to see how the field developed after the paper was published.

Feed these assessments and the text of the paper into a machine learning algorithm to predict the importance of papers not yet, or only recently, published.

[ynprbdvw] Men's suits

A man in a suit induces a seemingly uncontrollable subconscious reaction of attraction in some women, generically people.  How did this reaction get programmed into the person?

Such a reaction of course can be used to manipulate and deceive.  If such a reaction happens in you, would you like to change yourself so it does not happen?  Can you even want to change?

Thursday, October 08, 2015

[iqcapglg] Are there women on a dating site?

AshleyMadison exposed the fact that at least one online dating website consisted of a bunch of men shouting into an echo chamber populated primarily with female-posing chat bots.

This suggests an imperfect information game: a site needs to convince its users that it is not that.  How?

Even better would be a site which provides each user a probability of success, by each user's definition of success; these probabilities can be audited by users or third parties.

[ivuiknjl] Dabbaba ferz

Avoid doubly (or triply) colorbound fairy chess pieces like the (pure) dabbaba and alfil by always combining them with some singly (or non-) colorbound piece: dabbaba+ferz, dabbabarider+bishop, alfil+knight+dabbaba.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

[ojurbeqo] Fiction in a large setting

Create a story takes place over a large area, perhaps a continent, or the whole planet.  What literary devices can effectively communicate how large the area is?

On one hand, radically violating the Aristotlean unity of place.  On the other hand, the difficulty of answering this question makes one wonder if any work actually violates that unity.

Speed of in-story communication and speed of transport.

Science fiction often takes place in even larger areas, but usually completely fails to effectively convey the vastness of space.

A virtual interactive story in which the next "chapter" is only released to you after a time period, during which the characters are traveling.  An alternate reality story in which you physically have to travel to the next setting.  A game, vaguely similar to the joke game Desert Bus, in which you have to travel, in real time, to the next setting (though you can take breaks).

The space between "important" places has to have stuff in it, happening in it, or else it becomes compressed in the reader's mind.  It also violates unity of action.

Inspired by how Westeros and Essos are supposedly much larger than Middle Earth.

Perhaps it takes place on a planet that is much larger than Earth.  (But less dense?)

[trifwncy] Gaussian droplets

Create a demonstration of how pairs of independent standard normally distributed random variables when plotted yield a circularly symmetric distribution.  This should be easy.

Splotches fade away.

[bjyikyvq] People and the hierarchy of needs

Hypothesize that the only people you can truly care about are those who are essential in satisfying your basic needs: people who provide you food and shelter, people you want to have sex with.  And then a collection of people associated with propagating your DNA: your children directly, and various caregivers of your children.

This hypothesis seems at odds with a more famous hypothesis that the only people you can care about are those in your tribe (of maximum size 100).  It is also at odds with the popular conception that you can learn to care about someone else who is not in one of those roles listed above.

While a pessimistic hypothesis, this does offer a template for creating peace between conflicting groups: a social planner architects society so that members of opposing groups are in those relationship roles with each other.  It is important that a person in such a role to someone else not be "commodity": easily replaced with someone else who can perform the same role.

[xmupwhoo] Irrational number hashing

Devise a scheme of mapping arbitrary strings to (usually) distinct irrational numbers.  This can serve as a hashing function.  Possible implementation in a previous idea.

The CPU and memory difficulty of computing the forward direction of the hash can be arbitrarily increased by specifying that the hash is 256 bits of the binary expansion starting at, say, bit 1 billion.  This is useful for applications like password hashing and the Bitcoin block chain.

Be careful about schemes for which precomputation can greatly accelerate things, BBP type formulae, and continued fractions being able to reverse a hash.

Monday, October 05, 2015

[yekmnzhd] Regenerative brakes on cargo bikes

Regenerative bikes and electric motor assist are generally considered not worth their extra weight for regular passenger bikes.  However, they could be worth it for cargo bikes.

[cqvdiizl] Weaponizing a drone

As already done by the U.S. military, a drone can be weaponized.  Consider a simpler task of weaponizing a "toy" quadcopter.  While mounting a handgun would be the most straightforward, more elegant might be to take advantage of gravitational potential energy: drop something from a height.

The Mythbusters proved that a penny cannot cause much harm.  We need an aerodynamic, dense object, perhaps a nail or spike.  Will it keep falling pointy end down?  There seems a tension in that any aerodynamic forces that keep the projectile facing the correct direction necessarily increase drag and decrease terminal velocity.

Of course, poisoned darts, or other chemical, biological, or radiological weapons payloads could also be considered (and probably already have been by the military).

Sunday, October 04, 2015

[iaiiyekb] Mexican standoff

As explored by others, the three-way duel as depicted in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is ripe with exploration with game theory.

Actions: wait, fire at one of the other two players, fire up into the air.

What are the players' utilities for the various possible outcomes?

Is it a single round or multiple round game?

What are the players' probabilities of hitting their target?

Add a mechanism so that "everyone waits" is not Nash equilibrium.

Friday, October 02, 2015

[xukesgpo] Patriarchal society with sexual freedom

Consider a hypothetical polygamous patriarchal society in which the men take multiple wives.  Somewhat analogously, the women, while permitted only one husband, take multiple additional lovers.  Critically, however, the children produced of a wife and lover belong to the family of the wife and husband, not the biological father.  This kind of "adultery" is not frowned upon but instead encouraged: the wives are expected to use their intellect and instinct to select and mate with the men most fit for the environment in hopes of producing the fittest offspring for the continuation of the patriarchal family.

The society believes that nurture trumps nature.  The children in the family are inculcated with the behaviors, values, culture, and trust relationships of and toward the family and patriarch, not the biological father.

Can such a society exist?  (Does it exist?  Has it existed?)  Or does the biological imperative of "my sperm must propagate" inevitably cause the patriarch to limit the sexual freedom of his wives?

[nqgfxxdy] Orthodox

Orthodox Judaism, Conservative Judaism, Reform Judaism.  Or, as the Orthodox Jews call it: Jewish, not Jewish, not Jewish.

Orthodox Blues Dancing, Alt Blues, Fusion.  Or, as the Orthodox blues dancers call it: Blues, not Blues, not Blues.

Identical arguments about how diverging from orthodoxy offensively disrespects the historical struggles that shaped and defined the religion or dance form.  What is actually going on?  What is the underlying commonality?

In Israel, the conflict between Orthodox versus not is (in part) about political power: e.g., who is highest on the totem pole, who gets to perform (and define) marriages, whose religious education is important enough to warrant being excused from military service.

[fkmnwkty] Polarization of material

Striking is the appearance of some glass when viewed through a polarizing filter, e.g., sunglasses: patterns of rainbows on what is normally perfectly clear.  Seems possibly to be caused by the glass under stress and strain.

Can the pattern of polarization be controlled?  Hidden artwork.  A way of encoding information into the physical structure of a material.

[juuyczxv] Celestial polyhedron

Plot the N brightest stars as points on the celestial sphere.  On each point, construct a tangent plane.  The planes together bound a polyhedron.  Label each face of the polyhedron with the name of the star.  3D print.

Point sets other than stars: cities, steganography.

[krzijdal] Editors to start with

The first apps for any computing platform ought to be a hex editor, an editor for plain text, and an editor for structured text.  These can serve as a fallback UI even if everything else is done poorly, or not at all.

Bemoaning their lack of being builtin on major platforms, e.g., Android, though third parties have stepped in.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

[sgrpzduy] Light on a fishing pole

Put a downward pointing low-weight lamp (a light light) on a fishing pole or telescoping stick to provide temporary handheld overhead light.  This should be easy with LEDs.  The battery could be on the pole instead of on the light to decrease weight and moment of inertia.

Motivated by pitching a tent at night.  One person can hold the pole. 

Inspired by art: Lit up fabric jellyfish hanging from a pole, creating an illusion that one is underwater.

Previously, light on a drone or balloon.