Wednesday, February 25, 2015

[pgmfmvqq] Opening book battle

A battle of opening books on otherwise equal chess engines might be a way for humans to remain relevant in chess competition at the highest level.  The opening is where long term strategic decisions get made, supposedly a human strength over computers.

We need some mechanism to inject randomness, especially for a head to head match.  The opening book itself might give several equal moves.  Multi-threading in the engine might cause randomness.  Or the engine could be programmed to randomly choose between moves with the same evaluation.

We might also need a mechanism to handicap weaker engines, in case an opening book author prefers a weaker engine.  Easiest is probably to compute the opening book quality as a delta performance improvement over the engine's performance rating with its default book.  Otherwise, time advantage.

[lgxjbsjv] Non neutral wikipedia

There exist topics on Wikipedia in which a neutral point of view is difficult if not impossible.  This results in unending edit wars.

Resolve these disputes by technical means: allow a means for an article to be presented from multiple points of view, and the reader is notified that multiple exist and may select among them.  A vaguely similar mechanism already exists for choosing language.  (Inspired by articles with disputes over British or American spelling.)

We probably need tools to keep the articles as otherwise similar as possible for the non-disputed sections.

[blkensaf] Censorship resistant Wikipedia

Consider uploading the entirety of Wikipedia into a censorship resistant medium such as Freenet, then allowing it to be updated through that medium also, essentially forking it.

Although this will infuriate a lot of people, the first interesting new capability enabled by this will be the impossibility of removing copyrighted content.  Among other things, this means that the sources of an article can be mirrored and uploaded, too, which will be a tremendous benefit to researching via this forked Wikipedia.  This could be a killer app.  (Though there remains the difficulty of verifying that the mirrored copy of the source is accurate and has not been tampered with.)

Consider the large but not impossible task of preparing an initial upload consisting of all the articles and a copy of as many of the mirrored sources as obtainable within a reasonable budget, as a way of bootstrapping the project and getting others interested in contributing.

There remains the very difficult task of creating a community, of being able to resolve disputes and enforce rules in such a medium, to keep the content at high quality.  Wikipedia has a ban hammer, which might not be available on Freenet.

[jqcomdum] 3D density

Depict density in a 2D region by a height map in 3D, either a physical sculpture, probably 3D printed, or in virtual 3D.  This ends up making volume to represent quantity (integral of density), which is nice.

Modify the density while preserving volume to avoid topographic basins, low density regions completely surrounded (and thus obscured if not looking from above) by higher density regions.  More generally, assume a light source that is limited to within a certain angle from horizontal.  Avoid permanently shadowed regions.

Inspired by a density map of the population.  The shades of gray do not have enough dynamic range.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

[lbjzxojd] Light distance and hertz

c/(1 GHz) = 30 cm
c/(1 cm) = 30 GHz

The clock speed at which design of microprocessors of 1cm size becomes very difficult due to clock skew. And the speed of electricity in microchips is slower than c.

[nblgfesi] Gryphon variations

The gryphon is a neat fairy chess piece functioning kind of like a fat rook.  Suppose a gryphon sits at (0,0).  The unmodified original piece can move to (1,n) where n>0, plus reflections.  Here are some possible variations of it:

Remove the constraint that (1,1) must be empty, giving it jumping ability like a knight.

Allow it to also move to (1,0).  This makes its attack area shaped like a hash symbol.

We can also imagine an analogous fat bishop.  It is not colorbound; in fact it alternates colors each move like a knight.

The crooked bishop is also somewhat like a fat rook, attacking not just the rank or file it is on, but also the adjacent files.  We could imagine a hybrid: a colorbound gryphon.  Several possibilities of, what squares must be empty to permit the colorbound gryphon to progress?  One possibility is it has crazy jumping ability, kind of like a nightrider, actually dabbaba-rider.

[xclwdqbq] Dabbabarider

The dabbaba rider is an elegant fairy chess piece when playing on checkerboard, unlike the alfil rider or nightrider.  The alternating square colors help easily distinguish where it can go and what it can jump over.

Add it to this list, so augmenting the number of possible Dabbaba abilities to 3 instead of 2: none, single jump, rider.  New total: 108 possibilities.

The dabbabarider bishop compound is nice, perhaps the most powerful colorbound piece (until we get to variations of fat pieces like the colorbound gryphon and crooked bishop).

We could also have a weaker dabbaba jumping ability in which it can only jump over empty squares, so equivalently a colorbound rook.

Orthogonal movement abilities, probably a lattice:
wazir < wazir rider (rook)
weak dabbaba < weak dabbaba rider
strong dabbaba < strong dabbaba rider
weak dabbaba < strong dabbaba
weak dabbaba rider < strong dabbaba rider
weak dabbaba rider < wazir rider

Exercise to count the possibilities. Somewhere between 9 and 64. Looks like 1 null, 6 noncompounds, 7 double compounds, and 1 triple compound (Wazir + Strong Dabbaba + Weak Dabbaba Rider) for a total of 15. The only colorbound compound is Strong Dabbaba + Weak Dabbaba Rider. Total piece possibilities is 180.

[dxdzeuyl] 7 fonts

Propose a standardized set of fonts to have specific meanings in written language.  Informal standards already exist: monospace is code, italic is foreign words.  Imagine, for example, sarcasm typeset in a different font.

Serif, Serif Bold
Serif Italic, Serif Italic Bold
Sans Serif, Sans Serif Bold
Monospace

There remains the problem that certain letters, e.g., o e, look very similar between the fonts.

Another possibility is two fonts, one with horizontal strokes thickened and the other with vertical: a calligraphic pen in two orientations.  There is a problem of diagonal strokes looking similar, e.g., V, though this could be distinguished by different looking serifs. More radically, define characters that are designed to look different with the pen in the different orientations. The two 45 degree orientations might also be interesting.

Inspired by being nostalgic about the days of Antiqua and Fraktur, two very different fonts which could be both read by people with equal facility, allowing interesting typography by interspersing them.

[nxeqbztg] Fairy chess symbols

Represent on a diagram these 72 isotropic fairy chess pieces each with a different icon (text box) containing up to 5 characters.  For binary characteristics (various jumps), the presence or absence of a letter.  For ternary characteristics: a letter that looks different between uppercase (majuscule) and lowercase (minuscule) or absence.

Vaguely similar to Betza's Funny Notation.

Previously, constructing physical pieces for over the board play.  This time, we avoid color to not oppress the colorblind and to decrease the avoid the cost of printing diagrams in color.

White text on black background or vice versa depending on who owns the piece.  We need one more bit to designate the royal piece, perhaps decorate with a crown or cross.

If there were quaternary (or more) characteristics, we could add accents, choosing from letters without ascenders.

[xmotohqa] Spinning boiling hot dog

When boiling a floating single hot dog in a small uncovered skillet filled with water, the hot dog periodically flips itself about 180 degrees with a period of about 40 seconds.

Hypothesized mechanism: water trapped in the bottom of hot dog matrix boils, decreasing its density near the bottom. The hot dog flips, bringing that less dense portion to float slightly above the water level, where the vapor cools and condenses within the matrix.

[qmsvhwht] Trusting NSA cryptanalysis

We are in a curious situation in which if the NSA says something is insecure, we trust their advice, but if they say something is secure, we don't trust them.  Of course, this is because cryptanalysis results can be independently verified.

This does suggest a way for the NSA to regain public confidence, at least among cryptographers: publish more cutting edge cryptanalysis.  Does the NSA need more public confidence?  There is a political component to putting regulations in place for the government to secure its own secrets, one of the NSA's mandates (Information Assurance).

Much like the poisoned wine puzzle in The Princess Bride: the NSA could be saying to trust something (that they believe is secure) in hopes others don't trust them, so the others use insecure cryptography instead, which was the NSA's Signals Intelligence (surveillance) goal.  However, knowing that this might be the case, what should the others do?  Fun with game theory.

Friday, February 20, 2015

[enuoahxu] Minecraft cellular automata

Walk around a 3D world composed of cubical blocks: add blocks, remove blocks here or there.  It's very similar to Minecraft, perhaps including crafting.  However, the key difference is that the world functions as a 3D cellular automaton, and time does not advance unless you explicitly make it do so: you normally travel around in a completely static, frozen world.

This means there are no "active" mobs that hunt you down, no spontaneously spawning mobs while time is frozen.  We perhaps need another mechanism to serve as an antagonist.

Most block types, "terrain blocks", obey the most boring automata rule: they are never born, they never die, they just stay put.

The key difference between this and previous 3D cellular automata programs is one gets around usually walking instead of flying: there is gravity.

When multiplayer, how do all the players mutually agree to step forward time?

[pozzslom] Education style to avoid questions

To what extent are educational materials, e.g., textbooks and lectures, designed to prevent students from asking questions?  They deceptively teach the appearance of providing the complete story.

This avoids students acting unruly in asking difficult questions, even asking any questions at all.  This avoids the teacher or lecturer from seeming stupid or incompetent by having to say they don't know the answer to a question.

Not having questions asked lessens the chances a teacher will give a wrong answer.  It does allow incompetent people to be (or seem) successful as teachers.

Inspired by, teaching sex ed this way seems actively harmful.

In contrast, education that provides students with open questions seems a very good idea, even if a student is doing rote memorization of why the questions are open, why certain possible answers are incorrect.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

[ovrnojog] The mastermind is no one

The protagonist investigates and battles a seemingly giant highly organized secret conspiracy, only to discover at the climactic moment of the great reveal: there is no mastermind, no central control.  It is a self-organizing distributed system.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

[rvbdnvuq] Totem chess pieces

Construct these 72 isotropic fairy chess piece types by stacking Legos of 5 different colors.  For binary capabilities (jumps), presence or absence of a color.  For ternary capabilities, absence, a plate, or a brick.  Then, the stack is capped with a black or white piece signifying who owns it.

[riczxmwy] Entire isotropic chess

A huge 26 by 26 chessboard with each player starting with 169 pieces, so the initial piece density is 0.50, same as orthodox chess (and incidentally almost the same as shogi 40/81). Initial position pawns separated by 4 ranks with 117 empty spaces among the back 10 ranks.

26 pawns, so 143 pieces behind the pawns.  Omitting the Dummy (or stone), use these 71 other uniform isotropic piece types, so two of each (142) plus one royal King moving the same as the two nonroyal Manns.  It's nice that the numbers work out so well. (Update: we probably want 8 alfils because they are thrice colorbound and 4 dabbabas and 4 dabbaba-alfil compounds because they are doubly colorbound. Are there any other multiply colorbound pieces in this set?)

Initial position of pieces (not pawns) is random like Chess960, with the constraint of evenly divided color bound pieces and all pawns initially protected.  King starts on back rank.  (If there are Dummies, then avoid completely trapped pieces.)

I slightly prefer the royal piece remaining the same as orthodox chess to preserve the endgame being a one square at a time chase.  But endgames might take forever.

Perhaps weaken the king further.  Wazir or Dummy (the Flag).

Alternatively shogi drops, so no endgames.  Possibly limitations on where drops can occur depending on who is attacking the destination square.

Dummies create more surfaces to trap the opponent's king.  (But also more places to hide.)  Perhaps captured pieces can be dropped as special Dummies which cannot be captured by opponent's king (but may by the opponent's other pieces).

(Or make the board larger with a considerable number of initial Dummies which never move?    A 28 by 28 board could have 27 dummies per player to achieve 50% initial piece density.  Perhaps feels like a minefield.)

Let the pawn be a wazir-ferz hybrid.  Allowing pawns to move backward lessens the need for castling and promotion.  Otherwise a pawn would have to travel a long way to promote.  Perhaps still permit 2 square initial forward move among the first 11 ranks (on a 26 board), as well as en passant capture, though this ruins isotropicity.

[uguucwei] Chess with hit points

Easy is the general idea to augment chess by having pieces have hit points, being able to survive multiple attacks.  The devil is in the details.

[gensfcnz] 50 Shades of Grey versus the Real World

50 Shades of Grey takes place in a fictional universe where consent doesn't matter.  Why are people upset by this?  Normally people don't have any problems accepting bizarre mechanics as literary devices in all kinds of other fictional universes: Harry Potter, The Matrix.

Is it because 50 Shades does not overtly set itself in a universe different from the real world?  Would the story not be offensive if it took place in the Twilight universe as originally written?

Is it because sex is special, the one thing people can't suspend disbelief about in fiction?  But I strongly suspect there are other fictional universes with conventions about sex different from the real world that people have no problems accepting.

Hypothesize that the issue is something deeper.

What is different about the fictional universe of 50 Shades compared to the real world that causes consent not to matter there?  A story can't be entertaining unless it obeys a consistent internal logic.  What is that internal logic that has caused the story to be entertaining enough to be such a commercial success?  Why can't that internal logic hold in the real world?

I suspect these are uncomfortable questions, forcing questioning why consent is important in the real world, to which answers may be uncomfortable: racism, classism, religious intolerance, vast social structures designed to control sex in which most people vigorously and enthusiastically participate .

[rutowure] We are doomsday AI

The AI experiment escapes, gets out of control, and destroys the civilization of the experimenters.  That AI experiment gone awry is then revealed to be the progenitor of the human race.

Monday, February 16, 2015

[xnwczcxq] View three pages at a time

On the left, an illustration of the "Before" state.  In the center, a description or instructions on the change to the state.  On the right, an illustration of the "After" state.  This illustration gets repeated on the next step as the "Before" state.

Fairly easy on a wide computer screen.  Create a physical book whose pages can turn this way.  (Hopefully more convenient than a scroll.)