Monday, December 29, 2008

Why I'm Proud of My Baby Sister.

Okay so she's not a baby anymore, she's 14. But sorry to say it lil sis you'll be the baby of the family forever. But kudos to you and your actions of recent.. read more and I'll explain.

Kimmy is 14 (soon to be 15). She's always been the tomboy. The rough and tumble girl, she had to be, she has 3 older brothers and an older sister. She's younger than the rest by about 6 years, younger than me by 12 1/2.

And over the holidays I've never felt so proud of what she's done. See like all teenage troubles hers starts with a boy. A while back (I'm not really sure when) she started "going with", "going out with", "seeing" .. whats the popular teenage term these days? A boy by the name of Igor. I know .. seriously Igor? No but really thats kind of a kick-ass name, I mean. No one else is named Igor that I know of. Anyway, back from the segway, the trouble stems from the fact that her best friend Sara (Sarah?) .. Also liked Igor. From the way I heard it, perhaps biased to one side or another, but the boils down to after they started dating, Sara called Kimmy a whore. I'm not sure the details to the story precisely so before I get all upset about Sara's misguided (at best) nomecleture for my sister, I let Kimmy tell her story.

It seems that after this episode that her and Sara, didn't quite get along. I can't blame her, I'm not fond of being called a whore either. Recent Kimmy was invited to a small christmas party, and discovered that Sara would be there. Kimmy wanted to get her a Christmas present, but our mother told her that she shouldn't. She went against that and got her a present anyway. At the party she gave the present to Sara. It was likely a good present from a good friend, and even though the thought was unrequited. It was extremely thoughtful and kind.

Now if that was the end of the story I'd be satisfied. If they were never friends again, I'd be okay with that because, at worst if Kimmy was cruel and mean or harsh in her argument with Sara, she apologized, and at best she forgave. Those are both the best qualities a person can ever have. I've long said that friends are just people who've learned to put up with your shit, and give you the chances you deserve, and the ones you just need. The true measure of a friend is, when you screw up, if they give you the chance to fix it.

But it gets better. A day or so later, Sara showed up at the house, put a present on the doorstep and rang the doorbell and ran off. That's awesome.
It was also one of those personal only-a-best-friend-would-get-it kind of presents. Sara showed that she still cared, that she still wanted to be a friend, even though she's probably a bit embarrassed by her actions. She might not want to confront what has happened. I know my sister she'll give her time and space she needs. I'm certain that by way of her actions, my sister preserved her friendship at the cost of some humility. For that I am so proud of her. It's beyond words really. It might seem silly to all of you, but that's because the 5 people that read this are all grown ups. All of you are adults. You are all embittered by the cruelties put upon you by shitty people. Don't believe me? My mother, the sage of wisdom she is, told Kimmy not to get Sara a present, or that she shouldn't. To what end? What would be gained by giving nothing. What would be lost by giving something?

One last note, a word of warning. In the discussion I had with Kimmy, I could sense a little vindictivness this sort of "I won against you" kind of attitude towards Sara. I have to mention it myself for completness. I've always found the way you feel about something after you do it can be a multitude of emotions. But superiority over a person is never appropriate. In this situation the moral isn't "Give your crappy friend a present and watch her grovel", its "Give your friend a gift in the hope that she remains a friend". Sure both could be valid lessons, but in the end which one makes you a better person in the heart? Okay maybe I'm a little thick, maybe people don't act that way, well then F-U, I do and In the game of life you are not winning against people. You're winning for someone, yourself.
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Monday, October 27, 2008

BBBS Interview

I did a Big Brother Big Sister interview yesturday. Wondering how it's going to work out, thought I'd share the experience.

Most people don't know this, but this has long been one of my dreams. Seriously, don't laugh! The reasons why are kinda odd really, but honestly I remember being a kid and hearing the ads. I would think to myself I really wish I had a big brother. This would always make me wonder what my real big brother was doing (Jason, we lived apart growing up) - when I was a kid I looked up to him as if he was infallible. As a kid I'd always make up big long stories of how I'd be a good brother, or how I'd have spent my day with my big brother. I remember telling my dad that I wanted a big brother, and he just disregarded my statement wholeheartedly, in fact I think he made fun of me. Called me retarded for wanting one. If only he realized the need for one was actually to place a male role model in my life - and he obviously didn't fit the bill.

The interview was quite easy, although they ask a lot of personal questions. The interviewer was amazingly cute, should I mention that? She seemed like such a sweet heart - they should look into higher uglier interviewers I think she made me more nervous than the questions ;) (The receptionist was also exceptionally perky, almost unrealistically nice. I love those kinds of people the ones that almost gush kindness - their soul just oozes unto the floor and wraps you in good feelings all day long)

The questions were plain, and obvious nothing really absurd or unexpected. To be honest I never really thought much into what I would do, with my little brother, or what might be a problem, or activities, etc. And then she started asking questions about my life, my parentage and my family. I didn't really think much about my life and what would make me a good/bad big brother (Is wondering about the interviewer's BF status a good or bad quality? - I mean she wasn't wearing a ring :P )

A few questions like do you drink, of course.. 2 White Russians daily - actually I haven't had a drink in a while - but the answer is probably like everyone else - socially.) Do you use tobacco products? (a good cigar on a rare occasion) - Use drugs - I always laugh when this is asked, "yes I share needles all the time." - she' posited - "Only a line of coke now and then right?" (damn she's cute, I'm glad she has the same sense of humour as I)

After a few more questions she started asking about my familial relations. To be frank my family and I are just not that well suited for each other. I try to see my sisters more than anything, I love them girls to death. But even that sometimes seems like I have to bang heads. Recently situations have changed with both, which make it easier.

I see my younger brother often enough, and thankfully we managed to stow away any childhood BS we went through (I was often prone to violent outburst, and he was more than willing to push my buttons) - in fact I'd say we get along quite well these days.

I've never had a perfect relationship with any person considered to be my parent. My Mother and I get along fine, my Step-dad is kinda lonely and angry (And I can't get close enough to discover why) we stopped talking - My father is the biggest douche-bag in the universe in fact I could write pages and pages of what makes him the most disgusting creature in the universe. But I edited that stuff out - who wants to read that crap? My Grandparents raised me from about 5 or so on, and I can't say they did a bad job. There were obvious moments of misunderstandings, but I always understood their point of view, and try as I might I was never capable of convincing them of more modern social ideals. They are grandparents after all.

Anyway, after all of that I realize where I am and where I came from, and sometimes I cannot believe that I am who I am. In retrospect the questions made me realize that I've done a lot for just making myself the person I want to be. I know I sometimes fail, there is a lot of stuff that I didn't mention here that definitely affect my personality.

I wonder if all of this stuff I've seen would make me a better or worse big brother - or father. All of this made me think about my own children someday, and then the word someday. I'm 27 someday is one of those 3 years from now kinda of words. I mean it's not like I'm going to find a women, and have kids in the next year, that would be ridiculous and selfish if something like that happened.

I see all of my friends - everyone I know has a kid now. I've been told I'm great around kids and even kids who don't take well to men, or strangers still seem to like me. And then I realize I'm about 5 years behind everyone, and it kinda of depresses me that I'm lagging behind. It means my kids and my friends kids won't grow up together. My Kids will be the youngest of my group, the youngest of the cousins, (my brothers' eldest is 5 turning 6 in (jan)). Well my younger sister is still only 14, so .. hopefully she'll wait a bit longer.. (Hands off Igor, no seriously her bf .. his name is Igor)

All of this from an interview. The thoughts that all of this brought forth was the one thing I was not expecting. I really hope I can do some good in someone's life. That would make me feel great. I now sit and play the waiting game, hoping to get an email back, hoping they get a good background check. (well they should, that one time that I did that one thing, it was an alias ... no one knew... and I really don't share needles, I have my own I bought from a bum on 10th - and I've only ever done one line of coke - I was 12 and it was coca-cola and a dare from friends)

So what do you peoples think, if anything, if anyone even reads this? Give me some ideas that I should do with my little brother (I like miniature golf - that's always fun)


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Thursday, September 25, 2008

My new business

(I've had this as a drat for a long time, I just wanted to push it out, so .. this is an "AS-IS"article) This is a farce letter to the government posted in response to this article.

Dear government,
I represent the Union of Mind Examiners better known as UoME. We have been selling devices to scan minds and to help people deal with all sorts of issues like anti-telepath warfare and aliens. It has come to our attention that we can no longer sell these items because people have become to informed, they know to much about scams. They believe our product to be produced by shysters. Our Business model can no longer work, so we need you to create an artificial market in which to sell our devices. Our market can only work if you help us enforce it.

I've seen how you work and understand how we can integrate our model into your methods. Much like the music and movie industries we wish to stop selling physical items, and start selling information the stuff we are selling is already covered by copyright laws, but we want to complicate things by incorporating complicated encryption schemes. We know these schemes will prevent hacking into our copyrighted stuff, but we need you to enact laws that will make it a federal offense for people to break our copy protection.

I think these ideas will work well, and when we come up with new stuff well market it in a similar manner.

Thank you,
UoME

So I wrote this to convey the idea of what I feel is a craptastic way to do business, to artificially inflate a small gap in the market that you can fill.

The MPAA wants to create a new market. This is of course my opinion. The MPAA is trying to create a new market. They might defend that the market was always there. It might have been, I haven't researched it entirely. What I do know is that recording pay per view movies has been around for a while, and they have yet to go out of business. Sounds to me like their business is working fine. They are making efforts to petitions the government to prop up their business model. Its simple math - if it costs us 800billion to buy off uncle sam, and it helps us make 80billion a year this step will pay for itself in 10 years. .. so then uncle sam steps in and says well we should tax this new market so we can make some off the top as well - the industry refuses to loose money so they push the taxes onto the consumer...

I'm getting increasingly annoyed at the governments interference in business. When I grew up I was tought that a government protects the rights of its people, and allows the people to have representation of those rights. They are no longer protecting people - they are protecting big business. I can understand the need to protect the economy, but instead of enforcing that an market doesn't die they could just enforce that market doesn't die quickly - at this point they've fixed so many holes they are running out of little dutch boys faster than the diocese

A couple of things in the past few weeks have disturbed me. The idea that a company can have a business model that once a caveat is found, and flaws in that model are discovered that threaten it in the least. They can petition government to make criminals out of the people they represent.

Second is that when a new marketable idea is discovered. If this idea is good enough to threaten established businesses and make them loose billions of dollars uncle sam steps in and plugs the hole - by forcing a person to purchase an item from a manufacturer there by allowing that company time to maintain their market share - ( natural gas vehicle conversion ) In this document it simply states that if you convert your vehicle to natural gas - you are tampering with a government regulated emissions system, and you must pay 5000$/per day of violation.

bah.. so you think they do that to protect our safety, or do you think some big business rep came in and decided that they should "take the stance, of regulated emissions tampering" ?
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I Want.

This is just some ramblings of mine. Sort of bored needed to just post some stuff. I think this post is me bitching at myself for being lazy. Might be an interesting insight into "me" for some of you.

I Want to:
Finish My CNC Project, Which depends on me Learning more about AVR controllers, which depends on a small research project involving an RS232 port, an AVR controller and a 20x7 LED array with some logic IC's. That all depends on me cleaning my hell hole called a house, which starts with doing my dishes, laundry and putting stuff away.

If I put stuff away, I'll have to put the AVR stuff on hold, because its all over the place. And it's interdependencies are all annoying the hell out of me. Once I clean up I can get it back out, but I keep tinkering with it every night so why put it all away? Why clean the house?

I Want to:
Setup a multimedia box. Which depends on my networking getting improved, Which depends on me fixing all of my ailing computers, Which depends on getting my storage space consolidated, which will lead to the want of a new storage Server, I discovered that I have 1.2TB of data on my systems most of my hard drives are full, what the hell is all of this crap?

I Want to:
Consolidate my photos, I have photos on my Laptop, Main PC, a Linux Dev PC, my multimedia PC and some random hard drives that are lacking a computer.

I Want to:
Build a CarPC with integrated in-dash touch screen LCD! Which should be done AFTER all of the above, but I know I can't live with out 30 miscellaneous projects.

I hate how all I can ever think about is all of these projects, its like they possess me sometimes, and then in all reality they are all interdependant. And I know what will make them all start falling in place. It really boils down to me not being so damned lazy, If I just cleaned up my house... sheesh its a bachelor pad alright.

That being said, why is it whenever I clean up, I tend to shove all of my projects half ass into a box and they get shelved? I can't stand that, so I tend to let them sprawl out everywhere. And Everything gets messy cause I don't want to disturb the ongoing process that is each project.

I think even though it would be bad to do this first, I should finish my 20x7 led project. When a project is so close to done, you tend to forget where you left off, but if I finished it, it would stop blocking me from wanting to clean up, and get stuff together. I mean responsibility dictates that I should just pack it up and clean up right? Honestly if I got to the finish point on it, and was just done, then I'd have learned something and it would stick better than being only "half-learned"

Things I'd really like to happen:
OCT 27: Will never come soon enough, that's when the mistake of overbuying the car will finally start to heal itself. I payed a crap load of money to get it, 50% down, a VERY high interest rate and skipped on a few bills. Now because of overdue bills, I'm going to be down to about 50$/week (
maybe a wee bit more) until Oct. 27. This was a STUPID idea, why did I ever do this?

I'd like to make things better between my neighbour and I, we were best friends. To be honest I loved the guy like a brother, and after I screwed up he never gave me the chance to fix things. I live in a duplex, we share a wall. It takes a large amount of mental effort to pretend he's not there. And should I? I miss him, and his wife, and they never got it. I mean that's a side effect of being a meta-cognitive sentient being. You think about things that hurt you, and then you think about the, and then they hurt you. They mentioned to an intermediary that they don't believe I feel remorse. How can you know that? You haven't talked to me since, an email yes. But last I checked its hard for people to really express emotion in an email. And not only that but i'm more than certain it's a proven fact that if you pissed when you read something you'll read it as if the person who wrote it is pissed at you as well.

I'd like to have more friends:
I already have a bunch of friends, some good some bad, but I'm not very integrated into
Columbia yet, and loosing my neighbours as friends was a shock. I probably only know 10 people up here, most of them from twitter. (you guys are awesome!!) I've had good luck with them, they seem to all be honest people, really interested in being personable, and having a good time! But its not like I can bother them all the time with my petty need for human interaction, I mean, It's my crutch to want to constantly be social. Nobody wants to hang out with a clingy girlfriend,much less a clingy "dudefriend" I mean seriously grow up. Its like I don't have a "best" friend, not anymore, at least not anyone who's close.

I think not having a "best" friend is sort of damaging to ones psyche, its like you can't vent properly. It's like being a whale without a blow hole, you just suffocate. Slowly succumbing to your own perverse rantings. (sorta like the one I'm about to go on) Its like a best friend is a buffer protecting the rest of the world from the weird things your mind comes up with. Cause you can express them to the best friend and they quickly slap you, and you both have a good laugh at how crazy it sounds. They keep you grounded. When you lack one, you tend to make it harder on yourself to actually make closer friends. I think It might be a side effect of not having one, you try to make someone fill that role, you end up sharing your crazy ideas, or psychopathy with them. It's not purposely done and since they aren't prepared for that, they tend to think of you as weird. Or it makes you look strange.

Okay, so after stating that it offers great introspection into other peoples motives, and then I realized maybe I've done that? Have I? Have I done that? Have I ever pulled into the weird zone? I don't think a person would know if they did, and I certainly hope I haven't. I suppose it's perfectly find to have someone you've met who's at least not entirely creepy to drive into the weird zone, its like they are comfortable enough with you that they want you to be a best friend. Its like they are saying, hey look at the inner me, I'm wierd and quirky and you should like that!! Hah!

This sorta make me feel bad for the way I've treated other people when, they might have done this. I might have been on the receiving end of this a few times. And totally blew a person off because of this odd behaviour. (anyone in behavioural sciences know what this might be called, sounds interesting to me)

Anyway, I like this post. I think I should publish it. But it's sort of angsty. I hate being angsty. Anyway thank you "intarweb". You are currently my best friend. I hope I haven't moved into the weird zone, I think you're awesome. I really feel better after just throwing this out there. I'm going to post it. No really I will.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Restaurant "The Rome"

I went to go eat at "The Rome" last night. Nice place good staff, great food overall not a bad place - try it out before its gone.

I arrived earlier than my friend who suggested the place. And I was quickly prompted by a waitress who seated me. I perused the menu a bit to see what I thought would be good - somehow I overlooked the lasagne that the ComoWhine authors did not. Oh well (I read their review after going)

The waitress was very attentive in fact almost annoyingly attentive. She had this odd idiosyncrasy of talking to you and then right before the end of the sentence running off. It was an odd experience because I couldn't help but try to listen to the doppler effect she created each time I was spoken too.

I believe the girl was extremely new, not just to this job but to waitressing altogether. It was obvious but forgiveable, I never judge a waitress poorly when it's that obvious she's new.

Scott arrived and doppler girl showed up and asked him for a drink, she came back with our waters and asked if we needed more time to choose.
Which we did. Scott and I were talking a lot, catching up over the past week or so worth of news, we just sort of sat there. doppler girl showed up several times asking us if we were ready to order.

We ordered begrudgingly, likely only because she showed up a few times. We looked at the menu's and after a while I could only come up with one thing I was interested in, which is sorta my safety at Italian restaurants, chicken alfredo. Scott got the Shrimp alfredo.

Scott mentioned that shrimp alfredo was his reference plate. After all if you are going to judge a place on its food I suppose it needs to be a dish you know well. I'm glad I got the chicken alfredo, if there is a dish I know well it would be that. But if you really want a judgement on the food, I should have gotten the lasagne. You see, there aren't many places that I'll order the lasagne, I just don't trust them to make it right.

Doppler girl, the waitress not the non-existent super heroine, shows up with our plates. Which looked darn good. I thought mine looked well prepared, almost worthy of a photograph. Scott's on the other hand looked like shrimp tossed onto a plate of alfredo. Well I shouldn't say tossed, they looked like they were well placed pieces of shrimp. They looked and tasted like they were taken straight from the boiler and placed right on the plate. I'm used to a more buttery shrimp or some kind of season compared to what it was.

My meal was quite interesting, first up there was a ball of undercooked dough or something mixed into the plate, looked like a lump of noodle. I'm not one to be picky about food but alien-egg-sack looking things in my plate scare me slightly. What I don't get is that if I found it in my first bite, how did the chef miss it. I pushed my dough-egg to the side and dove into the alfredo.

Let me say this. Wow, that's really good alfredo sauce. It could have been some alien egg yolk, but I think not. This sauce tasted like it was made from scratch. It's obvious.

One of the things I hate about just about everywhere else I go, you can taste the pre-packaged flavoring they call alfredo sauce or any other sauce for that matter. And I hate that every other place has way to much salt in their sauce. If you order the alfredo this is what you are eating it for - the flavor of the alfredo sauce.

I'm a big fan of olive garden, and I've never said their sauce was to die for, but I've always considered it tasty and its a big enough chain most of you could compare to that - so for reference. I'll say its amazing compared to Olive Garden. For you local folk - it's better than Bambino's - I tried that friday with my wonderful friend Karen (who is way to knowledgeable about 80's television)

The chicken in my meal was generally good, it was nicely seasoned and tasted great, wasn't an over the top experience but rounded the meal nicely.

It was about this time that our waitress arrived and left us a bread basket - she had forgotten for about 40 minutes, oh well - she's new.

Not much longer after this she asked us how we were doing and wanted to know if we would like our check - we did. Her response was "I'll go ggeett ttthhhaaattt" .. and fading off ..

Our check was an interesting situation, after she brought it I asked her if she could split it up, and she took it and split it, but arrive back with one singular tablet - she'd split the ticket on the same piece of paper - two seats, two cards, one piece of paper - I was thinking that the size of her tip was going to be directly related to her ability to bill the proper card.

I gave her the information she needed to bill us properly and she did. I was writing on my receipt the tip, and total and messed up in my head so - as to not have to rewrite the numbers I did some mental gymnastics and then used my cell phone to come up with numbers that worked. Lets just say - I tipped her well. I suppose this is fine, since I had already decided that she was going to be called doppler girl in my blog post.

All in all it was a good experience. The price of the meals did seem high - at first, but then I realized that it was probably spot on, simply because of all the "from scratch" effort they put into their meals.

The comment made by Scott was something to the effect of "Great place come here while you can". I feel this is on target, they have great food, and a nice place - but it was dead empty when we were there. Speaking strictly on demographics, the platters are a little high priced. The downtown location containing all of those "poor" college students is going to make it slim pickings for customers with a pocket book for their food. At least this is in my estimate - there are plenty of good placed downtown that seem a bit high to me, but they work - and I'm sure they can make it work as well. But all of those have a parking garage much closer than The Rome

That being said, I'd suggest going there and giving them a try. I was happy with everything, and if you get doppler girl don't fret, she was really nice, and you couldn't have asked for a more attentive waitress. As for the alien egg, I'm sure it wasn't hers. Well Okay I know it was just pasta dough, but you could and probably should complain about that if you want.

I'd give 'em a 7.5/10
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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Python/Pygame and Ajax - Isometric Game

I've started a simple pygame isometric gaming engine, its all for research into isometric gaming and maths/problems with designing an isometric game.

Fairly simple fully commented posted on my domain - http://prozacville.com/projects/isometric-pygame/

Hope someone interested in developing one finds some use out of it. I've been researching the idea of producing a DHTML/javascript/ajax/web2.0 .. pick a buzzword - version of a similar engine.

I've decided that ground heights (Z) neet to be limited. The reason for this is in isometric maps a ground height of 10 is shown 10*(8 tile height) pixels above the point the base tile is shown - the problem is in the ajax or any client version the full map is only known by the server - I would only give the client a 20x20 or so tile space to observe. If a tile below this space is very tall - it should be opaquing the tiles above it but if I don't send it to the client then the client can't draw it. I've considered making the server, and for proper game interactions this may happen anyway, analyse a large grid - say 100x100 around the player and resolve these opaquing issues - but that increases server side processing.

Both client versions would have this issue so its worth solving or limiting, I couldn't imagine having a character walk up a 200 unit high tower - which might be fun but honestly confusing in an isometric game. since pieces tend to blend into Z coordinates with each other.

Anyway this is going to be a fun side project, probably not going to get lots of play time with it. But if anyone has some suggestions feel free to post em
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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I Need a Posse of Developers

So the boss decides to go with a design that is flawed and annoyingly so, the problem is I can't validate my arguments so he's going his way, when I know - from experience its just outright bad thinking.

The situation is this: We have machines on a VPN that call home for updates of dynamic data (once every 5 minutes) I designed the system to work with uniq Machine ID numbers random numbers that are generated upon rolling out a machine.

When the machines call back home, they say hey I'm "a5f6c8278abcff" give me my data, and my design looks them up in the database find their city, state, and any other information on them, and passes back their city/state specific data. A system controlled by the central authority of the server.

The problem stems from the fact that the boxes have several names: hostname, VPN Id, and unique key. Originally the way I generated the unique id's for a box was to just md5 their hostname, and their vpn key was the same as their hostname, so in effect these are all just duplicated data.

The boss didn't like that, and I'm not one to argue so he decided that the unique key had to go - I think the only reason the unique key got nixed was simply because 32 hex chars are ugly compared to a host name.

I was more or less fine with the idea of just using the hostname as the unique identifier, originally all the boxes were named the exact same thing - I was afraid that this wasn't going to change so I used my own unique identifier for them. The boxes also submit statistics information back to the servers to maintain their temps/cpu usage/hdd usage etc. So I was woried that the host name duplication would clobber the reports, but he's going to maintain them so - its his problem..

But moving past that he has now decided that the host name should have a hyphenated hierarchical naming structure - like "state-city-stationname" - and that the hostname is to be used instead of looking up the information in the database.

In effect that moves all information control of the boxes to the boxes, it removes centralized control, and makes us rely upon a hostname of the box to be correct textual information.

In summation I've argued that the UniqueID offers more flexibility to the system, and not only that but, it just seems to me in larger systems like this - UniqueID's are more common - and who am I to argue with convention? Why can't we use the knowledge gained by those who travelled before us? We might not know all the reasons they chose that path, but we can gain from their insights without knowing all of the reasons. Not only that, but IMHO - extraction data from strings is not something I consider "clean", or well thought out.

I'm a singular voice here, so tell me what you think about his design vs. mine.
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Friday, July 25, 2008

50:50 - Its not only a good idea - Its the law!

Sometimes I go stark raving mad, I make a realization based on rationalizations that seem good to start with but then go sorta muttles towards the end. Today I stumbled upon an idea and I can't quite grasp it well enough to do anything more with it.

Do you wish to go down the rabbit hole?

Today I was toying with a friend. I was offering to her the philosophical quandary I'm about to introduce some of you too. I love to make people exercise their brains. Some of you may have already heard of this, but I don't have a clear cut place to jump you to so just bear with it.
When you flip a penny 1000 times - ideally how often does it land on heads? The answer to this is simple: 500. 6th graders could easily answer that one. But now I ask you the one question they never asked me when I was in grade school why? Why does the penny land on either face 50% of the time? Many people will suggest "well see it has 2 faces so it must land on one or the other, it only has 2 choices." - some nay sayers will go so far to say it could land on an edge(if you are this guy, please leave now - yes you Scott) Landing on an edge is possible but rare enough it won't screw with my "lesson".

The real question I asked was why does it land at an equally distributed 50:50 - why not 60:40 or 70:30 - its true these distributions can happen. But with experimental evidence we see that the distribution approaches 50:50. This is a universal law. This is a property of the universe just as inexplicable as gravity is (we still don't truly understand it completely)
I feel I should define how and why it 'approaches'. By experiment if you flip a coin 10 times the distribution could be 40:60, and you flip it 100 times and the distribution is likely to get closer - say 45:55 and when you flip it 100000 times its likely to be 49.999:50.001 - but the point I need to make is that the more you flip the less the errors that are inherent in the penny and our experiment show up. Knowing this we can assume that the universe is wired to be at a perfect 50:50*

This means that at the most basic of levels, the universe must make perfect decisions as to 50:50 - but there is another problem with that.
Here is where I turn the the problem on its head. (pun intended)
What I suggest is that the penny experiment is in a closed system, the cumulative effect of this system is to equally distribute the choice of flips to 50:50 - but lets analyze this system more closely.

Lets scale this down. If we have a perfect universe devoid of everything, heck lets just isolate one piece of this universe. We only have one "minuscule universe constructor" or (MUCk) - we pose a number of choices to the MUCk and after 1000 choices we see it truly observes the 50:50 rule - well, this is really odd, what happens when we reduce it to 100 choices? Oh thats predictable we got 50 even, 50 odd - what about 10? Amazingly it came back with 5:5 .. well wait .. what about 2 choices - presenting the device with only 2 choices - we get 1:1 - a perfect 50:50 **

So wait, how did that work, I ran the test 10 times and got 0,0,0,1,0,1,0,1,1,1 - in that order, but when I ran it with 6 choices I got 1,1,1,0,0,0 - a perfect distribution. But I have an issue with this. I ran the test 10 times and it came out with 3 zeros to start with, let me do this again. No matter how many time I run the test - each time I run it the distribution is 50:50 OVER TIME .. yes thats right you heard me I'm suggesting that the universe knows the number of tests you will perform BEFORE you do them. You ran the test OVER time, a MUCk has no definable spacial size. Each test can be collected as fast as you want but you can ONLY run one test at a time. There are only two ways this can work each test result alters the future test results, or the universe knows the number of results you are going to ask for before the test is over with, or has even begun.

So lets scale this up. - yes I mean up, I mean BIG - immagine all of that MUCk filling up a volume of space. We call this MUCk the universe, the universe as a whole, as we discussed, is wired for this magical 50:50. All the choices made within the universe over time must be 50:50 - This suggests to me that the universe has a fixed number of possible choices over time and the results of those choices are equally distributed 50:50. The other possibility is the result of one test alters the results of the next - Either way this is predeterminism at the quantum level. I've yet had anyone describe any conditions that imply predeterminism at the quantum level? It appears random to us, but in the grand scheme of things is it truly determined?

So since I know I can't answer this, nor do I have the brain to qualify the idea any more, I beg of anyone who reads this to forward a link to their friend who may know of a physics or philosopher teachers or both (equally distributed of course!)

Or if you know what I'm missing, please pass me along to some information, this is good stuff. I'd love to get a good discourse explaining why I'm wrong, or that someone else has stumbled into this rabbit hole.

* Can I make this assumption - best I can tell 50:50 is the only provable distribution, other distributions fall off the bell curve in predictability? .. right?

**now I know that in our version of the game we can present it with 1 choice and possibly zero choices - and with 1 choice the distribution is 1:0 or 100% .. but 100% is still as close as it can get to 50% - and I'd like to not confuse the issue - so lets ignore that for now. - My honest feeling is that since the universe most likely cannot contain only one MUCk - and its unlikely only one choice can be made it might as well be greater than 0 and probably 1 and more than likely .. well you get the idea.

P.S. If this has been reiterated before, and I'm only just stumbling about the concept please point me into some documents that can help see more of what others saw with this as well.

Welcome to the bottom of the hole, I know things are different from this perspective but the stars look oh so welcoming now, don't they?
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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Who I am?

I am ...

prozacgod@
prozacgod@
prozac_g_o_d@
http://twitter.com/prozacgod
http://myspace.com/prozacgod
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1072692555
http://prozacgod.deviantart.com/
http://digg.com/users/prozacgod
http://youtube.com/user/prozacgod (I should note, that picture is not of me - its my friend as its the only video I uploaded)
http://prozacville.com/


I can't quite figure out why but I'm always in some existential crisis about who or what I am or about life or the rules that it entails. For some odd reason it dawned on me that I could define myself as the information I leave behind, and most of my information is on the web. Its odd but it felt good defining myself as these blobs of random information. But here I am, add me on IM if you feel like you need another friend who is on ALL THE TIME :P
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Rick Roll the Presidency

I'm tired of picking the best of the evils - I'm just going to write in Rick Astley for president in 2008 - hey they did it for a football game, lets try a presidency.

I guarantee you we'll get more voter participation for the 18-25yr old sect.

"Rick Rolling 2008" - bumper stickers anyone? Read more...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

What is my Type?

When I was a child, I never knew what a social class was. I didn't care and it never bothered me that person X was was rich or poor, conceited or philanthropic. In retrospect, the truth is, I never considered it possible to determine these traits. The truth was simple to me, every child was clothed by their parents. Poor kids or kids with frugal parents wore the same hand me downs as myself. Who were these kids? Some were my friends and the other could be.

That's what I remember when I was a child, how I saw and interacted with people.

Then as we get older we are given choices, what to wear who to talk to how to act to people. Slowly but surely we start to gain an "aura". I've noticed this, and suspect others can do this as well. If you put all your friends in the same clothes, body and voice, then have them all call to you at the end of a football field, something about the way they do it will tell you who they are. To me, this is what an aura truly is.

The things we wear, do, and want, start to describe the kind of person we would like to be. Not the person we are, but who we'd like to be. Our choices start to mold our futures, our options and our minds.

Yes, your mind. Walking through the mall you see a man who is muscular, wears a "wife beater" and shorts. You think, I know his "type". In fact what you are thinking is: People who make specific choices like X, are likely to also make other choices like Y. Based upon this assumption, I either do or do not like choice Y, so I therefore will or will not like this person based on that system of choices.

You may not like this assessment, but I believe this to be true. Statistically speaking how often does a "goth" kid wear an entire "sufer" outfit? When was the last time you saw some Abercrombie & Fitch kid dress "Emo"? So... extrapolating that into what I'm saying is: It is statistically true and fair to asses people based on their choice of physical appearance.

I took me a long time to realize this and make choices about my appearance that attracts the types of friends I want. Because what is meant by the phrase: "I dont' like people of their type", is: "I don't like people that make that group of choices"

This is not that big of a leap of logic, we've all known this for some time. I just have to state it for purpose of argument.

I find myself as an adult. Only now in my life I feel awkward in social situations. With friends its different, you've watched them fall into their choices, and love them just the same. I have friends who's life choice is to work in assembly lines and wear wal-mart clothing. I have friends who have degrees in computer science and don't even pay attention to their more-than-out-of-date clothing. Or a few random people who think they have some style and raz others who seemingly don't.

And everyone of you out there right now reading this are all scratching their heads and saying "What? Who cares, this is all high scholl drama, I don't deal with that anymore". And you are likely correct in saying that as well.

But to me I seem to constantly try to determine what I want to advertise. I've never made a choice as to who I'd like to be, or what I'd like to represent. I change to often, most days I try to be average. That's my goal, to be familiar to the most people. I figure this will get me into a position to meet the most people, make the most new friends. All we want ourselves is to be familiar and to be surrounded by the familiar. I tend to find familiarity in most all people, I think we all do. But for some reason we only allow us to connect to that familiarity when we are children. Growing up means make judgments ignore people and be rude if they don't walk the walk.

Saturday morning, I went to Ragtag to watch the Saturday morning cartoons. During the breaks, the group of people next to me were having a conversation. In the dim light, I could not tell much about them, except they seemed "familiar" not that I knew them, but I knew their type, based on what was being said. I really like nice, smart and down to earth people. I started to strike up some conversation with them, speaking on par with what they wanted to talk about, nothing deep or political but it was a few short conversations. They seemed to be interested and not offended by my butting in, which I'm always afraid of.

During intermission I mentioned I was new to town and trying to meet some friends. Their response was typical thus far, "Well, Columbia is a friendly town, I'm sure you'll meet some people". Well as far as I could tell that what I was trying to do. You might as well add, "But not us, we're not interested" - He shoots, he misses end of game. I kinda ignored them after that.

The lights came on, and revealed ourselves for who we want the world to see us as. The girl next to me, Meredith, had this wonderfully crafted handbag, I could tell she had made it herself. I had noticed first a reused bicycle inner-tube that created the strap. I had to mention it, this was too coincidental, I've crafted lots of stuff, and figured we hat a point of similarity there. I was hoping to strike up real conversation.

But the light had revealed us, and to her I was part of the machine a consumerist. I was part of the evil empire that her unshaven armpits and natural cloth fibers must not mingle with.

See, I was wearing some random Abercrombie & Fitch "advert-shirt" and my ever so comfortable Union-Bay jeans with the pre-made holes. (I did laugh histerically when I bought them, I mean I just bought pants with holes, but they were so damned comfy)

I didn't look familiar enough for her to see past what I was wearing. So her ability to accept my comment was jaded. I was familiar in a way she doesn't like, she could only see what I chose to represent myself as for that day. What she didn't know was I recognized that she had made her naturally dyed hand woven hemp bag, with inner-tube strap, I recognized the work, skill and craft that went into it. From this I had a reliable pattern to recognize with some basic accuracy the kind of person she was. Or the group of choices she is likely to make which are : intelligent, hippie, activist - she would also deny up and down that any label truly defines her, BTW for clarification that choice is usually categorized as "independent" which is the master category for hippie, goth, and emo. But most all of us actually claim that one label won't describe us.

What I've always wanted is a common denominator, something that I can choose that advertises me to all, as a person who wants to represent that I am compatible with X, Y & Z. That I'm a hippie, prep, geek, goth, emo, philosopher and most of all just human. Just a human trying to connect with other humans in a world that is full of loneliness.

I suppose that I could try to represent human simply by wearing my birthday suit, but even I couldn't hang out with someone who was naked all the time, that would just be awkward.


If you liked this introspective rant, please comment, and also be sure to watch for my next post, its semi-related to this one.


P.S. - If you've never seen free hugs campaign video watch it!! Every time I start to feel kinda like existence is hopeless I watch that video and all is good again. I want to go the local mall and pull that off myself, but I'd need a partner in crime since I'm not that bold.
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Saturday, July 5, 2008

Boycott Viacom

I was wondering about a boycott as a plausible solution. I realize major corporations play a major roles in our lives. Boycotting large companies would be next to impossible. Next to that boycotting entertainment is going to be difficult for people to do. I did all the research and have a list of movies and other financial assets of Viacom one must boycott in order for a boycott to succeed.

(If you were interested in specifics because you want to actually boycott, you might skip to the bottom)

In order for a boycott to work, you have to hit hard, fast and last as long as it takes. The biggest problem for the individual is that a large company really is just to large. As one person you don't feel you can make a difference. Especially when you realize just how large of a beast someone like Viacom is.

A press release on there first quarter 2008 profits there are some interesting quotes:

..."Content creation is our central mission and our ongoing investments in programming are paying off as we see our television ratings continue to improve."...

..."Additionally, our Rock Band video game is continuing its successful tour and is emerging as a valuable long-term franchise. We expect to further that success with the upcoming release of Rock Band on the Wii home video game system and our launch in Europe."...

..."Media Networks revenues rose 16% to $2.02 billion, principally driven by strong sales of the music video game Rock Band."...

..."This news release contains both historical and forward-looking statements."..."Forward-looking statements reflect the Company's current expectations concerning future results, objectives, plans and goals, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that are difficult to predict and which may cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ."..."These risks, uncertainties and other factors include"... "the public acceptance of and ratings for the Company's feature films, programs, digital services and other content"...

From that I'm sure you could gather that Rock Band is on my list of no-no's. Definitely feature films, the box office hit would be horrendous if we all chose to not go to those movies.

Rock Band may be a big shocker to many I'm sure, but are you a Hindu cow secure in your little world or do you want to drive a "steak" into the heart of your persecutors?

So onto the "big list"

Viacom's assets are (from wikipedia Viacom)
Film Production and Distribution
  • Viacom International
  • Paramount Pictures
  • DreamWorks
  • Republic Pictures
  • MTV Films
  • Nickelodeon Movies
  • Go Fish Pictures
Television Networks
  • Comedy Central
  • Logo
  • BET
  • Spike
  • TV Land
  • Nick at Nite
  • Nickelodeon
  • Noggin
  • The N
  • Nick Jr.
  • TEENick
  • MTV
  • VH1
  • MTV2
  • CMT
  • MHD
Television Production and Television Distribution
  • DreamWorks Television
Video Gaming
  • Xfire
  • Harmonix
  • GameTrailers
  • Neopets
Internet Sites
  • Screwattack
That list is ridiculous! The only things on that list worth fighting against directly are the film companies. Its to hard to actually depict lose in television viewers. But you'll end up missing a lot of possibly great films and when you dismantle it into currently marketable assets you find out just what you'll be missing.

What to boycott?
Okay so you want to know the list? Its long! (I only included films with upcoming release dates.)

Films
Paramount Pictures

  • Tropic Thunder (Jul 11)
  • Eagle Eye (Aug 8)
  • Case 39 (Aug 22)
  • Nowhereland (Sep 26)
  • Ghost Town (Fall TBA)
  • Madagascar: The Crate Escape (Nov 7)
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Nov 26)
  • Revolutionary Road (Dec 19)
  • Star Trek (Dec 25)
  • A Tale of Two Sisters (TBA)
Nickelodeon Movies
  • Chuckle Bears
  • Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging
Dreamworks Television
  • The United States of Tara
Computer Gaming/Software

Harmonix

  • Rock Band
  • Guitar Hero I - III
Websites
  • GameTrailers
  • NeoPets
  • ScrewAttack
What Viacom owns of Dreamworks is Dreamworks Television, from what I can tell that does not include Dreamworks animated films. Everything else that have is anecdotal, they seem to survive on licenses alone, which might make them and easy target.

The only thing I feel like I'm missing out on is Star Trek, being the geekI am. But this might be over by the time it comes out. I thought Tropic Thunder might be somewhat funny but, to me, that's not much of a loss. Everything else is in the wtf pile, as in I have no f'n idea about them.

So there you have it the Boycott of Viacom's assets all rolled up into a nice package, I doubt many will read this, but I plan on sticking to my guns, hell I might fire up my printer and leave this in coffee shops around town.

I know my blogging audience is small, so I need you're help to spread the word, if you are interested in a Viacom boycott then please send this off to like-minded people. If not, then leave flames and reasons why in the comments below I'd love to hear other sides to the story - the Viacom-breaches-privacy-and-I-Like-It camp.

One last note, I want everyone to focus on Tropic Thunder/Eagle Eye / Case 39. Those 3 movies are all releasing by the end of next month.

I would like to encourage alternative viewing exercises. Like piracy and hosting movie parties for pirated movies. But that's not something I should encourage so I'm not. No seriously I'm not! Stop thinking that I'm telling you to go to The Pirate Bay and download the torrents that are cam rips of Tropic Thunder, Eagle Eye, or Case 39 on their release dates. And whatever you do don't burn DVD's and leave them at your local coffee shop for patrons to take home. Doing this would be sincerely wrong, and I cannot be liable for your legal fees if you got in trouble doing that. So again I'd like to encourage such behaviour, but for legal reasons I'm not, so don't do it. You've been warned.
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Thursday, July 3, 2008

Judge Orders Youtube to Release Viewing History.

So, I'm really really tired in an age of modern privacy issues that this kinda of stuff gets released. http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/07/judge-orders-yo.html thats all you need to read to get the gist, but if you want my take on it...

The thing is I know where these hard-drives go. I'm a software developer, and when something technical needs to get looked at they call me. Not the lawyers, not people interested in your personal privacy but a guy like me who would be more than happy to post it on The Pirate Bay.

Why would I breach such an egregious piece of the code of ethics for personal privacy? Because its a necessary evil.

No seriously I do believe posting the history of your browsing habits to be a horrible breach of privacy.

On Youtube, currently, all I have to lose is people finding out that I love to look at explosions and admire young cute Aussies (it's the accent, I can't help it! :D - that and Caitlin is a doll)

But why would you give that data out? Simple, the world needs to be pissed off at the companies that believe they need to record EVERY single thing you do in your life. We need a huge breach of privacy based on the failures of the legal system to encourage people to outrage. Yes you need to be slapped in the face.

Out of sight out of mind is the policy for everyone, and I'm so tired of it. I love Google to death, but I do not get any features from their service simple because of how much information they store on me. I also can't review deny or change that information. The one feature I've wanted for ages. I feel its my right to remove anything stored about me from any database, if I directly contributed to that database.

My computers aren't really personal I have one computer at home that no one is allowed to touch, its mine, the others (3 of em) are game for .. well gaming and browsing or whatever you want. I really don't feel that the browser history of those computers should belong to me. But since I do log into web services on those computers, and they are mine I tend to forget to log out. This incurs the storage of viewing history on my accounts that does not belong to me.

Imagine, if you will, that someone logs into your blog or myspace or whatever, and posts a entry under your name. You'd be pissed you'd be outraged, thats MY identity not yours. YOU can't post as ME!

Well, sorry to say this but people do it all the time, Inadvertently they post stuff to your account history that supposedly tells a story about you. Friends with Gonorrhoea looking for creams? Well now you must have it! It's under your account name isn't it? People looking for pornography involving Myrmecophaga tridactyla? Yeah, you did it buddy - don't lie its in your history! No we found that too "how to lie about search history and claim it isn't yours" was in your history as well. Maybe you'll think twice about not logging out of your computer after you

Imagine 2000 years from now digital archaeologists rebuilding your life. Yes he was into lots and lots of hentai. No really someone else must have search for that, yeah thats it, it was someone else I swear it!
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Monday, June 30, 2008

I'm a Twonk

Yes, it official. It seems a man from the UK has placed his desires on my domain name http://prozacville.com/ and does not like that I own it, thus posted my physical address (from whois, not like I was guarding it - plus its WAAAYY out dated).

I'm sure this is just an attempt to alleviate his own annoyance at me owning the less than maintained retro '95-esque web design. Oddly enough I found his blogger account about a month ago before his post. My intention was to digitally "high-five" him for the awesomeness of his choice of on-line persona. I even had the thought of offering him an entry in my DNS record for a subdomain, but alas, people don't think like me, and instead of emailing me the high-five first, he writes a diatribe of his desire and inability to achieve it.

I'm going to use you as and example Mr. Prozacville. An example of what we all do when we desire and somewhere we convince ourself that the desire is not possible.

You never attempted to achieve your end goal. You have a desire and yet only acted to acknowledge the desire, and not to achieve it. Had you evaluated a simple action plan to obtain your end goal, the list would have started with

  • purchase said domain from owner

  • purchase a subdomain as compromise

  • can I get either for free?


Had you evaluated the above, the only action that can solve these problems is to send an email to the owner and see what happens.

Desires tends to blind us as to what to do to get it. Especially when we live in a world where most people are selfish. Our automatic response is this individual is not nice enough to give me what I want, or compromise with a stranger.

I for one hate that version of the world. He is right though. Statistically speaking, I am a twonk. As a person who wants something owned by only one other person in this world, you have to envision that he realizes he would have to obtain this item from the that person. That person is an unknown. He would be just an average person - the person who bumps into him on the side walk with no apology, the person who flips him off when THEY cut him off in the first place.

Now we live in a world of bits and bytes. All of these abstractions just allow us to forget there are people there. Our first instincts are to assume they are unreasonable people. This is all a part of self-fulfilling prophecy. We become an unreasonable person when we expect people to be unreasonable.

Buddhism's 4 noble truths really fit this in a way probably all of us can see. He suffered for his desires, and passed that suffering to another, and from that suffering it is possible to pass it to another, and so on.

Except I feel obliged to end suffering. I can't remove his desires, but amicably solving them seems a solution that would suit us both, it achieves the one thing I've always wanted on prozacville - content, and people interested in evolving the idea. And it solves his desires to be located in a more recognizable place.

Actually he's right I am a twonk. Truth be told I had convinced myself that he wouldn't be as reasonable about me offering him a sub-domain, or even talking about it. Since I assumed he would be protective of his persona, I subconsciously assumed he'd be a jerk about me owning the domain, which led me to dawdle on sending an email, which in turn fulfilled the prophecy of him being a jerk, when he made his post. But I know better, neither of us are twonks or jerks, we are just people trying to live in a world where people are no longer truly 'living'.

*sigh* - Everyone go hug a stranger now. Yeah thought so, stop agreeing to truths if you don't plan on living them.
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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Quantum Physics & the Spawn of a New Word 'Macroscoponomy'

I love to read lots of physics articles, and I notice plenty of people who post comments on them not understanding some of the most basic of ideas that make physics and more specifically quantum physics work. I'm starting a new word, and with it a new thought process. This style of thinking isn't new or anything but I felt like documenting my thoughts on it. Perhaps someone will gain some new insight.

Macroscoponomy the study of the idea of macroscopically labeling things, and overcomming your personal predilection to see things as one or the other, as a binary system.

In your average everyday life, it is easy to call one object a car, a brick, or a person. These macroscopic terms are wondrously useful for our interactions in the world. But sometimes we need to see things that are outside of our normal interactions.

This isn't really any particular definition as to the word I'm defining. Its more along the lines of "this is how realized it". Maybe you can gain from this realization.

As I was learning physics, I noticed that when I read anything it was assumed that once they defined a something you just knew what that something was. You had to take that definition as a biblical truth and that definition ends up having no weight or meaning to anyone. It's just a memorized fact. This is common amongst many disciplines, you are supposed to learn 'X is this' you are then supposed to understand that you should not permanently sear this idea into your brain, you will learn the real truth later. The idea being, you proably wouldn't really understand the more advanced process involved in this, and you can understand the lesser version of it to solve this 'problem X'. Problem being many of us rely on our foundations and can't break them very easily.

Years ago I was pondering quantum physics and some articles on string theory and a few others on decaying radioactive wastes and their by-products. I was trying to visualize what they were talking about, and it was getting harder and harder - until one day it finally hit me. That my original ideas for what an electron is was wrong.

Everything has softer edges than the model I had somewhat tempered. Based on all the junk I was taught for years and years, I somehow had a mental model of an electron as something akin to a "magnetic marble" - it had a defined shape size and boundaries, and a field to interact with other particles. The truth is picturing it as a 'field' minus the marble isn't probably to far off.

Any of those things they define in quantum physics is more like a large thunderous storm. A storm of fields or forces that interact. From miles away you can see the thunderhead and you know that it imparts water below it. Much like you know that an electron is affected by a mutual atractive force between it and the nucleus of the atom. Both also appear to have an edge or measureable volume, so as a macroscopic being you actually assign a boundary to both. You shouldn't

Once you think of an atom as a storm - you should then immagine the whole atom looking something similar (not to similar now!) to jupiter and its storms. The whole planet is likely a storm, with smaller more concentrated storms in certain areas - an atom with electrons surrounding it is like a large storm with smaller storms all surrounding it, none of these have a defined edge.

If you back away from this a little more you can understand the quantum ideology of an electron doesn't really "orbit" the nucleus, but it sorta does. Its just a storm of "forces" that are mutually atracted and repulsed by the other storm of forces we label the nucleus. This constant tug of war pushes the fields that correspond to an electron all over the place, but in a relatively fixed distance from the center. This visualization also corresponds to the "electron cloud" and quite similarly defined by Feynman as a solution to Schrödinger's equation - but that gets advanced and out of the scope of this article.

All of these names then are just labels of convenience for us, since we like to think integrally and macroscopically. It took me a long time to overcome my predilection for thinking with these integral divisions of nature, when was the last time you were able to actually divide nature into even integral divisions?

Anyway, there are other things we do that we like to define this way. Your computer screen as a matter of fact, doesn't actually make circles! You see circles, but there aren't any. You only see a close approximation of circles made of squares called pixels. Its odd, because many of you are thinking, I knew this, but never thought about it. Sorta like Legos, when I build a truck do you see a pile of legos randomly joined to form a incidental shape recognizable as a truck or do you see a truck? We all see a truck but we know that it is made of other items.

I suppose this ends up being a case of "you can't see the trees cause of the forest", and yet here I go again, a where does a field stop and a forest begin?
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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Evolution, Language & SEX!

So I was sitting at home on a new interest. I've been playing with neural networks. Training them to perform different tasks and I've decided to make them have a "little fun" ;)

I've been using pygame and a neural network library written in C (converted completely to python, to which I'll create a python interface to the C code someday)

I've been playing with 'food' finding 'bugs' and evolved them to the point where they are so efficient at finding 'food', that they pretty much clear the screen quite quickly.

The next iteration I come up with was a "food" reservoir - reservoirs would be filled up with random numbers(amounts of food) the bugs that get there would feed off them decreasing the reservoir, when its zero it goes away and they move on. This behaviour was easy to get out of them as well, in fact its pretty easy to make any arbitrarily complex singular behaviour emerge.

But I stepped it up a notch, I added a output signal called ping, and ping will trigger an input reciever on anyone who is in range.

I was hoping to get them to eventually realize they can telling other bugs where food is. I realized how amazingly complex it is to derive this behavior. No matter what I tried, short of forcing them to realize the benefit of this behaviour, actually made them work together.

See they babble at random moments or just constantly "yell" or are silent. They just ping people willy nilly, or produce a constant on or off ping - and the converse then is true, since they hear stuff in that same fashion, they have yet to actually try to communicate.

It makes you wonder how the hell humans evolved this behavior in the first place. Imagine a random noise, but not realizing that you need to connect that noise to a pattern, since there is no pattern, there is no purpose in integrating it. It never becomes important and is completely ignored. Listeners ignore thier ears and talkers ignore their mouths. Its almost impossible to make this pattern show up on its own. Well save for one idea.

I was discussing this with a co-worker and jocularly I mentioned enforcing patterns based on using sex, and then it hit me. Communities that work together "play" together. If you look at nature, communication only happens within species that are coital. It might be the most rudimentary communication, maybe a scent or secretion that says "lets reproduce" but when you get down to it seems to actually hold true. Which makes me ponder if language is a side effect of needing to attract mates.

This made me chuckle. I mean, I realize it the one thing as a man that pretty much concerns us all unilaterally - the ability to woo a women with words alone! We all worry about our physical appearance and our ability to "perform". But the one thing that worries us most is if we can just impress them! We all know that once they are at least impressed with you, as long as you aren't horrible in the other areas - most those issues aren't important. The converse is true as well, it doesn't matter how great you are, in any particular physical areas - if you can't at least be basically cordial you'll loose out.

Ah the insights to human nature that software developers can discover, whilst making programs that screw.

So tonight, I'm putting on the Barry Manilow, and turning the lights down, and teaching a neural network to learn how to mate. This could take a while :P

P.S.
Also, does anyone have an idea on what the simplest sexual creature is, are there any bacteria that mate?
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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Homogenize my society, not my Milk

I watched this video today, I must say this isn't for the faint of heart.

The video discusses animal cruelty of the meat industry, and I wholeheartedly agree that the practices are sometimes bad. It is obviously biased towards the vegan crowd. Though however cruel the video will never make me not want to eat meat. Its just not possible, I love steak, I like chicken, I've never been a pork fan.

The alternatives are simple, I can raise the animal myself, and do the slaughtering - which might have worked years ago, but not in todays society. I could go to my local farmers market, but I have reservations about getting meat from there as well.

I don't like those options. Imagine slaughtering your dinner right before you eat it (you might not, I might, I like fresh steak) . What about the logistics of what to do with the left overs? It's no longer socially acceptable to use the bones as jewelry/decorations any more. And I for one don't really need another cow stomach flask. I'll take my estrogen generating plastic anyday.

Whats wrong with the farmers market? Not much that I can say, its just not attractive to me. The farmers market isn't at all regulated by the same FDA standards that say wal-mart purchased food does. Not even if it were would I be interested, at least for meat. These individuals are doing what they can to make money, and they wouldn't intentionally poison me, I don't believe that. But I don't believe they wouldn't cheat the system to make an extra few bucks. And who's to say that what you bought actually passed the test?

Don't forget the titular reference I made, homogenized milk. There are some documents that link high cholesterol and heart disease to homogenized milk. They are somewhat anecdotal - but neither side produces convincing arguments as to which is right.

That brings me back around to what I'd like to really get at. Its obvious that the massive slaughter houses, homogenization, and plastics production are a product of needing to feed/support massive cultures. And don't get me started on global warming, and pollution.

Animal cruelty is there simply because, if you don't slaughter it it, slaughtering becomes someones job. Homogenizing milk happens because it makes it more marketable, why not use goat or sheep milk? The plastics we use are a all part of the same pattern, making life easier for those who want it.

Food processing, is all about containing in nice small packets - easy to ship and easy to move - all your food products to make marketing and manufacturing also fit into nice little packets. So that our personal society can also fit into nice little packets. We call them cities.

Its obvious that people in control of the things we need are more than willing to cut corners in order to make an extra dollar. But when we can hold people responsible for these cut corners we can really call ourselves a civilization.

Its simple, large city and and infrastructure are just designed to make the average human fit into the same molds that we force our animals into. And it's obvious that homogenization may be necessary, but not of our food.
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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Introduction, with rambling

I recently moved to Columbia, MO. I've already fallen in love with this city, but it has greatly traumatized my social life. I'm so used to having a huge following of friends and socialites always calling and partying or just randomly showing up. I hardly ever made plans, plans were made for me.
Now I find my life extremely open, to open. I feel bored. Over the past 6 months I've realize that I have a severe disability, I can no longer make friends. I can't be the only person who actually likes to go out in public and associate with people. So if you like to just wander around doing absolutely nothing important, and perhaps a wee bit random, feel free to just email me, I'm actually interested!

I'm a bit of a extroverted geek, this is a rare combination I don't mind arguing over which is better Battlestar Galactica (new/old) vs Babylon 5 - in public... or hell in a fancy restaurant (and loudly at both!) I don't think I look like the average geek. But that's debatable, I kinda toggle between geek styles/prep.. which is hilarious compared to the 'past' me. I once considered myself and dress - appropriately 'goth' - 'back in the day'. And yes I still have a large collection of Marilyn Manson memorabilia, hey .. it happens to the best of us .!?

Yes, if you ever wondered what happend to the goth's in high school, you don't have to look to far. Most of them are still pail white, serving hamburgers, but there are a few that ended up pail white as computer software engineers.

I'm of the latter ilk, I'm a software developer lately specializing in web, but I've done everything from DOS/Win16-32-64/Linux from API level assembler to C and others. For the longest time I did Delphi/Pascal under windows. I got to work on some nice projects but oddly enough I can only think of one with a link AVImark from McAllister Software - quite a lot of my other stuff was NDA'ed or backend and wouldn't make a difference.

I currently work for Direct Freight doing a mix of web development in php/perl some linux administration basic apache stuff - some asterisk, and my personal fave python. The python stuff is an embeded pygame/python app, perhaps when this product goes to "market" I can show off some screen shots of my little creation. (no its not a game :P)

Since there is almost no one around I have a lot of free time. I've been building an arcade/mame box, mostly searching for parts. (anyone have a 27" tv they'd like to ditch, or trade/cash) I've been working on AVR programming, and building a CNC machine. I have most of the parts for this, I just have to figure out the electronics and stepper motor drivers for it.

I've been wanting to start a Columbia, MO makers group - comomakers.com hopefully I'll get some spare time to change that blank site into something good, I've been working on art for it, and it looks "groovy" - oh yeah I'm a bit of a graphic artist.

I can also work my own cars, I can do most household doit-yourself projects, including more advanced do-it yourself projects. I worked for a short stint doing home remodelling. Both of those activities seem to be a family trade, can't avoid getting your hands dirty with us.

So hopefully I'll post some updates, and actually try moving, some of my social life into the virtual world. I really do this in the hopes that this will connect me to real life people.

Oh yeah, are there any Linux user groups around here, or maybe some local D&D action, not that I'm good at D&D - in fact I can't ever role a character up that is worth crap. I'm really REALLY good at doing dynamic story lines for games though ;)
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