10 MAR 2019 by ideonexus

 Chess Concept: Running Out of Book

One of the problems with playing against computers is how quickly and how often they change. Grandmasters are used to preparing very deeply for our opponents, researching all of their latest games and looking for weaknesses. Mostly this preparation focuses on openings, the established sequences of moves that start the game and have exotic names like the Sicilian Dragon and the Queen's Indian Defense. We prepare new ideas in these openings, and look for strong new moves ("novelties") with whic...
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02 MAR 2019 by ideonexus

 Scientific Laws Mean That God has No Freedom

he one remaining area that reHgion can now lay claim to is the origin of the universe, but even here science is making progress and should soon provide a definitive answer to how the universe began. I published a book that asked if God created the universe, and that caused something of a stir. People got upset that a scientist should have anything to say on the matter of religion. I have no desire to tell anyone what to believe, but for me asking if God exists is a valid question for science...
Folksonomies: science religion
Folksonomies: science religion
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27 JUL 2018 by ideonexus

 Redundancy in the English Language

Whenever we communicate, rules everywhere restrict our freedom to choose the next letter and the next pineapple.I Because these rules render certain patterns more likely and certain patterns almost impossible, languages like English come well short of complete uncertainty and maximal information: the sequence “th” has already occurred 6,431 times in this book, the sequence “tk” just this once. From the perspective of the information theorist, our languages are hugely predictable— al...
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Monte Carlo method for building words and sentences.

10 FEB 2018 by ideonexus

 The Volumetric Approach to History

You will be thinking that we are coming to the end of this book: we’ve dealt with eight centuries, so there are only two to go. You may be surprised to learn, therefore, that in historical terms we are not even halfway. The reason for this discrepancy is that history is not time, and time is not history. History is not the study of the past per se; it is about people in the past. Time, separated from humanity, is purely a matter for scientists and star-gazers. If a previously unknown uninha...
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21 NOV 2017 by ideonexus

 Anecdote of Shamans Responding to Star Trek

DI for documenting his journey to shamanism in the 1994 book Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic, and Initiation in the Life of African Shaman. He writes about the proverbial dive into the rabbit hole as he was studying with the elders of his community and balancing his newfound wisdom with his Western education. Some paints a picture of a different path to knowledge that contradicts the norms of Western conventions. According to him. the Dagara have no word for the supernatural. "For us, ...
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20 JUL 2017 by ideonexus

 Old CRPGs are Unplayable for Modern Gamers

They had five days to play (Ultima IV), and I asked them to make as much progress as they could in that time. When we gathered to debrief in class, a few students explained how they’d overcome some of their difficulties, but the vast majority was utterly flummoxed by the game. As one of them put it, “I’d say for gamers of our generation, an RPG like Ultima IV is boring and pretty much unplayable.” After removing the arrow from my chest, I asked them to explain why. It mostly came dow...
Folksonomies: gaming preservation history
Folksonomies: gaming preservation history
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09 JAN 2017 by ideonexus

 The Machine Euthanizes the Atheletic

"Well, the Book"s wrong, for I have been out on my feet." For Kuno was possessed of a certain physical strength. By these days it was a demerit to be muscular. Each infant was examined at birth, and all who promised undue strength were destroyed. Humanitarians may protest, but it would have been no true kindness to let an athlete live; he would never have been happy in that state of life to which the Machine had called him; he would have yearned for trees to climb, rivers to bathe in, meado...
Folksonomies: distopia
Folksonomies: distopia
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09 JAN 2017 by ideonexus

 Cultural Homogenization Makes Travel Pointless

But she thought of Kuno as a baby, his birth, his removal to the public nurseries, her own visit to him there, his visits to her-visits which stopped when the Machine had assigned him a room on the other side of the earth. "Parents, duties of," said the book of the Machine," cease at the moment of birth. P.422327483." True, but there was something special about Kuno - indeed there had been something special about all her children - and, after all, she must brave the journey if he desired it. ...
Folksonomies: culture futurism diversity
Folksonomies: culture futurism diversity
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22 JUN 2016 by ideonexus

 Freeman Dyson's Optimism

Brand: I was looking at your 1988 book, Infinite in All Directions, and remembering what it was that excited me about it. Ten years ago, most people I knew were in the depths of a kind of bad mood, harboring a pessimistic feeling that things were going to keep getting worse for the rest of their lives. But your book had this pragmatic and also rather cosmic optimism about it; it came as a complete counter to the cultural flow at that point. Did you perceive that at the time? Dyson: Oh yes. I...
Folksonomies: futurism optimism
Folksonomies: futurism optimism
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21 MAY 2016 by ideonexus

 Essay Writing is About Figuring Things Out

To understand what a real essay is, we have to reach back into history again, though this time not so far. To Michel de Montaigne, who in 1580 published a book of what he called "essais." He was doing something quite different from what lawyers do, and the difference is embodied in the name. Essayer is the French verb meaning "to try" and an essai is an attempt. An essay is something you write to try to figure something out. Figure out what? You don't know yet. And so you can't begin with a ...
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