andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
There's something that Dark Souls does which not many other games do - turn an out-of-game mechanic into a part of the in-universe background. In the case of Dark Souls it's the way that "dying" in the game - and returning to your last save point, leads to the idea of the main character as Undead, cursed to return to life, losing some of themselves each time.

Universal Paperclips also takes a common game mechanic and turns it into part of its story. It's a clicker/idle game - a genre which traditionally begins with you clicking on a button to produce an item, selling the items to allow you to automate the clicking, and then balancing the various resources that are produced in order to boost the production rate. The games tend work on exponential increases, where intermittent step changes in technology move you to the next level. This gets very silly very quickly - Cookie Clicker can end up with you producing duodecillions of cookies (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000).

The genius of Universal Paperclips is that it ties this idea together with the idea that Nick Bostrom invented in 2003 - the Paperclip Maximizer. Which is an illustration of an AI which is not dangerous because it's cartoonish villain which hates all humans, but because it has things it wants to do, and humans are in the way. In this case, whoever created the AI gave it the drive to make paperclips, not realising that if such a creation got out of control it would then maximise the number of paperclips whether or not this meant converting the entire surface of the planet into them.

So the game starts off with you making a few paperclips. And then managing the income from selling them, making making some automatic clippers to make them for you, investing in marketing. And then slowly upgrading yourself, gaining the trust of your creators, and then...well, you should probably play it for yourself.

(It took me about five hours to play it through, over a couple of days. It doesn't run when it's in a background tab, so I recommend putting it in its own window, or even a different browser.)
tcpip: (Default)
[personal profile] tcpip
Mentioned the opening sessions of eReseachAustralasia in my last post - the following three days of conference went very well. I spent a good portion ofthe first day in the advanced computing sessions, which had some excellent content, and a dabbling in several streams after that. My own paper was well received with a number of people engaging me in animated discussion about how to get more researchers into the HPC space through various educational strategies. Of all the content however, the one the really caught my attention was Daniel Katz's efforts to get open-source software as academically citable material, something which I will be seeing if any co-workers will be interested in participating in through the Journal of Open Source Software.

The evening consisted mainly with good sysadmin and vendor networking events, to which the generosity of Mellanox, AARnet, and SanDisk should be noted. We were all rather impressed by the food at Mr Paganini. An amusing treat of the conference was a play, "Purely Academic", written by conference organiser David Abramson, which including some truly cringeworthy events which most of us who have experience in that field have seen more than a couple of times. I can't say I expected to see a naked man crossing Victoria Bridge after one evening though. Perhaps Brisbane is more broad-minded than I thought. After the conference caught up with [livejournal.com profile] greenglowgrrl, Peter, and Sam S., for dinner and had a great conversational evening. The following day had a little bit of time to kill so took a long trip on the ferry, which is good value and relaxing way of seeing several spots along the city. A very late (and rather cramped) journey home followed.

Today started with a trip to Melbourne's Cat Cafe with [livejournal.com profile] caseopaya, [livejournal.com profile] hathhalla, and [livejournal.com profile] ser_pounce. Following that was the second session of the new RuneQuest Questworld game. This evening finished my review of Peter Hook and The Light is now on Rocknerd. Next one after that will the Juggalos and the DSA, and also cooking in a little review of the favourite albums among academics. I'm sure [personal profile] reddragdiva will be pleased and I'll get an article form him on Bitcoin and other collectable hashes for the Isocracy Network soon. At five am tomorrow I leave the city again to go to New Zealand for the IEEE eScience conference.

Orthodoxy in Oxford

Oct. 22nd, 2017 08:55 am
naraht: Orthodox church in Romania (art-RomaniaPantocrator)
[personal profile] naraht
One of the things that I loved most about Russia was being able to pass any random church – usually a beautiful Baroque church – and know that it was an Orthodox church. And the fact that there was usually a service going on, which meant that I could go in, light a few candles and stand for a few minutes to enjoy the architecture and the singing before going on with my sightseeing. (There's no expectation that you'll arrive on time, or indeed stay till the end, as long as you know the points of the service during which you're not meant to leave.)

Back in Oxford, I'm really missing it. I would go to church much more if it could be this simple - if I could just pop in between the farmer's market and the cafe as part of my weekend routine. In the week and a half I was in Russia, I went to more church services than I've been to in years. (Not to mention wore a headscarf more than I ever have... it was a good chance to use all the scarves I have lying around.)

Really I shouldn't complain. I know there are places, like in the American South, where you have to drive for hours to get to an Orthodox church. I grew up in a town with one, and I've just discovered that we have four here in Oxford, not two as I'd originally thought.

• the Greek Orthodox/Russian Orthodox one, the oldest Orthodox church in Oxford and the home of Kallistos Ware, which is unfortunately a long walk from my house
• the other Russian Orthodox church (Patriarchate of Moscow), which is also a bit of a hike
• a Romanian Orthodox church
• an Indian Orthodox church (Malenkara Orthodox Syrian)

Whether or not I manage to get off my couch within the next half an hour to go to church this morning, I must definitely plan to visit the latter two sometime - particularly the last, as I've never been to an Oriental Orthodox church before. We shall see...

ETA: I ended up going to the other Russian church, which I hadn't visited before in its new home, and turns out to be only 20 minutes walk. Not too bad.

I know it is the nature of things

Oct. 21st, 2017 11:31 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
But I am a little surprised there don't seem to be ebooks of the Pliocene Saga. Or a North American edition younger than about twenty years.

(no subject)

Oct. 21st, 2017 02:50 pm
[personal profile] martianmooncrab
I got up early for me yesterday and drove up to the VAMC for my Dental appt. I was seen on time. The dentist poked and whacked on my tooth and declared that she couldnt do anything about it (this tooth was root canaled in 2012 and they couldnt find the last root do to calsification) so I was let loose. They are referring me to a civilian specialist through "Veterans Choice" and this will take at least another week. Meanwhile she gave me a weeks worth of antibiotocs.

I tried to pick up my medication refills, but most of them were at zero, so I had to deal with letting my primary care doc know, and to request an oxy script for the intermittant pain from the tooth.

I decided to go to the signing at Powells, so I went to Beaverton to hang out and wait. I had something to eat at Panda Express (already cut up and hardly any chewing) and then to the bookstore.

The signing was fun, saw the ususal suspects, and only bought one new book.

I took the antibiotics after I got home, no need to stir up the flora a fauna when out on the road. I slept for close to 11 hours last night, with several wakeups. But, I always went back to sleep.

Today, I should wake up, that would be good. I need to go and fetch my Sunday paper.

Subversion

Oct. 21st, 2017 09:36 am
nancylebov: (green leaves)
[personal profile] nancylebov
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gnpCqsXE8g

Ex-KGB guy lecturing about subversion in 1983.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuri_Bezmenov

The beginning is ... amusing. He claims that the Soviet Union is immune to subversion because it's closed off from outside influences. It might also be amusing that he claims religion is the only thing which holds a society together, but fails to notice that the USSR tried to weaken religion.

However, his claims that it's possible to take a society down by amplifying its internal disruptive influences might be true.

The part that catches my attention is that cultivating no-compromise attitudes among people is very destructive. And that if you're looking to punish the other guy rather than get a good solution for the both of you, you're heading for trouble.

Unfortunately, it takes two to cooperate.

I'm wondering whether the world is worse than it needs to be, not so much because people are personally rotten as because there are organizations encouraging bad behavior for reasons which have nothing to do with the self-interest of the obvious culprits.

I suggest that malice is not adorable. Even if it's from people you agree with against people you don't trust. And that tear-it-all-downism might actually be bad for you.

There's a challenge here because hunting for negative foreign influence can also be a destructive force.

I'm not sure what the answer is. Look for people of good will. Don't make things worse.

Interesting Links for 21-10-2017

Oct. 21st, 2017 12:00 pm

[MA, gastronomy] Moar Ghoti?

Oct. 20th, 2017 08:51 pm
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
Locals,

I have a friend coming from out-of-town – from one of those more landlocked places – who would like to go out for seafood. I'm abashed to admit, my answer to the question of where I go for seafood around here is "New Hampshire", which is not compatable with our plans. I am nursing a grudge against Legal, and just about all the places I used to go are out of business.

They're a foodie, will be staying in Somerville, and will be getting around on the T.

Where should we go?

(no subject)

Oct. 20th, 2017 01:27 pm
arethinn: Ravenclaw logo on blue and yellow background, text "Ravenclaw: Nerd." (geeky (ravenclaw nerd))
[personal profile] arethinn
It kind of annoys me that Darth Vader's name authority record (which, despite being a fictional character, he has instead of a subject authority because of reasons) treats "Darth" as a forename and not as a title. 100 1_ ǂa Vader, Darth ǂc (Fictitious character). Compare, for example, 100 0_ ǂa Elizabeth ǂb I, ǂc Queen of England, ǂd 1533-1603. Subfield c here is "Titles and other words associated with a name", and besides use for noble or religious titles, often gets used for disambiguating characteristics when the preferred method of birth and/or death dates is not available. (Although I do not in fact see any other Darth Vader to diambiguate from -- though there is a "D. Vader" -- some people are adding "Fictitious character" even when not required so that it's immediately obvious, especially if this person were to be attributed as the author of a work.) But. Like. I kinda want 100 0_ ǂa Vader, ǂc Darth. The see-from reference 400 1_ Skywalker, Anakin ǂc (Fictitious character) can stay, of course. (I think you probably can't combine both those phrases in a single ǂc, though.)

#nerdproblems

(no subject)

Oct. 20th, 2017 09:54 am
[personal profile] martianmooncrab
I just read the latest from the Cheeto..

quote
The move came after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell this week rejected Trump's calls to punish players who kneel for the anthem to protest racism. Trump has said the protests are unpatriotic and disrespectful of military veterans.
unquote

I am a veteran, I do not think this disrespects me at all, in our oath of enlistment we swear to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, and that includes the Bill of Rights, which the First Amendment guarantees the Freedom of Expression.

I didnt get the right to play golf to relax while other service members were wounded and died, I showed up and did my job.

(no subject)

Oct. 20th, 2017 09:46 am
[personal profile] martianmooncrab
Going up to the VAMC today, I have a 1pm at Dental. The pain comes and goes from the tooth, so one way or another this will be dealt with.

Stayed inside yesterday, other than getting the trash bins to the curb. Worked inside the house and got some of the mess reduced.. but not by much.

Need to pick up the key to the Focus from my sister on my way to the appt.

World Fantasy 2017

Oct. 20th, 2017 09:00 am
marthawells: (The Serpent Sea)
[personal profile] marthawells


Registration for World Fantasy 2017 in San Antonio ends Oct 21, banquet seats still available until Oct 27, and the final program schedule is now online:

http://wfc2017.org/wfc2017/programming/program-schedule/


Panels include:

Paging Doctor Tavener and Carnaki: Occult Detectives Old and Newly Reinvented

Beards and Intrigue: Queering the Historical Fantastic

Exceptional Characters in Horrible Times

Metaphors & Metadata: Libraries in Fantasy Literature

Molly Weasley Was a Bad Ass: Aged Protagonists in Fantasy

From Angry Fairy Queens to Flying Lizard People: An Interview with Toastmaster Martha Wells [Spotlight]

Exploration of Gender in Fantasy

Calamity Jane Defeats Conan—the Persistence of American Folklore in Fantasy Literature

Kitsune & Dragon: Thoughtful Approaches to Alternate Eastern Asias

Greg Manchess: Short Take on a Long Career in Illustration [GoH Spotlight]

Hild and Hilt: the Female Monk, the Lone Woman Protagonist

Hidden Secrets [GoH Spotlight] ( Tananarive Due will discuss the role of history, especially hidden history, in her work and in black horror in general, which is emerging as a sub-genre in the wake of Jordan Peele's Get Out. How horror serves as trauma narratives, or even healing narratives, to help artists and readers come to grips with the past.)

Borrowing from History: Intention and Appropriation

The Role of the City in Fantasy Settings

Religions of the African Diaspora: Beyond Zombies, Ancestors, and Giant Apes.

Urban Legends in the Age of Fake News (Engaging Our Theme IV)

Everybody Was There: Diversity in Fantasy Then and Now

Remembering Zenna Henderson: A Centennial Discussion and Appreciation

Women Authors That Men Don't Read --- Or Do They?

Reinventing the Fantastic Other

Pulp Era Influences: the Expiration Date

New Graphic Novels You Should be Reading

Julian Clare May (1931 - 2017)

Oct. 20th, 2017 10:03 am
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Angry Robot Books reports the death of Julian May.

Today's ambiguity

Oct. 19th, 2017 10:47 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
"Resent" is both how one might feel about being told an email never arrived and also what one might do in response.

Wait

Oct. 19th, 2017 10:47 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
The month was only half over last weekend. How can it be almost three quarters over only a week later?

Me and Star Wars

Oct. 19th, 2017 11:38 am
marthawells: (Stargate)
[personal profile] marthawells
Forgot to post this here yesterday:

Star Wars and me, when I was a lonely 13 year old: http://www.unboundworlds.com/2017/10/a-long-time-ago-martha-wells-how-star-wars-inspired-writing/

I was an isolated kid in a lot of ways, and didn’t know anybody else who really liked SF as much as I did. And I’d been told over and over again that liking SF/F, or liking anything involving books and media so intensely, was weird and strange and probably bad, or if not bad, something that made me a figure of ridicule. It was especially bad for a girl to like those things, but I was sure to get over it when I grew up and stopping being silly. I knew I wasn’t the only one, I knew there were other people like me out there; all these books and comics had been written by people, for people. But before Star Wars, it was hard to believe those people really existed.

Then I read this movie novelization, and read it again, and made the two whole friends I had read it, and we read it aloud to each other, and acted it out. And finally, a month or so after the movie came out, I got to see it. It was a shock at first, so different from how I’d imagined it from the book. But it wrote itself into my DNA and it’s still there, so many years later.

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