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posted by [personal profile] ptc24 at 08:57am on 06/06/2012
We were talking about Go recently, and I realised I had a file sitting somewhere with some useful links in it - in particular I remembered igowin being good and useful for getting off the ground. So here it is again, back from 2005:

Starting out with Go )
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posted by [personal profile] ptc24 at 10:19am on 20/04/2012

In Town X, a burglary is reported to the police. They investigate, and their investigation leads to Bob, who has previous convictions for that sort of thing. They find the stolen goods at Bob's house, Bob is questioned, he confesses, it goes to trial, Bob pleads guilty, the jury is convinced by the evidence, and Bob is sentenced accordingly.

In fact, Bob had not committed the burglary. In fact, he had a provable alibi - he was out committing another burglary (of equivalent severity) elsewhere in town at the time. The original burglary was done by a friend of his, and he was just storing the goods at his house. Given that demonstrating his alibi wouldn't have saved him any prison time, and would have involved fingering his accomplices (which would have damaged his standing in the criminal underworld), he felt that the simplest thing to do was to take the rap for the original burglary.

This is all to illustrate a philosophical point about the word "know" (and "knowledge" etc). A poll:

(ETA Note that the previous convictions don't count when I'm asking whether the legal system knew Bob had committed burglary... I meant to ask "...committed burglary on that day" or something similar. This ETA is before anyone but me has answered this, so all the results reflect this ETA)

poll under cut )
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posted by [personal profile] ptc24 at 03:44pm on 05/12/2010
There's a classic example sentence he has, "Colourless[1] green ideas sleep furiously", which he holds up as an example of grammatical gibberish, and the contrasting "furiously sleep ideas green colourless", which is an example of ungrammatical gibberish. The difference between nonsense and word salad, if you like.

However, I've realised that you can add punctuation, and get "Furiously sleep ideas green, Colourless!", which is grammatical, and you could even imaging a hypothetical scenario for it. That scenario would probably be an MMO, a bit like World of Warcraft. The interpretation goes as follows:

"sleep" has a transitive sense, meaning "to cast a sleep spell on". Once you know this it's obvious that the sentence is an imperative sentence, and everything else falls into place quite quickly. To sleep ideas green is presumably to repeatedly cast the sleep spell on the ideas (presumably mobs called "ideas" - stranger things exist in WoW) until they turn green - after all, you can shout yourself hoarse. Presumably this is best done in a furious manner. And, well, people can have all sorts of bonkers handles in MMOs, so Colourless is not nearly as crazy as some I've seen.

In fact this all feels less strained than coming up with a good scenario for the allegedly more grammatical reverse statement.

[1] This was probably actually "colorless", but whatever...
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posted by [personal profile] ptc24 at 05:27pm on 25/11/2010
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posted by [personal profile] ptc24 at 08:13pm on 06/11/2010
Newton and the Counterfeiter, Thomas Levenson

Some nice light historical reading, the nonfictional counterpart to Neal Stevenson's Baroque Cycle, but one sensible-sized paperback and not three bricks. The counterfeiter is William Chaloner, who seemed to have amazing amounts of chutzpah and persistence, and kept coming up with all sorts of crazy criminal schemes.

One interesting thing seems to be that hunting counterfeiters was something that Newton needed to be pushed into. His post as Warden of the Mint was a sinecure, and it was a bit of a surprise to all concerned when he actually applied himself to the problem of getting the mint to run at the capacity needed to recoin all the silver in circulation. However, during this someone pointed out that the Warden was meant to be in charge of investigating and prosecuting counterfeiters - this was something Newton didn't want to do, but his arm was twisted, and he turned out to be good at it.
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posted by [personal profile] ptc24 at 01:45pm on 31/10/2010
I've got a nice set of expensive headphones, with a problem - the left headphone has gone very quiet. They're not cheap to replace, but they do have a detachable cable, so I suspect the problem might be with that. Before I go and buy one, does anyone have a headphone cable I could borrow for diagnostic purposes?
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posted by [personal profile] ptc24 at 02:17pm on 19/10/2010
Units quiz

It's a BBC science quiz - I got 9/9, although some of those were intelligent (or lucky) guesses or deduction-by-elimination rather than by directly knowing the right answer.
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posted by [personal profile] ptc24 at 08:29pm on 17/10/2010
No, not alternate realities, actual dimensions of things. A 2x4 is useful for hitting people with, and of course everyone should know the significance of 1x4x9. But surely there are others that I can't think of...

ETA: OK, there are lots of things which are kind of one dimensional. But how about things which are 2D or 3D like the examples above (or tim's example)?
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posted by [personal profile] ptc24 at 03:52pm on 07/10/2010
Poll #4686 Equality and Hierarchy
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 19

A has authority over B. Can C interact with both A and B as equals?

View Answers

7 (36.8%)

0 (0.0%)

sort of
1 (5.3%)

5 (26.3%)

under some circumstances
13 (68.4%)

other (please comment)
0 (0.0%)

I have some nifty maths about (in)equality which I will explain in a comment
0 (0.0%)

lowercase tickybox
0 (0.0%)

ptc24: (observer)
posted by [personal profile] ptc24 at 09:47am on 28/09/2010
...adrift at sea, nothing but ocean all the way to the horizon in every direction, no supplies, no hope of rescue, not even a proper lifeboat, just some driftwood lashed together, and only a distinctly taciturn Protoss for company.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring you Stark Raft.

(or maybe not, actually writing the story would be too much like effort)


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