Monthly Archives: October 2003

Learning Binge

So I’m learning stuff like a madman again. Spent a few hours last night reading about gaussian curvature1 in my differential geometry book and on
Mathworld. Plus, I’m learning Verilog and Oz. (I get the impression learning Verliog is going to be something like learning Lisp: very different from anything I’ve ever done).

On a different note, I get Victoria all to myself tonight, for a long time (this is the night she stays up until morning to switch about her schedule). Yay.

1Gaussian Curvature is an intrinsic measure of curvature on a [hyper-]surface. That is, a two-dimensional being living on a curved surface could find out its curvature without ever knowing the existance of 3-space.

This is precisely what general relativity is. It says that our space-time might be “embedded” in a 5-dimensional world, but that doesn’t matter, because we can figure out the curvature from here. And this curvature is precisely what causes gravity.

I’ll write a WTHI on general relativity once I understand this stuff better. Stay tuned!

A’s all around

Wooo! 100% on my math test, and a 92% on my spanish test1! Physics… not so well. I only got back my free response, but I’m guessing I got about a 78% on the whole thing. I’m hoping I can pull off a B in that class, so I’d better get A’s on the rest of the tests.

Karlin wrote me. That was nice. She sent me
this link.

I maintain that Comcast is the worst company in the world, perhaps even worse. Not only did they cut off our TV, but they still haven’t written back about my question about cable pricing, which I sent in on sunday! Pig fuckers.

Financial manifestation

I just realized something. I do hardly any work, yet I manage to have enough money to eat, pay the internet bill, take my girlfriend out for sushi, etc. Basically enough to have fun without worrying too much.

And you know what? If I had to pay rent and heat/electricity, I think I could do that, too. (But why disadvantage yourself by letting other people know this, hmm?)

I don’t know what it is, to be honest. My grandmother gave me $10,000 for college, my mom seems eager to owe me money, but that’s sortof expected (but extremely kind notwithstanding, and I’m grateful). But then Sharon L. Reddy decides to give me $200 to write her 10 tracks of music, and then vanishes off the face of the earth before I’ve had time to deliver the second one. O’Reilly & Associates asks me to review a Perl 6 book, which I would have gladly done for free, and wants to pay me $300 to do it. My boss gives me a $3,000+ car for effectively $1,000.

Anyway, I’m expressing my thanks to all these people (and all the people I didn’t mention here, but who have done similar things), and that I’m really enjoying this!

Maybe I won a poker game against God or something….

pgtk

The Planar Gaming ToolKit. It’s something that I’m putting together so that Namaste and I don’t have to write tons of code just to get a stupid Pac-Man game working. I’m hoping to get it complete enough so that both our Pac-Man and our Frogger projects can be under 300 lines of code. Yeah, it’s ambitious, but those games really don’t exhibit complex behavior, so the code driving them should be simple.

Mark (a fellow with whom Namaste and I are working on an action-strategy game, hopefully for Microsoft’s money) called, asking if we had found our third coder for the project. He was very disappointed when he found out we hadn’t. If either of you two readers know anybody interested, goddamnit tell me about them!

Finally, my boss got back in town, which means I have to start working on that godforsaken conjoint tool again. There’s another project that takes way more code than it really should. It doesn’t even do very much. It’s probably just because it’s CGI. This time around I get to work with Perl/Tk (best GUI toolkit in the world!) and come up with some data visualization techniques.

Cable

Well, no more cable TV for us. A Comcast1 guy stopped by and asked if he could get in our back yard for a moment. He left pretty promptly, but I then tried to watch TV, and the only thing that was on was the white ants vs. the black ants. Well, I guess we’ll have to legitimately pay the $5 a month to get it back, because I just can’t live without my comedy central. Or simpsons. Nuts.

1Worst company ever.

Pot

Last night Victoria and I got together and ate dinner at her parents’ house. That was cool: good food, interesting people for the most part.

Afterward, we went back to her apartment and hung out awhile, until we went to her friend’s house to watch south park. Er, I missed something. They got stoned before we left (I tried not to, and I sortof succeeded). She’s boring when she’s stoned. Funny that this happened, as every other stoner I know is really boring when they’re stoned, too. Huh. The only times it was ever fun were the first three or four, before people were doing it regularly.

So yeah, I don’t like pot. I don’t like what it does to other people, and I only vaguely like what it does to me, but the bad outweighs the good there. So I’m not smoking anymore (that really doesn’t decrease my frequency by very much :-) and I’ll not hang out with those who are when I can help it. No big deal, just removing myself from the culture.

Math test

As you may have guessed by the subject line, I had a… I won’t even finish. It was scarily easy, as though the teacher were mocking us or something. Victoria got a migraine right as the test started. As she describes it, she gets a blind spot right at her focus point (so she can see everything except what she’s looking at; hard to imagine), and her arm goes numb, and sometimes her mouth goe numb, which I imagn wou may ih had to ta.

At the moment, I’m working on my vision of artificial life in VC++ (I’m beginning to like it, though still not nearly as much as Vim). For those of you unfamiliar with said vision, I mean everybody, here’s the idea:

It’s based around an event-driven neural network. Stimuli come in and make certain sensory neurons fire, and muscular neurons fire to make the lifeform actually do things. And of course this is in a much more simplistic way than the way humans work, but it’s the same idea. The lifeform will randomly alter the connections between the sensory neurons and the muscular neurons, eventually coming up with a sophisticated structure that I didn’t program in. Eating, sleeping, etc. feel good and thus strengthen resonant synapses, and being attacked, starving, etc. feel bad and weaken them.