What are you working on? July 2013

post by David_Gerard · 2013-07-02T16:39:03.792Z · LW · GW · Legacy · 101 comments

This is the supposedly-bimonthly-but-we-missed-April-and-June-2013 'What are you working On?' thread. Previous threads are here. So here's the question:

What are you working on? 

Here are some guidelines:

  • Focus on projects that you have recently made progress on, not projects that you're thinking about doing but haven't started.
  • Why this project and not others? Mention reasons why you're doing the project and/or why others should contribute to your project (if applicable).
  • Talk about your goals for the project.
  • Any kind of project is fair game: personal improvement, research project, art project, whatever.
  • Link to your work if it's linkable.


Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-02T18:20:07.722Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Powershame: Takes screenshots of your desktop at random intervals and sends them to someone whose opinion you care about, so both of you can watch a time-lapse of your work at the end of the day. Currently testing on Linux, Alpha coming out within the next few weeks.

Edit: You can signup to be notified when Powershame is available here: http://powershame.com

Replies from: sixes_and_sevens, djcb, BerryPick6
comment by sixes_and_sevens · 2013-07-02T19:44:35.748Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"Well, given how fastidiously you stuck to getting your coding project finished, I'd say you totally earned Busty Lesbian Riding-Crop Three-Way..."

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-02T19:51:21.444Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Scheduling (shame between 10am and 6pm, say) is an important feature.

comment by djcb · 2013-07-02T20:19:37.582Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Oh, that's a really interesting idea! Is the code available somewhere?

Replies from: None, None
comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-02T22:03:08.779Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It will be.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-26T18:25:38.157Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

First public draft of the client code is now here: https://github.com/jaibot/powershame-client

It's built to work with a server which doesn't yet exist in the wild, so not very useful in its current form, but...soon.

Replies from: djcb
comment by djcb · 2013-08-04T17:49:09.595Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Oh, thanks for sharing this!

comment by BerryPick6 · 2013-07-03T00:10:06.041Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I would use this.

comment by Locaha · 2013-07-02T19:02:12.979Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Finishing my Master degree in Biology, so I can move to PhD on an aging-related topic. In other words, working on reducing the existential risk to my own existence.

If you want immortality, you gotta do it yourself.

Replies from: someonewrongonthenet, Michelle_Z
comment by someonewrongonthenet · 2013-07-03T06:09:52.903Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

While I fully support your endeavors, if it's really your particular death that you are attempting to delay, wouldn't the best strategy be to focus on your body and your money? I'm planning on going into science myself, but I'm led to believe it is a comparatively low wage, largely sedentary, time-consuming job which is not particularly compatible with the pursuit of health and wealth.

Replies from: Locaha
comment by Locaha · 2013-07-03T07:54:21.785Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm not pursuing health and wealth (although they are a nice bonus to have), I'm pursuing negligible aging - for a start. As of now, no amount of money can give you this (see also: Steve Jobs, pancreas).

Of course, if I had enough money, I could directly finance aging research. However, I think I have better chances going through academy.

Replies from: NancyLebovitz
comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-07-03T08:41:52.202Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Knowing the science improves the odds of choosing methods that work (or are at least harmless) earlier.

comment by Michelle_Z · 2013-07-02T20:28:17.144Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

We might be working on similar projects... :o

Replies from: Locaha
comment by Locaha · 2013-07-03T14:56:24.140Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

In the end, it's one big project. :-)

comment by wmorgan · 2013-07-04T00:38:13.843Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My goals are money, power, and romance. Some good news on all three, finally!

Money. I'm bankrolling my buddy in a high stakes poker game. He's highly skilled but rather risk-averse, so we negotiated the following deal: I provide his buy-ins, he gives me 40% of his winnings and keeps the rest. It's been a great year so far, netting me about a year's worth of living expenses for basically zero time investment. As an unexpected side effect, by talking over hands and general strategic concepts with him, I've absorbed some of his poker skills, which I've tested in a few high stakes games this year to good success. I have no desire to play professionally, though.

Power. I've decided to strike out on my own, career-wise. I've got a lot of ideas for software products that I'd like to take the time to develop more fully. My side business is two years old and has filled over 3,500 orders and could probably support me if I did it full-time. I have a lot of leverage at my current job so I talked to my boss about it. He offered me a raise which I turned down, then he said that he'd hire me as a founding CTO of his new business if I wanted the position; I said I'd think about it. They're amenable to hiring me on a consulting basis: I think I can get hired back at around 4x my current salary for short-term engagements, which would a fantastic deal for me and a pretty good deal for them, too.

Romance. After another disastrous attempt to hit on girls last New Year's Eve, I gave up pursuing women. The days were cold and dark and I couldn't deal with the rejection, so in order to live with myself I made a resolution to stop trying. The effects on my mood were phenomenal, and by April I'd look in the mirror and actually like what I saw. Then a couple months ago I met a girl at a cookout, and I thought she was giving me the goo-goo eyes, so I took her aside and kissed her and she liked it and we've been dating since then, my first regular girlfriend and it's awesome; I'm her first boyfriend too so we're learning everything together.

comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-07-02T20:03:29.090Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Working on a new TDT writeup for MIRI.

Working on my classes for SPARC.

Writing a long series of math blog posts around the interface of logic, type theory, and category theory. I may not be able to summon the willpower to get through every topic I want to cover, but if I do then the light at the end of the tunnel is homotopy type theory, and I may also attempt to learn Haskell as a side effect.

Replies from: Fhyve, Benito
comment by Fhyve · 2013-07-03T07:07:51.056Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Why Haskell and not Coq or Agda? That's where all the HoTT stuff is being done anyways.

Replies from: Qiaochu_Yuan
comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-07-03T08:55:05.190Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Good point. I know some nice Haskell tutorials and haven't looked around to see if there are comparably nice Coq tutorials, but I guess it's worth looking.

Replies from: Fhyve
comment by Fhyve · 2013-07-03T09:38:21.604Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Tutorials/texts that I know of are Software Foundations, Andrej Bauer's tutorial, and this Hott-Coq tutorial. It looks like installing the HoTT library is a huge pain in the arse though so I think I'll stick with vanilla Coq until either I get one of my CS friend to install it for me, or they make a more user friendly install.

Edit: also this

comment by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2013-07-02T22:27:13.450Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

As someone who didn't get past the second round of the SPARC applications this year, have you any recommendations of how I might be able to get a similar education at all?

Replies from: Qiaochu_Yuan
comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-07-02T23:22:32.894Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Take this course in Singapore?

Replies from: Jayson_Virissimo, Benito
comment by Jayson_Virissimo · 2013-07-03T01:15:18.364Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Wow, awesome. This is particularly interesting to me because I'm in the process of designing a neo-liberal arts homeschool curriculum for my son (who is currently an infant). Thanks for the link.

comment by Ben Pace (Benito) · 2013-07-03T06:38:52.541Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

That's brilliant, thanks.

comment by gwern · 2013-07-02T19:42:43.887Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

While not being distracted by MoR discussions - right now, I am working on a little statistical analysis of the number of links provided by my Google Alerts since 2007 to see whether the number really has declined; it's a fun use of multi-level modeling.

Besides that, I've been acquiring lithium papers to maybe do a meta-analysis of the drinking water correlations.

The n-back meta-analysis continues to grow, and I've finally acquired the largest missing study; the final study, I have been refused the data by Jaeggi. I am thinking of filing a FOIA request to the funding agency at the University of Michigan; does anyone know the best way to go about this?

And I continue to procrastinate on finishing my sand essay, but at least I did finish writing a little essay about a Cordwainer Smith short story.

Replies from: TimS
comment by TimS · 2013-07-02T20:30:07.351Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I have very little personal knowledge of FOIA, and this is written assuming that you know have no personal experience with it (so if you do, I suspect this will read as condescending, which is not my intent). I suspect that short of hiring / recruiting a politically influential person (relevant to UMich) to help, this is all the useful advise available (for better or worse).

Beware administrative (search) costs and copying costs.

Try to describe the data you want in a way that (a) makes it easy for the searcher to determine if something is responsive to your request, and (b) makes it seem like finding the documents will be really easy for some mindless bureaucrat to find. In writing the request, assume the professor will never personally do anything to grant the request, and a grad student might spend 5 minutes pointing towards a filing cabinet.

Additionally, politeness and clarity are under-rated virtues in the practical invocation of legal rights.

Hi. This is a FOIA request for X. Thanks for your help.

That's a good template for the first draft of the FOIA letter.

Replies from: gwern
comment by gwern · 2013-07-04T02:48:37.387Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Thanks for the advice. I've tried pinging a different person at the relevant agency in another try at avoiding FOIA at all, but I've also emailed an EFF dude who I was recommended for some advice on how to do a request.

comment by Armok_GoB · 2013-07-03T19:26:43.930Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The last week or two I've done more programming than I've done probably over several preceding years put together, on an HTML5 game. It's sort of a tycoon style game mainly about machine learning and intelligence amplification on a highly abstracted level, and will connect heavily to singularity themes and likely have many LW-culture references/Easter eggs.

Replies from: ahel
comment by ahel · 2014-08-19T21:06:03.232Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


Replies from: Armok_GoB
comment by Armok_GoB · 2014-08-20T04:08:14.274Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's pre alpha, and I basically haven't worked on it in all the months since posting this, but ok. http://jsbin.com/adipaj/307

comment by Error · 2013-07-02T18:59:26.494Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've been working on the Less Wrong Study Hall, with some success. I seem to have gone stagnant for the last couple weeks at the 90% mark, which isn't uncommon for me. Beeminder hasn't gotten painful enough yet to push me over that final hump.

I also have a piece of fanfiction that's effectively complete but I haven't worked up the testicular fortitude to post anywhere yet. Rationalizations include: Haven't written in ten years; can't decide whether to post under my real name or a handle (or which handle); don't know where to post it; ff.net irritates me owing to the lack of a quality requirement; and I don't know what the good alternatives are.

But really it's the testicular fortitude thing.

Replies from: Alsadius
comment by Alsadius · 2013-07-03T08:55:38.118Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Post it under a handle that you wouldn't mind linking into your real identity if the story is well-received, just accept that Sturgeon's Law makes ff.net a bit low-status and ignore it(though cross-post if you ever find a less-bad location), and accept that it doesn't actually matter if it's poorly received.

Replies from: Error
comment by Error · 2013-07-05T11:47:01.438Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

On reflection, the low-status nature of ff.net shouldn't bother me -- writing fanfiction is pretty low-status in the first place. I'll admit that appearing side by side with Sturgeon Instantiations bugs me anyway.

There is the concern that I might be one of those instantiations. Having an editorial filter has two significant benefits to me as an author: It protects me from embarrassment in the event that my work sucks, and it provides otherwise hard-to-get information about how well I've done. If my work is accepted at a site with a strong editorial filter, I can conclude with fairly high confidence that it is at least as good as the weakest piece on the site.

It's remarkably hard to get comparable information from my own editing or my first readers, dunning-kruger, bias, and politeness being what they are. I've been burned that way before; a couple of my old pieces are complete crap, are online under my real name, and I'm afraid to try and get rid of them because of the Streisand effect.

Of course, as a reader, having an editorial filter relieves me of having to wade through the crap. The dominance of ff.net is the main reason I no longer go out of my way to read fanfiction, even though I enjoy it when it's well-done. For example, I've read the Riddle of Kyon and liked it a lot, but I never would have come across it if it weren't linked around here.

Replies from: Alsadius
comment by Alsadius · 2013-07-05T17:54:27.664Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Use the internet's famous cruelty to your advantage. Find a couple folks on here willing to read it, send them copies, and give them explicit instructions to call a turd a turd. If they like it, post it.

comment by DanielLC · 2013-07-02T19:34:49.361Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Non-euclidean graphics program. It's a computer program to show what life would look like if triangles didn't have 180 degrees, stuff could be bigger or smaller on the inside, and you could do this.

Also, I've done a little work on a special relativity bullet hell game. This results in an odd effect as you accelerate the ship where it looks like what you're accelerating towards is actually moving away from you, and there's a lot of redshifting and blueshifting. Also, I'm hoping to include faster-than-light travel. For most of the game, this will mean that you could be hit by a tachyon by an enemy moving away from you, return fire, and hit them before they shot, ensuring that the shot was never fired and giving you back your health. The final boss will be given a faster-than-light drive, resulting in him often appearing on the screen multiple times at once, and I might allow you to use it after defeating him, with encouragement to fly through the game backwards following your past self. It would be hard to dodge bullets while moving faster than light, though.

I'm considering making this open source, but I might want to try turning a profit.

Replies from: Kaj_Sotala, Fhyve
comment by Kaj_Sotala · 2013-07-02T20:07:04.991Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Have you seen this? (I haven't actually tried it myself so I don't know how comparable it is to your game, but seems somewhat related.)

Replies from: DanielLC
comment by DanielLC · 2013-07-02T20:40:43.496Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yeah. Someone mentioned that last time I mentioned this on a what are you working on thing.

It's not very similar. Being 3d changes a lot of it, since you don't have to deal with sprites. Also, it has a preferred point of reference. If you let go of the controls, you always end up moving at the same velocity. In addition, you can only move so fast compared to that. In mine, velocity is relative. If you let go of the controls, you just stop accelerating.

comment by Fhyve · 2013-07-02T21:01:24.006Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

In that link, is that the 3 dimensional analog of living on a 2D plane with a hole in it, and when you enter the hole, you flip to the other side of the plane? (Or, take a torus, cut along the circle farthest from the center, and extend the new edges out to infinity?)

Replies from: DanielLC
comment by DanielLC · 2013-07-03T00:36:42.092Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Or, take a torus, cut along the circle farthest from the center, and extend the new edges out to infinity?

That's what it's supposed to look like. The link just used smoke and mirrors to get the effect, and didn't get it right. For example, in a true manifold, you can see any point from any other point. This is because there is some shortest path between the points, and that path is a geodesic. In the link, you can only see one side of the other side of the portal.

comment by Antisuji · 2013-07-02T17:14:48.493Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

As mentioned here, here, and here, I've been working on a new iOS (and eventually Android) game based on Dual N-Back, called Double Dynamo (also on Facebook ).

I just got the background music working last week, which was trickier than it sounds — I needed to play multiple tracks back to back without a gap while syncing the gameplay to the beat of the music. I'm halfway through writing a technical post on my blog on how I got it working, so watch this space....

The other part of the project is figuring out a marketing strategy, which is for me at least as challenging as the design and implementation aspects. My background is firmly on the technical side.

I've talked about why I'm doing this project in previous comments, but briefly, I consider it a stepping stone to larger things, a way to build a reputation as an indie developer, and also something to add to my portfolio that I can point to and say "I did that". Which is something I can't really do right now even after 7+ years in games. Also, I've already learned far more about game development than I would have working in a larger studio.

Replies from: firstorderpredicate
comment by firstorderpredicate · 2013-07-02T20:26:16.777Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Talking about marketing, have you done any market research to determine if there's any demand for your game? Or is that step one in your strategy? I'm asking because I'm currently learning how to do marketing myself, and "discovered" I've done things backwards by building a product first.

If there are experienced marketers here, they might consider creating a post at LessWrong. I'm sure they won't be shy :)

Replies from: Antisuji
comment by Antisuji · 2013-07-02T22:44:19.334Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

An excellent question. I haven't done any market research apart from informal polling of friends, which has been moderately positive, and familiarizing myself with similar products that are already published. If my primary goal had been to make money I would have taken a different approach, but this particular project was especially appealing to me for a few reasons I could go into if you're interested. :)

I too would welcome posts from any experienced marketers at LW.

comment by gothgirl420666 · 2013-07-02T18:37:00.797Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's the summer before my freshman year of college, and my only obligation is that my parents are paying me to clean our filthy house. So I have tons of free time that I am trying to put to the best use possible. Here's a list of what I am doing:

  • My goal in life is to be a video game developer, so my main priority is learning how to make video games. I'm not really sure which of several possible projects I'll end up spending most of my summer on, but right now I'm learning how to use Unity 3D.

  • I've been reading stuff in the broad category of "human nature". For example, on my bedside table right now, I have Self-Made Man, The Luck Factor, The Happiness Hypothesis, Queen Bees & Wannabes, and The Moral Animal. I started this project in order to hopefully reach an a-ha moment that would allow me to realize what I'm doing wrong and therefore cure my shitty social skills, but I think I've already reached this moment very early into the summer, so now the whole project seems slightly less useful and I might forgo it in order to spend more time learning gamedev. :\

  • Doing Starting Strength.

  • Learning how to lucid dream.

  • I wanted to spend a lot of time getting better at meditation with the goal of eventually reaching jhana, but I've lapsed really hard in my practice lately and I'm having a lot of trouble getting back into it. So I don't know what I'm going to do about this one.

I'm tracking how many pomodoros I've done of learning video game devlopment and reading about human nature here. My initial goal was to do five hundred in a fifty-two day period, but unfortunately it's looking like this might have been overly ambitious.

Replies from: firstorderpredicate, Stabilizer
comment by firstorderpredicate · 2013-07-02T20:53:52.158Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My initial goal was to do five hundred in a fifty-two day period, but unfortunately it's looking like this might have been overly ambitious.

"Awww, it sounds like someone fell prey to the planning fallacy." :)

Replies from: gothgirl420666
comment by gothgirl420666 · 2013-07-02T21:44:26.980Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I don't really know if this counts as the planning fallacy. As I understand it, the planning fallacy is when you underestimate the time it takes to do a specific task. This was more like overestimating my energy and willpower, and therefore the amount of time I would be able to work in any given day.

Replies from: Qiaochu_Yuan, falenas108
comment by Qiaochu_Yuan · 2013-07-03T01:32:40.071Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

For the purposes of diagnosing planning fallacy, time doesn't mean time spent, it means total time. Quote from the Wikipedia article:

In a 1994 study, 37 psychology students were asked to estimate how long it would take to finish their senior theses. The average estimate was 33.9 days.

That's not 33.9 days of continuous work. Underestimating how much time you have available per day to work on a project counts as planning fallacy.

Replies from: gothgirl420666
comment by gothgirl420666 · 2013-07-03T01:52:11.650Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Fair enough.

comment by falenas108 · 2013-07-03T00:26:49.213Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My understanding is that the planning fallacy is just not taking the outside view, for whatever it is. Depending on your past experiences, you may or may not have fallen prey to it.

Note: Firstorderpredicate's response isn't as condescending as it sounds, it's a Methods of Rationality quote.

Replies from: firstorderpredicate
comment by firstorderpredicate · 2013-07-03T01:25:34.002Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Note: Firstorderpredicate's response isn't as condescending as it sounds, it's a Methods of Rationality quote.

Yes. (Spoilers deleted; Awfully sorry)

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-03T13:18:15.209Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Dude, spoilers.

comment by Stabilizer · 2013-07-02T19:22:08.817Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I started this project in order to hopefully reach an a-ha moment that would allow me to realize what I'm doing wrong and therefore cure my shitty social skills.

I've typically understood that social skills are really hard to pick from books and implement it in real life. The main reason is that the time-scale on which you react in social situations is extremely short and insufficient for you to invoke the theory you learned. The books can be very helpful if you have a lot of social interactions and then use the theory to clarify and find patterns in all the data and then try to change a small pattern at a time.

Any rate, that's just me. It might work different for you.

Replies from: gothgirl420666
comment by gothgirl420666 · 2013-07-02T20:20:55.929Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Everyone tells me that, but in my experience the reverse is true.

Intuitively, your claim makes sense. There's so much nuance in human communication that it would be impossible to learn even a fraction of it from a book. For example, let's say you have a slightly politically incorrect joke you want to tell. How do you know if it's an appropriate time to say it? There are so many variables that have to be plugged into this function - number of people around you, closeness of the people to you, closeness of the people to each other, your own delivery, each person's unique personality, age of the people relative to you, social status of you versus your audience, formality of the occasion, location, even time of day. So if you were trying to answer the question "when can I tell a politically incorrect joke?" you wouldn't be able to read a book and figure it out - you would have to go and hang out with people and watch them tell politically incorrect jokes until you got an intuitive understanding of when it is permissible.

But the thing is, most socially awkward people report having occasional "on nights" where they are utterly charismatic, confident, say all the right things, and don't run out of things to talk about. This implies that the intuitive knowledge of what to say that is necessary for good social skills actually already exists somewhere in the socially awkward person's brain - it's just not being accessed at the right time. So for the majority of people, learning social skills is more about making the right conditions to gain access to the buried intuitive knowledge of how to talk to people than it is actually learning how to talk to people. (Of course, you can't take this to an extreme and imagine that a stereotypical foreveralone WoW-player type can shut himself in a room with a bunch of books and come out a Casanova.)

I don't think the above two paragraphs convey my thoughts on this subject anywhere near perfectly, but that's sort of where I'm coming from. My experience is that in the course of reading things on this subject, I'll wade through lots of boring, obvious stuff, until every so often I read something that gives me a huge a-ha moment, upon which I instantly recognize that a certain thought habit I have is maladaptive and weird and damaging my relationships and immediately permanently reverse it.

Replies from: Viliam_Bur
comment by Viliam_Bur · 2013-07-03T08:15:13.581Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

This is also how I see it. Most of the power is already in your brain, although of course you get better by practice. But for many people the power is somehow "locked". Something you find in the book, or doing some exercise you find in the book, may help unlock the power.

Evo-psych hypothesis: Everyone has the power, but there is a mechanism detecting that "your status is too low to do this", which turns off the power, to avoid punishment by higher-status members of the tribe who want to preserve the social hierarchy. But the mechanism is an adaptation to the ancient environment, and is often miscalibrated today. Something in the book may help turn off the low-status feeling. (Perhaps even the fact that someone with high status, such as the author of the book, encourages you to behave high-status, can be perceived by the mechanism as an evidence of your status rising. It could be an equivalent of getting a powerful friend.)

Replies from: gothgirl420666
comment by gothgirl420666 · 2013-07-03T14:36:54.440Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I agree with your evo-psych hypothesis.

comment by Nisan · 2013-07-03T10:38:26.263Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm doing Project Euler.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-03T21:20:14.931Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm working on learning ancient Greek, and writing a paper on the first book of Aristotle's Physics.

The Physics interests me for very much the same reasons LW interests me. It's been said before that, as people trying to discover the truth of things, we don't live in a wilderness but in a city, built and rebuilt by generations of scientists and philosophers. The greatest of these were people who inaugurated new methods of inquiry and even new ways of living. This, it seems to me, is exactly what LW is trying to do. I'm interested in this kind of a project, and Aristotle is an interesting guy to study in that capacity. He did not live in an ancient city, and he did not substantially build his science from the stones of older theories. Aristotle was one of the founders, one of the people who began to think in an intellectual darkness so complete we have never seen the like.

This particular paper is about Aristotle's defense of the possibility of change. This possibility was famously challenged by Parmenides in the following, very stupid sounding dilemma: The result of a change has to become something either from 'what is' or from 'what is not'. However both are impossible. Nothing can result from a change from 'what is' because it is already (and so there's no change). Nor can anything result from a change from 'what is not', since nothing would underlie the change.

The challenge here, clearly, is to figure out why this isn't just a very stupid argument, given that we have reason to believe (in spite of appearances) that it's not. Aristotle's response to it is not well understood, and I aim to figure it out.

The Greek is coming along. I have class for four hours a day, five days a week. It's a hard language.

comment by Viliam_Bur · 2013-07-03T08:45:42.218Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I wrote and published my first Android application. An extremely simple one, but it means that I have successfully installed the development environment, learned to write simple Android code, tested the code on my tablet, registered a developer account, and completed the publishing process. So for the following games, which will be more meaningful, I already have experience with most of the process -- that increases my self-confidence and could help overcome procrastination.

Why this project? Being able to make some money just by writing games was my dream for a long time, but until recently I didn't have a plan how to do it. I like thinking and coding, I am not good at graphic design and music, and I have no idea about selling. Coding a game at home, putting in into a web shop and doing some trivial online marketing, seems like something I could do and possibly make some money from it, and most importantly enjoy the whole process. So this is the first step, and it's something I can do in my spare time. (And as a backup plan, if everything else fails, I will have something nice on my CV.)

If someone is coding Android games in Java, I would be happy to discuss and share experience; my experience with Android is epsilon, but I'm decent at Java SE, so I hope most of that skill will transfer nicely.

My other project is translating the Sequences to Slovak language. 37 articles at this moment, but according to my web statistics, almost no one reads them. Could be because I didn't do much marketing. I just put links to new translations on my Facebook page -- but I expected that some of my friends would get interested, and then share the links. With the exception of one person, that expectation didn't work. (And it's not because they already read the English original, because then I would expect them to come to a Bratislava meetup sometimes.) I am updating that LessWrong and LW-style rationality is even less interesting for smart people around me than I expected. (However, that explains some of my experience.) As a last hope, I could switch to translate selectively only the few top-karma articles and their most necessary prerequisites, instead of trying to do it systematically; and if even that fails, then probably there is no audience, or it's people I have no connection with.

Replies from: NancyLebovitz, David_Gerard
comment by NancyLebovitz · 2013-07-03T15:57:46.335Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Is there a Slovak Harry Potter fandom?

Replies from: Viliam_Bur
comment by Viliam_Bur · 2013-07-03T17:26:22.418Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Most likely yes. I don't know how to find them. But I know people that probably know.

(Quick google search didn't find anything meaningful. There were two facebook pages with 10 likes, and comments only from one person. That's nothing.)

Thanks for the idea!

comment by David_Gerard · 2013-07-03T13:54:38.942Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

"0+ downloads" - surely I'm not actually the first :-) I can even give you an enhancement request: can you make the bubbles antialiased?

comment by diegocaleiro · 2013-07-07T16:59:25.509Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Academia: I'm finishing the formatting boring stuff related to my book, which, despite being finished 4 years ago, has been sitting idly on my computer up till now so I could use it as a masters thesis (oh academia, why are you so sluggish)

Writing: I'm trying to come up with a compromise between writing for Lesswrong, which is really motivating because I know people will read it, and writing academic stuff or non-fiction stuff that only has longer term impact. Put another way, I need to understand how to write in a way that is both upvotable here, and academically acceptable (citing the sequences for instance would be not advisable). Basically I'm thorn between wanting to write to a previously well trained public of smart people who won't fail every paragraph, you, and writing stuff that actually makes people learn cool stuff in a nice way, which would require dumber people at my current stage. So far I have mostly failed in writing for LW (at least under this nickname anyway). I need a place where I'm as motivativated to write as I'm here, but where I can learn to take the steps necessary to write as well as writing here requires, and calling Karma Money did not help with that. I take that post back :)

Love: Love life is going interestingly, there is an ample set of choices to make about it, and in particular a binary star was forged in my heart which is making it all the good kind of complicated.

¿Where?: Going to Berkeley has become less likely. Ticket is bought, but I may cancel it in virtue of life in Brazil having become really good recently, and postponing the urgency.

Leadership: After (ten years and) a less than satisfying Transhumanist Manifestation in São Paulo, I've decided that, strategically, for me, it is time to move on from wearing the Tranhumanist flag. In spoken portuguese, differently from written English, I speak very well, and people do pay a lot of attention to what I clam and where I point. I must choose carefully what will be my next label. Some contenders would be "self-experimentation", "effective altruism", "imortalism", "polyamory", "quantified self", "life-span increase" or, finally "increasing cooperation". I will consult some leaders of institutions around, and am eager to hear suggestions. I've excluded some possibilities out of knowledge of both the Brazilian public, and my personality, such as X-risk, Utilitarianism, FAI, singularitarianism, Lesswrong style rationality. Also I intend to return to public defense of transhumanism in a few years, if it gets more attention here.

comment by Normal_Anomaly · 2013-07-03T23:52:21.035Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm building a habit of going to the gym for some brief exercise every day, using a couple potential mind-hacks I've never used before. If I can keep up the habit for another couple weeks, I'm planning to write an LW post on what I've learned from the experience.

Replies from: palladias
comment by palladias · 2013-07-04T02:54:12.665Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Or a post on what you learned from it not working! Negative data is precious data!

Replies from: Normal_Anomaly
comment by Normal_Anomaly · 2013-07-07T18:01:26.131Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Good point! I'll write a post either way, probably some time in August.

Of course, having committed to writing a post about how I either succeeded or failed is going to be another incentive to succeed.

Replies from: Normal_Anomaly
comment by Normal_Anomaly · 2014-02-09T02:07:45.388Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Update: I kept the gym habit, but stopped posting on LW and never bothered writing the post. mild embarassment

comment by Thomas · 2013-07-03T17:32:07.246Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

On my blog, I am explaining why the faster rotating planets are warmer.


Replies from: Daniel_Burfoot
comment by Daniel_Burfoot · 2013-07-04T16:43:08.725Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I actually think this is quite interesting, though I'm not sure anyone who hadn't thought about similar things would understand your posts.

To restate your point, the relevant conserved quantity when dealing with surface temperature equilibria problems is not temperature T but T^4, because Stefan's Law says that the power radiated from a blackbody goes as the 4th power of temperature. So a planet with dense pockets of high temperature surrounded by regions of low temperature will have a lower average temperature than a planet with the same rate of radiation, but a uniform temperature across the surface.

Faster planetary rotation will produce a more even surface temperature than slow rotation, so planets with fast rotation will have higher average temperature than planets with slow rotation, given the same rate of incoming energy absorption from the sun.

Replies from: Thomas
comment by Thomas · 2013-07-04T20:53:03.089Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Yes, you have understood it well.

comment by alexvermeer · 2013-07-03T16:19:27.901Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Writing up a "One Year of Pomodoros" post. I'm just three weeks shy a year of tracking every planned and completed pomodoro, for a grand-total of almost 5,000.

comment by jamesf · 2013-07-04T20:50:11.500Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm writing a Bayesian inference/quantified self assistant for my Hacker School project. Once I have it somewhat usable I'll make a discussion post asking for feedback, but you can follow development now if you want.

comment by CronoDAS · 2013-07-04T03:37:41.527Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've been thinking about starting a project. Specifically, I've been thinking about trying my hand at making video games - and not just any kind of video games, but RPGs in particular. If anyone here has ever tried something like this, I'd like to know if it's at all feasible for me to attempt something like this. I already know how to program and would not have trouble learning another programming language, but I also have no skill at either artwork or composing. Also, does anyone have suggestions on what kind of software would help with this? I don't want to spend time reinventing any wheels that I don't need to. For example, I have Neverwinter Nights 1, which comes with an elaborate module-building toolkit, and I've heard of some software called "RPG Maker"...

Replies from: Viliam_Bur
comment by Viliam_Bur · 2013-07-04T10:34:03.384Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The graphics and music can be solved later; you can use some temporary graphics while you work on the program.

It has the advantage that if you don't succeed in making the game -- or if your ideas gradually change so much that many of the original ideas will not be used in the final version -- you don't have to pay for things you don't use. Also, when the program is ready, it is easier to explain how the graphics will be used, and you can test it immediately. After playing the game you will also know whether some things should be made bigger or smaller, which would again have some impact on graphics.

(With regards to code, I am fan of reinventing the wheels, because it feels to me that I only need to reinvent each wheel once, but would probably need to learn new toolkits again and again just to find that some important functionality is missing or full of bugs. But this is not a recommendation, just my specific experience which may be not typical; and the experience is not with RPG makers.)

Could you be more specific about the RPG? There are many options: isometric or 3d, turn-based or real-time... Will it have a story, or just a lot of random fights? If the story, will there be branches and multiple endings? How complicated it the system of magic or whatever (is it enough just to attack and expect that a higher-level character automatically does higher damage, or is it necessary to use a proper action to solve the specific situation)? One character or a party? Is the game over when one of your character dies, or do you just recruit a new one? Etc. -- Think about how your choices fit together. For example, if the world is automatically generated or you replace dead members with new recruits, how will you keep a meaningful story?

Replies from: CronoDAS
comment by CronoDAS · 2013-07-04T19:21:08.888Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

The graphics and music can be solved later; you can use some temporary graphics while you work on the program.

According to my research, RPG Maker has a lot of built-in tile graphics you can use if you don't want to make your own, so I could use them. I think the default graphics look kind of like Final Fantasy IV or Final Fantasy V.

Could you be more specific about the RPG? There are many options: isometric or 3d, turn-based or real-time... Will it have a story, or just a lot of random fights? If the story, will there be branches and multiple endings? How complicated it the system of magic or whatever (is it enough just to attack and expect that a higher-level character automatically does higher damage, or is it necessary to use a proper action to solve the specific situation)? One character or a party? Is the game over when one of your character dies, or do you just recruit a new one? Etc. -- Think about how your choices fit together. For example, if the world is automatically generated or you replace dead members with new recruits, how will you keep a meaningful story?

I want to eventually make a story-driven game, with two endings and a few branch points that can pull you off of the default branch; the specific details of the battle system is not particularly important. (Although it might be nice to be able to pull off some tricks with the battle system, such as presenting you with two enemies fighting each other, and giving you a different story branch depending on which one wins.) I might start with something simpler than the story I really want to tell, though, just to get experience with the system I intend to use.

One reason I want to tell the story as a game, rather than as text, is that I want to set the player up for a fall: start the player off working for the bad guys, and give the player the opportunity not to realize that the side he's working for is actually evil; the player character won't make a Heel Face Turn unless the player does something special to get off the default story branch. At the end of the game, the default ending will show the player several times he or she could have done the right thing, but didn't.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-03T16:01:15.893Z · LW(p) · GW(p) Replies from: Jayson_Virissimo
comment by Jayson_Virissimo · 2013-07-05T01:22:08.429Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Did you write the essays or compile them? Also, what explains the lack of discussion of Stirnerite thought, given its relevance to the LW subject matter?

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-05T17:10:35.143Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I have published egoist essays by others, including Dora Marsden, and I will be publishing more by others in the future. But the book I mention here is made up of my own essays.

Speaking for myself (of course) I have commented in the egoist fashion but am saving egoist posting for after my book comes out. I do think that a deep inquiry into the "I" is helpful in considering "AI." I further predict a small revival of interest in egoism among philosohers within the next 3 years.

comment by Alsadius · 2013-07-03T08:58:48.514Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Looking for a real job. There's several larger changes in my life I want to make that aren't really practical until I do that, so I've decided to quit slacking off and actually search semi-seriously. (On that note, that's enough LW for one night)

comment by Alexei · 2013-07-03T00:46:55.076Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Trying to figure out why poker AI hasn't been solved (in the sense that chess AI has been solved).

Replies from: Nornagest, wmorgan
comment by Nornagest · 2013-07-03T01:13:03.482Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's been a while since I looked into this, but when I did, the big problem was behavioral modeling.

All the math in poker is local -- the state of the game in one hand influences the state of the game in the next only insofar as it affects the amount of chips players have on hand. That makes it easy to build a poker AI that'll wipe the floor with innumerate players. But in also narrows the scope enough that it's possible for more sophisticated human players to mentally solve for their probability of winning a given hand, or at least approximate it pretty well, and many do. An AI can't do much better than that with pure statistics, the only way to squeeze more comparative advantage out is for it to become better at gauging playstyle and hiding information about its own patterns of play than human players are. And that's a much harder problem than building a tree of possible moves in chess.

comment by wmorgan · 2013-07-03T04:09:06.700Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Some great resources on poker AI: University of Alberta Computer Poker Research Group. Papp 1998 in particular goes into detail about what makes it difficult, briefly: multiple opponents, imperfect knowledge, risk management, agent modeling, deception, and dealing with unreliable information. To these I would add the distinction between optimal and maximal play:

In chess AI, it never really matters what you expect your opponent to do like it does in poker. In chess, you just always try to move the board into the most favorable possible state. A win is a win in chess, but in poker the optimal strategy makes less money than an exploitable, but maximal strategy. But if you're playing an exploitable strategy, then your opponent can turn around and play a strategy to beat you...much of poker strategy is figuring out how to be one "level" above your opponents for as many hands as possible. And getting an AI to do that is difficult.

comment by Matt_Simpson · 2013-07-02T21:02:19.684Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I just started a research project with my adviser developing new posterior sampling algorithms for dynamic linear models (linear gaussian discrete time state space models). Right now I'm in the process of writing up the results of some simulations testing a couple known algorithms, and am about to start some simulations testing some AFAIK unknown algorithms. There's a couple interesting divergent threads coming off this project, but I haven't really gotten into those yet.

comment by firstorderpredicate · 2013-07-02T20:09:02.552Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Plan My Week iPhone App - schedules your tasks for a week, depending on duration, urgency, and importance.

  • I developed the app because I was suffering analysis paralysis trying to develop the perfect plan. See this LessWrong post for a better description. My goals for the project are two fold - 1) Use automation to cure my planning analysis paralysis (success); 2) Release the app and turn it into a commercial product. (In progress)

Chess Machine Learning - Trying to teach a neural network how to play chess. I've written a couple of bog standard tree search programs, but I wondered if you could teach a NN to recognize and generate legal moves given a position. The eventual goal is to get it to play interesting, non computer chess; it doesn't have to be strong. Probably not novel or groundbreaking, but ideas kept popping into my head so I just started coding :)

Replies from: None
comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-02T20:54:19.409Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Is this similar to Things ?

Replies from: firstorderpredicate
comment by firstorderpredicate · 2013-07-02T21:27:40.913Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

It's in the same domain. The difference is that, as far as I can tell, Things seems to be about ongoing task management, and you still need to set due dates for your tasks. The purpose of PlanMyWeek is that proposes a date/time for tasks, on a (typically) week basis. It's meant to augment tools like Things, Calendars and Reminders.

The other difference, in Things (like everything else I've looked at) there's no separation of urgency and importance, just priority. The problem there is that, while the urgent and important map to the highest priority, if you constantly rank your tasks in this manner, you risk "starving" the important but not urgent tasks, until they become urgent.

comment by John_Maxwell (John_Maxwell_IV) · 2013-07-06T08:31:03.520Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm interested in earning to give, and my current projects have to do with maximizing my income.

I've been taking Coursera classes that seem relevant to machine learning/"data science" (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). My reasons:

  • Seems likely to be more lucrative than regular old software development, which is what I'm doing right now. Indeed.com salary graph. Kaggle.com is paying it's top 0.5% of data scientists $200/hr. McKinsey says there's going to be a shortage of people with big data skills. Another article.

  • Some of the skills overlap with what MIRI is looking for in researchers. Hey, can't hurt.

  • A good friend with a strong math background has been having a lot of success over the past few years trading stocks. But he's relatively weak in programming and machine learning. We might make a good team. Even if I don't work with him, knowing more machine learning seems like it could be a good way to make big bucks in finance.

I'd be curious to hear from LWers who are informed on these topics whether they think "big data" will live up to the hype, and whether "data scientists" are liable to get automated away by software that's being written by startups.

Another idea for increasing my income is to go in to some kind of management role. To that end, I've been experimenting with nootropic drugs that seem like they might make me more sociable. I don't consider myself socially deficient, but I'm not as much of a social butterfly as I'd like to be. Wikipedia says that increased sensitivity to dopamine seems to be related to extraversion, and I've seen studies suggesting that increased dopamine receptor density is related to higher social status in monkeys and humans. (I don't think that acting like an arrogant jerk is optimal for achieving any of my social goals, but I'm assuming that acting humble when one feels confident is easier than acting confident when one feels humble.) So I ordered some phenylpiracetam, which seems to upregulate D2 receptors in rats. I've also been cycling sulbutiamine, which I've read positive anecdotal reports about (mostly on a Russian websites, but here is one in English), and I do think it's gradually working. (Possible caveats in addition to the stuff you'd find yourself by Googling: may be "excitotoxic", may be dangerous when used w/ antidepressants.)

I'm a complete amateur at neuroscience, so I'd appreciate any feedback on any of this.

Replies from: Barry_Cotter
comment by Barry_Cotter · 2013-07-07T03:28:20.562Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'd be curious to hear from LWers who are informed on these topics whether they think "big data" will live up to the hype, and whether "data scientists" are liable to get automated away by software that's being written by startups.

I'm just reasoning by analogy here but sysadmins still exist despite the fact that a decent sysadmin's reaction to seeing a problem for the third time is to try and automate it. Data analysis is hard. Making it easier just lets people do things that are in some sense objectively harder with similar skill levels because the tools are better.

comment by thomblake · 2013-07-03T15:05:03.237Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Trying to find web developer work in the SF Bay area.

Because SF is awesome and where all the great stuff in webdev is happening.

Replies from: SuspiciousTitForTat
comment by SuspiciousTitForTat · 2013-07-10T07:48:03.167Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Is there anything cool happening anywhere else?

Replies from: thomblake
comment by thomblake · 2013-07-10T13:30:54.912Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I have heard rumors that cool things happen elsewhere, but I do not believe them. Though Akihabara is pretty cool.

comment by RolfAndreassen · 2013-07-03T15:00:10.817Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

My 'GooFit' fitting framework is now publicly available at GitHub, and is pretty awesome for doing negative-log-likelihood fits if you have a reasonably up-to-date nVidia GPU.

Additionally, my CK2 to EU3 converter is finished, and also available at GitHub.

Feel free to post feature requests for either one.

comment by CAE_Jones · 2013-07-03T10:51:22.098Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

... I had an "awe crap" moment as I moved up to the comment box, since my goal for last month was "Do something awesome by the end of June, because last news from Senseg suggested that their tech should be on shelves by then, and that seems decreasingly likely with their continued silence, and that particular technology sounds easy to reproduce, given available information". All I did was not-quite finish a major update to my one money-making game (I completely lost steam on it yesterday, and was consciously aware this meant I should just testplay, compile and publish, but I've mostly been reading HPMoR discussion for the past 24 hours, minus sleep).

I've been working on a new game ("new" being kinda subjective, here) this year, for which I set a schedule going from January 2013 to September 2013, trying to take the planning fallacy into account. I'm rather far behind schedule in a number of ways; the biggest one being that my attempts at creating a kickstarter project have continually failed (I absolutely lack the necessary human relations skills to get the help this would require, never mind that my goal is to include decent graphics and sound that do not come cheaply), another being constant struggles with motivation and akrasia (I seem to have maintained slightly less than a month of work on it at a time, followed by lengthy gaps; I would very desperately hope that the end of May/start of June is gap enough that I can make significant progress in July).

(Side note: I have not bothered mentioning this here before, other than under the nebulous heading of "work [not] accomplished", since it's relatively irrelevant to the subject of Lesswrong, and wouldn't generally expect doing so to accomplish anything--it would plainly be more rational to donate time/money to more useful things, and one or both would effectively be what I'd be asking for.)

My expectation, then, is that I'll be uploading that update soon (this week, if I have any self-motivating power whatsoever), then turn my funding efforts toward Indiegogo (since it's clear that Kickstarter and Amazon do not like my data, and correcting this appears far more difficult than just using a different service), which would optimally include a project video, which is a nontrivial step that I'm still unsure of how to make. It was my goal for the past two weeks, until the update to the existing game took over.

On a different, but potentially related note, I've been looking in to how one would go about adding decent graphics (more than the standard windows dialog boxes, at least) to a program using only DLL calls, assuming a lack of c-style structures. I'm having a much easier time getting things done using an engine that wraps Angelscript than a lower-level language (I initially focused on Java, but was having difficulties getting my programs to run on other computers and could not find an explanation as to why), but this engine is specifically optimized for Audio Games, and has very recently added basic DLL support--an attempt was made to support C-style structures, but this has not yet come to pass, so I'm stuck with a very primitive system that can only pass around primitives and their arrays, and pointers to a limited extent. Since it's pretty well restricted to Windows, I've looked into user32 and gdi without apparent success; openGL seems like an option, though diving into it when it may very well not work with this engine seems like quite the time/energy investment (where I'm hoping to move back toward Java once the current game is farther along, for both better graphics and cross-platform reasons.).

comment by MrMind · 2013-07-03T07:55:24.977Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've recently completed the first part of a fully formal and complete definition of optimization power, to serve as the first step to a demonstration of the orthogonality thesis.

I'm also quickly re-reading every quantum mechanics book I own, so I can later sell them and advance to quantum field theory.

On the personal side, I'm still improving my Go. At the moment I'm reading "Opening theory made easy", at the rate of 3/4 principles per week. Opening theory, the subject not the book, is both fun and engaging for a beginner. I'm also implementing the suggestions given to me in this post, like losing weight (I've finally find out how!), dressing better, etc.

comment by [deleted] · 2013-07-03T06:51:49.068Z · LW(p) · GW(p)


Right now I'm working on what was previously called "A technical result in a related area, for a different kind of tomography." All of the real work is done; all that remains is writing up the results and getting them published somewhere. It's nice, living up to my username (in one of its many concurrent readings).

I moved in with my boyfriend last month. We're both currently in Korea; he's out sightseeing while I'm attending a professional conference.

Due in part to the local political and economic instability, my future research funding prospects have dried up. Therefore, I'm looking for summer work next year in the areas of nondestructive evaluation, hybrid imaging, and related fields.

comment by OrphanWilde · 2013-07-09T20:12:26.132Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Taken first couple of steps to learning to dance; taken first class and have begun practicing.

Why dance? First, I'm out of shape, and this is one of several steps I'm taking to rectify this. I've been in great shape before, and it improves just about everything, including the clarity of my thinking, my ability to tolerance sleep deprivation, and my ability to power through illness. (I used to be able to jog with the flu. Now I have trouble getting out of bed when I get a cold.) Second, it should improve my proprioception/kinesthesia, which is pretty terrible at the moment, and maybe I'll stop knocking things down when I think I'm walking past them. Third, I regard it as an essential life skill which I have neglected at this point for too long.

First goal is to learn Lindy Hop/swing dancing, which I'm told is relatively easy for logical/mathematical people to learn and master; the instructors where I attended the lesson are, in support of this proposition, both mathematicians, and I think almost everybody in the class is involved in the sciences in some fashion. Second goal, once I'm comfortable there, is to move into blues and/or salsa dancing. (I previously tried ballroom dancing and found it too rigid; it didn't get me out of my comfort zone at all, as I could implement it on conscious thought without needing to work on muscle memory. That is, I wasn't -failing-. I'm failing pretty regularly as I try to do Lindy Hop, which suggests it is a good target for me.)

comment by Rukifellth · 2013-08-15T15:06:42.770Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

Currently learning Java by-the-book from "Starting Out With Java: From Control Structures Through Data Structures" second edition. It's a remarkable book, unlike any of the ones I tried reading before. It explains every minutiae of the example code and leaves very little to the imagination, except for when it has the courtesy to explicitly tell the reader to ignore it for the time being, something that a lot of guides fail to do. This somewhat pads the book out when it explains when a method-call has occurred two chapters after method-calls were explained (it's 1300 pages long), but the reinforcement is greatly appreciated and I actually saved time by not fumbling around wondering how the heck dealershipOne.getCar("Pinto").setYear(dealershipOne.getPolicy().getYear()) worked, even though I technically knew how argument passing and dot operators worked. The pages on which the exercises are printed are even differently coloured from the rest of the book, its structure apparent at the cosmetic level.

I've decided to accumulate the knowledge from to back, because I find I'm too fidgety and impatient when I try to pick and choose chapters, and have gotten through about 50 pages in the last 3 days. I'd recommend it for the textbook thread, but I found other textbooks too unbearable to read past the first chapter , so I'm not technically qualified.

comment by niceguyanon · 2013-07-12T14:49:23.405Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I like playing poker for fun with friends, but I decided I want to be good at it. I also like learning to code. So far I have completed the codecademy python track.

I am building, without a doubt, a crappy poker oracle (not a bot) in the hopes that it will help me learn poker and code at the same time. The plan is to have my poker oracle be a net winner with the current group I play with. I think I will divide up the program in to segments – preflop, flop, ect. My inputs would consider things like position, player ranges, and equity among other inputs.

Since starting this project I have become much more knowledgeable about poker theory that I now pretty much cringe at how bad I was playing. The coding however has a steeper learning curve but I think I can at least manage the fold/call/raise coding for the preflop segment of my oracle.

comment by Camaragon · 2013-07-07T12:02:15.189Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm a graphic artist who just recently quit her job, we ended in good terms, they said they would put in a good word for me if ever I use them as reference. I have been doing weird freelance jobs which includes but is not limited to, furry porn, live portraits of people's dogs, portraits of people's houses and doing live demos in front of students. I barely make enough from these.

I have entered a food booth contest, I am going to present them Japanese Curry and Omurice (Omelette Rice) I am hopeful to make it into the finals. I really want to get into the food industry as it is one of my passions.

I am doing series of paintings with Teenage Pregnancy and Overpopulation as it's theme, the gallery sponsoring me has ceased it's support in favor of a international artist that is touring the country. If you're interested in seeing them I posted one on my Tumblr: hobobox.tumblr.com/tagged/my_art

I am contemplating on enroling in business classes or confences to learn more about finances, I have saved enough money and am willing to invest to further my assets but I am still unsure of the specifics.

I have enrolled in a gym offering Boxing and Muay Thai, and I plan to be more strict with my diet. Going to folloe a mostlt raw vegan diet with sushi or chicken once or twice a week.

Working on my Pathfinder/Dungeons and Dragons campaig ( In which I am Dungeon Master) with friends next week. Busy with bullshit haha XD

comment by Prismattic · 2013-07-07T05:17:55.168Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I've decided to teach myself python, following MIT's online intro CS course. I'm on lesson 2, and so far, I've mainly reinforced my pre-existing impression that I'm not a particularly intuitive coder (my day job has nothing to with programming; it just seemed like it couldn't hurt to develop another skill).

I realize I'm probably misusing the thread asking this, but if someone can explain the first syntax error in the following snippet, I'd be most appreciative. I assume it has something to do with the way I'm nesting the conditionals, but I've played around with it quite a bit without success (If there's more than one syntax error, just correct the first one, since that's what has me stuck. I'd rather try to puzzle out further glitches on my own first).....

divisor = 3
lastprime = 3
primecount = 2
While primecount < 1000:
         lastprime = lastprime + 2
         while divisor < lastprime:
             if lastprime % factor != 0:
                divisor = divisor + 2
            else: lastprime = lastprime + 2 and divisor = 3
        primecount = primecount + 1
print ("The thousandth prime number is")
print (lastprime)

As an aside -- there is apparently no relationship between aptitude for learning natural languages (I speak four with varying degrees of fluency) and learning synthetic languages, as the above mess presumably shows.

Replies from: JayDee, Kawoomba, wedrifid
comment by JayDee · 2013-07-07T12:30:07.013Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

First syntax error I got was the capital W in While, should be all lowercase.

comment by Kawoomba · 2013-07-07T14:59:06.974Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

'factor' is not defined, you probably meant 'divisor'.

Not a syntax error, but the variable name 'lastprime' is named wrongly.

As per your request no further explicit help, but write the code with some binary isPrime dummy function, then once you're sure the logic is correct expand the isPrime with the actual prime check. It helps disconfuddling some of the potential confuddlers.

Think about the logic top down, high level first.

comment by wedrifid · 2013-07-07T05:46:21.909Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

ETA: clearly my lack of aptitude extends to how to properly display this in a comment here, as simply commenting out the code with the pound sign obviously isn't working as intended.

Try four spaces. (The pound sign creates headings.)

comment by Username · 2013-07-02T18:46:43.428Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

3 weeks ago I got two magnets implanted in my fingers. For those who haven't heard of this before, what happens is that moving electro-magnetic fields (read: everything AC) cause the magnets in your fingertips to vibrate. Over time, as nerves in the area heal, your brain learns to interpret these vibrations as varying field strengths. Essentially, you gain a sixth sense of being able to detect magnetic fields, and as an extension, electricity. It's a $350 superpower.

The guy who put them in my finger told me it will take about six months before I get full sensitivity. So, what I'm doing at the moment is research into this and quantifying my sensitivity as it develops over time. The methodology I'm using is wrapping a loop of copper wire around my fingers and hooking it up to a headphone jack, which I will then plug into my computer and send randomized voltage levels through. By writing a program so I can do this blind, I should be able to get a fairly accurate picture of where my sensitivity cutoff level is.

One thing I'm stuck on is how to calculate the field strength acting on my magnets. Getting the B field for a solenoid is trivial, but with a magnetic core I'm sure it throws everything out of whack. If anyone has any links to the physics of how to approach that, I'd be much obliged.

And if you're curious about what it's like so far to have magnets in your fingers, feel free to ask.