HOWTO: encode a string into a complicated-looking trigonometric function

Today’s glance at reddit.com yielded a blog posting by a fellow who calls himself “Poromenos” and who recently wasted his day by designing a function made up of sines and cosines that encode the string “Hello world!”. “Hey”, I immediately thought, “I can do that too! I’m an expert at wasting my day, after all.” Only I decided to go a step further and write a program that generates this sort of function. I’m lazy, remember?

Read the rest

Why Humanity Is Blocked

Please read carefully the following important message that does not come from the anonymous persons running whyfirefoxisblocked.com and whydiggisblocked.com.

You’ve reached this page because the site you were trying to visit now blocks visitors from the human race and other beings capable of browsing the web.

The users on continents such as America, Asia, Europe and Antarctica openly endorse critical thinking, a function of the human brain that allows humans to ignore irrelevant perceptions such as advertisement on web sites, and are well known for paying no huge amount of money to the owners of sites they visit. Humans that ignore all advertisement are an infringement of the rights of web site owners and developers. Numerous web sites exist in order to provide quality content in exchange for displaying ads, humans who don’t click on these ads are stealing bandwidth without paying for it and website owners deserve a method to block this unauthorized bandwith theft.

Since the human brain does not allow website owners a method for excluding perceptions and do not obey “give away all your money” law, abiding webmasters are forced to block all humans. Demographics have shown that not only are humans a somewhat small and insignificant percentage of the planet, they actually are even smaller in terms of value, therefore blocking these beings seems to have only minimal financial drawbacks, whereas ending resource theft has tremendous financial rewards for honest, hard-working website owners and developers.

If you wish to view the site you came from we suggest stopping being human and becoming a machine instead.

(Of course, humans using Digg are where the real evil is at.)

Git cheat sheet, take two

Update: Since I first posted this, I have created a new and (in my opinion) better Git cheat sheet. You might want to have a look at that one.

Today I came across Zack Rusin’s Git cheat sheet (just so we’re on the same page: Git is a really good distributed revision control system). I quite like the idea but unfortunately, Zack’s design is fairly useless to me because

  • the colors don’t print well on black and white;
  • it’s designed for Letter paper. Letter paper doesn’t exist around here. Give me A4.
    While trying to change Zack’s file to address these issues, Inkscape kept crashing on me until I finally gave up and just started from scratch (in – don’t tell anyone – OpenOffice.org Draw). This is the result: Git Cheat Sheet (A4 PDF version).

    Read the rest

Problems in life engineering

Okay, so there are problems in knowledge engineering, AGI in particular (to recall, AGI is a machine or program that can demonstrate intelligence on the complexity level of humans). More generally, in every domain of sufficiently complex structure, AI fails, sometimes spectacularly. A well-known example is the board game Go, for which nobody has managed yet to design a computer opponent that can beat players above the level of novice.

Yet humans manage many of these tasks seemingly without any problems. One might be tempted to think that the human brain is the ideal “thinking machine”. In reality, it has a staggering number of bugs which produce incorrect actions or results in a variety of situations.

Read the rest

Problems in knowledge engineering

Given the “right” philosophical attitude about how the world works, the ultimate goals of knowledge engineering, namely obtaining, processing, using and making accessible all kinds of knowledge, can definitely be achieved. This set of bold goals, however, presents researchers with very difficult problems. All attempts that exist today are restricted to small classes of knowledge.

Read the rest