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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in
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|Friday, August 20th, 2010|
|Monday, April 6th, 2009|
|Writer's Block: Grab and Go
Scenario: For exactly 1 minute, you get access to all the databases of all the intelligence agencies in the world (CIA, FBI, KGB, MI-5, etc). What do you want to find out before time is up and you're caught and jailed forever?
That would be how to get out of jail. Duh.
|Monday, December 22nd, 2008|
|Sunday, December 21st, 2008|
|Random fiction event
"You see me from the outside, so you think I look beautiful. I'm afraid if I let you get too close, you'll slip inside me. Then when you look at me from the inside you'll see what I see in the mirror, and you'll be horrified and you'll leave."
|Monday, December 1st, 2008|
|Friday, November 14th, 2008|
|Random fiction event
"Why don't you ever play games with me?" El asked, sitting cross-legged on the floor.
"What do you mean, we play games all the time?" I responded, feeling a very familiar sense of confusion.
"No, you just let me win all the time," she frowned up at me, "that's not the same thing."
"I do not let you win. If you must know, you are incredibly brilliant, El, and you beat me consistently. I'm actually a little sensitive about it."
"Oh... And you play anyway?"
"Sure. It's still fun, and who knows maybe someday I'll beat you at something."
She smiled that smile that makes you think the sun just came out from behind a cloud. "You're so sweet to me," she said, "So I'm really, really smart?"
"Oh... Can I have a cookie?"
"Yes, El," I smiled at her, "You can have a cookie because you're really, really smart."
|Thursday, August 14th, 2008|
|Scarlett comes to visit
My friend Scarlett is coming to visit at the end of this month. I haven't seen her in person for something like 6 years now. Scarlett = awesome, and I'm so excited I can't sit still.
|Wednesday, July 30th, 2008|
|Interpretting the signs
Driving around yesterday, two signs caught my attention out of the corner of my eye because of how my mind misinterpreted them:
The Happy Hocker Pawn Shop
Whole Foods: Fill your pantries!
|Monday, June 23rd, 2008|
|Monday, June 16th, 2008|
|Tuesday, June 10th, 2008|
|Friday, June 6th, 2008|
|My latest million-dollar idea
This one's about a gym where the exercise equipment generates power which can be sold back through the power grid to the power companies. You offer your members a discount on their monthly membership fees based on the amount of power they've generated (leaving yourself a margin of profit, of course). So your members are very effectively motivated to spend more time at the gym because of the financial incentive, and at the same time you're producing environmentally friendly power.
The real kicker as I see it is if the price points could be worked out such that an average of, say, 40 hours a week at the gym could provide enough "discount" to not only cover the membership fees but actually provide a decent living wage as an alternative "employment" opportunity for low and unskilled labour. This would be especially beneficial to countries like India with both a growing demand for power and a huge divide between the poor and the middle class that's resulted from the outsourcing of tech jobs from more industrialized nations.
|Thursday, June 5th, 2008|
|More on automated Mad Libs
Seems I made a slight error in my first pass at filtering out words with unambiguous parts of speech. Basically I filtered out words that also appeared in one of the other lists, but I didn't restrict the command to match only the full word. So for example, "hatch" would have been filtered out of verbs because it contains the word "hat" from the list of nouns. You can see where that little flub would reduce the numbers considerably. Here are the corrected counts (I again removed proper nouns, and additionally adjectives based on proper nouns):
That seems like a lot to work with.
The idea is really to automatically create Mad Libs. Automatically filling them out seems like it would be less fun.
|Saturday, May 31st, 2008|
I've taken a step along the crazy path of automating Mad-Libs. That is to say, I've had the idea for a while of creating a program to parse text and turn it into a Mad-Lib. Apologies to whomever might own the trademark for the term, but frankly, bite me. Anyway, the first step was to identify words in the English language that are unambiguously a single part of speech, because bugger if I'm going to write a natural language processor for something this silly. Okay, maybe that'll be in phase two. But I digress. So, I pulled words from the source for an online dictionary. I separated these words into files containing adjectives, adverbs, nouns, and verbs. Then I filtered out any words that appeared in more than one of these files. After having done this, I discovered the nouns file had an enormous quantity of proper nouns in it, so I removed them by deleting any lines that began with a capital letter. The results:
502 unique adjectives
84 unique adverbs
13569 unique nouns
173 unique verbs
14328 total unique words
That's out of 53655 entries in the original dictionary file:
Which is frankly more than I expected, especially among nouns, more than a third of which turn out to be unique, not even counting proper nouns. I suspect a number of these words will be obscure. (Such as the first word in the nouns file: "aa", an abbreviation of "ana" which is a collection of the memorable sayings of a person. I suspect this word has only ever been used in the publication of dictionaries.) Of course, different tenses of the verbs is going to complicate matters. And sorting out which are transitive and which are intransitive. But it's a start.
So the idea is, if a word from the list of nouns is found in text, it can be assumed to be a noun, and can be replaced with a blank labeled "NOUN".
|Another great band name
Perhaps they could be a cover band of Mayan Sanity.
After this occurred to me, I discovered about a hundred more words this pun works with.
|Monday, May 12th, 2008|
I had a bit over the weekend. A mug of tea on Friday morning just sounded good, and then one on Sunday as well. Also had two of the energy gel packs on Sunday during the bike ride. The gel packs have 25mg of caffeine, and the mug of tea probably 100. So Sunday was about 150mg altogether. Especially not doing this all the time, I think that's probably fine.
By contrast, when I started thinking about cutting back my intake, I was probably taking in about 300mg a day on workdays, probably a little less most weekend days. I believe that is enough to affect one adversely, especially over time.
I'll probably just keep things going like this. I'll have a cup of tea or a soft drink every once in a while when it really sounds good. And the gels really do help with energy on the bike rides. Some of that is probably the caffeine, but a lot of it is the carbs and whatnot.
As far as how I've been feeling, well, I think I've been sleeping better at night. More than that I can't really say. I still suspect some adverse affects of long-term over-exposure (possibly such as digestive problems) may take more time.
|Sunday, May 11th, 2008|
|Upping the difficulty
Just had an idea for a plot device that could be used in a computer RPG to increase replayability in a plausible fashion. This is inspired from seeing episodes of Stargate SG1 where they travel through the mirror to alternate realities. The goal of the game at first appears to be your typical save-the-Earth-from-impending-doom sort of schtick, and as part of that scenario a device such as the mirror is involved which allows travel to alternate realities where important clues are discovered, yadda yadda. The twist is, at some point you realize that you have an obligation that's wider than just saving the Earth. What makes the people on your Earth any different from the countless numbers in other realities? You have to save as many Earths as you can. You just happened to have started out in the Earth that has the greatest advantage of circumstances so your Earth can be saved the quickest and the easiest. Once you've accomplished that goal you can use your original reality as a base of operations to save what you can in the others which have not yet completed succumbed. Basically you're replaying similar scenarios with increased difficulty levels, gathering resources from the other Earths you're able to save to help free the more and more difficult ones. Eventually you discover a means to travel in time as well, which enables you to go back and save the Earths in alternate realities that had already been destroyed, overwhelmed, or whatever, but since they fell so much more quickly they're obviously that much more difficult to save.
I went out on my bike again today. Wore my new kilt. :) I managed to shave about 10 minutes off the round trip of about 20 miles this time. And I didn't stop for as long at the half-way point this time, only long enough have one of those energy gels. I had another on the way back at the point where it's all uphill, which helped a lot getting past that. And again drank about 3 liters of water on the way.
So, getting there. If I can shave another 10 minutes off I'll start biking to work.
|Friday, May 9th, 2008|
I just had this idea that you could rig up a sort of frosting printer to spray intricate patterns such as fractals on a cake...
|Saturday, May 3rd, 2008|
So I went out today for the first real serious bike ride I've been on in about ten years. I've been talking a lot about biking to work, so I tried out the route this morning. I had estimated half an hour to 45 minutes each way, but it turned out to be an hour instead. And uphill both ways as far as I can tell from how I'm feeling at the moment. I'm officially an old codger now. I think I need to shave at least 15 minutes (each way) off the trip before I can consider biking to work. The drive is about 20 minutes, so I just hate to lose that much time from my day. It's a nice route, though, most of the way is bike trail so no traffic to fight with. Although you do have to cross quite a few streets along the way.
And I broke my caffeine fast, because once I got to the office I was so pooped I had to have one of the energy gels that I'd packed along. I could've sworn at least one flavour had no caffeine, but this was not the case. So I had 25mg of caffeine along with my strawberry/banana carbs, and maybe it was a good thing. Got me home, anyway.