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Member Since 08 Nov 2002
Offline Last Active Oct 23 2016 07:21 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Now What For The UK ?

25 June 2016 - 09:19 PM


My mistake. I didn't read the entire article and misread this line, " A monetary union was established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002, and is composed of 19 EU member states which use the euro currency," to mean it was founded in 1999. Reading further down, I see that it was founded in 1993. Still, we're talking about an additional 6 years. 



But the EEC, which pre-dated the EU, was formed in 1958 and thus is considerably older. Being a filthy American, I'm not super clear on how much that distinction matters but I do hear a lot of talk on the news implying or outright asserting that the age of the "EU" is quite a bit older than ~20 years, so it seems like in some circles, as least, the time from the treaty of Maastricht is something of a technicality w.r.t to the age of the institution?



Right, and my understanding is that the UK is voting to leave agreements going back to that (considerably) earlier time as well. If so, even referring to the 1993 date is really missing the point, as the implication that the UK is leaving something that's "only" been around for 20ish years isn't really correct.

In Topic: Now What For The UK ?

25 June 2016 - 06:19 PM

The EU is 17 years old. 


Uh, source?

In Topic: With 1963 primitive graphics technology, How was this skeleton animations fig...

26 May 2016 - 09:13 PM


I thought the image in the link I posted demonstrated how physical avatars (or puppets) are magnified to life size or giant size. But doesn't explain the unaided synchronized animated movements, overlayed into the real world

They could advance the background projector to by one frame (if a background is required), animate all the figurines by one frame, update/move the matte painting, advance the filming camera by one frame, and then operate the shutter like a regular camera to expose a single frame. That would capture the figurines, masked behind the matte painting, and the background projection behind them.
You could project the already-filmed real-life footage onto the background, which would be equivalent to compositing the matte painting and the stop-motion figurines on top of it.
If you use a black background (and possibly a black matte painting as a mask), and put the already-filmed real-life footage into the camera instead of the projector, then you can also superimpose the stop-motion figurines onto the existing footage via a second exposure over the original frames. This is an additive effect though - and you can see it in that russian video I linked, where the tiny dancing man sometimes appears translucent.



It's worth noting that even though that particular video uses double exposure in the simplest way possible, it was also entirely possible to do proper chroma keying in 1940 as well.

In Topic: How come most HD photos I see online look worse than their downsized versions?

23 May 2016 - 08:53 PM

While I agree with the above, I think the lens vs. sensor thing is a bit of a misdirection to be honest. Video has much the same problem, and in that case the weak link is often the sensor and not the lens at all, but the effect is very much the same, and unfortunately it's not something that can easily be quantified since even "noise" and "grain" can describe quite a few distinct phenomena with different statistical and aesthetic properties. Looking at a photograph at "full" resolution will make any of these artefacts apparent simply because they're the most faithful representation of what the sensor has captured. Most of the time these artefacts do start to look "better" when you down-sample the data, but you're almost always throwing away "real" data as well. The same sort of "improvement" happens when you take a highly aliased image and scale it down.


In all of these cases (including the computer rendering), if you keep down-sampling until it stops looking "better," you've almost certainly thrown away a lot of "real" data as well (that is, if you try to scale it back up, you'll almost certainly end up with something that looks worse than the original -- if this isn't the case, only then is it likely that you're looking at an image that's already been upscaled). The fact that these artefacts can't readily be described in terms of "resolution" is why cameras almost always give the "bad" full-resolution images, so that you can decide for yourself how to interpret that data.

In Topic: Entrapment, should this be legal?

20 April 2016 - 11:11 PM

That is still morals.


Trying to define right and wrong by by social benefits is just another way to define morals.  You can call them divinely instituted, or instituted for the benefit of having a community, or whatever else, they are still morals.


Appealing to Google, "define morality" brings up: principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.


Exactly how you determine morals doesn't matter, it is still those morals that are attempted to be codified into law.  Something is considered right or wrong. That is why I was careful to describe it in terms of "moral/right" and "immoral/wrong".   It does not matter if your morals come from religious teachings, philosophical dogmas, politically designed social contracts, historical study, or some other source, whatever the morals are for the people that is what gets established. Typically the local population defines as right and wrong, moral and immoral, for their society.  


The law is still generally based on encoding the predominant local moral beliefs.


Bringing it back around, most (but not all) of the world has decided, based on their own morals or beliefs of right and wrong, that prostitution is "wrong" and encoded it as such in their law.  And similarly further back along the discussion, most societies have said it is "right" for police officers to investigate crimes under cover, and in order to be under cover they often will be called on to do things typically considered "wrong", within certain limits, such as possessing contraband being allowed but murdering to protect their cover is not.  And then back to the beginning, that in order to catch people who are defrauding people about school (doing "wrong"), to set up a fake school ("wrong") where fraudsters will operate so they can be caught.


Well, maybe this is just a question of semantics, or maybe I don't understand what you mean. As you said, morals define the difference between "right and wrong" or "good and bad."


Generally speaking, those concepts are considered to be something altogether distinct from things like utility and pleasure. Something can be pleasurable without necessarily being moral (or immoral). Likewise, something can be useful without needing to be either moral or immoral. That distinction is in fact the fundamental basis of the social contract theory.


Social contract theory says that there are circumstances in which people acting rationally in a society will create laws based only on the concepts of utility and self-interest, even if that society doesn't initially have any sense of right and wrong. I think my example of stealing still holds up: my friends and I will enter into a contract (i.e. create a law + system of enforcement) that prevents us all from stealing, despite the fact that none of us consider stealing to be wrong, or bad, or immoral. Note that each member of the society would rationally, for reasons of self interest alone, and decisions based on self interest don't have any implicit morality or "goodness." The same result follows even if we replace my friends and I with simulations or mathematical models. That is, in fact, precisely what made the theory of social contracts so groundbreaking: it represents an explanation for how laws arise without morality.


Even if you argue that the creation of this law automatically means that we feel stealing is "wrong" on some level (which I disagree with, again, because I would still make the rational choice to forbid stealing even if I didn't consider it to be "immoral" or even ascribe meaning to the word "immoral" in the first place), that's still different that saying that the law represents that morality.


Consider another example: my friend and I discover an island and decide to split it up evenly between the two of us. In this case, it's perhaps justifiable to say that we chose to divide it up evenly because that's the "right" thing to do. That's as far as the "rightness" goes, though. Once it comes time to actually putting this into law, we have to do more, like specifying precisely who gets which piece of land and what happens when we break this rule. If we agree on a law that says that I get the east half and my friend gets the west half and that this is enforced by a fence patrolled by robotic birds, it'd be very strange to say that that represents the inherent morality or rightness of "westness," "eastness," or giant robotic birds. We create these specific stipulations not because they reflect our society's moral beliefs but because they are useful to us, in that they assure that we each get to keep our own half of the island.


All I'm claiming is that the notion that all law necessarily codifies what society considers moral requires, fundamentally, adopting a concept of morality that no longer distinguishes morality from utility. I don't think that's a particularly useful concept, whereas I think that social contract theory does provide some useful predictive power in the domain of individuals acting within rational self interest. I find it almost akin to the idea of evolution vs. creation (not necessarily in a religious sense).


Before natural selection was proposed as a process that drives the evolution of species, "creation" was the best way we could explain it. Once the theory of natural selection was developed and shown to have predictive power, you could say "that is still creation,"  but at that point the definition of "creation" has lost all usefulness as the basis for the development of species.


EDIT: Here's an even better example of law without morality: in the island example, imagine that, instead of discovering the island with my friend, I built the island and had been living there for 20 years. Then my "friend" comes and decides that he wants the island. I think he's likely to kill me if I try to keep the island for myself, and the robot birds are only willing to enforce a law that we both agree to. I'll willingly and rationally enter into a contract that let's me have half of the island, since the alternative is probably dying, and my "friend" will willingly and rationally enter into the contract because he only needs half of the island and doesn't want to bother/risk killing me just to get the whole thing. This is a perfectly valid law, but the law itself does not encode or represent any "morality" whatsoever. There are plenty of laws just like this in all modern countries that I know of.