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Member Since 31 Mar 2003
Offline Last Active Jul 19 2014 10:42 AM

#4895882 How to be re-inspired?

Posted by Eelco on 20 December 2011 - 03:29 PM

Unfortunately, you stated no goal, so there is nothing to 'give up' -- learning programming is about setting goals and completing them. Right now, I've'nt got a clue what your goal is -- state it and we can help.

I guess this is rather personal, but that would have been terrible advice to me. Ive been hung up on completing things in the past; but after I realized I do this for nobody but myself, I stopped torturing myself (that is, until i got a job that consist mostly of programming, but luckily I have loads of freedom there too). If you are doing this as a hobby, just follow your fancy and do whatever feels fun in the moment; who cares what the end result is? And when nothing feels fun in the moment, programming wise, thats when you should go play a game or do something different altogether. When nothing feels fun in the moment, period, thats when you should consider if you are depressed or not.

#4895783 How to be re-inspired?

Posted by Eelco on 20 December 2011 - 11:18 AM

C(++) is a horrible language for most purposes, especially education.

Learn a more friendly language with better tools, and if you insist on using a language with access violations and buffer overruns, do it in small and well targetted doses.

My recommendations: learn C# or D if you want to stay close to C(++); D is more C++ like (like C++ minus the legacy bullshit) but C# has the better toolchain, hands down. Or trade C# for Java if you dont mind trading 20 years of incremental insight into language design for increased cross-platform deployment.

If you are worried about getting stuff done in general, python seems like the place to be. Nice language, good tools, huge community and libraries.

All of the above (except java) have excellent integration with C.

#4895499 Your most memorable childhood game?

Posted by Eelco on 19 December 2011 - 04:16 PM

Zelda OOT for emotional engagement.

Unreal Tournament for peaking my adenaline levels.

All games that really stuck with me had an excellent soundtrack. Such an underappreciated aspect of games, it seems like they paid more attention to it in the 90ies; or maybe im just getting old.

#4895493 Functional languages in gamedev

Posted by Eelco on 19 December 2011 - 04:07 PM

I did a mapgen in F# once as a 'real' project since the problem fit the language fairly nicely and it could integrate with the rest of the C# game. I don't remember really how it went. Probably not so well given my inexperience with F# at the time.

In general, it's a solution looking for a problem. People, even programmers, just don't think in that sort of 'cascading series of functions' manner; certainly not for anything sizable.

Well, referential transparency and deep immutability are quite generally useful tools in my opinion that deserve to be used a lot more. Tools, that is, that I would wish to be able to opt into whenever I want, instead of getting them shoved down my throat, after which I have to take a doctorate in CS to relearn how to print to the command line using monad-magic.

I am quite eagerly waiting for D 2.0 to mature. It is still buggy at present, but it has the right idea: being able to mark functions as pure, and being able to declare data as deeply immutable. That, plus functions as first class citizens, is basically all I want from the functional world.

On an unrelated note, I heartily despise the terseness of most functional languages. I dont care if you can reduce the syntax of your language to lambda-calculus, I want to be able to see the structure of my code at a glance. I think python has the right idea there. Make whitespace a rule rather than a convention, ditch the damn braces, and use descriptive names for operators rather than cryptic symbols. Code gets read a lot more often than it is written, and writing do_useful_operation isnt really that much more work than writing '%^, but its a lot easier to parse to the human eye. Functional language designers seem to have all the wrong ideas here, that kind of hacker mentality which boils down to not realizing brainf*ck was never anything but an example of what not to do.

#4895011 Which Country Should I Move To?

Posted by Eelco on 18 December 2011 - 10:00 AM

I don't believe that the American system is sustainable for all the programs we have.

Taxation is not what pays for government spending, because under a fiat system the government is not revenue constrained. [...]

Small piece of advice: being correct is not enough in such discussions. If you want to be taken seriously, you also have to make sure that the out-of-band signals you're sending are good. For example: don't sound condescending or offensive. "Huh?" is a bad way to start your comment. It is never a good way to start if your ultimate goal is to convince the other person (or, more likely, some bystanders).

Minor irony based on a true story: upon reading that post you quoted I though; oh there we have the local condescending MMT nut again. But 'Prune' didnt ring a bell.

'Prefect', thats the name I was thinking of :).

#4889985 I spent high school in front of my computer

Posted by Eelco on 02 December 2011 - 07:20 PM

Im 100% with promit.

By all means, follow your heart, and if that involves chasing skirts, go ahead.

As for me, I dont regret spending my teens behind my computer; I think my assessment that chasing skirts was a waste of time then was an accurate one; its the rare teenage boy that gets a shot at anything worth having, and I certainly wasnt one of them. My twenties have felt like a much better time for all that, and it doesnt seem like the good times will stop rolling anytime soon.

On the other hand, I pity the fools who try to become programmers in their twenties. Its like learning to play an instrument or human language at a later age. Sure, it can be fun, and you might even develop some degree of skill, but I wouldnt be able to stand all the people coding circles around me.

#4889631 [Stupid question] What is the internet?

Posted by Eelco on 01 December 2011 - 05:52 PM

The article in Wikipedia fails to cite that quote.

Fair enough; that places it on equal footing with your quote.

Given this divergence of opinions, and keeping an open mind as to which is the more credible source here, we should at the very least warn the impressionable parts of our audience that the jury is still out on this one, lest theyd be rash and accept your worldview without further questioning. Because then they would be completely wrong.

Well, enough getting out of topic.

Yeah. Admitting your mistake is probably the shortest way out.

#4882587 Loyalty and cowardace in America

Posted by Eelco on 10 November 2011 - 08:13 AM

Isnt school supposed to be the place where you worry about spelling rather than sports?

#4880114 Are 99%ers poking fingers at a failure of capitalism?

Posted by Eelco on 03 November 2011 - 07:20 AM

Define 'society in general'.

The global population is massively better off now than it was 50 years ago. A lot has happened since then, like the global supply of low/unskilled labor expanding by an order of magnitude or so, through the end of the cold war and asia dragging itself out of the mud.

If by society in general, you mean the american car factory laborer; yeah, that society has had a few setbacks, related to the above. But its a rather narrow definition.

#4866333 Possible neutrinos travel faster than light

Posted by Eelco on 27 September 2011 - 12:43 AM

I don't think this has been pointed out before: the observation of the 1987a supernova suggests very strongly that neutrinos travel at exactly the speed of light to very large precision. So this new observation should be taken with a lot of salt.

Well; the neutrinos did in fact come three hours earlier; a fact that we managed to rationalize by our model of how light escapes from the core; but then again, how much do we really know about that? Three hours is still very small relative to the OPERA findings, but to use the word 'exactly' seems unwarranted; I think there is a large margin of error here.

Besides, the neutrinos from OPERA are far higher energy, and the particles from the supernova have been moving through a medium which is rather different from our terrestial one, which might matter in some yet to be determined way.

That said, this is the main reason that makes me suspect that what we are to get from all this is a more accurate GPS system, not new physics.

#4866066 Possible neutrinos travel faster than light

Posted by Eelco on 26 September 2011 - 08:11 AM

It would also rattle the cage we live in very unexpected ways. For instance, sending information back (and possibly forth) in time might all of a sudden become a practical problem rather than a theoretical one.

In other words, if these results were to be confirmed, we could be in for quite a ride.

Let me preempt a few pages of rambling nonsense: no, that 'might' not happen by any reasonable interpretation of the word 'might'. Relativity never even hinted at the possibility of time travel (im affraid you are confusing relativity theory and science fiction), and neither will whatever theory comes out of this. All we know theoretically and experimentally is that one can put a damper on the passage of time; nowhere is it implied that one can qualitatively change the arrow of time, infact relativity theory explicitly requires this cannot be done, and this experiment doesnt change a single thing about that fact.

The core ideas behind relativity will remain firmly standing of course, notwithstanding sensationalism to the contrary. This result is entirely consistent with the notion of a fundamental speed limit to propagation through the vacuum; and all this entails, ie the core tennets of relativity theory. Perhaps just like most particles, photons dont quite reach that maximum speed. The vacuum is to photons less 'empty' than to neutrinos, since a photon would interact much more strongly with whatever there does be, in terms of quantum fluctuations or trace amounts of particles, so it makes sense from that point of view; if mass isnt the only interaction to hinder a particle from moving through the vacuum at full speed, then neutrinos would be a good contender to photons for the candidate of fastest particle, since they are very light indeed and barely interact with anything at all, as opposed to the rather promiscuous photons.

The upheaval will mainly be theoretical rather than practical. String theory or other hubristic frameworks which start out by taking the speed of light as an axiomatic property are all in rather deep trouble if this will be confirmed.

#4832474 We could live to be a 1000. No really, a scientist said so.

Posted by Eelco on 07 July 2011 - 02:29 PM

Glad to see someone standing up to this bullshit, for bullshit it is.

Death is designed into our whole being. You dying happens not by accident any more than you shedding skin cells. As the multicellular organism you are, it is advantagous to continue working with a subset of them every now and then, whether its you shedding skin cells or shedding all cells but your germ line. Infact it is an essential mechanism for maintaining cooperation between these multiple cells.

Our body emerges by a route of embryological development which generally does not carry any explicit information as to how our body is to be organized. If you cut off your finger, it does not grow back, and thats but a metaphor for the vast majority of processes going on in our bodies which are irreversible, taking damage from the forces of entropy without having anything resembling a clue or even a will as to how to counter that. We are as close to designing humans from scratch as we are to having them regrow a finger; similarly, we have nothing even resembling anything of a clue how to redesign our brain from the ground up to be entirely renewable indefinitly (and thats what it would take), rather than the machine designed to wither that it in fact is.

Not that longlevity research is a waste of time; I dont doubt that pushing our design to its best could easily yield a decade of good health here and there. But there is nothing to believe anyone is going to grow a thousand years old, anytime soon.

It saddens me to see that so many otherwise intelligent people fall for the silly mixture of extrapolations and plain science fiction that entertainers like this peddle. Youve got to love like his pretending to actually 'work' on any of these therapies; i used to dwell in a bay area social circle buzzing with these types, knowing some of the figurehead personally, and trust me, there isnt any person who actually ever enters a biology lab who pays any mind to these people (SENS, methusula foundation, whathaveyou). They are just a bunch of grown up science fiction geeks that like to make themselves feel important by making it seem like they are the leader of a movement. And it gives the papers something to write about, so everybody is happy, no?

#4825892 Minecraft

Posted by Eelco on 21 June 2011 - 03:19 AM

One thing I'm extremely curious about is how the map generation works exactly. I suppose what Notch (head creator of game) did was start small with a 2D map generator, and expand upon that. One other thing that I like about the maps is that they are INFINITE. You can build in any set of unique areas. Somehow that was a quality I always wanted in a game.

I hate to say that this is "easy" but it is really just basic math. Here's an example using basic value noise. Gradient noise like perlin noise works better. Then you have things like fractal noise. Read this.

Essentially noise can be generated in any dimension you want. You can even generate 3D noise and use the 3rd axis as time for animation. The trick is finding and combining noise functions and normalize and smooth in a sane way. Some of it is simply magic numbers.

Your opinion is rather wrong. Of course generating a fractal isnt any kind of rocket science (although making them do anything that doesnt seem terribly boring after the initial amazement isnt that easy either). But after the minecraft terrain is generated, its freely manipulable, as a frigging volume. All terrain that has even been manipulated (which tends to happen a lot in minecraft) also needs to be stored in memory from that point on. Actually I think youd even need to store all terain that has ever been seen, considering there is a lot of dynamic stuff like tree growth and monster spawning going on, even when these areas are nothing even remotely resembling being in view.

I myself am pretty amazed at how well minecraft handles this. These worlds are not just infinite in theory; there are videos in which people actually build insanely long roads for instance, without showing any signs of slowing down. I havnt seen its equal yet

#4819723 The Moon will provide us with constant Solar energy

Posted by Eelco on 05 June 2011 - 06:14 AM

Ah, the joys of seeing software engineers talking about building real stuff.

Heres the deal: this plan is utterly ridiculous. Yes, a solar panel in space has a marginally increased eficiency as compared to one on land. But then you have to transmit across the athmosphere anyway: oops. And then its a few orders of magnitude more expensive: oops.

This is baloney if there ever was any.

#4808578 Antihydrogen Trapped For 1000 Seconds

Posted by Eelco on 09 May 2011 - 09:45 AM

If all of you are complaining that Taby is trolling, then why do you continue to feed the alleged troll?

Because the alleged troll is damaging his brain every day he goes on like this, and turning what might be just a bad trip into the cultivation of a condition with questionable properties such as a 50% lifetime suicide rate?