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Bret Victor on Humane Representations

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Hello all!

I haven't been as active the past week on the project as I should have, but luckily for me, Bret Victor released a new talk the other day that shows what he's been working on.

In case you don't know about Bret Victor, he's a man that I have a massive amount of respect for. He's most well known for his talk on "Inventing on Principle," but I know him best (and resonate most deeply with him) through his "Kill Math" initiative (http://worrydream.com/KillMath/). In it, he says that mathematics, as it currently stands, is unsuitable for the types of problems we face on a day to day basis. The mathematics that we all learn and are taught in school is the type that was most useful for people a couple thousand years ago, but not necessarily for today.

So he's been coming up with ideas and prototypes the last couple of years to explore different ways of looking at problems, different ways of viewing programming, different ways to approach math. I may not agree with a lot of things he says, but the thing that impresses me so much is that he's trying. He's starting the conversation about how to bring things like mathematics and programming down to a more approachable level by completely reinventing it, or trying to view it in a different light, sort of how Paul Lockhart was trying to get people to approach mathematics.

Actually, on second thought, I'm really bad at explaining what it is that he talks about. Just read the Kill Math link above. You'll get what I'm trying to say.

Anyways, he released a talk the other day about his latest line of work (no demos, unfortunately) about how the mediums that we work with keep us in a cage. His biggest point was that "intellectual work" today means staring at this little glowing rectangle, and not really utilizing any of your senses besides your sight. He says that it's analogous to working with music by only interacting with sheet music, without any sort of audio. And this, he says, in inhumane, and that we wants to fix it.

Here's the video:

Unfortunately, the talk is a little on the boring side after the halfway mark, but he's gained enough of my respect to get my full undivided attention when he talks.

The non-euclidean project

The project I've been writing about for the last month or so or more doesn't really have anything to show for itself in terms of progress. One major game-breaking bug was fixed (and it took a while too!). Instead of trying to pre-predict how the geometry of the levels were going to transform, I decided instead to distort the geometry fist, and then do a second pass over the warped geometry to try to figure out the optimal way to warp it. And BOOM! No more getting caught on corners, and no more edge bugs! biggrin.png

It always humors me just how little code it takes to fix things sometimes. And those 10 lines or so take a long time to write, and they're very finicky to wrinkle out the details and bugs and whatnot. But when's all said and done, it was 10 lines that solved a massive bug. And that's always a happy feeling!

Happy new years everyone! See you guys around next year! biggrin.png
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