Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:Yay! (Score 1) 440

This flaw of being "human" seems amazingly similar to the how animals fight and posture over one another to ensure the ongoing survival of their groups and themselves. The only difference is that humans try to justify their motives, where animals simply act. So, are the animals better or worse than us because they don't carry a concept of right and wrong?

And more to the point, why do we care about whether our actions and motives are justified, when we already know our actions are probably going to harm others, anyway? If it really mattered one way or the other, we simply wouldn't act to begin with... right?

The only reason we even bother with such trivial matters as self-justification is due to our fear of the unknown. The big question of what happens after we die... RELIGION!

And you know what? Practically every major war fought here on earth has been over religion!

So, it's no longer simply us trying to console ourselves that our own wrong-doing to wards others is justified... but now we harm one another because one side believes their justifications are greater than the justifications of those on the other side... and as a result, either side's attempt to back down before the blood has been spilled would be interpretted as a weakness of that side's justifications for fighting in the first place.

In other words, both sides must fight because not fighting is far more unjustified than the act of fighting in itself. Most likely, the side that eventually did refuse to fight would probably end up being seen as such a disgrace that they aren't even deserving of life... either to themselves or to their enemy. Those who don't die will probably end up wishing they had... as failing to fight means they abandoned their values to survive.

But while we're entertaining ourselves on this... what's the ultimate solution where no one fights, no one loses, etc.... aka, the path where the utopia is at the end? Do we all network our brains together into one massive hive mind, allowing our individuality to give way to a shared mind that''s been artificially "normalized" by a massive machine that literally polls every human mind on earth over every conflict of interest, and having the majority favored interest become the single interest of every person on earth in one fell swoop, then repeated again and again until we all end up being the exact same person as the guy standing next to us, recurrsively?

Comment Re:Evolution (Score 1) 405

That's pretty amazing to think about... not just one massive tree of ever evolving lifeforms, but perhaps several competing in parallel with one another throughout history. Completely incompatible strains of life endlessly competing with each other for dominance over resources, potentially altering the environment itself to the point that one strain wins out over the other as the loser is slowly being killed off by same world they once thrived in. Perhaps such competition might better explain some of the more major evolutionary changes in lifeforms, versus the far more subtle evolutionary changes between similar species that can simply be defined as minor mutations that made certain lifeforms slightly more successful at survival than their non-mutated counterparts.

Classic Games (Games)

Pac-Man's Ghost Behavior Algorithms 194

An anonymous reader writes "This article has a very interesting description of the algorithms behind the ghosts in Pac-Man. I had no idea about most of this information, but that's probably because it's difficult to study the ghosts when I die every 30 seconds. Quoting: 'The ghosts are always in one of three possible modes: Chase, Scatter, or Frightened. The "normal" mode with the ghosts pursuing Pac-Man is Chase, and this is the one that they spend most of their time in. While in Chase mode, all of the ghosts use Pac-Man's position as a factor in selecting their target tile, though it is more significant to some ghosts than others. In Scatter mode, each ghost has a fixed target tile, each of which is located just outside a different corner of the maze. This causes the four ghosts to disperse to the corners whenever they are in this mode. Frightened mode is unique because the ghosts do not have a specific target tile while in this mode. Instead, they pseudorandomly decide which turns to make at every intersection.'"

Submission + - Spherical Processors? 1

Bones3D_mac writes: After playing around with a batch of silly putty filled with iron filings and a powerful magnet, I noticed the stuff would always form back up into a perfect sphere no matter how much I tried deforming it, which got me thinking... has anyone ever thought of using something like this to develop a processor of some kind?

If you think about it, a sphere is a good shape to work with if you're cramped for space (a problem processor manufactures are already faced with). Spheres offer the most usable surface area within a confined space. Also, using just the surface area alone would allow for a radical new approach to processor design, simply due to the fact that circuit pathways could physically go on forever as there is no end to the surface of a sphere. A processor map could repeat into itself recursively for as many times as one could ever need. And to access the processor, one would only need to encase it into a shell of electrodes touching it's surface, sort of like wiring up a golf ball at every dimple, but at a much larger scale.

And that much is just using the surface area...

But what if we take it a step further and find a way to use the entire volume of the sphere to create circuit pathways, accessible from the surface, but where each electrode can access every other electrode attached to the sphere using the shortest possible route through the sphere's volume rather than longer pathways along the surface?

This is where the silly putty comes in... what if instead of mere iron filings, the sphere were made of a more processor friendly set of materials that could reshape their processing pathways on the fly as needed?

My guess is that if you had three of these spheres (one in a static configuration for basic processing and two dynamically reconfigurable spheres) the dynamic spheres could perform specialized tasks by offloading processing jobs on each other as the other reconfigures for the next task, as needed. The more spheres you have, the more data you can process at any time. (Perhaps using some sort of neural networking algorithms to define the configuration needed from each sphere...)

Any thoughts?

Comment Re:fishheads, fishheads,... (Score 1) 206

I actually have an original record of Napoleon XIV's "They're coming to take me away" single from the mid-60's!

The neat thing about it, is that it's among the earliest known pieces of media to include an "easter egg". If you flipped the record over and played it, it played the song backwards!

There were other attempts at similar easter eggs from other groups around the same time like the beatles and pink floyd, which would cause effects like a record with an infinite playback time, such as some copies of The Captain & Tenile's single, "Muskrat Love", which simply caused the needle to skip back into the previous groove upon reaching the end. Others were more clever, like records featuring parallel grooves, effectively doubling the density of the playback surface. Depending on which side of the groove you dropped the needle onto, you'd get completely different content from the same side of the record. British comedy group Monty Python released such a record around that time period. Many have referred to it as the "three sided record"

Comment Well... (Score 1) 821

... at least they didn't decide to go with a pictogram showing a photo of a freshly pinched-off and steaming turd as part of the title.

Perhaps CBS's mistake was not starting with something much more vulgar like that and then bartering down to $#*!.

Comment Re:They just learn all the types (Score 1) 64

Acquired versus earned knowledge could well be a huge factor in getting something like this to work.

Perhaps rather than using one A.I. system to recognize everything, what's needed are hundreds or thousands of specialized A.I. clusters, all working on specifically recognizing one particular kind of object by gathering as much property data as possible.

Then, hand that data down to the next tier of A.I. clusters charged with recognizing several kinds of similar objects using pattern recognition on the data from the previous clusters to accomplish that task. If this level fails to identify the object at hand, it could dump the task back out to the previous tier to either gather more data or move onto a different A.I. cluster altogether. On the other hand, if it succeeds, and "kind of" recognizes some elements, it could send it's own pattern recognition data down to the next tier to be compared against pattern recognition data from other pattern recognition clusters in the same tier and have an A.I. cluster locate patterns in that data set.

I would think at some point, it would be possible for such a system to recognize any object it's ever encountered... or, using neural nets, attempt to make an educated guess based on the number of similar properties the object on hand has with the properties on file that had been used in attempting to identify the object.

Comment This issue has come up before... (Score 1) 286

Anyone remember the infamous JibJab issue over their use of the tune to "This Land Was Made For You And Me" but replacing the lyrics to poke fun at GWB? JibJab almost lost painfully to the original songwriter's estate after it was determined that their use of the tune was to satirize Bush, rather than to satirize the song itself, meaning JibJab wouldn't be entitled to coverage under satire protections laws that artists like Weird Al Yankovic use regularly in the production of their parodies. Had the song's copyright been properly renewed by the song writer's estate, JibJab would have had to pay out royalties for their use of the tune.

I imagine the same applies here. If you aren't using satire to satirize the song itself for the song's sake, then it's a derivative work that requires the copyright holder to be compensated.

Comment Black-listing (Score 1) 510

So, is it possible to reliably black list someone from a specific state from your server without knowing at least some "personally identifiable information" about a user prior to their inital connection attempt? If nothing else, you probably know enough about that connection attempt to identify where it was made from if you could reliably block it by location, just from the activity logs, right?

So are you screwed even if you specifically choose not to do business with the state over this?

Comment Brick and Mortar (Score 1) 229

Much like many older "brick and mortar" stores have had to do to survive over the years, libraries need to follow suit. They either need to feature a very strong online presence (as in actually useful) or merge their resources together into a massive central location that's easily accessible and relatively clean/safe.

In recent years, libraries have gotten a bad rap for stock-housing materials that are so outdated that the materials themselves are either no longer relevant or are now historically inaccurate. These days, no one trusts anything printed over a decade ago, mainly because that's the point where the internet really started to take root in our culture. For many of us, if content isn't constantly updated as more information becomes available, the source of the content loses it's credibility.

Given how we tend to act within our own culture, our school systems have pretty much changed to adapt. As such, it's very likely that any student that goes to a library to study in the manner our generation did 15-20 years ago (nose buried deep in a book) would probably not get a decent grade. There's also the potential problem that having been born into a post-internet-boom world, they may not be able to adapt to information retrieval in that manner. It's possible that even being faced with such a task for prolonged period of time would trigger several bouts of cognitive overload. As it is, the current protocol this generation uses for handling information is to obtain it in short chunks at high speeds, relative to an information terminal... versus earlier generations who dealt with information in slower, longer chunks. The further back in time you go, the slower and longer these information chunks become, relative to our technological advancement. (books->newsprint->telephone->radio->television->personal computers->internet)

At any rate, libraries should not be trying to play up the whole "books are cool" line, and should be focusing more on how to adapt themselves to the demand for high speed information exchange. It might even make more sense for a company like Google to simply buy every library in every community, and turn them into data centers. Perhaps even establish some sort of proprietary network outside of the internet that would facilitate nothing but the absolute highest speed searches possible, then let the public utilize it via terminals at these libraries.

Comment Why stop there? (Score 1) 461

Why stop there when these companies could just sell the game engine alone on discs for $9.95 in a jewel case, then sell the user the content entirely as DLC subject to the "no refunds" policy at $40 as a form of "activation"? That way, if anyone rushes to buy the next big title of the season for $10, then decides they don't like it, the most they could get back is the $9.95, while the game manufacturers get to pocket the remaining $40 each time some poor sucker gets handed the same disc the manufacturer repackages over and over...

Comment Reminds me of a few things... (Score 1) 134

Back in the late 80s, we had a Big Lots come into town with their assorted piles of junk. Though, they did occasionally have some interesting stuff... like bins full of shrink-wrapped atari game carts for the 2600/5200/7800. (I probably had over 200 titles stockpiled at one point... and only one was that crappy ET game.)

Then during the early 90's, neighbor of mine asked me to come help them out with a computer problem on a machine they had just bought. When I got their, it turned out the problem was that they bought some ancient government clunker that took 8.5" floppies! If you can imagine it... picture trying to slide a floppy the size of an entire file folder into a drive barely big enough to hold it without bending the thing. It's nearly impossible!

Slashdot Top Deals

Torque is cheap.