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Comment Re:+ / - 5.12 is a lot of difference (Score 3, Insightful) 206

The score is about equivalent to being a rook down without compensation. Even strong club players could beat computers from such positions. Of course, what it really hinges on is Rybka's ability to evaluate the notion of compensation, but I can believe that the percentage of positions Rybka evaluates at -5.12 or worse in which there exists a win for the 'weaker' side is very small. So, yes, not a proof, but a strong practical indicator.

Comment Naturally (Score 3) 155

Surely any competitive system to select people for desirable posts is going to encourage dubious behaviour? Those editorials don't seem to offer very significant changes, just new metrics for people to game. It's not just academia either - every career where your value is measured by some proxy metrics is going to see unethical behaviour from people near the cut-off.

Comment Re:Give it a rest (Score 0) 146

The atmospheric pressure on Mars is quite variable, from 0.0044 bar to 1.15 bar (if it sea like ours, one entire hemisphere would be under water). The figure you've quoted seems to be from around as high as you can go. The other end of the scale is around earth normal or even a bit higher. Temperatures are also more hospitable. Also, Lunar dust gets everywhere. There is no simple answer here.

Submission + - Foundation "dismayed" at publication of public domain manuscript (

john83 writes: The Irish Times reports that publication of a new children’s story by a Dublin publishing house has been criticised by The Zürich James Joyce Foundation, which owns the original manuscript of the story. In a statement, the foundation said it “never permitted, tolerated, condoned or connived in this publication, and it rigidly dissociates itself from it”.

The Dublin publisher, Ithys, said the unpublished works of James Joyce were in the public domain as of January 1st. The attempt by “the Zürich Joyce Centre” (sic) proprietarily to assert some right on the document was “preposterous”. “The said centre has no rights in law in the copyright of the papers donated (given free) by Dr Jahnke.”

The stated goals of The Zurich James Joyce Foundation include "... keeping alive the memory and work of the Irish writer James Joyce ..."

Joyce died in January 1941.

Comment Re:The only people in the world and the party that (Score 2) 156

Does it bother you at all that that is not at all what he said? I ask because it makes me sad to see a human being incapable of parsing a very simple piece of text. Many people are dispirited by the realpolitik practised by most parties with any actual power, by the lobbying power of industries and of special interest groups with views which appear grotesque or simply stupid, and by political corruption. Furthermore, many countries have voting systems which are conservative - the populace tend to vote for the incumbents, or oscillate between two power blocks which are not radically different from one another. To state that most parties appear not to represent ones beliefs is very different from saying that one has almost no beliefs. Democracy, as it is currently practised, is certainly not a pleasant sight for an idealist. I'd do something about it, but I don't think I have the stamina, money, cynicism and skills. At least I can understand a simple post though.

Comment Re:uses each key once (Score 1) 234

It is, but not of the kind they were looking to avoid. There are Costas arrays without that pattern, but they're not known for sizes over 28 x 28. They're called 'sporadic' arrays, and they're actually the most common type for small sizes (there are infinitely many generated by field theory, but that's not a fair comparison as we can't find large sporadic arrays).

Comment Re:Wha? (Score 2) 234

I'm note a musical guy, but I understand the maths, so I'll try to answer this.

It would help if there were some definitions for "random" and "pattern-free" in this context. I find it annoying that he several times says that random music is not pattern-free.

1. He never plays the same note twice. (A Costas array is a permutation) In a random piece, the same note can (and probably will) appear more than once.
2. If he plays middle A, then middle B (consecutive notes), he'll never play consecutive notes (e.g. C_0 and D_0) again. 3. If he plays middle A, then something else, then middle B, he'll never play consecutive notes spaced by another note again. 4. If he plays middle A, then two other notes, then middle B, he'll never play consecutive notes spaced by two other notes again. 5. etc. 6. The same applies to pairs of notes two notes apart (e.g. middle A and middle C), three notes apart, etc. 7. Finally, he uses a Golomb ruler for the spacing between notes. I'm note quite sure what he did there, but possibly each spacing is unique. Can someone else explain? At any rate, a Golomb ruler defines unique gaps such that you get every possible gap between some pair of marks on it. (Think of a 4 cm ruler with 0 cm, 1 cm, 2 cm and 4 cm marked on it. You don't need a mark at 3 cm because you can get that from the gap between the 1 cm mark and the 4 cam mark.)

It is true that their definitions are not equivalent, but it seems that he is implying that you cannot generate "pattern-free" music using randomly played notes, and that -depending of the definition of "pattern-free" of course- seems very, very unlikely.

Can't is note quite true, but won't is more like it. Consider 3.14159265358979323 - the first 18 digits of pie. Random digits? Maybe (randomness, as you note, needs to be defined). However, look at triplets: 141, 535, 979, 323. Played as music, people will hear repetitions like that. Or at least, that seems to be the theory; I have no ear for these things to test it. Maybe you can hear them?

Comment Re:More! (Score 1) 234

There are additional possible solutions. They used an 88x88 Costas array for the notes, and a length 88 Golomb ruler for the intervals. I'm not sure how many Golomb rulers there are of that size, but there are more Costas arrays of that size - at least as many as there are primitive roots of 89.

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