Monday, June 29, 2015

[yjbbluin] KNK endgame without stalemate

In a chess variant in which stalemate is a loss, or more specifically, an extreme form of zugzwang, King and Knight can sometimes checkmate/stalemate a bare King.  The longest checkmate on a 6x6 board is Mate in 33 moves, considerably longer than in any of the square board sizes 3x3 (mate in 4), 4x4 (mate in 12), 5x5 (mate in 17), 7x7 (mate in 15), 8x8 (mate in 14), 9x9 (mate in 14), 10x10 (mate in 14), 11x11 (mate in 14), 12x12 (mate in 14).

Here are the mate lengths for different rectangular and square boards of area 166 or less, in order of descending longest KNvK mate.  The columns are "number of rows", "number of columns", "distance to mate". For example, a 27 by 6 rectangular board has mate in 221.  There is appears to be something special about 6xN boards.

[ 27 6 221 ; 26 6 213 ; 25 6 203 ; 24 6 194 ; 55 3 186 ; 23 6 184 ; 54 3 182 ; 53 3 178 ; 33 5 177 ; 22 6 176 ; 52 3 175 ; 51 3 171 ; 32 5 170 ; 41 4 167 ; 50 3 167 ; 21 6 166 ; 31 5 165 ; 49 3 163 ; 40 4 162 ; 30 5 159 ; 48 3 159 ; 39 4 158 ; 20 6 157 ; 47 3 156 ; 29 5 154 ; 38 4 154 ; 46 3 152 ; 37 4 150 ; 45 3 148 ; 19 6 147 ; 28 5 147 ; 36 4 145 ; 44 3 144 ; 27 5 142 ; 35 4 141 ; 43 3 141 ; 18 6 139 ; 34 4 137 ; 42 3 137 ; 26 5 136 ; 33 4 133 ; 41 3 133 ; 25 5 131 ; 17 6 129 ; 40 3 129 ; 32 4 128 ; 39 3 125 ; 24 5 124 ; 31 4 124 ; 16 6 121 ; 38 3 121 ; 30 4 120 ; 23 5 119 ; 37 3 118 ; 29 4 116 ; 36 3 114 ; 22 5 113 ; 15 6 111 ; 28 4 111 ; 35 3 110 ; 21 5 108 ; 27 4 107 ; 34 3 107 ; 26 4 103 ; 33 3 103 ; 14 6 102 ; 20 5 101 ; 25 4 99 ; 32 3 99 ; 19 5 96 ; 31 3 96 ; 24 4 94 ; 13 6 93 ; 30 3 92 ; 18 5 90 ; 23 4 90 ; 29 3 88 ; 22 4 86 ; 17 5 85 ; 12 6 84 ; 28 3 84 ; 21 4 82 ; 27 3 80 ; 16 5 79 ; 20 4 77 ; 26 3 76 ; 11 6 74 ; 15 5 74 ; 19 4 73 ; 25 3 73 ; 18 4 69 ; 24 3 69 ; 14 5 68 ; 10 6 67 ; 23 3 66 ; 17 4 65 ; 13 5 63 ; 22 3 62 ; 16 4 61 ; 21 3 58 ; 12 5 57 ; 9 6 57 ; 15 4 56 ; 20 3 54 ; 14 4 53 ; 11 5 52 ; 19 3 50 ; 13 4 48 ; 8 6 48 ; 10 5 46 ; 18 3 46 ; 12 4 45 ; 17 3 43 ; 9 5 43 ; 7 6 42 ; 83 2 42 ; 11 4 41 ; 16 3 41 ; 81 2 41 ; 82 2 41 ; 79 2 40 ; 80 2 40 ; 77 2 39 ; 78 2 39 ; 15 3 38 ; 75 2 38 ; 76 2 38 ; 10 4 37 ; 73 2 37 ; 74 2 37 ; 8 5 37 ; 71 2 36 ; 72 2 36 ; 14 3 35 ; 69 2 35 ; 70 2 35 ; 67 2 34 ; 68 2 34 ; 13 3 33 ; 6 6 33 ; 65 2 33 ; 66 2 33 ; 9 4 33 ; 63 2 32 ; 64 2 32 ; 61 2 31 ; 62 2 31 ; 12 3 30 ; 59 2 30 ; 60 2 30 ; 7 5 30 ; 57 2 29 ; 58 2 29 ; 8 4 29 ; 55 2 28 ; 56 2 28 ; 11 3 27 ; 53 2 27 ; 54 2 27 ; 51 2 26 ; 52 2 26 ; 6 5 26 ; 49 2 25 ; 50 2 25 ; 7 4 25 ; 10 3 24 ; 47 2 24 ; 48 2 24 ; 45 2 23 ; 46 2 23 ; 43 2 22 ; 44 2 22 ; 41 2 21 ; 42 2 21 ; 6 4 21 ; 9 3 21 ; 39 2 20 ; 40 2 20 ; 37 2 19 ; 38 2 19 ; 35 2 18 ; 36 2 18 ; 8 3 18 ; 33 2 17 ; 34 2 17 ; 5 5 17 ; 7 3 17 ; 31 2 16 ; 32 2 16 ; 10 7 15 ; 11 7 15 ; 12 7 15 ; 13 7 15 ; 14 7 15 ; 15 7 15 ; 16 7 15 ; 17 7 15 ; 18 7 15 ; 19 7 15 ; 20 7 15 ; 21 7 15 ; 22 7 15 ; 23 7 15 ; 29 2 15 ; 30 2 15 ; 5 4 15 ; 6 3 15 ; 7 7 15 ; 8 7 15 ; 9 7 15 ; 10 10 14 ; 10 8 14 ; 10 9 14 ; 11 10 14 ; 11 11 14 ; 11 8 14 ; 11 9 14 ; 12 10 14 ; 12 11 14 ; 12 12 14 ; 12 8 14 ; 12 9 14 ; 13 10 14 ; 13 11 14 ; 13 12 14 ; 13 8 14 ; 13 9 14 ; 14 10 14 ; 14 11 14 ; 14 8 14 ; 14 9 14 ; 15 10 14 ; 15 11 14 ; 15 8 14 ; 15 9 14 ; 16 10 14 ; 16 8 14 ; 16 9 14 ; 17 8 14 ; 17 9 14 ; 18 8 14 ; 18 9 14 ; 19 8 14 ; 20 8 14 ; 27 2 14 ; 28 2 14 ; 8 8 14 ; 9 8 14 ; 9 9 14 ; 25 2 13 ; 26 2 13 ; 23 2 12 ; 24 2 12 ; 4 4 12 ; 5 3 12 ; 21 2 11 ; 22 2 11 ; 19 2 10 ; 20 2 10 ; 17 2 9 ; 18 2 9 ; 4 3 9 ; 15 2 8 ; 16 2 8 ; 13 2 7 ; 14 2 7 ; 11 2 6 ; 12 2 6 ; 10 2 5 ; 9 2 5 ; 3 3 4 ; 7 2 4 ; 8 2 4 ; 5 2 3 ; 6 2 3 ; 3 2 1 ; 4 2 1 ; 2 2 0 ]

Source code

[nczaybed] Dream of change

Does Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech encourage both blacks and whites to change to achieve unity, or just whites to change?  His other speeches and writings?

Explored in the Boondocks episode "Return of the King".

[upyvdhvb] Dry ice corpse

Convert some portion of a dead body into a crystalline solid.  Unlike LifeGem and similar, convert both the carbon and oxygen into solid carbon dioxide.  The good news is carbon and oxygen comprise most of the mass of a body.  The bad news, of course, is it will need to be kept refrigerated to below -79 C or else the remains of your loved one will vaporize away.

Dry ice is typically a snow-like powder that has been compressed into pellets or blocks.  Can crystals or clear blocks like water ice be formed?

Extract the carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen to form a sugar crystal.

[nyzsuzjr] Redistribution panacea

Would income redistribution alone be sufficient, at least in the United States, to eliminate racial and social class conflicts?

The general idea starts with the fact that currently societal mechanisms related to race or social class will punish you a lot -- most notably in employment prospects and courtship -- if you don't follow their rules, a set of rules independent from the rule of law.  However, income redistribution would promise you a tolerable or comfortable life no matter how much you break such societal rules; you become beyond the reach of your group's societal punishment mechanisms, at least the severe ones.  For example, income redistribution can help after loss of support from family for marrying outside of the race, religion, or social class.

We might get a hint of the answer to the original question by examining other societies, looking for instances of pairs of groups within a society with similar income levels but there is significant conflict between them.  We also need to examine the severity of punishment for defecting out of your group.

Given the social safety net provided by income redistribution, optimistically there will be enough defectors that cross the social barriers (most notably for intermarriage) that the barriers will disappear, or at least diminish "enough".  It may take many generations.

Pessimistically, such a social safety net will result in the complete breakdown of society with catastrophic effects.  The societal rules provide order and allow trust relationships to form, and no longer needing to follow them, and the rule of law not having the resources to replace them, both order and trust disappear, leaving chaos.

Realistically, society will fight so hard against such income redistribution that it will never happen.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

[csxnytuy] Power sets of radicals

Identify a set of N radicals among Chinese characters (kanji) and 2^N characters which cover every possibility of presence or absence of those radicals.  They may contain more radicals outside of the set.

This provides a way to encode binary information, N bits per character.

Might be better for some slots to contain more than 2 possibilities, e.g., hats.

To maximize the difficulty of machines parsing the data, calligraphy.

Friday, June 26, 2015

[lmdyvqom] Transparent job security

To what extent are employers permitted, and able to, conceal their past pattern of firings and layoffs?

The goal is for a potential employee to gauge job security while considering a job offer.  On the other end, it causes employers to acquire a reputation, which may cost them in the labor market.

Consider regulation requiring more transparency.

A potential employee probably also needs information of promotion and wage raise rate.

[mcvbqyjp] Is homosexuality rational?

Enumerate and quantify the societal barriers a given person faces in achieving a fulfilling heterosexual relationship.

Similarly for homosexual.

Is there correlation indicative of a rational choice of sexual orientation to maximize utility?  This would be surprising, since people don't think they are making a choice.

If true, it suggests the structure of society influences sexual orientation.  But it might be tricky to determine the mechanism of causation, or even the direction.

[ojxrwnol] Find the corresponding information

Give the AI agent an example of a given type of information in one setting.  Tell it to go find the information for another setting.

Inspired by: I know where online to find certain municipal information for one city, but seek similar information for another city.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

[bnfzbxgk] Chemistry for kids

Is there any subset of chemistry that is interesting but quite safe even from serious mistakes?

Alternatively, maybe very rigorous safety equipment.  E.g., remotely operated.  Most extreme in that direction would be a video service in which a human chemist (or team) takes requests over the internet of reactions to run, and films and posts online the process.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

[wrepzhen] Whom can you trust?

You read something posted by a random person on the internet.  You, or more likely the operator of a social network working on your behalf, does big data artificial intelligence data crunching to figure out whether you can trust that statement.  Among other things it checks, because it is difficult to remain anonymous on the internet, the agent on your behalf figures out the identity of the poster, what other actions things they have said, and their reputation and trustworthiness of similar things they have said.  Perhaps it does collaborative filtering to group the poster into a group of similar identities to decide whether the entire group can be trusted for statements like this.

Perhaps in order to protect some notion of anonymity, the social network tells you only a probability estimate of whether the statement can be trusted.  However, this leads to disconcerting feeling of not knowing how the number was achieved.

Figuring how what statements can be trusted is an extremely difficult problem, but perhaps solvable.  The trick we are exploiting is that the social network operator has a panopticon, gets to be Big Brother, seeing everything, providing the untrustworthy nowhere to hide.  That power, normally reserved for three letter agencies in big government, has been made available to you.

People will try very hard to game the system.

We need a machine learning feedback mechanism of grading whether your trust was misplaced.

This is at odds with the social network providing you the ability to hide information, preventing it from being visible to those who would hurt you with it, which could be the social network itself when it decreases your reputation because of it.

[sonprlst] Left

Another remake of Taken ends with a surprise twist: the daughter is actually glad to have escaped from her conservative upbringing with its repression of sexuality, especially its repression of young women.  She is now a sex worker on her own free will, able to leave whenever she wants, but she doesn't want to.  This is horror: a parent's true worst nightmare.

Perhaps throughout the movie are hints at how oppressively conservatively she was raised, the life she will return to when "rescued".

Perhaps the movie hints that the kidnappers have a system of accurately identifying the kind of people who would be glad to be kidnapped, who would be glad to escape from their conservative world, and who will thus remain in the sex work field voluntarily, which is ultimately good for business.

Perhaps the movie ends with the "hero" father, disappointed in her daughter, murdering her in cold blood (but successfully framing the kidnappers).

[dlafbjwa] 5 choose 2 digits

Binomial(5,2)=10, so we imagine various ways of encoding digits this way.

Maybe 2 lit dots in a collection of 5: In a 7-segment display, or actually any depiction of Arabic numerals, we can guess at what the digit is by the total amount of light emitted; perhaps an eavesdropper only sees a "reflection" of the digit on a matte surface.  In contrast, if there are always exactly 2 (out of 5) segments illuminated, and all segments are the same size, then the light output will remain constant no matter what digit is displayed.

Type a digit by pressing 2 buttons out of 5.  We do have 5 fingers.

Edges of a 4-simplex.

[nectlxyq] Sex work and the science of libido

Assume libido greatly affects the performance of sex workers.  If so, and given that some sex work is "the oldest profession", there must be tremendous accumulated knowledge of what affects libido, except buried within the trade and never scientifically published.  (Kind of like how science was done before the Renaissance.)

Stress probably negatively affects libido, so the professions may have very valuable knowledge of how to live a less stressful lifestyle.

[hnnnjzmr] Queue to archive

A site wants to distribute content exclusively.  However, someone, a user, is downloading the content and mirroring it in some censorship resistant medium.  The site identifies that user by watermarking the content so each different user is identifiable, then blocks the user from accessing any more content.

Avoid the block by having a very long delay between downloading the content and uploading it to the mirror.  We can do this uniformly using a cache with a FIFO replacement policy: The user downloads content and it is stored in the disk cache, which is rather normal operation.  Ignore the "Valid until" metadata.  (Video is not automatically cached by browsers these days, but that could be easily changed.)  When the cache becomes has become full and an entry is the oldest remaining entry, so about to be overwritten, only then does the it become uploaded into the censorship-resistant mirror.  With a large cache (and reliable hardware, which is a huge assumption), that delay might be years.

A delay of years is acceptable for the purpose of archiving information.

There still remains the problem of the original content provider suing the uploader for copyright violation, or the provider cutting off access years later, which the user might still care about.

[jkjnwtcv] Not inventing an alien language

Instead of inventing an alien language for some science fiction or fantasy setting, use an already existing foreign language.  The advantage is that the "alien" language will have the depth and "beauty" of something that has been developed by a population over centuries, instead of a language invented on paper by one or a few writers.

The disadvantage, for those who understand the foreign language, is cognitive dissonance of, "Why do the Klingons speak (say) Estonian?"  However, perhaps this disbelief can be suspended much like every other literary conceit: "Why do the Klingons look exactly like humans in different costumes?"

Perhaps to make it a little alien to those who understand the language, use a different register of the language than one would normally expect.  Perhaps more formal or poetic, giving a job to perhaps one of the few writers who can write that way in an obscure foreign language.  (Vaguely inspired by the non-standard register (even for its time) chosen by the authors of the King James Version of the Bible.)

Of course, if the show (etc) ever gets translated to that language, then have the aliens speak English.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

[gbpobjlg] Share with those who won't hurt you

You post something to social networking.  The social network operator does artificial intelligence data crunching to try to keep it accessible only to those who won't use what you posted to hurt you with it.

You provide feedback for machine learning: *This person* hurt me with what I posted, or *someone* hurt me with what I posted; I don't know how they found out.  For the latter, the social network operator can use the access logs of who viewed the post.  People will acquire reputations, and collaborative filtering could identify people who will be bad to you before they even get a chance to.

It is hard to remain anonymous on the internet.  Use this feature in reverse and lock out those who have power over you, no matter what anonymizing efforts they take.

Unfortunately, I don't see how this could be done with a distributed social network.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

[czdotxdt] Same-sex organizations

Hypothesize that organizations which are open only to one gender do so so that their members may do their main activity without having to worry about the harms of rape.

This hypothesis allows useful predictions about how single-gender organizations will behave.

Note well that the hypothesis is to avoid the harms of rape, not necessarily to avoid rape itself.  We will elaborate on this distinction later.

The hypothesis predicts that in all-female institutions, men as guests or visitors will be subject to stringent restrictions on movement and behavior while visiting.  This is because the harm of men raping women is great.

In contrast, in all-male institutions, the hypothesis predicts that women as guests will not face as many or as stringent analogous restrictions.  This is because the harm of women raping men is not so great.

These predictions seem to be confirmed by policies in fraternities and in all-female residences associated with universities.

The hypothesis predicts that all-male institutions will have strict rules excluding gay men, or will resist the most strongly in repealing such rules.  This is because the harm of men raping men is great.

The hypothesis predicts that, in contrast, all-female institutions will not have strict rules excluding lesbians, or will quickly repeal them.  This is because the harm of women raping women is not so great.

These predictions seem to be confirmed by the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

The harm in the examples above are the harms inflicted on the victim by peers and the psychological loss of self-worth (a product of inculcation by peers) that occurs following rape: slut-shaming and gay-bashing.  These harms are strongly asymmetric by gender, which explains the asymmetry of the behavior of single-gender organizations in the examples above.

Finally, the hypothesis predicts that exceptions to the general behavior of single-gender organizations described above will occur where there are exceptions to the general mechanisms of rape causing harm, perhaps subcultures in which there is less gay-bashing of men or slut-shaming of women, or the opposite.  (Examples?)

If this hypothesis is true, it strongly suggests that efforts in solving the problem of rape are best directed toward decreasing the harm of rape, rather than decreasing its numerical incidence.  Unfortunately, this remains a taboo topic of discussion.

[uumeskip] Rumspringa

Although xenophobic hate against the Amish exists in areas with high Amish population, hypothesize that the hate is tempered by the established custom of the Rumspringa, known and understood by both sides.

The custom provides an explicit and accepted mechanism for an Amish person to leave their community, and thus for intermarriage to occur, and it does occur.

The existence of this mechanism has perhaps saved the Amish from being exterminated by the all-too-common progression from xenophobic hate to genocide.  Or, more pessimistically, perhaps similar groups without such a tradition did get genocided, leaving surviving only this group which does.

Can the Rumspringa serve as a model to ease other societal tensions, most notably racial tensions?

Saturday, June 20, 2015

[pdkyyvnp] Getting back up to speed

Computer systems, or generically any technology, that you only rarely interact with are candidates for having a natural language interface.

The envisioned interaction: First, the user has to invest quite a bit of initial effort getting familiar with the technology: there is no way around this; no free lunch.  The natural language system does not help this first step.  Time passes, and the user forgets.  When the user has to interact with the technology again, the natural language system helps the user recall the previous familiarity.  We are relying on an aspect of human memory that you never fully forget what you were once familiar with.  A natural language interfaces eases relearning compared to the perhaps daunting, time-consuming, and unpleasant task of relearning using the original method of learning.

On one hand, this seems a much easier task than creating a natural language interface intended for a completely untrained human unfamiliar with the technology.  On the other hand, because the task requires understanding human memory, and especially a particular human's memory, this seems weirdly difficult.

Simplest implementation, frequently already done: after becoming familiar with the technology, jot down some notes to yourself about how it works.  When you need to work with it again, read your notes to yourself.

[lriyejek] Simulating the medical system

Create a simulation of the bureaucracy of the U.S. medical system, from the point of view of an individual interacting with the bureaucracy.

Inspired by the difficulty and confusion of signing up for insurance, with an individual needing to make decisions whose consequences are hard to understand.

Practice it.  Try making wrong decisions and see how they turn out in a simulated environment.

This seems in principle doable, but I have no idea how to create such a simulation.  How does one simulate a bureaucrat?