Monday, July 27, 2015

[efrbabcs] Eliminating racism in courtship

Write a fictional story in which a government has done all it can to try to eliminate racism (etc.) from employment, public and private services, and now has moved on to try to eliminate racism in courtship, on the political assumption that this is the true root of the problem.  Perhaps draconian measures to punish those who commit what are now crimes:

A sting operation in which someone suspected of being racist in choosing partners gets presented in a surreptitiously controlled manner with potential partners of different races.

Discovering and punishing those who inculcate racist romantic preferences into children.

This social goal is considered more important than the right to privacy.

[fgbwjvbx] Graphs with large edit distance

Start with a graph.  Select some subset of the subgraphs of the graph that have a large Hamming distance (adding or deleting edges from the original graph) between them, like bits in coding theory.  Let these be letters in an invented alphabet whose letters are less likely to be confused for each other even if letters get damaged.

Restrict to Hamiltonian subgraphs, drawable in one stroke.

The starting graph could be a 7-segment display.

[hqoeierf] Planck frequency pitch standard

We present a fanciful alternative to the musical pitch standard A440 by having some piano key note, not necessarily A4, have a frequency that is an integer perfect power multiple of the Planck time interval.

Let Pf = Planck frequency = 1/plancktime = 1/(5.3910604e-44 s) = 1.8549226e+43 Hz.

We first consider some possibilities of modifying A = 440 Hz as little as possible.  Sharpness or flatness is given in cents, where 100 cents = 1 semitone.

F3 = Pf / 725926^7 = 174.6141 Hz, or A = 440.0000 Hz, offset = -0.00003 cents
G3 = Pf / 714044^7 = 195.9977 Hz, or A = 440.0000 Hz, offset = -0.00013 cents
E3 = Pf / 135337^8 = 164.8137 Hz, or A = 439.9999 Hz, offset = -0.00030 cents
G3 = Pf / 132437^8 = 195.9978 Hz, or A = 440.0001 Hz, offset = 0.00045 cents
D#5 = Pf / 31416^9 = 622.2542 Hz, or A = 440.0001 Hz, offset = 0.00053 cents
A#3 = Pf / 12305^10 = 233.0825 Hz, or A = 440.0011 Hz, offset = 0.00442 cents
C#5 = Pf / 1310^13 = 554.3690 Hz, or A = 440.0030 Hz, offset = 0.01176 cents
A#3 = Pf / 360^16 = 233.0697 Hz, or A = 439.9770 Hz, offset = -0.09058 cents
A#1 = Pf / 77^22 = 58.2814 Hz, or A = 440.0824 Hz, offset = 0.32419 cents
D#4 = Pf / 50^24 = 311.2044 Hz, or A = 440.1095 Hz, offset = 0.43060 cents
E1 = Pf / 40^26 = 41.1876 Hz, or A = 439.8303 Hz, offset = -0.66769 cents
B5 = Pf / 22^30 = 990.0232 Hz, or A = 441.0052 Hz, offset = 3.95060 cents
F#3 = Pf / 10^41 = 185.4923 Hz, or A = 441.1774 Hz, offset = 4.62660 cents
A7 = Pf / 7^47 = 3537.6749 Hz, or A = 442.2094 Hz, offset = 8.67126 cents
G6 = Pf / 3^84 = 1549.3174 Hz, or A = 434.7625 Hz, offset = -20.73121 cents
G#7 = Pf / 2^132 = 3406.9548 Hz, or A = 451.1929 Hz, offset = 43.48887 cents

Next some modifications of other pitch standards, used by continental European orchestras.

Modifications of A = 441 Hz:

C#6 = Pf / 106614^8 = 1111.2503 Hz, or A = 441.0000 Hz, offset = -0.00007 cents
F2 = Pf / 39067^9 = 87.5055 Hz, or A = 441.0000 Hz, offset = -0.00011 cents
G#2 = Pf / 38322^9 = 104.0620 Hz, or A = 440.9995 Hz, offset = -0.00184 cents
G1 = Pf / 6022^11 = 49.1109 Hz, or A = 441.0006 Hz, offset = 0.00240 cents
B5 = Pf / 22^30 = 990.0232 Hz, or A = 441.0052 Hz, offset = 0.02044 cents
F#3 = Pf / 10^41 = 185.4923 Hz, or A = 441.1774 Hz, offset = 0.69644 cents
A7 = Pf / 7^47 = 3537.6749 Hz, or A = 442.2094 Hz, offset = 4.74110 cents
E7 = Pf / 5^57 = 2673.2253 Hz, or A = 446.0410 Hz, offset = 19.67702 cents
G6 = Pf / 3^84 = 1549.3174 Hz, or A = 434.7625 Hz, offset = -24.66137 cents
G#7 = Pf / 2^132 = 3406.9548 Hz, or A = 451.1929 Hz, offset = 39.55871 cents

Modifications of A = 442 Hz:

D#6 = Pf / 547981^7 = 1250.1649 Hz, or A = 442.0000 Hz, offset = 0.00014 cents
G6 = Pf / 530189^7 = 1575.1097 Hz, or A = 442.0002 Hz, offset = 0.00086 cents
G#6 = Pf / 525832^7 = 1668.7709 Hz, or A = 442.0003 Hz, offset = 0.00116 cents
F#4 = Pf / 122256^8 = 371.6759 Hz, or A = 441.9996 Hz, offset = -0.00170 cents
A5 = Pf / 30214^9 = 883.9990 Hz, or A = 441.9995 Hz, offset = -0.00194 cents
F#4 = Pf / 11744^10 = 371.6767 Hz, or A = 442.0006 Hz, offset = 0.00242 cents
A7 = Pf / 217^17 = 3535.9843 Hz, or A = 441.9980 Hz, offset = -0.00769 cents
D2 = Pf / 151^19 = 73.7503 Hz, or A = 442.0024 Hz, offset = 0.00939 cents
A2 = Pf / 62^23 = 110.4885 Hz, or A = 441.9539 Hz, offset = -0.18072 cents
D#3 = Pf / 38^26 = 156.2976 Hz, or A = 442.0764 Hz, offset = 0.29903 cents
D#4 = Pf / 37^26 = 312.6662 Hz, or A = 442.1768 Hz, offset = 0.69244 cents
A7 = Pf / 7^47 = 3537.6749 Hz, or A = 442.2094 Hz, offset = 0.81985 cents
E7 = Pf / 5^57 = 2673.2253 Hz, or A = 446.0410 Hz, offset = 15.75576 cents
G6 = Pf / 3^84 = 1549.3174 Hz, or A = 434.7625 Hz, offset = -28.58262 cents
G#7 = Pf / 2^132 = 3406.9548 Hz, or A = 451.1929 Hz, offset = 35.63745 cents

Modifications of A = 443 Hz:

F#5 = Pf / 590036^7 = 745.0342 Hz, or A = 443.0000 Hz, offset = 0.00003 cents
C7 = Pf / 508595^7 = 2107.2749 Hz, or A = 443.0000 Hz, offset = -0.00007 cents
F7 = Pf / 488038^7 = 2812.8743 Hz, or A = 442.9999 Hz, offset = -0.00020 cents
B2 = Pf / 140193^8 = 124.3126 Hz, or A = 442.9998 Hz, offset = -0.00093 cents
A5 = Pf / 109676^8 = 885.9985 Hz, or A = 442.9992 Hz, offset = -0.00296 cents
B7 = Pf / 25564^9 = 3978.0160 Hz, or A = 443.0012 Hz, offset = 0.00456 cents
G#1 = Pf / 5988^11 = 52.2668 Hz, or A = 442.9982 Hz, offset = -0.00722 cents
B1 = Pf / 391^16 = 62.1581 Hz, or A = 443.0125 Hz, offset = 0.04895 cents
A6 = Pf / 226^17 = 1772.0760 Hz, or A = 443.0190 Hz, offset = 0.07422 cents
F7 = Pf / 163^18 = 2811.5701 Hz, or A = 442.7946 Hz, offset = -0.80308 cents
A#3 = Pf / 60^23 = 234.8805 Hz, or A = 443.3954 Hz, offset = 1.54462 cents
E6 = Pf / 35^26 = 1326.0401 Hz, or A = 442.5128 Hz, offset = -1.90507 cents
E2 = Pf / 34^27 = 82.8696 Hz, or A = 442.4704 Hz, offset = -2.07100 cents
C#2 = Pf / 18^33 = 69.8768 Hz, or A = 443.6902 Hz, offset = 2.69500 cents
A7 = Pf / 7^47 = 3537.6749 Hz, or A = 442.2094 Hz, offset = -3.09255 cents
E7 = Pf / 5^57 = 2673.2253 Hz, or A = 446.0410 Hz, offset = 11.84337 cents
G#7 = Pf / 2^132 = 3406.9548 Hz, or A = 451.1929 Hz, offset = 31.72506 cents

Planck time is not known to high precision due to uncertainty of the gravitational constant G.  Fortunately coincidentally, musical instruments are not tuned to greater than 7 significant digits of precision, either.

Source code in Haskell. The algorithm is not clever; it simply brute forces every perfect integer power multiple of Planck time, with base less than 1 million, and within the range of an 88-key piano.  The code also can base the fundamental frequency off the hydrogen 21 cm line or off the frequency of cesium used for atomic clocks.

Inspired by Scientific pitch, which set C4 = 2^8 Hz = 256 Hz, or A = 430.538964609902 Hz, offset = -37.631656229590796 cents.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

[myjvqrhs] Launching coins

Create a device that can fire coins as projectiles.  Have the coins spin like a frisbee for stability.

Yes, you can definitely put someone's eye out, or perhaps rip a hole through their body.  This is not a toy.

[vshtfncp] Abstract chess pieces

Chess requires 6 different piece types, or 2*3.  We consider representing each piece type by a 2 dimensional abstract symbol.

The outer shape can be a square or a circle.  An inner symbol inscribed within the outer shape can be a circle, cross, or absent.

There remains the issue of depicting the 6 types both in black and in white.

[flmqoovi] Pretty pop stars

Assume, non-controversially, that no one is born a good singer (a baby only knows how to cry).  Also assume, perhaps controversially, that everyone can become a pretty good singer: this follows from the Polgar Experiment.

Then, roughly, the people who become good singers are those with the best opportunities to do so, and in particular, a pretty performer gets hired more frequently.

This is different from the conventional criticism of someone succeeding as a pop star just by being pretty and not actually being skilled at their art.  In this model, the prettier person is objectively better at their art than someone who is not pretty, and has become so through more opportunities to perform or show, reinvesting income generated to practice and develop.

Friday, July 24, 2015

[hsigaijs] Intelligent cellular automata

If a cellular automaton is allowed to run forever from a start state that can generate unlimited novelty, e.g. double breeder or decaying agar, will intelligent structures eventually evolve?  More generally, will evolution occur?


The general idea is that our corner of the universe, say, our solar system at quantum resolution, is a finite computable system, and certain cellular automata are universal computers, so given enough time and unlimited novelty, a pattern simulating our corner of the universe, accurate enough to simulate our intelligent life, will form by chance.  Yes, this will probably take longer than the lifetime of the universe and a computer larger than the universe.  Perhaps less if evolution, survival and propagation of the fittest, occurs.

The key is probably whether stable structures can form that are mostly defended or isolated from interference from other nearby (or distant) structures.  Intuitively, consider trying this experiment on 4-dimensional or higher grids.  There's more space up there for things to miss each other.  In two dimensions, even crossing glider streams is difficult.

If intelligent life were to evolve in this simulation, would they ever be able to deduce that the underlying fabric of their existence is a simulated cellular automaton?  Probably not.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

[dawycypb] Pictures hemiola

The hemiola (triplets) in the finale section of "The Great Gate of Kiev" in Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" is unexpected, distinctive, and very powerful.  Has the idea been further improved by later composers?

Monday, July 20, 2015

[wyzscbcr] Respect and entitlement

One side believes someone deserves something, so frames their argument in terms of "respect"; being deprived of the something constitutes a deprivation of a basic human right, of dignity.

The other side believes someone does not deserve that something, so frames their argument in terms of those people feeling and acting "entitled" with the strong implication that no one is entitled to such a thing from birth (like a title of nobility); it must be earned.

These are duals: each time one argument is used, it can easily be converted to the other arguing the opposite direction.

Abstractly, how to frame the argument is pure politics: where to draw a property line.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

[umplxblz] Hyperinflation

Hyperinflation is a curious economic phenomenon because it seems not completely understood, despite being very dramatic and having happened many times around the world.

Fundamentally, the curious aspect is that a lot of people are acting irrationally regarding the currency, so one would expect rational actors in the market to be able to take advantage of their irrationality, stabilizing the value of the currency.

Even if a government is unable to effectively collect taxes, the government still holds monopolies (e.g., licenses, fines) and monopsonies (e.g., government procurement, government labor) on various goods and services, so assuming transactions for these things must be done with the fiat currency, they seem to be a stabilizing force that would define value of the currency.

We hypothesize that hyperinflation occurs when there is market failure in these stabilizing mechanisms.  There must be something else going on: for example, overt or covert international forces deliberately wanting to reduce the target country's economy to chaos via hyperinflation, perhaps part of a political power struggle.  What is the nature of these forces, and how do they cause market failure?

The inspiration is, of course, Greece, which according to one report, has a weak government unable to effectively collect taxes.  If so, it would be practical to instead "raise" revenue through the inflation tax.  (Perhaps correct its inherent regressiveness through other redistribution mechanisms, though I don't know what.)   If Greece exits the European Monetary Union (euro), could it transition to a stable economy with high inflation, or is it doomed to hyperinflation?  Greece certainly has made, or will make, a lot of enemies if it defaults on its debt.  Can those enemies deliberately induce hyperinflation?  Is that threat affecting policy?

[vwjolzib] Shogi cards

Replace the standard shogi tiles with larger beautifully illustrated playing cards, inspired by Magic The Gathering, to make the game more accessible.  The cards could also be annotated with piece movement diagrams and kanji.  40 card deck, a respectable deck size.

Also needed are 81 short platforms, each the same size of a card, part of a large 9x9 board, onto which the cards may be placed, because placing cards directly on a flat surface leaves them too difficult to pick up.

Inspired by the "dragon king" piece, which offers imaginative possibilities for illustration.

Could be done for chess, though promotion is less interesting.

[dbjyfsuj] Throwing stones

If one wants to use a thrown spherical projectile as a weapon, what would be its optimal size, weight, and density?  Not throwing knife, nor sling shot.

Similarly, exploring previous generations of weapons as alternatives to guns.

Preparing for World War IV.

Friday, July 17, 2015

[olyixthk] Tungsten coins

Assuming tungsten lies on the price/density frontier, and we need to verify the claim that an object is (almost) pure tungsten, we need to measure its density.  Mass is easy, volume is trickier.  Although the volume of an arbitrary shape can (probably) be easily measured by displacement of liquid, we would prefer a less messy way, a geometric way.  What shapes can have their volume easily determined geometrically?

The volume of a tetrahedron can be determined by measuring its edge lengths.  Comparing with a straightedge can determine that the edges are straight.  Is there a simple way to determine that the faces are flat?  Especially need to detect concave.

Cube is more difficult because we need to determine that faces are at right angles.

How easy is to to determine the diameter of a sphere?  How easy is it to verify that a shape is a sphere?  Rolling won't work: Meissner tetrahedra.

In this modern age, probably laser scanning or structured light.

Tungsten is hard so maybe the vertices of the tetrahedron won't break off.  But tungsten is brittle, so maybe they will.

[ipjbducl] Octave and perfect fifth

Let "octave-tuning" be the very common 12 tone equal temperament tuning with a frequency multiplier of o=2^(1/12) between semitones.  An octave will exactly double the frequency.  Let "fifth-tuning" be an equal temperament tuning with a frequency multiplier of f=1.5^(1/7) between semitones.  The fifth will be "perfect", with frequency exactly 1.5 times the base note.

(Octave-tuning is often called 12-TET.  Fifth-tuning is often called 7-TET.)

Fifth-tuning causes intervals to be sharp by 0.27928583791248815 cents per semitone, 3.3514300549498590 cents per octave, in octave-tuned cents, compared to octave-tuning.  12 fifths equals 7 octaves, or 84 semitones, an interval which will be 23.460010384649013 cents sharp.  (A piano covers a range of 87 semitones, though the highest and lowest notes are tuned differently because of psychoacoustic effects.)

Inversely, octave-tuning has its fifth 1.9495560314892994 cents flatter than a perfect fifth, in fifth-tuned cents.

If we split the difference per semitone, then the frequency multiplier between successive semitones is exp(2/(1/log(o)+1/log(f))).  (Appropriately, harmonic mean in logarithmic space.)  This yields a semitone that is d cents sharp in octave-tuning and d cents flat in fifth-tuning, where d=0.13944818943408673.

Alternatively, we can split the difference unequally in the following way: a frequency multiplier of exp(19/(12/log(o) + 7/log(f))) yields an octave that is d cents sharp in octave-tuning and a fifth that is d cents flat in fifth-tuning, where d=1.2325632573261429.

Let "twelfth-tuning" be an equal temperament tuning dividing the just interval of an octave plus a fifth (a twelfth) into 19, so a frequency multiplier of 3^(1/19) per semitone.  Relative to octave-tuning, a semitone is 0.10289478238881145 cents sharp and the octave is 1.2347373886657375 cents sharp.  Relative to fifth-tuning, the fifth is 1.2312985462037681 cents flat.

Incidentally, a twelfth in the "split the difference unequally" tuning is extremely close to, just 0.0034388362379609146 cents flat of, a perfect twelfth in twelfth tuning.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

[bvynrupt] New movie title

Take an already released movie, think up a new title for it, and create fake promotional materials for it: trailers, posters.  (Similar exercises by others: fake trailers making the movie seem totally different, e.g., The Shining as a romantic comedy; Honest Trailers.)

Original motivation is for someone to distinguish themselves as a movie-naming specialist, creating a portfolio, for studios to hire.

[vmnlqmnc] Moon as meteorite shield

Model the earth with and without the moon to gravitationally simulate the trajectory of meteoroids.  Is there a significant difference in impact rate?  Without the moon, add to the earth the mass of the moon, but possibly subtracting the mass of the impactor that created the moon.

Theory is, the freak giant impact that created our (almost) double planet is another of the reasons there is life, or intelligent life, on earth.  If it weren't for the moon, we might be seeing Chicxulub-like impacts, and consequent mass extinctions, more often.

[ruwrgoif] Aughties

Year 2006 = "Twenty aught six"

Especially appropriate because in the .30-06 bullet, the "aught 6" refers to the year 1906.

Monday, July 13, 2015

[cyxpknzt] Terminator hunted

Invert the premise of Terminator: a human pursues a robot trying to avoid being caught.  This seems the "natural" version of the story: Humans are evolutionarily persistent, and robots struggle to be reliable over long periods.

Of course, Blade Runner.

[fuwychsf] Golden paper

Slice off 1 11/16 inches off the 8.5 inch width of US Letter paper to yield a golden rectangle.

More precisely, 1.7016261237511566697 inches.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

[chmkuxkv] Immortal human

Is the first immortal human alive already?

We liberalize the definition of immortality to mean capturing one's consciousness into a digital medium, which can then, in principle, be copied and perfectly preserved forever.  Possibly also add as a requirement that the digital consciousness be able to be run on a computer.  We ignore the difficulty of preserving information forever, or the thermodynamic difficulty of executing computer programs in the extreme future.

It won't be easy to say when immortality is invented, because technologies to digitize consciousness will progress toward higher and higher fidelity over time.

One could argue along these lines that the first immortal human has (paradoxically) already died.  Perhaps an artist.  Their consciousness, their "spirit", has been preserved well enough in their works that they might as well still be alive.  One can interact with their works directly, or one can interact with people who have studied their works enough to accurately channel their consciousness.  Jesus.

Another way immortality could happen, perhaps has already happened, is in who people have been recording their lives (or perhaps having had their lives been recorded against their will) in various ways, often to share with social media.  Their entire digital footprint may capture enough of their lives to essentially be able to simulate them accurately, or correctly answer any question about them.

You may already be the first immortal human, your consciousness running in the NSA's servers.

Ghost in the shell.