## Wednesday, May 22, 2013

### [dmqschet] My drinking team has a hockey problem

Create a mockumentary about the "serious" problem of endorphin addiction, treating it as if it were an illegal drug like heroin.

People do exhibit addict behavior for their favorite endorphin-releasing activities.

### [zkczbahc] House with secrets

Build a house with lots of concealed passageways and hidden rooms.  Who has the knowhow for this kind of architecture and engineering?  Is it disappearing?  It is knowhow that may (or may not) benefit being kept secret.

Never know when the next Anne Frank might need an Underground Railroad.

## Tuesday, May 21, 2013

### [ibnsbavv] Change of base cipher

The conceptually simple cipher of treating a message as a long number in one base and converting it to a different base does not appear among the historical elementary ciphers (substitution cipher, transposition cipher).  Presumably it is because, using naive algorithms, radix conversion requires work quadratic in the length if the message (though it can be improved with divide and conquer).  What sort of cryptanalytic techniques would work on it?

Change from base 37 (letters numbers space) to base 10, apply transposition cipher, change to base 26.  Are certain pairs of bases more secure?  I'm guessing relatively prime.  Obviously converting from say base 100 to base 10 offers no security.

Was it ever tried as an early electro-mechanical cipher?

### [ckwwicxy] Base 100 in ASCII

The numeral 0 is decimal 48 in ASCII, so encode base 100 with unsigned char values 48-147, achieving 2x better text compression compared to base 10 digits as text.

Solution in search of a problem.

## Friday, May 17, 2013

### [tvgqvnnt] Filesystem within disjoint containers

Create a filesystem backed by files in other filesystems.  However, unlike the simple way of allocating a single file and creating and mounting loopback a filesystem within it, let this be backed by multiple files, likely files in several different filesystems mounted within a single directory structure.

The motivation was starting with a bunch of partitions with a little bit of free space in each, wanting to combine all the free space to create the illusion of a single directory with lots of free space.

In addition, let the size of the inner filesystem not need to be chosen a constant at the time of creation.  Instead, the space available is simply the sum of the space available in the outer filesystems.

## Thursday, May 16, 2013

### [sqpeajig] Filesystem supporting lists

View a list data structure as a filesystem.  Running 'ls' gives the files numbered 0, 1, ...  Or in base 256 depending on what options it was mounted.  Variable word size, or maybe constant.

Previous thoughts.

Seemingly fantastic waste of resources: every byte is a separate file.  (Or word, or line, or record...)

### [tpyexbcs] Peace and love

Peace and love are not two distinct concepts but one and the same.  Those who think they see peace but not love with it are not actually seeing peace.

Inspired by a Peace Love ___ symbols T-shirt.

### [kvhsuasc] Theories cannot be disproven

The traditional scientific method mantra goes, theories or hypotheses can only be disproven, not proven.

However, if we include the ever-present possibility of experimental error (in every replicated experiment purporting to disprove it), theories can never be disproven for certainty, either.

"Everything is probabilities" is a worldview philosophically opposed to the scientific method.  Though in practice, compatible and very helpful.

Inspired by Jenny McCarthy's disproven "vaccinations cause autism".

## Tuesday, May 14, 2013

### [bqdiynnv] Worst possible move

Devise a selfmate in 1 chess position which also maximizes the number of direct mate in 1 moves available.  You had many ways to win, but you picked the one move that loses: not just loses, but forces your opponent to win.

However, the worst possible move in chess is to resign after giving checkmate, perhaps not realizing you had won.  Devise a vaguely realistic position that that might happen: perhaps a forced move giving a distant discovered checkmate (so perhaps the previous position was a selfmate in 1), which, if it could be ignored, the checkmated player could quickly regain an overwhelming advantage.

## Monday, May 13, 2013

### [zxmxkwqa] XMonad with GNOME on Ubuntu 12.10 and 13.04

This was on a freshly installed and dist-updated i386 Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal .

`apt-get install --no-install-recommends xmonad libghc-xmonad-contrib-dev gnome-panel indicator-applet-complete indicator-multiload`

indicator-multiload is optional, but I like it.

~/.xmonad/xmonad.hs:

```import XMonad
import XMonad.Config.Gnome
main=xmonad gnomeConfig
```

Logout, the choose the "GNOME with Xmonad" login option available above and to the right of the password field. indicator-multiload fails to start on its own at first. Run it from the command line. It will start correctly, automatically, on future logins.

These instructions also seem to work on Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail i386.

## Sunday, May 12, 2013

### [facmksrm] Avoiding checkmate

A standard chess problem format is Mate in N.  Mate in N+1 is not considered a solution.

The dual problem type is to avoid mate in N, successfully solving the problem even if the opponent can inflict mate in N+1.

Practice your defensive tactics.

Automatically generate good problems of this form where the key defending moves are not "obvious".

### [onjmibmz] Computer chess problem assistant

Create a computer program which will defend chess problems, e.g., mate in N, against you, making sure to make you play against all possible defenses.

This could be done with a database stored with the problem, but also could be assisted by a chess engine which "compresses" the database; don't need to store moves that an engine will discover.

This has almost certainly already been done.  The interesting aspect is that a medium much, much smarter than paper (the old way of distributing chess problems) significantly adds to the enjoyability and accessibility of an old art form.

Tsumego for go 囲碁

### [febvwdap] Chess thickness

For each position of a chess game, compute the number of moves, or proportion of moves, that do not lead to being checkmated.  Probably done by computers with MultiPV, but humans can help, too.  Depict that value over the course of a game.

Artistically attempts to capture the riskiness of a position.  Perhaps icons walking across a "floor" with thickness.  Probably also want to include moves which are very negative but the computer hasn't found mate:  Order moves top to bottom strongest to weakest and the color the opacity of the floor by the evaluation score.

The level of the floor could indicate current position evaluation, with "falls" for bad moves.

We can also speculate the future of a game in progress; the riskiness of the next several moves assuming optimal(ish) play.

### [abhhelkr] Search for tactical tricks and classify

Search for chess positions for which the computer evaluation radically changes depending on the depth of search.  Classify each by tactical motif in hopes of developing heuristics of when to search deeper.  All automatically.

### [pcaervbb] d120 dice

Create a 120-sided disdyakis triacontahedral die as the sphere-like die with the largest number of faces.  Anything larger is either cylindricalish or not elegant.  120 has many divisors, so it can be used to generate smaller random numbers.

In practice, it will probably too easily roll off the surface and is too difficult to manufacture without bias.

It is curious that 120 is a little less than perfect powers 11^2=121, 5^3=125 and 2^7=128, or even more curiously expressable as a difference of perfect powers of the same base: 120 = 11^2-11^0 = 5^3-5^1 = 2^7-2^3

### [kkpxndep] Constant day or night

What would the earth be like if one side constantly faced the sun?

In particular, how effectively would the oceans and atmosphere redistribute heat?  What longitude and what season should face the sun for best redistribution?

What if we had a different arrangement of continents?

What if we had deeper oceans or thicker atmosphere?

### [tbknnbkz] Ice energy

Water curiously expands when it freezes into ice.  Can we extract energy from this effect?  I'm imagining a piston driving a linear generator.

How much energy can be extracted?  Is it more than the heat of fusion?

If so, we can sort of create a perpetual motion machine by recycling some of the energy to melt the ice.  I think it is not actually perpetual motion because it will stop when the cold reservoir is exhausted.

If not, we get a weird high pressure ice with the same density as water.  Or perhaps the water refuses to freeze.

## Saturday, May 11, 2013

### [khgcvgqo] Robotically constructed Rube Goldberg

Create a robot to set up a Rube Goldberg device.  The robot makes thousands of attempts, far more than a human would have patience for, to catch on film the device succeeding once.  The robot clears and resets the device after each failure without requiring human intervention.  Perhaps it learns from each failure, or it merely makes minute random adjustments each time.

Because the number of attempts can be very large, the device can have very low probability reactions, creating in the viewer the effect of "how'd they do that?"

Unfortunately, this perhaps can be too easily accomplished with special effects these days.  Need something outside the reach of special effects.

Inspired by Pythagora Switch.

## Friday, May 10, 2013

### [ixyrlifr] Single speaker or a debate

While it may be fun to listen to a single smart speaker give a polished speech, it might be better for your personal growth to listen to a debate, perhaps structured, between two smart speakers.

In the latter, you have an advocate against sleazy rhetorical techniques a single speaker might use on you.

Need to set up incentives for debaters to win.  Develop this into an art form people will willingly watch and listen.

Already sort of done in debate as high school and college competition.

Kind of like chess, with opening theory forged in the heat of combat, ultimately moving forward.

### [ehyksjyg] Force to learn shortcuts

Consider an on screen keyboard that not only provides letters but also common words like "the".

If a user types T H in sequence, the E key becomes disabled, forcing them to backspace and learn the THE shortcut.

Previous idea, inspired by Braille contractions.