Archive for March, 2012

1 Introduction

Currently, there is no free, open source proper alternative to Magic Online. This makes it hard to play for many people because the cards are extremely expensive or simply unavailable in many countries. Currently, to the best of my knowledge, the best free but not open source program out there to play MTG in is Magic Workstation. However, this program is outdated and haven’t been updated for many years, and the original coder refuses to release the source code to the community. There is a community around the program that maintains the central database file and releases HQ scans of the sets as they are released. It would be wise if one could use this resource in a new program.

1.1 Outline of the program

A program is to be coded that is free (as in, free beer), and open source that allows people to play MTG over the internet for free. The card images are to be loaded as MWS does it, and the database should be able to more or less automatically work from the official database (Oracle). The program should support various alternative play modes such as FFA and 2v2, rather than being limited to 1v1 as MWS is.

1.2 Name

A name is not yet chosen for this program. I have thought of various names similar to other free and open source software:

  • Free Magic
  • Open Magic
  • Magic forever
  • Magic for everyone

Ideas are welcome. I think that an official name should be decided by the community in a semi-democratic fashion if there is enough interest in this project.

1.3 Coding language

A suitable coding language is chosen. I am not an expert on that. A cross-platform language is a necessity and one that works in a browser would be neat. Altho perhaps it would be too laggy to run in a browser. I have no knowledge about this.

2 Development

Full automatization is sought, but is added along the way. It is not necessary to have full automatization immediately for release. It is important to get the basics down correctly, then the automatization process can begin. This is similar to how it went with MWS which has a small amount of automatization such as clicking a bottom to untap all cards that one control.

Below I gave my ideas for a development time-line (without times, but in chronological order).

2.1 The board and board zones

The first thing to be made is the playing board. This is basically just one huge square or rectangle where everything is on. The board is then divided into different zones that correspond to the MTG zones; player_n hand, player n_library, player_n exiled etc. These zones should be able to have properties. For instance, the hand zone is normally only shown to the player who the hand belongs to but this may change with some cards (e.g. Telepathy). Different zones may have only a limit number of cards. For instance, the library and graveyard zones may only have 1 stack of cards but may have an unlimited number of cards in that stack. The cards in the hand zone cannot be stacked but can theoretically be infinitely large. Rules for handling discarding cards are added much later. First it is essential to get the most basic things working so that one can begin using and testing the program.

The layout of the zones on the board is chosen by the host. See 2.3.

2.2 Cards

Cards are displayed via their pictures in miniscule format just like MWS. Customizable size for the cards is a good idea and should be added if possible. It should just be a matter of scaling. If there is no picture for a given card, a mechanism similar to the one in MWS can be used, i.e., auto-generate a pseudo-card based on information from the card database.

Cards should also be able to have properties. This is important for card ownership, control, status of being flipped/rotation (both vertically in case of flip cards from Kamigawa and cards played with the back-side up from various sets, and recently, double-faced cards from Innistrad), number of counters (including type) on the card, card color, card type etc. Some of this information can be copied from the card database.

Cards should be loaded from a suitable deck file. The program should support the various deck formats that exist as it cannot be hard to convert between them there is no reason to prefer the one or the other.

The player who controls a card which is on the battlefield should be able to move it around on the board as he pleases. When the game supports this along with different zones and stacking cards in the right zones etc., then the game is basically playable.

In the default settings, it should be shown to players how many cards there are in each of the zones, even those that the other player controls/owns. I say default because some custom format may change this (or potentially, a card, but I’m not familiar with any card that has an effect like that).

2.3 Networking and multiplayer

MWS is limited to 2 players. There is no need for that. The game should support pretty much any number of players. I have limited technical knowledge of how hosting should work. The way MWS does it seems okay to me, that is, one player hosts a server and other players connect to it via IP addresses or via searching via a central server. This requires some set-up as the host needs an open port. If possible, a fix to that problem should be found. Perhaps via some virtual-LAN solution similar to Hamachi. However, initially, the simplest solution should be sought. Then work can begin later on an advanced solution.

The layout should be customizable so that one can play a variety of game formats. There is no reason why people should not be able to play some custom designed game format that they like. This will also promote creativity with game formats. In the long run, it should be made possible for people to design their own game formats so that the work burden is as much spread out as possible.

The reason more than one format is necessary is that the zones are not placed identically for FFA as they are for 2v2 or 2v1.

Some other things like players’ lives remaining, total life, poison counters and later, mana pool and priority should be added now.

2.4 Automatization

Now more automatization can begin to be implemented.

2.4.1 Simple automatizations

The first automatization that should be implemented is the simple kind that is in MWS. This includes bottoms for untapping all cards that one controls (excluding those marked with the property “Does not untap as normal”).

2.4.2 Slightly more complicated automatizations

The next thing that is necessary to include are slightly more automatization such as universal and conditional (“all zombies”) +1/+1 power/toughness adjusters. It is important at this stage that such mechanisms should be able to be able to be disabled in case there are special circumstances or the program gets it wrong.

I can think of two ways that one can make more automatization:

  1. One can write a lot of clever code that recognizes and interprets the cards using the Oracle database and then enforces those in the game automatically. One can write such a code but it is a lot of work. However, one can begin with the simple stuff, such as automatic combat damage assignment. I think it is not too hard. This is a top-down approach.
  2. One can make a subprogram that lets users tell the system how a particular card works with some kind of specialized code. In this way, one can simply have people writing all the necessary code for each card and collect it. Some selection is necessary as some people get it wrong either deliberately or accidentally.

Perhaps some combination is possible. In any case, it is definitely possible.

2.4.3 Towards full-automatization

From the above, it is just a matter of working towards full-automatization. I think that with a large number of people, it should not take long to have most cards understandable to the program.

I expect a lot of finesse problems with things such as priority, responding, and the stack, but nothing that is impossible.

A rewrite of something I wrote earlier. This time in standard English as to make it easier to get people to read.

Q: I want to get into philosophy, where do I start?

A:

There are generally 4 approaches to getting into philosophy. They overlap somewhat.

1) Historical approach. Start with the oldest and read on. One can also read secondary literature e.g. Russell’s A History of Western Philosophy, or some more impartial one like The Great Conversation by Norman Melchert.

2) Topical approach. Read about stuff that interests you. A good idea is using Wikipedia, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP), Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (IEP), and various papers on the subject, or lastly, entire books.

3) Textbook approach. Find a general introduction to philosophy textbook. E.g. Quine et al’s The Web of Belief, Russell’s Problems of Philosophy, Edward Craig’s Philosophy: A very short introduction, or Blackburn’s Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy. Can also try an online course, like Coursera’s Introduction to Philosophy.

4) Book/philosopher approach. Start with some large book written by a particular philosopher that the person recommending likes.

I think the first approach is immensely boring and tend to just make people quit. Unfortunately, many people here recommend it with the predictable results. This is the approach I used back when I started.

The second approach that people generally recommend is the 4th which is by far the worst idea. No one should ever start philosophy with reading e.g. Kant’s Critique of whatever. Pretty much no one should ever read Hegel or the likes. It also has the same results as the 1st approach because the recommender typically picks some book that is very badly written and long.

As for the 2nd and 3rd approaches. I don’t know what is the best. They both have some advantages and disadvantages. One problem with the topical approach is that one might focus on the wrong things and thus miss things one should have learned about, e.g. critical thinking and logic, or language philosophy. However, one risks boring the reader as they might not care about some of the things in the book. The topical approach has the advantage of being about things that the reader cares about.

OP:

“I’ve been pondering. Why have so few significant
female writers been produced (or auteurs for that matter)?

Visual media is overflowing with female talent.
However, behind the scenes where looks bear no
weight, women are hardly seen.

(An interesting side note: Every single song from
female singers revolves around men/love)”

Cool guy:

because

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_capital

Is there a gender difference in strength of sex drive?

www.csom.umn.edu/assets/71520.pdf

Sexual Economics: Sex as a Female Resource for Social Exchange in Heterosexual Interactions

www.csom.umn.edu/Assets/71503.pdf

Cultural Suppression of Female Sexuality
www.femininebeauty info/suppression.pdf

Female polygyny/hypergamy

www.plosgenetics.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pgen.1000202

www.jstor.org/pss/2743334

www.nature.com/ng/journal/v41/n1/abs/ng0109-8.html

In the history of mankind as a species, some hundreds of thousands of years, 40% of men have successfully passed their genes to future generations, whereas 80% of women did. Today’s human population is descended from twice as many women as men. This is statistical, scientific, genetic proof that women function as sexual selectors, and men evolved risk-taking and ambition behaviours to compete for mating rights. The study was conducted by Michael F. Hammer. A lecture on the implications:

www.psy.fsu.edu/~baumeistertice/goodaboutmen.htm

Esther Vilar’s seminal work on the concept that women enjoy a parasitic relationship with men.
www.naturalthinker.net/trl/texts/Vilar,Esther/ManipulatedMan.html The text itself.
en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Esther_Vilar&oldid=442296393 Synopsis.
www.theabsolute.net/misogyny/vilar.html A preview.

Female characters are defined more by their passive attributes and their emotional responses; male characters more by their actions. This is why male protagonists are preferred in fiction, by both women and men.

www.onfiction.ca/2011/02/actor-and-observed-man-and-woman.html

Culture sees men as expendable blank slates, whose self-sufficiency is their own responsibility, and who must prove themselves worthy of accolade or interest. Conversely, women are inherently valuable, but typically function as inert commodities or motivation for male actors. The TVtropes links serve as quantitative evidence that this basic dichotomy proliferates the culture, to the point that it can be casually and humorously catalogued.

tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/GenderDynamicsIndex

tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MenAreTheExpendableGender

“Without the higher powers of the imagination and reason, no eminent success can be gained in many subjects. These latter faculties, as well as the former, will have been developed in man, partly through sexual selection,- that is, through the contest of rival males, and partly through natural selection,- from success in the general struggle for life; and as in both cases the struggle will have been during maturity, the characters gained will have been transmitted more fully to the male than to the female offspring. It accords in a striking manner with this view of the modification and re-inforcement of many of our mental faculties by sexual selection, that, firstly, they notoriously undergo a considerable change at puberty, and, secondly, that eunuchs remain throughout life inferior in these same qualities. Thus man has ultimately become superior to woman. It is, indeed, fortunate that the law of the equal transmission of characters to both sexes prevails with mammals; otherwise it is probable that man would have become as superior in mental endowment to woman, as the peacock is in ornamental plumage to the peahen.”
Charles Darwin

Nor can one expect anything else from women if one considers that the most eminent heads of the entire sex have proved incapable of a single truly great, genuine and original achievement in art, or indeed of creating anything at all of lasting value: this strikes one most forcibly in regard to painting, since they are just as capable of mastering its technique as we are, and indeed paint very busily, yet cannot point to a single great painting; the reason being precisely that they lack all objectivity of mind, which is what painting demands above all else. Isolated and partial exceptions do not alter the case: women, taken as a whole, are and remain thorough and incurable philistines: so that, with the extremely absurd arrangement by which they share the rank and title of their husband, they are a continual spur to his ignoble ambitions. They are sexus sequior, the inferior second sex in every respect: one should be indulgent toward their weaknesses, but to pay them honour is ridiculous beyond measure and demeans us even in their eyes.”

Im not sure if the entire wall of text above is from the same person. It is compiled from several different posts. Anyway, i agree with most of it. I dont agree with the extreme misogynism in the last part. The Darwin quote is cool. I checked it, it seems legit.

blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2012/03/no-comments-please-weve-made-it-through-peer-review/

www.genomesunzipped.org/2011/07/why-publish-science-in-peer-reviewed-journals.php

breast-cancer-research.com/content/12/S4/S13

THE ACCURACY OF INFERENCES ABOUT CRIMINALITY
But they didnt control for IQ which is strange. They even mention it that one can spot intelligent people:

“As far as empirical findings in support of the accuracy of judgments based on

facial appearance, the evidence is sparse but generally positive. To date, accurate

assessments from facial appearance have been found in the domains of intelligence,

willingness to deceive, criminality, sexual orientation, certain personality traits (e.g.,

social dominance, interpersonal warmth), and aggressive tendencies. For instance, Alley

(1988) found that people could assess levels of intelligence at better-than-chance levels

based on facial appearance alone (though concerns with their methodology have been

raised because of their photograph selection criteria) (Berry & Finch Wero, 1993).”

So why didnt they control for intelligence? At least, they did control for attractiveness, so one cant spot intelligent people just becus they are more attractive. It is obvious to correct for intelligence since it is widely known that criminals are less intelligent. Perhaps one can spot the criminals by looking for cues of intelligence.

In a discussion about this picture

“Math student here. The majority of the math that they teach in high school is completely worthless to the average person. The curriculum here in Ontario is particularly bad: there are a bunch of mandatory courses that are all building up to calculus, but then the first calculus course isn’t required, so most students who don’t like math end up with a knowledge of a bunch of concepts that aren’t even mathematically useful without calculus. And honestly, I love calculus, but it’s only useful if you’re going into science or engineering. For most people it’s too abstract to have any real use.

What they should be teaching in high school is statistics. Even the statistics class I took in high school didn’t cover Bayes’ theorem, which is something that everyone should know. Giving people basic knowledge of how to evaluate data, and showing them how this can be applied in real life situation, would help to eliminate lots of the stupid fallacies we see today in political debates and the like.”

He is right about that.

gordon-1997-everyday-life-as-an-intelligence-test-effects-of-intelligence-and-intelligence-context (Thanks to this guy for making me aware of the paper)

“Take, for example, complaints concerning a Year IV-6 Stanford-Binet item, which shows three pairs of sharply contrasting drawings of faces and asks, “Which one is prettier ?” The item has been held up to ridicule as an example of “aesthetic comparison,” which is what it is unfortunately called (Terman & Merrill, 1960, p. 79), rather than of choice between responses that are cognitive and so capable of being judged better or worse unequivocally (Jensen, 1980a, p. 5). Standards of beauty can vary from culture to culture, it was pointed out, and so right or wrong cannot be settled objectively, unlike such responses as “taller” or “shorter.” To such critics, the item lacked, no pun, face validity.”

I lol’d.

“The  key  intellectual  problem,  as  one  judge  saw  it,  was  that  the  jurors  “were
remarkably  poor  evaluators  of  the  facts”  and  had  consistently  confused  logical
possibilities  with  grounds  for  reasonable  doubt  by  neglecting  to  give  sensible
consideration  to probabilities  (Rothwax,  1996, pp.  226,  229). A  law professor  cast
the  problem  more  broadly:  “Modem  trials  hinge  on  complicated  assessments  of
economic  models  and DNA  evidence  .  .  . Lay juries  are  simply  not  equipped  to
perform  this  assessment”  (Dow,  1995, p. A32). Coincidentally,  a national  survey
of adults  in  1995 had  found  that “only one  in five Americans  [21%] can provide  a
minimally  acceptable  definition  of DNA”  (National Science  Board,  1996, pp.  7-
8, Appendix  Table 7-7).
During  expert  but  often  dull  DNA  testimony,  the jurors
were  visibly  bored  (Shapiro,  1996,  p.  353;  Toobin,  1996,  p.  345).  DNA  was
mentioned  10,000  times  (“Simpson  Trial & Trivia,”  1995). When  presented  with
the  statement,  “The  Simpson  jury  just  wasn’t  smart  enough  to  understand  the
evidence  in  the  case,”  26%  of Whites,  but  also  10% of  Blacks,  agreed  (Morin,
1995, p. A34).  If it is reasonable  to regard  the  task of jury  service  as a kind  of job,
validity  generalization  theory  would  indicate  that performance  of  that job  must  be
related  to g,  most  especially  in  complex  trials  (e.g.,  Gottfredson,  1986b). “

For lots of more similarly depressive survey data, see this book.

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The paper is really interesting. The author uses a very simple population-IQ-model that is so simple that is very surprising that it works so well to predict stuff. Here is an illustration from the paper.

(The number given for IQ=115 is wrong. 115 is 2sd from 85, and so the number shud be 97.72%)

The idea is that there is a critical IQ for something. The simple interpretation of this is that above that IQ, no one makes the mistake in question (or does the thing in question, if we want to be more value-free in our description) and below it everybody makes it every time. This is very similar to the model i used to predict the average IQs of danish students given that some set percentage has to come thru the education. An alternative and more realistic interpretation is that at the critical IQ, the probability of making the mistake is .5. So that if the IQ is higher than the critical IQ, then the pr<.5, and if lower than the critical IQ, the pr>.5. If the distribution of making the mistake around the critical IQ is normally distributed, or just not skewed, the same results shud result.

This is pretty cool in itself, but the cooler thing is that the model successfully predicts (or postdicts in this case) the rates for all kinds of thing such as HIV-infection rates, crime rate, poverty rates, single-motherhood (but to a lesser degree, see the paper for discussion), opinion polls about various things such as belief in not guilty at the O. J. Simpson trial and belief in black conspiracy theories (i had never heard of these before reading the paper).

Reading the paper, i really want to extend this to more things. Coincidentally, i have long thought about the gender difference in belief in superstitious stuff like religion. In Denmark, there is a huge 20 point gender difference (~50% vs. ~70% for men and women, respectively). I also know that there is a small g difference between men and women. I want to see if the population-IQ-model can predict the data. It seems that it cannot fully account for the data. Using a 5 IQ gender difference, and a 15% increased variance in male IQ, i tried (trial and error) to see if i cud find a critical IQ that wud explain the data. The closest match seems to be around 104 which yields the predictions: 53.7% religiousness in males, and 67.9% in females. Rather close to the mark, but still there seems to be another factor. To make it worse, the gender difference is probably not a whole 5 points, but more likely in the 3-4 department, making the discrepancy between the model and the data to be explained even larger.

Some papers about gender differences in g/IQ

Helmuth Nyborg – Sex-related differences in general intelligence g, brain size, and social status

Males have greater g Sex differences in general mental ability from 100,000 17-to 18-year-olds on the Scholastic Assessment Test

R. Lynn and P. Irwing – Sex differences on the Progressive Matrices a meta-analysis

The first study does find rather large gender differences, both in g and in variance. Afaict, the second study does not report a difference in variance but cites some other studies that did. The last study also found an IQ gender difference but didn’t seem to report any variance difference.

www.amazon.com/against-prohibitionism-roadmap-controlled-re-legalization/dp/0984690409/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332698625&sr=8-1

www.world-war-d.com/

One can support the author by buying ‘the book’ from his site. This applies for the ebook version as well. Alternatively, one can just click here: World war-D Altho i recommend supporting the author in this case.

The book is a decent book on drug prohibition. It has a history (with lots of speculative stuff) of how drug laws came to be, and how the laws have changed over time. It has alot of data about how much the drug war costs the US. Some of the claims are pretty dodgy, especially those that lack sources. It is not an academic book and one shud be skeptical about some of the claims. It is however an easy read. At the end, it has something that much of this kind of material lacks, namely some discussion of how to actually reform the laws. It is still mostly about the US and at an international level. So, someone needs to take a closer look at specific countries’ policies and make concrete recommendations for those countries. I intend to do that for Denmark soon.

A better introduction into why one shud legalize drugs is LEAP.cc’s material, in particular End Prohibition Now! which is also much shorter.

www.amazon.com/Psychology-Applied-Modern-Life-Adjustment/dp/1111186634/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332697052&sr=8-1

I heard of the book from LessWrong. I was reading the series about the science of winning at life by Lukeprog and he recommended this book if one had to read a single book on applied psychology. And so i did.

Some preliminary things: The book is stupidly expensive (~130 USD), so if ur going to read it, u shud download an ebook version (i.e. for free), or read it in its entirety in the library (i read an ebook of it, im sure one can find it on the web again even tho library.nu got shut down). Its also very long (550ish pages with 2 colums), so unless ur a speed reader, u wont get it done in the 30 or so days that libraries usually give people to finish reading a book.

As for the actual content. The book is okay, it gives a decent introduction to various psychological theories and has a lot of sections about how to use that information in one’s own life. Each chapter also has a 10 question test so that one can test oneself and see how good one’s memory is or how much one paid attention.

The worst thing about the book is that the authors are clearly social psychologists of the bad kind which means that even tho they try to take a pluralistic approach to the topics, they go on time and time again about how men and women are socialized for this or that, when the truth is that it is evolutionary psychology they shud be writing about. I recommend not paying too much attention to the chapter on gender (chapter 11) and reading an introduction to evolutionary psychology instead (e.g. Buss’s Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind).

The book does contain a huge amount of references some of which are worth looking up. It also contains some useful recommended readings for more information about a particular subject. I have added a few of these books to my to-read list.

The book has alot of illustrations, perhaps too many. Some of these are nice, but others are just badly made.

All in all, it was worth reading. I have not read any other general introduction to psychology. But i have read alot of other textbooks. This is not the best textbook ive read, but neither is it the worst.

It seems to me that Descartes’ book “Meditations on First Philosophy” should have been called “First Philosophy of Medications”. He was clearly a multi-substance user. ;)

Also, other lame puns

If one eats live breakfast multiple times, is one then a cereal killer?

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If one is looking for a future spouse who is okay with wearing a bikini made of sweets, and one is going out with a possible choice, should one call her a “candydate”?

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Sure, and if whilst covering people in wet earth artistically, some of them suffocate to death, is one then a mass mudderer? (Laird)

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If one watches a film where nothing happens except that a bunch of pigs run around in a circle, is it boring?

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Løbetur i modvind. Me gusta(pun intended) (Arhøj)

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im the most literal person u no, literaly and non-literaly!

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[12-12-2011 06:47:46] Emil – Deleet: har set for majet House MD
[12-12-2011 06:47:55] Emil – Deleet: forvænter uløker overalt nu
[12-12-2011 06:47:57] Emil – Deleet: :D
[12-12-2011 06:47:59] Jens Arhøj: xD
[12-12-2011 06:50:27] Emil – Deleet: en mæd en stang gænem maven
[12-12-2011 06:50:28] Emil – Deleet: :(
[12-12-2011 06:50:49 | Edited 06:50:52] Jens Arhøj: I guess he couldn’t…stomach it

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I spent 5 minutes trying to ejaculate and finally succeeded. I hope she was happy with the outcome.

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Jeg sætter pris på folk som mener at ikke alting kan gøres op i penge.

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[18:34:42] Tulimafat: “nigger”-joke… det er sort humor :P

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[30-11-2011 23:49:13] Emil – Deleet: epn.dk/brancher/energi/olie/article2623627.ece
[30-11-2011 23:49:18] Emil – Deleet: Olieboringer i Grønland lagt på is
[30-11-2011 23:49:22] Emil – Deleet: >_>_>_>_>