?

Log in

Zhuang Zhou. The butterfly effect.
 
[Most Recent Entries] [Calendar View] [Friends]

Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in zhouzhuang's LiveJournal:

[ << Previous 20 ]
Saturday, August 27th, 2016
1:23 am
Friday, June 10th, 2016
2:58 am
Go as a metaphor - The same thing can be a means and a goal, but not at the same time

I wrote that in go you get Y by using non-Y. But it must be added that you can also use the same Y to get non-Y. As a matter or fact, for any intersection Y, you can put a stone somewhere else to surround it, but you can also put a stone on it to surround some other intersections.

It's also important to highlight that you either put a stone on an intersection or not. I.e. you can use intersection Y either as a means to get non-Y or as a goal to be gotten by using non-Y, but you can't use it both as a means and as a goal.

In other words, in go the same thing can be used either as a means to get something else or as a goal to be gotten by using something else, but not as both a means and a goal.

This principle applies to human knowledge according to Karl Popper. He thinks that: you can test a hypothesis (non-Y), by resting upon some background knowledge that is different from the hypothesis (Y); you can also test the background knowledge (Y) in the same way, i.e. by resting upon some different knowledge (non-Y); but you can't use the background knoweldge to test a hypothesis at the same time as you test the background knowledge.

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016
2:46 am
Go as a metaphor - A little difference can have a big effect

I wrote that in go when you surround a given group of intersections you have to use the right number of stones, neither too few nor too many, because just one stone more or fewer than what is needed can significantly alter the outcome of the game: if you use one stone too few, your opponent will kill your group; if you use one stone too much, your opponent will be able to seize more territory elsewhere (not to speak of the fact that if a group of yours have two eyes and you fill one of them, that group will die).

In other words, in go:


  • One can't just say that more is better (or that less is better, for that matter).
  • A little more or a little less can have a big effect.


Now, these two features are typical of the systems studied by chaos theory.

2:41 am
Go as a metaphor - What matters is the relationships

In go, your aim is to surround intersections (that are either empty or occupied by your opponent's stones), and your tool is a stone at a time. But a single stone can't surround anything - only a group of them can. What matters is not the single stone you play, but how it interacts with the other stones.

In other words, in go a single thing does nothing, means nothing. What matters is the relationships among things.

This is true of the world generally according to Plato: for him, to exist means to act upon something else and/or being acted upon by something else.

2:37 am
Go as a metaphor - Having less than two things is having nothing

So we saw that in go the score of a player given by (ps) the empty intersections s/he surrounds and (pc) the opponent's stones s/he captures. Since the player should not only maximize his/her own score but also minimize the opponent's score, his/her own aim is also to make sure that the opponent (os) surrounds as few empty intersections as possible and (oc) captures as few player's stones as possible. Now, (os) minimizing the number of empty intersections surrounded by the opponent's stones is the same as (ps) maximizing the number of empty intersections surrounded by the player's stones. As for (oc) making sure that the opponent doesn't capture your stones, every beginner soon discovers that the way to obtain this is building groups of stones such that each group potentially or actually has (at least) two "eyes", i.e. surrounds two potentially or actually separate empty intersections; the reason is that if a group has no eyes or just one eye, it can be captured by the opponent.

Indeed, if your groups don't have two eyes, they will be captured, so they won't be able to surround anything, so you will score no points.

In other words, in go having less than two things is having nothing.

The same principle applies to art:


  • According to Allen Tate, poetry has no meaning if there is no tension between two different meanings, i.e. if there are not two meanings.
  • If one composes a piece of music where nothing but one aspect (e.g. the note played) changes, people wouldn't call it real music; but if you add variation in just one more dimension (e.g. the lenght of the notes), there's the potential for something for doing "real" music.
  • [EDIT 1:] Jose Mourinho: "He who only knows about football knows nothing about football." [/EDIT 1]
2:23 am
Go as a metaphor - You cannot have it all

Usually, at the end of a game of go no player has "conquered" the whole goban (even if you use Chinese scoring and count a player's stone as part of his/her area). Even if a very good player plays against a very bad player, handicap is supposed to avoid such total wins.

In other words, in go you cannot have it all.

I think the same is true in one's life: you can't have all possible experiences; while you do what you have to do in order to have some of them, you lose the chance to have some other experiences.

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016
12:24 am
Go as a metaphor - Getting Y by skillfully doing non-Y

It looks like I have not found the time to organize my notes, so let me try a different way: every time I'll think of a feature of go that can be seen as a metaphor of something else, I'll write a post about it (or update an already existent post). [EDIT 1:] Unless otherwise specified, metaphors aren't supposed to be consistent; e.g. it's possible that your actions are represented by stones in metaphor #1, but by empty intersections in metaphor #1. [/EDIT 1]

The first feature I'd like to highlight is that in go, under whatever rules, your score practically equals the number of intersections that are not occupied by your stones (i.e that are either empty or occupied by opponent's stones) but are surrounded by your stones. I.e. you use your stones to surround intersections that are not occupied by them.

You win if you do this skillfully. As a matter of fact, you have to surround a group of intersections by using neither too many nor too few stones. If you use too many stones, your opponent, if s/he doesn't waste stones, will get more points than you by using the same number of stones as you. If you use too few stones, your opponent will capture them.

In other words, in go you skillfully use X to get something-that-is-not-X (= Y). An even different way to say the same thing: you get Y by skillfully doing non-Y.

The same phenomenon can be seen in several different contexts (I will not repeat every time that it takes skill, but... it takes skill):


  • In Taoism, you can somehow talk about the Tao (what else is the Tao Te Ching if not a book about the Tao?), but you can't do it by talking about the Tao ("the Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao"). I.e. you talk about the Tao by not talking about the Tao.
  • [EDIT 2:] Whatever keeps a given living being kills it if it's too little or too much. [/EDIT 2]
  • Taoist ethics says that, if you want to achieve something, you have to stop trying to achieve that thing (it's the wu wei concept).
  • A basic artistic principle is "show, don't tell". E.g. to convey the feeling of love, an artist will use anything that is not the sentence "I love you"; s/he will use musical notes, or words that are not "I love you", or a facial expression, etc.
  • If what I have said so far is true, go itself falls under this category, since it tells us something about the world (see above) without talking about the world (more precisely, through a set rules).
Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016
2:46 am
Brain hemispheres and artificial intelligence
Functions (source)BrainArtificial intelligence
Math, logicLeft hemisphereClassic AI
Spatial abilities, face recognition, visual imageryRight hemisphereDeep learning (spatial abilities as in the game of go, image recognition, visual imagery)
Sunday, December 27th, 2015
3:51 am
Two ways to make old music sound fresh

"'Beyond what was seen on the stage was the wilderness emanating from the pit and the audience went mad,' Thus, in 'The Rite that Shook the World' did Harvey Phillips depict the premiere performance of 'Le Sacre du Printemps' on Thursday, May 29th, 1913. In the 75 years of numerous performances and reproductions since (several dozen committed to record) this 'wilderness' has become populated by tranquilizing familiarity, and by progressively less of the eruptive work which Stravinsky finished under duress of a splitting toothache.

How would the ears of the present hear the Rite with its 1913 intensity? Life has quickened and so has the multiple reproduction on this record. Through an unaltered but accelerated structure are woven various reiterations of the original orthodox orchestral recording, in speeds covering a compass of factor four, from four times as slow to four times as fast. Slower parts are at times compacted in order to register simultaneously with faster ones. The 'Adolescent Girls' and 'Abduction' scenes have thereby been reduced in duration from 6 minutes to 2, a gesture towards writer J.G.Ballard's future in which ultrasonic short playing 900rpm records compress the appreciation a 3 hour Wagnerian opera into a couple of minutes." (album notes for John Oswald, plunderphonics EP)



"Hans Zender's Schuberts Winterreise (1993) leaves the original music for the human voice (almost) intact but changes Schubert's piano accompaniment into an orchestral accompaniment into which the musical tradition stemming from Schubert, Schubert's reception as it were, has been assimilated. By absorbing Wagner, Bruckner, and especially Mahler and Berg into Schubert's music, Zender wants to indicate that we cannot hear Die Winterreise today as Schubert's contemporaries did. By modernizing Schubert, Zender wants us to hear him new, just as he was new in 1828." (Rolf Breuer, "Jane Austen etc. An Essay on the Poetics of the Sequel")

Monday, December 7th, 2015
9:31 pm
Power-ups
Adele - Rolling in the deep
Afghan whigs - Gentlemen
Amici di Roland - Dancemix
Amici di Roland - Pinocchio perché no
Aphex twin - Ventolin salbutamol mix
Arctic monkeys - From the ritz to the rubble
Arctic monkeys - I bet you look good on the dancefloor
Arctic monkeys - Snap out of it
Arctic monkeys - Still take you home
Arctic monkeys - The view from the afternoon
Arctic monkeys - You probably couldn't see for the lights but you were staring straight at me
Aretha Franklin - Respect
Barenaked ladies - Psycho killer
Bauhaus - Bela Lugosi's dead
Bauhaus - She's in parties
Beastie boys - Sabotage
Beastie boys - Sure shot
Beatles - Come together
Bedhead - Believe
Bing Crosby, Andrew sisters - Jingle bells
Blur - Song 2
Bob Marley and the Wailers - War
Brenton Wood - Gimme little sign
Cake - I will survive
Cat power - Satisfaction
Cee-Lo Green - Fuck you
Cheapshot - Harder better faster cheaper
Clash - Brand new Cadillac
Clash - Hateful
Clash - Should I stay or should I go
Coogans bluff - Beefheart
Damned - New rose
Dead boys - Ain't it fun
Dead Kennedys - California uber alles
Dead Kennedys - Chemical warfare
Desmond Dekker - Israelites
Devo - Satisfaction
Diana Ross - Upside down
Dillinger - Cocaine in my brain
Dj earworm - United state of pop 2009
Dj zebra - Break through love
Dum dum girls - Coming down
Duran Duran - Wild boys
Edvard Grieg - In the hall of the mountain king (London symphony orchestra)
Faith no more - War pigs
Fall out boy - This ain't a scene, it's an arms race
Ferruccio Tagliavini - Voglio vivere così
Fugazi - Great cop
Gabriella Ferri - Dove sta Zazà
Gang of four - Not great men
Gene Vincent - Be bop a lula
George Clinton - Atomic dog
Georges Bizet - L'amour est un oiseau rebelle (Maria Callas)
Georges Bizet - Overture (Carmen)
Gnarls Barkley - Crazy
Goran Bregovic - Kalashnikov
Goran Bregovic - Ya ya ringe ringe raja
Hot lunch - Killer smile
Human league - Being boiled
Iggy pop - I wanna be your dog
James Brown - I feel good
James Brown - Papa's got a brand new bag
James Brown - Sex machine
Janelle Monáe - Givin em what they love
Jimi Hendrix - Crosstown Traffic
Jimi Hendrix - Fire
Jorge Ben Jor, Mano Brown - Umbabarauma
Junkyard - Back on the streets
Kanye West - Lost in the world
Kanye West - POWER
LCD soundsystem - Give it up
LCD soundsystem - Losing my edge
LCD soundsystem - Movement
LCD soundsystem - Tribulations
Leonard Cohen - Lover lover lover
Litfiba - Cane (Sogno ribelle)
Litfiba - Linea d'ombra
Litfiba - Paname
Little Eva - The locomotion
Los lobos - I wan'na be like you (The monkey song)
Lothar & the Hand people - Machines
Ludwig van Beethoven - Piano sonata 14, C# min, Moonlight - 3 Presto agitato
M.I.A., Bun b, Rich boy - Paper planes (diplo remix)
Ms. dynamite - Dy-na-mi-tee
Nancy Sinatra - These boots are made for walking
Neville brothers - Voodoo
Nirvana - Aneurysm
Nirvana - Mr. moustache
Nirvana - Smells like teen spirit
Nirvana - Swap meet
Nirvana - Territorial pissings
Oneida - Up with people
Osymyso - Intro-inspection
Otis Redding - Satisfaction
Outkast - Hey ya
Outsiders - Filthy rich
Paolo Conte - Bartali
Parliament - P-funk (wants to get funked up)
Patsy Cline - Back in baby's arms
Patti Smith - Horses
Peggy Lee - Fever
Pharrell Williams - Happy
Pixies - Crackity Jones
Pixies - Debaser
Pixies - I bleed
Pixies - Mr. Grieves
Pixies - Nimrod's son
Pixies - Tame
Portishead - Numb
Portishead - Revenge of the number
Prince - Kiss
Queen - Bicycle race
Rage against the machine - Bombtrack
Ramones - Sheena is a punk rocker
Rino Gaetano - Nun te reggae più
Rock n'roll soldiers - Funny little feeling
Rolling stones - Can't you hear me knocking
Ronnettes - Be my baby
Slits - I heard it through the grapevine
Soft cell - Tainted love
Sonic Youth - Purr
Specials - Message to you Rudy
Talib Kweli - Get by
Talking heads - Psycho killer
Taraf de haidouks - Spune spune mos batrin
Therapy - Knives
This heat - 24 track loop
Tom Waits - Jesus Gonna Be Here
Toots and the Maytals - Funky Kingston
Toots and the Maytals - Louie Louie
Toots and the Maytals - Pomp & pride
Toots and the Maytals - She's my scorcher
Toots and the Maytals - 54-46 was my number
Tune-yards - Bizness
TV on the radio - Ambulance
Uk apache, Shy fx - Original nuttah
Ukulele orchestra of Great Britain - Satisfaction
Vinicio Capossela - Canzone a manovella
Vinicio Capossela - L'uomo vivo
White stripes - Ball & biscuit
White stripes - Black math
White stripes - Hypnotise
White stripes - I just don't know what to do with myself
White stripes - Little acorns
White stripes - Seven nation army
Wire - Heartbeat
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Non più andrai farfallon amoroso
[?] - Jeeg robot d'acciaio
[?] - Temple e tamtam
Wednesday, July 1st, 2015
8:07 pm
Sunday, September 28th, 2014
12:11 am
Un altro titolo possibile per questo blog
"Ermete, sei grande, grande, grande."
Tuesday, August 12th, 2014
6:14 pm
Umberto Eco, inventore degli emoji
Umberto Eco ha inventato gli emoji, nel 1996. Ecco le ultime parole di una Bustina di Minerva intitolata "Così amichevole da diventare nemico. Appunti sulle icone dei computer", e dedicata appunto all'uso delle icone nelle interfacce grafiche dei vari programmi (ad esempio un dischetto per indicare "salva"): "Alla fine avremo programmi amichevolissimi, fatti tutti di geroglifici, dove anche quello che scrivo apparirà sullo schermo in forma di Anubi, di civetta, di bocca con una riga seghettata sopra: e invocheremo Champollion."
Thursday, June 19th, 2014
4:51 pm
Constrained boardgame AI
Boardgame artificial intelligence with constrained design: e.g. the code can only include references to 50 variables (a variable referenced twice counts for 2).
Tuesday, March 4th, 2014
7:00 pm
The meaning of Breaking Bad
Walt chose Heisenberg, the name of a quantum physicst (not a chemist!), as nickname.

The title of the last episode is "Felina", and Felinae is the family to which cats belong.

Vince Gilligan's clue about the last episode was "woodworking", and he evidently meant Jesse working on his box.

The reason why Walt decided to start cooking meth (that of course is the main plot of the show) was that he was about to die.

But in the last episode Walt states that the reason was that "[he] did it for [himself]. [He] liked it. [He] was good at it. And [he] was, really ... [he] was alive."

Now Schroedinger's cat is a thought experiment to explain quantum mechanics in which a cat placed in a box is dead and alive at the same time.

(While these points have been cited elsewhere, I can't find nobody linking all of them.)
Saturday, November 2nd, 2013
8:28 pm
Never have we ever
Never have I ever variant: every time you say a statement (starting with "Never have I ever") you get one point if, other than you, only one person (that hasn't helped you score one point so far) hasn't done what you haven't; in any other case you get zero points.
Tuesday, May 28th, 2013
9:46 am
How was the game of Go invented?
To answer this question, one should consider that there are different sets of rules. All these sets share some rules, among which:

  • If you occupy the last liberty of a group of your opponent's stones, you capture it. (core rule)

  • A previous position can't be repeated. (to avoid infinite games)

Here are the different sets of rules, and the rules they add to the shared rules:

  • R = no pass with prisoner return:

    • If you pass, you return a prisoner to your opponent.

    • The first player who can't make a legal move loses.


  • P = prisoner scoring:

    • If you pass, you return a prisoner to your opponent.

    • The game ends when both players agree that it's over.

    • Score = prisoners. (this is the scoring rule that is closest to the core rule)


  • S = stone scoring:

    • If you pass, you give a stone to your opponent. / You can't pass.

    • The game ends when both players agree that it's over.

    • Score = stones.


  • A = area scoring:

    • If you pass, you give a stone to your opponent. / You can't pass. [1]

    • The game ends when both players agree that it's over.

    • Score = stones + surrounded empty points.


  • T = territory scoring:

    • If you pass, you give a stone to your opponent. / You can't pass. [1]

    • The game ends when both players agree that it's over.

    • Score = surrounded empty points + prisoners.


  • AG = area scoring + group tax:

    • If you pass, you give a stone to your opponent. / You can't pass.

    • The game ends when both players agree that it's over.

    • Score = stones + surrounded empty points - eyes required for groups to live.


  • TG = territory scoring + group tax:

    • If you pass, you give a stone to your opponent. / You can't pass.

    • The game ends when both players agree that it's over.

    • Score = surrounded empty points + prisoners - eyes required for groups to live.


Now, these sets of rules can be divided in two groups, each of them awarding the same winner out of the same moves (bar special cases):

  1. R = P = S = AG = TG

  2. A = T

One can think of some reasons to switch from a set of rules to another:

  • R <- x: compliance with combinatorial game theory.

  • R or P -> TG: when you play you think of territory anyway.

  • S -> G: no need of boring filling moves.

  • A -> T: to punish useless moves.

  • x <- T: no possible discussion about life/death status of groups.

  • 1 -> 2: the number of groups doesn't matter.

The evolution we see in historical documents is:

  • China: TG -> AG -> A

  • Japan: TG -> T

So the question is: how did they come up with TG? There are three possible answers:

  • "If you surround my stones, you capture them. Let's see who captures more stones." (i.e. P) -> TG

  • "Let's see who is able to put more stones on the board. (...) This game is stupid, let's add captures." (i.e. S) -> TG

  • "Let's see who is the last one to put a stone on the board.(...) This game is stupid, let's add captures." (i.e. R) -> TG


Notes:
[1] This rule isn't universally used now.
Saturday, May 25th, 2013
2:40 pm
Housebug
A chess variant: the same as Bughouse, but both partners play with the same colour (i.e. if you capture a piece, you give it to your opponent's partner).
Sunday, December 23rd, 2012
5:46 pm
One to N
A party game.

At each round, randomly pick a subject from a dictionary and/or from a general encyclopedia, and then n* more. The first player to find an attribute that the n things have and the one thing hasn't wins the round.

* The value of n depends on the source you are using and on the number and skills of the players. Start the first round with 6; at each round add 1 if in the previous round someone found an attribute and remove 1 if nobody did.
Thursday, December 20th, 2012
6:48 pm
The Science of Steve Jobs, or How to Create a Cult in Five Easy Steps
In the 27th of The 48 Laws of Power (2000), Robert Greene explains "how to create a cult in five easy steps". They have nice parallels in Steve Jobs' actions after he returned to Apple (1996):

Step 1:

"Keep It Vague; Keep It Simple. [...] Your initial speeches, conversations, and interviews must include two elements: on the one hand the promise of something great and transformative, and on the other a total vagueness. [...] To make your vagueness attractive, use words of great resonance but cloudy meaning, words full of heat and enthusiasm." See: Jobs' keynotes about "revolutionary and magical" products, with no references to technical specs.

"As a corollary to its vagueness your appeal should also be simple." See: Apple's minimalistic ads.

Step 2:

"Emphasize the Visual and the Sensual over the Intellectual." See: Apple's strain to make intuitive software that you can just see and use, that doesn't need reading or thinking on your part.

"You might even tickle the mind, perhaps by using new technological gadgets to give your cult a pseudo-scientific veneer-as long as you do not make anyone really think." See: everything Jobs did!

Step 3:

"Borrow the Forms of Organized Religion to Structure the Group. [...] Create rituals for your followers[.]" See: Jobs' keynotes, and Apple Stores (the "churches" of Apple "religion").

"To emphasize your gathering's quasi-religious nature, talk and act like a prophet. You are not a dictator, after all; you are a priest, a guru, a sage, a shaman, or any other word that hides your real power in the mist of religion." See: Jobs' references to Oriental mysticism, and the fact that he always wore the same clothes, that gave him a out-of-time, different-from-ordinary-people aura.

Step 4:

"Disguise Your Source of Income. [...] Your followers want to believe that if they follow you all sorts of good things will fall into their lap." See: Jobs' promises of a better life if you use Apple gadgets.

Step 5:

"Set Up an Us-Versus-Them Dynamic." See: "Think Different", "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC", and Jobs' "thermonuclear" war against Android.
[ << Previous 20 ]
On-line stuff by me   About LiveJournal.com