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Everything posted by demagogue

  1. There are enough hapless newbies in TTLG that require your services to be dishing them out here (one just asked in ThiefGen "why can't we remake the T1/T2 levels in T3 with its leet graphics already?" and I wondered when you'd pop up) ... but anyway, just to play your game: "Unique" wouldn't capture what I meant at all. It's not just that the features I was talking about (whistle-blowing, breath-holding) are *unlike* other, existing features. You could say the same thing about jumping and leaning, e.g., if you were starting from scratch (say it's 1997), you already have jumping, and now you are debating whether leaning should also be a part of the interface. You wouldn't want to strike it out *merely* because it was different from jumping, and thus unique to the present interface. The term "sui generis" gets much closer to what is really problematic about whistle-blowing and breath-holding as distinguished from jumping and leaning. It's not the relative feature of "uniqueness", that is, different relative to other things already there, which could be totally arbitrary depending on the order you add features. It's that whistle-blowing and breath-holding create and only fit into their own, self-contained little interface-universe, that is, they only fit into a special class particular to just themselves and no other feature. The dictionary supports my distinction, I think, although it is a little ambivalent (a legal dictionary would do it even better, but anyway) : Unique: Being the only one of its kind [i.e., nothing like it] Sui generis: Etymology: Latin, of its own kind, literally "to itself-categorized / -originated / or -generated": constituting a class alone : unique or particular to itself It's the "to itself-generated" and "particular to itself" parts that I'm specifically relying on, which goes further than mere "uniqueness". For the features of which I spoke, you would only ever use them for very discrete tasks/puzzles which, in turn, only specially call on just those features, whereas jumping and leaning have very general versatility in any situation, so they aren't particular to just themselves. You wouldn't create them just to work their own, self-contained interface-contexts. There are lots of times you'd want tojump or lean, not just in "specifically-created jumping/leaning puzzles". So while leaning could be "unique" in a particular context (my hypothetical above), it could never be sui generis in the (admittedly technical) way I'm using the term. There is perhaps no exact term that captures this "special to it's own, specially created, self-contained interface-context", but sui generis really hits the nail on the head IMO (much more so than being merely "unique" as in different from all the other features) and at any rate comes much closer than any term I could think of. Since it is a technical term, maybe people use it differently in different contexts, but the way I was using it, it fits right in specifically with the *legal* use of the term. (And as for being obscure, it isn't for me because I use it in law all the time. But I admit that it isn't in common use in normal conversation. I used it anyway because I thought that the technical understanding of it, as I've tried to explain here by distinguishing it from "unique", really fit this situation well. And now I've explained why.) As for degrees of sui generity ... this is open to hermeneutic (interpretational) debate I think. It's a strong intuition, though, and something that the term should be able to capture even under conservative hermeneutic theories. Of course, my point is valid if you just strike out the word "so" and admit no degrees of "self-containedness" among features. And with that interpretation jumping/leaning would surely be in and whistle-blowing/breath-holding would surely be out, and my point will stand. So we can both have our way on that point, no-degrees of sui generis, and everybody wins. But if you don't admit degrees, then you might be missing a useful perspective buried in my use of that term. Sometimes the "self-containedness" of features really does seem to be on a scale of degree. Think about wall-hugging? Is it general-purpose to many gameplay situations or specific to its own specially-created use? It fits in a middle area, I think. In fact, I'll go so far as to say: as I was using the term, I think you actually could have a sliding scale of the general-usability of interface features. Consider such a scale with one pole being "general to most if not all gameplay uses" and the other pole being "specific only to its own specially designed task which (in turn) only calls on that specific interface feature". It might look like: (1) direction keys, walking (2) weapon draw/cycle (3) inv object draw/cycle (4) running (5) leaning (6) strafing (7) ducking (8) wall hugging . . . (9) whistle blowing (10) breath-holding I think this way of framing decisions about what should and shouldn't be part of the general interface is very useful. And the term "sui generis" gets us closer to this understanding than any other term, including "unique". So I stand by my decision to use the term and even my non-standard application of it (although I am willing to back down on the non-standard application for my above post, which didn't require it, but nevertheless would be enriched if it did). Judges, can we rescind those cockpunches and place all trial-costs on the complaining party in the form of a bucket of toilet water to the face? As for multiple stim "trap" gas vs. "corrosive" (boundary) gas vs. whatever else they can imagine... Whatever. There were a number of ideas on the table, and I don't seem to recall any official, final decisions being made. But anyway, the point wasn't particular to *which form* of insta-harm gas is used, just *some* form. I'm happy to substitute multiple-stim type with "corrosive" type and the general point still stands, that I probably won't use 'auto-hold-breath' gas if it's there. So it's not such a big deal to me. The fact that corrosive gas will also be part of the default set-up, as we all know 110% guaranteed because it's been "noted, repeatedly" ... then all the better. Mainly, though, I just chose that wording because it's what I had in mind at the time, nothing more ominous than that ... and to be honest, my personal preference is *still* towards "trap" type gas than gas rooms (auto-breath-hold or corrosive), just because gas-filled rooms always struck me as a little bizarre and unnatural ... although I concede that my above post didn't explain that, but I'm telling you now.
  2. The more I think about this, the more it occurs to me that these alternative gameplay techniques, because they are so sui generis (that is, really only useful for the one puzzle they were created for), are probably best addressed with inventory-frobbing something you pick up just in the context of that mission ... so like a little whistle or bird-call you can carry (which T2 actually *did* have, although not for general use, but it seems easy to rig something like that up) or a rag or even better a painter's-mouth-cover that (some readable suggests) is useful for covering your mouth to avoid/filter breathing in fumes, and then you can get the idea that when you inv-frob it, it covers your mouth, effectively holding or filtering your breath until you frob it off (remember GATI had something like a chemical rag to frob-knock a person out) ... and each mapper could custom make such objects him/herself. I was never that keen on a special key anyway and just ran with it to be devil's advocate a little (an inv-frobbable object seems much more preferable). But automatic breath-holding also rubs me the wrong way ... but maybe it just means I'd personally tend to mimick gasrooms DX or Thief style (with scattered stims) and not even have to deal with it.
  3. Hey, this is the public forum. We work with what we can get... (_");
  4. Why don't you just pick one of these services and put the link in this thread: http://www.freewebspace.net/guide/diskstorage.shtml I'm sure one of them is bound to work well.
  5. Yeah, but should it happen automatically?
  6. Heh ... this is called the inheretance (or entitlement) bias in economics/cogsci ... people having affinity for (or at least overvalue) something they already have, but are skeptical of (or undervalue) something that threatens to change what they already have, even if it's the *same* feature introduced in different contexts. I tend to think that the more transparency the better ... try to present options in both contexts if you can, so ideally you'd have the skeptical discussion and a little demo of a "nonstandard" option so people can see how it feels in-game going on at the same time (and force the skeptics to frame their arguments in terms of how it plays out). Hard to get rid of the bias totally, but you can recognize it's there and you can let the two sides of it counteract each other in some respect. Anyway, I guess if I think about it, both DX and T2 both used discrete gas-stims even for rooms that were supposed to be gas filled and that worked for most trap-purposes. And now you are talking about adding something more constant & water-like ... automatic? hmmm ... I can see it both ways. I guess I have nothing new to add, except: ZB: re: no first -breath sound, I'd think if you're going to have any breath-holding at all you might want *some* audio-cue. It doesn't have to be an elaborate *huupf*, but something small and telling, an *ugnh* (?). It might be strange either running through corridors or walking into a dark room, before the player registers the gas, and all of a sudden a *breath-left* meter pops up (although altered vision would help). I know it doesn't happen with water, but then again it's always obvious that you're in water, but it might not be obvious you're in a gas chamber for a second. It might not be missed, but it's just an intuition.
  7. I have to second that. I ran into this little jewel on HOTU and the fact that it refers to an official NASA spaceflight manual for its own manual I thought was pretty cool. And it has a great mod community that keeps introducing new stuff.
  8. Just for completeness sake to address this point: I'd think the idea of running out of air while holding your breath (outside the water context) is dumb too and my intuition is that you'd just automatically/involuntarily release your breath and take a gasp of air (mechanics wise: it automatically toggles off), and if you're in gas you'd start taking damage from that point (according to the gas, not the breath holding like in water, and you can't rehold your breath inside gas because of the gas) and if you're not in gas then the hold-breath is just released, no problem, game-on. A toggle key sounds like a good idea just in the case when you're standing right in front of a gas chamber, you know it's there, you want to run through it, you don't want that first cough, so you can toggle-on holding breath right then and there and then toggle it off when you're out, or just wait for the breath to run out and it will toggle itself off. And then it can still happen that if you blunder/fall into a gas chamber or a trap goes off, you take damage right off DX style and have to find a way out fast, since the whole point is you didn't see it coming. (And BTW, this is the one situation where doing it automatically seems a bit counterintuitive, since it's meant to be a trap ... but if it takes 30 seconds before any damage then it's a trap that doesn't cost anything. Logic-centric gameplay works better when there's a real cost to erring.) Anyway, I can see pros/cons on both sides, & I can see some of your points against it ... it's a matter of weighing everything up and seeing which is just better/more intuitive in the end.
  9. My only contribution is my first intuition that, unlike water, it seems with gas that maybe the breath-holding should hold-off for maybe 1 breath and then start, so there'd be one breath, a bad cough, and maybe a little damage taken, and then you hear the tell-tale sign of breath-holding and a meter or whatever. I just have the image, if I entered a gas filled room that that first rancid breath would be the cue I need to hold my breath, and it would really convey the message that it's a room full of rancid gas that you are now entering. Also, this way there is still always a little cost for directly entering (after all deadly) gas that you might expect which you wouldn't expect with water. The issue with this is you would expect this the first time, but it might come across as dumb to forget to start holding your breath *every* time you want to run through the passage (that was what actually bugged me about SS2; not being surprised by gas suddenly filling a room, but when I *see* it there, or have to run *back* through it, you'd think I'd have learned to hold my breath in advance.) BTW, this is the advantage I see to Spar's idea about a breath-holding button ... because then you only have yourself to blame for not remembering to hold your breath *in advance* before entering the gas, which actually isn't natural, whereas with water it's a reflex. And it fits with the intuition, before entering a room of gas, that you'd mentally say to yourself, "ok, here we go, *huuuughh*" (hold breath) and then you start running. So it's not a terrible idea, I just don't have a feel right now how the gameplay would pan out. I also have the intuition that it's not a good idea to add more gameplay affecting functions unless they really have added value. So I'd have to see the two versions in action to have a better idea if there's really added value with a new keyed function or if it just comes across as gratuitous.
  10. I don't know how much more I can add to what Domarius said but anyway: Here's a more specific tutorial on readying a Soundfont bank file for use on a Soundblaster card, but maybe it says the same thing that Dom's site says (just from the card's pov instead of the synthesizer/sequencer program's). As Dom said, it changes the default instruments for MIDI files on the card from the tinny deafult ones to better sounding custom ones (which is essentially what a soundfont bank file is, and if you find a good one, it sounds *so* much better): http://dmzweb3.europe.creative.com/SRVS/CG...s.creative.com/ The two things you need to get going is (1) a good sounding soundfont bank file ... there are a lot on line, and (2) a loader, which effectively will be your Yamaha synthesizer/sequencer program. It *should* support soundfont loading on its own (if it was recommended, then I'd imagine it does, but I don't know), and that will be explained in its documentation or some online tut if you can find one. And FYI, there is a free soundfont editor here (Vienna SF Studio 2.4) that I *think* could also serve as a loader, but don't quote me on that, because for all I know it just loads soundfonts for use with the editor and not universally default, but I really think it works as a loader too. The advantage with this, of course, is that it gives you the option of picking and choosing various instruments to customize and create your own soundfont file: http://asia.creative.com/support/downloads...&y=16&details=1://http://asia.creative.com/support/do...soundfont file, e.g., if you *just* want to add a new chorus sound.://http://asia.creative.com/support/do...w chorus sound.://http://asia.creative.com/support/do...w chorus sound.://http://asia.creative.com/support/do...w chorus sound.://http://asia.creative.com/support/do...w chorus sound.://http://asia.creative.com/support/do...w chorus sound.://http://asia.creative.com/support/do...w chorus sound.. Technically it's not even necessary to have loader support on the synthesizer because apparently you can do it by directly accessing the card without a dedicated loader, but I don't know how to do that, and anyway a loader makes the process so much easier. If your Yamaha doesn't do it, then you should google for one that does. I did all of this using Cakewalk, but I don't really use MIDI outside of Cakewalk so I don't know so much about your situation. Anyway, the documentation for your yamaha should steer you the right way. Good luck.
  11. Oops! Make that *Don* Ross ... I didn't have the book in front of me when I wrote the post and just did it by (bad) memory. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/026218246...glance&n=283155 Thanks for your suggestions Max. The Ross book starts of distinguishing just what economics is the study of ... utility-optimization in the face of scarcity. I don't think it ever claimed to cover *all* behavioral patterns, but then again it also took pains to say that no particular behavioral patter could be a priori left out of the "machine" either, e.g., religious, artistic, political behavior, etc. So there you go. But I haven't got to the really interesting chapters at the end that talk about the actually links between econ and cogsci, so I'm anxious to know where he's going in that regard. I know right now he's focusing on just what "utility" really amounts to, what it is to "want" something that prompts you to action, and how the maximizing of satisfying that desire lets you choose among options, theoretical stuff like that. The Glumcher book "Neuroeconomics" looks at it in the reverse direction, how evolution actually "designed" neural-areas to be optimizing-machines, so the lessons of economics could actually be used to understanding the wiring, and uses the example of the (LIP) system which directs your eye muscles, that is, visual focus, what you want to look at, how you want to look at it, when, for how long, etc ... and the case is really pounded home that it uses a simple method of relative expected utility to weigh various "look at me!" options and choose among them, at least in part. And then it goes on to suggest that this sort of thing is a general feature in a lot of behavioral decisionmaking and should color how we look at these sorts of brain areas, at least for low level, more "reflex" like behaviors. The higher-level/more reflective decisionmaking you go, maybe the more things get complicated. This has got to be one of the more meandering threads ... anyway, I like it; sort of a grab-bag of what's interesting in the world right now. And it's not like you guys police OT so much in these "undisciplined" forums to stave off the overly-curious masses...
  12. Hey Maximius ... I know exactly what you're saying. First, I was mainly talking about economic thinking going into cogsci (and a lot of behavioral studies, pidegons eating breadcrumbs, etc...), not vice versa. But now that you mention it ... On reflection, there's too much I want to say and not enough time, so I'll try to keep it snappy. I was educated in a tradition that was worried that classical theory was being too reductive to a lot of behavior, too. Recently I've started to rethink that skepticism ... because I'm reading a book *right now* where the exact thesis is that cog sci is going to vindicate classical economic models. Dan Ross's Economic Theory and Cognitive Science. The book is incredibly engaging; I can't put it down! But since I'm still very early in, I don't feel confident responding to your point yet. The best I can do right now is just point to that book (actually it's 2 volumes, the first is on microeconomics, individual decisionmaking, the second is on macroeconomics, larger trends) and say there's your best response that I know of directly to what you are wondering about. But so far, I'm hooked. The WW1 example you mentioned I studied in law school (as I studied international law), and that experience was a leading reason for things like the Marshall Plan and the European Union as ways to more properly deal with ending a War and restoring order, which were significantly more economically rational. The psychological motivation behind something like the refusal to offer debt relief (not only that, but Germany had to pay reparations to the Allies until 1989!) revolve around the phenomenon of a "desire for recognition;" the US/Allies wanted to reinforce their world position to Germany/Old World ... really 19th Century way of thinking. Carl Schimdt really summed up this way of thinking in some of his books (Political Theology), and more recently Fukuyama (who has the added benefit of explaining its contrast to homo economia, our economically rational selves) ... although you should also take what they say with a grain of salt since they are talking with a definite political bias. But anyway, I've read lots of articles distinguishing people's "economic" self from their "autobiographical" self (whatever identity features are important in making up who they think they are). I can't answer to this until I've read more into Ross's book, but I want to know myself what the relationship between these two ways of behaving are, whether it's like 2 different selves or something more general going on. I'll let you know what I come up with!
  13. Just on the last point, I like www.artchive.com, which has a pretty extensive collection of free, downloadable art. But it's not a wallpaper site per se, and the quality might vary across pieces depending on what you want ... but I've always used it for my backgrounds, I guess just because it's such an extensive collection in one place and still free.
  14. Since I find this topic endlessly interesting, I feel like explaining a little. The connection between economics and cogsci is a recent development, championed by a guy named David Marr in explaining vision, although he died very young before he finished his book. It isn't so much connected to the externalist thesis ("long-arm functionalism" in the vocabulary I studied it). It's connected to the idea that the brain was "designed" by natural selection pressures, which are themseleves sensitive to environmental variables, climate, the ergonomics of motion given the Earth's gravity, etc ... and the whole *point* of natural selection is to, over time, optimize the "survival/reproduction" rate of an organism within an environmental context. So if you're trying to explain why a brain mechanism is built this way, it's natural to look to economics, the science of optimizing X under conditions of scarcity, as explaining the function that natural selection was pushing the system towards. It becomes like a window into the programing logic of the system, so to speak, so we aren't constantly bogged down by looking just at the wiring. The reason why it's so useful is that it's a step beyond the traditional psychological theories which looked solely at the wiring and tried to tie every exact set of output (behavior) to the exact set of inputs (sense data) as a series of sophisticated reflexes (think of Pavlov, we're all conditioned like dogs to "do X" when we "see Y"). This traditional theory had such a strong hold on the whole field for so long, that it was a roadblock to progress for most of the 20th century. It really took a few bright guys in the mid-80s (like Marr), along with the computer revolution and the growing acceptance of looking towards evolution theory to change the paradigm. More to say, but I have to go...
  15. Two more, ok 3 more, quick points (slash book recommendations ... sigh, there are just too many these days) while I'm thinking about them, (1) A good synoptic overview of the architecture of the mind and how neurons work together to make cognition is a book called Enchanted Looms (can't think of the author now). (2) Terrence Deacon's "Symbolic Species: Coevolution of Language and the Brain" answers a question that had always stumped me and that someone's post just reminded me: why don't animals have simple languages? It's always either all or nothing (or at best the proto-language of sign-language chimps, which is at any rate not natural) ... there's no slow, gradual development of language like many important cognitive features, just wham, seemingly out of the blue, and this is arguably the most important aspect of human cognition! This book tells a story about how brains started for the first time in evolution being able to handle "representations" of ideas in addition to the ideas themselves, like treating them as abstract concepts, which opened the door to using symbolic representaitons of the ideas, i.e., language. Very illuminating. (The Lopsided Ape by Cornalis or something like that is another good book in this vien, which locates language's origins in the freeing of the hands with bipedalism as trees died out in East Africa 2 million y.o., leading to representationalism as we can begin to manipulate objects *as objects to be manipulated* (like tools) because now we can properly get our hands on it.) (3) Glumcher's book I mentioned before on Neuroeconomics does a great job of showing why the neural-net paradigm isn't the right paradigm for human cognition (even if it can play a helpful supporting role), because it would assume all cognitive features are like S/R functions, that is, reflexes, see X: do Y (although usually more complicated than that, but also no more than that) ... which is the classic foundation of psychology a la Pavlov and his salivating dogs, but has been undermined for the last 10 years with the idea we're talking about now, that the brain is actually "designed" to be goal-oriented according to the pressures of natural selection and, as people like economists have long known, human decisionmaking embeds more metalevel computations like relative expected utility into just about all decisions, so more has to be going on. (Then if you wanted to go the next step in this line, there's a book by Dan Ross called Economic Theory and Cognitive Science which unites all these ideas right with Dennett. I loved it, but you need to do a bit of background work in economics to follow it.) I actually wish I could get back into grad school to keep studying this stuff, seems so much more interesting and useful for the world than the legal work I'm doing now.
  16. Anyway, the work seems pretty "routine" in the positive sense that you could use models from real life and it's just a matter of taking the time to put it together without having to worry about complicated coding that might bog you down thinking about.
  17. I haven't read the book, but I've read reviews and excerpts and an essay on the female orgasm which I think has the same punchline ... and from what I saw it seemed very insightful. Most species' females don't have orgasms the way humans do, but more like a *heat* period ... whereas this won't work for female humans because of the change in anatomy to deal with larger infant skulls/brains, so it's much harder to hit the sweet spot, so to speak ... and the whole dynamics (incentive for human women to have sex) are thrown for a loop which have interesting consequences. Quite interesting from the essay I read about it. By the way, Dennett is notable for his other great book, Darwin's Dangerous Idea, which explains the differences between different pressures in natural selection, yeah, it's not always survival pressure (the 4 famous F's: feed, fight, flee, mate), sometimes there are archtectural constraints (the crick in humans' back for walking on 4 legs couldn't get optimized for bipedalism like birds because the change would be too radical given the current structure; so we get sore backs as we age), or simply the qwerty effect for random changes that don't have any survival impact per se... Actually, it gets nuanced pretty fast. @spar, "Hebbian dynamics" just means the dynamics of nuerons firing over time, at various levels of scale (from single neuron chains to waves of firings across many neurons), named after Hebb, the guy that discovered the neuron. While the ground level mechanics are well known, understanding the higher level functioning is hindered by incomplete data (brain scans that try to capture firing patterns are either sortof detailed but "snapshots" with no time info, or realtime but incredibly fuzzy) ... I've seen mathmatical theories of consciousness made out of complicated derivative formulas for the change in firing patterns over time (which are testable! ... if only the technology could catch up); I've seen chaos/emergence theory models where firing patterns occilate and consciousness is like a strange attractor (a grad student at my undergrad that first got me interested in this field, actually, Newman, who's now a prof at U Minnesota I think; this is his schtick. I have to say I was skeptical when I studied his work and didn't like the idea at the time, but I have to gather my thoughts as to why, since it's been a while since I thought about it.); holographic theories where memory/information is captured in the phase info of successive waves of firings (much like light-based holographs). The "simplest" theories are something like computational neural-nets (which are glorified S-R functions with weighted hidden layers doing the heavy lifting), which while very powerful for some tasks (pattern recognition), have turned out to be more limited than was originally hoped for I think.
  18. Maximus, you wouldn't happen to be talking about ANU ... just that I know it has a very good phil of mind program (Chalmers, F. Jackson, etc...) I generally agree with this. My feeling is that people honestly believe that "neurons just can't do it, not just 3 pounds of them ... not for *this* smell of a rose, not *this* cool feeling of water on a hot day, not *this* taste of chocolate mousse, not *this* feeling of God's presence ... and on top of all that my ability to reflect on it all and reason about it and engage with it" etc, etc... They are afraid if "that's it", then they'll lose something of the richness of life, and won't be able to engage with it on a meaningful, "spiritual" level. I am actually a little sympathetic because I won't be satisfied with cogsci *until* it's able to give me all the richness I see in my experience, and my intuitions about "spirituality" etc ... But I regret that most people take it in the wrong direction. I am optimistic that eventually we'll be able to understand how brain-structures actually *can* and do capture these things, and far from denegrating these experiences and "spiritual life" when that starts happening ... I think that understanding their biological roots actually *opens* them up and lets you see your own experience more clearly and able to soak up the essence and "spiritual" side of life even better. I remember reading about studies that when we see certain social actions (someone waving hello to us), the motor cortex actually activates "mimicking" actions in our corresponding motor areas, as if we understand the meaning of others actions by "feeling" ourselves mimick them; we "feel" our own arm waving with theirs ... and then I reflected on my own experience and sure enough I had a real sense of that presence in some cases! A part of my own experience which would have totally passed by me had I not been looking for it. The other thing I don't like about that anti-science attitude is that it's really ignoring a central truth: the experience is *there* and behaves in a regular fashion *whatever* it's made of. Whether it's made out of spirit stuff or physical stuff or 11th dimensional Q-stuff doesn't matter! If it were made out of spirit stuff it would *have* to do the same job anyway and we'd have to come up with the exact same cognitive models and the same causal links to make the system work ... and then the only difference between it and "classical physical" neurons would basically come down to semantics. It just comes down to willful-ignorance; they actually don't want to know what's going on at all and the arguments that it can't be understood are just convenient ways to avoid having to ask the question.
  19. Lots of stuff going on in this thread that I'm interested in ... so I'll see what I can add. spar: I don't think I even saved the links of the online QM lectures I found. I just d/l'ed a bunch of stuff on my hard-drive on my other computer. I can do you one better, though, and put it all in a .zip file and upload it on myfile.com or something, then I'll post the link for that. But I have to get internet access for that computer first. As for my thinking on the topic of free will and mind ... I generally like Dennett, too. I actually took a seminar course specifically on his book Consciousness Explained (and a few other books) ... I have a bunch of nitpicks with him, too, but mostly in the details and not the larger picture, which I see as the right attitude towards naturalism. (Well captured by an old Larson (I think) cartoon which had 2 scientists looking at a frighteningly complicated math equation, except step #3 was "And then a miracle occurs" and then the equation continues. And one scientist says to the other: It's great! But I'm a little worried about your step 3 here. If any explanation has that step in it in one way or another, it's a nonexplanation.) As for Penrose's argument, for the mind part he was heavily relying on some shoddy arguments: one a vulgarization of Searle's Chinese Room argument that the firing of neurons can't be "about" something like thoughts are "about" something; another an old hat argument that Godel's Incompleteness Theorem requires the brain to be more "open" or non-computational or something. Aside from the fact Penrose botched these arguments in their own right, both of them have aged very poorly, and even in their best days they couldn't get you far because they only support the negative thesis that Hebbian dynamics alone aren't enough for conscious thought, without lending any real guidance for what would be enough. But it's my perception that both of them, or for that matter the entire trend of anti-naturalist and anti-AI arguments you see in some circles nowadays: (1) severely underestimate what Hebbian dynamics is capable of and (2) severely exaggerate the limitations consciousness, "free will", language, logical intuition, etc., are supposed to put on the brain. As for what *can* do the work in cases that we normally call "free will", probably the best approach is to point to some suggestive work in neurophysiology that's making the most progress, rather than trying to over-speculate. So some of the most interesting was published in a great book by Glumcher called "Neuroeconomics" ... Bear with me a little while if you want the punchline: A lot of work on the neurophysiology of decisionmaking is concentrating on a brain area called LIP. It is the bridge-area exactly between afferent signals coming in from the retna (images) and efferent signals going out to the eye-muscles (behavior), and its function was for a long time questioned, since it didn't seem either afferent or efferent, although its wiring and behavior was very well understood. Glumcher and others have put together a fantastic case that, in fact, LIP maps "relative expected utility" for looking at something ... and when you look at its firing patterns that's exactly what you're seeing. Areas that offer a benefit to the organism get activated; areas that don't get deactivated ... and that feeds into what the eye "wants" to look at. And when the benefit to the organism changes, so does the activation. And when there are two or more areas to look at that offer the same expected risks/benefits, you see both light up, and the eye muscles hesitate between the two and over a number of cases it seems as if the eye is choosing "randomly" between the two (50%). But it's actually not "random" at all, because it's what you'd expect for an organism optimizing its utility to a Nash equilibrium (NE= any deviation from the x% pattern of choices would reduce utility). Small deviances in utility suddenly take a larger role (the little feeling you get that the right queue is a hair faster than the left queue), and there's apparently a memory that tracks choices over time so that it hits almost exactly the optimization for the Nash equilibrium over many attempts, be it 30/70%-A/B, or 50/50, etc... So the point here is you get what looks like "random", "free", "nonalgorythmic" behavior that's actually controlled by very normal Hebbian dynamics. No need for weirdo quantum effects to get "random looking" behavior, the little oomph to choose between A or B. First of all, it's important not to see the behavior as actually *random*. The variation is actually very tightly controlled; life is like a game, and people play games to win, even being sneaky and "random looking". And because utility is at stake, the *last* thing the system wants to do when it's playing the percentages is throw *another* wildcard into the mix. So that's one thing. Another set of studies has to do with the actually "feeling" of volition we get while acting, when it occurs, and what causes it. I'll post this later on if there's interest ... but there is a mechanism which controls this, and what's interesting about it is that sometimes it doesn't line up with actual behavior, so sometimes we feel volition for actions we don't take (ghost limb experiments, or the "mirrored hand" effect), or even more weird but even more common: we feel the volition of choosing an action *after* the brain has already choosen it and sent the signal to the muscles. But the mechanism/feeling is not as illusionary as this suggests; there's still a core part about it that has something to do with "me" making a choice and the feeling is of that decisionmaking, not something that comes after it. Ok, that's another can of worms I'll need to take on later, and raises all sorts of phil issues of freedom and will. For now, I just wanted to explain what I didn't like about Penrose.
  20. I went Googling on this a few months back ... and I found a LOT of full class lectures on-line, with all the math and notes and explanations on the notes, and many times linked with online .pdf files to fill it out even more. A textbook may be more compact, but having all the resources of a class to me is just as valuable; it's more oriented towards actual students and their dumb questions, tends to have more "fun" examples, and just fills things out. Probably good to have both. But anyway, best of all it's all free. It may depend on your goals in doing it, too. For me, it's the random little articles and bon mots in a lecture that really bring the topic alive for me. And as for the math, one word: redundancy, hearing the same thing explained 12 different ways through the lectures of different profs really pounds the point home, and different homeworks that make you look at the same math in different ways. And sometimes a textbook just gives one explanation, and a thin one at that. It does take more time to sift through, but I'm not in any rush anyway, and sort of have fun "exploring" through the morass. Unfortunately, I don't have links on this computer, but a google for "quantum physics lectures" is a good place to start. I read Penrose's Emporer's New Mind and found the physics part interesting because I thought it was an elegant explanation, but the mind part I didn't buy at all and found it a terrible argument through and through. I was a philosophy student studying phil of mind, though ... so I was extra critical because it was my home-turf. Anyway, most of what goes on with cognition, even at the "lowest" levels, is still *way* above the quantum level (although your photoreceptors can detect the purterbation of even a single photon). By the way, a good article online somewhere is the "transactional interpretation" of quantum physics, which is great as a primer to give your mind a visual image to work with when going to the math, something physical that is actually going on you can put your hands on so-to-speak, and has made "visualizing" things so much easier. Whether it's true or not doesn't matter since the math is the same either way; but it helps in visualizing things so much it's worth the effort. So I recommend googling that.
  21. I just saw Paycheck recently and the plot-structure was so godawful as the movie went on I had to literally tell myself to stay in my seat and watch it just to get through it. I thought it was worse than Minority Report ... although both of them started off well and could have easily gone in a better direction, I thought. The ending was horrible IMO ... like even on the actors faces you could see them wondering "who writes this shit?". It's all the worse because they were Dick stories, and I really like him. I wish they'd go tarnish some other author's canon. Anyway, when I think about this touchscreen technology, it reminds me of early GUIs (in their ergonomics, not the look and feel of it!), which got more efficient and easier to use over time, although the first ones were frustrating ... I'm sure they've got some team at MIT whose sole goal in life is to tweak the angles and sizes of the thing to make it comfortable for your arms and efficient to use (just like they have one for ergonomic keyboards and workstations) -- but we might not get there for a while. But if it's got real potential, they'll design it to make it easy and comfortable to use I think.
  22. The working one I've seen in real life was almost horizontal, like tabletop style. So it wasn't that different from a mousepad. You could rest your hands/arms on the surface. But I could see how extending your arm from one end of the screen to the far end could still get tiring after a while.
  23. I get the feeling you guys should be testing this out in the field more and then be citing field reports rather than speculating (maybe you are). The T2 FM that immediately comes to my mind when thinking about 1-shot seriously wound/kill arrows is Midday Escape. And if you read the players reports on it, there was a lot of frustration on the fact that 1 arrow could stop a run in its tracks, forcing you to repeat running past them play after play so it turns into more like a reflex game (at least for that area) than plotting how to sneak by an obstacle like how I normally think the classic gameplay should be. Also, reports were that it was hard to be sure one was completely clear of an archer's line of sight until you were basically maimed/killed by the first (otherwise "warning") arrow ... although granted the draconian design contributed to the frustration; but, then again, 1-shot kill arrows might encourage that kind of draconian design. And in response, authors might just start using less archerers and so the gameworld is simply diminished. Anyway, I haven't thought enough about it to have a strong opinion, but thinking in terms of how the flow of gameplay is affected by these sorts of mechanics using the actual experience of real gameplay is what I wish there was more going on here.
  24. I wouldn't be so bitter about it ... to me they were just joking around, and even then mostly about Slash's free use of the term "official", not really about anything he was going to make per se. Also, I think TDM's quality will largely be able to speak for itself ... It's not like the team is going to be policing what can and can't be made with it. Dromed never got a wiff of LGS support and the Editor's Guild is notorious for attacking the latest mega-projects; doesn't seem to make T2 FM-making any less popular. And even if some guys do appear to attack some projects with a roll of their eyes, sometimes mega-visions should be chastized a little to force the creators to defend them or at least think realistically about them. If Slash thinks what they said was unfair, he can try to convince them otherwise. Anyway, this thread looks exactly like the one in the Off Topic forum, so my answer will be the same: http://forums.thedarkmod.com/index.php?s=&sh...indpost&p=61672
  25. I don't know why I need to bother, but just to respond to ZB: substitute "being able to see a guard charge you" with "being able to watch a guard make his patrol in the distance" ... So while you're in a still position reading anyway, it wouldn't hurt to have the ability to do a little multi-tasking and already have an eye on foward-areas that you'll negotiate next to plan your next moves, and a clear view helps. Or to put it more generally: T1/T2 style readables were so noticible (notorious) for the *dead* time they created ... If TDM is going to liven that time up, they may as well run with the idea and make it really worth something.
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