# cfgauss

Member

259

Never

1. ## Community History: Name Users!

This all makes me feel old! I had an account on the old forums whose name I can no longer remember when I was in high school, and remember a lot of these names. Could we at least introduce these threads by throwing in an "It seems like it was only yesterday..." instead of "It was so long ago none of us truly remember"?
2. ## Jeff Talks Forums

Todd Howard (of Oblivion, Morrowind, etc) used to read all of the posts on the Morrowind forums when they were small enough to do that: http://www.gameinformer.com/b/news/archive/2011/01/13/road-to-skyrim-the-todd-howard-interview.aspx

5. ## X

Originally Posted By: CRISIS on INFINITE SLARTIES that seems quite unfounded to me. How exactly is math the largest set in the space of all relationships? Basically by definition. If you found things not in this space, and labeled them X_i, which were described by relationships, X_j ~ X_k for some j,k if X_j and X_k are related, then you could define a set X = {X_i}, and the orbit space of relations, R(X_i) = { x in X : X_i in x with x~X_i}. But then you could study X and the orbits R(X_i) with the usual tools of math, because this defines the set and relation structure. You can also easily impose any other structural requirements you need. So by contradiction we can show that this collection and relations not in the space of all describable things is in fact describable by the usual tools. Although, incidentally, this is much larger than is needed for almost all problems. You can actually restrict yourself to things one can describe with basic first order logic and conditional probabilities and do almost everything. The things beyond this are the minority, and typically don't require much more (and are often related to the 'details' rather than the main ideas, and if you want to accept details without proof you may not need them). Originally Posted By: demons will charm you I considered linguistics and computer science as other potentially deductive fields. I don't know enough about linguistics, but my impression is that, like physics, it's concerned with fundamental laws and how to apply them, not with abstract constructs of language with no basis in any real language. Like I said, the inductive/deductive view isn't as mutually exclusive as it seems. Induction is just staring in the middle of a deductive chain when you don't know the beginning, until you can find a plausible beginning (or beginnings) to deduce the things you want to know, and learned through induction. It's a little more complicated when you're dealing with uncertain implications (e.g., a=>b, and a is 99.7% sure to be true), but it's definitely doable, and when done correctly you can use this to strengthen implications even though naively it would weaken them (e.g., a=>b=>c=>d... and each implication is less than 100% sure, the probability that the last one is true goes to 0 as the number of terms increases, but without much difficulty this can be strengthened so each implication increases the probability--this is called the scientific method ). A very clear example of how this has specifically happened is seen in the history of physics. So I'll leave it to any book that covers the history of physics from the crazy philosophical nonsense of the 1700s to the more axiomatic physics of today! Quote: (Put differently, nobody sets out to create a language without nouns or verbs. Although, since I don't actually know the field, maybe they do and I'm just totally unaware.) Believe me, they definitely do stuff like this! Making up perverse languages is something they do as often as the CS people make up perverse Turing complete languages! Although, sadly, since the field is still really new (as an actual science) there's still a lot of weird philosophical nonsense in it, so it's not as good as it could be. Quote: cfgauss, I think we're not quite communicating, because I don't think I disagree with you. All sorts of things can be described by math. Math can't be described by all sorts of things, though. I'm not sure that means what you think it means? This statement is either vacuously true or vacuously false depending on the way you interpret it. Quote: Absolutely! But what other fields permit the study of anything abstractly, without context, always? You can get away with building up entire mathematical systems describing things that don't exist, possibly based on axioms that seem to be untrue in the context of reality. But this doesn't matter. A specific system may not satisfy some particular set of axioms, but who cares? Every system is not described the same way. In modern science we have a notions of 'effective descriptions' where you don't (and maybe can't) know (or care) about the detailed, fundamental description, because the effective description can look alarmingly different than the fundamental one. Examples of this are: * Electromagnetism in matter. E&M in vacuum is a linear theory, E&M in matter can have all kinds of crazy nonlinear effects that someone who only knows E&M in vacuum might think are impossible. You can have lots of crazy optical effects using this, as well as other interesting effects. * Quantum mechanics, which apparently violates unitarity when you measure things by having a 'wavefunction collapse', but the complete description involves no such thing. The horribly discontinuous, apparently laws of physics violating, collapse comes out as some weird limit of a system interacting with its environment. * Cellular automata being turing complete, and being able to model any computation despite being normally described in terms of all kinds of bizarre math that has nothing to do with computations, and can't in any way be (obviously) applied to understand normal computers. etc. Quote: But try describing the role of alien hyperlasers in the mage-kings' resistance to social change during the Akkadian Renaissance won't get you very far even if the conclusions you draw are quite elegant. I have seen many papers, review articles, and textbooks that use colorful metaphors like this to describe any number of things . And if you want to go as far as science fiction as historical/social commentary, then this has definitely been done! And taken seriously, too! Quote: —Alorael, who actually can think of another field that respects systems describing things that don't exist. The field is economics, and the economists don't like it when you point that out. Take that, current cultural whipping boy! Actually, many of the systems physicists study don't exist. The reason they're studied is that they help us understand the systems that do because there are certain kinds of 'universal' behavior that show up in totally different types of systems, and because it helps us develop new tools and look at things from different ways, that can be used to solve 'real' problems. You could probably go as far as saying most theorists don't study 'realistic' systems most of the time--but that's good, not bad. And has clearly been very successful in developing new physics. In fact, some of the 'unrealistic' systems we've studied have actually shown up in real life in effective systems described by condensed matter physicists. Originally Posted By: Lt. Sullust I believe Godel would have something to say about this 'largest' set, namely that it doesn't exist... This really has nothing to do with what I am saying. http://mathworld.wolfram.com/GoedelsIncompletenessTheorem.html http://mathworld.wolfram.com/GoedelsCompletenessTheorem.html
6. ## X

Originally Posted By: Student of Trinity I hate to break it to you, but Hari Seldon isn't real. Some day! Unfortunately not for a while since such a thing would be prohibitively complicated . We've got to work on some AIs to help us out first. Originally Posted By: CRISIS on INFINITE SLARTIES This makes no sense logically: if relationships are the only reason physics is described by math, then why can't physics be described by history? This reasoning is fallacious. a implies b doesn't mean b implies a, which is what you're saying here. E.g., language describes what I look like, but what I look like doesn't describe language. (Unless you mean the formal structure is applicable in both places, then, it does, but see below.) Math is the 'largest' set (by construction) in the 'space' of all sets of relationships. I can describe other things by making isomorophisms between subsets of relations in math and subsets of whatever field I want to describe. So, e.g., there's an isomorphism between observables in ordinary quantum mechanics and elements of C*-algebras, and partial differential equation describing time evolution, and conditional probabilities. There is also an isomorphism between, e.g., historical events and conditional probabilities. That doesn't mean that there is a canonical isomorphism between historical events and quantum observables, even though quantum mechanics is probabilistic. It just means they're described by the same language.
7. ## X

Originally Posted By: demons will charm you History is derived from what happened and what happens. Math is not derived from things. Physics, which relies heavily on mathematics, does have as its basis observation of what happens. Math doesn't care; it can't care. It's deductive! Mathematicians may pursue branches because they are practically relevant, but the branches themselves exist and are true regardless of their ties to the real world. But this isn't correct. Math studies relationships and it does not matter what those relationships specifically are, or if they are inductive, deductive, or other. It doesn't matter if the relationship is numerical equality, causation, groupings into similar classes, logical implication, etc. Most of what pure mathematicians study are these relations abstractly, without context, but in principle it's always trivial to add context ("this is a C*-algebra" vs. "this is the C*-algebra of quantum mechanical observables"). History is all about relationships: someone did this, this happened then this, this happened because of this, etc. This is the very natural domain of math, and studying these kinds of relationships is no different than any others. Similarly, physics is described exclusively by math because it's all about relationships: I measure this then this happens, something happens what caused it, etc. Really, more generally, and from a more 'physical' point of view, any science is all about observables of some kind. It doesn't matter if they're complex, "the fall of the Roman empire" or elementary, "I just saw a 100 GeV cosmic ray." What's important is that as long as there are some kind of relationships between events, you can write, e.g., conditional probabilities, P(event one | event two) and calculate 'equations of motion' that relate "if I saw this, these are the likely next possible outcomes." It makes no difference if you're calculating the possible energy states given that you have an electron in a hydrogen atom, or the possible outcomes of increased government spending, or are using them to understand how the fall of the Roman empire affected Europe. The formal structure is the same either way. The only difference is if people know math can be mutatis mutandis applied to their field, too. And the reasons they don't know this are what I outlined before. Quote: Everything else is, at base, drawn from inductively determined truths. Math isn't, except to the degree that the axioms most commonly used are those that seem to be true in reality. There's really no difference here. It's the difference between "starting at the beginning" and "starting in the middle." You can do each either way if you know the right things. Sometimes it's very useful to do math research inductively, and sometimes it's useful do do physics deductively.

10. ## X

Originally Posted By: Micawber To comment on the mathematical articles. Having many different people edit an article over a period of time has made some of the articles incoherent. Unlike printed matter, there is no proof reading. Yeah, but the problem is more than no proofreading, but no internal consistency, articles can switch between writing styles, and, worse, conventions, randomly throughout an article. It really takes an expert to spot these consistently, and be able to fix them. Quote: In fairness, some preprints and even published textbooks or monographs can be as poorly written and presented. Mathematicians as a class are not noted for their communication skills (clearly this is a generalization, and there exist counter examples). Yeah, I would argue that the vast majority of math, and of physics texts are not so good. Still, much better than wikipedia, though.
11. ## X

Originally Posted By: Dantius Originally Posted By: Master1 So we have concluded that Wikipedia is fine for a cursory or even deeper inquiry, but is not sufficient to make you an expert. Opinions of a few people on a gaming forum != legitimate criticism of Wikipedia. Especially when people make general statements along the lines of "Well I knew a guy who knew a guy who said it's wrong". How about: "I am an expert in high energy theoretical physics who has published string theory papers, who additionally has a degree in math, and I can say, in my expert opinion, the math and physics articles in wikipedia are riddled with errors and are generally of poor quality." So now you too can say you know a guy on the internet who says they suck!
12. ## X

Originally Posted By: Lilith Originally Posted By: CRISIS on INFINITE SLARTIES Somebody did a study of science articles a few years ago (before the big push for citations on wikipedia) and found that there were more errors in Encyclopedia Brittanica than in Wikipedia. it also found that the wikipedia articles were generally more poorly written and structured and the errors that were there were more likely to be serious, though anyway i've cited wikipedia exactly once and that was to use it as a primary source in an essay about online communities A lot of the physics articles are really bad (not to mention rambley and incoherent). In fact, I know a few big-name experts in their fields who've corrected major errors in some of them, or written/re-written some of them, only to have their changes reverted, or had serious errors introduced. In fact, many physics pages that I know of like this now claim they 'need attention from an expert' :-/. In fact, I don't personally know any physicists who edit wikipedia anymore. Many errors make articles fundamentally wrong, or contain serious misconceptions, or are deeply misleading. Not to mention there are numerous articles on crackpot theories, that one would never guess were crackpot based on the articles. And these are impossible to edit, because the people who believe in the crazy theories are always far more numerous than the competent physicists (and have far more time on their hands). From what I've seen, math articles tend to contain fewer serious explicit errors, but are written very confusingly, misleadingly, and contain just as many misconceptions / incorrect explanations.
13. ## What do you think of...

Originally Posted By: Student of Trinity Government spending is a big mystery. Nobody really knows what the rules are. It's not like a person or family or even a company running a deficit, because sovereign states contracting debts payable in their own currency can print the money if they need to. Right, but every dollar they print makes the dollars they use to pay it worth less. So printing money to pay off debts means your money is worth exponentially less relative to what it was worth before (aside from other factors that may influence the relative value of money). Quote: In fact, the only real leverage any creditors have on a sovereign debtor is refusing to lend more money in future. Not true at all, there are serious economic problems in general. People will not trade with you if your money is worthless to them, and that's a big problem for countries who rely on lots of imports and exports. People also won't invest in your economy anymore, and foreign investors are a huge part of our economy, we'd be in big big trouble without them. Quote: Even this is a pretty feeble threat; quite a few countries that have simply defaulted on their debts have really only had to wait a few years, maybe vote in a new governing party, before investors looking for good returns were lining up to buy their bonds again. Yeah, Russia only had to wait like a few months before oh what that totally didn't happen that way. But, hey, I'm sure at least Zimbabwe's going to do fine with its debt, printing more money to pay it off won't possibly cause hilarious levels of hyperinflation! Quote: So, as much as one may like to say that 'we can't keep on borrowing money', in fact it's not easy to see why things can't Zimbabwe. Dozens of other hyperinflation filled countries. They are why. Quote: A scary aspect of this debate is the following. Yeah, voting paradoxes are a problem, but in reality, no one starts with logical ideas anyway. So we start out with a bunch of groups with stupid ideas, and the compromise ends up being an idea that's just as stupid as its constituents . This can of course be solved by electing intelligent people, who're capable of coming up with intelligent ideas and using the debate to actually improve their ideas, instead of just swapping out sub-ideas like nothing can possibly go wrong. (Like that's going to happen.)
14. ## What do you think of...

Tea party ideas are no more racist/classist/whateverist than democrats, republicans, libertarians, or whoever else. They're just new, and the media likes to focus on the crazy people. The demographics of tea party people don't seem to be too unusual, either. IIRC, the last time I heard (a few months ago) it was like ~33% former republicans and ~%20 former democrats. Its members are apparently mostly middle-class, on average, but that's probably misleading since the media always report averages and not distributions. And the people in it seem to be generally more to the center than the republicans or democrats. And it really doesn't have to do with taxes, although I guess that's how it started. It's really more about generically libertarian + economically conservative + socially moderate/liberal ideas. Although I don't think they really have an "official" ideology now, since they don't really like republicans or democrats, so they don't really have any "leaders" and don't seem to know what they really want yet. But from what I've seen about the few tea party people who actually talk about their "ideals," they're nothing new. They're ideas that've been around since forever; it's just been a while since any specific group has had that particular combination of ideals (the democrats and republicans both used to, but not really anymore). They just don't know it's new, it's new to them, I guess that's what matters? So I'm not particularly impressed by what they're saying (well, I'm not impressed by the republicans or democrats, either!). But it would be nice to see it become an actual political group, since competition will at least have the potential to make politicians do a better job, regardless of what their ideas are.
15. ## A6 - Bored of sitting through the enemy turns - how do I skip them?

Castle of the Winds >>>>> Avernum <3 <3 <3 You know, both CotW and it's sequel are available for free from the author's website now. And are exactly as awesome now as before. And not being able to save in combat is a pain; I don't have an infinite amount of time and sometimes I don't have enough time to go through a boss/miniboss fight or a fight with a billion rats/zombies/whatever or something. But what bothers me more than the slow combat is the bug that allows enemies to move without centering the screen on them, so I can't actually see what they're doing, negating any possible benefit of the horribly long time you have to wait to watch them all move!
16. ## How to get a thesis out of the US?

That's racist! Err, specist, whatever.
17. ## How to get a thesis out of the US?

Then we Truly will be the Greatest country on Earth.
18. ## How to get a thesis out of the US?

Have you tried contacting the libraries of those universities? They should be able to make copies and send them to you somehow? Even if they make you do something stupid like pay for them. Alternatively, you could try contacting people in the departments there who can do that? It shouldn't be too hard to find some random professor or grad student there who's willing to do that.

20. ## Where to begin?

Did you know the guy who wrote the "standard" intro calculus book everyone uses bought a huge freakin mansion? With a god damned concert hall in it. It's disgusting. His book is overpriced and terrible. The man deserves a beating, not money.
21. ## Where to begin?

only when they're serious... edit: taking serious, not factually serious , what i said is factually serious
22. ## Where to begin?

Originally Posted By: Dantius Originally Posted By: cfgauss Don't tempt me to start posting what I do... (Slowly turns around in chair) Are you threatening me, master Jedi? Six feet to my left I have a complete set of the Feynman Lectures on Physics right next to two college calculus books. Below that I have two shelves of chess books. I can and will post a complete analysis of the exchange variation in the Four Pawns Alekhine! Way ahead of you; that was my bookshelf when I was 14. Except I had more than calculus... group theory, analysis, and complex analysis too I think?
23. ## Where to begin?

Don't tempt me to start posting what I do...
24. ## Trouble running Exile 3

Originally Posted By: The Mystic Originally Posted By: Daryll I am running a Vista. Basically, that's the problem. Argh, no, it isn't! If you're running 64-bit windows, then it won't work because that doesn't support 16-bit windows because it's a terrible idea to stay backwards compatible with software written for operating systems of 20 years ago. If you're not running 64-bit windows, which is most likely, it's probably a permissions issue with not being run as administrator, or some particular compatibility shim that's needed not being used... If you provide us with more information than "it doesn't work" we might be able to help you more... How is it not working? Does it crash? What error message do you see? etc.
25. ## The arrow keys

It would be nice to have all the keys mappable. That shouldn't be too difficult to do, should it? (I say knowing how hilarious the code actually looks!)
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