Jump to content

cfgauss

Member
  • Posts

    259
  • Joined

  • Last visited

    Never

Everything posted by cfgauss

  1. 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. 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
  3. Originally Posted By: Student of Trinity Criticism works well in science because the audience for technical talks and papers is extremely self-selected. Game audiences aren't, at least not if the game producer is trying to make money. People at talks are definitely not self-selected. Lots of conferences are at universities and random students and postdocs at the university can show up to the talks. And plenty of criticisms in science are wrong, too; really the only difference is cultural. Quote: Jeff is risk-averse, and he has been changing his basic game mechanics only very slowly and slightly. And that's a big part of why he's still in business. It's a big part of why I haven't bought a new game from him for years. It's a big part of why several people I know have refused to play more than one or two of his games. It's a big part of why his userbase is so small compared to a lot of other indy devs who make very successful games (and who usually get hired by big companies afterward). Quote: He found something that worked, and he refrained from wrecking it. And has refrained from improving it, too. Not to mention improving things is not mutually exclusive with doing things safely. There are a number of ways that this could easily be done, surveys, small proof-of-concept games / mods to see how people generally feel about changes, addons to existing games that make gameplay changes to see what people like, more playtesting, etc. Quote: Having said that, Avadon does introduce some somewhat larger changes, in character development and in combat. I hope so. I'm hopeful he's taken seriously some of the criticisms and made improvements, but it remains to be seen. Originally Posted By: Locmaar Jeff has these people, too, and repeatedly says so. No, he doesn't. He has people who say things to him, but that's not the same as a formal review environment by professionals, or actual interviews and live play testing with customers. For example, many developers invite people in to play their games in the early stages, and watch them play without interfering/helping (so it's kind of like a "blind" study) to see how they play, solve problems, etc, and have them write/talk with them in detail about what they like, what they found frustrating, etc. If you listen to what some of the devs who have talked or written or blogged about it, you can see how hugely this kind of thing helps. You can find nice examples of this in the Half-life 2 and Portal commentaries, but some of the written stuff you can find is more detailed. Any you can try to say "oh but he doesn't have the resources to do this," etc, but it would be very easy (and cost nothing) to have directed conversations over either forums or careful surveys to see what people do and don't like and do and don't have trouble with. Not to mention there are plenty of studies, textbooks, blog posts, talks, conference proceedings, etc, by real big-name devs about gameplay and usability that agree with how important this is, and detail all kinds of interesting and non-obvious things that could lead to improvements in any game. And, honestly, I'll take John Carmack, or Gabe Newell, or the guys at Bungie's comments on how useful community feedback is more than Jeff Vogel, just sayin'. (Particularly Carmack's "I used to be an ass and not listen to anyone until I learned that they have useful things to say" comments.) Quote: In scientific research it is probably easier to say something is right or wrong, or works/doesn't work respectively. That was just an example, this happens in tons of professional fields. Quote: In a story-telling environment this very easily shifts to 'it doesn't work for me' or even to 'I don't like it very much'. Other devs, not to mention writers of novels, scripts, etc, seem to have no problem doing this. Also, this isn't really applicable because I'm talking more about gameplay and "user experience" issues than story ones. Quote: We are talking about various aspects of how the game may be improved but so far there doesn't even seem to be a unanimous vote on how that's got to be achieved. Because there's no reason to carefully discuss it when the developer goes out of his way to say he doesn't listen to you.
  4. Ehh, well reading this has drawn me back again to make a comment! (If I leave in the middle of a conversation again it's because I'm very busy, I promise!) Anyway, I think a lot of Jeff's comments about this are a little bizarre. First, these have to be one of the friendliest communities dedicated to a developer I've ever seen. I've certainly read plenty of criticisms here, and I would say at least 99% of them are fairly reasonable, not only in comparison to what you see on other forums, but what people who work in businesses see as part of peer reviews, and definitely compared to what I see in my field. I mean, I work in a field where someone can be giving a talk on their results, and some random person can stand up and interrupt with "no, no, this is all wrong, you don't know what you're doing!" Or when you submit a paper, it can be pretty harshly criticized and ultimately rejected when the anonymous reviewer decides it's unfixable. (Though the typical magnitude of these varies considerably by subfields.) But these are seen as good things! Personally, I have a number of people that I go to first when I have some crazy new idea, because I know they're more than happy to say "this is the stupidest thing I've heard in my life, you should never tell this idea to anyone ever again." This kind of thing is very valuable! And, yeah, you can try to say that a scientific field is totally different, and this isn't applicable here, if you want. And even though I have experience programming and modding and stuff, I don't make a living on it so I don't know what I'm talking about. But I've heard plenty of devs talk a lot about how valuable criticism is. Often, they're talking about internal criticism (another dev tells them "this is a terrible idea and doesn't make any sense"), and you can say that's different than a community, but Jeff doesn't really have an internal organization to tell him things like that. Hell, even Molyneux has talked about how community criticism has helped him realize how stupid some of his ideas were! It seems to me like a lot of the complaints about the community not being helpful is due to Jeff's lack of communication skills. Sure, I've only been paying attention to the community for 10 or so years, on and off, but I've never seen him once try to engage the community in specific, directed, constructive discussions about what they think. Complaining that comments on a forum he repeatedly claims to refuse to take part in aren't constructive is just... a very odd thing to claim... It's like me claiming that people at a university next door to us aren't discussing things useful for my research in their offices. Well... yeah... But really, what I see when I play Jeff's games, is that, aside from the occasional graphics or engine improvement, there really hasn't been any improvement in his games. They just look stagnant to me. They're the same mechanics wrapped in a new plot, with minor technical improvements. But there are no gameplay improvements. I don't care if graphics or technical capabilities are improved. The games could still look like the original Exile I graphics for all I care, but they should not play like Exile I, and they mostly do. Changes like "oh you can engineer creatures now" aren't really gameplay improvements, either, they're just a different plot. Okay, so now instead of my other party member being Bob the Warrior, he's Fyora the Fyora. Great. That makes sense in terms of the story, but does the game play differently because of it? Not so much. My impression is that Jeff is just very risk-averse, and isn't willing to make any really significant changes, and just doesn't want to hear anyone suggest that his games could do with any improvements. And that's very disappointing, because there's a lot of potential for good things here.
  5. cfgauss

    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. cfgauss

    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. cfgauss

    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.
  8. cfgauss

    X

    Originally Posted By: demons will charm you You can study abstract mathematics with only the most tangential ties to anything present in the physical world No such thing exists. Unless by "only the most tangential ties to anything present in the physical world" you mean "the source of all physical laws" . Even number theory, notorious for having no physical applications until crypto applications were found, has many applications in physics! Not directly (as if that would even mean anything...), but it can occasionally be helpful in some areas, depending on one's point of view and description. That's not to say you can't study math ignorant of any applications--which is what most mathematicians do. But it's all part of Reality's sick, twisted plan to have it all interconnected in surprising, amoral ways! Quote: Both are very unlikely to help you with any task you encounter, but they're still not very similar. Hey, I find it fun to find every-day applications for sophisticated math! And you can always do it if you think about it enough. One can argue that knowing that bubbles form a suspiciously efficient (close to piecewise linear) packing arrangement is not useful, but, hey, what happens when your kid asks you how long the bubbles in his bubble bath will last? Well, understanding the irregular, but suspiciously familiar packing arrangement, and basics about minimal surface shapes, and how the time they last relates to allowed fluctuations and how a fluctuation in one affects its neighbors, you can easily estimate the rate at which bubbles collapse! Of course, the real answer to "you can't use sophisticated math/physics in your everyday life" is "you can, but no one cares." Really, people barely care about what reading accomplishes in your every day life, and a third to a half of people are not proficient at basic reading, either, so what can you really ask for? Quote: Math is all about deduction. Which is half of why it's the exclusive way to describe reality! Quote: Other disciplines tend to be very concerned with inductive reasoning. Like math for example! Which is the other half of the reason. At any rate, as people in other fields are learning more and more (then, forgetting, re-learning, forgetting again...) hardcore math and scientific reasoning is applicable to anything. One could very easily apply any number of mathematical topics to understanding history, e.g. There have been a few people who've applied things like game theory to understand historical events, but the problem is that there is no academic audience for this kind of work. The historians believe, incorrectly, that you can not model real events with math properly, or that you can't get 'hidden' information out of events with math, so they don't care what the mathematicians can do. Mathematicians believe (often incorrectly) that the historian's conclusions aren't sound, and their information isn't trustworthy enough. So you end up with both sides without enough tools to do anything interesting, and who don't care enough to learn what the other has to say! And from an "economic" point of view, there's no reason for either side to learn the other's side. Although there is a field of mathematical analysis of present events, which is one of the reason for various intelligence agencies being the largest employers of mathematicians, in addition to their cryptographic and data analysis and mining skills. So I would surely argue that any field could (and should) really be done best with hardcore math. After all, that's the only way you can be sure (with a calculable degree of certainty!) that you're correct. But they don't, which goes back to SoT's comment, Quote: It is possible to understand bicycles. But it's really not that easy. And understanding doesn't help you all that much with performance. So nobody much bothers with laying out the axioms of bicycle riding, surveying their historical sources, situating bicycle riding within a larger context, and tracing all the logical consequences of gears and handbrakes. As far as the average person is concerned, there's no benefit to them to understand bicycles. There is a benefit, and it can be significant. It's just that for the average person, and in their domain of use, the benefit from having a basic understanding (plus arbitrary guesses for any non-basic information), is not that much smaller than having a complete understanding. This is because the perceived improvement of learning the more sophisticated things is basically weighted by how difficult we think it will be to learn. That's why, e.g., a lot of people complain about "windows" doing stupid things (regardless of the things being done being windows's fault) but do not bother to learn how to avoid these problems, or how to make their computer run better. And if they do, it's all cargo-cult reasoning (let's randomly run a registry "cleaner" to make my computer faster!) and not real reasoning (let's examine all running processes and see who's taking up the most CPU time and see what they're doing). Understanding how a computer works in enough detail to make sure it always runs well requires technical sophistication; it's just much easier to blame Bill Gates and stupid "M$" than to understand how to fix things, even though there is an obvious benefit. This is something the economists study (occasionally, oddly enough, with rather sophisticated math). From a (over)simplified, more physics/engineering point of view, the bulk behavior is calculated by an expectation value that looks schematically like: (sum over i)[ (perceived benefit of ith action)*(perceived difficulty coefficient of ith action) ] with some additional normalizations, etc. E.g., the classical "I ain't never needed no reading before! I got along fine all my life without yer book lernin'!" (This is something that may seem stupid to you younger readers, but it's something I'll bet most older ones have heard actually used in real life by adults who refuse to learn to read!) These people assume it will be very difficult to learn to read, and are completely ignorant of the benefits. (high difficulty)*(low benefits) = (won't learn to read), (no difficulty)*(I already don't know how to read) = (won't learn to read) so the expected value is "I won't learn to read"! This goes back to the original comments (see, I was going somewhere with this!) that one could, and should, ideally, (ultimately) approach all subjects in an identical top-down axiomatic way. Including, language, history, bicycles, soap bubbles etc. It's just that the perceived difficulty in doing so is greater than the perceived gains. So, the typical person won't. This is why so many people consistently misuse "their/there"--they could do it right, but, they ask, "what does it get me." Well, you don't look like a moron, but, lacking the understanding of how stupid it makes them look to get it wrong 50% of the time, the perceived improvement is small, and the perceived difficulty is large, so they don't. So this discussion about if other topics can be addressed in the same way or not doesn't mean anything. They can. The question is if most people find it sufficiently convenient (and the answer is that they do not). But it is the case that with properly done science, you cannot escape the correct way of doing it and expect to be successful (outside of writing crackpot pop-sci books, anyway).
  9. cfgauss

    X

    Originally Posted By: CRISIS on INFINITE SLARTIES But I hold that most pieces of language have an antecedent to aid in their uptake, even if it isn't at all apparent. With math you eventually get to topics where almost everything needs a brand new box, there's nothing to compare it to. So maybe negative one, that you can connect to what you know about objects or scores or money, but the square root of negative one, well, that's a unicorn. This is only the picture you get from bad math books and teaching . The seemingly new ideas didn't come out of nowhere, after all. They were all developed as fairly obvious solutions to problems, or slight changes in thinking about things, etc, and later were developed progressively into something that was more general and didn't 'need' the connections to what it came from. So they don't get taught, and everyone just assumes you'll pick up on them eventually. Sometimes people do, sometimes not. This leads to embarrassing situations where some math PhDs (or, in the analogous story for physics, physics PhDs!) can't justify some fairly basic statements in their field. So people have the ability to understand plenty of complex, seemingly abstract mathematical ideas if they've learned the requirements reasonably well. And often the requirements are pretty slim depending on the topic and level of detail you want to understand it in. I have fun teaching my grade-school aged nieces and nephews graduate level math occasionally, and they seem to get it pretty well . Originally Posted By: CRISIS on INFINITE SLARTIES I would argue that the vast majority of all textbooks are pretty bad. I think it's mostly inherent to the conflict between how textbooks are written and how humans actually learn things, rather than stemming from writers with poor communication skills (though that may sometimes be a factor too). That's part of it, but if you aren't writing in a way amicable to how people learn, I'd call that poor communication skills . Quote: Meaningful learning is a process of building up information, applying your own thinking to it, making connections, sorting out patterns, and building up your own internal understanding of the subject. Textbooks tend to provide information discretely and disconnectedly. But part of a reason for that style is that, once someone's an expert at the basics, it's the best and most efficient style to use. So, picking up a graduate level book on a subject you already know, this can work well. The trouble is that this is the worst way to write books for people who aren't already experts! Quote: IMHO, most textbooks would be better off in the form of a story or a novel, with periodic breaks for exercises and the like. This wouldn't work so well for math or science used literally, but when I give people advice on how, e.g., to write talks, I do always tell them that their talk should tell a story. It should have all the classical components of a story, just suitably adapted! Your characters get to be equations or laws instead of people . When I see most talks (or read most chapters in books) I come away thinking: what was the point of that? What was the 'moral' of this story? What important things should I take away from that? How can I use that to do something? What did it do by itself? Often the answers to these question, based on the talk/book are "I dunno." I think writing things like you're writing a very abstract story answers these kinds of questions automatically and leads to much better material.
  10. cfgauss

    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. cfgauss

    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. cfgauss

    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. 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. 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. 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. That's racist! Err, specist, whatever.
  17. Then we Truly will be the Greatest country on Earth.
  18. 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.
  19. Originally Posted By: Student of Trinity You can get rich by writing a text that gets very widely adopted, but that's like winning the lottery. The chances that your textbook will make you rich are very low, and if it's on a topic that doesn't have any huge-enrollment freshman courses, they're zero. Yeah, I don't know of any other intro text authors who've made millions. Quote: In my field, writing textbooks is kind of dubious. Time is precious, and you need to be writing research articles in journals, not textbooks explaining stuff for the Nth time. Even writing a review article is something you really think twice about, because it will probably cost more time than it will be worth in terms of acclaim. Yeah, that's true, but it's very unfortunate. I've found the few texts by the top people I have (e.g., Weinberg, MTW, etc) are way better than the average text. Quote: As to the voice of the people: the market is not perfectly efficient, or at least, it's not efficient in the way you may want. I would say in this context, it's "perfectly not efficient." Quote: A bad book is unlikely to become popular, but a good enough book that has achieved widespread acceptance can probably retain its predominance against books that really are slightly better. I really don't believe popularity has anything to do with how good a book is. Remember, the only people who can judge the book's quality are professors. The average student isn't really capable of determining if a book is good or not (without, e.g., comparing it to others). Not that that really matters, because the students don't have a choice in what textbooks they get. The professors, who are the only ones who can really tell you if a book is good don't really read the texts carefully enough to determine if it's a good book or not. (After all, if you already know a subject, why would you spend your time doing this?) This results in a lot of professors judging books by opening them up to a random page and saying "yes, yes, I do recognize this equation" and then putting it back on their bookshelf, never to look at it again . Not that that matters, either, because (well, depending on universities; this is more true for larger ones, state ones (iirc), and particularly for intro classes) the professor has no choice at all in the text. Some administrator or department head who had lunch with a publisher chose the book. (cf, "Feynman and the school board", it's not much different for many universities, apparently). Quote: If a guy's calc text made him a mint, I'd have to agree that it can't really be such a bad book. But it might well not be the best book. It's bad, I read it. I used a combination of two other books to learn it in high school, and used this one later in college classes, and it was terrible in comparison. I can further quote the fact that I have a two bookshelves right next to me with like ~150 books on them. Of the maybe 20 or so that are from classes, about half aren't very good, the other half are okay. Of the rest, I'd say about 75% are very good, 25% are okay, and maybe one or two are bad. I also have about 20 other books from classes sitting in a closet that are so terrible they don't deserve a space on my bookshelves . [This may sound like a lot of books but it's a physics + astro + math undergrad + physics grad school + research + fun stuff, which adds up.] So based on my empirical evidence, classroom texts are systematically much worse than books I choose for myself based on actually being good (and, typically, sophisticated). edit: Originally Posted By: Dantius You play chess? Sweet! I love chess. PM me if you'd like a quick game. Actually I really suck . I never really put in the time to be good. Although, when I play against good people it can be amusing when they think I'm using some amazing clever strategy that they've never seen before, but it turns out that, no, I just suck .
  20. 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. only when they're serious... edit: taking serious, not factually serious , what i said is factually serious
  22. 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. Don't tempt me to start posting what I do...
  24. 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. 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!)
×
×
  • Create New...