You have been clickbated!??!??!?

Hi,
does a title like this increase the amount of people who get clickbated or the exact opposite because people are already so disgusted by clickbates? It is not that it would eliminate them, no not at all, there are just better clickbates that people do not notice.

I really like this video that is making fun of all of this:

Clickbates try to catch your attention and… thats it. One can illustrate the whole thing on YouTube where your “view” will count even if you discover that the video was not what the title was telling you. The key is to make a smart clickbate. There are certain phrases that you might see often like “most satisfying video” that is actually just video of normal things done throughout the day, top ten lists might be clickbates.. but hey who actually cares? It is just one click right? Well it takes away the credibility of things that might be actually done very well, like actual satisfying video (yup those exist) or videos/articles about “top ten signs of life in universe” vs actual video that has anything to do with reality.

Dragallur

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Why do I change my mind?

Hi,
I was just writing a post about Spiral dynamics and searching some resources to quote certain important bits and remind myself of things that I forgot (Spiral dynamics is a conceptual framework describing the evolution of society as well as individual). Since it is not a main stream school of thought I tried to find some criticism of it. After reading (only one) article I remembered something very interesting, why do I always change my opinion after a single piece of new evidence supporting the other side appears?


I remember very well (and I am not proud of it) how before I knew much about conspiracy theories every single piece of evidence was able to change my point of view, it got absurd after couple of times and now I have to stop and think about why is this so, why when I read about veganism let’s say (completely random), I do find why you lower your greenhouse gas emission but then in a single evidence, or even just an anecdotal saying I am back where I started. After I read exactly about the issue I go back again and again… back and forth it goes.

When I think about it I can clearly see first reason right off the back. If I do not know much about the topic before I cannot even decide what seems right and what not, I cannot simply filter out most of the crap. Also, I take an opinion after first piece of evidence and that surprises me, I could just as well hold back some time and not be surprised as much immediately. Last point is that most information, about conspiracy theory for example I take from the internet. This is very important because internet will always argue with two sides and it is just about the way that you write your question, this way you can manipulate yourself very easily (confirmation bias). In simple issues, you might find out very quickly that there are not many arguments for one side and those that exist were debunked hundreds of times.

When something is more complicated it is important to take some time.

Dragallur

Is it moral to use AdBlock?

Hi,
as younger internet users might know AdBlock is an extension to an internet browser that blocks ads. There is nothing more to it as far as I know, it is completely free and seems to live only on donations (or ads maybe?). This is quite useful. Right after you install which is done just by one click it will start to count all the ads that it blocked. You will soon see 3 and 4 digit numbers especially if you go on sites like Facebook or YouTube or even more on some heavily ad-dependent sites (I guess Putlocker is a good example). Everything seems much smoother and faster, right?

Sometimes sites do detect the AdBlock and then either they won’t let you see some part of the site (I encountered with not seeing the discussion for example) or they will just ask you to turn it off because:

THEY GET MONEY FROM THE ADS

And that is exactly what we should expect, that is what ads are for but with AdBlock you use the service that the site provides completely for free but at the same time they have nothing from it. It is not like the ads were really destroying your experience on the internet but beware, as the creators of AdBlock are saying when you download it… it is the most used extension on Chrome with 40 million users. That is not a small number and because of us, AdBlock users the sites probably need to add more ads or earn money by other means anyway.

I guess one could argue that, that is the point, they should earn money otherwise, or that pop-up ads are extremely annoying or that the ads on YouTube are no longer skippable (in TV it is no difference, right?).

I am the non-user now and have set it as a first step to respect creators on internet (and all the others as well) since there is so much stealing going on (movies, music, books etc.).

Dragallur

PS: they have amazing advertisement

Scanning fidget spinner

Hi,

Its been about two weeks since I watched this video about rolling shutter and also this video by Matt Parker whom I mentioned last time. Matt was showing the effect on fidget spinner, the new gadget that you simply spin and there is nothing really special about it (except that it spins).FidgetSpinner


Rolling shutter is the effect made by any “picture taking device” (as far as I know). So, for example camera or scanner (in my case). When cameras take pictures, they do so by scanning from top to bottom and saving up line by line of pixels. Similarly, how scanners do it except much faster so that you do not notice it. Scanner on the other hand is slow enough that when something is moving the pictures won’t make any sense. If I would move an object with the scanner, at the same speed it would smooshed across the whole picture because it does not see everything at once, only a thin line.

FidgetSpinner2

Really interesting stuff starts to happen when you spin something so that it goes back and forth (around and around). I did exactly that and it produced for example image above or the ones to the side.

It is interesting how the twisted shapes change with the speed that the fidget is rotating. The fifth and sixth picture are part of the same thing, fidget spinner spinning and being moved by me at the same time. The first one on the collage is spinning really fast, the second one not so much the third one is changing directions and the fourth one is really slow which makes for quite “solid” fidget spinner.

I recommend to try this at home, great and easy “experiment” (of course unless you do not have fidget spinner, then I do not recommend buying (life at stake)).

Dragallur

Swap the numbers

Hi,
I am reading a book from Matt Parker now. It is called “Things to make and do in the fourth dimension” and the ~200 pages that I read are quiet amazing. The author is also YouTuber and it seems that he mostly does “Standupmaths” which is cool channel. I got inspired a bit and created this game that I started to call “Swap the numbers”.


I was thinking about battery on my phone and how it is going down and that it would be interesting, if the first and second number swapped with the first after subtraction of 1,2 or 3 or more percent at a time. I wrote down bunch sequences, beginning with 100 and going down by one digit numbers.

It is not finished since I want to find a way to predict how these sequences form and I have not figured it out yet. I will give an example and then show why this game is so peculiar.

Let’s say that we subtract the number four, that is the one that I started with:

100 (subtract four) 96 (swap both digits) 69 (subtract four) 65 (and so on…) 56 52 25 21 12 8 80 76 67 63 36 32 23 19 91 87 78 74 47 43 34 30 3 -1 10 6 60 56 65 61 16 12 21 17 71 67 76 72 27 23 32 28 82 78 87 83 38 34 43 39 93 89 98 94 49 45 54 50 5 1 10 6 60 56

If you quickly go through these numbers you will find out that they repeat. When the “10” appears for the second time it starts to repeat. (I also forgot to say that if there is negative number it will act as positive on the “swap” step.) For some reason, many of these “constants” that I start with, end in lapses of “tens” meaning that after “-1” there is “10” and then that is the cycle until new “10” appears. First few numbers have the length of the cycle or lapse “36” or “12” and so far, there seems to be only “1 and 10” as constants that will pull it down to zero. (Also 100 but that is trivial and I have not checked some that could be obvious.)

I have made a program in Delphi 7 to write for me all the numbers for any given constant, that is useful but I will still have to consider the mechanism itself to start to understand it.

Dragallur

I have 420 likes on FB and it is completely useless

Hi,
so today I reached 420 likes on my Facebook page. Page that connects directly to this blog. That is almost two times as many followers on the blog itself, after more than two years that is certainly not much but I am surprised how I got those likes on Facebook and how pointless they are anyway.

420

It says that I will soon reach 500 and that I should give them money so that I reach it sooner.


Since I do not post very often here, I am not preparing the posts very long time (like today), I do not get many more followers on WordPress. Most of the views come from some searches on Google and somehow people tend to be very interested in this post because it has about 7 or 8 times as much views as any other one, exactly 1,066 as of 17.7.2017. I guess most schools in USA learn about HClO4 and HClO in winter and that is why I have most views in that time of year even though it was such a long time since I wrote the post.
So, I have got 420 likes and it is completely useless. Why? Because when I share something on the page most people do not even see it on their “walls” (yes, I have an option to “market” my post for money so that more people see it which is completely absurd). Anyway 420 is a number that has something to do with cannabis and it is 42 times 10 which is nice.
420 is these numbers multiplied together: 2;2;3;5;7. Those can be accidentally also written like this:
a_0=2
a_n=a_(n-1)+ceil((ceil(√(n-1.5))^2)/3)
That took me at least half an hour to come up with. The function “ceil” takes the number and rounds it up. I hope it creates the numbers correctly. Well that reminds me that you can create a game from this. I am going to do that in school. Just pick few numbers and then try to write either sequence or equation that fits it. That is actually quite endless game with lot of possibilities and variations. Maybe one could say that they will use only exponents for example though I think that it is much easier with all those other fancy functions that make the numbers “nice” like rounding up.
Well I might try another number another day.
Dragallur

What if the school was a RPG?

Hi,
imagine if one day you came into school and there would be 5 groups in the class. Each one of them had their own character sheet with an information about the character which they are in control of. You would pick the name, place in the world and what does he or she does. Some information might be chosen by the teacher if it would be needed, like the time in which the person lives.


I am thinking up some random rules that I thought would be interesting.

For example, the character would have certain amount of energy and it would sleep well only if you would solve some math problems. Teacher has in curriculum to talk about how the people lived? No problem, it is winter and they need to get clothes (maybe the sellers speak in English) but the groups do not have enough money so they can either teach the seller how to write (because for some reason that is exactly what he needs) or they must find how to get money, maybe by painting pictures about what happened so far or helping design a bow or even build a prototype. Because everybody needs to eat, they will go to forest and learn about plants that are useful for eating and maybe even cook a food and decide if the character liked it or not. On the road, they meet a traveler and they need a water from him because it is a dry season, he has it but needs information about the situation in kingdom. Because they are so far away they need to write a letter to their parents about what happened, of course it needs to be grammatically correct. Finally, after completing their quest they can use the time machine and move into different era, maybe they want to meet with people from their parent’s generation or see a tyrannosaurus rex.

My point is, I personally would be so much engaged in something like that! I am not necessarily proposing it as a true model for schools but I find it to be creative solution to many problems in school though some might still stay, what if a kid is not happy with the character or with the style of RPG? (Well not that many kids like the system these days.)

The thing is that it is an adventure, not just sitting in a school and writing down notes, you are living what you are learning and I would learn german if it was either my character lives or my character dies.

Dragallur

 

Should we ban poetry writing?

Hi,
so I was reading a lot of books for my school lately, roughly one a week which was quite a marathon for me. Of course since it is for literature, there are all kinds of books which I read. They were usually published in 19th century because my Czech class is learning about romanticism, naturalism and all kinds of Czech stuff (I do not want to say “weird shit” because that might be simply too offensive :D).


There were certainly good books and I do not even have time to review them (it would be quite boring), for example Pride and Prejudice (I had quite a prejudice against this one), Cosmic songs (best representative of poetry (Písně kosmické)), Wuthering heights and Boule de Suif were quite good.

What I want to get to, is poetry. From my perspective poetry does not really have much of a value, which should probably teach me something when I think that.

You know, when I read poetry I feel kinda dumb. My Czech is on quite fine level (as a native speaker) but it can so easily happen that I do not understand the poets, why would anyone write that if they can just tell the story in novel? Then, next level comes with poems in English that are FILLED with non-existing words, you will quickly accustom to “thou” and “thee” even though people probably seriously used it few decades back, but then it will step quickly on next level. I bet that if you copied them to Word and tried to check for grammar mistakes, your computer would break down.

Now lets go back to the lesson. I am pragmatic person, of course I would reduce it, so that it becomes more easily understandable but I know that for some reason lot of people like to read that stuff, people that definitely understand languages more than I do.. maybe they are just sentimental!

The thing is that I would gladly reduce all grammar in any language, even better, make a global language that does not have any exceptions, has 3 tenses and no y/i (that is really annoying in Czech).

Again people who actually understand this stuff and have the feeling for languages disagree with me, I have tried more than once and always got skeptical looks saying basically “you are cancer, go home”.

So it seems I should be more skeptical of my radical approaches to things regarding simplifying languages, as of now I am not in the position to change it, when I will be there will be some need for education. As with the poetry, I am almost done with what I have to read anyway!

Dragallur

PS: It might happen that I do not post next week because I am going to Berlin (and then Czech Republic!)

Cassini + Huygens = Purpose of life

Hi,
today I will write about Cassini-Huygens spacecraft because lately there has been so much hype about its final destination (Saturn’s atmosphere).


Cassini was launched in 1997. Its flight towards Saturn itself was very interesting. The spacecraft did a flyby aroundImage result for cassini flight map Venus, two times, then did flyby around Earth.. if you have been paying attention in elementary school you might notice that this is a bit weird since Venus is closer to the Sun and one might one to rather fly in exactly opposite direction. Well first of all that would not neccesarily be the reason since the planets are not in a row all the time but the reason why one does not go directly towards the destination is that it takes high velocity to escape Sun. In all those flybys Cassini got few extra kilometers per second so that it was able to get to Saturn without extra fuel.

The probe made a flyby of Jupiter though at that time Galileo was already orbiting him. In 2004 it reached Saturn and succesfully started to orbit him. Throughout whole mission it did a lot of work of course, for example found new moons of Saturn, discovered water on the moon Enceladus, taught us about the nature of rings and much more. What I found most interesting though is the landing of Huygens spacecraft which was a part of Cassini until it landed on Titan. It was first ever landing on surface in outer solar system (only one so far), and brace yourselves.. it took pictures:

On the left you can actually see the surface. The lander was not functioning very long time, it had battery for 180 minutes and most of the time was spent in atmosphere.

Now Cassini’s mission is comming to an end. This is because it does not have much energy to power its instruments and there is risk that we would lost it completely and then it could fall on Enceladus for example and contaminate it. For that reason Cassini is taking very dangerous dives close to Saturn and its rings to provide some more info and in the end, it will burn up in the atmosphere of the giant planet.

Every single time it is possible that it will be destroyed by some piece of stone. Because of that it uses its antenna as protection but still, it is moving very quickly, so far it dived once, we will see how it goes in the future.

Saturn's north pole in color

North pole, blue color is actually there.

Dragallur

Titan picture: By ESA/NASA/JPL/University of Arizona; processed by Andrey Pivovarov https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5685589

North pole picture: Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/Sophia Nasr

Map picture: http://38.110.37.8/faculty/~m_rulison/Astronomy/Group/Summer%2000/Cassini/ASTRONOMY%20PROJECT.htm

Knowing the future, brain twist?

Hi,
two weeks back I wrote about the movie Arrival. I did not really get into the problems that arise when somebody knows the future, I will try to settle this today.


Alright, lets say that you just acquired the ability to know what will happen in the future. Cool huh?

First problem, do you have free will (meaning if you can choose to do something or there is no way to actually choose anything)? Lets start with the answer: yes, you have free will. Basically two things can happen, if you truly know what will happen then you can not choose any other option which means that by knowing the future you and everybody else will lose free will if you could choose something else than what the ability tells you then it would not be telling the future. Something else could happen though, you could know all the possibilities that arise from your decisions and the decisions of others. Funny would be if you would see it for the decisions of others, then the ability would be useless for longterm predictions where people all across the globe would interconnect with their decisions (do animals have free will, which ones do and which ones do not?). You could for example see that in 40 years there are couple (a lot) of lines that go to Third World War but there would be so many people involved in changing couple of important people that you could hardly do anything with it. At the same time if your brain would be organized in the mess you would immediately know what option you need to take to optimize whatever you want to optimize. Much easier would be if everybody else lost their free will and you alone had it.

The real fun begins if you consider no free will aka determinism. You know exactly what will happen but you can not change it. Imagine standing on cross roads, you know you will turn to left, its the future and you can not decide otherwise but there does not seem to be anything that would actually prevent you from turning right. If you do it, it means that the ability was telling you exactly that from the beginning but then you would turn left…

Lets consider thought experiment:

There is a robot that has very strict type of thinking. It is standing in a hall way that splits into two corridors, left and right (it is driving towards the left). Nothing miraculous can happen there, nothing that would prevent the robot to go where it is programmed to go.

You are at the headquarters and know where the robot will turn or simply what will happen there. You tell this information to the robot and the robot will turn exactly the other way. For example you know that he will turn left. You send him the information and he according to his program turns right which means that your ability is not working and this simply can not happen, you can not tell him the direction because he would do the opposite. What will you tell him? What is the future?

There is one more line of code in the robot: if you get the information “you did not decide”, you will turn left. This is to make it harder, the future would switching between left and right indefinitely, meaning the robot would not do anything and we do not want it. The only solution that I came up with is that he will actually not decide, you will send him the information: “You will start going left but when you will get this information you will turn right. After hearing this you will turn left but when you hear this information you will turn right again…” it will continue and then it depends how the robot is made. If it waits until the stream of information halts then it wont ever decide and you will speak to him forever. If it will take the information and while it processes the next part it will start to act accordingly to it (meaning the opposite way), the robot will slowly move towards left or right. At some point it will be on the threshold which raises a problem of course and I guess there is nothing stable to tell him without destroying the ability that you gained, you know what he will do but you can not tell him.

The last part would be the same scenario as if the robot could teleport from the beginning but if you have to say the information then it will result in a paradox. In normal non-robot life you would probably run into more complicated scenarios where knowing the future would not alternate you decision which is the whole problem we are dealing with. But if you would not and your ability would HAVE TO work then… ???

BOOM!

Dragallur