Tuesday, 12 October 2010

New York Game, Alien Test, and Pain - Random

New York Game
The brain makes mistakes. Mistakes are not a deficiency of the brain work, but its quality. They reveal a little bit how the brain works. This is not a game, rather a trick we did to each other when being kids. One asks another to constantly repeat the word “New York” and then answer a question as quickly as possible when suddenly asked. The question was what the capital of the USA is. We all new that the capital of the USA is Washington, but not perfectly – you had to have a second to think (we lived in SU and were kids!). The answer was “New York”. But when told it is not correct, one who answered was really surprised that he made a mistake to such a simple question.
The same mechanism of the mistakes exposed when you make a mistake when typing. Very often (at least to me) one types a letter of the word following the currently typing. This is because the task of pressing keys is interfered with highly active predictions of the next word.

Alien Test
When you see an alien how would you know that it is intelligent? What is the simplest communication which lets you know that the other side can think? I could not find any simpler way than the following. Present to it a sequence of 5 symbols (spatially or temporally) where the first and the second symbols are the same, and the third and the forth symbols are the same too, and the fifth is different, for example, AABBC. If the reply is the repetition of the fifth symbol, then (assuming a counter test that it is not just a repetition of the last symbol) the replying entity is able to process abstract patterns, which is a necessary condition. Processing abstract patterns may well be necessary and sufficient condition for a living intelligent alien, but probably not sufficient for an artificial intelligence. Because it is easy to write a computer program to pass this test which cannot be called intelligent.

Do you feel the pain? When you feel the pain what do you feel about feeling the pain? An interesting question arises if one thinks about the pain as a memory. If someone undergoes an operation under anaesthetics and does not remember feeling any pain during the operation, does it matter if the person felt the pain but forgot about it or did not feel the pain at all? What if we are unable to distinguish between these two? Now change the time of pain erasing from the memory from zero to infinity. The fact that the person felt the pain is true as along as he remembers it. But when the memory is erased the pain has not happened anymore.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Maps Offline with Tile Viewer (part II)

See Update Fuck Google Maps Offline III

Offline Maps Tile Viewer is a program I created quickly to use my netbook for viewing google maps without a network connection. I found frustrating not to be able to have full control over the cached images using web browser or google earth. Other different offline map viewers did not satisfy me.

My requirements were simple: there are a number of square (or rectangular) images which can be tiled together to construct a huge image; a viewer must have a viewing area moving around over this huge image; images can have different layers (as satellite, maps, topo etc) and different scales better or worse resolution; it should be possible to geographically reference them, i.e. have latitude/longitude coordinates associated with a position on the image. Cross referencing is necessary to switch between different resolution scales - hence geo-referencing is a natural way for that. Also images should not have some strict predefined format or organization, it is just a collection of small images named and grouped in directories in a particular way.

Download here.

It might not be very easy to start with it, but once you understand how it works, it gives you full flexibility of what is required from a simple map browsing program. You can even add GPS dongle and bind the viewer with the position obtained from GPS.

One of the delicate problems is maps itself. It is very easy to download automatically (more on this here)
from google maps; but it is not very polite, and distributing is not too.