Monthly Archives: August 2011

Logic and Wanting

As I sit in this dark room in this old house that we have rented, I realize that this would be an ideal place for the scene of a horror movie to happen. I am alone and vulnerable, outside I hear the sound of crickets chirping but I can see nothing but black out of the window. Surely this would be the one place that the man with the chainsaw, thirsty for blood and death, would attack me. Every so often my door creaks open by itself, to someone less skeptical this might be seen as proof of a supernatural visitor, but there is a simple explanation, the rest of the house is warm and my room is cool so the pressure differences caused by the inconsistent temperatures make move my door, making the creaking. It is like this that I begin to rule out the danger of anything in this room threatening me or my safety. Ghosts do not exist because science says they do not, nor do demons, trolls, goblins and the more esoteric of mythical creatures humans have created. I am more likely to die of a heart attack tonight than to be crushed by a giant, since one has the slightest possibility of happening. Statistics say that potentially this house could be robbed tonight, and maybe as a result of a encounter gone awry I would be in head but this to is such a small concern that it is not even worth trying to prevent beyond the usual precautions of locking to doors and turning on an alarm.

This room seems kind of dull now, the child in my has been effectively killed by some statistics and science. I am in this room, perfectly out of harms way, their is nothing remarkable about this situation, tomorrow I will wake up and nothing will have harmed me. The bed will not have collapsed and a bat will not have flown into my room. No beautiful maiden will knock at my window, seeking recluse from an overbearing father. Nothing will happen and what is more dull than inaction? But think of this, perhaps this experience which I am living through right now is more absurd than the idea of a fairy. Had things gone another way, perhaps our cars could fly or the world would have disappeared in a nuclear war. Maybe this experience and all the events that led up to it were so extraordinarily small that I should consider it more of a surprise this night turned the way it did, than if the existence of bigfoot were confirmed tomorrow. What most people describe as inane is really no different from what they think of as extraordinary. Maybe (and I do hope) that there is a god somewhere, documenting each things that ever happens. Maybe this god wants to communicate with me, and a very human part of me wishes that I am listening to a greater power speak through the creaking of a door.

Trying To Find Weird Reddit Correlations

Well I tried to find some weird correlation between the statistics of reddit posts. It was kind of boring but here were the results:

The correlation between most upvoted comment of a post and the upvotes is about 0.667.

The correlation between most upvoted comment of a post and comments on a post is about 0.832.

Essentially there are posts people want to comment on, and posts people don’t want to comment on. But once people decide to comment they are also likely to upvote at least on comment.

The most interesting things is that people seem to rate comments less when their are less comments and seem to rate much more when there are more comments.

Why We Are All Related

Presume that your Grandparents weren’t related in any way and therefore nor were your parents. Also assume that your DNA possesses no mutations. Well you are likely sharing very close to 25 percent of your DNA with your Grandparents if that is true. Now go to your Grandparents parents, your Grandparents parents are the source of your grandparents DNA, which are the source of your parents DNA. Assuming that there are no mutations and you recieved an equal amount of DNA from each of your Grandparents parents you are related to each by %12.5 since 1/8 = .125. So now we go back another generation, to your grandparents grandparents this time it’s 1/16 or about .0675. So generation you square to find out how many people with unique genetic material were required to create your DNA.

Now imagine how large this gets. Say a woman usually has a baby when she is 30 years and we go back 600 years, so 900/30 = 20. 2^20 = 1 073 741 824 people with genetic material would have needed to exist in the year 1100 to make your DNA or more than were alive. Therefore we are all related.

BBC Coverage of Riot

Treat young people and minorities badly and then watch as it explodes in your face. I guess that’s the lesson of the English Riots. Anyway here’s an interview with a guy who shares a similar view to mine.

Here’s a news article about youth unemployment written in February of this year, the riots of I think are linked to economic conditions, along with unresolved tensions. Sorry I don’t have more time to do anything in depth tonight.

Review: VVVVVV

Following the proud tradition of NES-inspired, retero themed games VVVVVV is one of the most difficult games made in recent years.  This 2d platformer, set on a space ship, does not make a big deal of plot and that lets you get to the action right away. Unlike most games in this genre this one has seemed to have forgotten the jump button, making the levels even more challenging. Instead you can shift the direction gravity, making it pull you to the top or bottom of the screen. The way this mechanic was set up was not nearly as fun to play with as a similar feature in And Yet It Moves. So I guess if you really like games that rely on freakishly good timing and dumb persistence, well I guess this game is okay for some giggles, otherwise I’d stay away from it.

Music Video

So this is one of the more ridiculous mainstream music videos in the past while. Imagine your grandma wandering through the desert and you’ve got the premise of this video.

Hackers Are Sketchy

So I went searching for the latest Anonymous Leak. I never found it, but I did go to some pretty sketchy websites. After almost downloading something I didn’t want to, I kind of gave up and realized that I was in the internet ghetto. Some day I want to learn computer security but when I have more time I guess.

The Economics of Passion and Obsession: Part 2

The best companies will always have a sustainable competitive advantage, something that will give them an edge over their rivals in the long term. Two companies right now that seem to have a sustainable competitive advantage are Apple and Google. Google has excelled at indexing and finding relevant information better than it’s competitors. Apple has created products around a brand that is known as one of the best in the industry. Both companies have an advantage that they will not lose in the near future.

However if you look at most sustainable competitive advantages, despite what the phrase suggests, the competitive advantages don’t usually last longer than a few years. A great business culture for instance, lasts a fairly long time, but even then their is no promise that the culture of the company will remain in the long term. If profits start getting smaller or the company starts clamping down on un-affordable employee benefits, the culture can change very quickly. Or what happens if a company known for breakthrough technology, suddenly without warning has it’s products become obsolete by the process of creative destruction.

I think it’s fair to say, that most of the large companies that are considered indisputably the best in their industry, only ever remain in that position for less than a decade. After that something changes within the company or someone else in the industry surpasses them. Yes some companies remain incredibly consistent, Berkshire Hathaway and Valve are legends in their industries for producing quality year after year. But examples of those companies are so rare, that’s why everyone revers Berkshire Hathaway. Since companies are dynamic organizations that may not be able to preserve what give them the advantage, even if the leadership of the company tries to preserve it. More likely companies will spend their existence in a constantly try to redefine itself, in the process have good years and bad years(that’s not to say the top caliber businesses do not redefine themselves, they do and well, that’s why they are so good).

But for small businesses it’s different. In these cases very possible to maintain a long term sustainable competitive advantages because the people who are responsible for the success of the company stick around a lot longer because the sense of purpose and community. People make a company and that is especially true with small businesses. It’s very common to see small businesses change management and then go out of business because the business had lost it’s competitive edge. A restaurant loses the quality of it’s food for instance, locals will be less likely to go their eroding clientele. But if the same people work there for a long periods, they help to preserve the competitive advantage. This is why some small companies will last forever under certain people and will close very quickly afterwards.

The Economics of Passion and Obsession: Part 1

Quite often the only industries that small companies can compete with the larger companies in are the markets that are not big enough for large companies to try and exploit. Some of these markets are called niche’s, some of these markets are referred to condescendingly as cottage industries. While big companies will always ignore these markets, the single individual and small companies will find that they can make quite tidy profits off of these small niche’s. Walmart will always have economies of scale on it’s side, but small companies can get to know their niche obsessively and gain an unrivaled knowledge in it.

Smaller niche markets also have a tendency to obsessively create communities, drawing individuals who are obsessive about their passion, which is tremendously important. It is possible for everyone in the community to know each other and therefore be very connected. Keep in mind, not all the people in this community will make a living off of it, but they will certainly all be willing to pour a lot of money into the products created by this community. Put it this way; the owner of a small video game developer receives feedback from a fan regarding one of their games, the owner responds to the fans feedback and implements the changes. I can almost guarantee you that the fan will buy the next game, especially if their is a regular communication between the owner and the fan. If the owner is really active within the community surrounding the video games that the company makes and the communities of other small companies that make similar video games he probably has a lot of relationships similar to the one he shared with the fan who gave feedback. And these kinds of fans that the developer is contact with, they will be dedicated fans and will always pour money into games this guy develops. These fans will also be the ones who will be the most vocal about your product to the kinds of people who would be most interested about your product. Communities can exist through online fours, mailing lists, blogs with comments but they are essential for a lot of smaller businesses trying to sell products.

Tommorow: I shall continue.

And Yet It Moves Review

And Yet It Moves is a platformer/puzzle game based on the concept of allowing a character to rotate the play screen in 90 degree increments, allowing the player to get through levels that could not be approached otherwise. The gimmick could have gotten old quick but luckily the creators mixed up the play with other game mechanics to keep the game fresh throughout the couple hours it takes to complete it.The emphasis of the game is on the rotation of the play screen, the idea works better than one would think. Well timed rotations are required to successfully complete the level. Sometimes rotation is required to move objects around the world, I fondly remember having to herd a giant horned guinea pig around the map, trying not to be slaughtered by it. The game was done on a shoestring budget and it’s minimalist art style is tribute to this. It’s quirky the aesthetic that comes off quite well, the environments are all done consistent to the theme.

Beneath all the veneer it’s a generic platformer but one with a lot of charm, I don’t recall any wow moments but I never remember any moments where I disagreed with how the developers have done the game.

Rating: A bowl of ice cream without a cherry