More PostSecret Gems.

PostSecret. Gotta Love It. Absent

The Lord's Prayer

If you’ve been to church, you probably heard the Lord’s Prayer. If you go every week (I don’t, something about having to believe in God keeps me away), it might be beginning to sound like a broken record. Brokenrecord Okay, poor joke. I found this on the way to school yesterday morning, and it made me laugh. Perry Como is actually quite a good artist, other than in this case… Magic Moments • The Look Of Love: The Burt Bacharach CollectionPerry Como

I'm a CSS Star! (Almost)

I’ve played around with CSS for the last couple of hours, and have finally got my RSS/RDF links to be rendered like icons (with a border and so on). It took me ages to figure it out, but I was only able to change the background colour, until I removed the <li> tags from the links - that was overriding the ability to change border and text colour. I then spent a couple more hours trying to make the same thing happen for the Search and Post Comment buttons, before discovering that Safari, and Camino, don’t support changing the look of form buttons. And I’m not going to bear using IE to test it under…I’ll live with the images I’ve made (for now). What would be cool is to make all of the elements of Connections work in CSS - like the top and bottom bits of the sidebar boxes, and so forth. Well, the bits than can be made by CSS, anyway.

Fighting Cats

Stupid cats fightin’ outside our window again. Seems to be happening most nights now. I went outside, and they were literally right outside the bedroom window. If it gets to be a problem, I may have to kill them. Seriously, when I went out with the torch, they just stopped, mid fight, like schoolkids. And walked away. “We weren’t doing anything, sir.” (I’ve disabled Trackbacks & Pingbacks on this post, it has been getting hammered lately.)

Revenge of the Sith

We went and saw Revenge of the Sith last night, at the Capri Cinema, on Goodwood Road. I’ll begin by saying how cool that building is! Built in 1940, most of it is still the original, or near to it, and I love it. A shame I can’t say the same about the film. To be fair, about one minute into the film, I was already hating it, but that was because of the dickhead sitting about 3 seats across from me. Before the movie had even started, he was laughing a stupid, high pitched, inane laugh at things that weren’t funny. Initially, I thought “hey, this guy has just had his mate tell him a really funny joke”, as it was in one of the little ads at the start that weren’t remotely funny. Then, when the movie began, and he laughed at everything (like each time young jedi were called “younglings”). It made me uncomfortable, and also made me not want to laugh at anything in the film, for fear of being like him. You should be allowed to kill people for this sort of thing. (I must say, at one stage I turned to Jaq and said “Maybe he’s retarded”. But retarded people aren’t this bad…) So the film began, and like many people have said, it was pretty slow. Sure, the initial battle scene was intense, but it was kind of repetitive. The original trilogy had short combat scenes, sandwiched between sections of real plot and character development. Oh, and real acting, too. None of this wooden bullshit that Hayden Christiansen seems to only be capable of. Maybe it’s just too hard to act in front of a blue screen. My biggest hassle (and I saw it coming, as soon as they had R2-D2 and C-3PO in Episode 1) was the need to prepare everything for A New Hope. Tying up all of the little loose ends so that it flowed seamlessly from one movie to the next. Except it didn’t.

  • R2-D2 obviously still knew about who everyone was - didn’t he ever try to tell C-3PO anything? (Or maybe just Threepio can’t listen…)
  • Can’t R2-D2 still fly? This one had come up on other websites, but I’m sure Captain Antilles would have treated him pretty well.
  • Obi-Wan about Leia from her moment of birth. How convenient he forgot about her until Return of the Jedi.
  • The Death Star took, what 18 years to build? How long did it take them to build number 2? Two years? I guess all of the tradesmen who built it figured out shortcuts on how to make it faster the second time around.
  • Leia somehow remembers what her mother looked like: “My real Mother that is. She died when I was very young.” Yes, Leia, she couldn’t have died when you were much younger, else you would surely have died too. Fact: Babies can’t focus properly, let alone see and recognise, let alone form memories. I think maybe Leia was a victim of some Psychoanalyst, and created some false memories. Was she assaulted by her father too?

And I think that Anakin took out all of the Jedi way to quickly. My thoughts oh how it should have gone: (Just put the Episode 1 Music on to get me in the mood).

Anakin discovers that Palpatine is Darth Sidious. He tells Mace Windu, who believes he is capable of defeating Sidious, so tries to do it alone. (Like the film). Anakin bursts in, and kills Windu, like in the film, but he and Sidious do not tell anyone, nor does “Order 66” get transmitted. Instead, Sidious uses his power over Anakin to get him to kill other Jedi on the sly. While still remaining on the Jedi Council, and pretending to be good.

This goes on for some time (years?), as the war continues, and the number of the Jedi fall. Some tricky work by Sidious and Vader make the populace turn against the Jedi, and then they are called traitors. The Council is exiled, many more Jedi killed in the resulting months. Anakin flees with the Jedi, at Sidious’s insistence, so they can still find the Jedi.

Finally, it all comes to a head, and Anakin takes on Obi-Wan, resulting in his disfigurement. I didn’t mind the bit about how he thought he had killed Padme. But, make it so Obi-Wan doesn’t know about the birth of the twins, only Luke. Obi-Wan thinks he has killed Anakin, but figures out that he is Vader, and hides Luke on Tatooine, knowing that Vader is unlikely to go back there.

Oh, and I’ll take my time machine and go back and remake Episodes 1 & 2, and remove any reference to the droids, or anyone other than Obi-Wan, Yoda, Vader and the Emperor from the original trilogy. No Chewbacca, no Captain Antilles, I guess we’d better have the Lars’ family though. Fuck me George Lucas, why didn’t you include Han Solo’s father in this movie? From what I’d read about the Star Wars universe, the defeat of the Jedi took some time to occur, not overnight. And having them in exile makes it easier for some of them (Obi-Wan, Yoda, perhaps some others?) to slip through Vader’s initial net. There is no reason that Jedi are not still being hunted until just before A New Hope. Actually, I did have a thought for my NaNoWriMo novel this year - a rewrite of Episode 3. The more I think of it, I might rewrite all of the new trilogy. Yeah! Star Wars the way I want it to be. (And maybe I’ll finish my NaNoWriMo novel this time…)

Images other than inline.

000 0020 Is it possible to have images not inline in ecto - that is, spanning more than one line? In short, no. To do it like this page is, you’ll need to hand edit the HTML code (which almost removes the beauty of ecto), and put in a table. Just placing the photo and text inside a <table>, and <tr>, but with the image in one <td>, and the text in another <td> will do it. Update: A better method can be found at Using CSS to replace Tables.

Blog Post Page Breaks

I didn’t realise this until last night, but it’s easy to split a post into several pages, use the following: I wonder if there’s a setting in ecto to automatically paginate…

Connections Edits

Yay! I’ve fixed the Search function so it works. I hadn’t changed the action tag to read "{$Smarty.server.PHP_SELF}", which it needed to be in order to work. What I want to do now is make the previous and next page links not have the words previous post, and next post, just the title and the double-arrows. Also, the Latest Posts does not seem to be updating…I’ll try to fix this.

Thoughts on the Probability of Existence

This was written in response to a Year 12 Philosophy essay, title “The Probability of Existence”, early in 2004. I’m posting it here, as I thought I’d already sone so, but was unable to find it. There seems to me to be little doubt that, in some sense, we exist. Since, as Descartes suggested, the fact we can think, we must exist. Cogito ergo sum. But what of the idea of our type of existence? Is our perception of our environment real? Is our environment real? On first appearance, as Chas suggests, we observe reality, and there must be truth to it. Or, on closer examination, there must be some kind of existence. According to logic, something must either have a quality, or not have a quality. This seems reasonable, but in fact such a simple proposition can lead to a paradox. Before we examine the paradox, let us first examine the idea that something must either be or not be. The nature of our universe is universally (sorry, bad pun) accepted now to be that of the system proposed by Quantum Mechanics, and leads to some interesting ideas about, among other things, the reality of as-yet unobserved events. Take the idea of Schrodinger’s cat, and its superposition between life and death. Until we open the box, and the wave function of the cat collapses, it is neither alive nor dead, nor some percentage of both, but both alive and dead at the same time. In fact, we can take this a step further, and place some other monitoring device, connected to a computer, that opens the box after the designated time, and stores the result for us to refer to. But, in essence, this does not collapse the wave function until a human (or otherwise conscious individual) examines the results. In fact, I could argue that until I know, the state is still unsure. That is, even if you know, since I don’t, the superposition is still there until I know. Alternatively, until you know, even though I know, as far as you are concerned the cat is neither alive nor dead until I tell you. So, this idea raises some serious questions as to the validity of the statement that something is either true or not true. But let us put that aside, and examine it in purely logical, classical, real life (or maybe even mathematical) terms. The mathematical idea of sets allows us to organise things, and we can use membership of a set to classify objects. A set might consist of all of the integers, or all of the red apples, or something else, even other sets. Obviously, sets can have an infinite number of members, or no members (the empty set, called Ø). It is possible to build up all of arithmetic using only the theory of sets and the empty set. So, items can be classified as either belonging to a particular set, or not belonging to it. Sets can also belong to themselves. But what of the set of sets that belong to themselves? Does this set belong to itself, or not? Easy, of course it does. But that set of sets that don’t belong to themselves is a different matter. If this set belongs to itself, then it cannot, but if it doesn’t, then it must. Put this way, it may be difficult to understand. But let’s put it in a more human context. Take the Barber of Seville. Men living in Seville can be classified as belonging to one of two sets: either they shave themselves, or they are shaved by the Barber of Seville. But what of the Barber himself? Does he shave himself, or is he shaved by the Barber…wait a minute?! This paradox appears in a variety of other contexts (the above assumes that, amongst other things, every man in Seville shaves, and there is only one barber, but it proves a point). One of these is the idea of library catalogs, and books of library catalogs. Catalogs can either be in themselves or not, and a book could list all of the library catalogs that are listed in themselves. What of the catalog of catalogs that are not in themselves? In fact, this paradox invariably appears when dealing with sets that may contain themselves as members, and this caused much grief to Frege, the mathematician and philosopher who attempted to create all of mathematics from the ground up, and remove any doubt. This paradox is a precursor to Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem, which shook the foundations of mathematics to it’s core. Basically, it says that no sufficiently complex (enough to be useful) mathematical system can be complete - there will always be undecidable statements - this, however, is beyond the scope of this paper to explain. In fact, the whole idea is not usually breached until late in a mathematics degree. As an aside: what is the opposite of nothing? Something? Everything? The number zero, and it’s close friend, infinity, have enabled great leaps in mathematics, but also can create paradoxes of their own. It is possible, by throwing a division by a number that really is zero, but doesn’t look like it yet, to equate 1 and 2, or any other pair of numbers. Of course, mathematicians are taught that division by 0 is not allowed, even though a satisfactory result may be ∞). But back onto the idea of an external world, an environment, if you will. Since our brains apparently cannot exist in isolation, there must be something ‘out there’. But is it anything like we observe it to be? The film ‘The Matrix’ contained the idea that we were ‘energy sources’, bred and nursed by robots to create an energy source, and were linked up to a computer system that created an illusory reality, by hacking directly into our nervous system. This may turn out to be a perfectly feasible method of controlling perceptions. Early experiments discovered that physically touching parts of the brain created a feeling of sense, (thus confirming the brain as the seat of the mind), and recent developments have allowed for direct interface, using electrical signals with other parts of the nervous system. Given enough understanding of the brain and body, it should be possible to totally trick the mind/body. This would also require a significant level of computing power, but according to Gordon Moore from Intel, computing power doubles every 18 months - known as Moore’s Law, this has been true since the creation of computers, even when suspected barriers have been approached. Given sufficient computing power, it would be possible to create a simulation of another kind, purely in software. Such simulations, albeit crude, exist already, as games such as Sim City, and the more advanced of it’s ilk. To a Sim living in such a world, the world would appear real. A complex enough simulation may be capable of creating Sims with self awareness, what we call consciousness. Then, a Sim in this environment, may at some stage read a philosophy essay, and write a report…how would it know that the world it existed in was not the real world? Again, once the price of this computing power became low enough, it would be possible (probable?) to have a multitude of these simulations running, concurrently. Theoretically, one or more of these simulations could develop within it a computing technology that is capable of creating simulations of universes, nesting universes inside of one another. But, we are just one universe. Once a universe has created a simulation (or many), the odds of us being in the ‘real’ world reduce - if there is one real world, and one simulation, it’s 50-50, but it goes down pretty quickly. There’s little to suggest that the simulations would be malevolent like the robots from the Matrix - rather, if we were to create simulations we would study them, and use them to improve ideas such as evolution - thought we might have written the rules to begin with. Might the fact we live in a simulation have some side effects? If we discovered the limits of our simulation, things might be added on. Or, we might see the limits, as a ‘graininess’, apparent in quantum physics, of the limits of measurement of time/space calculated by Planck. Or, as we approach the limits, we might come across automatic controls that destroy the universe if we threaten to reach the edge (and discover that it’s all unreal, like Jim Carrey in The Truman Show). This idea was treated previously in a science fiction story, possibly by Asimov, where the concept was likened to a ring of penicillin around bacteria growing in a petri dish - those bacteria that reached the penicillin died.

Sudoku Solver: Sudokudo

The Advertiser, great newspaper as it is (that was sarcasm) has been plugging Sudoku puzzles of late. For the uninitiated, a sudoku puzzle is a 9x9 grid, that is broken up into 9 smaller 3x3 squares. Each row, column, and 3x3 grid contains all of the digits 1-9, and (obviously) each row, column and small grid contains each digit only once. The trick is to work out which ones go where. It’s all about logic, and working out which digits will not fit. So, I thought I would write a small python program to do it. I was prompted to do this by a puzzle I was working on on the way home, and I thought to myself “this puzzle appears to not have enough information for me to continue”. So, I started marking 9 marks in each box, showing which values could fit and not fit into each box. This was time consuming, but should be easy enough to do programmatically. Once you have this down, it’s simple to see if there are any boxes where only one value can go, or any rows, columns or squares where there is only once slot a particular digit can fit. And my program did just this. (I actually made an object-oriented one, that uses classes for cells, and puzzles, and methods for checking rows, columns, squares, etc). But, I seem to be missing one logical leap. The first puzzle I tried got solved with a few iterations of my program, but the other two I brought home get stuck. And one of these was one I solved earlier today, so I cannot recall how I was able to make the leap of logic my program cannot.