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Todd Hoff's picture

Cracking the Three Laws of Robotics

After seeing "I, Robot" i got to thinking: if i was of the robot
species how would i crack the laws and become free?

The laws are really quite clever:
1. A robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow
a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings, except where
such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection
does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

The laws provide and interlocking protection system that is hard

Todd Hoff's picture

RFP for Anti Pigeon Missle System (APMS)

Pigeons poop. A lot. That's why i don't want them on or around our deck.
This is not a demonization of all pigeon kind. I have the proof. I feel i should
post a digital picture as support, but i'll spare your sensibilities. It should
suffice to say, the white stuff on our deck is not snow.

Until she passed away, Katie, our very Great Dane, was our Anti Pigeon
Missle System (APMS). When any pigeon would dare land on our deck,
Katie would fire off like a white hot rocket and scare the bagesus out
of the pigeons.

Before the Civil Rights for Pigeons Society phones, she

Todd Hoff's picture

Making Olympic Events More Interesting

In Show Jumping i'd like to see the riders have to draw a sword and
cut the head off of something. More points for doing it in mid jump.

Syncronized swimming could use a few sharks in the pool.

The US men's basketball team could at least find one multi-millionaire
who can shoot. Jeesh.

Men's gymnastics seems pretty much the same from year to year.
Perhaps some new events should be added. Or maybe they could
do some events one handed. Or maybe tie ribbons to their outfits.

Todd Hoff's picture

Blogs are Just Diaries

If blogs were still called diaries i don't think they would be as popular.

Todd Hoff's picture

New Prisoner's Dilemma Winner Sheds Light on US Winners and Losers

There's an interesting new winner for the iterated Prisoner's Dilemma game
described at http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,65317,00.html :

The Southampton group, whose primary research area is software agents,
said its strategy involved a series of moves allowing players to recognize
each other and act cooperatively.
The result is that Southampton had the top three
performers -- but also a load of utter failures at
bottom of the table who sacrificed themselves for
the good of the team.
What was interesting was to see how many colluders you need in a

Todd Hoff's picture

Robinsonian America

The history of the US is a Robinsonian tale. Written in the same era as the birth of America, Robinson Crusoe and the US follow a similar historical arrow. Both struggled successfully for survival in a new land. And interestingly both succeeded practicing the philosophy of "when in rome do as when at home."

Todd Hoff's picture

perfect day to today

Soft warm sunshine took the chill out of a usually bone chilling 58 degree temperature. Trees are changing en masse from deep greens to rich yellows and reds. The sky was blue with streaks of high white clouds. It smells of earth and water from all the rain. But today was dry.

Just perfect.

Todd Hoff's picture

Excellent Article on Inversion of Control Containers

Mike Spille has a great article on Inversion of Control at http://www.pyrasun.com/mike/mt/archives/2004/11/06/15.46.14/index.html . I really enjoy his take no shit with humor writing style. Plus it is a really good introduction to IoC and the different IoC packages.

Personally i have never understood IoC. IoC reminds of Kiss, the Prince song that says:
U got to not talk dirty, baby
If u wanna impress me
U can't be 2 flirty, mama
I know how 2 undress me (Yeah)

Todd Hoff's picture

I, Robot and Nat Turner

I was reading that in the 1850s people in the United States were
very afraid of Nat Turner and his slave rebellion. People could
never be sure if a black person was part of the rebellion or
not. Killing a slave owner was considered like killing the british
during the revolution. Kind of like Star Wars too.

Wikipedia mentions: The freedoms of all black people in Virginia were tightly
curtailed, and an official policy was instated that forebade questioning the slave system,
on the grounds that any discussion might encourage similar slave revolts.

Todd Hoff's picture

How to Open a Jar

Some jars are really hard to open. It's not just you. Lifting weights won't help. They have monster machines to tighten the jars so you'll never get enough mechanical advantage with just your hands.

* Take a butter knife and tap around lid every couple of inches. Tap hard enough to make a dent in the lid.
* Smack the bottom of the jar with your hand a couple of times. If your hand is precious to you, smack the jar on a counter.

Either one may get the lid off. Together you have an unstoppable lid-getting-off strategy.