Jach's personal blog

(Largely containing a mind-dump to myselves: past, present, and future)
Current favorite quote: "Supposedly smart people are weirdly ignorant of Bayes' Rule." William B Vogt, 2010

Clojure and jMonkeyEngine Tutorial 4 and 5

And here we go again with the next tutorials. I feel like I should start prefacing these with the following caveat: do not use my code in production unless you have considered alternative code. I've been playing around with these tutorials, last time I questionably used memfn when it wasn't really necessary. Today I'm lifting everything to the global (for the namespace) scope because that makes dynamic manipulation in the REPL very easy.

There was an interesting piece of prose in the very first tutorial which I think bears repeating:

When developing a game application, you want to:
  • Initialize the game scene
  • Trigger game actions
  • Respond to user input.

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The futility of Anarchy

I've been meaning to write this post for at least a year now, and I can trace back the origins of my thinking to the start of 2010. I've been fighting a slow battle toward the truth. I'll try to keep this post relatively short, however, though that means there will be less justification for my assertions. Since 2010 I've known there are unresolved (at least satisfactory so) problems in every Anarchist+economic model system around. There is good reason to believe some of these problems are unresolvable, if we make the modest assumption that human-like minds will be operating agents.

Let's begin with an easy target: Anarcho-Primitivism. Since there are many uncorrectable problems with this field of thought, I will pick off a few in no particular order.

First is the rejection of technology. Rejecting technology means throwing yourselves to the whims of Nature, the distance you're thrown determined by how much you reject. And we know Nature very well, she is personified as an indifferent alien agent with narrow and non-human goals. The thing we know her most of all for, above anything else, is Death. Death has many causes, but Nature has no interest in protecting us from any of them. We have to do that ourselves. The human species is close, so very close, to finally having the technology to, if not completely eliminate, at least drastically and dramatically reduce the number of individuals who die. Two hundred year lifespans are within the realm of possibility for everyone under 30 right now, and when we reach that point, billion year lifespans aren't far behind.

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There are three kinds of cowardice that are immediately distinguishable to me: character cowardice, intellectual cowardice, and moral cowardice.

The first kind, character cowardice, is typically what is meant when somebody calls another a coward. "You don't have any balls!" The cowardice is part of the person's character, their personality, their very being. It denotes a failure to physically act on account of upholding something, to do the physically courageous thing. If one action upholds honor, or decency, or civility, or some higher purpose besides the purpose of basic selfishness, and another action does not, choosing the latter action is cowardly.

In contrast the other two forms of cowardice are limited to subsets of a person's being, they're more specific. They are both shades of this core form, but I think they're important enough to highlight individually.

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Game Programming in different languages

This is just a thought stub. Game programming is typically done with "C/C++", that is, it's usually a C++ compiler and a few C++ features (like OOP) but is very "C" in general programming and design with many C++ features "off limits". Adherents to this state of affairs are incredibly resistant to change and the suggestion of using a higher-level language is often met with ignorant jeers. As an aside I'll mention Minecraft, which may not be the most performant game, it's still a fun, successful game and is a success story for both Java and OpenGL.

What the adherents generally get right though is that for some things and some games handcrafted C or assembly is necessary. The existence of this is used to claim that certain games are "not possible" in higher level languages. I agree with this claim in general, with some objections. I think a Lisp programmer can create as-performant or more-performant code than a C programmer with less dollar cost for an employer. I also remind all that languages suitable for game programming are Turing-complete, and what one can do so can another, but this is ignoring other constraints such as economics. If it takes you a decade to write or run a program in one language, but only a month for a second language, the program in the first language is by most intents "not possible" even if it exists.

What I want to flip around on the adherents is that there are some things and some games that are "not possible" in C or C++.

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Dropping like flies

This was a debate with a housemate, my assertion is that the "greats" of famous people, or in general "important people", have started to drop like flies at an increasing rate over the past couple of years, and that this decade is going to be a bloodbath. So here is some research using Wiki's lists, where an "important person" who has died is defined as a person I determine at this moment to have been great or important.

For an adequate sample, let's start in 2006. The greats who died during that year are: Steve Irwin (September, not old (i.e. younger than 60)), Rob Levin (September, not old).

2007: None.

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Clojure and jMonkeyEngine Tutorial 3

I apologize for not continuing these in a timely manner, a lot has been going on. Update: 4 and 5 completed.

Here's a link to the official tutorial 3.

Here's the translated Clojure code:

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Citizen of the Internet

Many fancy themselves citizens of the world. I think they just haven't traveled far enough. The sentiment of anti-nationalism is a fine one to hold, but I know I'd rather be safe and sound in my American home than wondering when the rebels (or pro-government forces) will decide on a whim to sack my dwelling in Syria. I'd rather be able to argue with local missionaries about the very concept of god than be wondering what my method of execution will be if my neighbors in Egypt learn that I have rejected Islam.

I'm not proud to be an American, and while there are many explicit and implicit bounds placed over US citizens, I'm still more free, overall, than those in the rest of the world. It's sad that it's the case, but where else is economic, government, and personal freedom so favored to the individual but in America? The former British colonies that did not rebel still follow a very British style of government and allowance. In Australia you cannot own or import a decently powered green laser. Why? Because people were flashing them at airplanes as they were landing--which in America would result not in banning the device, which is used responsibility by thousands, but by apprehending the pranksters. Europeans as a whole are fully socialist now, especially the Eastern European countries like Hungary that at this point are essentially communist in their ideology, if not quite totalitarian enough to resemble Leninism and Stalinism. In the US, you are more capable than ever of starting your own business and building almost anything you desire. If you work hard and are lucky you can even create a billion dollar business, but while those are rare a modest income isn't too hard to achieve. In Israel, citizens are forced to join the military for 3 years (male) and 2 years (female). (Without debating the merits of such a requirement--I think it probably makes sense for Israel and its people--the US has "selective service" which, except in times of crisis, means it is voluntary to join the military.) Most of the world's countries are tiny, which makes travel outside the borders difficult and/or annoying, while in the US travel between states is as easy as driving over the border. If I am physically assaulted in the US, the police are available and I can have my justice.

Well, not in all parts of the US, but the ones that matter. In the US it's very easy to move if you don't like where you are, and there are helpful, charitable people everywhere if you need a little help.

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