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Conlang stereotypes and dead horses

This has been stewing around in my head for a little while now. Seems like the sort of thing I intended to write here. Yes, the hour is odd. No, I'm not having trouble sleeping. You are.

Retrospective admission: this article is nonsense. At the time I'd only seen newbie languages and didn't realise how large the conlang community was. Ignore this. […]
Samantics comment   read more (5224 bytes) · 8452.638 tgc / 2013.01 ce

Windows 8

By far the most remarkable thing is how much of these changes stop existing when Explorer isn't running. Technically I like the ribbon in Explorer because I'm a fan of the ribbon UI for cheesy HCI activism reasons, but I don't think I'd ever actually resort to it since right-clicking is more immediate.

The technical differences are as follows. […]
Samantics comment   read more (1760 bytes) · 8452.637 tgc / 2013.009 ce

The State of the Art

I was going to write some awful poetry here, but I'll just be blunt: the velocity and volume of material behind machine learning research leaves me on my knees. Every generation has said that general AI is only a few years away—but not every generation has had classification accuracy comparable to a well-trained human expert. Obviously that's not the last step in assembling your very own heuristically-programmed algorithmic computer, or even a plausible tactical drone, but it's a very big deal. […]
Samantics comment   read more (2440 bytes) · 8452.603 tgc / 2012.943 ce

I have given it a bit of much-needed polishing; user profiles are now naturally linked to their neighbours on using transparent aliasing. It wasn't much work to put it together, but in combination with some other minor improvements to the Bug template and a quick implementation of the To Do page, it means that the core mechanism of code is complete. […]
Samantics comment   read more (290 bytes) · 8452.601 tgc / 2012.941 ce

A crash course in evolution (Part II)

When you hear about alien lifeforms, one of the most common phrases is "silicon-based life." The idea crops up often in science fiction—but what does it mean? Would it really look like burnt pizza? Is it even possible? What other forms of life are there?

Previously, we looked at the basic concepts of evolution from the perspective of research biology. If you haven't already read Part I, you might wish to do so.

Examples from the phylum Onychophora, one of the most peculiar kinds of worms.
Syngenesis comment   read more (8485 bytes) · 8452.6 tgc / 2012.938 ce

A crash course in evolution (Part I)

The tree of life. Hillis and Bull Lab, University of Texas.

The tree of life on this planet undergoes extensive and regular pruning. Understanding how this process occurs is essential to creating a constructed world with a plausible biosphere. The art of creating a biosphere, like the art of creating a detailed family languages, is distinguished by the fact that you can do as much or as little as you like, and still captivate a casual reader—but you will still have a rotten taste in your mouth if you skimp on constructing a plausible history. […]
Syngenesis comment   read more (6942 bytes) · 8452.6 tgc / 2012.938 ce

Huffman coding in human communication

One of the easiest mistakes to make for a fledgling language designer is to make every part of the language elaborate and unique. There are plenty of examples of this throughout the real history of the world—particularly in the form of pictographic writing systems—but there are few, if any, alive today. Why?

BJ945 cuneiform, shot by Charles Tilford. Cc by-nc-sa.
Syngenesis comment   read more (6940 bytes) · 8452.6 tgc / 2012.938 ce


Things to do in now < t < later:

  • Get comfortable with Unix.

  • Build cathedrals in CLisp.

  • Develop a huge and awesome game, like, yesterday. I guess that's realistically going to be in Javascript.

  • Objective Cadre.

  • Write a book in Lilitic.

  • CORRECTION: Everything will now be done in C++.
    Samantics comment   8452.433 tgc / 2012.621 ce

    Gamification of Reference Checking

    For Wikipedia or similar, inspired by recent news[…]
    Samantics comment   read more (2636 bytes) · 8452.304 tgc / 2012.375 ce


    A while ago, I had an idea for a program that I called Haspina (a Lilitic word, meaning 'magic spells'.) The goal was to take the simple principle of living text, and push it as far as it could go: automatic hyperlinks, spelling correction, math, code execution, geographical annotation, filename and command name completion, generation of real-time graphs, reformatting and indentation, set completion, internal document linking, embedded files, music interpretation, figure-drawing from a very simple command language, thesaurus, et cetera. Everything in Hypercard, Emacs, Wolfram Alpha, Google's calculator features, and as many of Bret Victor's ideas about how to improve Javascript editing as possible. At the time I was thinking I would try to implement a Haskell interpreter inside of it as the native language, since Haskell maps well to conventional mathematical forms and isn't as parenthetically hungry as Lisp.  […]
    Samantics comment   read more (1254 bytes) · 8452.209 tgc / 2012.196 ce

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