Super-intelligent Robots?

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A friend shared this terrific article with me today:

The Dominant Life Form in the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

which, of course, I found to be wonderfully relevant due to my recently-released novel, The Mandate of Earth, which deals with similar issues in A.I. I spent a decade working on the mystery of what I personally consider the key to conscious A.I. It’s not just due to the number of transistors in a processor or writing the right kind of code to organize information. That’s all very “computer-sciency” and completely off track because it doesn’t mimic nature. How does human thought work? We are not a single thread, we are comprised of many threads that collectively become the self-aware “you.” This is how Decatur arises.

What is the “mandate” anyway? To learn more, pick up the novel!

America Needs New Trains

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I’m in the transportation industry now (as a programmer). Looking over trucking routes across N. America, it’s staggering. 3.5 million truck drivers (9 million including dock workers, etc), heavily dependent on gas prices. These guys deliver 70% of our goods! It works, but it’s inefficient. Trucks should be regional, not continental. We need a new railroad network. I know that’s hard. Very hard.

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Classic Computing Nostalgia

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I had a fit of nostalgia this past week for 80s computing, and this old marketing ad is a beautiful double entendré today!

Amiga 500, Atari ST, Commodore 128. Began seriously shopping ebay for a C=128. As a kid I’d wanted one so bad. K-mart used to have them in the small electronics/game area, and at age 12 I wanted one so bad I could almost taste it. Reminiscing brought back those feelings, where my fingers ached to touch the keys. I was about to buy one and stopped myself. Is it worth ~$150 to fulfill a childhood craving 30 years unfulfilled?

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Review: Happiness By Vonnegut

Been reading Kurt Vonnegut for the first time. Lots of great wisdom. In his opinion, the problem with the world is we’re still following Hammurabi’s Code–an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth. Look at how the USA behaves toward terrorism, how so-called “Christians” in this country treat other nations. A nation has a right to defend itself? Sure, but not by Hammurabi’s Code–shouldn’t Christians follow the teachings of–you know–the guy they’re named after? Jesus was truly the Prince of Peace. Why, then, do “Christians” (who shame the name) behave as they do? It was about 10 years ago when we invaded Iraq. As revenge for the 9/11 attack. Which, of course, had nothing at all to do with Hussein, so by even Hammurabi’s Code the USA is guilty of murdering another nation and hundreds of thousands of it’s citizens. Did Hussein need to go? Not our call.

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Thinking About Time

I’ve been doing some deep meditation about time, from an intuitive point of view, not subjecting my thoughts to the physics and math–though trying also not to violate what we currently know.

I have had an impression since a very young age that space-time doesn’t quite work how we think it does–namely, Einstein’s theories, plus quantum mechanics. Sometimes after exploring the complex route, you end up learning in the end that the simpler explanation is better. Not strictly Occam’s Razor but a pragmatic approach.

We think of the first dimension as a line of infinite length but no width. But isn’t a line made of points which occupy no space at all, just theoretical estimates of a location? No, it turns out, a point is a vector and is easier to think about in 3D terms.

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Celebrating 10 Years with Beginning Game Programming, 4th Edition!

Beginning Game Programming, 4th Edition

The fourth edition of Beginning Game Programming has been released to celebrate it’s 10th anniversary! First published in 2004, this book has been a mainstay for aspiring DirectX programmers and teachers around the world.

This new edition updates the source code to Visual Studio 2013 without losing the reader with advanced techniques in the latest versions of DirectX (version 12 recently announced). Instead, this book sticks to the basics like it always has, covering the mainstay of PC development with strict and reliable lessons in DirectX 9.0c.

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Working At Peak Torque

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Are you bored at work? Not feeling challenged? Feeling in a rut? That is like an engine going 10 mph in overdrive–it has no power because it’s in the wrong gear. Maybe you’re in the wrong gear as far as your life goes. Not feeling challenged? Or feeling over-worked? It may be you aren’t working at your PEAK TORQUE!

Peak torque is the sweet spot for a high-performance engine, the RPM level at which the engine produces the most power. Racers build their engines so that they remain at peak torque as much as possible on the track. For a road racing event such as Grand Am, cars are built to run on tracks like Laguna Seca with a minimal amount of shifting while remaining at peak torque. This is usually in 3rd or 4th gear for a typical 5-speed racecar, where the driver will downshift to 3rd around tight corners and back up to 4th quickly, then occasionally hit 5th on a straightway.

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Video Game Programming for Kids

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Introduce pre-teens and young learners to the exciting world of game programming! This concise, dynamic book is designed specifically for 8-12 years olds and uses simple language; a step-by-step approach; and no-cost QB64 easy, but powerful, software to teach short graphics programs and games.

This book is ideal for true beginners or young users who have no prior experience with programming tools. The author uses a humorous, captivating approach with brief chapters that each focus on a single programming or basic computer science concept. All programs and readings center around fun activities, such as cracking a safe, guessing the secret number, or finding the treasure.

This book shows how to make simple games with the easy to use BASIC language! Fun projects introduce early concepts in computer programming. Recommended for ages 8 and above.

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Learn Python Game Programming

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What better way is there to learn a programming language than with a game-oriented approach? If you ask the many readers that have made this book’s prequel, PYTHON PROGRAMMING FOR THE ABSOLUTE BEGINNER, a bestseller, they’ll tell you – there isn’t one. MORE PYTHON PROGRAMMING FOR THE ABSOLUTE BEGINNER offers readers more practice, more exercises, and slightly more advanced instruction in Python programming, all while using the game-focused examples and projects that have proven to be both effective and fun.

It picks up where its prequel leaves off, addressing data structures, file handling, exceptions, object oriented programming, GUI programming, multimedia programming, name spaces, and program planning. Following a deliberate, logical progression of topics that cover increasingly complex subject matter, this is a powerful resource that will arm readers with an in-depth knowledge of the Python language.

This book was marketed as a follow-up to the previous Python book, but in reality it covers a whole new library–PYGAME–which was not in the previous book by another author. This is an excellent resource if you’re new to Python and want to get familiar with the language while making small, simple games in the process.

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