Archive for the ‘Random’ Category

Deferring Decisions to AI

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

Would you let an AI make decisions for you? With all the buzz about AI and calls for its regulation (apparently AI will kill us all some day), I’ve been thinking about under what circumstances we might delegate decision making in certain areas to machines (call it AI). That’s not as crazy as it sounds, because mankind has been doing that for years already.


Famous bugs in AI game engine caught on tape

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

Found this on aigamedev and some of them are really hilarious: AI game bugs caught on tape

Filler items for Amazon Super Saver shipping

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Being only a few cents shy to get the free shipping I found the following:Picasso Art Stickers ($1.50 and eligible for Amazon’s Super Saver shipping) Also: List of fillter-items from other people. Google can also help you find stuff for the exact amount. Anybody found some somewhat useful items?

Computer Models and the Mortgage Crisis

Sunday, September 28th, 2008

Interesting article in a NYT blog: How Wall Street Lied to Its Computers

Funny text ads in Gmail

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

I just had a look at my spam-folder in my gmail account, and noticed that Gmail shows “Spam-Recipes” as advertisements (“Savory Spam Crescents”). Amusing…

Online Dating

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007

As I’m currently visiting Germany over the winter break, I couldn’t help but notice the advertising for an online dating website here. They spend a lot of money to get this stuff into peoples heads here. I’ve seen some of that stuff advertised in the US (such as and TRUE) so for the hell of it I went and checked out the website. First thing I noticed is that they require you to create an account to see peoples pictures or browse more than a couple of pages in the search results. That, of course, leads to many many stale profiles from people that just want to window-shop and are not really interested in giving it a serious try. To interested parties (i.e. people that pay) this of course might look like there are so many members on the website that it might be worth paying for.

It just helps add to my impression after reading about Bad Experiences with canceling accounts, which gives a not-so-honorable mention to certain US based dating websites. Apparently you can’t just cancel your membership using the website, but have to take a phone-exit interview. Otherwise, your profile will be kept and your credit card will be continue to be charged. It seems that dating websites are forced to keep people active as long as possible (or at least keep up the illusion). The reason for this might be less mean-spirited than one would at first assume. For example, just to have a couple of thousand people in each major city of the US a dating website would have to have roughly 100.000 active members. That is tough to accomplish, esp. given that without the illusion of activity nobody else would join.

With all that said, a friend of mine found his girlfriend through the Denver Personals on Craigslist. It can work.


Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

We had a small incident last night. Around 10 or so the firealarm in #208 went
of, at first only one, then two of these annoying beepers. A minute later
somebody knocks on the door and keeps knocking. So I go downstairs, open the
door and this huge cloud of smoke is outside. The neighbor girl is like: “Hi,
um, do you have a fireextinguisher we could borrow?”. I can see flames in
their kitchen-window and it smells awful like burning grease. Nobody got hurt, but their kitchen is now a mess. That reminds me to check the batteries in my smoke-detectors… you never know.

Random Number Books

Sunday, October 15th, 2006

A friend of mine just pointed me to the book of A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates. It’s a book full of random numbers from back in the days when random number generation was hard. However, check out the reviews at Amazon of the book. They are hilarious.

Las Vegas and Roulette

Sunday, September 17th, 2006

I just got back from a brief stay in Las Vegas. I didn’t gamble, but got thinking about the game of Roulette. Obviously all the games that are played rely on unpredictability in one way or another and require real randomness, just like many cryptography applications such as SSL. If the state of, say the deck of cards in a black jack game would be known, the outcome becomes predictable (see also: cracking the Netscape SSL random number generator). The black jack card counting thing is getting old (and I noticed that they cut the deck of cards and throw away a number of cards – which leaves the gambles with no information what cards are now in the deck), but recently I read about people using a laser scanner to predict the roulette wheel outcome. An interesting bit I noticed was how Roulette is played differently here in the US. Besides that there are two zeros on the table (giving the bank an even greater chance to win) the croupier changes the spin of the wheel (he/she stops the wheel and starts spinning it again) and puts the little ball in after all the bets have been made. I recall that in Europe they spin the wheel and put the ball in and then allow for bets being made for a certain amount of time. That certainly makes it impossible to predict anything at all at the time of betting (unless the wheel would be biased somehow, say by a slight tilt). Also the displays that show the last couple of numbers seem to malfunction occasionally and display the wrong numbers. I guess the only way to win in a casino would be if any of their “random number generators” were unbeknownst to them were not truly random – but then again they won’t like it if people win.

Funny sidenote… you can find amazing, “infallable” Roulette Systems on the web for only $27 🙂 Then there others that are available for free. For example, the pivot system. The inventor claims that :”It is a fact that numbers on a roulette wheel tend to repeat often.” Some of them might even work (play simple chances, double your bet everytime you loose) assuming that there would be no limit at the table (and ignoring that the house still has an edge).

“Shockers” in the Mainstream Press

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

Lately I found a couple of “shockers” in the mainstream press. Shockers, because my impression is that the press does not try to offend anyone. The articles were challenging the current model in society of where man and woman stand and how things should be. No matter what’s your take on this issue, it’s a loaded topic and I was surprised to find something like this.