Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Polynomial :: Beta 010

A new release! A lot of things added which need testing. Most notably, MP3 support and music playlist. (If you are using Linux, you may need to install libmpg123 for MP3 support if your distribution comes without libmpg123. I cannot ship libmpg123 with my game due to mp3 patent constraints).

Try it on non-latin file names. Check out reordering in playlist by dragging items around.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Drug safety proposal (invention)

A little fluorescein in water.

Manufacturers should add something like fluorescein to all pills that are usable as date rape drugs or poisons, so that those become very visible in drinks and can't be used for crime any more. Fluorescein [using it as example] is extremely visible in either water or alcohol even at the very low concentrations even in the regular daylight (more visible in fluorescent lighting, and more visible yet in ultraviolet), and biologically safe to the point that it can be injected into your veins as staining agent for various sorts of diagnosis, at quite significant concentration and in a very visible amount (your blood goes green like alien's, under ultraviolet light at least. Cool). It is also very cheap. Only very small amount of fluorescein is required to stain a lot of water or alcohol bright green.

I used fluorescein as an example only because I have old jar of bath salt that's containing it (I also used fluorescein in lab at school). Quick check for safety of fluorescein turns up this. Apparently, for some eye diagnosis, fluorescein is commonly injected in concentrations that make you turn visibly yellowgreen and which make you piss bright yellow for a while. A milligram turns entire cup of water the very bright, highly unappetizing kind of yellowgreen which you can see in this photo. I figure if people are routinely injected with 500 milligrams of fluorescein for diagnosis, it would be quite safe to add 1 milligram of fluorescein to typical pill.

Spread this idea if you support this.

"What Would You Do: you see a guy drugged girl's drink"

From abcnews
A Man 'Drugs' His Date's Drink: What Do You Do?
Would You Speak Up If You Saw Someone's Drink Get Drugged?

I'm really disgusted at the people for generally being idiots.

The thing you *should* do: call the police on your cell while walking towards restroom (enough distance so that guy doesn't hear you), tell the girl authoritatively that guy drugged her drink and police is already on the way and that she needs to remain here until police arrives, but shouldn't go to the guy for a bit (so that she won't alert him somehow by her behaviour). If police takes a while to arrive one might ask her to keep guy busy (if she really wants to help the police - or one could tell bartender and bouncer and put guy under civil arrest, or a zillion actions really that can keep him from leaving before police arrives). You might think its harsh on the guy. Well it is not up to a single person to decide how harsh is enough for a person you know nothing about; it's a job for a well informed jury. For all you can know, the guy may be a serial killer.

Why you should do the right thing in such situation:

1: if you are among those whom care (people whom stop in Milgram's experiment): you should do this simply because this is decent thing to do. Imagine if next day in newspaper you see that the girl was found dead or disappeared, and her parents are devastated and police says it may be work of serial killer. You'll feel like total shit for a long long while, won't you? Or for a short while if you are prone to suicide. I'm pretty sure I don't want to find out whenever I can take this kind of shit on my conscience or not.

2: if you are among those whom don't care (deliver lethal shock in Milgram's experiment): you should do this, albeit the motivation would be quite elaborate:
The guy is ain't no mafia, the mafia doesn't do this shit! The girl's almost definitely higher social status than guy. Plus if you are a guy, even if you are happily married, someday you may need a girlfriend. Now the police. The guy has drug residue on hands, in the pocket, and original capsule in the pocket, plus in girl's drink. The case is as straightforward as it can ever be; you don't even need to be a witness. Police will be happy to improve their statistics! You're making friends with police! I been in Russia for some time, and Russian police is (supposedly) very bad, corrupt, and so on. But even there, in this drugging drink situation, for sure they'd arrive promptly, not to save girl but to have some fun busting some idiot with drugs and improving their statistics (an opportunity to catch an idiot to hang unresolved murder cases onto - they're gonna do that anyway - it better be this guy than some random guy).

But that is theory.

The things people actually did fell between:
1: Acting as if nothing happened.
2: Confronting the guy, but not preventing girl from sipping the drink, not informing the girl.

It is so disgusting. The first course of action, well it is cowardice. But what the hell is second? Risking trouble on yourself but NOT protecting the innocent? (what if he overdosed it or it is a (slow acting) lethal poison). And NOT getting yourself any reward for the risk, either. In a situation whereby you can protect the innocent with a minimal risk and all sorts of reward, for those selfish-inclined. This makes no sense at all - this is just idiotic.

What really, really, really disgusts me about this sort of stuff is stupidity. The stupidity that makes ordinary people be more evil, in a practical sense, than a cold minded psychopath who got no conscience at all (a cold minded psychopath, if he is smart enough, would not miss opportunity to be a hero with almost no risk! It's a jackpot situation for a cold minded psychopath - afterwards he most likely gets someone whom he always can ask for money, sex, and shelter; and something that would reduce his sentence if he ever commits a crime himself and gets caught).

We need to teach this in school, what to do, when you see a crime going on like this (call the police, stay out of trouble and protect the victim, this is not mutually exclusive). Drop the bullshit, recognize the fact that some people are selfish and some are selfless, some have conscience and some do not, and most are in between, and provide a rational explanation why this is a right thing to do, that's good for entire spectrum. Explain that it is at once moral, rather safe, and the society rewards for it - win win win. So that even the mildly evil people with no goodness and no conscience would do the right, good thing when they see situations such as that going on, even if for a selfish reason. Stupidity is the root of all evil. There is an old Russian saying: stupid friend is worse than smart enemy. You can combat stupidity by education.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Save environment: repair compact fluorescent bulbs.

Instead of throwing compact fluorescent lamps into e-waste recycling right away, I kept them until I had 10, and then I made 3 working fluorescents out of 10 broken ones (then the stuff that cant be fixed goes into e-waste)... there's how:
1: Open all CFLs using wide screwdriver or butter knife or similar object to pry the ballast case open.
2: use ohm-meter to check resistance over nearby wire pairs from the lamp (no need to disconnect from ballast yet). If the resistance is around 10 ohm on both sides, then that means the lamp is alright but ballast is dead (check for bad solder joints or burnt out parts, you can fix bad solder joints, and it might work). If one or both sides measures infinite resistance, that means the lamp is dead but ballast may be alright (check it for bad solder joints and burnt out parts anyway). Try working ballasts with working bulbs. Nonworking bulbs and nonworking ballast should go to e-waste and be disposed of properly. It seems that any failure ends with both power transistors getting burnt out; I didn't encounter a possibility to fix a ballast using parts from another.

The economic inequality is very bad for environment. Think of all the resources wasted shipping those bulbs around. Think of all the resources wasted because consumers in the west can easily afford to buy fluorescents built together with ballast - a marginally more convenient choice - so that perfectly good ballast and perfectly good fluorescents end up in the e-waste. Think of all the resources wasted because it is commercially viable to assemble those lamp ballasts from low quality parts (due to low cost of assembly itself. This also goes for viability of just building lamp together with ballast). Think of all the pollution that is only possible because pollution, too, was outsourced to china.
Repairing CFLs like this doesn't even save me money because I am living in a "developed" country and jobs here pay far more per hour than in china where they make those lamps (By the way, all of the lamps that I looked inside were assembled by hand in first place. Kind of sad to see). I do it because it is good for environment and coz it is kind of fun to tinker with some electronics once in a while.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

UNIPAK thread joint sealant as thermal paste.

I've had some CPU overheating problems after moving to new room... I reseated the heatsink by removing old thermal goo and replacing it with unipak thread sealant (the kind that you use together with flax to seal pipe joints) . So far it works no worse than any other thermal goo. I don't think it would dry out - it never did when I used it as thread sealant on hot water pipes.
Amusing study of thermal compounds:
thermal goo comparison

I also replaced northbridge heatsink goo with unipak. Northbridge heatsink was seated on thick layer of stiff thermal goo, the kind that is almost like glue. There was nothing wrong with it's temperature but I did accidentally slide northbridge heatsink a bit, cracking the old thermal goo. It seems that unipak performs a lot better than the old goo did - probably simply because it is runny enough and I only have a very thin layer of it between heatsink and chip (in general, with thermal goo, the thinner the better).

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Whoops, messed up the free demos. Re-uploading now - should be done in 15 minutes.

The Polynomial : huge update.


A lot of changes, and a lot more to come out shortly soon. The gameplay is a little screwed up at the moment, but I needed testing for the new technical stuff so I released it as is.
The real bigass highlight: music visualizers, you can choose visualizer in the Game panel (press esc, the second scrollbutton under Arena), and you can adjust it's parameters in Sound&Music (or S&M how I called it during development because blinking from the earlier versions of visualizer was getting on my nerves after working on it for days). The best one at the moment is "Waves", shown below:

Uses new soundtrack made by my brother. If you want to play it with your music, you need to convert your music to OGG format and put it in data/music folder (or Resources/music , inside bundle, on Mac). MP3 support will follow shortly.

You also get two weird looking vortex things in every level, one is made of stars and is used to change arena and other is made of line grid and it changes music visualizer.

Ahh, and the menu style has been changed.