Blabberbox:Random blog-like posts from pftq.Share on Twitter

Prions and Synthesized Foods

April 23rd, 2019 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
More an open-ended question here.  Prions, or misfolded proteins, are the cause of mad-cow disease when eating meat.  The animal itself is more likely to be produce misfolded proteins when eating brain tissue, but sometimes it's also just luck (or perhaps environmental, stress, etc).  The prions themselves cannot be destroyed by heating or other means once created, as it's more a mutation than a "disease." Once in the body, it causes other proteins to be misfolded as well in a tumor-like fashion.  With regards to new synthesized foods like vegan or fake meats,  I wonder what ways (if any) are there to unintentionally create misfolded proteins in the process as well.  Right now, it seems that they try to mess with the vegetable ingredients as little as possible when creating the meat flavor and texture.  Some of these opt for a non-GMO label to make it distinct.  It would probably be more a concern if in the future companies become more aggressive with manipulating or modifying the proteins themselves as they refine the meat.
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A Wish for a Life

April 2nd, 2019 | Posted by pftq in Stories | #
Imagine if you could make any wish come true but would cause the death of one random person.

A man, known as the Baron, lives in a castle atop a hill and is suspected of having a supernatural artifact that does this, causing many mysterious deaths in the nearby town for his own gain.  Each death is similar, with each person becoming suddenly frail and ghostly pale before dying within days.  The story initially seems one of despair, as no one can really prove this to authorities and people at random just keep dying.  Many supporting and likeable characters have their arc abruptly ended in this manner.

An investigator tries to solve this mystery but doesn't believe in superstition.  He's an outsider to the town and tries to bring science and reason he believes the townspeople lack.  He suspects more likely the Baron created this rumor to hide something more nefarious.  A friend of the investigator gets frustrated with the investigator's calm...[More]
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Racist Mentality

March 29th, 2019 | Posted by pftq in Society | #
This is more or less a concise version of one of my points from the longer Three Tiers of Mind and arguably an extension of the discussion on Inductive vs Deductive Reasoning.  What bothers me lately is there seems to be a general shift away from why racism is bad in the first place and more towards just any mention of race is bad or that any difference in advantage is bad (aka "privilege").  What makes racism bad at its core is that you are ignoring a person's individuality and making an assumption about that person based on association to a category.  In other words, you are not seeing the person in front of you but treating that person as just one of many belonging to some arbitrary label.  That person is no longer a person with their own agency and ability to cause change in the world but just a thing, an object, something that is not you.  That's the real problem that leads to all other acts someone may commit, which everyone then reacts to as racism or other crimes.

You see this immediately in any situation you normally associate with racism.  The reason slavery was able to make sense in people's minds was the ability to ignore the individuality of any person branded under the slave label.  Removing race would have made the act no better if the hierarchy still existed (and it did/does even amongst populations of same ethnicity).  The reason there is conflict between the rich and poor is because each side uses the other as only a means to an end, treating the other as just that - an other.  Removing money or other material differences makes the situation no better if people still view each other in terms of what they have, their demographics, or other population-level traits - in terms of association and value instead of as individuals.  Objectifying, commoditizing, treating someone as merely a statistic... these are all different names and outcomes for what is essentially the same thinking process deep down.  They judge you on where you come from instead of why you came, what you represent instead of what you actually chose to do.  You're X because you're a Y, and Ys are X.  It's the act of being too lazy to think about the full context and just reacting on a trigger word, of trying to think in broad-brush rules and sweeping generalizations instead of being willing to look at each situation case-by-case.  The flaw is thinking the abstract grouping more real than the individual the abstract was created around.  

This same manner of thinking pretty much leads to any other social aspects we consider "bad." An unfulfilling job - being a cog in a machine, working under someone's thumb - happens when your individuality is disregarded and you are treated as just a faceless number amongst many.  A friend or relationship feels false when the other doesn't actually listen to you specifically but just says what could be said to anyone else.  Someone is patronizing if they give advice without knowing anything about the person they are lecturing and just assume advice is warranted.  Someone is pedantic if they are ignoring what you're trying to say and only caring about how you said it.  Even the murderous psychopath - the difference between him and a hero soldier is that he does not think about others as individuals, just objects, a kill count, again a number.

When taken...[More]
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Four Notes of Us, Annihilation, Dark City

March 24th, 2019 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
Had these four notes from the Us trailer stuck in my head for the longest time and couldn't quite place why it sounded like I heard them in orchestral form before, then realized I heard them in Annihilation, and before that, Dark City.


Music obviously isn't mine but is meshed together just for fun to show how similar the pieces are from each respective movie.  Ironically, Dark City is the most uplifting variation of the melody and most thoroughly explores it.
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God Formula

March 24th, 2019 | Posted by pftq in Stories | #
Another one that came to me in a dream. Made more sense right after I woke, but I unfortunately started losing details as soon as I got to writing it down.

==============

The story is essentially a sci-fi thriller movie, where the founder tries to create AI from a math perspective similar to induction instead of the more common approach of fitting to data.  It's counterintuitive but rather than try to create a general algorithm that adapts to specific cases, the founder wants to start from one case and solve for the rest of the world - ie letting the AI define the rest of world on its own volition. In other words, instead of adapting or being an agent in the world, this algorithm plays God and creates it from scratch.  The idea is similar to trying to understand or simulate the current universe by instead creating a new one altogether via man-made blackholes in a lab.  It's also similar to what you do in theoretical math where you define hypothetical systems or...[More]
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Economic Literacy

March 7th, 2019 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
"I don't see why universal healthcare can't work. Other countries do just fine having it. In fact, they're doing better than us. Look at the pound - it's worth way more than the dollar!" And everyone agrees and cheers. Sigh...
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In the End

March 4th, 2019 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
In the End by Marcus Warner (@MWarnerMusic)
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Dreams Adrift

February 5th, 2019 | Posted by pftq in Stories | #

This could either be an animation or short film. The imagery of someone walking upsidedown against the night sky is what stuck in my mind.
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Scene starts panning down from a cloudy, moonlit night sky to a girl standing on the edge of a highrise rooftop with her arms out.  It looks like she is about to fall, but as she goes over the edge, the camera rotates to instead show her walking down the side of the building, apparently sleepwalking.  There is a wistful element as her hair is constantly flowing and her arms are out to balance.  The elements seem to whirl around her as she walks, as if animated by what she is dreaming.  The iconic scene is of her walking upsidedown on the bottom of a plank between two highrises against the backdrop of the moon and night sky in the background.  

Eventually...[More]
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No More Outsourced Teams

January 27th, 2019 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
Why I'll never outsource my ideas again - tired of teams thinking it fair if I pay everyone's salary out of pocket + give up half equity. I get 100% of the risk while they get zero risk + salary + half upside. Their worst case is getting paid and moving onto the next client, while mine is losing everything and starting over.
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Run and Record Games on VM Server

January 23rd, 2019 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
More a reminder for myself how to set up a remote server/vm like Azure to run and record games.  Otherwise, you'll run into issues like lack of GPU/DirectX or no sound.

1. Create a VM with Windows 10 and a GPU (for Azure, it is the NC series).
2. If your GPU is a Tesla, make sure to install Nvidia drivers and enable graphics rendering on it.
3. Install VB-Audio virtual sound card to be able to capture sound from the game.
4. If an Unreal Game, most likely you'll need .NET 3.5, which needs to be enabled from "Turn Windows Features On or Off."

Once this is all done, you can run the game as you would at home and use GameDVR (Win+G) to record.  One thing I haven't figured out yet is how to keep the recording going if your Remote Desktop window closes (but server still running).  The only work-around it seems is to have an intermediary VM always logged into the primary VM to keep the recording + audio going, which works even if you log out of the intermediary VM.  This was also reported as a bug here.  If anyone has suggestions, let me know.
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Fixing VR Controllers Out of View

January 21st, 2019 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
If you use inside-out #VR / #WindowsMixedReality headsets like @Samsung Odyssey, you'll run into the controllers glitching out when out of view (below or behind your head). In an #UnrealEngine or #Unity game, a workaround is to store the location of the controllers but avoid updating if the location moves too far from the headset (the glitching out when out of view). The rotation of each controller still works as they're based on gyroscopes instead of cameras, so you'll still want to update the rotation, just not the location which is now some absurd unusable number.

In Unreal Engine, it would look like this:


This really should be internalized into the headset driver itself, as it only makes sense to not update to a location that is physically impossible.  For now, you have to do that check yourself.
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Vue

January 20th, 2019 | Posted by pftq in Stories | #
Another story that came as a dream, ironically as a movie I was watching in the dream.
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The movie initially starts as a horror film about boy initially trying to escape the home of a crazed family with a murderous cyborg child.  The home is more or less a cave with no open windows or exit (all boarded up).  The parents are human but very old and clearly insane, sort of like the fake grandparents from The Visit.  The cyborg behaves more like an animal and is Frankenstein-like, with loosely pieced together scrap metal for arms, blades for hands, barely functional prosthetics for what's left of the face (doll-like eyes, unmoving lips, etc), etc.  Often it crawls on all fours or climbs the walls, staying in the shadows.  It is unclear if it was once human at all or entirely machine to begin with.  The pacing and feel is almost like a Saw movie at first, with no indication how the we arrived here or why things are.

After about...[More]
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ETC Probability

January 12th, 2019 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
Not surprised about ETC 51% attack since everything in blockchain is only "statistically impossible" (low odds) instead of true certainty. Expecting more problems like this over time. More surprised some now defend lack of certainty as a feature instead - https://coingape.com/pow-blockchain-secure-post-ethereum-classic-attack/
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In line with what I wrote before:
https://www.pftq.com/blabberbox/?page=Bitcoin_Probability
Quote
"If they're going crazy right now on how some random hashtag should be "statistically impossible," wait till two people generate the same wallet (which is not supposed to happen until the sun dies... "statistically"). #Bitcoin
https://www.coindesk.com/21e800-bitcoin-satoshi-mystery-twitter-obsessing/"
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Flax Master

January 5th, 2019 | Posted by pftq in Random Stuff | #
Recipe for the best smoothie (originally from Earthbar).  Serves 2 16 oz cups; half the amounts for 1 serving.
- 1 frozen Sambazon Acai bar (pure and unsweetened)
- 1 cup of frozen wild blueberries.
- 2 bananas (preferably still green -> more fiber, less sugar).
- 2 teaspoons of unfiltered flax oil (lignans for anti-cancer).
- 2 tablespoons...[More]
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Makeshift Sit-Stand Desk and Second Screen

December 29th, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
Surprisingly comfortable ergonomic-wise since everything from the screen position/height and keyboard/mouse are adjustable.  But the screen isn't big enough for me to see without my glasses sadly.
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Japan and Norway

December 23rd, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
Finally uploaded pictures I took in Japan and Norway last year.

Norway
Kyoto, Japan
Tokyo, Japan




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End of Adolescence

November 27th, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Thought of the Day | #
There's a feeling you get when summer hits and school is out.  When you were younger, it might have been excitement, freedom.  As you got older, it became more an interruption, an emptiness, time crawling by as you waited to see your peers again, an interlude as you waited for the next adventure. Except... on the 12th time, summer doesn't quite end.  It keeps going, no matter how long you wait. That feeling - when you're the only one still wandering the campus while everyone else had left - gradually becomes your everyday.  And at some point, you look back and realize this is the rest of your life.
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Haiiro to Ao Cover

November 17th, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Stuck in My Head | #
Haiiro to Ao Cover by Kobasolo (@kobamakolts)
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Trying to Using Google Cloud

November 14th, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
Seems there's a reason @GoogleCloud's market share trails behind Microsoft's @Azure and is nowhere near Amazon's @AWSCloud.  It's just insanely difficult to get up and running.

First is the error that I need to enable the Google Cloud service in my Admin Console, but Google Cloud is not even listed there.  The specific error is "Google Cloud Platform service has been disabled. Please contact your administrator to restore service in G Suite Admin console."



Have to contact support (which itself is a puzzle to avoid having to pay for a support plan). Enabling Google Cloud turns out to be tied to enabling Developer Console (how is anyone supposed to know that?).  They say it's a recent issue with migrations, but this StackOverflow thread shows this has been an issue for over a year at least.


Now that the service is enabled for my account, I try to spin up an instance.  If you use GPUs in your project, it then turns out you need to increase your global GPU quota (starts at zero).  Makes no sense because all of the specific non-global GPU settings already start at 1.


I try again to spin up instances, but now I keep getting "not have enough resources available to fulfill the request. Try a different zone, or try again later." Tried 6 different zones all with the same results.


Contacted support again, who suggest I not put all my instances in one zone.  I tell them this is my only instance.  And the response to that seems to basically acknowledge you can't really spin up instances at this time?


Very bizarre and frustrating experience.  It just seems like no one is even testing Google Cloud to make sure anyone can actually use it.  Or that they care if anyone can figure out how to use it.
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Enabling Graphics for Nvidia Tesla GPU in Azure VM

November 11th, 2018 | Posted by pftq in Blabberbox | #
If you're trying to use the GPUs Azure VMs for actual graphics like in game development, DirectX, or other things where the GPU has to be detected, you need to set the Tesla GPUs to WDDM mode.  By default they are in TCC, which doesn't let them be detected by the system in RDP and has graphics disabled.  Not even Nvidia control panel will see the card.

Solution is pretty quick - just a command line entry.  It can just be done in Command Prompt, no additional software needed.  Credits to the comments on Reddit here: https://www.reddit.com/r/cloudygamer/comments/7twmiq/problem_with_azure_nv6_and_nvidia_tesla_m60/

(Make sure you first have the Nvidia drivers installed, either by starting the VM with an image that has them or installing manually.)

Quote
1. Open Command Prompt.
2. Enter: cd C:\Program Files\NVIDIA Corporation\NVSMI
3. Enter: nvidia-smi -l
4. Ctrl+Break to stop the loop. Note the long 000:00:00.0 number under bus-id.
5. Enter: nvidia-smi -g <bus-id> -fdm 0
6. Reboot.

Once you're done, you'll notice Nvidia control panel will now detect the card.  DirectX applications will see it as well, etc.
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