World of Warcraft Plague

Back in 2005 there was an epidemic event caused by some unintented features (vulgo "bugs") in World of Warcraft. As it shows, studies reveal that the events give a good view on human behavior in times of the corona pandemy. 

“For me, it was a good illustration of how important it is to understand people’s behaviors,” he says. “When people react to public health emergencies, how those reactions really shape the course of things. We often view epidemics as these things that sort of happen to people. There’s a virus and it’s doing things. But really it’s a virus that’s spreading between people, and how people interact and behave and comply with authority figures, or don’t, those are all very important things. And also that these things are very chaotic. You can’t really predict ‘oh yeah, everyone will quarantine. It’ll be fine.’ No, they won’t.”

Extremetech: Researchers are dusting off WoW's Corrupted Blood Plague to Understand Coronavirus Infections. 

On rhyming algorithms

Really interesting articles on computer created poetry. Some of the examples are really touching or inspiring lyrics, as these lines created by a tool wrtten by Jack Hopkins:

The frozen waters that are dead are now

black as the rain to freeze a boundless sky,

and frozen ode of our terrors with

the grisly lady shall be free to cry

Deutschlandfunk: Lyrik zwischen Null und EinsWer reitet so spät durch Bit und Byte?

NewScientist: Neural network poetry is so bad we think it's written by humans

 

Image:"Magnetic Fridge Poetry" by Steve Johnson

Choose your poison

Different poisons and pains lead to different results

Sometimes I browse my "Browse me later" folder in my bookmarks and discover things I wanted me to discover. Today I read an article by Mark Manson with the name "You probably know to ask yourself, “What do I want?” Here’s a way better question" from 2016. It was really enlighning and the right type of text for my current situation in life. I can point you to it but I can't read it for you, so just follow the link.

The key message of the article is spoken out right in the beginning and there are many variations of it all over the text. The last sentence repeats it aswell and here it is, for you it is a small teaser, for me it is a reminder of what I learned today.

 

"This is the most simple and basic component of life: our struggles determine our successes. So choose your struggles wisely, my friend."

The data we produce...

This is a really insightful article on the amount of data we produce while using apps (and websites, and devices, and stuff). 

At 9.24pm (and one second) on the night of Wednesday 18 December 2013, from the second arrondissement of Paris, I wrote “Hello!” to my first ever Tinder match. Since that day I’ve fired up the app 920 times and matched with 870 different people. I recall a few of them very well: the ones who either became lovers, friends or terrible first dates. I’ve forgotten all the others. But Tinder has not.

The Guardian - I asked Tinder for my data. It sent me 800 pages of my deepest, darkest secrets

 

Image: @markheybo on Flickr 

On Dungeon Generation

As a gamer, game master and former (minor) game developer I am always interested in ideas and concepts that make a game out of an activity. In this case, I stumbled upon a blog about game programming patterns. This particular blog post is all about the random generation of dungeons. It is really an interesting read and you can retracte the several steps as the author, Bob Nystrom, made a simulation for every necessary step. Really nice!

One of my earliest memories of computing is a maze generator running on my family’s Apple IIe. It filled the screen with a grid of green squares, then incrementally cut holes in the walls. Eventually, every square of the grid was connected and the screen was filled with a complete, perfect maze.

My little home computer could create something that had deep structure—every square of the maze could be reached from any other—and yet it seemed to be chaotic—it carved at random and every maze was different. This was enough to blow my ten-year-old mind. It still kind of does today.

Stuff with Stuff: Rooms and Mazes: A Procedural Dungeon Generator

 

Gary Chalk Interview

Lone Wolf Logo

Remember the LoneWolf Boardgame I supported on Kickstarter? I wrote about it here. I never actually played it although I still plan to do so. Today, however, I found this really interesting interview with illustrator Gary Chalk who was the main reason for, well, everyone to fund this game as he is the original illustrator of the Lone Wolf Game Books from the 80s. I learned several lessons from the interview:

1. Gary Chalk was working for Games Workshop

2. The Lone Wolf Boardgame rules are from a never published Games Workshop game (I think I knew this before but today it was new to me)

3. Ian Livingston and Steve Jackon are not only the authors of some fantasy game books I own, they are also founders and ceos of Games Workshop and brought AD&D to Europe

4. There is a Mobile Game Book named Gun Dogs featuring illustrations by Gary Chalk (apparently only iOS)

 

Take a look: Amazing Stories: Interview with Gary Chalk

 

Image: Series logo from Mongoose publishing taken from Wikipedia

A nice javascript regular expression editor

Building regex is fun, especially if you have a good editor at hand. I used Rubular for the last years but as this is specialized for Ruby and I was in need for Javascript based Regex the last months, I searched for something similar nice to use and found Scriptular.

The user experience is not one to one the same but it is way more comfortable than the other ones I see around. Take a look!

Fonts for coders

Wanna know if your coding font knows how to deal with unicode? Here is a simple test to check, copy this into your editor and compare. Here are some hints for good programmers fonts ("the best"!).

«»‹›“”‘’〖〗【】「」『』〈〉《》〔〕 ΑΒΓΔΕΖΗΘΙΚΛΜΝΞΟΠΡΣΤΥΦΧΨΩ αβγδεζηθικλμνξοπρςτυφχψω ¤$¢€₠£¥ ©®™²³ §¶†‡※ •◦‣✓●■◆○□◇★☆♠♣♥♦♤♧♡♢ ᴁᴂᴈ ♩♪♫♬♭♮♯ “” ‘’ ¿¡ ¶§ª - ‐ ‑ ‒ – — ― … ° ⌈⌉ ⌊⌋ ∏∑∫ ×÷ ⊕⊖⊗⊘⊙⊚⊛∙∘ ′″‴ ∼∂√ ≔× ⁱ⁰¹²³ ₀₁₂ π∞± ∎ ∀¬∧∨∃⊦∵∴∅∈∉⊂⊃⊆⊇⊄⋂⋃ ≠≤≥≮≯≫≪≈≡ ℕℤℚℝℂ ←→↑↓ ↔ ↖↗↙↘ ⇐⇒⇑⇓ ⇔⇗ ⇦⇨⇧⇩ ↞↠↟↡ ↺↻ ☞☜☝☟ ⌘⌥‸ ⇧⌤↑↓→←⇞⇟↖↘ ⌫ ⌦ ⎋⏏↶↷◀▶▲▼ ◁▷△▽ ⇄ ⇤ ⇥ ↹↵↩⏎ ⌧⌨␣ ⌶ ⎗⎘⎙⎚⌚⌛ ✂✄✉✍ ①②③④⑤⑥⑦⑧⑨⓪ 卐卍 ✝✚✡☥⎈☭☪☮☺☹☯☰☱☲☳☴☵☶☷☠☢☣☤♲♳⌬♨♿☉☼☾☽♀♂♔♕♖♗♘♙♚♛♜♝♞♟❦ 、。!,:林花謝了春 紅,太匆匆。無奈朝來寒雨,晚來風。胭脂淚,留人醉,幾時重,自是人生長恨, 水長東。

Edit: You may want to take a look at Wikipedia on Unicode Fonts

AI and Liberalism

I stumpled upon a German languge article in the NZZ by Slavoj Žižek that deals with the topics of liberalism, humanism and digitalization. It is declared as a translation but I didn't find the source, so I can only provide you with the German text. While searching for the translation I found a greater number of text by the slowenian philosopher dealing with similar topics, so I guess this is more of a general reading recommendation. 

Eben weil die Maschine, die uns liest, als mechanischer Algorithmus blind und bewusstseinslos ist, kann sie Entscheidungen treffen, die nicht nur der äusseren Wirklichkeit angemessener sind als unsere eigenen Entscheidungen. Sie sind es vor allem auch in Bezug auf unsere eigenen Wünsche und Bedürfnisse. Die Maschine kann alle Widersprüche eruieren, Inkohärenzen messen und mit ihnen auf weitaus rationalere Weise umgehen, als unser fiktives Selbst dies vermag.

NZZ: Digitalisierung und künstliche Intelligenz: Das Ende der Menschlichkeit

Image: Zizek in Liverpool By Original photographer: Andy Miah , cropped by User:Michalis Famelis

The Parthenon of Books

parthenon of books

The documenta 14, the most important exhibition of contemporary art in the world, is taking place in Kassel again (every 5 years). The most prominent piece of art is the Parthenon Of Books by Marta Minujín (Argentina), located on the central Friedrichsplatz, the largest sqaure in Kassel. The Parthenon of Books is a huge scaffold installation with the dimensions and appearance of the Parthenon in Athena, Greece, one of the central symbols of democracy. It is covered by foiled-up books. The books have been donated by publishing companies and by citizens, so everybody can be part of this art installation. The books have one thing in common: they are or have been prohibited somewhere. There is a handy short list and a not so handy more complete list of prohibited books that has been compiled by the students of the department of German philological studies of the Universität Kassel. I donated more or less 15 books including my beautiful edition of "Don Quijote" that I bought back in 2003 in Quito / Ecuador at the book fair in the El Ejido park, as I have a very similar one that was a birthday gift from my friends from my Erasmus semester in Palma / Spain. Nevertheless this was a donation that was not easy for me as I in general don't like to give away books. But I feel quite satisfied to see my beloved Don Quijote on a very prominet position at eye level at one of the central pillar at the outside when coming from south. When documenta is ended in some days, the books shall be given as gifts for the visitors. Standing inside of the Parthenon has its own thrill: The installation is huge and impressive, the idea all those books, pages, paragraphs, sentences, words and thoughts have been prohibited by a government is oppresive. Its location, the Friedrichsplatz, has its own story to tell: When the Nazis were burning books in Germany, in Kassel they did it right here. In the palace located at the Friedrichsplatz which is today known as Museum Fridericianum was a huge library once, but it lost all its books to the fires that destroyed large parts of Kassel after the allied bombing in 1943. And Jacob Grimm, the elder of the two famous Brothers Grimm worked in this very library for the censorship administration of King Jérôme Bonaparte, the brother of Napoelon Bonaparte. So, in many ways, the Parthenon of Book gives visitors a lot of good reasons to contemplate about censorship

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