No, Don't Tell Me. I'm Keen to Guess

Cheese or Font?

Monty Python was less help than I had hoped.
You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

Though it’s now obvious you could re-do the sketch as The Font Shop.

Well let’s keep it simple, how about Helvetica?

Well, I’m afraid we don’t get much call for it around these parts.

Not much call? It’s the single most popular font in the world!

Not ’round these parts, sir.

Kern Like Everyone is Watching

Kern Type

Your mission is simple: achieve pleasant and readable text by distributing the space between letters. Typographers call this activity kerning. Your solution will be compared to typographer’s solution, and you will be given a score depending on how close you nailed it. Good luck!

Overthinking the Problem

By overthinking I mean spending a lot of time modeling the problem.

The Linear Theory of Battleship

I wrote a little code to generate random Battleship boards, and counted where each of the ships appeared. I did this billions of times to get good statistics, and what I ended up with is a little interesting. You can see the results for yourself over at my
results exploration page by changing the radio buttons for the ship you are interested in, but I have some screen caps below.

This is an example of the failure of the linear model. All the linear model knows is that in the spots nearby misses there is a lower probability of the ship being there, but what it doesn’t know to do is look at the arrangement of misses and check to see whether there is any possible way the ship can fit. This is a nonlinear effect, involving information at more than one square at a time.

It is these kinds of effects that this theory will miss, but as you’ll notice, it still does pretty well.

I’m wondering if it does as well against human opponents, who would not place the targets randomly.

And Al Saw That it was Good

For this to make sense, you need to see the xkcd cartoon “Heaven” (as usual, click to go there so you can see the hover tag)

This being the internet (thank you, Al Gore), someone went and made this into a real game (hey, what were the odds?) Every so often, a large piece comes along and fits into the existing landscape. The cartoon is basically the opposite of Hell, of course, which also has a “playable” version

Sucking the Marrow Fun Out of Life Monopoly

Scientific Proof Of How To Beat Someone’s Ass At Monopoly

Ever build up a hotel on the greens, nearly bankrupting yourself in the process, and then sit and wait while your friend misses it again and again and again? Or when he lands on GO TO JAIL and gets all smug about staying there for three turns? “I’m just gonna relax.” God, what a dick. Clearly, the best strategy is to buy the oranges, build them up first, then have enough capital to buy and build the greens. If you do that, you get the money and the power and the woman.