The Red Bull Diary   Recent Posts
RSSRSS Friday Free Games
"Your 'reality', sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever."
— Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Freiherr von Münchhausen

Checkers Solved


As announced in Science magazine today and reported at and the BBC, a team of Canadian computer scientists at the University of Alberta have officially solved the game of checkers. Using dozens of computers analyzing all of the 500 billion billion (5 × 1020) possible game states, their software, Chinook, has worked out every possible move and now has a database of all possible winning strategies. Chinook was already the first computer program to win the championship in any game as of 1994, when it took the highest honors in checkers and remained undefeated until it was "retired" in 1997. Now, however, the software has been proven to be unbeatable.

Checkers is now the most complex game ever completely solved (Wikipedia has a great article on the subject of solved games for more information). According to Science Daily, Jaap van den Herik, editor of the International Computer Games Journal, calls this "a tremendous achievement -- a truly significant advance in artificial intelligence". He goes on to speculate that Chess (a game with a state space of 1046, many billions of times more complex than Checkers) may be solved by 2070.

Labels: , , ,

March to Impeach: September 15


After years of silence, finally someone is organizing a real protest to end the war and stop the madness that has consumed this country.

On September 15th, there will be a march on Washington. Speak out against this criminal war! March with us!

Labels: ,

Vinyl Data

This is just too damn cool not to share. The ever-questing Gnome has pointed the way to this awesome bit of retro geekery: vinyl data. That's right: back in the day, a handful of artists actually encoded software onto their LPs, mostly for an old-school computer called the Sinclair Spectrum ZX. The user had to record the sound off the record onto a tape and then read the data off the tape. Geek-a-licious.

Labels: , ,

Lorem Ipsum

Have you ever seen this text and wondered what it meant?

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.
If you've ever worked with typography or design, then you probably have. "Lorem ipsum" is used in the graphic design world to fill a page full of text so you can examine the font, the layout, and the overall look of a page without focusing on what the words are saying.

I took four years of Latin in high school, but only passed by the good graces of Father Keenan (bless you for taking pity on me, Father) and always assumed that the reason I had no idea at all what this text meant was because my Latin was just that bad.

Well, it turns out that this would have confused those who actually passed Latin, too, because it's not real Latin. It's mangled, pseudo-Latin derived from a passage from Circero's De finibus bonorum et malorum ("The purposes of goods and evils"; you can read the Latin here and some excerpts in English here). The original passage is reads as follows (ripped from Wikipedia, with the Lorem Ipsum parts emboldened):

Sed ut perspiciatis, unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam eaque ipsa, quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt, explicabo. Nemo enim ipsam voluptatem, quia voluptas sit, aspernatur aut odit aut fugit, sed quia consequuntur magni dolores eos, qui ratione voluptatem sequi nesciunt, neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum, quia dolor sit, amet, consectetur, adipisci velit, sed quia non numquam eius modi tempora incidunt, ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem. Ut enim ad minima veniam, quis nostrum exercitationem ullam corporis suscipit laboriosam, nisi ut aliquid ex ea commodi consequatur? Quis autem vel eum iure reprehenderit, qui in ea voluptate velit esse, quam nihil molestiae consequatur, vel illum, qui dolorem eum fugiat, quo voluptas nulla pariatur? [33] At vero eos et accusamus et iusto odio dignissimos ducimus, qui blanditiis praesentium voluptatum deleniti atque corrupti, quos dolores et quas molestias excepturi sint, obcaecati cupiditate non provident, similique sunt in culpa, qui officia deserunt mollitia animi, id est laborum et dolorum fuga. Et harum quidem rerum facilis est et expedita distinctio. Nam libero tempore, cum soluta nobis est eligendi optio, cumque nihil impedit, quo minus id, quod maxime placeat, facere possimus, omnis voluptas assumenda est, omnis dolor repellendus. Temporibus autem quibusdam et aut officiis debitis aut rerum necessitatibus saepe eveniet, ut et voluptates repudiandae sint et molestiae non recusandae. Itaque earum rerum hic tenetur a sapiente delectus, ut aut reiciendis voluptatibus maiores alias consequatur aut perferendis doloribus asperiores repellat.
The original passage was discovered by former Latin professor Richard McClintock who made the connection by searching for usages of the word consectetur ("seeks out"). You can find a more in-depth discussion of the Lorem Ipsum passage at The Straight Dope and you can find a Lorem Ipsum generator here.

Labels: ,

Keith Olbermann Speaks Truth to Power

Thank you, Patsy for linking to this "brilliant, inspired, and terrifying commentary" from Keith Olberman:

...those who did not believe he should have been elected — indeed, those who did not believe he had been elected — willingly lowered their voices and assented to the sacred oath of non-partisanship.

And George W. Bush took our assent, and re-configured it, and honed it, and sharpened it to a razor-sharp point, and stabbed this nation in the back with it.

George W. Bush took our assent, and re-configured it, and honed it, and sharpened it to a razor-sharp point, and stabbed this nation in the back with it.

Were there any remaining lingering doubt otherwise, or any remaining lingering hope, it ended yesterday when Mr. Bush commuted the prison sentence of one of his own staffers.

Did so even before the appeals process was complete...

Did so without as much as a courtesy consultation with the Department of Justice...

Did so despite what James Madison –at the Constitutional Convention — said about impeaching any president who pardoned or sheltered those who had committed crimes "advised by" that president...

Did so without the slightest concern that even the most detached of citizens must look at the chain of events and wonder:

To what degree was Mr. Libby told: break the law however you wish — the President will keep you out of prison?

In that moment, Mr. Bush, you broke that fundamental compact between yourself and the majority of this nation’s citizens — the ones who did not cast votes for you.

In that moment, Mr. Bush, you ceased to be the President of the United States.

In that moment, Mr. Bush, you became merely the President… of a rabid and irresponsible corner of the Republican Party.

Mr. Olbermann has the balls to say what I've been feeling ever since the Bush-Cheney cabal dragged us into a shameful war.

Resign, Mr. Bush.

Resign and allow us to restore our country's dignity.

Labels: , ,

Places I've Been

Man, I am so lame. I think I've done all of this traveling, and then I look at the map.... I have a lot of ground left to cover.

Here's a map of the countries I've been to (post-dated to after my honeymoon in Italy)....

And here's the map of states I've been to. And yes, I may have missed the entire center of the country, but I've been to all the good states....

You can try making your own map of US states here, and your own map of visited countries here...


Pandora: My Favorite New Songs
LibraryThing: What I'm Currently Reading
Archive Links
Friends of the Red Bull

Sinfest by Tatsuya Ishida

Order of the Stick by Rich Burlew
The Red Bull Diary Is
The Red Bull Diary is the personal pulpit and intellectual dumping-ground for its author, an amateur game designer, professional programmer, political centrist and incurable skeptic. The Red Bull Diary is gaming, game design, politics, development, geek culture, and other such nonsense.