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People keep pointing me at Sleep Sort in email and IRL; it is apparently a popular topic right now. To Sleep Sort an array of integers, you spawn one process per array element. Each process sleeps t seconds, where t is the value of its array element, and then outputs t…
An engineer solves technology problems by thinking things through.
I am sitting in a class administering a final exam right now and thinking about the problem of detached pages. It is not unheard-of for a page to pop off an exam between the time that a student completes it and the time it is turned in. If that happens to only one student in a given exam, it is easy to figure out. If it happens to two, it may be harder. So I have my students put their name on every page…
The oldest version of the "Heavy Boots" story I can find on the Usenet archives is from a 1993 post. But I remember the original posting, which claimed to be a first-person account, and was older yet.
Indeed, IIRC that account looked very like the first part of this one. This thing is findable a couple of places on the Interwebs, but I strongly suspect/recall its early Usenet origins. If anyone could point me at the original attribution of this classic tale, I would be truly grateful.
[Update, a few minutes later : Sure enough, one Russ Brown claims posting the first part of the story, but not the second, to Usenet around 1989, based on a 1981 experience. See the comments section here. I'll claim five memory points for this one.]
The mouseover text for today's xkcd is
Wikipedia trivia: if you take any article, click on the first link in the article text not in parentheses or italics, and then repeat, you will eventually end up at "Philosophy".
This actually works crazily well, for a surprising reason. Can you figure it out? I got it on the first trace.
The attached paper describes optimal play for the Netrunner card Social Engineering. Netrunner is a Collectible Card Game that has been out of print for around 10 years. Remarkably, there is still an active community of people playing the game and creating new cards.
This analysis has been sitting on my hard drive since my grad student days in 1997. This weekend I finally wrote some code to solve two-player hidden information games, and used it to check my work from back then. I was surprised to find that I had gotten everything substantially right, as near as I can tell. (Corrections welcome.)
The paper is in PDF format produced from LaTeX: it's a pain to do math in HTML.
One of the great joys of my life was playing Netrunner with my brother. I showed him this back when I wrote it, but I wish he could have seen the final version. I hope someone will find it amusing, instructive, or even useful.
OK, this is going to be a total geek-out. If you're not comfortable with Haskell, you should just move on. Also, I can't figure out how to conceal the answer here, so I'll just tell you what happened…
Just got the most interesting and disturbing phone call. Came from a guy who pretty obviously was not a native English speaker—I'd guess African offhand—and who was apparently having trouble operating a telephone. Wanted to let me know that his company's "technicians" had "observed" that when my Windows computer connects to the Internet "to transfer email" it is uploading and downloading stuff that doesn't look right…
My cousin Rob and I let the domain name nealhere.com expire this week. With my brother gone, there didn't seem to be much point. The site itself will remain up indefinitely, though, at http://nealhere.po8.org.
I miss my brother so much.
Ryan North has perfectly captured my feelings about Monopoly™. I haven't laughed so hard for a long time.