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  • posted a message on Ten Years Later - Who's Still Here?
    Good to see you again! I popped back in for this, to reflect on how life changes in a decade. So much life happens.
    I was digging through old PMs and found stuff I'd completely forgotten about; a glimpse into my own past. This place meant something to me, even more than I remembered.

    One day, MTGS will cease to exist. It happened recently to the other MTG forum where I spent time and youth, and will happen to everything else.
    When that day comes, hundreds of thousands of posts - the fossilized record of our hours spent long ago, either well or foolishly - will vanish.
    When that day comes, a slice of our universe disappears - perhaps a tiny slice, but a meaningful one.
    When that day comes, you will become keenly aware that the only remaining archive exists inside of yourself.
    And when that day comes, you will all still hold a special place in my heart.
    Posted in: Community Discussion
  • posted a message on The Dark Knight Rises

    This is not a film about Batman vs. Bane, and I fear a lot of people are failing to realize that.

    The Dark Knight Rises, when viewed through the conflict narrative, is a film about man vs. himself. Period. Bane, Catwoman, Miranda Tate, even allies John Blake, Alfred, and Fox are all in the film as catalysts for Bruce Wayne's true transformation. This film is about Wayne moving on from his childhood trauma. Bane is treated with very little characterization on purpose. The antagonists in this film are little more than 1-dimensional by design. The true journey is that of Wayne struggling through the darkness of his own self-destruction and self-pity and climbing out of the pit of despair to be reborn into the sun (yes, this is seen literally on the screen). There is a reason the first time Bruce shows up on screen he is shown in the shadows and distorted in the reflection of his meal's plate cover; because Bruce has allowed the darkness in his spirit to envelope him. There's also a reason he's seen smiling in the sun at the end of the film.

    TDKR is the story of Bruce breaking free of the prison of his own demons; literally and figuratively.

    Aha, see, this is what I wanted from the movie.
    This is exactly what Knightfall is about. Bane beats Batman, Azrael-Batman beats Bane, and ultimately Bruce Wayne defeats Jean-Paul Valley because, as I mentioned before, he built up himself.

    Bane (and Jean-Paul Valley) are particular reflections of Bruce Wayne, much like Ra's Al Ghul and the Joker were in the previous movies (reflections in the sense of a funhouse mirror - distorting and exaggerating certain features). This is one of Nolan's strengths. This is why Bane means so much, and defeating him was important. And thinking about it now, perhaps this is why I was disappointed by the Talia reveal; I saw no such meaning in her character.

    I do not believe making bland antagonists serves the right goal. Reducing quality may be the easy path, but never the right one. Shoddy design of characters, plots, or whatever, does not somehow enable me to focus on the underlying themes, it distracts me from them. Great design is what makes TDK Batman versus the Joker instead of Batman versus some weirdo dressed like a clown.
    Posted in: Entertainment Archive
  • posted a message on The Dark Knight Rises
    By the way, this is a little 2009 but there is fake IMAX that is advertised just as IMAX. Here is a list of real IMAX theaters.

    Quote from Blinking Spirit
    That said, you're not correct when you say there are no hints. Cotillard drops Ra's al Ghul's "restore the balance" catchphrase once or twice. Plans go wrong after she hears about them. And Nolan's caginess with the identities of the "child" and the "protector" is suspicious. I feel like it's set up sufficiently subtly and well that a very clever person could catch on, but most wouldn't - which is the hallmark of a good plot twist. Which may be part of the reason why its obviousness with foreknowledge bothered me. It spoiled my experience.

    So I hear. All I remember was feeling a strange atmosphere when she said certain lines (the content of which I don't recall). I was planning to watch it again, in IMAX, and I'll keep an eye out for all the clues.
    Posted in: Entertainment Archive
  • posted a message on The Dark Knight Rises
    Bruce Wayne hallucinated a Ra's Al Ghul who told him secrets that were real facts??

    Bane was a little underwhelming to me. Based on the Knightfall comic arc, Bane ought to be one of the most impressive villains in the Rogues Gallery: Batman's equal (or superior) in intelligence and power. There was some feeling of those characteristics - he did break Batman's back and his spirit - but for some reason I didn't feel it quite enough.

    What really annoyed me though...
    There was no hint at Miranda Tate being Talia Al Ghul, unless you already knew she existed (scar and injuries or lack thereof notwithstanding), which was really ****; in fact, I didn't even know who that character was until I saw this thread. It came out of nowhere, and there was absolutely no motivation for it, and any momentum stemming from Bane was immediately dissipated.

    What could have been really cool was playing closer to Knightfall, and having a replacement Batman who Bruce Wayne would eventually have to fight. I loved that part of Knightfall because Wayne recognized that it was his spirit that needed to be rebuilt, and so he concentrated on building himself, the man inside the suit, sharply contrasting with Jean-Paul Valley's heavy weapon/gadget style, which is what allowed him to win.

    Quote from Highroller
    Gordon then jumps into the sewer, oh Gordon you so awesome, and Bane tells them to find Gordon. The guy says that Gordon could have washed up anywhere, so Bane gives him a cellphone and then shoots him so he'll wash up where Gordon does and they can track the signal. Yet, despite the fact that Gordon could wash up anywhere and there's no way to know where without a tracking device, Blake manages to find Gordon before Bane does.

    I believe it was the same location where that orphan kid from the organization Blake knew washed up when he died.
    Posted in: Entertainment Archive
  • posted a message on [[Official]] "I Need Help With My Homework"
    Quote from MzztrTetris
    I need a to write a one page paper on anything using no "E's". Help?

    Presumably meant to play off of this novel. The second section in that article (and possible more by following links) seems to have a couple of implicit pointers.
    Posted in: Real-Life Advice
  • posted a message on [[Official]] "I Need Help With My Homework"
    Quote from jim mick
    The bottom line of this is that, as I can't solve the equation, don't need to program it, and my roots are technically in some other niche, I shouldn't be too fussed. Thank goodness.

    Thanks, guys. I'll be sure to Wikipedia things (or as well) in the future.

    I'm not certain what you mean by "solve the equation", but maximizing the log-likelihood gives you a closed form estimator, the GLS estimator. I'm not too familiar with incorporating Bayesian stats into that, but you should still be able to get an explicit result with a well-behaved prior.
    Posted in: Real-Life Advice
  • posted a message on [[Official]] "I Need Help With My Homework"
    Fixed wiki links: Tau (2π), Multivariate normal distribution

    Quote from userid122002
    I had never heard of it before, but it looks like tau and 2pi are indeed the same thing.

    Thanks, I didn't know they were the same thing either.

    Where do they write tau in the paper, though? The supplemental materials use 2*pi.

    Also, 2pi is there because it's part of the pdf of a normal distribution.
    Take a look at the pdf of a multivariate normal distribution and it should look familiar.
    Heh, the one term I neglect to link :p
    Posted in: Real-Life Advice
  • posted a message on [[Official]] "I Need Help With My Homework"
    The 'tau' should be 2*pi, and the authors were sloppy with their parentheses.

    Assuming you have some background, that formula is the likelihood function (used in maximum likelihood estimation, a widely used method for estimating parameters) for generalized least squares (a generalization of ordinary least squares that allows for heteroskedasticity and serial correlation in the errors) with multivariate normal errors.
    Posted in: Real-Life Advice
  • posted a message on "The bible is the story. Science gives us the facts."
    Thread is kinda off track, but droppin some science here anyways. Read intro/conclusions as a summary.
    Posted in: Religion
  • posted a message on Large image pack? (to get Dropbox extra space)
    I tried that, as well as renaming files. It doesn't seem to work. You need to use their special automatic import feature which appears to disallow that sort of thing.

    edit: Ok, solved, I took some large videos with my camera.
    Posted in: Geeks Corner
  • posted a message on Large image pack? (to get Dropbox extra space)
    Dropbox is testing a new camera upload feature and you can get 5 GB of extra space by uploading nearly as much content. I've used enough media (you can use either pictures or videos) to get half of it, but I've just run out of material. Does anyone know where I find a safe pack of 2.5 GB worth of images or video to download? Torrenting is not an option.
    Posted in: Geeks Corner
  • posted a message on Logical inconsistency between the Judeo-Christian God, and the existence of evil?
    I don't like doing this, but being short on time I can't read most of the thread and engage with it myself, and have put it off long enough. Here are some great links instead.

    What does neuroscience tell us about free will [excellent]
    The summary based on Roskies 2010 is especially good. We frequently talk too generically about volition when it should be broken down into components that each invoke different philosophical and mental machinery.

    What do (and don't) we know about determinism
    Posted in: Religion
  • posted a message on Should we encourage more forms of copying in capitalism and lighten up copyright ?
    I believe the evidence suggests that a key driver behind innovation is recombination - that it is more important for there to be many many cooks than even a few extremely brilliant ones. Derivatives are amazingly valuable; de novo inventions are rare. The "ideal" public situation is for IP laws to be weak while inventors believe they are strong.
    Posted in: Debate
  • posted a message on Can we teach computers to play MtG?
    Of course it is theoretically possible to reconstruct a human brain and thereby have a computer play and think about MTG. I didn’t think this would have to be mentioned, but it seems like people are considering thought to be human almost by definition.

    A few people have mentioned neural networks (and by implication machine learning). It is substantially more complex than the simple types of computer programs most people have in mind, and is undoubtedly the only way a computer would be able to learn such a complex skill like playing Magic. As HH points out, Bakker does not mention this approach. There’s even unsupervised learning, where you don’t need to have the training data’s “true” classification for learning. Is this all currently feasible? Certainly not without a lot more computing ability than is available to the average person. The problem is easier if you restrict the machine to play with one deck so it doesn’t have to relearn the situation. But machines can be made to produce classical music (listen). And I always dislike arguments from ignorance. The one thing you know about a person arguing from ignorance is that they don’t know what they’re talking about.

    Pattern abstraction is quite possible, and can be learned without pre-specification. At a simple level, for instance, a network trained to recognize images learns to detect edges on its own. I don't see why MTG requires more "general" reasoning than machine learning is capable of (though there hasn’t really been an indication of what others believe to be the necessary and capable levels of specificity) as compared to humans. Would the machine require certain amounts of pre-specification for e.g. generic complex strategies? Sure. But is that so different from a new player learning better, complex strategies from more experienced players? It’s hard for new players to learn a new deck; is it wrong that it’s also harder for a computer? It’s hard for people to read the metagame with precision; is it a failure if computers have trouble too? Machines may not (or may) be able to reliably tell when facial expressions indicate deceit - but can humans even do that for nontrivial tells?

    I would have to think harder about the state specification problem, but I don’t think it’s insurmountable if more specific card types (e.g. on the level of “direct damage”) were heeded.
    Posted in: Debate
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