Hypercubed Blog

Incoherent chatter on issues related to science, computing, and philosophy.
Random chains of thought from a scattered mind.

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Slashdot | Fun With Transparent Screen Backgrounds
Posted Wednesday, March 30, 2005 3/30/2005 08:41:00 PM

This is a few days old but very cool.

Slashdot Fun With Transparent Screen Backgrounds


Memories of Zelda
Posted 3/30/2005 07:04:00 PM

Now for a story from my youth. I remember the one kid down the street that could afford a Nintendo system. I used to go to his house and stay for a very long time. No I wasn't playing games.. I was watching them. You see if you didn't own a Nintendo you didn't know how to play and if you didn't know how to play then none of the other kids would want to sit and watch the loser play. So I sat and watched. Every once in a while I would get a few minutes but the other kids would quickly offer to "help me" get past a hard part. I soon learned that "helping me" meant them playing and me watching.

Anyway, the game I was really interested in was The Legend of Zelda. My god that game looked awesome. I really thought you could go anywhere and do anything in that game. So because I have very limited time playing the game and I was a resourceful kid I decided to do the next best thing... make my own. Yes, that's correct... I made my own. I took a new ream of paper and began by drawing one screen on each piece of paper. When I was done the entire map filled my living room. It was cool. Next I divided up each screen/sheet into a 10x10 grid. I then began to fill a notebook (paper notebook not electronic) with the game details. My idea was the when a player entered a certain grid of the map he would look up the coordinates in the notebook, scan across to the column that represents the an action ("drop bomb" for example) and it would list a reference number. You would then look up the reference number in a second book that would tell you the result of your action. Even if you looked at the adjacent paragraphs you would have no clue where or how to case that result. I think it was was a very sweet idea especially coming form a 12-year old. I spent months researching monsters and stories from Greek mythology to add to may game. Needless to say I never finished that project (I still rearly finish projects). It was too much for a 12 year old. But to this day I've never seen anything like it. It was something half way between the choose your own adventure books and a video game. I never did figure out how combat would work.

OK, so why am I bringing this up now. Well I discovered a program called Zelda Classic located here: zeldaclassic.armageddongames.net. This game is an exact replica of the Nintendo version. But not only can I finally play Zelda for more then 15 mins but I can finally bring my Zelda-like game to life. With the Zelda Classic's Quest Creator you can make your own Zelda like adventure in 8-bit color rather then pencil on paper.

I'd still like to make a paper based game like I came up with 20 years ago just to see if it could work. Might be easier now with word processors and Photoshop. It's been on my list of things to for many years now. But until then I'm going to be playing Zelda.


Antimatter, feynman diagrams, and gravity
Posted Sunday, March 27, 2005 3/27/2005 01:06:00 AM

If you have studied (or are studying) Feynman diagrams in school you may have heard that particles with a downward trajectory (backward in time) are interpreted as an antiparticle moving forward in time. Well, if you read Elementary Particles and the Laws of Physics: The 1986 Dirac Memorial Lectures it is clear that Feynman took this very literally (also look here).

If you are into physics you should contemplate this for a couple of days. It is a fascinating topic. Some great discussion on this topic took place on the sci.physics.research news groups last year... it is a great read.

It is clear that because of simultaneity in Special Relativity (or lack of) observers on different inertial reference frames can see different sequences of events. What Feynman shows is that what appears as a particle to one observer can appear as an anti-particle to another. Think about this... when a particle-antiparticle pair are created in a particle accelerator are they really the same particle viewed going forward and backwards in time . If I happened to be passing by the lab at relativistic speeds could I see the event as a particle scattering?

One word of warning though. Don't fall into the trap that I (and others) did. A particle traveling backwards in time appears to "have opposite electromagnetic, weak, and strong charges, as well as spin" (see reference). But an attractive force, viewed backwards in time, is still an attractive force. Think about it for a while. Think of a small body passing a large body in space and being diverted by gravity. Now run the film backwards... do you see it. Yes, it is still an attractive force. Observers in different reference frames can see different events but you can't have something accelerating towards an object in one reference frame and away in another. Remember the The Barn and the Pole Paradox? Think about a film of a falling object. The object is accelerating towards the ground. If we reverse the film the object starts near the ground with an upward velocity. But notice something.. the object is slowing down. In fact the object is accelerating towards the ground. If it shot up into space at accelerating speeds we would all be surprised.

Now the very keen observer may have notices that I've done a big no-no. I've been invoking arguments based on special relativity to discuses gravity which requires general relativity. But as far as I know the arguments hold true.

I'd love to hear comments on this topic.

Don't fuck with Ovid
Posted Saturday, March 26, 2005 3/26/2005 06:02:00 PM

publius_ovidius: Don't fuck with Ovid -- the long version

In case you haven't seen this.... have a read. It is very interesting. Apparently this guy caught some identity thieves red handed. One thing I take out of it is that I really want to get the credit card companies to stop sending those stupid checks. Does anyone use those anyway?


Welcome to the Hypercubed Blog.
Posted 3/26/2005 05:37:00 PM

What is Hypercubed Blog... well it is my local corner of the blog world. I am an physicist by training, engineer by trade, programmer by night. I develop websites and program applications in my spare time. My most popular program is Coordinate Exchange a plug-in for MS MapPoint that facilitates the exchange of coordinate information in and out of MapPoint. I run several websites including http://www.hypercubed.com/ and I am a (semi-)active developer of MegaBBS. I was at one time semi-famous for coming up with a method for creating custom tile-sets in NWN. For that I received a cool award from BioWare. But that should be almost it about me. I have tried running a blog before and I realized I don't like talking about myself. So I will be doing very little of that.

So what will I be talking about? Well, I think I'm going to post things that interest me. I am interested in programming, computers, and science. I may occasionally spout off a rant or two about a political issues but I think I really want to focus on creating a online log of what I think is interesting. I spend at least some time almost everyday scouring the web for cool stuff. My favorite sites are Slashdot and Engadget. I will be linking to interesting stuff when I find it and posting any interesting things I do or discover.

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