A fun game to make us all look smarter

Since we have people in diverse areas of study (polisci, comp. eng, biology, etc.), here’s a forum game where you post a paragraph or two on any topic of your choice so that anyone who bothers to read any of this will become a better <a href = “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polymath”>polymath</a>.

There are three rules:

  1. The topic must be <i>extremely familiar to you through past or latent research</i> or is <i>well-researched</i>. You don’t have to cite sources, because that’s just unnecessary work.
  2. The topic must be <i>well-written</i> and <i>comprehensible</i> (don’t expect that we’ve taken an intro course to whatever the hell you’re talking about), and
  3. Present it so that it’s related to something you’d come across in real-life, hence giving it some interest. The function of glycoprotein-120 is pretty boring, but when attached to an HIV unit, then whoa!

P.S. Also feel free to ask any question you can think of about other posts or debunk them if they’re wrong; this isn’t a Republican press conference

Here’s mine:

An event that supports the existence of quantum mechanics and particle-wave duality (de Broglie’s theory that all particles also behave like waves) is the double-slit experiment in which electrons were launched through a vacuum at a wall containing two slits. A detector was placed on the other side and the location of where the electron passing through the slit was struck. One would expect the distribution pattern to be just two bands - one corresponding to electrons going through one slit, and the other corresponding to electrons going through the other. Experimentally, however, an <i>interference</i> pattern emerged - some electrons struck the portion in between the walls, where it was physically impossible to reach, if the electron was only a particle that traveled in a straight line. Interference patterns are something that only happened if the double-slit experiment was done with a wave (say, light) instead of a particle (such as the electron used).

The conclusion from this is that the electron must have <i>passed through both slits simultaneously</i> and the emerging interference pattern was an interference caused by superposed <i>probabilities</i> - that is, the probability of the electron getting to any of the spots on the detector was based on its wave equation, not its line of travel as a particle. Einstein thought all this quantum mechanics nonsense was totally bogus, but it looks like Bohr kicked his ass in the end! Quantum computers will hopefully make use of all this somehow and make our computers either go faster or just make building one more confusing.

Genetic Algorithms

A genetic algorithm is where you apply some ideas in genetics (obviously) into other problems to find the best solution. It relies on “Survival of the Fittest.” You can take a wide variety of problems, break it down into states called Chromosomes (which are typically morphed into strings of 1s and 0s called genes), then group them into a population. You then have these Chromosomes compete against each other in whatever way you choose to determine which ones are the most “fit” for survival. You then mate the Chromosomes together, typically through methods of crossover and mutation to form a new population. This new population is called the next generation. By defining a good way for them to compete you should have a “more fit” set of Chromosomes in each generation. You continue this process until you reach the best solution.

Before Crossover: (mix the two chromosomes to produce a new offspring)

Chromosome 1: 111111
Chromosome 2: 000000

After Crossover:

Chromosome 1: 111000
Chromosome 2: 000111

Before Mutation: (change one random value in a chromosome)

Chromosome 1: 101110

After Mutation:

Chromosome 1: 101010

An example way they may compete with each other is perhaps by counting the number of 1s. So in this case:

111100

is a better chromosome than:

110000

so 111100 should be more likely to carry on it’s genes to the next generation.

A simple example would be finding the maximum of a value x. And I just realized this would be hard to explain without knowing binary. So I will stop for now and hope this was interesting enough. I should describe binary first.

Society’s role in Media Interpretation.

As we all know, children these days are subjected to the effects of various forms of different media, thus “growing” into them, making them a part of their everyday life, giving them an ability to interpret these forms of information. The question is: How can we get everyone to understand these forms of media better?

It is a problem among the 60’s-70’s generation where these new forms of information channels have quickly reached the levels of “old” medias such as television and newspapers. It was easier for them to interpret Television, because they grew with them, unlike the generations before them. It is therefore suggested that society itself would teach these people to use and interpret these new types of media better, as many forms of analogue devices are quickly being transformed into digital types; Television, Radio, Internet, Mobile appliances… It won’t be long before someone invents a type of electronic paper.

Therefore, everyone should have equal access to courses where one could learn the proper ways to channel these medias and how to use them, instead of the society just going further and further alienating these “old school” citizens. This is especially obvious even during grade school where children are taught to use a computer, because it will have a major effect during events like communication, job searching or writing proper resumes.

(I study mediatechnology in a university for applied sciences, hope this fits what you were after.)

I read Cless’s post in Timeline :stuck_out_tongue:

I could either show some of what I gleaned from my philosophy minor (which would be highly colored with my own opinions), or I could give a creative writing lesson (which I’d probably be better at) and sound like the resident idiot because my topic isn’t nearly as lofty. Decisions, decisions… I shall come back to this later.