Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for April 3rd, 2011

Arimaa really is interesting

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The computer is stymied by making the growth in possible positions per ply MUCH faster than in chess: first, because each player arranges his pieces as he wants at the start of the game—and in a neat bit of komi, Gold must arrange his pieces first, so Silver gets to see Gold’s arrangement before he (Silver) arranges his own pieces—an advantage—but Gold gets first move—also an advantage; and second, because on each ply (i.e., on each player’s turn), he gets 4 “moves” as we would normally say—moving 1 piece 4 squares, or 4 pieces 1 square, or any combination. So LOTS of possible positions for each ply, above and beyond all the possible opening positions.

The strength of pieces is monotonic—from strongest to weakest: Elephant > Camel > Horse > Dog > Cat > Rabbit. Interestingly, the size of the strength discrepancy between two pieces is (so far as I can tell at this point) immaterial: it’s a simply binary, stronger/weaker relationship, without any consideration of the degree of strength difference.

The move rules are simple: all pieces move exactly the same, which is one square orthogonally in any direction, save that rabbits (the weakest and most numerous piece, played by chess pawns) cannot move backward voluntarily. No diagonal moves, and diagonals (in effect) don’t count.

And no capturing, but the stronger of two pieces can push or pull the other—a notion that I think kids would understand from their own experience.

So it’s an up-close game, but since you can move as many as 4 pieces a turn, I would think it would have a broad strategy. What’s cool in the links below is that you can listen as one of the players goes over a world championship game. I don’t know the combinations he names, as yet, but still it’s possible to follow the general discussion, and I find it fascinating.

The instructional videos are succinct and informative. This whole list is from one page of the incredibly resource rich Arimaa site.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 April 2011 at 8:33 pm

Posted in Daily life

Ersatz Mamma Chia

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I really like the Mamma Chia drinks. I asked The Wife to pick me up a couple of the Cranberry Lemonade today: one I polished off when it arrived, the other as an after-dinner snack. Man! are they tasty!

I was sitting here, wanting another, when it hit me that I could easily make my own. I snagged the empty bottle and poured into it:

1/4 c chia seed
juice of 1 lime (and next time, I’ll use a Meyer lemon)
1/3 c pomegranate juice
fill the jar with white tea

It’s sitting in the fridge now, cooling while the chia seed soak. What a great drink!

UPDATE: Homemade is reasonably good, though not so good as Mamma Chia’s own. The chia seed tend to clump as they soak, so to avoid having to break apart the clumps with an iced-tea spoon as I did, I think next time I’ll just have seeds in to soak separately, in a container, and I can dip up some of the already soaked seeds to add to the drink.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 April 2011 at 7:50 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food, Recipes


with 5 comments

I had mochi for the first time today. I got this sampler, and today cooked one 110-calorie square as the starch for lunch (which otherwise was a green salad with tuna). The Wife is an old mochi hand, and when I started describing what I was going to order, she said, “Sounds like mochi” (and I hadn’t given the name since I assumed it would mean nothing to her as it did to me—wrongo). So today I had one of the sprouted brown rice mochi, heating in a 450ºF oven for 8 minutes—not quite enough. Tomorrow I’ll try heating one in the skillet, with a little butter, which is how The Wife ate it.

I always love to try a new food.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 April 2011 at 5:15 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food

Worcestershire sauce cooking

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It was much easier this time: I knew what to expect, which is to dump everything except the 1/2 c sugar into a pot and bring to boil and simmer for 15 minutes. In the meantime, melt the sugar and heat until it turns amber, then add to the cooking sauce at the 10-minute mark.

This batch is made with malt vinegar and Barbados molasses, as I mentioned. I also used 5 cloves garlic instead of two, 4 anchovies instead of one, and 3″ of crushed fresh ginger instead of 1 1/2″, and 8 instead of 2 chilis de arbol. I slightly increased amounts of some of the spices as well.

It will now age for 3 weeks. Really is worth doing, I think: easy to make, and extremely tasty.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 April 2011 at 4:17 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food

Domestic terrorists advertising their terrorism

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PZ Myers reports on a disturbing nest of domestic terrorists:

The animal rights loons are ranting again. These people are simply terrorists, as you can see in this quote from their odious website.

Every time a vivisector’s car or home — and, eventually, the abuser him/herself — blows up, flames of liberation light up the sky.

They’re quite proud of taking the unconscionably violent position. And now, just to show how low they can sink, they have announced a new target: our students.

Debuting The Soft-Bellied Target and New Resistance Tactics: Bringing the War to the Student Body

When we attack professors, we can only expect limited gains. They are deeply entrenched in the holocaust, have vested financial interests, and enjoy a network of support and protection. Students, however, have no round-the-clock police protection, no access to the FBI, and no access to legislators. The weakest link in the chain is the student body. Vivisectors-in-training can be shut down with relative ease.

They also are the next generation and it is our responsibility to ensure that they are the last generation. Unless we intercede now, the students of today will be the mutilators of tomorrow. Conversely, there will be no animal torturers tomorrow if we effectively eliminate them today.

How are they going to target these students? With intimidation. They are bragging about one example now, a young woman named Alena who mentioned wanting to follow a research career who they harrassed into at least saying she would abandon her plans (who may be just saying that to shut up the crazies, and who may also be a phony stooge of the haters), and they have a list of ways they are going after our students.

1. By and large, students pursuing careers in research science truly want to help people, not victimize animals. Their indoctrination into the world of laboratory torture is slow, methodical, and deliberate. While they are being groomed, we are obligated to intercede and educate these young scientists with truth. As Alena admitted, “I was naive…I really just did not know about all this stuff.” And she is not unique.

2. Students also need to understand that making the wrong choice will result in a lifetime of grief. Aspiring scientists envision curing cancer at the Mayo Clinic. We need to impart a new vision: car bombs, 24/7 security cameras, embarrassing home demonstrations, threats, injuries, and fear. And, of course, these students need to realize that any personal risk they are willing to assume will also be visited upon their parents, children, and nearest & dearest loved ones. The time to reconsider is now.

3. Like all young adults, college students are acutely concerned with how they are perceived by their peers. They need to maintain a certain persona if they wish to continue to enjoy the acceptance of their community. This makes them infinitely more susceptible to negative and inflammatory publicity than their veteran-mutilator counterparts. When education fails, smear campaigns can be highly effective. Abusers have forfeited all rights to privacy and peace of mind and, if an abuser-to-be should fail to make the correct choice now, NIO is here to broadcast all of their personal information. Remember, young people document every facet of their personal lives online. In about 30 minutes, we were able to compile an impressive and comprehensive profile for Elena.

Notice that among the tactics they advocate are car bombs, injuries, and fear. These are home-grown terrorists, nothing more.

If they think professors are protected, wait until they scratch an innocent student, though — their obscure organization will instantly become a pariah organization, everywhere.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 April 2011 at 1:38 pm

Megs, needing brushing

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Little Miss Megs is a bit shaggy. She’s due for a pedicure, so I’m going to ask whether they can brush her. She is extremely cranky about this (and about getting her nails clipped) when I or The Wife try, so it’s necessary to get professional assistance.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 April 2011 at 1:30 pm

Posted in Cats, Megs

Took a walk

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After reading the article on the capabilities of the septuagenarian knee, I decided that I’ve lost enough weight to chance a walk at my current 186-lb weight: 21 minutes on a beautiful cloudless Spring afternoon. I listened to Don Quixote and felt quite good. I did take the precaution of taking a couple of aspirin on my return.

Lots of flowers in bloom. This one is Pride of Madeira, which seems to be popular here, probably because it’s attractive and drought-tolerant:

Written by LeisureGuy

3 April 2011 at 1:25 pm

Posted in Daily life, Fitness

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