*breakthru!* collatz codegolf adventures, stackexchange “collective intelligence” realized!

hi all. this is a fairly short update, maybe with additions later. last may, posted a codegolf.se challenge on collatz based on some earlier ideas documented on this blog, about iterating sequential starting trajectories in parallel, to get a monotonic decrease in the overall sum. this led to a basic conjecture asking if it was even possible. so this is both a case of a dream come true, and be careful what you wish for, you might get it!

that post sat dormant/ unanswered for ~¾ year, until recently I cited it in codegolf meta asking about codegolfers putting together a site history question/ answer (in meta). :idea:

youd think that (hardcore) site regulars would like the idea of promoting their site, but se users can be very fickle, so somewhat both against/ within expectation and despite highly visible/ successful precedents/ cases on other se sites, that idea did not get very much appreciation or traction (its currently at -2 votes) (just got deleted?!?) (@#$% doncha just luv se) :o >:(

anyway it also cited my collatz question, and it drew new votes and attention, and even two submissions! so the collective intelligence of stackexchange eventually kicked into gear, albeit belatedly.

one submission does not seem to be significant, but the other by user “randomra” submitted a rather complex solution in python that apparently succeeds in purely monotonic decreases for significant intervals. unfortunately he didnt describe his rather tricky code at all, only posted it “as is”. but the graphs looked very intriguing.

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bitcoin, the empire strikes back! ullbricht convicted

dilbert_bitcoinhi all its hard to keep up with bitcoin these days. this post collects dozens of links/ highlights over the last few months and is admittedly barely scratching the surface. you know its truly hit social critical mass if it makes it into a dilbert cartoon.

latest development (triggering this blog installment), Ross Ullbricht alleged Silkroad mastermind found guilty. currently expected to get a very harsh sentence in ~May. some are talking about a possible life sentence. its bad international PR for bitcoin but also a simple case of “if you play with fire, you might get burned.”[a]

the Silk Road tale is quite the lurid story, wonder if it will be turned into a movie, it has all the right hollywood elements. but lets also keep in mind that its also revealing extraordinary digital innovation such that it might be regarded as the worlds 1st virtual corporation (strong parallels to wikileaks). a complex topic being written about in bits elsewhere… more on that radical/ gamechanging/ paradigmshifting concept in a future blog.

saw a great movie/ documentary “rise & rise of bitcoin”, nice coverage, interviews top leaders such as Charlie Shrem CEO Bitinstant and Jered Kenna CEO of Tradehill, which was once the 2nd highest volume exchange after Mt Gox. surely the documentarians did not envision at the beginning of the movie the two would be involved in serious problems by the end of the movie. both fledgling companies shut down and Shrem was just sentenced to 2 years for money laundering. wow. Kenna said once he had more lawyers than engineers attempting to setup compliance but in the end it was apparently not enough.[l4][l5][m]

the other shoe has dropped and FinCen has clamped down in the last year and there is a lot of corresponding Fear Uncertainty Dread in the bitcoin arena. startups that previously could transact over bank accounts have had them closed based on FinCen classifications and there are tighter regulations. this caused an immediate out-of-country flight of some bitcoin startups.[d]

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superclassical/ emergent QM, recent developments, rough outline/ overview/ leads

fiberpower_ho_solitons1hi all. not too busy around here with other stuff at moment so am banging together this post on QM physics with a lot of recently accrued refs/ angles (the cup runneth over).

QM physics is an occasional topic around here mainly wrt quantum computing which was big in the news last year with DWaves computers newly run through paces by independent scientists and the Martinis lab buyout by Google.

one of the earliest topics on this blog was soliton theory meshing with QM physics theory (~2yr old post early 2013, “solitons/ CAs, QM and disagreeing with Aaronson”).

there is a constant dribble of news articles on (a) quantum computing advancements [m] and (b) somewhat strange, boundary-touching quantum computing experiments that at times seem to push the limits of the theory.

this reminds me of a historical period at the time of the multiple einsteinian revolutions. the original QM revolution was driven largely by new experimental results. we might be seeing the early hints/ glimmers of new experimental measurements that are not easily explained within the QM framework. :?: :idea: :!: :o

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scientists/ mathematicians scrounge some )( spine against the @#%& NSA

dark_nsahi all, this blog is sometimes all about “timing is everything”. mathbabe quoted woit[d] recently re NSA/ NIST/ crypto algorithms.

alas, there seem not to be great refs on this subject. the NSA “prefers to remain nameless”. the closest might be anything written by Bamford.[g] his earliest book Puzzle Palace came out in 1983. an amazing book at the time.

unf the public did not pay much attn to Bamford even though he warned about the NSA years ago. the NSA in some ways has an even lower profile than the CIA, purposely so, although not in the last decade or so.

~1½ yr after the snowden revelations the scientific and mathematical community is slowly waking up to the NSA behemoth and its real nature. the NSA is a very contradictory agency in our information age, and wrt constitutional freedoms/ rights (does anyone remember those anymore?)

its great to see some mathematicians gaining some, uh, testicular fortitude and speaking up/ out on the subject eg in scientific/ mathematics journals eg Notices of the AMS.[a] but the NSA with its (tens of?) billions of dollars budget is definitely a case of the frog slowly being boiled long ago. (hint: to paraphase warren buffet, if you dont know who the frog is, youre it.) :twisted:

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ROBOTICS! upcoming Spare Parts movie, other movies/ documentaries, google, lego mindstorms, Mars rovers, Darpa road race, UAVs/ drones, etc

sparepartshi all. have been collecting links & wanting to write about ROBOTICS almost since the beginnings of this blog, but couldnt find a good excuse so far.

in my opinion, although this is not shared by many hardcore CS idealists (who from online experience around stackexchange, possibly representative, tend to disdain applied stuff somewhat), robotics is one of the absolute best ways to learn about computer science principles and most other STEM facets also, especially at a younger age. :idea: :cool: :D :star: <3

(eg MIT Tech Review article [a2] “Robots make CS fun again”…. :?: er, like it was ever not fun?) :P

google acquiring boston dynamics last year was a big deal and gamechanger but strangely it didnt seem to make many waves or be covered much in the media.

however, finally found a great trigger/ impetus to write this all up! the occasion for this post is the new movie called Spare Parts which will release in theatres in about a week.

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