Philosophical Multicore

Sometimes controversial, sometimes fallacious, sometimes thought-provoking, and always fun.

Archive for May, 2008

How hard to type?

Posted by Michael Dickens on May 26, 2008

I want to collect some solid data on how hard different things are to type. Try typing this:

stewardesses stewardesses stewardesses

If the difficulty of typing that is 10, what would the difficulty for these things be? (Higher means it’s harder, 0 means it’s effortless.)

minimum (6 row jumps, 2 same finger, 3 same hand)

ceded (4 same finger, 1 row jump)

get (2 to center, 1 same hand)

stewardesses sew sweet sweaterdresses (11 same hand, 3 to center, 2 same finger)

Leave your answers on a comment. Thanks for the help.

P.S. Are there any words that you find very hard to type?

Posted in Math | Leave a Comment »

Utopia Theory

Posted by Michael Dickens on May 19, 2008

This is an essay that I wrote for school. I want to get some response to it because it’s fascinating.

* * * * *

Developing a utopia is one of the most difficult accomplishments to achieve in reality. If it has ever happened, no one knows about it because it was not maintainable. It is possible that prehistoric goddess-worshiping societies were utopian, but they were non-maintainable because they were wiped out by other warlike societies. Complete peacefulness only works if the entire world is being peaceful, and a single breach of this agreement breaks down the entire structure of society. Therefore, either a utopian society must have defenses, or it must have a way to prevent anyone from ever starting a war. This is the anathema of peace. Even if there is only one chance in 1,000,000 that someone would want to start a war for their own benefit (and because it would be easy), seven thousand people would try this. For this to be successful, people must have no desire whatsoever to take advantage of the lack of defenses. I know of no way to do this, and it would take an army (no pun intended) of philosophers and societal theorists* do discover that answer. The best way I know of to do this is to educate people to believe that and implant it into their heads.

Societies in the past have revolved around certain things. The founding fathers of the United States attempted to create a society in which people were free to make their own decisions and follow their own paths, be it in terms of religion, opinions, or who should be leading the government. Socialism began because people dreamed of a society when all people were equal, and there was not a small pocket of people who controlled all the wealth. These values are similar throughout all attempts at utopia. In some stories, such as 1984 or The Giver, they create a society that is completely perfect…almost. People have limited freedom, which is the sole reason it is a dystopia and not a utopia. Even if a person is completely happy and has all their needs met, if they are not free, it is no utopia. People also cannot have everything magically given to them. People get pleasure out of accomplishment. The proper balance must be reached so that people have their basic needs, but still get the thrill of accomplishment.
 Today there are two basic types of society: capitalism and socialism. Socialism ensures that all people are equal, and that there are no impoverished and no obscenely rich, but requires an impartial government that truly wants to ensure fairness. Also, socialism obstructs economic growth and restricts people to their current positions. Capitalism is a powerful form of society, allowing individuals to go far, but this system encourages poverty. So that people can make more money and therefore climb higher in the pyramid of society, they advertise overmuch, even forcing advertisements down the consumer’s throat. Today’s society in America is packed with excess advertising. Out of every 30 minute television show, 10 minutes are advertisement. Not only that, but the shows are filled with product placement. Money ruling people’s lives like this would never be possible in a socialist society, but socialism causes other troubles. I believe that the best way to manage this is to create an essentially capitalist society, but limit the possible venues of advertising. If advertising is limited, the advertisers will be willing to pay more for it. Also, customized but ignorable advertising is useful. For instance, ads by Google. The advertisements are based on what you search, so they will be on related topics: they will probably be something you were already looking for, instead of something you supposedly needed but didn’t know you needed. This advertising is also easily ignorable if you don’t want to look at it.

In 1984, society is maintained by inducing fear and pain on those who are against it, and eventually bringing them over to the side of the Party. A true utopia would have not persuade people through fear and pain, but through love. Unfortunately, as is mentioned in 1984, love is harder to maintain. Whether a society is based on love or fear changes the reasons for rebellion. If a society is based on fear, people will rebel because they want freedom, and to be treated well. If a society is based on love, people will rebel because it’s an easy way to get power, and the society will then become fear-based. A fear-based society undergoing a revolution has a good chance of becoming fear-based, only with different leaders.

The key here lies in education. People should be taught well, in a way that they will support the continuation of a love-based society. People must learn this in a way that isn’t brainwashing, but is still powerful. If, from a very young age, children are taught to recognize that other people are human beings who also have feelings, and they are able to completely empathize with others, they will understand that a fear-driven society will make other fellow human beings unhappy. Even if one or a few people do not get this into their understanding, others will not support them in rebellion.

 Developing a utopia is very difficult to actually achieve. It is perhaps impossible, and can only be asymptotically approached. It this is true, which it very well may be, a utopia in reality would be a society that continues moving towards perfection, and never quite reaching it. This is why I believe it must be capitalist; capitalism encourages growth and invention. People would be free to make their own choices, and encouraged by their peers to make the right choices. When a community continues moving forward towards the unreachable point of infinite happiness, a utopia has been ascertained.

*yes, I made up that job title
REFERENCES: (I may not have used all these directly, but I have knowlege about them and was subliminally influenced by them.)
Star Trek
Brave New World
Lord of the Flies
The Giver

Please write a response and your thoughts on Utopia Theory.

Posted in Ethics | 18 Comments »

Current Experimental Layout

Posted by Michael Dickens on May 3, 2008

I have created a layout using common sense and tested it with my scorer program and THIS TOOL. It’s close to as good as Dvorak and Colemak.

Q W U P G K L Y C .
Z X ‘ V J B M , F ;

-very very low same finger ratio – 2030, compared to Colemak’s 2270, Arensito’s 2872 and Dvorak’s 5448
-many digraphs roll easily: or, er, re, in, an, is, te, et
-Z, X, V, Q, W, comma, and H remain in their QWERTY positions (when I designed this layout I wasn’t trying to make it resemble QWERTY, it just turned out to share a few keys with QWERTY as an added bonus)
-keyboard shortcuts Z, X, and V (and Q and W for Macs) remain in their original positions, and O (open) is now easier to type. C has moved because it’s too common to be on the bottom in the corner

-there are some awkward combinations such as FAC (face), SIC (music), LIN (line)
-it has a lot of same hand usage – 36000, compared to Colemak’s 31000 and Dvorak’s 27000, though not as much as Arensito’s 42000
-there are a lot of row jumps compared to Dvorak or Colemak, row jumps such as BY and BL
-BL, although not very common, is on the same finger AND requires jumping a row. This is probably the single hardest digraph to type.

I will be attempting to improve on this layout, and once school is out I will no longer have a need to type fast, so I will learn this layout and give further information on how it feels.

EDIT: I have created 2 new versions, based on this layout.
Q W U P G B L Y C .
Z X ‘ V J K M , F ;
On this version I switched B and K. Even though I think B’s current position is harder to hit, and B is more common than K, I did this because it makes the BL digraph a lot more comfortable. Even though it’s not very common, as it was, it was super uncomfortable to type, not only using the index finger twice, but skipping over the home row.

Q W U P G B L C Y .
Z X ‘ V J K M F , ;
This version is made to be easy to learn when coming from Colemak. I find that moving a key to the same position on the opposite hand is very annoying. Colemak places A on the left pinky and O on the right, so I made this version with that in mind. That made the OF digraph uncomfortable, so I flipped 2 rows. An added bonus of that is that it puts I and , in their Colemak positions.

Posted in Math | 2 Comments »

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