Light. Low light. Essence.

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Photo by Spiros Kakos from Pexels

It was a puzzle about birds.

Migratory birds are known to rely on Earth’s magnetic field to help them navigate the globe. And it was suspected that a protein called cryptochrome, which is sensitive to blue light, was making it possible for birds to do this.

Yet many of these animals are also known to migrate at night when there isn’t much light available. So it wasn’t clear how cryptochrome would function under these conditions in birds.

A new study led by UT Southwestern Medical Center in collaboration with SMU (Southern Methodist University), though, may have figured out the answer to that puzzle.

Researchers found that cryptochromes from migratory birds have evolved a mechanism that enhances their ability to respond to light, which can enable them to sense and respond to magnetic fields.

“We were able to show that the protein cryptochrome is extremely efficient at collecting and responding to low levels of light,” said SMU chemist Brian D. Zoltowski, who was one of the lead authors of a new study on the findings. (1)

There you go. They still use light.

But they can see light where we cannot.

There is nothing which is not what it is.

There is no one who does not what he does.

You are you. Birds are birds.

You cannot change your nature.

It is just that your nature is… flexible.

We are dancing in the cosmos. And no matter what we think we can do. We will always dance. Because we can. Because we are meant to dance. We think we do things. We trick our selfs into believing we can make things happen. How wrong are we. The music never stopped playing. And the more we do something, the more we stop listening…

In a world full of music, the only thing we can do is not dance.

And fall…

Mandelbrot coffee…

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Nature keeps on repeating itself.

And fractals are one of the best ways of showing that.

In the nothing I made coffee. And the shapes developed on its surface were very much like the Mandelbrot shape one can see in almost all the chaos theory textbooks.

Take a look…

What does that mean? I don’t know.

But for some reason it was interesting to me and I had the urge to share it.

And now that I’m thinking about it, in its simplicity and lack of meaning or purpose, perhaps this is one of thr most philosophical posts I ever made…

Nothing to explain…

Nothing to say…

But a cup of coffee…

In a day that has passed away…

Free Blogging Advice (FBA) – Episode 3: Develop your story.

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FBA Episodes

Now that we have decided to start writing (see previous episodes), we need to develop the story of our site.

Story: The narrative that describes the intent of your blog. The story will explain to the visitor why he or she is here, what they should expect to read and what the blog will offer them.

You need to publish the story in your About page. In that way you will establish the identity of your site for anyone to see.

But what should a story look like? First of all it needs to be simple. If you do not have it clear in your head then your readers will be confused as well (and most probably will not come back to you site).

Secondly, it needs to be emotional. Emotions is what drive the world around and you need to invest in the emotions of your readers to capture their interest.

Last but not least, your story needs to be a… story! What I mean by this is that you need to convey your message to your readers through an actual story, i.e. an anecdote, a tale that will have a hero, a problem that her or she needs to overcome, a climax and a resolution. This is easier said than done. But you need the story element in order to reach to your readers with a compelling and attractive way. Just stating what your site is about is not enough. If you just just wrote down the goal of your site like a corporate statement then it would look like a… corporate statement. You need more than that to engage with the visitor of your blog.

Stories captivated us when we were children. And still do. Everyone likes a good story. It is more probable to remember something that you heard in a story than something you just read.

As an example you can read the story of Harmonia Philosophica here. It is a short one, as a story for a site must be. And it tries to convey the message of this site, i.e. that being irrational and non-thinking is the best way to think.

Whether you like it or not is another story…

To be continued…

CHESS PROGRAMMING: Evaluating Material – Episode 1: Bishop vs. Knight

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Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Small chess programming lesson summary

Overview: This is a short chess programming lesson, part of the ‘How to develop a chess program’ tutorials series in Harmonia Philosophica for total beginners. The goal of this lesson is to discuss the very basics of position evaluation.

Tutorials on how to develop a chess program in Harmonia Philosophica include:

Supporting material: Please use the Huo Chess source code to support you in your reading. Huo Chess is one of the most known micro-chess open source programs for educational purposes. Start by the major page of Huo Chess here to view the code.

Evaluating Material – Episode 1: Bishop vs. Knight

One of the most important tasks in chess programming is to properly and cleverly evaluate the positions the computer thinks of. This evaluation consists of two aspects: Material and Positional/ Strategic aspects.

In this article we will show the most basic ideas for evaluating the position from a material aspect.

First thing is to assign values to pieces. The standard values look something like…

  • Queen: 9 points
  • Rook: 5 points
  • Bishop: 3 points
  • Knight: 3 points
  • Pawn: 1 point

Calculating the total score of a position based only on material is pretty straightforward: You have a loop that iterates through all squares of the chessboard and simply adds the value of each piece to the total score of the position. The evaluation is the number you come up with after you have added the values of all the pieces on the board (the terms ‘evaluation’ and ‘score’ and sometimes used interchangeably to refer to that total sum of the values of all pieces).

Another important thing to keep in mind is that the values of black pieces have the same values but with a negative sign. In that way, if the total score of a position is positive then white is winning material, while if the total value of the position is negative then black is winning. So by simply checking the sign of the total position evaluation your program can know if the position is winning for the colour of the computer – that could come in handy in chess programming.

View the CountScore function of Huo Chess to see a simple way to do that. Note though that the Huo Chess also utilizes some other criteria as well to evaluate the position – which we will discussed in next episodes.

Even though such a simple calculation of the position’s score will give you an idea of the material aspect of the board, even that is not so straightforward as it seems. The material is indeed easy to calculate, but the truth is it can never be viewed completely independently from the positional aspect.

For example, a bishop could have the same value as a knight, however when the position has locked pawn structures as below, then the knights become invaluable while the bishops useless…

Knights being better than bishops…

Another last thing to keep in mind for now is that tweaking the values of the pieces in your evaluation function could alter the playing style of the chess program you build. For example, if you increase the value of the queens, let’s say from 9 to 9.5, then your program will more aggressively hunt down the queen of the human opponent and will also more harshly defend its own queen from attacks.

Experimenting with these values is a nice way to gain a first hand understanding on how your program behaves. If you have not yet built your own program, simply use Huo Chess code to change the CountScore function.

Remember: Coding is all about experiments!

(after you have a good backup of your working code…)

Until next time…

Keep coding!

Free Blogging Advice (FBA) – Episode 2: What to write about…

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Writing is so easy. Writing is so hard…

Free Blogging Advice: Writing is hard. And easy. The goal of the Free Blogging Advice (FBA) series of short articles is to provide some free advice on… blogging! All you have to add is some time and effort. And love. Lots of love.

FBA Episodes

FBA Episode 2: What to write about

So you made the decision to start writing.

The world is split in two categories of people: Creators and consumers.

You chose to be the first. Good for you!

But now that you did, there comes the first big decision that you must make: What to write about?

There exist millions and millions of possible things that can be the subject of a good blog/ site. From philosophy to cooking, from military aviation up to jokes for atheism and religion. How do you choose?

The answer: You do not!

If you already have made up your mind to write (see Episode 1), it is most probable (almost certain actually) that you have already made that decision without knowing it!

Wanting to write is always accompanied by the urge to write about something specific. Do not try to analyze what will have the greatest potential for more readers, or what is more viral these days. Don’t lose time trying to figure out what subject is the most promising when it comes to attracting viewers in your site and do not spend time thinking what subject would be more amazing to show to your fiancé (or fiancée).

Creating content is all about you!

And your heart already knows what it loves.

Just stop thinking and listen to your self.

(I know what I like…)

This is your subject!

No matter how weird or niche this subject might be, the basic advantage is that it is what you like! And this makes it not only an excellent choice but also the only choice at hand! You can only sustain writing about what you really love. Anything else is just work. But with blogging you want to enjoy yourself! And what better way to do that than by writing about things you enjoy writing about? (Yes, this is a tautology and that is why it is true – read more Harmonia Philosophica about this)

And who knows…

You passion for what you love might one day convert that small blog into a multi-million dollar business.

(Although I would never recommend that, but we will speak more on that in another episode)

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