Saturday, January 24, 2009

On the Results of Boredom and Not-Very-Thoughtful Chin-Scratching

[A post that got mysteriously lost (i.e. accidentally deleted), and then recovered. You're lucky I make back ups... Original from 24 January 2009, Posted by Alphanumeric Sheep Pig at 12:15 PM. Reposted on 5 April 2009 at 6:53 PM.]

I have been on holiday for the last week, so I have had nothing to do, and have been extremely bored. The main result of boredom is to do nothing and be bored, which means I spent most of my days in bed sleeping, on the couch sleeping, and so on. Every morning, I have been reluctant to get up, and I am only eating breakfast at the time when I would normally be starting lunch. This has left me feeling tired and lazy. As a result, I have been too lazy to shave. The result is that my chin was starting to itch. An itch almost always leads to a scratch, and without noticing, my hand came up to scratch my chin. My mind was completely switched off and no thought was passing through my mind. Suddenly, some faraway noise brought me back to reality, and I noticed my elbow on the table and my fingers at my chin. I realised that I must have had a glazed expression, and if anyone had been there to see, I would have looked very deep in thought.

Things like that always make me laugh. The only time I ever look deep in thought is if I'm not in the mood for thinking. I think best when I'm doing something completely unrelated to what I'm trying to think about. The only time I ever look like I'm thinking is if I'm really tired and trying to disguise it, or if I can't concentrate, and want to hide that.

The whole event made me realise that I need to find something to do. Suffering from attacks of boredom in the past, I have done a number of really pointless things. I could list them here, but that would be pointless. However, I am bored, and in the mood to do pointless things. I'm not only going to list them... I'm going to explain them. One of the first things I did was to program a DOS version for minesweeper. The best part of this was that it was that, although it could be made to run on Windows 98 with some dificulty, it was completely incompatible with Windows XP. Why did I do it like that? Because I am happiest when there is no point to what I am doing. I then went on to analyse the logic needed in solving minesweeper, and attempted to program a minesweeper solver. The problem is that you do occasionally need to guess - which means it is impossible to write a perfectly reliable solver.

Another thing I have tried is to play God. I wrote a massive program (which I have since lost...) that generates a two dimensional universe which loops round on itself (in a non spherical way - an attempt to make the universe endless). In this universe, a number of little creatures have various combinations and levels of three skills and three related urges. The skills are hunting, strength and fertility, and the urges are eating, fighting and mating. How much any particular creature is affected by these is defined by its DNA, which is inherited as a combination of it's parents DNA. The creatures would die if they didn't eat regularly enough, or if they sustained to many injuries in a particular fight, or if they got too old. There was a limit on the population, because the computer would crash if all the memory was used. The whole aim was to see if I could get behaviour out of the creatures that was not deliberately programmed in, and if they would reach a steady state population that was not the maximum. The interesting thing was that they did. The creatures turned out to be social, (because two thirds of the population were either stalking a victim or a potential mate, and anyone who strayed alone would not have children and would die). They formed one big city, however, occasionally a crazed psycopath would scare enough people into one place that a new town would form, which would become completely isolated from the rest. The population did reach a steady state value, but that was highly dependant on the starting conditions. The initial population needed to be aggressive enough to keep itself in check. It explains why humans are so aggressive. We needed to be to prevent us from expanding to rapidly.

I've also tried to make a massive campaign for Starcraft... That didn't turn out to well. Recently I tried to design the fastest and highest manned jet ever - to beat the SR-71. Its not possible to do it with the conceptual design I had in mind, and after spending almost a week on it, I didn't have the patience to start again from scratch.

The thing I thought of now is something I decided a while ago. I'd design a full suit like in Ironman. That means I'd have to do an accurate 3D dynamic model of a human body. I don't think I have the patience to do that either.

Maybe I should just stick to sleeping... I'm too lazy for now. I shaved this morning, so hopefully the problem has been postponed for a few more days.

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