Word Ladder

In each line, add, change, or delete a letter from the string on the previous line.

______ (Kerberos username)
______ (Kerberos username)
______ (Kerberos username of a zephyr user)
______ (Kerberos username of a zephyr user)
______ (Kerberos username of a zephyr user)
______ (Kerberos username of a zephyr user)
______ (Kerberos username)
______ (Kerberos username of a zephyr user)


If you have enough context, you can deduce the questions.

  1. black
  2. raven
  3. Hangul
  4. Python
  5. 21G.611
  6. Building 6C
  7. “Jabberwocky”
  8. Edgar Allan Poe
  9. Henry David Thoreau
  10. Voltaire
  11. Richard Stallman
  12. George Washington
  13. Sweden
  14. New Hampshire
  15. CGP Grey
  16. Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
  17. Romanticism
  18. V
  19. Soren
  20. The Martian
  21. “Forbidden Friendship”
  22. Nightwish
  23. Under the Grey Banner
  24. “Sacrament of Wilderness”

180 FFAs of generals.io

The following are my placing results of the last 180 FFA games of generals.io I played, in forward chronological order (monospaced to be in a nice array)

1 6 1 1 2 1 4 1 7 1 5 5 1 1 3 7 1 6 1 1 2 2 5 4 6 2 6 6 2 2
7 1 8 1 2 7 4 1 4 1 4 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 5 1 1 1 1 1 4 5 1 1 5 1
1 1 1 1 8 1 8 1 4 7 2 1 4 1 7 2 1 5 1 3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 8 1 1
7 4 7 1 1 1 1 4 1 1 1 1 1 1 5 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 8 1 8 4 2 3
8 1 3 1 1 6 2 1 1 2 4 6 5 1 1 1 1 1 3 2 1 1 4 1 2 2 4 1 2 4
2 1 2 3 4 8 1 4 8 8 1 5 1 2 1 1 1 2 1 2 3 1 1 1 4 1 1 1 1 5

Here’s a distribution:

1: 98
2: 21
3: 7
4: 18
5: 11
6: 7
7: 8
8: 10

As of now (at the end of this sequence), I’m ranked 22nd in FFA. At peak during this sequence, I was ranked 4th.

My favorite game in the batch? It’d have to be



Two MIT-Adapted Poems

The first I wrote on Jan. 28 last year.

Play Vidya Gam

I am Clam.

Clam I am.

That Clam-I-am!
That Clam-I-am!
I do not like
That Clam-I-am!

Do you like play vidya gam?

I do not like them,
I do not like
Play Vidya gam.

Would you like them
In a clounge?

I would not like them
In a clounge.
I would not like them
Any lounge.
I do not like
Play Vidya gam.
I do not like them,

Would you play them
In a house?
Would you play them
With a mouse?

I do not even
Have a house
I do not even
Have a mouse
I’m in a dorm
Not in a house
I have a touchpad
Not a mouse
I do not like play vidya gam.
I do not like them, Clam-I-am.

Would you play ones
In a box
Or without items
With a fox?

Not in a box.
Not with a fox.
Not in a house.
Not with a mouse.
My final destination lies
In real life, not the fantasyes.
I do not like play vidya gam.
I do not like them, Clam-I-am.

Would you? Could you?
Race a kart?
Play them! Play them!
Here they are.

I would not, could not
Race a kart.

You may like them.
You will see.
You may just like
Rock Band 3.

I would not, could not Rock Band 3.
Not race a kart! You let me be.
I do not like ones in a box.
Or without items using Fox.
I do not have that sort of house.
I do not have that sort of mouse.
I do not like pressing these keys.
Or wandering shops or looting, geez!
I do not like play vidya gam.
I do not like them, Clam-I-am.

You do not like them.
So you say.
Try them! Try them!
And you may.
Try them and you may I say.

If you will let me be,
I will try them.
You will see.

I like play vidya gam!
Gimme your mouse now, Clam-I-am!

I will now, will play Rock Band 3
Thank you, thank you for teach me
I will take things out of that box.
To go no items using Fox.
I will play in the lounge today
And in the kitchen, everyday!

I do so like
Play vidya gam!
Thank you!
Thank you, Clam-I-am.

Modern Arty

‘Twas dumlate, and the tooly studes
Did sim and LaTeX in the labe
All rimsy were the icycludes
And Simmons avant grabe

Beware the modern art, my frosh!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Big Fat Chain and shun
The Scarlet Tetrahatch!

He took his toilet pape in hand
Long time the wanxome foe he sought
So rested he by the Robrob Tree
And stood awhile in thought

And, as in hackish thought he stood,
The modern art, with twisted laugh,
Came transping through the hoary wood,
Its metal limbs lit af!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The toilet pape went flippy-flap!
It fully spooped and then he swooped
Its laughstone as his cap

“And, hast thou rekt the modern art?
Come to my arms, my beamish frosh
O roachless day! Stay-tah! Stay-tay!
Now give your sweat a wash.”

‘Twas dumlate, and the tooly studes
Did sim and LaTeX in the labe
All rimsy were the icycludes
And Simmons avant grabe

A Massive Collection of Unintuitive Geographical Facts

In this post, I write down a large (though by no means exhaustive) list of geographical facts that I found really unintuitive when I first learned about them, some of which still boggle my mind when I think about it now, even after knowing the fact for years and thinking through its unintuitiveness before.

1. Tehran and Tokyo are at approximately the same latitude.

Tehran and Tokyo are both, to the nearest tenth of a degree of latitude, at 35.7°N. I decided to start this list with one of the ones I still can’t get over, because I still mentally associate Japan with being far-north and Iran with being barely that far north. Yet each time I consult a globe, it tells me my heuristics are wrong.

2. England’s population is far more than that of the rest of the United Kingdom.

As much as I would expect England’s population to be the greatest, my mind doesn’t seem to want to get over the fact that it’s greater by that much. Here’s some recent population estimates:

England: 53 000 000
Scotland: 5 300 000
Wales: 3 100 000
Northern Ireland: 1 800 000

Here’s some other population numbers to compare with:

Canada: 33 500 000
Australia: 21 500 000

3. Ireland’s population still hasn’t recovered to levels before the potato famine.

Ireland (considering counties that constitute what is now the Republic of Ireland) had 6 500 000 people prior to the potato famine. Currently, its population is about 4 600 000.

4. Colombia has more population than Argentina.

The two countries don’t take census at the same time, and recent estimates are also time-staggered, but only 6 months apart, not enough to make the difference.

Colombia: 49 000 000
Argentina: 43 800 000

5. Ecuador has far more population than Paraguay.

Ecuador: 16 100 000
Paraguay: 6 800 000

6. In decreasing order of population, the Nordic countries are Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Iceland.

And how much less populous is Iceland?

Sweden: 10 000 000
Denmark: 5 700 000
Finland: 5 500 000
Norway: 5 300 000
Iceland: 300 000

Continue reading “A Massive Collection of Unintuitive Geographical Facts”

Zer(0)-(x)cost (G)amin(G)

When I first selected 0xGG to be my username for the gaming world, I intended it to represent the intersection of a piece of gaming jargon with the idea of taking things to eleven in hexadecimal. But just like ‘dzaefn’, I’ve since first use decided to reassign meaning to the handle.

I grew up with two parents that both universally condemned (video) gaming as only possibly a waste of time, and thus my childhood exposure to video games was extraordinarily limited (that is, exclusively underground). The entire corpus of games I could play are free games from the internet that I could play when parents weren’t home. Throughout my childhood, my gaming budget was zero.

And what I have decided was that I will continue this. Of course, now, I actually have money that I could decide to spend on games, but I’ve decided to carry momentum for the purpose of meaning. I will be a zero-cost gamer.

I will continue on the gaming frugality of my childhood and not spend a cent on gaming recreation, not on paid games, not on in-game purchases. I will only use what’s free. (And what I specifically mean is that I’m not precluding donating to game developers; I’m saying I won’t pay money to get something in gaming I otherwise wouldn’t get.) By doing so, I still have a vast palette of gaming options to choose from (because there are awesome-enough developers to provide that), and I want to highlight and showcase how far one could go without pouring money into a game, to seek what there is that those without the financial resources to pre-emptively get ahead still have a fighting chance on, given sufficiently well-thought-out strategic approach to the game. I will continue playing games like Pokémon Go, Ingress, and StarColony that are free but with in-app purchases, and will try to maintain competitiveness with those that pay actual money. This is my new generalized goal and stand in gaming: to attain the most that can be with the least of money.

Challenges in Concocting an Orthographic Romanization of Chinese

(Note: I assume Traditional Chinese in this post. Many points still apply when dealing with Simplified Chinese, though not all.)

I spent some of my time over the last month or so trying to invent an orthographic romanization of Chinese. By this, I mean that rather than a romanization system that uses strings of Latin letters to represent Chinese words that approximates the [insert dialect of Chinese] pronunciation of words, such a system uses string of letters that are based on the structure of the written Chinese characters (Hanzi). Why have such a system?

  1. It is easier to remember how it works, and has a lesser strain of memory than remembering Chinese characters.
  2. In a sense, this dedicates more to the frequent intention of Chinese characters to simultaneously categorize a term as to its meaning and hint towards its pronunciation; many Chinese characters contain semantic and phonetic parts, the first of which categorizes a word (for instance, as having to do with water), and the second of which hints as to the word’s pronunciation. In such a romanization system, the relevant parts of a term are both encapsulated in the romanization of a word; one would not need to look at a word to see its semantic part, since it is just spoken.
  3. As much as Chinese’s character system makes Mandarin, for instance, nice and succinct to speak in, with one syllable per character, one thing there just isn’t as much of in Chinese names of things as there are in, say, Latin, Sanskrit, and Thai names is really majestic and cool-sounding names like Aurelius and Chulalongkorn. One could only add in that much phonetic spice in one syllable. With the proper phonetic touches to the expansion of the saying of Chinese words, one could bring this sort of construction to Chinese.

Here are properties that would be desirable in such a system of orthographic romanization.

  1. There is one and only one way to say each character, and characters that are different are said different ways.
  2. Sounds associated with parts of words are easy to memorize, while also reflecting relevant semantic components in characters.
  3. The resultant words are not too long.

The rest of this post is about why creating a system that meets these three criteria is a significant challenge.

Let’s start with a reasonable first idea: assigning a letter or set of letters to each type of stroke, and putting them together in stroke order. We now have five problems.

  1. There are Chinese characters with a really large number of strokes. There are quite a few words of upwards of 25 strokes, certain rare ones with upwards of 40 strokes (). Although criterion 3 above is not well-defined, it’s pretty clear that if we had something for each stroke and wrote them all out this would definitely not meet criterion 3.
  2. Some different Chinese characters have the same parts, but in different orders or orientations (召 and 叧).
  3. Some different Chinese characters have the same types of strokes in the same order, but one of different length compared to the surroundings ( and ).
  4. Some different Chinese characters are in fact exactly the same except for dimensions ( and , the Chinese-character parallel to the flags of Monaco and Indonesia).
  5. A fully semantics-respecting system needs to differentiate on the left and on the right in Chinese characters, since they actually fundamentally reference different ideas.

It may be that all of these challenges together actually make satisfying all three criteria above impossible. In particular, points 3 and 4 require the storing of more than even stroke order information, but also geometrical information, in order to ensure that different characters have different romanizations. Point 5 puts a desire to encode semantic information and a desire to map stroke structure in romanization into conflict, as it puts forth a situation where semantics and orthography in Chinese come into direct conflict. And in order to make such a system, one needs to do all of this in addition to stroke information while considering how long resultant terms end up being, while causing the results to not be too phonotactically ludicrous. This suddenly becomes quite a daunting task.

If one presents short strings to represent commonly-occurring parts of characters (like so-called “radicals”), then perhaps one could create a prefix-infix-suffix system that encodes information in extra strokes. Due to the fact that sometimes the same extra stroke does something different depending on where it’s placed, though, such a system will need to encode its geometric situation properly. But given a clever encoding of geometry from template sets, one may get closer to orthographically romanizing Chinese.