MIT Buildings, Numbered More Consistently to Their Numbering Patterns

In this map, I renumber some MIT buildings to numbers that more closely follow the helpful geographical patterns in numberings that the rest of the buildings suggest.


Alternative solution: number 10, 20, 30, and 40 as 9, 19, 39, and 49, de-emphasizing that the buildings are on the central axis, but avoiding slight problems with syllable-parsing ambiguity (thirty one-ten versus thirty-one ten).

(ERRATA: W98 should be grey (but I never specified what red and grey are supposed to mean, so I can say this isn’t an error, right?). The ‘k’ hanging out on Memorial Drive shouldn’t be there.)

Best Chess Puzzles

This is a selection of 16 chess puzzles that I find to be among the most incredible and ingenious that I’ve seen.

I have modified the presentation of several of these problems. Most notably, the checkmate problems are usually presented as a “Mate in n”, where n is given to the solver. In these cases, I leave it up to the solver to try to force a mate as quickly as possible. If you want the values of n for these problems, they are listed under the section “The Numbers”, after “The Puzzles” and before “The Solutions”.

The Puzzles



White to play. How quickly can White force a mate?



White to play. How quickly can White force a mate?



White to play. How quickly can White force a mate?



White to play. How quickly can White force a mate?

Continue reading “Best Chess Puzzles”

Two Forms of Argument I Don’t Buy at All

I’d like to mention two forms of argument that I really, really dislike and in which I do not acknowledge any validity. I find them frustrating because they’re utterly nonsensical to me but for some reason they seem widely accepted as actually legitimate points. They are rather similar, although they are definitely essentially different.

Here’s the first: “A is often responded to with B, and even though A is good, B is more bad than A is good; therefore A is not a good choice.” I’ll actually provide an example: the first argument presented here.

If B isn’t a necessary result of A, but rather just a tendency of happening in response to A, then problems are the fault of those that bring about B, not the people doing A that causes some people to decide to do B. The fact that people tend to decide to bike more riskily if they’re told to wear helmets should not be a reason to stay away from prescribing helmet use. They have the ability to not decide to bike more riskily; if they make that choice, that’s their problem. Drivers of cars acting more riskily around bikers wearing helmets, on the other hand: that is a legitimate argument, because the drivers acting more riskily is not within the bikers’ control.

(I consider the later points valid, and I actually agree with the proposition being made, but due to the reason that I staunchly support the freedom to do anything risky to oneself that doesn’t causally harm others.)

But there’s a second form of argument I often find being presented that is somewhat related.

“It would be better if everyone did B than if everyone did A, but it would also be better if everyone did either than if some people did each. Therefore, with many more people doing A than doing B, people doing B should be convinced to do A.”

This form of argument outright angers me. If everyone doing B was truly better than everyone doing A, people doing A are the problem, not people doing B: they’re doing the worse thing, and it shouldn’t matter what the actual proportions of people doing each are. Proponents of getting people to switch from B to A are literally telling people doing a better thing to do a worse thing. This is the sort of mentality that impedes progress and helps to further solidify suboptimal status quos, which need lowering of activation energy to leave for better situations, not heightening. This makes society stall.

We Bring The Storm

(Score as a PDF)

Lyrics in text:

Our ways may be subtle upon the flames and snow
The numbers aren’t with us but a power we know:
A respect for Pokémon and a trust in them to release
The flashes of instinct inside the hearts of beasts

Now that rhythm of electric strikes will rock us through the fire and ice
Feel the thunderclouds gathering to throw bright light across the skies
We’ll fly high above the swarms; we’ll show our might and fight the norms
Tonight, we bring the storm

Some claim that all we do is hatch eggs all day,
A dull misconception towards which the gyms say nay
Those that underrate us are in for a shock
‘Cause the great lightning symphony plays ’round the clock

Yes, this rhythm of electric strikes will rock us through the fire and ice
Feel the thunderclouds gathering to throw bright light across the skies
We’ll fly high above the swarms; we’ll show our might and fight the norms
Tonight, we bring the storm
Tonight, we are the storm!

UPDATE (CL73.07.24): fixed score, which said ‘towards’ instead of the correct ‘towards which’.

Schoolbook Cookies

Shown below: the bottom layer of a container of Trader Joe’s® Cinnamon Schoolbook Cookies.

Also shown below: my tendency to significantly prioritize cleaning out the already-broken entities first before the still-whole entities.


Pokémon Go: Stats at 30 Million XP

This July 07 (Day 680 of playing), I completed a raid to reach 30 million XP.

Here’s a chart of XP versus time at level-ups and every 5 million XP after level cap.


My buddy at the moment was Tyranitar.

Gold Gyms

Day numbers in this section reflect days since the motivation-based gym system began.

#1: Alchemist at MIT, on Day 28

#2: Transparent Horizon, on Day 53
#3: Kresge Auditorium, on Day 54

#4: Vine Wall Art At No 6, on Day 82
#5: In Memory of Dorothy P. Simmons, on Day 94
#6: Cosmic Ray Chandeliers, on Day 102

#7: Community of Cambridge Super Awesome Mural!, on Day 137 [removed gym]

#8: Officer Sean Collier Memorial and Plaque, on Day 173
#9: DeWolfe Boathouse, on Day 190
#10: Martin Annis Crossing, on Day 191

#11: Smoot Plaques on Mass Ave Bridge, on Day 213
#12: Miracle of Science, on Day 227
#13: Fort Washington, on Day 241

#14: This is Where We Live Work Create Mural, Day 259
#15: Column of Faces, Day 265

#16: Jimmy Johnson Street Hockey Court, Day 288
#17: Not Art, Day 295
#18: The Apple Tree at MIT, Day 295

#19: Police Memorial, Day 342
#20: Putnam School, Day 351

Gym Stats

Here’s a table of my stats at my top gyms.

Orange highlighting indicates where hours defended alone is enough for a gold badge (≥500).
Magenta highlighting indicates where berries fed alone is enough for a gold badge (≥3000).
Tan highlighting indicates where hours defended and berries fed together are enough for a gold badge.


Continue reading “Pokémon Go: Stats at 30 Million XP”

A Comprehensive Pokémon Go Raid Boss Difficulty Chart

Every so often, Reddit users u/GezimS, u/yonderkid, and u/JaceMasood release a chart showing the difficulty of the currently available raid bosses. I really appreciate their charts—not just for their helpfulness, but also because I consider them really well-done works in visualization.

Their charts only cover current raid bosses, though, so I decided to compile a similar chart (although not quite as visually appealing) that’s cumulatively comprehensive up to Generation III. I also used not the same scale as they used to produce their charts: I intend for this difficulty scale to be more intuitive, and also to make a particular distinction I think is fairly important that those charts don’t make (the dark red shade in this chart).

Green—Leisurely zone: Even if you are massively underleveled or make substantial mistakes, or the weather and moveset are all against you, victory should be yours. There’s probably enough leeway in this zone for several of you to be halfway asleep while raiding.
Yellow—Safe zone: Victory should be comfortably attainable in most cases. This may be a slight struggle if your party is on average around Level 20.
Orange—Challenging zone: A nontrivial amount of effort is likely necessary to win. If your party is on average below Level 30, you’re in trouble.
Red—Danger zone: If your party is comprised of Level 40s, this will come quite close, and if it’s less, this is quite a risky fight. If you win, it’s probably by the skin of your teeth. You may be unable to afford the time to dodge, and need to tank attacks to make it within the time limit. If you have the absolute best party against this boss, though, and play perfectly, you are still guaranteed victory even if all factors outside your control work against you.
Dark Red—Twilight zone: Winning is possible, but requires at least some subset of the moveset, the weather, and the raid timer starting at a good point (factors outside your control) to be with you. There exists at least one setting of these variables that would make victory literally impossible, even with optimal play.
Black—Guaranteed failure zone: Even if all factors outside your control turn out to help you, a win is mathematically impossible. There is no path to victory regardless how good your teams and your play are.