Monthly Archives: March 2005

Is a signal embedded in π?

I can only do this for a little while because it really hurts my head to do it for long (it's just a lot to concentrate on) but I've been doing a little mapping of changes in noise patterns inside π this afternoon… What I'm examining initially is how chaotic (or uniform) ranges of π are. For example, the chart below covers the first six million digits of π.

Points at the top of the chart are ranges that have high noise averages and points, at the bottom are low noise, with the heavy black line showing chaotic fluctuations over time. The fine green line is the same thing, but instead of analyzing π it's analyzing white noise (ie. a control variable), which as expected is essentially flat and has a very even distribution when looked at in these block sizes.

So in short, π is not white noise or random numbers… there is a pattern in there, and there is a signal in there (in my opinion). It's just a matter of figuring out how to extract it.

Unravelling the mysteries of math

I got up this morning and discovered that the last of my Red Bulls had been drank. I thought I'd saved one for today but I guess not. Anyway, after prepping some of the BME work for the day (see the entry below this one), I hopped in the dunebuggy and drove down to the malecón to have a coffee on the beach. It's the first time I've been to the café here and it's disconcertingly like any place in Toronto… same set of drinks (at half the price though), a guy on his iMac via their wireless hotspot, and a pierced girl behind the counter taking the orders.

“Mocha grande con soya” — imbibed out on a dock overlooking the bay.

Staircase to nowhere.

Other than that, I'm trying to get some programming done, but there's yelling about some video game within earshot. To really work efficiently, I need a controlled zone… Maybe that's unfair to wish for, but it's never quiet here and I hate blasting my headphones. I have very sensitive hearing. I think some significant changes are going to have to be made in order to stabilize this environment.

I can also hear into the subsonic ranges and up into very high frequency ranges as well. Subsonic sound travels incredibly far, so if there are trucks or large equipment working even miles and miles away it drives me nuts… I think that's part of the reason why I like deserted islands and boats so much.

Sunsets in La Paz, Mexico

In order to continue to tease those of you coming down for BMEFEST (and I guess torment those of you who are not), I'd like to share four photos I took this evening of this area (La Paz, BCS, Mexico). As always with my landscape and travel-type shots, these are hereby released into the public domain and you can do anything you'd like with them as far as I'm concerned…

This was on a little road near El Centenario (maybe fifteen minutes from where I live). There's some kind of biological research facility protected by dudes with guns at the end of the road so we turned around! (The sign says “slowly”).

This is a shot out the side of the car across the highway, about half way between the La Paz “International” airport and La Paz itself (which is about a ten minute drive).

These two photos were taken at supper time on the main waterfront of La Paz… It's always overflowing with families playing with their kids as well as people cruising and just having a good time. It's very safe, friendly, and welcoming, and has a stunning sunset. As it turns out, sunsets are arranged as a daily event, and so far they've never missed a single one here.

Creative Commons Crap

So everyone is talking about (most spewing idealism out of their asses, and in their zeal confusing shit for gold) Yahoo!'s new Creative Commons search engine, which in theory should return things that you can copy and use for your own projects with a variety of free-ish licenses.

Match #1 for “tattoo”
I know the owner of this tattoo (and it's on BME also), and I know that he doesn't like his image being copied like this. Not only that, but you can see that his email address has been blacked out of the photo. Additionally, this instance was stolen not just from the source, but from an E/N site that had previously stolen it and now claims their own copyright on it — you can see their logo bottom center. Yeah, “Creative Commons license”. Whatever.

I call “bullshit!”

I did some test searches for terms where I am very familiar with the media on the subject (BME stuff and so on), and ignoring pointless inane blog posts that no one would want to copy in the first place, a vast percentage of the media returned is copyrighted commercial content and I even found materials stolen from BME and other projects friends (or I) have been involved in!

Somehow I doubt “but Yahoo! told me I could copy it” will fly in court, and I would hope that they'll ammend their license and surrounding notes to reflect their incompetence and inaccuracy soon.

But I'd be surprised if the people pushing CC so hard really care about ripping off pornographers and deviants, and will do little to correct these rampant problems… Hell, for all I know Yahoo! and other big corporations playing with CC-stuff right now are playing a double agent game that will one day destroy these shortsighted crusaders cheerleaders.

Note: To be clear, I suppport Creative Commons licensing, and have released a ton of software, music, video, and images under various free licenses. However, I have a BIG FUCKING PROBLEM with people stealing copyright-controlled media and claiming it's free and then passing it on.

Update from a forum thread…

Me: “They will NEVER be able to build an automated search for copyright free material.”

Smart Friend: “Unless every piece of content ever created and ever to be created had metadata inserted with no human intervention. IOW, yer right.”

Me: “Actually, the real reason it can't be done is 95% of the material released as 'free' (under one 'license' or another) is done so FRAUDULENTLY… that is, the person releasing it is claiming it has a different license than it does. Claiming that warez is shareware does not make it so.”

“The only way for this to work is a method of authenticating authors, linking them to their productions, and giving them direct and implicit control, without the ability to separate these elements. Oh wait, that's DRM, and no one likes that either. ;-)

Meh. A la guns don't kill people, I kill people, one must point out, DRM doesn't sue people, the RIAA sues people… It's always interesting how politically motivated technologists on both sides of the debate will choose one technology and say “it's a tool that can be used for both good and evil, but just a tool” while denouncing something else equally tool-like…

Well that's nice…

So I was going to head out to El Centenario today to check out the big sand bar that wraps around La Paz bay, but my car and car keys appear to have been taken while I was in the shower getting ready to go, without anyone asking me about it.

Combine that with an email server going offline this morning and stalling my work for about three hours and I'm looking forward to a far longer and more pissed off work day than I'd hoped for.