What you don't understand

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Æshættr
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Re: What you don't understand

Postby Æshættr » Tue Jan 15, 2008 5:16 am UTC

It may be a result of me not paying a whole lot of attention in my data structures class or my professor's inability to speak clear english, but I never understood why anyone would need a traverser for a linked list.

Also on the subject of computer science, I'm not sure how one would go about programming something to do integration (numerically or symbolically.) It just doesn't seem like my TI-84 would be able to do an accurate riemann sum in just a few seconds.

Also, why would anyone write something in a non-portable language like MacTran? It just forces people to use legacy software and/or hardware down the road.

Compression is also something I'd like to learn at some point, as well as fourier transforms, quantum information theory, and how to "wing it" when cooking (that is, not use a recipe.)

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Re: What you don't understand

Postby btilly » Tue Jan 15, 2008 6:03 am UTC

Iori_Yagami wrote:I will start. Does non-linear dynamics AKA chaos theory actually say that there can be many values of a function for a single argument? I never understood that point. Also all ND is rather vague to me...

No. Chaos theory says that if you take a small range of starting values (say the range between 4.999999999 and 5.000000001) in certain types of dynamic systems, that small range exponentially grows into a large range and the range may fold over itself multiple times. After that point, straightforward numeric modeling is a poor way to understand the behavior of the system. (All of the stuff about strange attractors, etc, is tied to much better ways to understand such systems.)

But that said, I am lost on how to reconcile the claim that quantum mechanics cannot demonstrate sensitivity to initial conditions with the fact that classical systems show sensitivity to initial conditions all of the time. Read http://www.iqc.ca/publications/tutorials/chaos.pdf if you want to know more about that.
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space_raptor wrote:I don't understand why socks and sandals aren't cool. It gets cold at night and then my feet will be cold, but during the day it's warm enough for sandals. But apparently it's this big faux pas.

I have asked people to explain this to me but there is no logical explanation. They just claim it is "common knowledge". WTH.

As best as I can figure^, aside from skirts*, socks aren't meant to be something other people see.. more of something they're vaguely aware that the other person is likely wearing, but not something that's supposed to be shown, like.. underwear.

Sandals, on the other hand, are about as little footwear as you can get without being barefoot... basically a pad on which you walk and straps that keep it attached to your foot.

The combination of the two, therefore, is wrong because you're wearing something in which the foot is going to be exposed by the nature of the footwear, yet continuing to cover it via a garment that is supposed to remain hidden. I suppose it's kinda like wearing a strapless dress with a neckline that plunges down almost to the navel, yet wearing a normal bra underneath. It's just wrong. As best as I can figure.

Anyone who thinks that doesn't grow long hair on their feet.

Speaking personally my choices are to shave my feet periodically, wear socks with sandals, not wear sandals, or feel significant pain.
Lycur wrote:Which is a very thinly veiled cover for the real purpose of this post which is to suggest that all instances of 'understand' be changed to 'grok' because it probably captures the spirit of the thread better and, more importantly, doing so will make me oddly happy.

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VTHodge wrote:I would like to understand compression better. I've read about compression by identifying repeated sequences, but I would like to know more beyond that.

Quick explanation. There are two kinds of compression. Lossless and lossy.

Lossy compression is simple. When you look at a picture, or hear music, there is a lot of detail you can barely perceive, and getting rid of it saves space with minimal loss in quality. The trick is figuring out what you can do without before people complain too much.

Lossless compression is based on a more complex idea. Certain signals are much, much more likely to show up than others. If we can represent the likely signals with short sequences, and the unlikely signals with long sequences, then on average we can represent signals with shorter sequences than the naive original signal with all of its redundant information.

For example a lot of files are made of text. Let's devise a compression strategy for English text. Let's take the 64 most common words and encode them in a byte as 10?????? where each ? can be 0 or 1. Let's take the next 8192 most common words and encode them in 2 bytes as 10?????? 0???????. Let's encode the 128 low-bit bytes as 0???????. Let's encode the high-bit bytes as 1100000000 ????????. This strategy, applied to this post, would give you considerable compression. Since I don't have any high-bit characters in this post, you're never going to need more than 1 byte per character, and a lot of my words are going to be encoded in just 1 or 2 bytes.

Now if you used that strategy on a random binary file, it would be awful. You wouldn't see any recognizable English words, and half of the input would be high-bit characters, which now require 2 bytes to represent. The output would therefore be about half again as long as the input.

Now I haven't created a good compression here, but what I've said is generally true of any compression algorithm. A compression algorithm encodes certain expectations about likely data. For instance zip believes that letter frequencies that you have seen will continue to be seen. The gif format believes that pixels that are close to each other are likely to be the same color. Wavelet encoding thinks that pictures, audio, etc can be divided into sharp boundaries and areas that vary relatively slowly. And so on.

When those expectations are met the compression algorithm manages to represent the data in less space than the original. If they are not met, though, then lossless compression is a net loss.

Hopefully this explanation helps those who wanted to understand compression better. Now something that I'd like to understand better, and don't, is the connection between compression and cognition. It turns out that our brains do considerable compression of data that comes in. There is good reason to believe that there are deep connections between how we compress data and our ability to understand the world around us. I wish I understood that connection better, but doubt that I ever will.
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Re: What you don't understand

Postby eXS » Tue Jan 15, 2008 7:04 am UTC

Moral philosophy has allways been hard for me to grasp. The main goal of moral philosophers seems to be to create a ruleset for how to act. But since morals is more than anything a subjective thing (some cannot see it exist at all) this gets quite ridiculous. So many really "big" guys within philosophy seem to take it so seriously.
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Re: What you don't understand

Postby Berengal » Tue Jan 15, 2008 7:32 am UTC

eXS wrote:Moral philosophy has allways been hard for me to grasp. The main goal of moral philosophers seems to be to create a ruleset for how to act. But since morals is more than anything a subjective thing (some cannot see it exist at all) this gets quite ridiculous. So many really "big" guys within philosophy seem to take it so seriously.

Because morals are important, even though they don't exist.

I finally remembered something I, while understanding rationally, am unable to grok: How the integral of 1/x2 from 0 to infinity is limited while the same for 1/x isn't.
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Re: What you don't understand

Postby btilly » Tue Jan 15, 2008 7:34 am UTC

Berengal wrote:I finally remembered something I, while understanding rationally, am unable to grok: How the integral of 1/x2 from 0 to infinity is limited while the same for 1/x isn't.

Don't you mean 1 to infinity?
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Re: What you don't understand

Postby eXS » Tue Jan 15, 2008 7:45 am UTC

Berengal wrote:Because morals are important, even though they don't exist.

Aha! i knew it was something along those lines.

About your math problem, Im afraid i cant help, but id like reading an explanation of it (probably needs graphs to be pedagogical enough for me to understand).
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Re: What you don't understand

Postby btilly » Tue Jan 15, 2008 7:56 am UTC

eXS wrote:
Berengal wrote:Because morals are important, even though they don't exist.

Aha! i knew it was something along those lines.

About your math problem, Im afraid i cant help, but id like reading an explanation of it (probably needs graphs to be pedagogical enough for me to understand).

The quick explanation. The integral of 1/x is log(x). So the integral from 1 to X of 1/x is log(X) - log(1) = log(X). This increases without bound as X goes to infinity.

The integral of 1/x2 is -1/x. So the integral from 1 to X of 1/x2 is -1/X - (-1/1) = 1 - 1/X. As X goes to infinity, this goes to 1.

There is a cute graphical explanation of why the integral of 1/x is unbounded. Take the area under the curve of 1/x from 1 to 2. Double it's length, squish it vertically in half and then shift it right by 1 and you get the area under the curve of 1/x from 2 to 4. But those transforms doubled its area, then cut it in half, then left it alone, so you have the same area. Similarly the area from 4 to 8 is the same. And from 8 to 16. And so on. So there is no upper limit to the area. Someone who is better at art than I will have to draw the picture corresponding to that description though.

I don't know as cute an explanation of why 1/x2 is bounded. But it is.
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Re: What you don't understand

Postby Iori_Yagami » Tue Jan 15, 2008 8:32 am UTC

Sorry to disappoint btilly, but, in fact, lossy compression is really more complicated than loseless. Reducing frame rate, sample rate, sampling frequency, resolution, color resolution, etc, are just not compression methods. It is just different data.
Lossy compression has almost everything to do with cognition, surprisingly. While loseless is mostly a task of represnting digital data in less volume, and relying on coding-decoding algorithms to give us hidden 'implied' knowledge about compressed data, lossy takes into account human brain. Ths s n xmpl f sm gl frm f hmn dchphrbl txt cmprssn. This is an example of some ugly form of human decipherable text compression. Take out all that is unimportant.
Loseless is very logical. Why would you dumbly store every frame of a movie, if you can store just the 10 pixel worth difference between successive frames?
RLE is tricky. Take a striped image - white line of pixels, black line, red line,... Compress with RLE. Works!!! Now turn it 90 degrees... What, not so shiny anymore? No compression? Algorithms have to take into account the nature of data. E.g. images are naturally 2D and not just byte strings, as in this example.
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Re: What you don't understand

Postby zingmaster » Tue Jan 15, 2008 8:44 am UTC

To add onto the general answer of people, I really don't understand how someone's feelings and opinions can change so quickly and so drastically. And they never hit the middle. It's always one extreme to the other. If only I could read minds...and see the future as some sort of omnipotent, omniscient observer.
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Re: What you don't understand

Postby Dingbats » Tue Jan 15, 2008 12:07 pm UTC

I don't understand why I don't have a girlfriend.

That and the complicated maths and computer stuff others have mentioned.

And also: I really don't understand what makes people believe that some language usage is inherently "incorrect" (me and Pam went to the store) and some is "correct", and no matter how much you explain to them how it's all just about what's accepted and what's not in certain contexts, they still just won't accept it and go "b-but... it's WRONG!". I mean, I've written goddamn essay posts on it in forums, and every single time, 98% of everyone just don't get it.

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Re: What you don't understand

Postby Berengal » Tue Jan 15, 2008 12:53 pm UTC

btilly wrote:
Berengal wrote:I finally remembered something I, while understanding rationally, am unable to grok: How the integral of 1/x2 from 0 to infinity is limited while the same for 1/x isn't.

Don't you mean 1 to infinity?

Of course I do.
I know why rationally, and I've seen the pretty pictures. The problem is mostly that while 1/x is infinite is easy to see, 1/x2 is 1 is much har...

...

Something in my brain went "pop", and I now get it. The problem was seeing the functions next to eachother. 1/x2, when seen alone, is easy to get how it's bounded.
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Re: What you don't understand

Postby Coin » Tue Jan 15, 2008 1:34 pm UTC

Sissi wrote:I don't understand why people are so obsessed with sites such as MySpace, LiveJournal, and the scores that I don't know of.


1) Peopel are vain. They want to be seen by people and get attention. It generally makes them feel accepted by society and good about themselves.

2) Peer pressure. "All of my friends are doing it so I should do it to"

3) Enjoyment. You enjoy this forum, right? "Each to their own" as the saying goes.
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Re: What you don't understand

Postby Shadow Tyrant » Tue Jan 15, 2008 2:19 pm UTC

Myself.
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Re: What you don't understand

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Jan 15, 2008 2:22 pm UTC

Shadow Tyrant wrote:Myself.


I recommend taking a week off, use of hallucinogenics with drunken bookends. Find yourself and figure it out.*


*That's probably really really really bad advice. Like "I just got that promotion at work!" "Cool. Celebrate by blowing your head off with a shotgun." "OK!" level bad.
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Re: What you don't understand

Postby Pirate.Bondage » Tue Jan 15, 2008 3:07 pm UTC

I don't understand how a "gay" man can get married to a woman, have sex with a woman, and have kids.
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Re: What you don't understand

Postby MFHodge » Tue Jan 15, 2008 3:11 pm UTC

Pirate.Bondage wrote:I don't understand how a "gay" man can get married to a woman, have sex with a woman, and have kids.

Because the desire to "fit in" can be a powerful motivator. Lots of people sleep with others that they don't necessarily find attractive. And there are many different kinds of love. Would you consider living with your best friend for the rest of your life? I expect that a lot of these men do really love their wives, but just not in a sexual way.
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Re: What you don't understand

Postby the Cow » Tue Jan 15, 2008 3:43 pm UTC

eXS wrote:Moral philosophy has allways been hard for me to grasp. The main goal of moral philosophers seems to be to create a ruleset for how to act. But since morals is more than anything a subjective thing (some cannot see it exist at all) this gets quite ridiculous. So many really "big" guys within philosophy seem to take it so seriously.


Actually the study of ethics rarely spends any time "creating a ruleset for how to act". They leave that to legislators. For the most part, ethics studies the rules by which we do act, how they inter-relate, and whether they are indeed "subjective".
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Re: What you don't understand

Postby antonfire » Tue Jan 15, 2008 3:45 pm UTC

I'll just add myself to the list of people saying "people".


I don't understand how two people can both try to get along and fail.

I don't understand why people don't communicate frankly. I'm not trying to complain or say that it's "wrong" somehow that people don't. Tact can be a good thing. It just seems like there's a shitload of game-theoretic-type analysis that could be done on this stuff, and I haven't seen any.

I don't understand how the human body works.
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Re: What you don't understand

Postby SecondTalon » Tue Jan 15, 2008 4:09 pm UTC

VTHodge wrote:
Pirate.Bondage wrote:I don't understand how a "gay" man can get married to a woman, have sex with a woman, and have kids.

Because the desire to "fit in" can be a powerful motivator. Lots of people sleep with others that they don't necessarily find attractive. And there are many different kinds of love. Would you consider living with your best friend for the rest of your life? I expect that a lot of these men do really love their wives, but just not in a sexual way.


It's possible the guy in question didn't realize he was gay. Guy I know went through that. Even he wonders how the hell he didn't know.
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Re: What you don't understand

Postby Berengal » Tue Jan 15, 2008 5:34 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
VTHodge wrote:
Pirate.Bondage wrote:I don't understand how a "gay" man can get married to a woman, have sex with a woman, and have kids.

Because the desire to "fit in" can be a powerful motivator. Lots of people sleep with others that they don't necessarily find attractive. And there are many different kinds of love. Would you consider living with your best friend for the rest of your life? I expect that a lot of these men do really love their wives, but just not in a sexual way.


It's possible the guy in question didn't realize he was gay. Guy I know went through that. Even he wonders how the hell he didn't know.

I second this. A former classmate's dad did this. When he was about 45 he suddenly realized he was gay and split. I should also mention he had 7 kids at point.
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Re: What you don't understand

Postby Hurduser » Tue Jan 15, 2008 5:37 pm UTC

What I don't understand... \begin{whine}how to interact with groups of people, what this entire fashion thingy is about, what fashion-sense is, the fascination with celebrities and reality TV, religion, optimization beyond simplex, fourier transformations, Turkish...\end{whine}
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Re: What you don't understand

Postby toxic*rapture » Tue Jan 15, 2008 6:18 pm UTC

antonfire wrote:I'll just add myself to the list of people saying "people".


I don't understand how two people can both try to get along and fail.

I don't understand why people don't communicate frankly. I'm not trying to complain or say that it's "wrong" somehow that people don't. Tact can be a good thing. It just seems like there's a shitload of game-theoretic-type analysis that could be done on this stuff, and I haven't seen any.

I don't understand how the human body works.


I can only help with the last one there...PM me if you want details. I'm not a computer nerd, but i'm a total biology/anatomy/physiology one

Focus:
-I don't understand how something as inert as *time* can heal things. If you think about it, time heals everything...why is that? Is it because with time we have the ability to think clearly about things and explain them to ourselves? Or is it because it actually just removes us from the situation and we end up ignoring it?

-I don't understand why I have an incredible desire for everyone to like me. They don't have to be my friend, but I don't want people to think "oh I hate that girl"...I'd rather them think "eh..she's ok".

-I don't understand any of the computer stuff, nor will I ever, and I'm ok with that. Because there are people like you all who do.

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Re: What you don't understand

Postby TheTankengine » Tue Jan 15, 2008 6:45 pm UTC

Robin S wrote:Given that compressed information is normally in the same base as the uncompressed information that it represents, how would you go about representing the 64 possible 6-bit strings?

Ya, that's the first thing I thought of after writing that post. There would be 64 groups which would take up just as data as is represents, obviously resulting in a zero compression system. However, that is a form of encryption, albeit an extremely weak one.
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Re: What you don't understand

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Tue Jan 15, 2008 6:47 pm UTC

How no-one in my office, with the help of many MANY thousands of dollars worth of expensive computer-aided drafting software and some VERY powerful computers, are capable of drawing a STRAIGHT F***ING LINE!!!!!

90.01 degrees IS NOT 90!!!!!!

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Re: What you don't understand

Postby TheTankengine » Tue Jan 15, 2008 6:50 pm UTC

You still haven't grasped the concept that people are stupid?
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Re: What you don't understand

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Tue Jan 15, 2008 6:53 pm UTC

Yes, but.... but THEY HAVE TO TRY, ON PURPOSE, not to draw a 90 degree line with this software! They have to draw a wall, and then manually rotate it a TINY BIT. It... they... I...

GYAH!!!

(I've been holding that piece of wisdom since I was four, but these are ARCHITECTS!! They design multi-million dollar buildings by themselves! DRAW A STRAIGHT LINE!!!!!!!!!!!)

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Re: What you don't understand

Postby El Senor Fruit Swing » Tue Jan 15, 2008 7:27 pm UTC

Mighty Jalapeno wrote:Yes, but.... but THEY HAVE TO TRY, ON PURPOSE, not to draw a 90 degree line with this software! They have to draw a wall, and then manually rotate it a TINY BIT. It... they... I...

GYAH!!!

(I've been holding that piece of wisdom since I was four, but these are ARCHITECTS!! They design multi-million dollar buildings by themselves! DRAW A STRAIGHT LINE!!!!!!!!!!!)


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Re: What you don't understand

Postby btilly » Tue Jan 15, 2008 10:12 pm UTC

Iori_Yagami wrote:Sorry to disappoint btilly, but, in fact, lossy compression is really more complicated than loseless. Reducing frame rate, sample rate, sampling frequency, resolution, color resolution, etc, are just not compression methods. It is just different data.

What I meant by "less complicated" is that most people have no trouble with understanding why throwing away data saves space. Figuring out how to do it well is another story.
Iori_Yagami wrote:Lossy compression has almost everything to do with cognition, surprisingly. While loseless is mostly a task of represnting digital data in less volume, and relying on coding-decoding algorithms to give us hidden 'implied' knowledge about compressed data, lossy takes into account human brain. Ths s n xmpl f sm gl frm f hmn dchphrbl txt cmprssn. This is an example of some ugly form of human decipherable text compression. Take out all that is unimportant.

Cognition is not just tied to lossy compression, but also lossless. For example let's take the task of memorizing all of the pieces on a chess board. Anyone can do it. First let's take a position that appeared in a real game. Unsurprisingly, people who play chess can memorize it more easily than people who don't. Even if they have never seen the position and are unfamiliar with the game it came from. Note that this is not lossy compression, it is lossless. You have to reproduce the board exactly.

Now take a random arrangement of pieces. The difference disappears, chess players have no advantage.

Why? It is believed to be because chess players have a good understanding of what combinations of features to expect in a chess position, and this turns into a compression of data. So for positions from real games they are at an advantage because they literally have to remember less to know the whole position. For random positions they have no advantage at all.

The relationship goes the other way as well. For instance the same wavelet algorithm that can be used to compress an audio or visual signal can also be used to find specific features. Such as phonemes in speech, or possible mines under a picture of a field. Compression and comprehension go hand in hand.
Iori_Yagami wrote:Loseless is very logical. Why would you dumbly store every frame of a movie, if you can store just the 10 pixel worth difference between successive frames?
RLE is tricky. Take a striped image - white line of pixels, black line, red line,... Compress with RLE. Works!!! Now turn it 90 degrees... What, not so shiny anymore? No compression? Algorithms have to take into account the nature of data. E.g. images are naturally 2D and not just byte strings, as in this example.

Lossless is logical. Once you understand how it works. But for most people compression is just a magic box that makes things smaller. It was my intent to open that box up a little and let people peek inside and see how it works.

And yes, any compression algorithm works best for on data that fits its expectations well. A compression algorithm that is very good for English might suck for French. General purpose compression algorithms are ones that work well for a wide range of different kinds of realistic data. For instance gzip is worse on English than a specialized English compression algorithm. But unlike the specialized algorithm, gzip also works well on French, simple images, and various Microsoft Office documents.
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Re: What you don't understand

Postby Avram » Wed Jan 16, 2008 2:25 am UTC

I don't understand why K-12 education skips over basic statistics and research methods. This stuff is important, dammit! But nooo, instead we choose to educate people about carbon isotopes and zoological taxonomy.

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Re: What you don't understand

Postby Eps » Wed Jan 16, 2008 5:34 am UTC

I don't understand quantum mechanics. I mean really, not just in the able-to-do-the-math sense. But that's okay, because nobody else does either.

I don't understand, in a more literal sense, the vast majority of the languages of the world. I wish that, by some magic, I could comprehend and speak them all.

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Re: What you don't understand

Postby eXS » Wed Jan 16, 2008 9:14 am UTC

the Cow wrote:Actually the study of ethics rarely spends any time "creating a ruleset for how to act". They leave that to legislators. For the most part, ethics studies the rules by which we do act, how they inter-relate, and whether they are indeed "subjective".


Ah yeah, is ethics the same thing as moral ethics? And still i find it hard to understand why so many people put so much time into it, when there are no answers, no conclusions, and no profit to be made from the subject. I think metaethics would be interesting to learn more about though.

My view on morals is that it is nonsense. Moral virtue is created to make you fit the mold, and feel bad when you act for yourself. Acting on a moral base is acting like you are expected to, just for the sake of it.
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Re: What you don't understand

Postby pollywog » Wed Jan 16, 2008 9:43 am UTC

I don't understand a lot of things.

Some of these are: Mathematics. I cannot do maths. I am unable of multiplying 2 numbers together in my head. I don't understand how to manipulate fractions. Or slove equations with "x" in them. This is despite years of tutoring in one of the best education systems in the world.

Why people support welfare systems. Why? Apart from people with too many children (which is a problem easily solved) and sick/injured people, why should the government give people money? This is most likely a political opinion, instead of something I don't understand.

How languages evolved. Why doesn't everyone speak the same language? How much do languages change over time?

Please enlighten me.
Last edited by pollywog on Wed Jan 16, 2008 9:51 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What you don't understand

Postby Zohar » Wed Jan 16, 2008 9:49 am UTC

Eps wrote:I don't understand quantum mechanics. I mean really, not just in the able-to-do-the-math sense. But that's okay, because nobody else does either.


I don't think I utterly understand it (well, I know how to [missing verb?] with it, a little), but I think I fully accept that I don't understand it. :-)
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Re: What you don't understand

Postby Berengal » Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:01 am UTC

pollywog wrote:Why people support welfare systems. Why? Apart from people with too many children (which is a problem easily solved) and sick/injured people, why should the government give people money? This is most likely a political opinion, instead of something I don't understand.

I know this one. Compare life to a balancing act. A good welfare system is then a good safety net. You could say that those who're unable to balance properly deserve to get hurt, especially since you too have to pay the material making up the safety net, and with so many people falling off it needs replacement every so often, but most people in this scenario would gladly pay, because you never know when you might hit a banana peel and slip, or if some guy pushes you off to take your money (gained by people in the audience throwing it at you).
Basically, a welfare system's task is to make sure everybody has at least a certain standard of living.

If you can understand what I'm saying, but still disagree, then it's a political opinion. If you simply can't understand why some people would want a welfare system, then it's a lack of understanding.
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Re: What you don't understand

Postby Supergrunch » Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:35 am UTC

Berengal wrote:
pollywog wrote:Why people support welfare systems. Why? Apart from people with too many children (which is a problem easily solved) and sick/injured people, why should the government give people money? This is most likely a political opinion, instead of something I don't understand.

I know this one. Compare life to a balancing act. A good welfare system is then a good safety net. You could say that those who're unable to balance properly deserve to get hurt, especially since you too have to pay the material making up the safety net, and with so many people falling off it needs replacement every so often, but most people in this scenario would gladly pay, because you never know when you might hit a banana peel and slip, or if some guy pushes you off to take your money (gained by people in the audience throwing it at you).
Basically, a welfare system's task is to make sure everybody has at least a certain standard of living.

If you can understand what I'm saying, but still disagree, then it's a political opinion. If you simply can't understand why some people would want a welfare system, then it's a lack of understanding.

But you always get a few who don't bother trying to balance, and just go to sleep in the safety net, putting more weight on it and making it less stable for those who truly need it.

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Re: What you don't understand

Postby trickster721 » Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:57 am UTC

Mathematics. Understand the principles, but can't do the deductive reasoning.

I used to not understand people who spent their time on clothes and hair gel and looking like everybody else. Then I realized that I was being superior because I felt insecure about my potential to look good. So even though it was embarrassing, I started trying on some more confident clothes and spending time in the cosmetics aisle and all that. Now I'm smart and attractive.

What? It's an honesty thread.

Fonkey wrote:I don't understand why K-12 education skips over basic statistics and research methods. This stuff is important, dammit! But nooo, instead we choose to educate people about carbon isotopes and zoological taxonomy.

I don't understand how other people can't see the surreal hellish nightmare that I do when I walk into a classroom, or how I can see that and still go on with my life normally.

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Re: What you don't understand

Postby eXS » Wed Jan 16, 2008 12:58 pm UTC

Supergrunch wrote:
Berengal wrote:
pollywog wrote:Why people support welfare systems. Why? Apart from people with too many children (which is a problem easily solved) and sick/injured people, why should the government give people money? This is most likely a political opinion, instead of something I don't understand.

I know this one. Compare life to a balancing act. A good welfare system is then a good safety net. You could say that those who're unable to balance properly deserve to get hurt, especially since you too have to pay the material making up the safety net, and with so many people falling off it needs replacement every so often, but most people in this scenario would gladly pay, because you never know when you might hit a banana peel and slip, or if some guy pushes you off to take your money (gained by people in the audience throwing it at you).
Basically, a welfare system's task is to make sure everybody has at least a certain standard of living.

If you can understand what I'm saying, but still disagree, then it's a political opinion. If you simply can't understand why some people would want a welfare system, then it's a lack of understanding.

But you always get a few who don't bother trying to balance, and just go to sleep in the safety net, putting more weight on it and making it less stable for those who truly need it.


Its more a matter of opinion than understanding. Some people need a reason to help those in need, others do it without needing the practical reason.

I live in a country where the taxes are close to 40 percent, and i am very proud of that. We have free medical care, free education up to and including university level and a system where those unemployed and in need can apply for extra money to pay their rent and food. There are still homeless people here, but overall the situation is ok(it can allways improve). Unfortunately we have had a recent change in power towards the colder, less humane side.
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Re: What you don't understand

Postby Vanguard » Wed Jan 16, 2008 1:04 pm UTC

VTHodge wrote:
ParanoidDrone wrote:What do you say when your best friend asks you if you think they're cute?

Either give an emphatic, honest yes, or find a positive adjective that is accurate. Something like, "You're more 'elegant' than 'cute'." If she's really not attractive, it's usually OK to fib a little.


I am incapable of fibbing.
I can't understand how people CAN'T speak their mind. Or won't. Or simply don't.

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Re: What you don't understand

Postby crazyjimbo » Wed Jan 16, 2008 1:19 pm UTC

Vanguard wrote:
VTHodge wrote:
ParanoidDrone wrote:What do you say when your best friend asks you if you think they're cute?

Either give an emphatic, honest yes, or find a positive adjective that is accurate. Something like, "You're more 'elegant' than 'cute'." If she's really not attractive, it's usually OK to fib a little.


I am incapable of fibbing.
I can't understand how people CAN'T speak their mind. Or won't. Or simply don't.

Tact. It is easy to speak your mind, but that doesn't mean you have to, or even should. We subtly lie or embellish the truth all the time. Most people know this and going along with it keeps people happy and prevents awkward situations. But I guess if you are incapable of fibbing then you're buggered :)

I don't understand creativity. It's like a portion of the brain I just don't have. My imagination is fine, but the process of taking a feeling or a mood or a message and putting it down in a format like music, poetry or painting just eludes me. If I hear a piece of music or see a bit of art, I can appreciate it and it evokes the emotions it's meant to, but no way could I dream up something designed to cause that reaction. And it amazes me that anyone can.

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Re: What you don't understand

Postby Berengal » Wed Jan 16, 2008 2:07 pm UTC

My creativity gets out through code and writing. Now I'm trying to combine them by making a text based Portal adventure game.
It is practically impossible to teach good programming to students who are motivated by money: As potential programmers they are mentally mutilated beyond hope of regeneration.


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