Yes, snow. In Dallas. In February. Very odd. And a nice power failure to go with it. I’ve been stuck at the office babysitting servers and watching the little LED bar graphs on the UPSs slowly dimish in size. Fortunately, the power is restored now but it made me miss this month’s DPRG meeting, which is disappointing because David Hanson of Human Emulation Robotics was the guest speaker. I was looking forward to hearing him and getting a first hand look at K-Bot, the life-like android head that’s been making so much news lately.

Trust Metrics from the 17th Century

Last time I was re-reading Heinlein’s, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, I was struct by the possible applications of the rebel’s cell organization to the sorts of trust metric systems being played with these days. Then, a few days ago, I ran across a web log entry noting similarities between mod_virgule’s trust metrics and those used by a 17th century social network of Dove breeders – right down to a trust metric attack – “The Count of Villechy, in 1889, was expelled from the club for posing as two breeders in an attempt to boost his ranking”. The Count’s plot failed because of the hand-calculated trust metrics used by the network. Wow, talk about prior art! It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking we’ve invented something new when it’s been done many times before. I wonder if anyone has put together a definitive history of trust metrics?

The Robotron: 2084 Challenge

John Walti showed up last Wednesday for our Robotron: 2084 tournament. I may have had a slight home field advantage since I’m familiar with the particular quirks of my Robotron, so we played his choice of rules. Difficulty level 7, extra man every 20k points, winner of 2 out of 3 games wins the match. To limit the time, the winner of the first game was defined as the first player to reach 1 million points, the winner of the second would be the first to reach 2 million, etc. We managed to complete two games in under two hours, thanks the point limits. I was quite pleased to win the first two games; the first just barely and the second by a slightly larger margin. It was very tight though and he was ahead of me as often as I was ahead of him.