Friday, January 26, 2007


High-definition Video:

I just acquired an amazing HD version of The Matrix. This is the first movie that I actually have to downscale in order to display on my monitor (its resolution is 1920x1080, while my monitor is only capable of 1280x1024). Here is a screenshot of the video playing in its original resolution, spanning across multiple desktops on my Beryl cube:

Mysterious Function Update:

It turns out that the graphs I made in my previous post were actually bifurcation diagrams of the logistic map. Wikipedia has a great explanation of the equation and how it is related to chaos theory.

Summer Internship:

I have been very busy looking around for summer internship positions. So far I have been applying to the big tech companies like Google, IBM, and HP. I am not very happy however, because most of these positions do not sound very interesting. I do not want to become a code monkey. What I really want is to be able to work on some interesting AI research. Unfortunately after examining the job market these sorts of positions seem to be rare. I also attended a career fair on Thursday, and applied for an internship position at Microsoft.

Das Experiment:

This afternoon I participated in a psychology study. It had the following experiment description: "This study will explore the manner in which an herbal extract, 'Salin', can affect memory." The experiment involved drinking a glass of iced tea flavored liquid, and then filling out some surveys. I soon realized that the forms were doing a terrible job at actually testing any of my memory skills, and I became suspicious. After handing in my forms the experimenter asked some questions - one of them being "did you notice anything unusual about the experimenter?" I answered no. He then let me know that he was actually a different person then the original experimenter. Half way through the study they actually switched people without me noticing. This was the real purpose of the experiment, to see how I reacted to a change that I didn't expect or consciously notice. The purpose of the forms was to determine if the switch might have had some sort of subconscious effect. The drink they gave me was a placebo. I wanted an actual memory enhancing drug!


This evening I went to a magic show at Norm Theatre. I was disappointed since it seemed mediocre, and I knew how *every* trick performed actually worked. After the show they played the movie The Prestige. I think this was the best of the three big magic movies of 2006 (the other two being Scoop and The Illusionist). I thought the best aspect of the movie was its plot, and how it kept the viewer constantly guessing at how the magicians performed their feats.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Mysterious Function

A few days ago in my COGS401 class our professor wrote a formula on the board. I hadn't been paying attention up until that point in the lecture, so I have no idea why he wrote the formula, or how it was related to psychology in any way. He seemed pretty excited about it however, so I wrote it down in my notebook:

Yi+1 = a * (1-Yi) * Yi

i+1 and i are both subscripts to the variable Y.

I just finished a small Java program to plot the formula to see what it looks like. 'Yi' is on the y-axis and 'a' is on the x-axis. My program could only plot the function between 1 < a < 4:

Here is 3.5 < a < 3.75:

and 3.75 < a < 4:

Very mysterious...