Tags: hypothetical happenings

Dwight

Technical ponderings

While reading part of a story relating to someone getting lost in an unfamiliar region of space, I thought about an abstracted version of the situation: you have a camera (the ship) which is positioned somewhere inside a space populated with point masses (stars, for all intents and purposes), each of which is visible if within distance p of the ship, otherwise invisible.
You're given a perspective projection of what the camera perceives, and to solve the puzzle, you have to find a position and angle for the camera within the space so that rendering a projection from that position and angle gives the input picture (within some small margin of error).

Because the stars are so far away, you can't measure their relative sizes (that's why they are considered point masses in the abstraction) or distances. So naive trigonometry is out. That given, does there exist an algorithm to find the answer quicker than brute force, and if so, what is its complexity? I imagine some sort of hill climbing would work well on most "realistic" sets, treating the problem as a black box, but nothing really "obvious" comes to mind beyond that.

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If this is too technical, just meep, or wave a tail or somesuch :)
GVA

Another future scenario

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I also wrote more about Vasai, trying to figure out two things I only knew vaguely - how the various groups talked to each other as groups (were they "collective loners" or did they deal in sophisticated ways?) and on the perhaps incorrectly labeled "Light and Dark", or the two very different instincts (arising from the want to change others, and from the cooperative nature of their group) which both tug at a Vasai mind, and how people with different places between those may act differently.

(I call them Light and Dark as someone who just encountered them (incorrectly) would. But it is more than simple labels, and a Dark is not going to end up an emperor of the world.)

Ooh, I sound technical. But I don't have much time to write this entry - ask me if you're curious or don't get what I am saying[2].. It is here.




[1] This, incidentally, is one good reason to reject "non-initiation of force" as an universal, perfect good - to the extent "force" is defined based on ethics, it is tautological, and to the extent ethics is based on "force", it means breaking a siege is bad if those who hold the siege can somehow show it is their property that encircles yours.
[2] ... or for that matter, just comment if you want to comment.
Dwight

More random thinking (plany i vstrechnye plany)

If you're a citystate and another citystate is pointing a nuclear weapon (hydrogen bomb) at you while starting to advance with conventional weapons, is it better to fight back and deny them the victory (as a nuclear weapon would destroy everything, leaving the other side with little more than a hole in the ground), or to officially give up and then go to fourth generation warfare (as they can't very well nuke their own once they've invaded)?

And this isn't really about citystates, but it's a good analogy, because the situation is (was?) mostly the same.

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