Yearly Archives: 2009

11 Things You Didn’t Know about Pinball History

 11 Things You Didn’t Know about Pinball History

There’s an article in Popular Mechanics describing the history of pinball. Did you know that pinball used to be illegal in many places in the United States?

Pinball was banned from the early 1940s to the mid-1970s in most of America’s big cities, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, where the game was born and where virtually all of its manufacturers have historically been located. The stated reason for the bans: pinball was a game of chance, not skill, and so it was a form of gambling. To be fair, pinball really did involve a lot less skill in the early years of the game—largely because the flipper wasn’t invented until 1947, five years after most of the bans were implemented (up until then, players would bump and tilt the machines in order to sway the ball’s gravity). Many lawmakers also believed pinball to be a mafia-run racket, and a time- and dime-waster for impressionable youth. (The machines robbed the “pockets of school children in the form of nickels and dimes given them as lunch money,” New York mayor Fiorello La Guardia wrote in a Supreme Court affidavit.)

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I’ll take care of your dog after you’ve vanished, like a jerk

 I’ll take care of your dog after you’ve vanished, like a jerk
Eternal Earth-Bound Pets is a group of atheists who are happy to charge pet-owners a fee for agreeing to take care of animals after their owners have been whisked away to heaven by the rapture.
via Unreasonable Faith

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A Demonstration of the Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma

 A Demonstration of the Iterated Prisoners Dilemma

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Explanation:
The Prisoner’s Dilemma is a logical exercise where two players are given the choice to cooperate with or defect against one another. The highest score a player can receive is 5 points, which he earns when he defects while his opponent cooperates. In this scenario, his opponent receives no points. If both players defect, then each receives 1 point, and if both cooperate, they receive 3 points. The Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma (IPD) repeats this exercise many times over, giving each player a chance to react to the choices of his opponent. This sets up the dilemma: in each isolated round, it’s in the best interest of the player to defect. But if this leads both players to repeatedly defect against each other, then they will both score fewer points than if they repeatedly cooperated with each other.

In this demonstration, you can pit different strategies of play against one another in a tournament. By setting the numbers next to the names of the different agent types, you control the composition of your IPD tournament. When you hit the Play button, every agent you chose plays the same number of rounds of the Prisoner’s Dilemma against every other agent. The table displays the total results from all of these matchups.

This demonstration is based on Robert Axelrod’s original IPD tournaments as well as Chris Cook’s own demo of the IPD. On Wikipedia, you can read more about the Prisoner’s Dilemma and the Evolution of Cooperation. You can also download Chris Cook’s IPD demo. It has several features that this demo doesn’t.

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True fruits and false fruits

Under close scrutiny, hardly any of the things we refer to as fruits actually are.

Strawberries, you will be glad to know, are a ‘false fruit’. Which seems reasonable enough. But at this point a small doubt started to grow in my mind… what, actually, then, was a real fruit? Oranges? No, they’re a modified berry. Bananas? Leathery berry. Plums? Drupe — fleshy bit with one stone inside.

(via clusterflock)

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I Love You in Dinosaur

 I Love You in Dinosaur

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Iran has a complicated government

iran flow786x292 Iran has a complicated government

Iran has the most complicated government I’ve ever heard of.

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(Gradual) Change We Can Believe In

darwin1sm (Gradual) Change We Can Believe In

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Liberty University declares Democrats immoral

Liberty University, the evangelical school in Virginia founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, is drawing heat Friday for its decision to revoke recognition of the College Democrats' chapter on campus.

According to the Lynchburg News & Advance, the school decided a week ago the organization “stood against the moral principles” held by the school and therefore could no longer be sanctioned.

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Older people have antibodies that target the Swine Flu

Until 1957, the different strains of seasonal flu were weaker descendants of the 1918 Spanish Flu. In 1957, the Asian Flu became the dominant kind of flu (and was later replaced by the Hong Kong Flu in 1968). Because the Swine Flu is more closely related to the Spanish Flu, people who were born before 1957 have more resistance to the Swine Flu.

Confirming the first impressions of many American and Mexican doctors, federal health officials said on Wednesday that people born before 1957 appear to have some immunity to the swine flu virus now circulating.

Tests on blood serum from older people showed that they had antibodies that attacked the new virus, Dr. Daniel Jernigan, chief flu epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a telephone news conference.

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Rapture Ready forum-goers hate today’s Google logo

missinglink Rapture Ready forum goers hate todays Google logo
Today’s Google logo depicts: “Scientist unveil fossil of Darwinian masillae”

Posters on the Rapture Ready forum, who can’t wait for the world to end, had this to say:

I find myself mad and in disbelief that googel would celebrate such an out right falsehood.

Its a monkey people!!!

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I saw it and was going to post on it as well but you beat me to it. I almost threw my laptop it made me soooooooooo mad! Made me wonder what the logo would look like after we’re taken outta here!

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I never use liberal Google either.

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This is just disgusting.
Disgusting.

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Gee Whiz, if Google is trying to stay in touch with what is going on in the world today, they should change their logo to have burning red flames of fire around it…… GOOHELL

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