Thursday, August 30, 2012

Nephite history

A couple of thoughts struck me today while reading.

1.) The Nephites undergo rapid population growth between the time of King Mosiah and the coming of Christ. You can tell by the fact that so many characters (both Almas, Kings Benjamin and Mosiah, Pahoran, etc.) all have multiple sons, which indicates just as many daughters on average. You can also tell by the ever-increasing body counts in their wars with the Lamanites, implying an ever-increasing population to fuel them. This population growth may be one of the overt drivers of the wars, not just between the Nephites and the Lamanites but also among the Nephites. Land scarcity has always been a cause of contention for human beings. (E.g. people of Lehi and the people of Morianton.)  

By Mormon's time, BTW, note that they are throwing armies of 40,000 men at each other regularly. This is about half as large as the main battles of the Civil War. Now it's possible that the Nephites had a greater fraction of their population mobilized for war, but it does make you wonder how large a geographic area the Nephites occupied and what their population size was. It's big, especially later on. Which brings us to our next point:

2.) The Nephites had all kinds of communication difficulties. Their leaders never seem to know what's going on outside their immediate vicinity. In Ammon's time, the converted Lamanites "open a correspondence" to trade with the Nephites, and yet several years later, Alma is surprised to run into the sons of Mosiah and hear about the converted Lamanites--he doesn't know they exist! Whoever the Nephites were with whom the Ammonites were trading, they weren't the same ones Alma was in governing. Later on, Moroni has no idea of the rebellion in the capital until Pahoran sends him a personal letter, in spite of the fact that the rebellion has been going on for some time--you can see hints of the building rebellion in the mystery of lack of troop reinforcement for Helaman from Zarahemla, and certainly it explains why Pahoran never sent troops to Helaman as Moroni requested. Even more telling is that Pahoran sent no response to Moroni's request for troops to Helaman, and Moroni apparently considered that normal! They had no regular communication among their military and political leadership.

I don't know if this says more about the Nephite command structure of the geography they lived in, but it's certainly interesting.


Be pretty if you are,
Be witty if you can,
But be cheerful if it kills you.

If you're so evil, eat this kitten!

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Notes to self from getting BWAPI compiling (C++):

1.) Build issue w/ "invalid macro": it turns out that VS2010 has a different way of specifying preprocessor macro values. Change "_secure_scl 0" to "_secure_scl=0" in all projects to fix.

2.) Warnings: MSB8012: $(TargetName) ('BWAPILIB') does not match the Librarian's OutputFile property value 'C:\projects\src\bwapi\trunk\bwapi\Release\BWAPI.lib' ('BWAPI') in project configuration 'Release|Win32'. This may cause your project to build incorrectly. To correct this, please make sure that $(TargetName) property value matches the value specified in %(Lib.OutputFile). This was again a problem with the conversion between VS2008 and VS2010, at least in part. BWAPI's bottom-level C++ .lib file is built by a project called BWAPILIB, and in the VS2008 .vcproj project the output library is just named BWAPI.lib. VS's converter apparently didn't understand this convention, so the new generated .vcxproj TargetName is left unset, so it defaults to BWAPILIB, which produces an output file called BWAPILIB.lib, hence the warning. To eliminate the warning, just explicitly set TargetName in a PropertyGroup in the .vcxproj.

3.) A mysterious, vexing set of template instantiation errors occured inside of the STL vector.cpp file ('_Alloc': must be a class or namespace when followed by '::' / 'size_type' : is not a member of '`global namespace''missing ';' before identifier '_Sizet' / etc.), but VS didn't say what caused it to be instantiated incorrectly. By using msbuild from the command line I was able to get enough info to track it down to these lines of code:

    unsigned int min = abs(x - position.x);
    unsigned int max = abs(y - position.y);
    if ( max < min )
      std::swap<unsigned int>(min,max);

For some reason, explicitly adding the template argument to std::swap causes vector.cpp to go haywire. You have to delete the bolded code. Ultimately I think this is a VS compiler bug because it makes no sense to me as a C++ issue.

Hopefully we will now be able to start writing some AIs.


Hahahahaaaa!!! That is ME laughing at YOU, cruel world.
    -Jordan Rixon

I could not love thee, dear, so much,
Loved I not Honour more.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Biology! Data! Prosperity and the Heritability of IQ

[Cc D.]


Long article by Unz. Unz takes data from Richard Lynn, which Lynn used to show a correlation between national mean IQ and GDP, which he implied pretty much meant that prosperity was genetic and couldn't be much altered. Unz shows that Lynn's data demonstrate pretty much the opposite of what Lynn claims: in countries where GDP rises or falls dramatically (e.g. East Germany after re-unification), IQ follows suit in a way which cannot possibly be genetic.

I love this from the conclusion:

We are now faced with a mystery arguably greater than that of IQ itself. Given the powerful ammunition that Lynn and Vanhanen have provided to those opposing their own "Strong IQ Hypothesis," we must wonder why this has never attracted the attention of either of the warring camps in the endless, bitter IQ dispute, despite their alleged familiarity with the work of these two prominent scholars. In effect, I would suggest that the heralded 300-page work by Lynn and Vanhanen constituted a game-ending own-goal against their IQ-determinist side, but that neither of the competing ideological teams ever noticed.

This article succeeded in changing my mind about how IQ probably works. It's actually philosophically more comfortable for me to believe that "all the minds and spirits that God ever sent into the world are susceptible of enlargement" (i.e. IQ is somewhat plastic and can be raised) but until this analysis I had no basis to believe that was true, since it doesn't show up in twin studies. It's possible that my mind may change back at some point given the right evidence, but I find this data compelling.

Anyway, I agree that something very odd is going on in the economics/international development scientific community, if no one ever noticed before that Lynn's data doesn't support his conclusions. It suggests that no one is actually listening to their opponents.

I love science.


Hahahahaaaa!!! That is ME laughing at YOU, cruel world.
    -Jordan Rixon

I could not love thee, dear, so much,
Loved I not Honour more.