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### Topics - FlatAssembler

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1
##### Technology, Science & Alt Science / A question about databases
« on: May 25, 2022, 04:55:15 AM »
In 2018, on a test about databases (which I have failed multiple times) at my university, they had this task:
Quote
Napisati T-SQL funkciju koja prima 3 realna broja, te kao rezultat vraća onaj broj koji ima najveću apsolutnu vrijednost. Ako slučajno istu najveću apsolutnu vrijednost imaju dva ili tri broja potrebno je vratiti zbroj tih brojeva.
That is:
Quote
Write a T-SQL function that accepts 3 real numbers, and as a result it returns the number that has the biggest absolute value. If accidentally the same biggest absolute value is had by two or three numbers it is necessary to return the sum of those numbers.
How would you solve that?
Here is my attempt, I do not know if it is correct nor how to actually test it on my computer:
Code: [Select]
`CREATE FUNCTION max_abs3(@x, @y, @z DECIMAL) RETURNS DECIMALBEGIN    IF ABS(@x)=ABS(@y) AND ABS(@y)=ABS(@z)    BEGIN        RETURN @x+@y+@z;    END;    IF ABS(@x)=ABS(@y) AND ABS(@x)>ABS(@z)    BEGIN        RETURN @x+@y;    END;    IF ABS(@x)=ABS(@z) AND ABS(@x)>ABS(@y)    BEGIN        RETURN @x+@z;    END;    IF ABS(@y)=ABS(@z) AND ABS(@y)>ABS(@x)    BEGIN        RETURN @y+@z;    END;    IF ABS(@x)>ABS(@y) AND ABS(@x)>ABS(@z)    BEGIN        RETURN @x;    END;    IF ABS(@y)>ABS(@z) AND ABS(@y)>ABS(@x)        RETURN @y;    END;    RETURN @z;END;`I have only managed to install SQLite on my computer, and it apparently does not support custom SQL functions.

2
##### Technology, Science & Alt Science / Do coconuts cause heart disease?
« on: April 24, 2022, 05:06:58 PM »
On the other forum, I got into a discussion whether coconuts cause heart disease: https://atheistforums.org/thread-64001.html

To me it seems obvious it is reasonable to believe they do. While the lauric acid in them does indeed raise HDL, there is little reason to believe HDL protects against heart disease, much less that it protects so much that it counter-acts the increase in LDL that coconuts do. Nevertheless, people on that forum seem to be convinced it is not reasonable to believe coconuts cause heart disease. What do you think?

3
##### Philosophy, Religion & Society / Which language would be the best lingua franca?
« on: March 03, 2022, 06:08:23 PM »
I would be interested in what you think, which language would serve the best as a global lingua franca? Currently, the de facto global lingua franca is English. Do you like the English language? Or do you think it would be better if some other language served that purpose. I can see four options here:

1) Keep English as a global lingua franca. The pros of that is that it is a global lingua franca already, that languages around the world are full of English loan-words, and that it has a relatively easy grammar (at least until you dig deeper). The biggest con of that is that English has horrible spelling, so much so that you basically need to learn for each word in the language both how it is spelt and how it is pronounced. Another big con of using English as a global lingua franca is that English is a standard language in quite a few countries around the world, so it is far from politically neutral. People in non-English-speaking countries need to put a lot of effort to master the language, which people born in English-speaking countries do not need to do.

2) Start using some constructed language based on European languages, such as Esperanto or Ido. The pros of that would be that written and spoken language match each other perfectly (if you see a word, you already know how it is pronounced and vice versa), that the grammar is relatively easy, or at least very regular and that it is relatively politically neutral (but not completely, as it is Europe-based). Con of that is such languages have very little tradition.

3) Use a carefully constructed language such as Lojban. Pros are that the written and spoken language match each other perfectly, that the grammar is objectively easier than that of any natural or non-carefully-designed artificial language, that it is completely politically neutral (as the vocabulary has been carefully chosen not to be too European), and that it is easy for a computer to parse a text in Lojban and to transcribe spoken Lojban. The con is that, again, such languages have no tradition.

4) Revive the Latin language. The pros are that written and spoken language match each other almost perfectly (as soon as you hear a word, you know how to spell it, however, you cannot reliably guess which syllable will be stressed if you see an unknown word), that it has a very long tradition (imagine speaking in a language that somebody two thousand years ago also spoke), that languages around the world are full of Latin words (either inherited, as in the case of Romance languages, or borrowed), and that it is relatively politically neutral (not being anybodies native language, so everybody has to learn it). Con is that the grammar may be hard at the beginning for speakers of languages without complex declension and conjugation systems.

I personally think reviving Latin would be the best. I have made some YouTube videos in Latin, the latest one being " class="bbc_link" target="_blank">a video about afterlife in Latin. But I am interested in what you think.

4
##### Technology, Science & Alt Science / PicoBlaze computer
« on: February 12, 2022, 02:13:22 AM »
Does anybody here have access to a real PicoBlaze computer? Could you please help me diagnose the problem with my "Decimal to Binary" example (second example from the left-hand-side) in the simulator I have made, why it did not work on real hardware when I tested it (although it works in the simulator)? I have also asked this on StackOverflow, but I got no useful response.

5
##### Philosophy, Religion & Society / What do you think about gun control laws?
« on: February 09, 2022, 01:40:29 AM »
An issue I have been thinking a lot about lately is gun control. Should Croatia, the country where I live, pass stricter gun control laws? I was wondering what you guys here think about it. While I am quite sure prisons are not a sensible policy, I am not so sure about gun control. I can think of some rather compelling arguments both for and against gun control, from the purely consequentialist perspective (so, not appealing to rights and similar concepts).

AGAINST:
1) How could it work given what gun control laws actually say? Gun control laws in most countries make automatic and semi-automatic weapons illegal, while leaving non-automatic weapons legal. But automatic and semi-automatic weapons are precisely those weapons that can come useful in self-defence, when every second counts. Criminals generally do not use automatic or semi-automatic weapons. Why would they? An attacker has all the time in the world to set up his or her weapon for the attack. It is the defender that needs to respond immediately, for whom automatic weapons may come useful. How could such gun control laws be anything but counter-productive?
CONTRA: This is argument from incredulity.

2) Self-defense use of guns seems to greatly outnumber the number of deaths caused by guns. It is hard to tell how often self-defense using guns happens, but it can be anywhere between 100'000 times per year to more than a million times per year. For comparisons, guns only cause around 50'000 deaths per year.
CONTRA: Many of those self-defense uses of guns would not be necessary if there were no guns to begin with.

FOR:
1) There appears to be a really strong consensus among social scientists that gun control helps.
CONTRA: That consensus may be based on political bias, since social scientists tend to be very left-wing.

2) There seems to be a strong correlation between gun ownership and violent crime within the US.
CONTRA: There does not seem to be such a strong correlation elsewhere, such as in Europe. The UK has among the lowest gun ownership rates in Europe, yet it is the highest in violent crime. Croatia and Serbia have the highest gun ownership rate in Europe, yet they are very low in violent crime.

Like I have said, I was wondering what you think.

6
##### Philosophy, Religion & Society / Does trying to live healthy make sense considering an imminent bird flu outbreak
« on: August 27, 2021, 02:18:23 PM »
So, what do you guys think, does eating a healthy diet and exercising make sense considering there will likely soon be a bird flu pandemic? Recently there has been an outbreak of bird flu in Bosnia, but, thankfully, it did not turn into a global pandemic. Will not healthy diet and exercising backfire once the bird flu outbreaks, since bird flu kills people mostly by turning their immune system against them and people who have a weaker immune system have a higher chance of surviving bird flu?

Avoiding eating wild fowl so that the bird flu pandemic does not start with you makes sense, however, the vast majority of people are not eating wild fowl anyway. If I understand it correctly, vegan diet, while it protects against COVID, would put individuals who follow it into a greater danger of dying during a bird flu pandemic.
Vegan diet boosts your immune system and provides some protection against type-2-diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer. Whether you have type-2-diabetes is the best predictor of whether you will die from COVID-19. A vegan (or, for that sake, a vegetarian or a semi-vegetarian diet) almost by definition protects against colon cancer caused by heme iron mixed with omega-6 acids, since heme iron is found only in red meat. A vegan, vegetarian, or a semi-vegetarian diet, therefore, does not include heme iron. A vegan diet is also less likely to be high in saturated fat leading to type-2-diabetes and heart disease.
But all those things will stop mattering once the bird flu pandemic comes.

7
##### Philosophy, Religion & Society / Questions I have had about the Bible recently...
« on: May 06, 2021, 01:10:13 PM »
So, I have studied the Bible a bit recently, and I posted some questions about it on various Internet forums. So, I thought I might share it with you guys...

Why does Psalm 137:4 ("How will we sing the song of the Lord in a foreign land?") mean? Was there some common superstition back then that religious songs must not be sung in a foreign land? How does that make any sense? The most sensible answer I received is that "song of the Lord" is supposed to be a joyous song, and that it is inappropriate to sing it while in exile.

In Vulgate in Matthew 2:23, it says "Et veniens habitavit in civitate quć vocatur Nazareth". Why is it "civitate" (ablative) and not "civitatem" (accusative)? He came INTO Nazareth, so it should be an accusative, right? Well, it is a detail of Latin grammar.

In Vulgate, Matthaeus 4:23, it says "et prćdicans Evangelium regni". Shouldn't it be "regno" (dative) rather than "regni" (genitive)? He was talking the gospel TO the kingdom. I also asked that on StackExchange. Basically, the "regni" here is "kingdom of Heaven", not Israel.

In Matthew 27, why does Vulgate call the graves of people who rose from the dead along with Jesus "monumentum", while calling Jesus'es grave "sepulchrum"? The answers I received on Quora were invariably trying to deny Matthew 27 actually says that Jesus was not the only person who rose from the dead that day, which is nonsense. So, I asked that question on StackExchange as well. The answer I got there is basically that it is a very literate (morpheme-by-morpheme) translation from Greek.

In Judith in Vulgate, why does Jerome transliterate the name "Arphaxad" with 'ph', but he transliterates "Holofernes" with an 'f'? Both were the same sound, right? Well, Nick Nicholas, a Quora user who seems to know a lot about Greek and Latin, said the following:
This is a very good question, and a quarter hour googling did not give me an answer. And as with a lot of religion-related questions on Quora, you’ve gotten non-answers to date here.
(...)
What I think happened, based on the above, is: Jerome was a conscientious scholar, who stuck with existing, Greek-based transcription norms for Hebrew, and maintained consistency in his translation. So even though he translated Arphaxad from the Hebrew <’Arpaḵšad> in Genesis, and from the Greek <Arphaxad> in Judith, he kept them both consistent as <Arphaxad>.

On the other hand, when he came across <Olophernēs> in the Greek text of Judith, with no Hebrew precedent elsewhere in the Bible, he seems to have had a thinko, and transliterated it semi-phonetically from the Greek of his time. Jerome kept the hypercorrect h- of “whole-ophernes”, which Diodorus Siculus (or his scribes) had already put in—even though the /h/ was no longer pronounced in the Greek of his time either.

In Vulgate in Jacob 5:14, it says "Infirmatur quis *in vobis*?". How is that grammatical? Should not it use the partitive genitive "vestrum" instead of "in vobis"? Or at least "inter vos"? I received literally no answer neither on Quora nor on StackExchange, I do not know why.

Vulgate in Matthew 27:46 translates "Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani ?" as "Deus meus, Deus meus, *ut quid* dereliquisti me ? ". Why does it use "ut quid" instead of the usual Latin word for "why", "cur"? Furthermore, how exactly can "ut quid" mean "why"? Some Bob Zisk says the following, which I have no idea if it is true:
Quid alone has a long history as an interrogative meaning why.
In case you do not know, quid is the usual Latin word for what. "What is your name?" was "Quid nomen tibi'st (=tibi est)?"

In Judith 8:34 in Vulgate, it says: "Et revertentes abierunt.". What could it possibly mean? "And they left while returning."? Is not that self-contradictory? Some James Hough answered this:
No, remember that Latin is NOT in the same word order as English, and that we get the meanings of words from their endings not their place in the sentence! Thus this would just be saying, “they departed to return from whence they came.”
Now, obviously, they are some far more clear ways to say "they departed to return from whence they came." in Latin, if it is even grammatically possible for "Et revertentes abierunt." to mean that. I also asked that question on StackExchange, and got similar comments.

Which language does the word "sandal" come from? I have always assumed it is a Germanic word related to "sand", as sandals are usually worn on beaches. Now I see the word is mentioned in Judith 10:3 in Vulgate: "induitque sandalia pedibus suis". Short answer is we do not know, it perhaps comes from a name of a type of tree in some Dravidian language.

In Judith 13:31 in Vulgate, it says “Benedicta tu a Deo tuo in omni tabernaculo Jacob”. Who is that Jacob and why is it in nominative and not genitive? I received literally no answer, neither on Quora nor on StackExchange.

In Judith 14:17, why did everybody strip off their clothing ("sciderunt omnes vestimenta sua") when they heard Holofernes died? Was that some kind of custom back then? If so, it was definitely a weird one. The best answer I have got is this:
You have mistranslated the word “sciderunt.” It means “they ripped”, or “they tore”, or “they rent.” It does not mean “they stripped.”
I assumed "scindo" means the same as Croatian "skinuti" (to strip). Because, you know as they say, if you do not know what some word in a foreign language means, and you cannot guess it by breaking it into parts, try guessing it based on your native language. Then I asked on Quora whether the Croatian word "skinuti" was indeed related to Latin "scindere". Some David Mandić said this:
Skinuti (imperfective skidati) means “take down/off” generally, but its original meaning was “tear off” as well (s- “off”, kidati “tear”). But I think that’s related to Engl. shoot, Ger. schießen < PIE *(s)kewd-/(s)kud-, not to Lat. scindere, Ger. scheiden.
So, apparently, this time trying to guess what the word meant based on the context and the languages I already knew led me into the wrong direction.

8
##### Philosophy, Religion & Society / Are lockdowns justified?
« on: March 30, 2021, 01:24:10 PM »
So, as some of you probably know, I think government-mandated lockdowns are not justified. Here is why:

1) How do you test scientifically that they actually prevent the spread of COVID? Like, how do you make an actual scientific study about it, with a meaningful p-value? Mechanicistic evidence is not meaningful here, because whether or not lockdowns work is a matter of how people actually respond to it (For example, many people responded to lockdowns by rushing into grocery stores and buying unreasonable quantities of everyday products, arguably contributing to the spread of COVID.). To me it seems like you can make essentially three types of study about it:
a) Do non-controlled experiments, like the famous Delaware study. And any conclusion following from them is, of course, a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. I think it should not be controversial that the Delaware study is seriously flawed. First, they imply that the 88% reduction in deaths between April and July in Delaware is due to the lockdown. However, during the same time period, the deaths with COVID also drastically declined in Sweden.

But Sweden had no lockdown at that time. That strongly suggests the drastic reduction in mortality during that time period in Delaware is mostly not due to lockdown, but due to some other factor. Maybe it is Vitamin D, since Vitamin D deficiency (which appears to drastically increase the incidence and severity of COVID) is lower in summer. Second reason why that Delaware study is flawed is that, as they say, the mortality in Delaware peaked one week after the lockdown began. Though they cite that as evidence the mortality indeed started decreasing because of the lockdown, I'd argue it is evidence of the opposite. In order to die from COVID, you need to have it for around three weeks. So, the reduction in the number of infections had to start around two weeks before the lockdown.
b) Do cross-country comparisons, to see if there is a correlation between the severity of the lockdown and COVID-related deaths. And, of course, the only way to do that is to lump good and policies together, like the Economic Freedom Index is doing. Obviously, any such study is next to meaningless.
c) Compare the real-world data with what the computer models tell you what happens if there is no lockdown. The problem with that is that in science we want to eliminate the human factor as much as possible, and computer models are a huge human factor. Plus, as the academics who write computer models tend to be left-wind and thus pro-lockdown, there is probably also an agenda involved. And even if there is no agenda involved, my experience tells me not to trust computer models on the matters of soft sciences. In my latest paper about linguistics, I describe how I made a 1000-lines-of-code model that predicts phonological evolution of languages... as it turned out, only 16.7% better than chance. So, only slightly better than chance and certainly no better than guessing.
It seems that the claim that lockdowns work against COVID is one of those claims that, while they seem testable at first, are not actually meaningfully testable. Like the claim that circumcision decreases sexual pleasure: how exactly would you do a scientifically valid study about that, one that controls for the placebo effect? If we should have a government in the first place, it should be a government that bases its policies on science.

2) Lockdowns probably have side-effects in the form of damaging mental health (increased suicide, especially among the young) and, caused by that, economic damages. The constant fear-mongering about COVID is, to young people, certainly more harmful than COVID itself is. And it is far more wrong if a policy results in a death of a young and healthy person, who would otherwise live for another 100 years (or by whatever amount of time the human lifetime increases this century), than if it causes a death of somebody who would otherwise live just a few more months. And if people are depressed, the economy cannot work, causing even more deaths. To be fair, it is hard to tell how much effect lockdowns themselves have on mental health and the economy. Obviously, economic damages happen even in countries without a lockdown, as has happened in Sweden. On the other hand, economies of countries are interconnected, and, if the world's economy suffers, Swedish economy will suffer because of that. I think it is hard to deny lockdowns have played a significant negative effect on the economy, even if we do not know exactly how much (compared to just the fear-mongering). The predictions that the economy will return back to normal a few weeks or months after the lockdowns have been implemented world-wide have, as far as I understand it, proven spectacularly wrong.

3) If the studies showing a link between Vitamin D deficiency and COVID mortality are correct, lockdowns are probably counter-productive. Now, this is, as far as I understand it, a very complicated topic. Somewhat similar to the question of whether low-carbohydrate low-protein diets somehow help against epilepsy: many studies show they do, but there is a complete lack of scientific explanation for how they might. I think the most honest position to take here is not to bet on the either side: do not assume that Vitamin D protects against COVID, but do not assume it does not help either. However, implementing lockdowns is basically betting on the association between COVID and Vitamin D deficiency not being true, which does not seem very reasonable.

4) In just about every country, lockdowns are unconstitutional. If we allow the governments to break the law now, they will have more justification for doing so in the future. Government overreach is a serious problem, which can significantly affect the quality of life of those who are young today.

5) Even if we take for granted that properly implemented lockdowns work, there is little relation between what a proper lockdown would be, and what the governments are actually doing. The US government, led by Andrew Cuomo, was putting COVID patients into nursing homes not to overwhelm the hospitals, going wildly against science and undoubtedly leading to even more deaths. The Croatian government organized massive commemorations of the events from the Yugoslav Wars (the commemoration of Vukovar Massacre was attended by around 30000 people) and World War 2, in the middle of the pandemic, which led to a spike of COVID cases.

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##### Philosophy, Religion & Society / Is it reasonable to believe guns exist?
« on: March 18, 2021, 04:00:40 AM »
So, what do you guys here think, is it reasonable to believe that guns exist? I am not sure. People around me are telling me guns exist, but that I cannot get one myself to check that because the police in Croatia, where I live, somehow prevents the civilians from owning guns, for some reason that escapes me. So, there is either a conspiracy of American movie-makers making people thing guns exist, or there is a conspiracy of the police somehow preventing people from getting guns to see for themselves that they exist. What do you think is more likely?

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##### Philosophy, Religion & Society / The Etruscan Language
« on: March 16, 2021, 01:03:00 PM »
What do you guys here think, is "𐌓𐌀𐌔𐌄𐌍𐌀𐌋 𐌖𐌓𐌔𐌌𐌉𐌍𐌉 𐌋𐌖𐌐𐌖𐌂𐌄 𐌇𐌀𐌍𐌕𐌉 𐌆𐌀𐌈𐌓𐌖𐌌 𐌖𐌏𐌛 𐌀𐌖𐌉𐌋𐌀𐌓𐌉 𐌍𐌀𐌍𐌀𐌕𐌍𐌀𐌌 𐌉𐌍𐌂 𐌇𐌀𐌌𐌈𐌉𐌍" (transliterated: "Rasenal ursmini lupuce hanti zaθrum vor avilari nanatnam inc hamθin.") good Etruscan for "The Etruscan language died two thousand (literally, twenty hundreds) years ago and nobody understands it."? Let me explain how I arrived at that translation.

𐌓𐌀𐌔𐌄𐌍𐌀𐌋 - "Rasena" means "Etruscan", as in, "Etruscan person", so, if you add the genitive suffix "-l" to it, so that it reads "Rasenal", it could probably mean "Etruscan" as an adjective.

𐌖𐌓𐌔𐌌𐌉𐌍𐌉 - "Ursmini" means "speech" or "sermon", whence Latin "sermo". I suppose it can be used to mean "language".

𐌋𐌖𐌐𐌖𐌂𐌄 - "Lupu" means "to die", and "-ke" is the past tense marker, so "lupuke" would mean "died".

𐌇𐌀𐌍𐌕𐌉 - "hanti", apparently an Indo-European loanword, meant "before". I suppose it could also be used to mean "ago", but I am not sure.

𐌆𐌀𐌈𐌓𐌖𐌌 𐌖𐌏𐌛 - Now, Etruscan, as far as I know, had no word meaning "thousand". However, we know from the gloss that "vorsum" means "centum pedes" (a hundred feet) that "vor" meant "hundred", and we know that "zathrum" meant "twenty", so I guess "zathrum vor" would be a proper way of saying "two thousand".

𐌀𐌖𐌉𐌋𐌀𐌓𐌉 - "avilari", I suppose that would be the proper locative plural of "avil" (year).

𐌍𐌀𐌍𐌀𐌕𐌍𐌀𐌌 - "nana-tnam", "nana" meaning "nobody" and "tnam" being the suffix corresponding to Latin "-que".

𐌉𐌍𐌂 - "inc", a pronoun meaning "it".

𐌇𐌀𐌌𐌈𐌉𐌍 - "hamthin" means "to understand".

I have put "inc" before "hamthin" because I know Etruscan was an SOV-language, like Latin.

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##### Philosophy, Religion & Society / Earthquakes in Croatia - deaths caused by unregulated buildings?
« on: January 18, 2021, 04:06:50 AM »
At the end of the last year and the beginning of this year, there have been some relatively strong earthquakes in Petrinja and Sisak, towns in Croatia near the border with Bosnia. They caused around 30 deaths. Since then, Croatian media often claim most or all of those deaths could have been avoided if the buildings were built according to regulations. That is, they claim the buildings that crashed and killed people in the earthquake were not actually properly built, and that this is because the regulations were not enforced enough (and that includes some government buildings). While it is tempting to believe that we can prevent deaths from earthquakes simply by following regulations, I ask myself if what the media is doing is just blaming the victim, and asking for more regulations that is actually unnecessary. I have no idea how to evaluate the statement that most or all of those deaths could have been avoided by following the laws related to building buildings. I do not know what those regulations are and whether they make sense seismologically and economically. What do you think about that?

12
##### Technology, Science & Alt Science / HaikuOS
« on: January 12, 2021, 07:55:54 AM »
So, I am interested, what do you think about HaikuOS?
Frankly, I think it was a failure in its very conception. Hardly anybody needs an OS which can run programs for BeOS. I mean, have you even heard of BeOS? Yet alone that somebody needs to run kernel-space programs for BeOS on a modern computer. I mean, it would make sense to have something like DosBox (or, better yet, WINE) emulating BeOS so that you can run user-space applications for BeOS (something somebody might actually need), but having an entire OS is definitely an overkill.
A useful operating system needs to have a usable web-browser and a usable office suite. However, the only browser that runs on HaikuOS is WebPositive. They claim it is a port of modern Safari, however, it is not only not nearly as feature rich (no support for WebAssembly, no developer tools...), it is also buggy. The SVGs on my website, for example, are not rendered properly, making some of my HTML5 apps hard to use.
What is also unfortunate is that assembly language code produced by the compiler for my programming language, which works on Linux, FreeBSD and Solaris, assembles and links without warnings on HaikuOS, but crashes when run, and there is no obvious way to debug it.
I also got a little disappointed by the fact that it claims on its website to be able to run modern NodeJS, but it is not actually.
Nevertheless, I'd like to hear your opinion.

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##### Philosophy, Religion & Society / My New Video about Atheism
« on: December 31, 2020, 01:44:59 PM »
My video about atheism in Latin language turned out to be one of the most popular videos on my YouTube channel. So, I've decided to make another one, this time making arguments not against God, but against the afterlife.

There were a few things relatively original in the video.
First of all, the language. It is in Latin, the language of the Catholic church (and 86% of Croatians identify as Catholics).
Second, I used the argument that souls, as usually imagined, contradict quantum physics. Most people imagine souls as something that can see, but can in no way be observed. But quantum physics teaches us there is no such thing as a passive observer, because things behave differently based on whether they are observed or not. I also said that suggesting, like Leibniz did, that the material and spiritual world do not actually interact, but only appear to interact, avoids this problem, but certainly goes very much against the Occam's razor. If the spiritual world does not actually interact with the physical world, why assume it exists in the first place? This argument is rarely used by atheists, but I think it is a good one.
I also used the argument that, if human beings had souls which could sense time, human beings who have been unconscious for some time would be able to tell how much time has passed. But they cannot, for them, they fall unconscious one moment and the very next moment they remember is when they are conscious again. If human beings had souls, we would expect people who are unconscious to experience long silent darkness, because parts of the brain necessary for seeing and hearing are not working, but the soul is unaffected. But we know this is not the case. I think this argument is completely original, and a good one.
When I was discussing atheism on r/latin, one person suggested me that the existence of free will proves the existence of supernatural souls, since free will cannot be accounted for by the laws of nature. So, I included my response to that in the video, that the Second Law of Thermodynamics plus basic computer science explains free will completely in terms of natural laws.
So, what do you think about my video?

14
##### Technology, Science & Alt Science / SolarWinds Russian Hack - is it reasonable to believe it is real?
« on: December 20, 2020, 12:55:27 PM »
As most of you probably know, American media is reporting about some Russian hackers having hacked the SolarWinds servers and inserted a spyware in some of the SolarWinds most popular programs, and no antivirus program detected that spyware for almost a year. Do you think it is true?

As a third year computer science student, such a story sounds rather implausible to me. I mean, those supposed Russian hackers would need to be more skilled than programmers in Microsoft, Google, Motorola or Mozilla.
To Microsoft, it has occurred a few times that their innocent programs get misdetected as malware. In April 2010, McAfee misdetected SVCHOST from Windows XP SP3 as malware, leaving perhaps around a hundred thousand machines unable to boot. In December 2010, AVG misdetected CSRSS from 64-bit Windows 7 as malware, also leaving many machines unable to boot. And there have been a few other such cases, though not as devastating. To Google, it has occurred a few times that BoringSSL (part of Chrome that ciphers HTTPS traffic) gets misdetected as ransomware, leaving a large part of the Internet ciphered using flawed algorithms. To Motorola, it has occurred that their Bluetooth drivers get misdetected as malware. To Mozilla, it has occurred many times that SpiderMonkey (the JavaScript engine of the Firefox browser, using some advanced JIT-compilation techniques) gets misdetected as a virus (because AVs think it is self-replicating code).
So, if the programmers working at Microsoft, Google, Motorola and Mozilla have trouble making innocent programs that does not get detected by some antivirus software as malware, is not it kind of absurd to claim there are Russian hackers who can make actual malware that does that? It is obviously incredibly hard to make a good JavaScript engine that won't be detected as malware by some AV (since not even Mozilla can do it), so it must be significantly harder to make actual malware that won't be detected as malware by any AV, right?

15
##### Arts & Entertainment / What are some songs that have changed their meaning completely over time?
« on: November 15, 2020, 04:12:03 AM »
What are some songs that have changed their meaning completely over time? Like the Croatian song "Vilo Velebita", the title meant "beautiful tall woman" in the 17th century Croatian, but it has been reinterpreted to mean "fairy of the Velebit mountain" and is now one of the most famous Croatian patriotic songs (even though it originally wasn't patriotic at all).

16
##### Technology, Science & Alt Science / PicoBlaze Simulator in JavaScript
« on: November 08, 2020, 06:01:14 AM »
As a part of a school project, I've been developing my PicoBlaze Simulator in JavaScript. What do you think about it? How can I make it better in a way that isn't too difficult to program?

17
##### Technology, Science & Alt Science / Compiler Theory - and my thoughts about learning how to program
« on: October 23, 2020, 04:21:53 AM »
Yesterday evening, I've published a video in which I try to explain the basic concepts of the compiler theory:
What do you think about it?
Also, what do you think, does studying compiler theory help with programming in general? If you asked me this a year ago, I would say it certainly does. Now I am not so sure. I see that many people, most of which haven't studied the compiler theory, learn programming a lot faster than I do. I sometimes ask myself if it is because I've studied some compiler theory, rather than in spite of it. When trying to learn a programming language (such as MatLab or VHDL), I often find myself thinking "Wait, that seems impossible. How can that possibly be implemented in the compiler? I must have misunderstood something.", only to find that I didn't misunderstand it, and that the compiler somehow manages to compile that (even though I have no idea how I'd implement something like that in my compiler). Maybe I waste a lot of time on that and maybe I somehow need to turn off that kind of thinking in order to be a good programmer?
For example, I recently tried to learn some ReactJS and, of course, some advanced JavaScript. I thought it would be relatively easy, because I already knew some JavaScript, I've made a PacMan in JavaScript and a compiler for my language targeting x86 in JavaScript. But it wasn't easy for me. Soon after starting learning ReactJS, I bumped into something like this:
Code: [Select]
`const header=<h1>Hello world!</h1>;`I thought "Aha, that's some new syntax in JavaScript.". So I tried typing that into NodeJS, only to get a bunch of syntax errors. So I was thinking "What? If JavaScript engines can't parse the code when the ReactJS framework is not included, how can they possibly parse it when it is included? A framework can't possibly modify how the parser behaves, it starts executing only after the parsing phase has long passed. I don't get it.". Then came some importing CSS into JavaScript. I thought "What? How can that possibly work? JavaScript engines don't know anything about CSS. If you include a CSS file in JavaScript, it won't even tokenize (an identifier can't contain a '#' in JavaScript, but it can do so in CSS), yet alone parse and semantically analyze. I don't get it.". Then I saw the syntax for declaring properties of classes in JavaScript. In the example I saw, the declarations are separated with nothing but a new-line character. I thought: "What? But JavaScript is not a whitespace-sensitive language. How could this possibly work? How can the parser know where one declaration ends and where another declaration starts if they are not separated by a semicolon or a comma?". I thought it was too much for me, so I gave up.
So, maybe thinking about compiler theory is a very wrong way to think about the programming language you are studying. I was wondering what you thought about it.

18
##### Philosophy, Religion & Society / What surprised you the most when learning a foreign language?
« on: October 17, 2020, 10:41:26 AM »
So, I am interested, what are some things about languages that surprised you the most when learning another language? My native language is Croatian and I got very surprised to learn about the sequences of tenses. Before that, I used to think the rules for tenses in complex sentences in Croatian follow from the laws of logic. And, as it turns out, they are actually arbitrary complicated rules that vary between languages that have tenses, even among related languages.

19
##### Philosophy, Religion & Society / Does Vladimir Putin exist?
« on: August 27, 2020, 08:56:40 AM »
So, what do you guys think, is Vladimir Putin a real person, is this the real name of the president of Russia? I mean, focus on the name "Vladimir". Is that likely really his name? Or is it more likely a codename meaning "ruler of the world" or "peaceful ruler"? I know "voldĕti" is Slavic for "to rule" (and the change from ol+consonant to la+consonant is fairly typical of Slavic languages, it's called metathesis of liquids) and that "mirŭ" can mean both "peace" and "world", and such a name for a most powerful person in the world seems very ironic.

20
##### Philosophy, Religion & Society / Protests in Belgrade
« on: July 10, 2020, 04:44:18 AM »
So, what do you guys here think, are there indeed massive protests in Belgrade going on right now, as Guardian says? I live in Osijek, around 150 km from Belgrade, and I haven't heard anything of it until now. And I speak Serbo-Croatian, but I can't find any mention of it in the local news.

Also, what do you think the name "Belgrade" means? Does the "bel" part indeed come from Serbo-Croatian for "white"? Or is it more likely related to "pel" in Pelmonostor (Hungarian name for Beli Manastir), probably an Illyrian word for hill?

21
##### Philosophy, Religion & Society / Did Vukovar Massacre really happen?
« on: July 08, 2020, 08:05:12 AM »
So, what do you guys here think, did the Vukovar Massacre of 1991 really happen? The most smart-sounding argument I've heard for Vukovar Revisionism is that, if the mainstream story of Vukovar Massacre isn't mythological, how come do the names of people and places in it appear symbolic? Consider, the name "Vukovar" can be read as "city of wolves" (wolf being a very demonized animal). It doesn't actually come from those words (it actually means "city on the Vuka river", and "Vuka" was called "Ulca" in ancient times, probably from an Illyrian language and perhaps related to the name of the river "Volga"), but people who made up that myth of Vukovar Massacre perhaps didn't know that. And a part of Vukovar where there is supposedly a mass grave is called "Ovčara". "Ovčara" means "meat from sheep" in Croatian. The mainstream history tells us that the leader of the Croatian army in Vukovar, to whom president Tuđman supposedly refused to send weapons, is called "Mile Dedaković". So, the name of an innocent and helpless Croatian politician literally translates to "Dear Grandfather". And the name of the leader of the illegal army that commited the massacre is called "Željko Raznatović". That means "one who wants to destroy" ("raznijeti" is a rare, but still well-known, word for "destroy"). Do those arguments sound compelling to you?
For similar reasons, I think Varivode Massacre in 1995 didn't happen either. "Varivode" means "cooked meat" (from Croatian "variti" meaning "to cook")... that the victims of the massacre were turned into? Hmmm...
I also doubt that the Tiananmen Square Massacre actually happened. "Tiananmen" means "gate to heaven". Why exactly would somebody call a part of the city "gate to heaven", except to make a good story about a massacre? Though, admittedly, the name "Tiananmen" is not nearly as ironic as the names "Ovčara" and "Varivode" are.
Perhaps you'd like to stick with hard sciences, and you consider linguistics to be a soft science. Well, to me it seems it's easy to use hard science to argue against large massacres having occurred. Though it's not exactly my field of expertise (I am an electrical engineering student at the FERIT University), to me it seems that bombs contradict the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It says that the efficiency of a heat engine must be less than 100%. In a bomb, you are supposed to put very little heat to activate it, yet get tremendous amount of mechanical energy and heat from it. Its efficiency as a heat engine would have to be much greater than 100%. A body can't do work from its own internal energy, it needs to get energy from somewhere else to do the work. Bombs seem to contradict that principle. Could it be that bombs are like anti-gravity-chambers, everyone thinks they exist (thanks to books and movies), yet they contradict basic physics?
We can also use some philosophical arguments against believing in massacres. For example, a massacre is very hard to be looking at, so there can be no reliable eye-witnesses of it. Also, what do you think, how can I be happy if I believe there was a large massacre less than 20 miles from here and less than 30 years ago? If there was, then something like that can happen again, right? Besides, this depends on how we define the truth. Do you believe in the utilitarian theory of the truth? If so, how is large massacres having occurred existing the truth? Believing that just makes you feel you bad, and you can't do anything about that.
I've started this discussion on a few forums by now, for example on the TextKit Latin language forum.

22
##### Technology, Science & Alt Science / How to learn VHDL?
« on: May 30, 2020, 12:23:28 AM »
Hey, guys!
So, I am studying computer science (at the FERIT university in Osijek) and I having trouble with digital electronics. I have failed the digital electronics test three times by now. I have tried to make some simple programs in VHDL to learn it, yet I still can't pass my exams. What would you recommend me to do?

23
##### Philosophy, Religion & Society / Peer Ederer's Arguments against Vegetarianism
« on: April 13, 2020, 01:38:21 AM »
So, what do you guys here think about the Peer Ederer's arguments against vegetarianism?
I think they are mostly a giant red-herring. I've made a video responding to his arguments, you can see it here:

Peer Ederer pretends the main argument against eating meat is that meat causes global warming. He doesn't even mention the main argument that's used against eating meat from an environmental perspective, that is, that eating meat, as it is done today, leads to super-bacteria.
Even with arguments he does address, meat leading to global warming, I don't think he made an appropriate response to those arguments. The way we know grass-fed cows are the main source of our methane emissions is that our methane emissions have decreased over the years, just like the number of grass-fed cows has. He didn't say why he thinks that reasoning is wrong. He just cited some statistics about methane emissions from various places on Earth, which I consider, for the reasons I explained in that video, to be very dubious.
At the beginning, he discusses the health effects of drinking milk, his main argument is an appeal to an authority, and that's, if you ask me, an unqualified authority. Andrew Mente is an epidemiologist, not a nutritionist. My perception is that you can find a nutritionist that will argue eating meat is healthy (though such are minority), but that you won't find a nutritionist that will argue drinking milk is healthy. I explained the reasons for that in the video. I think he may genuinely believe those things, because citing epidemiological studies makes it look like you are doing science. In reality, when you are doing that, and it took me years to understand this, you are using a soft science to contradict a hard one. You are ditching science in favor of inferior evidence.

24
##### Technology, Science & Alt Science / Anybody here made their own programming language?
« on: April 03, 2020, 12:02:56 PM »
Hey, guys!
So, I was wondering, has anybody else here made their own programming language?
Thus far, I've made one programming language. It's a simplified low-level programming language, I call it AEC (Arithmetic Expression Compiler). Right now, it's not a very useful language, many things need to be done in inline Assembly even for simplest programs. Here is an example program in it, one that prints the Pascal's Triangle:
Code: [Select]
`;Pascal's triangleAsmStart    macro pushIntegerToTheSystemStack decimalNumber    {        sub esp,4        fld dword [decimalNumber]        fistp dword [esp] ;"fistp" is the x86 assembly language directive for converting decimal numbers to integers.    }    macro pushPointerToTheSystemStack pointer    {        sub esp,4        lea ebx,[pointer]        mov [esp],ebx    }    macro pushStringToTheSystemStack string    {        sub esp,4        mov dword [esp],string    }    format PE console ;"PE" means 32-bit Windows executable.    entry start    include 'win32a.inc' ;FlatAssembler macros for importing functions from DLLs.    section '.text' code executable        start:    jmp howManyRowsString\$    howManyRowsString:        db "How many rows of Pascal's triangle do you want to be printed?",10,0 ;10 is '\n', and 0 is '\0'.    howManyRowsString\$:    pushStringToTheSystemStack howManyRowsString    call [printf] ;printf(howManyRowsString)    jmp theFloatSymbol\$    theFloatSymbol:        db "%f",0    theFloatSymbol\$:    pushPointerToTheSystemStack numberOfRows    pushStringToTheSystemStack theFloatSymbol    call [scanf] ;scanf(theFloatSymbol,&numberOfRows)AsmEndcurrentRow := 0While currentRow < numberOfRows | currentRow = numberOfRows    AsmStart        jmp currentRowString\$        currentRowString:            db "Row #%d:",9,0 ;9 is '\t' (the tabulator).        currentRowString\$:        pushIntegerToTheSystemStack currentRow        pushStringToTheSystemStack currentRowString        call [printf] ;printf(currentRowString,currentRow)    AsmEnd    currentColumn:=0    While currentColumn < currentRow | currentColumn = currentRow        If currentColumn = 0            array(currentRow * 2 * numberOfRows + currentColumn) := 1 ;When I haven't programmed the compiler to deal with 2-dimensional arrays...        ElseIf currentColumn = currentRow            array(currentRow * 2 * numberOfRows + currentColumn) := 1          Else            numberImmediatelyAbove := array((currentRow - 1) * 2 * numberOfRows + currentColumn)            numberBeforeTheImmediatelyAboveOne := array((currentRow - 1) * 2 * numberOfRows + currentColumn - 1)            array(currentRow * numberOfRows * 2 + currentColumn) := numberBeforeTheImmediatelyAboveOne + numberImmediatelyAbove        EndIf        numberToBePrinted := array(currentRow * numberOfRows * 2 + currentColumn)        AsmStart            jmp integerSignWithTabulator\$            integerSignWithTabulator:                db "%d",9,0 ;"%d\t"            integerSignWithTabulator\$:            pushIntegerToTheSystemStack numberToBePrinted            pushStringToTheSystemStack integerSignWithTabulator            call [printf] ;printf(integerSignWithTabulator,numberToBePrinted)        AsmEnd        currentColumn := currentColumn + 1    EndWhile    AsmStart        jmp newLineString\$        newLineString:            db 10,0 ;"\n"        newLineString\$:        pushStringToTheSystemStack newLineString        call [printf] ;printf(newLineString)    AsmEnd    currentRow := currentRow + 1EndWhileAsmStartpushStringToTheSystemStack pauseStringcall [system] ;system(pauseString)invoke exit,0 ;exit(0)pauseString db "PAUSE",0section '.rdata' readable writable    result dd ? ;A variable used internally by the AEC compiler.    numberOfRows dd ?    currentRow dd ?    currentColumn dd ?    numberBeforeTheImmediatelyAboveOne dd ?    numberImmediatelyAbove dd ?    numberToBePrinted dd ?    array dd 30000 DUP(?)section '.idata' data readable import    library msvcrt,'msvcrt.dll' ;"Microsoft Visual C Runtime Library", available as "C:\Windows\System32\msvcrt.dll" on Windows 98 and newer.        import msvcrt,printf,'printf',system,'system',exit,'exit',scanf,'scanf',clock,'clock'AsmEnd`The executable file is available in the ZIP-archive here.
The most complicated thing I've done in AEC is implementing a sorting algorithm I came up with, it combines QuickSort and MergeSort depending on what seems optimal. You can see the source code here (the comments and variable names are in Croatian), the Assembly code (compatible with FlatAssembler) my compiler produces for it is available here, and the executable is available here. I've written a paper about that and I hope it will get published in Osječki Matematički List.
So, does anybody else here have some similar experience?

25
##### The Lounge / University Anecdotes
« on: March 29, 2020, 05:00:53 AM »
So, guys, do you have some anecdotes from your time at a university you want to share? I have three of them that I consider exceptionally funny:

1) During the summer break, my father asked me which courses I have the next semester. I was naming the courses, and, when I said "object-oriented programming", my father interrupted me and said "How? Object-oriented programming? A really weird name. And, is there then some subject-oriented programming?" I said that, as far as I know, there isn't. Then my father said: "I guess that's something that we historians can't understand. No, that, on Croatian language, that's not a good name.". After a few weeks, we met with some old friend of his. And my father told me: "So, tell him, what's the name of the course you have this semester.". So, I repeated: "object-oriented programming". And then my father asked him: "So, what does that name mean? Can you guess? Well, can you think of a name that's more stupid?". And the friend of my father said: "Well, I guess it's called object-oriented because programming is usually done by mathematicians and people from natural sciences. If programming were done by historians or poets, then it would be called subject-oriented programming.".

2) I also shared this anecdote on the TextKit forum:
Hodie in universitate (ego studeo scientiam computorum) docebamur de theoria unionum. Professor nobis explicabat, cur numerus cardinalis unionis unionum non semper sit summa cardinalum numerorum unionum: "Si hoc veritas esset, canis debet octo crura habere. Canis enim habet duo crura antica, duo crura posteriora, duo crura laeva, et duo crura dextera.".
Ego scio nulla verba Graeca, ergo ego non possim hoc lingua Graeca dicere. Non certus sum etiam, num ego hoc lingua Latina bene dixi.
So, on our statistics lectures, professor told us: "See, the cardinal number of the union of sets doesn't have to be equal to the sum of the cardinal numbers of these sets. Because, if that were the case, a dog would need to have eight legs. Dog namely has two front legs, two beg legs, two left legs and two right legs.".

3) When explaining the Biot-Savart law, our electrical engineering professor told us: "See, when you turn a glass full of water, the water won't spill out of it until some air enters that glass. Similarly, the current won't start flowing from the battery all until some magnetic field enters the battery.".

26
##### Flat Earth Q&A / A Question About Horizon
« on: March 19, 2020, 01:28:32 AM »
So, this is a question I haven't seen brought up on this forum. Pilots of high-altitude airplanes can approximately tell which altitude they are at by flying horizontally and looking at the angle at which they see the horizon.

In that formula, 'r' is the radius of the Earth, around 6'000'000 meters, and 'h' is the elevation you are at in meters.
So, if you are at the Mount Everest, 9'000 meters above the sea level, the angle at which you see the horizon is 3.14 degrees, but that's probably not perceptible there because mountains hide the horizon. However, if you are at 30'000 meters, where some airplanes fly, it's 5.7 degrees, and that's perceptible. But how is that possible if the Earth is flat?

27
##### Philosophy, Religion & Society / Reviving Latin
« on: March 17, 2020, 12:02:16 PM »
So, what do you guys here think, would it be a good idea to revive Latin as a language of international communication? I think it would be, that it would be more suited as a language of international communication than English is.
First of all, it's at least somewhat politically neutral. For English, many people have it as a native language, which gives them unfair advantage. Why should it be that I, as somebody whose native language happens to be Croatian, needs to learn to speak the international language, while some people don't need to?
Second, it has much easier spelling than English does. Latin alphabet was the language that Latin alphabet was designed for. Other languages that use Latin alphabet, well, it's not the alphabet made for them and it doesn't fit them perfectly. Or, as in the case of the French language, it once used to fit the language perfectly or nearly perfectly (since French comes from Latin), but now it doesn't. Similar story for the Tibetan language and the Tibetan alphabet. But Latin doesn't change its phonology over time, only languages with native speakers do. If we choose a language with no native speakers, we won't have that problem.
Third, its phonology is objectively easier than that of English. To a Croatian ear, "three", "tree" and "free" all sound the same, as do "bad" and "bed", while they are distinct in the English language. There aren't things like that in Latin.
Also, if we were speaking Latin, we could read 2'000 years old texts in the same language we would be holding conversations in. That's also a thing that makes Latin better than English, but, more importantly, it makes Latin better than recently-constructed languages such as Esperanto, Ido or Lojban.
As for the grammar, what do you think, is Latin grammar actually harder than English grammar, when everything is taken into account? I mean, in Latin, there is no 'a' and 'the'. Latin is often said to be hard because it has cases. But do cases actually make a language harder, or do they make it easier? When reading long sentences, I often get annoyed by English not having case endings and that I often have to reread a sentence multiple times to find what's the indirect object and what's the object. In Latin (or Croatian), you know it when you look at the ending of the word. Now, I am not denying that, in this regard, Esperanto is better than Latin. But, again, Latin has a culture, while Esperanto and Lojban don't.
I've posted a few YouTube videos in Latin, to demonstrate that it can very well be used to discuss modern topics:

28
##### Philosophy, Religion & Society / Should we kill all cats?
« on: March 16, 2020, 05:11:04 AM »
So, what do you guys here think, would it be ethical to kill all cats, and maybe also all dogs, to protect the small innocent animals they kill? I think it would be, I've made a thread about that idea on the TextKit forum. I think that's what follows if we accept consequential ethics (as most of the philosophers these days do), unless we assume that, for some reason, cats and dogs have more value than mice and rats.
Also, what do people on this forum think about rabbits as pets? I think they are better than cats and dogs in that they don't kill smaller animals, but that they don't actually love their owners. I've expressed my views about it here.

29
##### Technology, Science & Alt Science / How to make your own programming language?
« on: December 01, 2018, 01:13:20 AM »
Hey, guys!
So, I've been thinking about making my own programming language that can be both interpreted and compiled and can be run on web. For now, I've just made a web-app that converts arithmetic expressions to i486-compatible assembly and interprets them.
http://flatassembler.000webhostapp.com/compiler.html
So, what do you think is the next step?
I only have a vague idea of what the syntax should look like right now, I am planning to make it possible to use both S-expressions and infix notation for arithmetic expressions and only LISP-like syntax everywhere else.
Do you think I need to rewrite my web-app to some language other than JavaScript? Many people say JavaScript is a bad language for those things, but I don't quite see why right now.

30
##### Technology, Science & Alt Science / HTML5 games
« on: October 10, 2017, 02:24:41 AM »
Hey, guys! I've just made a simple HTML5 game for my new website.
http://flatassembler.000webhostapp.com/pacman.html
It's made primarily for smartphones (it's playable on computer by mouse). It's supposed to have two interfaces. One of them, as in classical Pacman, you control the Pacman by pressing the buttons (in this case, on the screen, below the labyrinth). The other one is that, when you tap somewhere in the labyrinth, the Pacman follows your finger.
I've only managed to test it on Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini. There, both interfaces work.
Can you tell me how it works in the browser of your smartphone?

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