Traffic Simulation Update: Multiple Cars, Multiple Lanes

Okay, the traffic simulator project has been slow going over the past few weeks, just not been very focussed and playing with DLA and other assignments too much.

This morning/arvo I changed some of the code and layout of how cars were being generated. Now instead of a car know what road it is on it has been reversed, so each road has its own collection of cars to manage. With some changes to how the graphics are produced this now means that cars are now rendered at the same time as each road. A that allows perfect placement of cars onto roads rather than having to do a mathematically approximation. Clear as mud?


6000 Point Balanced DLA

Yes I am still making DLAs just trying to make the maths that little bit nicer, and get that all impressive performance boost.

This is a 6,000 point balanced model, it took just under 1.5 hours to generate, compared to 4+ hours for a 5,000 point unbalanced DLA on Sunday


On being ultra competitive.

I had an interesting day today.

This morning I picked up some 101 assignments to mark. While I was there another marker showed up to pick up their collection of assignments to mark. She said hello by stating
“oh look my arch nemesis from 101 is here too.”

My immediate response was “what do you mean only 101; I was in your stats classes through second and third year too.” This then led onto a discussion regarding competition and ended up with the person I was picking up the assignments from to mention that their son was contemplating studying Computer Science next year and asked me how I stayed focus when there is so much in Computer Science that can distract you a.k.a. The Internet. My response was that it was competition that keeps you focussed. One thing I cannot stand is someone else outdoing me.

In the afternoon I had a lecture, and afterwards four of us were discussing and comparing our flag assignments. I got asked how I had worked out the maths for my flag. I explained that I had been up until 2 in the morning work it out; the person who asked me had spent 20 hours on the same problem but had not worked out a solution. I quickly explained the ideas behind how I had done my solution which seemed so easy explaining it in five minutes, but simple on the surface does not mean simple in reality.

Another person had a working flag assignment but no gravity acting on it, which results in the maths only needing to work in 2D. Initially the two of us who had been trying to get the maths to work with gravity (in 3D) gave him some ribbing for not having gravity. Initially his response was that it was a special flag.. but after a few more minutes he conceded that maybe he needed to relook at his maths.

Coming out of those discussions I felt pleased that I had managed to work out the maths and others hadn’t. The competitive spirit in me pleased that I was leading the battle at the moment…

You know something is big when the Hearld reports it.

A few days ago I blogged on the TV battle in the United States between Jim Cramer and Jon Stewart. Well now the aftermath appears to be even bigger than the event itself with a wikipedia edit war started on the battle, the press secretary of President Obama being asked for comment, and it being reported in the little local newspaper, the New Zealand Herald. (yes little (when compared on a global scale)).

The full story is here:

First came the imperial marching music and a fiery explosion.

“You’ve watched snippets of them for days, or meant to after your friends sent you the link,” a voice boomed with mock gravity. “Tonight, the week-long feud of the century comes to a head.”

It was a comically absurd drum roll for what, on the surface, was merely a squabble between TV presenters.

In one corner, Jim Cramer, the closest thing to a celebrity in US financial journalism. In the opposite corner, Jon Stewart, satirist and host of the fake news programme The Daily Show. But unlike many a big fight, this one surpassed the hype. Nothing less than financial reporting itself was put on trial – and found wanting.

Cramer, who dispenses raucous advice to investors on the Mad Money show on the business channel CNBC, was eviscerated by a serious and genuinely angry Stewart.

Meek and contrite, Cramer was pummelled like a rope-a-dope over his profession’s failure to be an effective watchdog of Wall Street.

The interview was one of those classic television moments that crystallised the public mood. Stewart articulated the anger and bewilderment of millions of Americans who now feel ripped off and afraid. He framed the question that everyone wanted asked: how were the financial masters of the universe allowed to pursue their ruinous behaviour unchallenged for so long?

It caught the attention of the White House, prompted a frenzy among bloggers, and soul-searching in the media, who failed to spot the biggest story of a lifetime or warn the public.

CNBC and other supposedly objective journalists stood accused of complicity with big business, belonging to a cosy coterie that egged on chief executives and fanned the flames of excess.

The interview has also burnished Stewart’s reputation as the last best hope in the media when it comes to, in the earnest phrase of news network CNN, “keeping them honest”.

James Moore, a former TV news correspondent, blogged on the Huffington Post: “Jon Stewart has set new standards for both comedy and journalism. Oddly, he was originally supposed to just make us laugh on Comedy Central. He’s done that, but Stewart has also figured out that some jokes are sad as well as too important not to tell. But he’s not supposed to be doing the job of reporters.”

For years Stewart has been building a reputation as the one-man antidote to what many regard as bland and talk-heavy US news channels. During last year’s presidential election as Barack Obama, John McCain and other politicians queued up to appear on The Daily Show, a headline in the New York Times asked: “Is Jon Stewart the Most Trusted Man in America?”

His assault on Wall Street began in earnest with a classic Daily Show technique: a series of juxtaposed clips revealing incompetence and hypocrisy.

Stewart dissected the channel’s mistakes, in which it made bullish statements about the market and investment banks before they collapsed. He added: “If I only followed CNBC’s advice. I’d have a million dollars today – provided I’d started with $100 million.”

Such is his influence, in the next days ratings for Mad Money went down 10 per cent in the 25-to-54 demographic. But Cramer, a former hedge fund manager, is not one to take barbs lying down. Known for his hyperactive style, he declared war with the sarcastic riposte: “Oh, oh, a comedian is attacking me! Wow! He runs a variety show!”

As the media stoked up the row, a showdown was set for last Saturday.

Stewart showed the instincts of a journalistic veteran. He charged that CNBC knew what was going on behind the scenes on Wall Street but failed to tell the public. He accused CNBC hosts of abandoning their journalistic duties.

Cramer proffered feeble mea culpas and acknowledged they could do better. But Stewart produced footage of a 2006 interview with, in which Cramer described certain barely legal things a hedge fund manager might do to work the market to his advantage.

He launched an eloquent assault that struck at the very foundations of the American financial press and television.

“Listen, you knew what the banks were doing, yet were touting it for months and months – the entire network was.”

“For now to pretend that this was some sort of crazy, once-in-a-lifetime tsunami is disingenuous at best, and criminal at worst.”

Can someone pinch me or is it really 1984?

Okay, all this year I have avoided blogging too much on politics, particularity NZ politics. But the thing that has brought me out of my coma is an ACT MP’s suggestion that we should “Alter the Bill of Rights Act. We’ve got too hung up on people’s rights.” in order to bring in a new law.

The merits of the three strikes and your out bill has surely been rendered redundant by this comment. No law should require the altering of one of NZ’s foundations of legislation and separating us from the a document which the United Nations passed without a single vote against.

These comments just remind me of 1984. Where “War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength”. Where the war is an attack on the human rights of all NZ’s, Slavery is that because we have no binding referendum we are forced to accept a law (if passed) where only a little over 3% of the population voted for the party that is advocating it so strongly, and Strength is that we have such a week view of political activism these days that only a group of fringe nutters will do anything about it.

What is worse is that the clause that the new law may be breaching: “Article 5 – No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Now I don’t think anyone in their right mind would try and argue that people who commit crimes should not be punished for them, but in NZ we have a very strong justice system, and every now and then we get it wrong (David Bain amongst others), locking people up and throwing away the key is not a policy that this country needs, it goes against everything that we have ever strived to become. Why are we insiting on following the failed experiments of other countries?

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