David Thompson


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November 06, 2009



That's the first time I've seen an anvil do that. Also impressed by the tank chair. :)


It should meet most off-roading wheelchair needs. And the story behind its invention is actually quite touching.

Brian H

The stereoviews are wonderful.


The Tetris AI is totally hypnotic.



It’s odd that the automated games are all playing very safe. I haven’t seen any attempts to go for higher scores via an actual Tetris.

Dutch Canuck

"World Champion Anvil Shooter"

It would seem that many new events have been introduced since my days of playing with black powder. I envy the youth of today their opportunities.


What's an "actual Tetris"?



Using the “I” tetromino to clear four lines at once is called a Tetris. It’s pretty much the basis of high-scoring games.



RE "Actual Tetris"...I have a theory on "safe" game/sports strategies in relation to AI on an absolute standard. "Safe" strategies are probably the tactically smartest play, unless you involve the human element. Humans are inclined to both project power and sense weakness because in tactics against other humans, you can elicit/force an error via another human's panic/fear mechanisms. An emotionally abstract tactic is not "programmed" to calculate an advantage due to emotion/fear. A designer might program one into his AI tactic if that AI mechanism was to go up against a human. But Tetris is man vs. machine, so no advantage.

Karen M

That anvil trick will come in handy if we ever go to war with cartoon animals.



“‘Safe’ strategies are probably the tactically smartest play, unless you involve the human element.”

I see how psychological strategies could work in, say, chess. In fact, I’m pretty sure there are instances of human chess players losing to computers precisely because the usual strategies of trying to confuse or unnerve an opponent didn’t work against the computer. The computer couldn’t be “psyched out” by virtue of not having a psyche to speak of. But in Tetris you’re not trying to “psyche out” the programme, which is generating pieces randomly (or pseudo-randomly). You’re just trying to score points, and one of the most effective ways of doing this is by using the Tetris manoeuvre. It still seems odd that such an effective strategy isn’t used in the automated games.


But that's my point, in a sloppy sort of way...as humans we are biased to viewing the Tetris maneuver as superior because we're wired that way, thus what seems more effective may not actually be. Ignorant confession, I didn't click the link until now but all I see is scoring by number of rows, not a point system so a row is a row is a row and as "standard" Tetris, all of the pieces consist of 4 squares. Of course I'm basing my empirically biased perception on the flawed assumption that AI really means AI, which is something that doesn't truly exist yet...Just ask Sarah Connor...



“...as humans we are biased to viewing the Tetris manoeuvre as superior because we’re wired that way...”

No, in an actual game it makes a huge difference in terms of points; it reaps a premium and is much more efficient than what we’re seeing on those screens.


“...all I see is scoring by number of rows, not a point system, so a row is a row is a row.”

Ah. I hadn’t spotted this. And there’s the rub. Tetris isn’t just about clearing rows, it’s also about *how* that’s done, hence the premium on certain manoeuvres. What we’re looking at doesn’t have this basic feature of the game, so I think we’re looking at a fairly crude demo. Not the Tetris equivalent of Hydra or Deep Blue.

So... er, I guess we’re both right.

Time for some music, then.



OK, agree. As often as I once played (it started to become an addiction), I never paid attention to the scoring, I was more interested in how long I could go until failure...which may have something to do with my warped parallels between Tetris and sex, especially in regard to the "I" ... btw if you knew the trauma I went through in 4th grade spelling class with the word 'maneuver', you wouldn't have put that extra 'o' in there for me...but of course, how would you know?


I love the way the local councilor in the Beatnik invasion video calmly spells out the ascending categories of poor hygiene which lead to the final outrage: stinking.

I can imagine Graham Chapman deadpanning the same words verbatim, and in the same tone:

"Well, the trouble started last summer when the first invasion of these types came along. Perhaps one didn't so much object to their eccentricities of dress, or even long hair. But when it came to just forgetting to wash, and becoming gradually dirtier and dirtier, eventually becoming filthy, and finally stinking, we felt it was more than we could stand."

He's my hero. The line has to be drawn somewhere.

Subject of the Realm

I'm surprised at just how arseholish the British right still is. I thought you people had learned your lesson, when the Americans saved you from Germans.


Based on the absence of any politically provocative links by David in his post or by anyone else in the Tetris-related comments, I can only assume, Subject of the Realm, that your "British right" statement is a response to my comment. Here's the rub, though: I live in Canada, so I'm actually subject to *your* realm. My Mom and Dad were 1920s immigrants from Norway and Denmark respectively, and it was YOU and your ilk who took our lutefisk away from us, SotR. It burns my ass night and day, and I hope you wear it like a crown of thorns.

To the British right, I'd like to offer my abject apologies for tarring you with my arseholish comment. I can at least find a small measure of relief in the "ish", which tells me that there's room for improvement. I'll try to hit the mark next time.



“I’m surprised at just how arseholish the British right still is. I thought you people had learned your lesson, when the Americans saved you from Germans.”

It occurs to me that Subject of the Realm could be reading this site via some substandard translation software, and thus not quite apprehending the content. That might explain the incongruity and non sequitur. That, or we have a blogroach among us.

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