Installing Magic The Gathering Under Windows 7

M.F. notified me that it’s possible to install MTG on a Windows 7 system by simply copying over the installation folder. But you still need to set the Compatibility as follows. Here are his notes.

  1. Find the Magic.exe file and right click on it and select properties.
  2. Select the Compatibility tab
  3. In the setting box check
    • Disable visual themes
    • Disable desktop composition
    • Disable display scaling on high DPI settings

It will still run if you don’t do the above but it will look ‘pixelated’

This is important stuff.

Published in: on 14 January 2011 at 8:48 am  Leave a Comment  

PubMed Fun

Two blogs dedicated to finding strange and funny papers listed on PubMed. Our tax dollars are funding this stuff 🙂 ?!

NCBI ROFL (via MetaFilter)

A Good Poop (hmm, it has been a while since the last post)

Published in: on 1 July 2009 at 6:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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Lexicon of Inconspicuously Ambiguous Recommendations (L.I.A.R.)

For S.F., T.S.F, and I.K.

Over dinner this past Saturday, I also mentioned a story about another difficult co-worker. I had emailed him a blurb with funny referrals that could be interpreted in two ways. Well, it turns out that that blurb is still out there on the Internet, even after all these years. Here is the blurb:

Some years ago I ran across an article about a professor whose students and colleagues would approach him asking him for employment references. Often he did not want to provide a reference because, frankly, it would not be glowing. If he told the truth about the colleague or student, he might lose a friend or get sued. If he wrote a nice reference letter, he would feel wrong because, after all, he had misled someone who was counting on his judgment.

What could he do? After thinking about it for a while, he decided that he could tell the truth and make the person who asked for the referral happy, too. So, he invented what he termed a Lexicon of Inconspicuously Ambiguous Referrals, LIAR for short. Here are some examples:

  • You would be lucky to get this person to work for you.
  • I am glad to say that this is a former colleague of mine.
  • I can assure you that no one would be better for this position.
  • I cannot say enough good things about this person.
  • I most heartily recommend this person with no qualifications whatsoever.

Each of the above phrases can lead to two diametrically opposed interpretations.

This enraged my co-worker, because he was in the process of looking for another job and he thought I was making fun of him. But I didn’t know this; I never claimed to be telepathic.

A whole collection of these quotes were published in a small book, which I bought used on Unfortunately, I can no longer find my copy of that book. I’m sure it’s buried somewhere in the piles of books that dot my apartment.

Published in: on 26 March 2009 at 9:59 pm  Comments (1)  

Quotes About Card Games

Last summer, I bought a book in Helsinki entitled Winning Quotations, by Markus Wartiovaara. In the chapter entitled “Game”, I found some quotations mentioning card games, which amused me since I really enjoy a certain card game. I especially like the quotation attributed to Jawaharlal Nehru.

You play the hand you’re dealt. I think the game’s worthwhile.

— Christopher Reeve

Has fortune dealt you some bad cards. Then let wisdom make you a good gamester.

— Francies Quarles

A man’s idea in a game of cards is war, cruel, devastating, and pitiless. A lady’s idea of it is a combination of larceny, embezzlement, and burglary.

— Finley Peter Dunne

The game of life is not so much in holding a good hand as playing a poor hand well.

— H. T. Leslie

Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you represents determinism; the way you play it is free will.

— Jawaharlal Nehru

In other words,

L = D + F

where L is life (a game of cards), D is determinism, a constant (the hand that is dealt you), and F is free will, a random variable (how you play the hand dealt you).

This last quote doesn’t have to do with card games, but I couldn’t resist sharing it since it’s about video games:

One of the best lessons children learn through video games is standing still will get them killed quicker than anything else.

— Jinx Milea

Published in: on 19 January 2009 at 10:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Here’s a game that’s based on mySQL. Haven’t tried it.

Published in: on 10 January 2009 at 12:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Two Science Humor Journals

The Journal of Improbable Research (they do the Ig Noble Prizes)

The Journal of Irreproducible Results

It might be fun to write up a parody of a science paper and submit it the latter.

Published in: on 10 January 2009 at 12:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Centaur vs. Two-Handed Sword

For B.M.

According to the Monster Manual, 3rd ed. (Gary Gygax; Lake Geneva, WI:TSR Hobbies, Inc., 1978), p. 14, centaurs are armor class 5 (leaders are AC 4) and have 4 hit dice. (For the record, they also have 2 attacks per melee round, doing 1-6 damage with their hooves with one attack and a variable amount of damage with the other attack, depending on the human weapon they’re wielding.) Importantly, the size is listed as Large.

So the expected value of the number of hit points of a centaur is E{HP} = E{4*1D8} = 4*E{1D8} = 4*4.5 = 18.

According to the Player’s Handbook (Gary Gygax; Lake Geneva, WI:TSR Hobbies, Inc., 1978), p. 38, a non-magical two-handed sword does 3-18 hit points of damage against large creatures, meaning the expected value (conditional on your having actually hit) is E{3*1D6} = 3*E{1D6} = 3*3.5 = 10.5. So on average you’d need to connect with a two-handed sword about twice before the average centaur buys it.

However, you’re not guaranteed to connect every time you swing. So let’s estimate how many times you’d need to swing that sword to defeat the centaur. On page 38 of the Player’s Handbook, it says that two-handed swords have a +2 Armor Class Adjustment against both AC 4 and 5. And on page 74 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide (Gary Gygax; Lake Geneva, WI:TSR Hobbies, Inc., 1979), it says that a first-level fighter needs a 15 (16) to hit AC 5 (4). With the +2 Armor Class Adjustment of the two-handed sword against AC 5 (4), this means that he/she’d need “only” a 13 (14). So every time he/she swings that sword, the expected damage against AC 5 is ((20-13+1)/20)*10.5 = 4.2 (3.675 for AC 4). This means that, on average, a first-level fighter would need to swing 18 / 4.2 ~ 4 times to kill an average non-leader centaur (and about 5 times for an average leader centaur).

But maybe it’s not fair to have a 1st-level fighter (“Veteran”) take on a centaur. Perhaps we should instead match a 4th-level fighter (“Hero”) against the centaur. OK, going through the same computations for a 4th-level fighter, I compute that the expected damage against AC 5 every time he/she swings that two-handed sword is ((20-11+1)/20)*10.5 = 5.25 (4.725 for AC 4), meaning he/she’d need to swing about 3 times (okay, 3.43) before an average non-leader centaur bites the dust (3.81, closer to 4 times for an average centaur leader).

Now, I don’t remember centaurs being quite this tough in Rogue. In Rogue, I thought that one or two hits would do. I think the rules were different in Rogue.

If I’ve made any mistakes in my computations, please let me know. But I have used the power of MATLAB (v. 7.4.0 R2007a, Student Version) to do these calculations, so they must be correct. 🙂

I knew there was a reason I’m studying to get a Master’s degree in biostatistics. If you studied statistics, you too could estimate fairly precisely whether you could take on that centaur. (Wait a sec, that word “precisely” bothers me. Maybe I should compute 95% confidence intervals…) You’d need to take your Panasonic Toughbook with you on your dungeon campaign, and be sure you’ve got MATLAB installed.

Future project: write a program that takes player character attributes (race, class, level, weapon, etc.) and monster attributes (hit dice, armor class, number of attacks, damage per attack, etc.) as input, and gives as output estimates for the outcome of combat (whether you’d win/lose, how many turns melee would last, damage dealt, etc.), with confidence intervals as appropriate. Actually, I bet somebody has already written this program.

I know. This was another really geeky post.

Published in: on 14 December 2008 at 7:01 pm  Comments (1)  
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