I just released the book, New Programmers Start Here, currently available on Amazon. This book is written primarily for homeschool families wanting to do enrichment with computer programming. However, it is also very good for people crossing over into computer programming from other disciplines. The goal is to train your mind to think the way that a programmer thinks.
Bartlett Publishing is proud to announce the release of our newest book, <i>MicroSecession: Simple Ways to Liberate Yourself, Your Family, and Your Community from Government Idiocy</i>. This book is currently available from the MicroSecession website.
From the Back Cover:
Are you always trying to get ahead but feel like you aren’t gaining any ground? Tired of working more and somehow making less? Does it seem like you’re trapped in a game of economic roulette—always betting your time and energy but ultimately paying the price from your own pocket?
From the devalued dollar to the health care hassle, MicroSecession gives you new ways to think about money and value in a system overrun with ridiculous policies and unaccountable, out-of-touch politicians.
MicroSecession isn’t about getting rich, overthrowing the government, or abandoning civilization, but it will give you practical ideas for increasing your personal value and insulating yourself, your family, and your community from the negative fallout of government debt debacles and failing economic policies that hit too close to home. It may begin with your bank account, but it doesn’t end there—from finance to food, health care, education, and more—see how everyday people can make a real difference in their own lives and benefit from a better understanding of the value we all bring to the table.
We are proud to announce our forthcoming book, MicroSecession. This book looks at how to (legally) do an end-run around governmental idiocy, and separate yourself from the upcoming financial and personal impacts of bad governmental policy.
The book's primary focus is on your finances. The coming collapse of the dollar will require you to think differently about money and value in your household. However, it will also discuss other issues, such as the food supply, healthcare, education, and other places where bad government policy means that you need to find a different way to take care of yourself.
This is a book for average people who don't have a lot of money to spare to start insulating themselves from what is coming. For more information, and to sign up for notifications, see the MicroSecession website.
Bartlett Publishing has just launched a project called Evolving Algorithms to determine the limits and requirements of evolutionary algorithms in computer science.
This project is essentially created to be a little like Avida, except with a much narrower focus. Avida attempts to be several things at once, and winds up not being very good at any of them. It attempts to model biology by making the organism self-replicating and using lots of biology metaphors in its production, it attempts to model cost theory through its use of environmental limits, and it attempts to model the possibility of evolution by mutating programs and seeing if they can evolve new algorithms de novo.
The problem is that it doesn't do any of these things well. Despite the fact that Avida is a Turing-complete system, it can't even detect the evolution of an algorithm that requires those constructs! The only construct that requires looping is the copy loop, and that is precoded in the original organism! So, for instance, it can't even in theory give selection value to, say, a factorial function. I was greatly disappointed when I found this out. Likewise, it doesn't model biological cost theory well, because it gives an inordinate fitness advantage to new functions (for a good model of cost theory, see Mendel's Accountant).
Don't get me wrong, Avida was a great system to spur interest in this field. This program probably wouldn't exist without Avida - we probably wouldn't have thought of it on our own. However, the problem is that many view Avida as being able to answer their questions (which it generally can't - especially on cost theory or evolvability) instead of simply being the first iteration of a dynamic series of research questions.
So, what we would like to research are the prerequisites for evolving new algorithms, not just logic functions. Therefore, we are starting this project in order to determine what is required in order to do this. We are chucking cost theory, non-teleology. We know we are including teleologial concepts into evolution, because the question we want to answer is, in order to solve problem X, what prerequisites are required in order to construct a solution?
Therefore, the new project will have an easily-modifiable instruction set, a more flexible machine model, and a probably more teleological method of defining fit/unfit organisms.
Again, the new project is at http://code.google.com/p/evolving-algorithms/