Golden Verses of Pythagoras

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Part 1: [45:30]  Download MP3

Part 2: [37:23]  Download MP3


Here’s a great lecture given by Manly Palmer Hall, a Canadian author and mystic. He is perhaps most famous for his work The Secret Teachings of All Ages: An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy, which is widely regarded as his magnum opus, and which he published at the age of 27.


Pythagoras, best known for the Pythagorean theorem, was a Greek philosopher, mathematician, mystic, and founder of the religious movement called Pythagoreanism.
He lived way back in the late 6th century BC. That’s 2600 years ago! A really surprising thing, in my opinion, is that his advice is still relevant today.


The image above is a picture from The School of Athens, one of the most famous frescoes by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael.


Nobody Tells This To Beginners

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Here’s a really cool animation made by Creavite Studio inspired by this great advice from Ira Glass on storytelling:

What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story.

It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take a while. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.

Juice It or Lose It

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How to make a game feel better by only altering its surface.

To summarize the video, here are their ideas for “juicing” up a game, in this case a breakout clone:

  • Color 1 – Distinct objects get distinct colors
  • Tweening 1 (easing) – Drop down the level from the top of the screen into its final position:
    • Linearly – Drops from off-screen to final state at constant rate)
    • Asymptotically 1 – Drops quickly at first, then slows down
    • Asymptotically 2 – As (1), but drops slightly off the screen bottom, then pulls back up into final position
    • “Bouncily” – Quickly bounces down from top, too far, pulls back up, and repeats, with bounces getting smaller and quicker, resting in final position
  • Squeezing/stretching – Motion blur on moving objects
  • Scaling – Ball gets bigger when it hits something, then shrinks to normalize size
  • Rotation – Ball rotates as it moves, in the direction it’s moving
  • Stretching – Ball stretches as a function of its velocity
  • Stretching, animated – Ball “wobbles” when it hits something
  • Color 2 – Ball temporarily changes color when it hits something
  • Tweening 2 – All bricks are temporarily scaled when the ball hits something
  • Bouncy borders – When ball hits the edge lines of the screen, the lines bounce elastically
  • Sound – Sound effects for actions/events
  • Music – Background music
  • Particles – Puff of smoke when the ball hits something
  • Additional block destruction effects:
    • Scaling – Block scales down a few times before disappearing
    • Falling – Block drops down a few pixels and before disappearing
    • Bumping – Block is pushed up slightly by the ball before falling
    • Spinning – Block spins a bit before falling
    • Fading – Block color darkens in a step-wise fashion before disappearing
    • Shattering – Block shatters before disappearing
    • Slow-mo – Just before the ball hits a block, the game speed slows significantly to emphasize the effect of the block being destroyed
  • Additional particles – More confetti-like particles exploding outward added upon block/paddle collision with ball
  • Trails – Long “tail” added to the ball’s path that tracks where it’s been. Trail width shrinks and color fades as the ball gets farther away. Trail color is the same as the ball, such that when the ball changes color, so does its trail.
  • Screen-shaking – Entire screen shakes violently when the ball hits something
  • Face – Anthropomorphize game objects:
    • Eyes 1 – Add blinking eyes to paddle
    • Eyes 2 – Eyes track the ball
    • Mouth – Add mouth to the paddle. It smiles when ball is near, opens when ball is hit, frowns when ball is far away
    • Eyes 3 – Increase size of the eyes
  • Flash background – When a brick is destroyed, the background color quickly cycles through several colors before returning to normal



The Big Numbers behind Bitcoin’s Security

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  • You can flip a coin 160 times and you have generated a new number. One that has never been seen before on earth and, unless you show it to someone, it will never be seen again.
  • Bitcoin deals with quindecillions, or 10^48
  • There’s currently not enough computational power in our known universe to break Bitcoin’s security
  • Big numbers kill the hacker