It’s pos­si­ble to build a Tur­ing machine with­in Mag­ic: The Gath­er­ing

It may be a high­ly unlike­ly sce­nario, but a recent paper post­ed on the physics arX­iv proves that it’s pos­si­ble in prin­ci­ple to build a sim­ple com­put­er with­in this mas­sive­ly pop­u­lar table­top game using just the right com­bi­na­tion of Mag­ic cards. While the inputs must be pre-pro­grammed, “Lit­er­al­ly any func­tion that can be com­put­ed by any com­put­er can be com­put­ed with­in a game of Mag­ic,” said co-author Alex Churchill, a long­time Mag­ic fan who has been work­ing on the prob­lem for sev­er­al years.

I could swear there’s more talk about role-play­ing games than ever. My gut tells me that pop­u­lar­i­ty is rapid­ly increas­ing. A few facets of thought:

  • Crit­i­cal Role — a show chron­i­cling the dra­mat­ic adven­tures of voice actors lead by the amaz­ing Matthew Mer­cer as Dun­geon Mas­ter — has been explod­ing on YouTube and Twitch.
  • Peo­ple are start­ing to 3D print their own game minia­tures and have built strong com­mu­ni­ties on Red­dit and YouTube.
  • There’s a brand new Dun­geons & Drag­ons starter set com­ing out, and it’s exclu­sive to Tar­get (yeah, where you buy your hand soap and tow­els).
  • LitRPG is a new fic­tion genre that’s only a few years old, but is grow­ing and has become quite pop­u­lar in audio­book for­mat. The genre fea­tures sto­ries about the char­ac­ters play­ers become inside a game, whether they know so or not.

It’s all cir­cum­stan­tial evi­dence and intu­ition on my end. What do you think?

What hap­pens when you mix Swedish pop music, Japan­ese visu­al kei cul­ture, and prob­a­bly a few too many Anne Rice nov­els? This — total­ly this.

Com­ing out a year ahead of sched­ule, the new Rasp­ber­ry Pi 4 was released today:

You can’t argue about 3x per­for­mance gains and more fea­tures, all for the same price. Gamers will be eager­ly await­ing what rewards can be reaped from a GPU two gen­er­a­tions new­er on much bet­ter sil­i­con — maybe even usable N64 emu­la­tion on RetroPie?

Uber’s Path of Destruc­tion

In real­i­ty, Uber’s plat­form does not include any tech­no­log­i­cal break­throughs, and Uber has done noth­ing to “dis­rupt” the eco­nomics of pro­vid­ing urban car ser­vices. What Uber has dis­rupt­ed is the idea that com­pet­i­tive con­sumer and cap­i­tal mar­kets will max­i­mize over­all eco­nom­ic wel­fare by reward­ing com­pa­nies with supe­ri­or effi­cien­cy.

The Per­son­al Finance Indus­try Is a Scam

Per­son­al finance is the pros­per­i­ty gospel of cable news, hap­py to claim that you’ll end up with all the mon­ey if you lis­ten to its experts, take their advice, buy their book. Not buy­ing cof­fee won’t mag­i­cal­ly get you a house. Not buy­ing avo­ca­do toast isn’t a retire­ment plan.