How do Court Reporters Type Incredibly Fast?

By Anupum Pant

I’ve always heard about short-hand, but I never cared to look it up and how it actually works. I had assumed that it must be very similar to what we type and it was a way to make your tyiping faster. Turns out, I was wrong. It’s very different.

Whatever happens in the court goes on record. There’s no computer doing the speech to text there. It’s humans. These people are trained to type about 200 words per minute and can manage an accuracy of 98.5%. That’s pretty incredible. But how they do it is a different story.

stenoThey use a different keyboard which has just 22 keys. There’s no full body QWERTY keyboard and it looks something like this.

Instead of typing down the whole word, they listen to how it sounds. The context doesn’t even matter to them. They just record the sounds. A long word can be completed in just a few strokes with their technique.

via [todolivas]

Mastering The Best Useless Skill – Reading Text in Binary

By Anupum Pant

The next time you see a series of 0s and 1s, you will no longer need to take it to a computer and feed it in to read it. Of course you might never have to read a text in binary, and that is the reason this might be the most useless skill you could master right away. I’m doing it anyway.

Tom Scott from YouTube  recently posted a video on YouTube where he teaches you how to read text written in binary. It’s fairly easy. The only thing you need to practice, if you don’t already know it, is the number that is associated with each alphabet (Like it’s 1 for A and 2 for B and so on).

via [ScienceDump]

The Langton’s Ant

By Anupum Pant

Think of a cell sized ant sitting on a huge grid of such white cells. The thing to note about this ant is that it follows a certain sets of simple rules. The main rule is that when the ant exits a cell, it inverts the colour of the cell it just left. Besides that:

  1. If the ant enters a white square, it turns left.
  2. If it enters a black square, it turns right.

Here’s what happens if the ant starts out in the middle and moves to the cell on the right, as a starting step (this can be on any side).

First step, it goes to the right.
First step, it goes to the right.
Enters a white cell and rule 1 kicks in. The exited cell is inverted in colour and it turns left.
Enters a white cell and rule 1 kicks in. The exited cell is inverted in colour and it turns left.
Enters a white cell and rule 1 kicks in. The exited cell is inverted in colour and it turns left. (Again)
Enters a white cell and rule 1 kicks in. The exited cell is inverted in colour and it turns left. (Again)
Enters a white cell and rule 1 kicks in. The exited cell is inverted in colour and it turns left. (Again)
Enters a white cell and rule 1 kicks in. The exited cell is inverted in colour and it turns left. (Again)
Enters a black cell and rule 2 kicks in. The exited cell is inverted in colour and it turns right.
Enters a black cell and rule 2 kicks in. The exited cell is inverted in colour and it turns right.
Rule 1 again and so on...
Rule 1 again and so on…

Now as this continues, a seemingly random figure starts taking shape. The black cells are in total chaos, there seems to be no specific order to how they appear on the canvas. (of course the pattern is always the same chaos, considering the ant starts on a blank array of cells).

And yet, after about 10,000 steps are completed by the turing ant, it starts creating a very orderly highway kind of figure on the canvas. It enters an endless loop consisting of 104 steps which keeps repeating for ever and creates a long highway kind of structure.

Suppose, initially you take a configuration of black spots on a canvas (not a blank white canvas). Take an array of cells with randomly arranged black spots, for instance. If given enough time, the ant ultimately always ends up making the looped highway. However, before it starts doing it, it might take a significant amount of steps less, or more, than the ~10,000 steps it took to reach the loop in a blank array of cells.

No exception has ever been found. A computer scientist Chris Langton discovered this in the year 1986.